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Eclectic Thoughts from a Homeschool Mom » 2008 » April

Parenting your parents

April 30th, 2008

Shakespeare Sketch

When do we start parenting our parents? All of our lives, we see our parents as invincible. They knew the answers to life and could conquer anything. They knew what was best for you and anyone you knew. What worked for them through life was handed down to you as law.

Then one day, just like a light was switched on, you realize that they aren’t a superhero. That they are fragile and human. That their advice might not be what is best. That they might be wrong about how to handle life and their health. That they, just like you, are scared and don’t know all the answers. They have become vulnerable.

I am seeing a transition in my life now for the care of parents and grandparents. These aging (seriously stuck in their ways) parents used to care for me. Now, I am starting to care for them. Although it is a complete reversal, I don’t look at it as a chore. I look at it as maturing and knowing my place in this universe.

One of my favorite Shakespeare plays is As You Like It. In particular, a scene about the Seven Ages. Maybe Shakespeare took care of his elderly parents too?

From the Baird – As You Like It (2/7)

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Classic shows I grew up with that are still watched today

April 28th, 2008

Schoolhouse RockWe were doing grammar today when I asked my son what an interjection was. He thought out it for a second and then said: “Interjection! Show excitement, or emotion! They’re generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point, or by a comma when the feeling’s not as strong. So if you’re happy, HOORAY! Or sad, AHH! Or frightened, EEEK! Or mad, RATS! Or excited, WOW! Or glad, HEY! An interjection starts the sentence right.” (Don’t you just love it when your kids break out into song? LOL)

That, my friends is from the classic show, Schoolhouse Rock. Remember that show on Saturday mornings? I’m just a Bill? The Shot heard ’round the World? Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your adverbs here? My Hero, Zero? Conjunction Junction? That show took boring subjects in school (i.e. government workings, mathematics, parts of speech, etc.) and turned them into silly songs and bright cartoons that we could relate to. My son enjoys them now as much as I did 30 yrs. ago.Davey & Goliath

Another show that we enjoy together is Davey and Goliath. As we didn’t go to church when I was a kid, I watched poor Davey make mistakes with his faithful dog Goliath. Nothing like taking claymation figures and making them teach children about honesty, respect, helping others, and being a good Christian. As my son says: “They are a bit cheesy, but I like them.”

I tried to get my son into watching Land of the Lost (cheesy dinosaurs and all). He wouldn’t go for it. I wonder if you can get copies of the Electric Company still? That was another favorite of mine. Anyone remember Romper Room? Romper, Bomper, Stomper Boo…tell me, tell me, tell me who. Captain Kangaroo & Mr. Green Jeans? Oh Davey!

No climbing on Natural Wonders of the World

April 28th, 2008

I have said before that homeschooling has allowed us to do amazing things. We have done some fantastic things as school when other students are sitting at their desks. We have flown out and cared for an ill relative for a month. We have visited a maple syrup farm and inner-tubed down snowy hills in New Hampshire. We have gone around the course of Epcot Center in Florida. We have seen that Mother Nature always wins by witnessing the new growth around Mt. St. Helens. We have had lobster bisque fresh from the ocean in Maine. We have climbed to the top of Palomar Mountain and looked over Mexico and San Diego.

My favorite trip was a few years back. My in-laws called saying that they had found a last minute cruise to the Yucatan Peninsula leaving the next day. Just $99 a person. Would my son and I like to go? With a bit of planning (and last minute packing), we were on the cruise ship heading towards Mexico. When other children were learning their times tables and taking their spelling tests, we were climbing to the top of the Mayan temple, Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan Peninsula. We had just learned about explorers in our homeschool. Now, we were in the midst of where the Mayan civilization lived. How cool is that?Chichen Itza

It was an amazing trip. Full of history, culture, and big iguanas. How many students wish that they could learn history by actually going to the sites where it happened? How many of us wish that we could see Pompeii, or Rome, or Athens, or Jamestown, etc.? We were actually seeing what we had been reading about.

