Monday, July 30, 2007

don't blog pissy

I promised Ginny a blog entry tonight and it is so flattering to be in demand.

I was halfway through an e-mail, a forum post, and just getting started on my blog (yes I really do that many things at once, that way when I run out of ideas on one I've got another as back up.) I'm in the middle of multi-tasking when farking Norton Live Update started and slowed my internet connection (dial-up) to a crawl...fine... whatever... I'm just typing anyway, so I'll forgo looking at other blogs while I just get the text stuff done and it does whatever.

Oh- now it's done... good hit close so it goes away and gives me back my modem space.

WTF Why is internet explorer closing. NO WAIT!!! DON'T!!!! I didn't hit send on that. SHIT SHIT SHIT no time to save to draft nothing. Just *blip* there goes the e-mail. *blip* there goes the forum post *blip* bye bye bloggy.

I lost everything. The god damn e-mail. The son of a bitching forum post which now I am NOT in the mood to retype. And my craptastic blog entry.


Did you ever see Groundhog's Day with Bill Murray? No? Well go rent the damn thing it's hysterical and don't tell me you don't like Bill Murray cause the movie is a riot.

PLUS- there is this line that he says, "don't drive angry".
In the movie it's funny, it doesn't make sense if you haven't so too bad.

Don't blog pissy. Don't blog pissy.

Ah hell, too late.

Fiery's in a foul temper.

*smooches to y'all*

Friday, July 27, 2007

Forgotten Friends

Awhile back, I opened my blogging e-mail account and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an e-mail from a commentor on my blog, one Sean the Blogonaut, whose blog I shamelessly admit to having read in its entirety.

You see, I commented on his blog about enjoying this little gem he created...Desert... and he sent me the remembered bits of a 5 line poem he had created in honor of a war memorial that had been spray painted by some hodlums. If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know how I love when things get me thinking.

Well the poignancy behind those 5 lines was....startling. I could imagine the torment felt by those whose loved ones were remembered there. So I tossed back an alternative form of the original 5 lines and expanded it. What followed was an incredibly wonderful experience of sharing, revising, and self-discovery as we worked together to create something new.

WOW am I glad I put up that e-mail address on my profile. What began was a very productive friendship. For he has awoken the poet/writer within me.

I've never done anything like that before. It was a remarkable experience. If you would like to read his thoughts on the experience he has blogged about it on his blog.

So here for your poetic pleasure is the first item from
Fiery Blogonaut Productions

Forgotten Friends

Urban scrawls on sacred walls.
Do they hear the cries of fear-
Sacrificed to pay the price?
Free to laugh,
Free to hate,
Even free to desecrate.

Urban Scrawls on sacred walls.
Do they see the empty shells-
Authored hell for those who fell?
Gone their friends,
Gone their love,
Gone their faith in god above.

Urban Scrawls on sacred walls.
Do they smell cold death's descent-
Left to rot and then forgot?
Laugh they might,
Who showed them ought?
The price of war is those who fought..

Urban Scrawls on sacred walls.
Do they taste the bitter bile-
Crawled the fly on those who lie?
Dumped into an endless hole,
Forgotten, fallen friend
They did not forsee this end.

Blind they are to those that died.
Deaf they are to those that cried.
And when we look to place the blame
We turn our face to hide our shame.
We plant the seed,
We tend the vine,
The blame we share
is yours and mine.

Urban scrawls on sacred walls

controlling the weather

While teachers can have a lifelong effect on the way students think, psychologist Haim Ginott has focused on a more immediate aspect of impact: the creation of a positive or negative physical and emotional environment that can determine the quality of a child's life.

"I've come to a frightening conclusion," he said. "I am the decisive element in the classroom. My personal approach creates the climate. My daily mood makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. It is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanized."

Yet as profound as this observation is for professional educators, it's even more so for parents. A parent's power to create the daily climate and lasting environment in which a child grows is so awesome it must be used consciously and responsibly.

Since our daily moods make the weather, we should try to shield our children from the thunder and lightning of our frustrations and anger. Instead of the dark clouds of cynicism, fear and depression, we should discipline our own emotions and give them the light and warmth of love, hope and good cheer. Conscious efforts to be positive, enthusiastic, and supportive can have a huge impact not only on the emotional well-being of our children, but on their ability to experience the joys and pains of childhood in healthy and constructive ways.

