30 May 2011

Reply to Yusef Komunyakaa

How do you explain something like the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial to a six-year-old?  I wrote this not too long ago, after reading Facing It, by Yusef Komunyakaa.  (Go read that one first, or this won't make as much sense.) This was my response:

A Reply to Mr. Komunyakaa

could look at this stretch
of black granite
without weeping?
Even without knowing
the heat of jungles,
stench of feet, rotting
in their boots, the
snap, crackle, pop
of rifle-fire for breakfast -
I look down
the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial
where every one of
58,022 names
belongs to a man
- a boy,
borne by a woman.
My hands reflected,
as I brush back my son's hair,
caress letters carved in stone,
my tears running
between the lines.

To all of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines, and to the families that love them, and who have also sacrificed - You are never forgotten.  Thank-you.

22 May 2011

Homemaking Helps

I've never done a product review here, but I'm so excited about this new planner I just have to share.  I dithered about it for four (!) months, then finally decided to just give it a try - it's only $8, for pity's sake!  And that's the first exciting thing about this planner:  It is very affordable. 

You select which variety you want from the options here.  They have page-a-day varieties, and week-at-a-glance.  There are two size options, and you can decide if you want daily Bible reading included or not.  I chose the half-sized week-at-a-glance.  I downloaded the file and put it on The Mad Scientist's thumb drive, then took it to Office Depot.  I asked them to put on a spiral binding and a heavier-weight cover, and this is what I got:

 Quite uninspiring, I know, and maybe at some point I'll Modge-Podge something pretty on there, but for right now I am most concerned with what is INside:

 This, faithful blog readers, is my life, organized.  This is every task required for maintaining a well-run home, listed and scheduled.  I love it!  (And I know you can't see it very well, but you can look at a preview here.  Samples of the other styles are at the bottom of the first page linked.)

For years now I have wanted to take a comprehensive list of household chores, and a calendar, and schedule them all out month by month.  Motivated Moms did all the work for me.  It includes everything from changing dish- and hand-towels, to clipping children's nails (routinely forgotten here, 'til I notice someone appears to have claws), to wiping off the refrigerator shelves.  And it's divided into manageable chunks, which is great. 

That means that, rather than "Clean Refrigerator" (which I absolutely wouldn't need reminding for, if I could fit that in anywhere, all at once) it says "Clean top shelf of refrigerator."  Much easier. 

Another thing that I've found is, every time I think that something got left out, it turns up within the next week or two.  For example, when it listed each refrigerator shelf individually over the last two weeks I thought "Oh, it didn't say anything about the door shelves.  I'll have to remember to do those with the corresponding shelf next time."  And then I turned to this week, and there it was: "Clean refrigerator door shelves."  Drawers were listed separately as well.

The great advantage of this planner, I find, is that it breaks things down into manageable chunks.  I frequently neglect my cleaning because I'm so overwhelmed that I can't start, because I don't know which thing to do first.  This tell me what to do, and I can relax knowing that everything else will come up in its own time.  I don't stress if I don't manage to accomplish everything on a given day, either, because I know it will come back again soon enough.  (I also love that "Take time for a craft or hobby" and "Pamper yourself" put in regular appearances.)

I paid $8 for the download and $5.75 at Office Depot to have it printed and bound.  A great price for a fantastic resource!

(If daily or weekly cleaning really isn't your thing, check out this post at Simple Homeschool, all about Once a Month Cleaning.  If I'd read that before I found this, I would definitely have given it a try.)

Please note: I have not received any compensation of any sort for posting this review.  It is simply my honest opinion, and was not solicited by anyone. 

21 May 2011

No one was raptured here

And The Hippie Housewife makes an excellent point about the take-away lesson.

What if today really had been the end?
 "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
~Annie Dillard
 For my part, I spent today thusly:  First I got up early and fed my family, then we piled in the car and drove about 40 minutes to a barn sale I'd seen advertised earlier in the week.  We hit a few more yard sales on the way home, and got three phenomenal deals (I think).  Then we went to my brother-in-law's house, and helped him pack up to move to his new place.  I watched the children with his wife while the Mad Scientist helped unload on the other end.  Then we came home and I sacked out with Monkey3 in the recliner. (Seriously, I have NO idea why I was so tired, but I'm suspicious my youngest brother being here, keeping us up 'til all hours catching up, may have had a bit to do with it.)  I awoke to a lovely dinner cooked by my beloved, and now he's out playing ball in the yard with Monkey1.  I just finished a tour of my garden, which is making very nice progress at this point.  So, overall, it was a wonderful Saturday.  Hopefully, the Mad Scientist will spend tomorrow on a planter behind a pair of draft horses.  (It's rest if you don't have to do it during the week!)  Maybe I'll take some pictures this time.  Have a restful weekend!

15 May 2011

He makes an excellent point

I've griped here before about the ridiculous ban on the sale of raw milk in this state.  (Apparently, Indiana is one of only 11 states that ban the sale of raw milk to consumers outright...solidifying my claim that, in some respects, this state has a long way to go.)  So I won't say any more about it, just give you this link, wherein a Washington Times columnist makes the point that lots of other raw foods, potentially containing pathogens, are sold every day.  So what is the FDA's beef with milk?  Shall we outlaw sushi, too?  (No, no.  That would be ridiculous!)

Here's another link, where the point is made that people obviously want acess to this stuff, and the only people objecting are the ones working for the government...that is, our public servants, on our dime.

Maine has found a solution, however!  And that is just one thing I love about New England.

09 May 2011

One advantage of being a Luddite

A friend recently shared a video with me that carefully explains how to turn off the setting on your smart phone's camera that imbeds your GPS location into each and every photograph, and says that this is crucial so that bad guys won't know where to find you and which room your children sleep in.

Ok, so what I want to know is:
Why is that the default setting on the phone?

Who needs to know the exact location where their photos were taken...THAT specifically??

Is this really making it easier for "bad guys" to find us?  Really?  I mean, you don't have to work very hard at it anyway.  If it takes two minutes, rather than ten, to track down this information, are we really any less safe?

Want to know how I spent Mother's Day Weekend?  I spent it watching the kids by myself, because my husband was taking a workshop to learn how to drive a team of draft horses, for farming.

(Saturday night we visiting a breeding farm for Belgian horses, watched a stallion collection (THAT was interesting!), and saw two mares being bred.  We also watched an ultrasound of a 12-day-pregnant mare.  Yesterday morning I drew a beautiful illustration of an ovum surrounded by sperm, and explained where babies come from.  Happy Mother's Day to me!)  :-)

Yesterday afternoon, we went out to the farm and spent the afternoon watching The Mad Scientist drive a team of draft horses around, planting oats in the pasture, and I got a bad sunburn and had a marvelous time.  The monkeys helped milk the cows and feed the horses.  I didn't make, or receive, a single phone call.  It was great.  I also didn't take any pictures, which was maybe not so great, but if I had, I'd have used this ancient little Canon Elph I have, which (I guarantee) is NOT electronically embedding the exact location where the picture was taken onto each and every photograph.