Climbing to the top of the pyramid at Chichen Itza was amazing. As I am afraid of heights, it was quite a stressful hike to the top. Seeing the vast jungle all around the pyramid made the hike well worth the stress. How gorgeous it was! To realize that we were standing on a sacred place for a civilization. Just like the Parthenon, Great Pyramids, Sistine Chapel, or Vatacan….it was amazing.

Recently, our music teacher also visited Chichen Itza. Upon his return, he told us how sad it was that visitors were no longer to go on the pyramid. We were sad to hear the news. Did vandals think it was funny to desecrate history? I sure hope not. Was the structure falling apart? We didn’t know the reason for the ban on tourism at the pyramid. Whatever the reason, we felt that we had experienced something special.

My son is writing a report for spanish class on Mexico. He read today that Chichen Itza is now considered one of the “7 New Wonders of the World”. Wow! Not to say that this pyramid is “new”, but Wow! It is pretty cool to think that we saw something so special. Ah…how I love homeschooling.

7 Wonders of the Ancient World:

New 7 Wonders of the World:

  • Great Wall of China – China
  • Petra – Jordon
  • Christ the Redeemer (statue) – Brazil
  • Machu Picchu – Peru
  • Chichen Itza – Mexico
  • Colosseum – Italy
  • Taj Mahal – India
  • Great Pyramid (honorary) – Egypt

P.S. If you have ever been to the Grand Canyon, consider yourself part of the “been to a wonder of the world” attraction. The Canyon made the 7 Natural Wonders and USA Today 7 New Wonders of the World lists. Before I “kick the bucket”, I would love to see the Great Pyramids, Macchu Pichu, and Petra. So much to see, so little time and money.

Nothing like being the return mail address for spam

April 28th, 2008

Last week, my e-mail was flooded with messages in Russian. Apparently, some spammer out in the universe decided to use my e-mail as a return address for their spam. How wonderful is that? I have been receiving approximately 15-20 return messages each day of spam in Russian. How on earth did someone decide on my e-mail address for their spam? What did I ever do to them? *sigh* The wonderful world of modern technology. Junk mail no matter where you go.

Reporting a drunk driver (I mean, angry Mom)

April 28th, 2008

My husband and I had a date day on Saturday. He was in town for a brief 20 hours, and our son was on a camp out. We decided to go to the lake and just relax. As we were walking to our car to leave the lake, a woman in an Expedition cut us off in a cross walk. My husband yelled: “Thanks a lot. People are only walking here!” She didn’t listen or seem to care. I also noticed that she had a little girl in the back seat.

As we were driving back home (on a very windy road), we got behind the same Expedition. The woman driver was ALL OVER the road. She was weaving from side to side. She was driving into on-coming traffic. She was driving 65 mph and then would put on her brakes to 20 mph (when there wasn’t a curve in the road). My husband said that he thought she was drunk and that we should call 9-1-1. I mentioned that there was a child in the car, and my husband was even more adamant about calling the police.

Neither one of us take calling the police lightly. We have a friend that is a police officer and we know that 90% of calls are not really emergencies. When I did dial 9-1-1, we believed that we were behind a woman that had been drinking and was a danger to herself, her child, and other drivers.

My husband has gotten behind drunk drivers in the past. Whenever he has called, the operator has always told him to NOT FOLLOW the driver and to report where they were and drive on. However, today the operator did not do that. She stayed with me and asked lots of questions about the driver and where we were. She asked that I stay on the phone until an officer arrived.

The driver pulled off the windy road onto a busier, main road. She turned the corner and stopped, then pulled back out into traffic (just missing cutting off another car). She then pulled over for about 5 minutes. I told the operator that, and she assured us that an officer was close by. When she did pull back out, she drove about a mile down the road and into a 7-11 convenience store parking lot. She didn’t pull up to a gas pump or to a parking spot. She stopped her car in the middle of the lot. She just sat there with her brakes on.Drunk driver

The operator asked if we saw an officer yet, and we noticed that a Sheriff was pulling in. We had pulled into a parking space on the other side of the lot and pointed to the Expedition that we had called about. The Sheriff put on his lights and approached the car. After a moment, the woman stepped out of the car and had what appeared to be a heated conversation with the officer. My husband and I thought that the officer would be asking her to walk a line or say her ABCs backwards any moment. Just then, a woman Sheriff arrived and a man in another car. It appeared to either be a friend or her husband. We thought that maybe she had called him to help her.