- Michael Josephson

Ahhhh, wasn't that nice of a self-help guru to tell us "Don't worry, be happy". Where have I heard that before? Ummmm. Bobby McFerrin? Don't think about the whistle, don't think about the whistle. And if you have no idea what this last bit is about, count yourself lucky. As for those that do, I probably owe you an apology for getting that song stuck in your head. I think it rode around in mine for about 5 years after that song came out.

So- be a ray of sunshine for your children. Keep the "thunder and lightning" caged up and tucked away back in those secret vaults that you only visit once per year to remind yourself what the contents are and that they are still there.

Great idea. You'll know if I'm able to fully embrace this thought when I return to being look_an_atheist or maybe I could be Sunbeam of Happiness instead of Fiery. Then I can have "You are my sunshine" stuck in my head.

put on a happy face

Thursday, July 26, 2007

workout buddy

I'm looking for an exercise friend.

Because what I really want is to look
like this ---------------------------->

Claudia Black is so hot, she makes me want to sample from the other side of the buffet table.

I'd love to find a buddy for in-person, but who here lives with in commuting distance of Fargo, ND? Anyone? Anyone?

So- what I'm looking for is for someone who will workout regularly, tell me how they are doing, and expect me to be working out as well. Someone to be accountable to, honest with, encouraging, share tips, etc...

We don't have to follow the same programs. Personally, I'm thinking along the lines of cardio, weight lifting, healthy eating, that sort of thing. Reporting in probably daily, though it is all negotiable.

Wanna come on the journey with me?

Leave a comment or e-mail me at atheisthomeschooler at yahoo dot com

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

meet The Underminer

from The Incredibles

My daughter got back today from visiting both sets of grandparents for the last month and a half.

After she visited my folks for over a month she came back home and was
1- excited to start homeschooling again
2- eager to prepare for college
3- determined to do well in her studies
4- ready to buckle down and concentrate
5- fired up with the need to challenge herself
6- realizing she was 14 and only has about 4 years left to learn what she needs to know before leaving for college
7- filled with ideas on how to rearrange the schoolroom, her schedule, her bedroom to maximize learning

I was SOOOOO excited. Finally, she was ready to get to work! Looking forward to homeschooling!! Filled with ideas on how to approach her classes!!!

The very day my folks bring her back we get a call from her other set of grandparents to tell us that my daughter's very dear friend, who moved across the state 6 months ago, was going to be staying with them for a week and could Punkin #1 please oh please come stay with them so the best friends can visit?


I agreed with some reservations. I really didn't want to deny my daughter time with her best friend. On the other hand I was worried about losing the momentum she had gained with my folks.

However, friends are important and I didn't want to stand in their way, even if the timing wasn't great for me. So off she went, 5 days with her friend, 5 days afterwards just her and the CantStandJa's.

So... today Punkin#1 arrived home at 8:50 a.m. Within 30 minutes of her arrival, I found out the extent of the lost momentum I had feared. *groan*

She came home with a list/notes she had made during her visits with her grandma who I am told is a very good listener with good comments. That is so bitterly ironic since Cunty's definint characteristic is an overactive mouth with nonworking ears.

You may think I'm exaggerating to make a point. I thought the same thing when my mate first told me about Cunty. The bitch doesn't know how to shut up. She'll blab right over the top of you talking and has no conversational give and take skills whatsover. If you want to say something you literally have to talk over the top of her until she realizes you are speaking and shuts up. Which makes what follows fucking ironic as well.

My daughter started talking as soon as the CantStandJa's left.

1- she is worried because she has no "social skills"
-strange how she used this phrase repeatedly and yet has no idea
what those social skills might be, just that she doesn't have any
-this from a girl who every stranger she meets is a potential friend
-who is comfortable talking to people of any age range
2- she thinks that having 5 minutes between classes will give her organizational skills
3- at the very least she wants a "curriculum"
-strange how she wants it and yet has absolutely no idea what a curriculum is.
-Her reply, "I thought you'd know what it was when I mentioned it."
4- she has to meet more people
5- both she and her brother really should be in public school
-because then I could get a job and help out with finances
6- I should get a job so I can help out with finances
-this is the one that threw me right over the edge.