After a few moments, the woman Sheriff came over to us. “Are you the folks that called in the drunk driver? Well, it turns out that she isn’t drunk. She apparently was yelling at her children and having problems with them. She hasn’t been drinking.”

Any parent knows that children can act up in the car. I remember the days of my Mom saying: “If I have to pull this car over…” If this woman was having problems with her kids, she NEEDED to pull the car over. We clearly saw her driving head-on into the other lane. We saw her going off to the shoulder. We saw here speed up and slam on her brakes. All of these were clear signs of a drunk driver. This lady needed to pull over and take care of the situation, not endanger others from her lack of parenting skills.

So, my husband and I left the 7-11 parking lot and went on our way. We thought that we were helping the community by getting a drunk driver off the road. Nope. We were witnessing the lack of parenting in the world, once again. For goodness sakes. If your kids are acting up, PULL THE CAR OVER! Otherwise, someone might think you have been drinking and call for help. Man, did I feel stupid.

Children’s Bill of Rights – a Poem

April 28th, 2008

My father-in-law sent this to me this morning. As we are approaching the “terrible teens” soon, he knew this would make me laugh (which it did). Hope you enjoy it:

Children’s Bill of Rights

My son came home from school one day,

With a smirk upon his face.

He decided he was smart enough,

To put me in my place.

‘Guess what I learned in Civics Two,

that’s taught by Mr. Wright?

It’s all about the laws today,

The ‘Children’s Bill of Rights.’
It says I need not clean my room,

Don’t have to cut my hair,

No one can tell me what to think,

Or speak, or what to wear.
I have freedom from religion,

And regardless what you say,

I don’t have to bow my head,

And I sure don’t have to pray.
I can wear earrings if I want,

And pierce my tongue & nose.

I can read & watch just what I like,

Get tattoos from head to toe.
And if you ever spank me,

I’ll charge you with a crime.

I’ll back up all my charges,

With the marks on my behind.
Don’t you ever touch me,

My body’s only for my use,

Not for your hugs and kisses,

that’s just more child abuse.
Don’t preach about your morals,

Like your Mama did to you.

That’s nothing more than mind control,

And it’s illegal too!
Mom, I have these children’s rights,

So you can’t influence me,

Or I’ll call Children’s Services Division,

Better known as C.S.D.

Mom’s Reply and Thoughts

Of course my first instinct was,

To toss him out the door.

But the chance to teach him a lesson,

Made me think a little more.
I mulled it over carefully,

I couldn’t let this go.

A smile crept upon my face,

he’s messing with a pro.
Next day I took him shopping,

At the local Goodwill Store..

I told him, ‘Pick out all you want,

there’s shirts & pants galore.
I’ve called and checked with C.S.D

Who said they didn’t care,

If I bought you K-Mart shoes,

Instead of those Nike Airs.
I’ve canceled that appointment,

To take your driver’s test.

The C.S.D. is unconcerned,

So I’ll decide what’s best. ‘
I said ‘No time to stop and eat,

Or pick up stuff to munch.

And tomorrow you can start to learn

To make your own sack lunch.

Just save the raging appetite,

And wait till dinner time.

We’re having liver and onions,

A favorite dish of mine.’
He asked ‘Can I please rent a movie,

To watch on my VCR?’

‘Sorry, but I sold your TV,

For new tires on my car.

I also rented out your room,

You’ll take the couch instead.

The C .S.D. requires,

Just a roof over your head..

Your clothing won’t be trendy now,

I’ll choose what we eat.

That allowance that you used to get,

Will buy me something neat.

I’m selling off your jet ski,

Dirt-bike & roller blades.

Check out the ‘Parents Bill of Rights’,

It’s in effect today!

Why do we cut down those that work hard?

April 23rd, 2008

This is just something I have noticed. We call those that have worked hard “Goody-Two-Shoes” or Two Shoes“Over-Achiever”. Our society even says to tax, tax, tax the rich. “They deserve to be taxed higher. Look how much THEY have that we don’t have.” Did anyone ever really think that one through? Many of the people that have quite a bit WORKED HARD for what they have.

Do people honestly think these folks were all born into fortune and should be condemned? Did anyone ever realize that most of these folks worked hard from the ground floor level and made something out of themselves? These aren’t the people that wanted the system to give them anything. These aren’t the people that claim welfare while drinking beer and eating steaks (as my Mom, who was a mail carrier, said many of them did when she delivered their checks). These aren’t the folks that want hand-outs on a street corner instead of working for their pay. These are the people that worked hard and DESERVE to have what they do because they earned it. Why do people feel threatened by those that work hard?

Case in point, my mother-in-law. Here is a woman that works hard and wants each day to finish with something accomplished. She has been on the ground level in many companies and worked her way up through the ranks. She has been through many lay-offs, but always seems to find a better job each time. Her recent job is no different. She started working a billing specialist. She started out on the bottom and due to her hard work, she was just given a training position. She got a very nice raise and the recognition that she deserves. Many of her co-workers are angry with her because she got the job and they didn’t. They have been at the company longer, but didn’t work hard at their job. By working hard, she made them look bad. She is what the world calls an “over-achiever”.Simpsons Nelson

I have a half-sister that I have never met. She has lived a wild life full of drugs, alcohol, and partying. When she was younger, she was an exotic dancer and made hundreds of dollars every night. She has made more money in a night then many do in a week (or several weeks). Now, she is 40 yrs. old and has nothing. No family, no house, and no savings. Nada. She blames the world for her being situation and the fact she is penniless. She points fingers and laughs at those that have worked hard and have a home and family. It is easier to make fun of those that have saved and worked hard, then to take responsibility for her actions. She feels threatened by those that have more than she does, even though she has made far more money than most in her lifetime.

My son recently went to a multi-day camping event with my husband. Many other fathers/sons were at the event. When my son arrived, he started to set up camp and build a fire. He knew that everyone would want a fire on the first evening. He asked two other teenagers that were sitting around (playing on their cell phones) if they would help. They ignored him. The adults appreciated our son’s initiative. The teens laughed at him. Later, word got around that our son is a Boy Scout. For the next several days, he was made fun of because he worked hard and assisted. He was called a “goody-two-shoes”.

These three situations all have something in common: working hard vs. laziness. I find it interesting in this world that instead of working hard or respecting those that do, we criticize. It is easier to talk about helping others then to actually get off the high horse and do volunteer work. It is easier to delegate a task than to take it on by ourselves. It is easier to condemn those that have fortune than to work towards having those very same things. It is easier to make fun of those with strong beliefs then to consider what we truly believe. It is easier to make fun of the attitudes of others than to look within ourselves.

I would rather have a world full of “Goody-Two-Shoes”, thank you very much. Before we start making fun of others, we need to do some internal house-cleaning first. It is easier to laugh, isn’t it? Personally, I think people poke fun of those that work hard because deep down, they KNOW they should be doing the same.

Can’t fit in exercise? Gas prices too high? Bike to your errands.

April 21st, 2008

Tuesdays are crazy in our household. We have tutor lessons, math with Grandpa, and time with Nana. As circumstances would have it, some of our errands were postponed to later in the week. We only have tutoring and our Nana visit tomorrow. Bike instead of drive

With our crazy schedule, it is hard to fit in exercise as a family. I run and my son does martial arts. However, we don’t do these activities together. Tonight I had a brainstorm. Why not ride our bikes to visit Nana? It is a 6.5 mile ride to her house. We can get in our exercise and visit.

I wonder how many local activities we could get to by riding our bikes? As the weather gets nicer, it would be great to get in our exercise AND save money on gasoline. I just might have come up with a way to do both. Of course, I can’t exactly go grocery shopping like that. Not until I get a small trailer to haul behind my bike. LOL

When was the last time you REALLY laughed?