Up until this moment Cunty, the backstabbing bitch, had plausible deniability wrapped up in a bag. But this one.. this phrase "get a part time job so you can help out with finances" has been a recurring theme with the CantStandJa's since I met my mate 15 years ago. Always they have wanted me working and contributing to the finances, like I am draining them by my very existence. Any time we've struggled, their solution has always entailed them finding a way so I could get a job. Weird since Cunty CantStandJa quit working the moment she got pregnant with her first child and NEVER worked again a day in her life.

Maybe it's not clear to you how I feel undermined. Let me spell it out. Not because you don't get it, this is for me. I need to write this.

When she got back from Montana, the whole spirit of my daughter was lit from within. She was on fire to learn, eager to help around the house, ready to step into her path as a young adult and embrace the fact that she was no longer a child.

When she got back from the lakes, she was filled with all these doubts and concerns. I don't have any friends, I don't have any social skills, I don't follow a curriculum, the only answer is public school.

When the CantStandJa's were confronted, and oh yeah, my mate confronted all right! Within moments of finding out that he was upset about something, particularly being undermined, Cunty had her game face on. "All I did was listen, she came to me crying and I put my arms around her and just listened."

Really? Isn't that so sweet. And after you were done "just listening" did you give us a call? Did you ask us how we would address those concerns she had? Or did you fill her ears with words she doesn't know like "social skills", "curriculum"? Did you take her over to a public schooled kids house and have them visit so she could learn about how to dress for school and boyfriends and 5 minutes between classes.

I just found the page my daughter took notes on. Here it is, raw, uncensored, except for the names.

"Mom, I want to go to public school for 1 year.
I need friends- I'm very lonely. With friends I would be much happier.
I want social skills
- so I can live in the world.
- You can't protect me forever.
- I appreciate all you have done for me.
I need skills so I can go to college
I want the challenge- new personalities
Cheaper.. Education is free.
- lunch around $1.50
I have talked with whitney, a neighbor of the CantStandJa's about public school. She told me much from dressing to boyfriends to prices to what to expect in classes. Might help with less boredom. Personalities.
Gym class, health class
Organizational lessons hidden in regular classes
For classes have 5 minute breaks between
Computer time 1 hour for research, e-mail, etc..."

Some of these concerns are very legitimate.

My heart aches that my daughter is lonely. My mate and I are aware of this and are looking for ways for her to meet people her own age that would be good friends for her.

When you read that list...can you see between the lines and find their insidious presence there... She "appreciates" all I've done for her. My daughter has never talked like that before. Public school is cheaper. Yeah. I'm sure she came up with that one all on her own. Right now I am fortunate that I don't have to worry if my kids are dressed "cool" enough to fly under the radar of the mean kids. Gym class- yeah there's a class I want to repeat.


Hello boys and girls.
The word for the day is "undermining"
Can you stay "back stabbing cunt"?
I knew you could.


Can I reiterate that the topics my daughter covered went WAY beyond Cunty "just listening" and "just asking questions"? When confronted Cunty claims that the conversation happened right before bed. Well what about the one with the neighbor kid? Why the fuck didn't they call us and ask us about this shit directly?????


I've been broadsided my daughter's grandparents. And they didn't have the courage to do it in person, they used her as their torpedo delivery system.

This is a battle of ideas. Unfortunately for them, this is one they will lose.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

truth in text

Final thoughts on writing from What Do I Do On Monday? by John Holt

Good writing, writing that is a true extension and expression of ourselves, helps us to know ourselves, to make ourselves known to others, and to know them. It gives us a way of getting hold of our thoughts and feelings, so that we may think about them, learn from them, build on them. It can help us break out of the closed-in quality of our own experience, and share that experience with others. And it is still, and will be for a long time to come, one of the most powerful ways to reach other men, and so to make and change the reality we live in.

What I find ironic is the people who claim that they can learn absolutely nothing about a person from their writing. Who claim that the personal interpretation given to that writing by the reader makes the work a lie. When you read a person's blog, you get to know them, at least the part they are willing to share through their writing. You can learn their opinions on everything from mundane everyday topics to controversial political issues. You can read about the choices they've made in life and the consequences of them.