April 21st, 2008

“The average adult laughs 15 times a day”. I wonder if that is true. I love to laugh. I don’t think I do it enough. Does any adult laugh enough? It was so easy to laugh as a kid. I constantly had “giggle fits” when I was a girl. Something would just set me off and I would roll on the floor giggling. Why don’t I do that anymore?

Plankton rocksMy son was taking a break yesterday and was allowed to watch an episode of Sponge Bob. What a silly show that is. However, I happened to pass by with a basket full of laundry and paused to watch a minute. In that few minutes, I giggled several times. It felt great just to laugh at something stupid. Man, I love that plankton.

I find that when I am feeling blue, the best medicine is a laugh or dozen. Here is something to think about:

  1. Dr. Lee Berk of Loma Linda University, states that Cortisol, an immune suppressor, is less prevalent in the blood when we laugh. In addition, hearty laughter also produces other chemicals which help boast the immune system.
  2. Laughter oxygenates the blood (so we think better after a laugh), relaxes our muscles (maybe that’s why we leak when we laugh) and raises, then lowers, our heart rate and blood pressure (similar to aerobic exercise).

Who cares if a yellow sponge and a dopey starfish make me laugh? Giggling is good for me.

Bring on the 2008 Cheesy Summer Movies! Woohoo!

April 21st, 2008

For a movie fan, summer is an awesome time. The anticipation of block-buster hits, cool matinĂ©e showings,Heath Joker Speed Racer AvatarMilk Duds, and over-priced soda sends a shiver down my spine. Oh, how I love summer movies. The 2008 season is no different. Although I can’t afford to see all of these in a theater (who has the time either?), here are a few movies I am looking for this summer.

  1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Come on! Harrison AND Shia? OH YEAH!)
  2. Speed Racer (I know. Cheesy graphics and anime. What can I say? I’m a sucker for Japanese cheesiness.)
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Love the costumes. Love the lion. Love the story.)
  4. Wall*E (Another Pixar flick with a cute character? Where do I buy my ticket?)
  5. Hancock (Will Smith as an alcoholic super-hero? That’s a new twist. Did Shyamalan write that? My husband said they should have called it: Captain Morgan. I just love that. )
  6. The Dark Knight (Heath, latex fashions, fast car, angry super-hero..sure, why not?)
  7. Journey to the Center of the Earth (It IS a remake. So is Keanu’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. I am a sucker for classic movies. I sure hope these don’t tank.)

Movies that I have heard lots about, but not really sure if I want to see:Indiana Crystal

  1. Ironman (Ok, Robert. I read your interview in Parade. You are clean and sober. Great. But are you super-hero worthy?)
  2. Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (The first one was good. The second one…not. The third? What do you think? Bring back Imhotep and those amazing abs. Where is John Hannah?)
  3. The Incredible Hulk (I really like Ed Norton. A lot. However, no one can top the cheese that Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno provided in the 1970’s. You can smell the Limburger from here. Ed, I want you to hit me as hard as you can. )
  4. X-Files (We watched Mulder and Scully for a l-o-n-g time. We stopped when that Terminator guy stepped in. I really want this movie to be good. However, I doubt it. Sure hope the Lone Gunman make an appearance.)
  5. The Happening (A Shyamalan movie with a “twist”? You don’t say? My husband says that the only Shyamalan movie that was good was the Sixth Sense. I liked the Village too. Maybe Mark Wahlberg can make this one a hit? I wonder if Mark will have his Calvins in a twist?)
  6. Wanted (Laura Croft on a rampage with Mr. Tumnis? This should be intersting.)

I don’t think so…

  1. Sex and the City (Cute clothes. Shallow women. Gossip. Casual sex. That about sums it up.)
  2. Pineapple Express (Haven’t we had enough of these “Guys that don’t want to grow up” movies? I know I have.)
  3. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (There is something about Woody Allen that grates on me. I think it is his movies. Yeah. That must be it.)Indiana Jones

Honestly, I can’t wait for Indiana Jones the most. Bring on the bull whip and Fedora. I am so there, Dr. Jones! Da da da du, da da dum, da da da du, da da dum dum dum.

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