Sometimes you can even read between the lines and catch glimpses of the real them that they may not even be aware of having exposed. It's like a treasure hunt and the blog is the map, the person behind the blog, the treasure.

Labels- Part 3: Personal Labels

I've been thinking a lot recently about the way people describe themselves. The labels they voluntarily assume and even dress themselves in. Their personal description that appears on their profile. It is fascinating to me to see what people consider to be their defining characteristics.

For example: on my own profile and even my blog title, I lead with Atheist Homeschooler, a godless mother at home with two children. Am I limited by that label? Possibly. There certainly is nothing exciting to live up to in that title. In fact there are probably certain expectations people have of me when they come to my blog:

Atheist- probably will have anti-religious content occassionally, might get bombed by a few fundies, tends more toward rational as opposed to fanciful posts, reason as opposed to faith based thinking.
Homeschooler- anticipate posts about education, socialization, probably fairly radical thinking on both, posts will probably be fairly well spelled and organized.

I feel the pressure of that last one too. It's been a constant struggle to use "it's" and "its" correctly. Somewhere along the line I have developed a tendency to write in short choppy incomplete sentences that I am constantly going back and correcting. I also have gotten lazy about capitalizing first words in a sentence, for whatever reason. All corrected because of the self-imposed label of homeschooler. People might think I have no business teaching my kids anything if I can't even keep my blog in order. People may think that anyway.

However, there is more to me and my life then is revealed in the heading...Atheist Homeschooler. There is who I am on a day-to-day basis: mother, caregiver, child care provider, teacher, mate, daughter, lover, friend, neighbor, sister. There is who I want to be.

Thus far, on this blog, I've explored who I am, where I've come from.

But who do I want to be? As if I didn't have enough with who I already am on a day to day basis. When I write, I feel myself living a more significant life. I talk of things in a dramatic style. Is that arrogant of me? Possibly. But I do not desire the ordinary, I want to reach for the extraordinary, to be more than I have become, to no longer settle for "good enough".

Behold! The transformation from Atheist Homeschooler to PHOENIX RISING.


little steps

A friend once told me that I needed to take little steps to improve my life. It didn't go over well when he said it, either.

You see, I perceive my life as being more challenging than his. But that isn't fair, really, to either of us. Everyone has their own life complete with its own challenges and difficulties. Who am I to measure my challenges against his own? What looks easy to one, may seem completely impossible to another. What seems like the obvious solution to one, may not even appear on the chart of possibilities to the other.

It is often easy to look at another's life and see the changes they could make that would improve their lot. The necessary changes are not so easy to observe when you are looking at your own life. Probably because we see our life without objectivity. I know the pain and heartache that has led me down the path I've found myself on, the path I've chosen. So I also know how hard it will be to walk back up that path one little step at a time.

Friends can point to the little steps we can take to improve our lives. The challenge lies in being open to those suggestions and then actually taking that first step forward.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

and now for something completely different.

I did something today, I've never done before.

You will probably find it hard to believe of a 34 year old woman.

Never the less, the story you are about to hear is true.
Not even the names have been changed.


I cooked for myself today.

It the first real meal I've ever made, just for me.

That's not to say I've never eaten alone before. I'm sure I have. I do know that this is the first time I've made something for myself that goes beyond a frozen pizza, can of soup, toasted cheese sandwich type of fare.

It's the type of thing, that if I had my new digital camera, I could have taken pictures of.

It was an amazing feeling. I put on a cd, sang away, and fixed myself chicken fajitas.

I also don't remember ever enjoying the cooking process before. It has always been something I've had to do, a chore to get through.

I didn't have to make this meal, I wanted to. I could have faked lunch with a sandwich or some other type of easy out-of-the can stuff. But I didn't. I wanted chicken fajitas, so I made myself some.

What a wonderful experience. And they were fantastic!

what keeps you reading the books you choose?

There are 3 books that I am in the process of reading. One I've been savoring slowly, one I've just begun, the other uncracked and waiting for me.

The introduction of one got me thinking....(Do you know how many times I've typed that in personal e-mails and even on this blog? Me either, I do know it has been fairly often and always with much delight. It is one of the things I treasure about friends and blogging- the mental stimulation.)

The books in question are
Edward Hirsch How to Read a Poem (savoring) H2R
Jim Marris Rule by Secrecy (just begun) RBS
Richard Dawkins Ancestor's Tale (waiting for me) A'sT

It was the Introduction to RBS that got me thinking....What is it about the books we choose that appeals to us and keeps us reading once we've gotten the book into our lap?

When I read a book, I usually read it front to back. This sounds painfully "duh" obvious, but not everyone does it this way. Some people will scan the book, skimming chapters, looking at all the pictures and illustrations etc, even reading the last few paragraphs... Not me. Having gotten the book home and in my "to read" stack I open it up to the first text. I'll read whatever the author puts in there, in order. I'll start skipping if he just has a list of 48 people he thanks with no little notes around them; I'll skip forewards that start blowing major points; but for the most part I read the way I live my life...Left to Right, methodically and in order.

What really captured my attention with RBS was the first few sentences:

Be forewarned.

If you are perfectly comfortable and satisfied with your own particular view of humankind, religion, history, and the world, read no further.

If you truly believe that humanity has almost reached the peak of its scientific and spiritual fulfillment and that the corporate-owned mass media is keeping you well enough informed, stop here.

But if you are one of those millions who look at the daily news, scratch your head in wonder, and ask, "What in the world is going on?," or if you entertain questions of who we are, where we came from, and where we're all going, you are in for a joy ride.

Ohhhh, I'm totally digging the "do not read me if you are complacent about your life" feel.

Oh Hell no! I love Star Trek, Farscape and Stargate and one of my favorite type of books are sci-fi/fantasy novels. We haven't reached the end of human ingenuity, not even close. Plus, I am well aware of the corrupt bullshit kow-towing nature of the mass media conglomerate.

Right on! Sign me up for this one. I want to know what's going on. The idea of remaining ignorant of the truth is repugnant to me.

Do you know ever since the dani debate (which started here and continued for many, many posts),I've been unable to type the words "the truth" without cringing? That one is just lingering. Weird.

Now for the Hirsch book H2R.

The first thing I read:

"In short, reading Hirsch's How to Read a Poem is like a very long evening with a learned and perceptive friend who keeps leaping to his bookshelf for more and better illustrations, and finding ever more connections and revelations"--Newsday

How cool is that? A reviewer paints this wonderful picture of the experience he had and expects you to have while reading the book.

The next thing that caught my attention was the first line of Hirsch's Acknowledgments:

This is a book of acknowledgments because it recognizes at every point that others have come before us, that poems breathe deeper meaning into our lives, and that we in turn breathe deeper life into poems...It is a way of being simultaneously alone and together through art.

So- he's not claiming to be the only one on the planet who understands poetry, nor does he act as though poetry is beyond the ken of us mere mortals, capable only of being read and appreciated by the true erudite. Most people, I think, are trained to dread poetry in highschool. It becomes part of a hideous long line of experiences in deathly dull literature class. Yet...all the songs that you love are poetry set to music. The song lyrics that reach out to you and lift you up...poetry.

As for RD's book A'sT, the reason this one made it to my list is 2 fold. The first being the quote on the front flap

Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans back through four billion years of life on our planet.

I've read several of James A. Michener's books: Poland, Afghanistan, Caravan and really enjoyed the "complete history of..." nature of his stories. So A'sT really caught my eye. I'm curious as to what Dawkins has to say about the various converging points in history as he traces our genetic heritage back to the begining.

I'm not sure if I'll have the time or inclination to make it all the way through A'sT. It is a gigantic tome 614 pages long. Fiction wouldn't daunt me, but 614 fact-pact, densely written, non-fiction....we.. we shall see.

Monday, July 16, 2007

importance of quality conversation for writing

Fourth from What Do I Do Monday?" by John Hurt

A writer, therefore, needs a strong sense, awareness, not just of himself, but also of his listeners, readers. It follows from this that no one can write well who has not learned, and many times, what it is like to talk long and seriously to a trusted friend (or friends) about things deeply interesting to both of them. Such friends need not be of the same age; one such friend, when I was a boy, was an uncle.

What is vital is mutual trust, respect, and concern. To get or encourage good writing, we must start here. We must make schools and classrooms where there is plenty of time, and spaces large and small, and above all encouragement, for the civilized art of conversation, some public, in groups, much of it private. Edgar Freidenberg has often pointed out how in all but a few schools there are neither times nor places where students can legititimately be by themselves. This would be a bad mistake, if only for its effect on students' writing--and this is among the least of its bad effects.

How often do we shush our children? And not just the toddlers. How often does our frustration with our older children's interruptions to our own conversations lead us to snap at them or otherwise discourage their participation?

Maybe it is only me that stands guilty of this. How often have I excluded there participation in stimulating conversation? How often do I look askance at questions for more information?. How often have I considered it an invasion of privacy for them to enter into a conversation not originally including them?

And by doing so, what have I denied them?

The chance to think through their own ideas. The chance to explore them in an environment of mutual trust, respect, and concern.

writing as a conversation

A third excerpt from What Do I Do Monday? by John Holt

We must pay attention, not just to what we are saying, but to the one to whom we are saying it. Is he getting from our words the meaning we wanted to convey? If not, we have to find other words, find out as much as we can about the connections between his words and his meanings, so that we may better know what words to use to get our meanings over to him.

In short, there can be no real talking without listening. The bad writers of whom I have spoken, the experts, intellectuals, academics, may be epressing themselves as honestly as they can, but they write badly because they are only expressing themselves. They do not care whether we, who hear them, grasp their meanings. Many of them think, and sometimes say, "If you do not understand me, it is because you are too ignorant or stupid; I will not struggle to understand the source of your misunderstanding, or to speak in words meaningful to you." Of course there are notable exceptions, men like Bertrand Russell, true philosophers, who because they work hard at it can put difficult ideas into words that a great many people can understand.

The two people I talk to the most are probably my mate and my Mom. The conversations we have range from light and entertaining to really deep philosophical discussions, political, personal, etc... Having conversations that cover more than standard water cooler topics like "who is banging who" and "who is getting the next promotion" has been vital to preventing my own mental stagnation. Because, let me tell you, being a stay-at-home homeschooling Mommy is a guaranteed recipe for tapioca brain.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

vu jà dé

I'm guessing that most people have had at least one déjà vu experience. What I don't know is if anyone ever has ever noticed the initial vu part of the experience. There have been several times in my life when I've had peculiar thoughts that seem to come fully formed, glimpses of me in situations I don't recognize with people I don't know and I find myself wondering if this is the inital experience. These images are much more real than the "realistic while you are in it" dream.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going all mystic and supernatural on you. I don't know what other terms to describe these really odd feelings with. I haven't had one really since highschool, but I always knew that if I were in a situation to feel that way again, I would make special note of it.

Now we come to the reason I'm writing about such an odd topic in the first place. I don't want this to be an initial vu experience.

My parents were here for 2 days (not counting their arrival day and departure days). It was a joyous time filled with much accomplished and lots of fun visiting.

At one point Dad was talking about the wooden platform by my porch that you step onto first before the grass. He was mentioning how the fix was temporary and that in 5 years or so, the whole thing would need to be replaced. And for a split second, everything froze and part of my mind took a real careful look at my Dad, how he is getting older, how much he is struggling with his panic attacks and what not, and that part of my mind which held reality frozen whispered, "He's not going to be here to fix them in 5 years." I imagined myself talking with someone about replacing the wooden planks and mentioning how Dad had said they'd last about 5 years.

And a part of me wept. I don't want to lose my Dad.

Reason dictates that there is no evidence to support genuine de ja vu experiences let alone this vu jà dé experience.

What it is, however is a reminder that life is precious. A reminder to spend time now with the ones you love and not wait for a more opportune moment. A reminder that loved ones would rather have a phone call or visit today then for you to come half-way around the world for their funeral.

Friday, July 13, 2007

happy dance

I have had a FABULOUS week. So much so that in my giddiness I can't even tell if I spelled fabulous right, so pardon me while I grab my dictionary. *whew, it's all good*

Have you ever typed a word and then doubted the spelling of it so completely it doesn't even look like a real word anymore?

Anyway- how fabulous was my week? Let me count the ways

1- New friends
2- My folks are here for a visit
3- I got the place looking great before they got here, and it wasn't 1/10th as hard as the last time.
4- Dad repaired the sink in the main bathroom.
5- Dad repaired the shower in the main bathroom.
6- Dad repaired the screen on the patio.
7- I had lunch with my Mom at Applebee's today and it was sooooooooo great!
a- great food (we split the Sampler Platter)
b- Long Island Teas (the perfect way to get silly and loosen up for a good chat)
c- Strawberry Shortcake mixed drinks for desert.

Let's pause and consider 7-c. OMG It's a mixed drink with an Amaretto of some kind, vanilla something or other, strawberry puree. and oh sweet goddess it was a taste of heaven. It was contentment in a glass. It was a pink smiley face painted on my soul. It was so wonderful I STILL feel the affects and the effects and ohhhhhhhhhh........ ehem. I should perhaps continue this in private.


It has been a great few days. They're leaving tomorrow morning and I'm going to miss them like crazy. They live 9 hours away so I don't see them often, so when we get together we try and make it count.

So- Attila the Mom, who so thoughtfully asked how I was doing.... THAT is how Fiery is.



I hope you have a fantastic day or four in your immediate future as well!

Monday, July 9, 2007

writing for not just at your audience

Another excerpt from What Do I Do Monday? by John Holt.

Self-expression is only part of good writing and talking. What we want is communication and change. We must therefore be sensitive to the effect that our words are having on our hearer, we must be aware of and be able to hear and understand what he shows and tells us, in his words, or simply by his gestures and expressions, about the feelings and meanings he is getting from what we say.

I once heard a prominent American educator talk to a large group of teachers, to whom I was to talk next. Waiting for my turn, I sat in the audience, and looked around me, to get a sense of the people I would be talking to. While the expert droned out his mimeographed speech, teachers all around me slept, talked with their neighbors, read, drew pictures. They and the speaker might as well have been in different rooms. To talk to people in this way is not only arrogant but stupid.

How often do the arrogant comment on blogs, typing to see themselves type? Refusing to explain what they are writing? Refusing to descend from their ivory towers to answer a direct question? Oh sure, they will critique the word choice you may use in questioning them. Or disect an example you have provided as inept or inappropriate. Yet somehow, at the end of it all, you realize that your questions remain unanswered and it is as leaves blowing on the wind. Nothing changes because of their passing.

If your writing is not understood or worse misunderstood what have you communicated at the end of the day but confusion?

The beauty of a blog is the dialogue that can be created between the blogger and the readers. The chance to turn a "monologue" into a discussion between friends where each learns something of the other. Whether the learning is the shock of an alternative point of view, the stretching of ourselves to explain something in an alternative fashion for better comprehension, or the delight in finding like minded individuals and exploring subtle nuances within an idea.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

honesty in writing

An excerpt from What Do I Do Monday? by John Holt.

The honest use of words, then, in talk or writing, is an act first of self-awareness, and then of self-expression. First we get hold of what we have inside; then we put it in such a way that someone else may share some of that feeling, experience, understanding. Which comes first? Do we need self-awareness in order to write, or do we write in order to gain self-awareness? Neither comes first; they grow together. We need some self-awareness in order to speak, to talk or write well, but through speaking we can become much more self-aware. We speak that we may know ourselves, and the better we know ourselves, the better we can speak.

A blog is a double-edged sword. It can be used as a medium for the honest exchange of thoughts and ideas. The annonymity provided by Blogger allows people to explore those aspects of themselves they may not be comfortable sharing with those closest to them. A chance to present an idea and see what others think of it. A chance to say to the world "Look, I'm an atheist" and learn that not only does the world not come crashing down upon you and that no lightning bolt has your name on it, but that there are other people out there who will stand up and say, "Me too! I'm an atheist as well."

Blogging can open a world of opportunities: to meet people with different ideas, to find those with compatable ideas, to have discussions, to engage in debate*, to be supportive, to be a friend. It is a chance to explore one's growing self-awareness through the expression of thoughts and ideas. Looking back in my archives of all the posts I've written I'm amazed at how many different topics have been covered, with each one causing me to rethink, analyze, or in some cases generate my own position on that topic.

Blogging- an opportunity to discover who you are, explore who you are, and develop who you want to be.

*debate- [informal] to deliberate, consider, to discuss opposing points
as opposed to
debate- [formal] a contest of argumentation in which two opposing teams defend and attack a given proposition.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Do any of you remember the world right before the World Wide Web burst into prominence? People had modem capability and set up little local communities called BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems). You could dial a local number and hang-out with others doing whatever the topic of the BBS was.

I was a wide-eyed innocent when I joined the Final Frontier BBS almost 14 years ago. It was a fun little BBS where you could download shareware/freeware games (does anybody remember Joust?), probably porn (I was innocent and not looking remember?), and play some in house games.

Final Frontier had a Food Fight you could get involved in. You started with X number of pieces of food and lobbed them at whoever and if you were successful and got more points, you could "buy" more food. So I created a username for myself and started lobbing. What I didn't do was look around the bbs and get to know any of the participants first. I jumped into a private party and acted like a lunatic (to them). I just thought I was being silly. They all turned on me, made fun of my username, told me I was a loser, and pretty much humiliated the innocence right out of a newbie.

Had I been stronger as a person then, I could have turned and told them all to fuck off and not be so stuck up about who they were pasting with cream pies. As it was, I tucked my tail between my legs and left BBSing. I had been humiliated for 13 years in public school and I was god-damned determined not to ever willingly subject myself to that fuckall again.

It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I re-entered the web and joined yahoo groups. I was very careful about posting questions or responses, to the point that I would lurk for at least a month or more and usually read a lot in the archives before my first post.

I was pointed to my very first blog by one of my yahoo groups, having never been to one or even heard of them before. After much reading and much enjoyment and much following around of the links, I created a name for myself and I set up my own blog. I really didn't have a clear picture at the time of what I wanted to do with my blog. I wasn't even really sure what the possibilties were.

Blogging has been my first big adventure where I really put myself out there since that painful experience on Final Frontier. Really exposed myself to potential ridicule and scorn.

The one thing that I learned from Final Frontier, was that text can be very misleading. People read into it what they want to, not necessarily what the other person meant. Where I was typing silly, they were reading bitchy.

Just today, I misunderstood an e-mail from a dear friend. What this person said had been fairly clear, but I jumped to the wrong conclusion and assumed the worst.

Text is a very tricky medium. There are smilies to indicate humor.
:-) There are smilies to indicate anger >:-| Cripes there are whole web pages dedicated to decoding the various smilies. People will capitalize entire words for emphasis to try and prove their point. Remember how fardling annoying dani was always capitalizing the TRUTH that she was trying to get across?

Sometimes people will use italics or sometimes bold to show when they are emphasizing a word in a sentence.

But with all of these clues, it is still not always possible to know entirely what a person is thinking.

A single comment can be taken to mean many different things depending on who is reading it and what they are assuming another person means.

After the Final Frontier Fiasco, I decided to try and always give people the benefit of the doubt. And if I misunderstood what was said, I was very quick to set things straight and recover from whatever I thought the person had said and respond to what they had actually meant. I also try and work hard at making sure I am being clear with what I am trying to communicate.

For example if this comes across as sanctimonious and patronizing, then I have not been clear in what I wrote. For that I apologize.

What I am is monumentally unthrilled with negative assumptions.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

help choosing new digital camera

Well it's dead. My digital camera has croaked and I want to get a new one.

I was hoping that you would share the brand name and some specs on your favorite digital camera. Is there anything you don't like about it?

What do I want it to do?

I would like it to
- take movies with sound
- take point & click snap shots, that don't have to be movie poster in size
- take decent close-ups
- take clear pictures of objects in motion (is that possible?)
- cost about $200-$250
- batteries- recharagble or no? which do you prefer?

I'm really floundering on this one. I will update the "would like to" list if anything else comes to mind.

Thank you very much for any and all help!!!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

open forum 3

I can't believe July is here already. Here comes the heat.

There have been times when visiting other blogs that I wanted to ask the blog owner a question off topic, but never really knew how to proceed. I didn't want to be rude and bust into a comment-conversation.

So- This post is the opportunity for any of my readers to broach a subject, ask a personal question, bring up a topic, whatever is on your mind...

The ball is in your court.