Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mountain top musings

"Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you."
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I was forwarded an e-mail the other day, which honestly was really neat. For the UK readers here you might already be familiar with the phone salesman on the talent show. This was really a neat treat to watch, and is a reminder to all of the wonderful surprises that can be found in the most unexpected places!
Also, just for fun, we have aquaintances who made it to the top three in America's Got Talent. They are a wonderful homeschooling family, and extremely talented musicians and dancers.
We met them thru a fundraiser concert for the EDGE Foundation (helping challenged youth). My youngest daughter was able to play her violin with them for one of the finale songs.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Every child has in him an aching void for excitement. And, if we don't fill it with something that is exciting and interesting and good for him, he will fill it with something that is exciting and interesting and isn't good for him"

-Teddy Roosevelt

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Are the Monsters in Charge?!

Where do I begin? Are some parents conscious that they're raising little monsters? Do these people know the consequences of raising irresponsible, entitlement minded ogres?? What has gotten into the mindset of today's young parents that they think their little angel can do no wrong, and should never be held accountable for their actions?? There are so many examples I could give of what I've seen, had to deal with, and stories I've heard; no doubt readers here could add their experiences. Respect for elders, Respect for authority, Respect for people's property?? I wonder if many young parents know what this concept is, and therefore, are unable to import that knowledge into their hatchlings?? I wonder if many parents of today's teens are as ostriches, or absentee landlords neglecting upkeep, or perhaps they've lost the "user manual" somewhere along the way.
I was raised with the R word, let me tell you! My mother's parents were from the American south, and boy was I drilled with the R word. My hide was tanned more than once for mouthing off, but it was never child abuse. I think Not to discipline a child, and Not to teach them self-Respect and proper Respectful conduct is child abuse!! Has common sense left, and fear and denial stayed?? In the USA, age-appropriate spanking a child on the bum is legal, but this is so often unnecessary if parenting is done in a fair and consistent manner. Are these parents so afraid of the 'establishment' that they are in fear of getting into trouble for disciplining their child? Perhaps they should refer to the dictionary for the definition of discipline versus punishment. Or, perhaps, they honestly have some guilt complex and appear to believe that if they discipline their child that they are going to somehow ruin his/her self-esteem, and therefore ruin his/her life? This is a complex issue with no easy answer. I've only touched briefly on some of the what might be going on with today's problems with raising children, and I'm hoping to follow up with more. I'd love to hear your opinions!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Teepee Moon

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away....
no wait, that's another story....
Not quite twenty years ago, my husband and I sold everything we owned, which wasn't much, and went on a walk-about in Europe/UK for four months. (I had a 6-week nursing liason job with an American group in Austria which helped things). With our rucksacks and euro-rail tickets, we visited family, made some friends and had fun learning of history, architecture, other cultures, and smatterings of languages.
After returning to the States, we homesteaded with friends on their property in the foothills of the Angeles Crest mountains. We became 'dirt poor' as a temporary sacrifice for an incredible overseas adventure. No electricity or running water, an outhouse for the necessaries, and either a propane camping stove or an 1880's small cast iron stove for cooking. Bathing was either from a solar shower or the old fashioned tub next to the old iron stove which was quite invigorating considering there was snow on the ground outside of our Teepee.
Yes, a real Lakota style teepee. I don't have any photos of ours handy to scan and post, but this photo is pretty close. Our wonderfully eccentric at times rockclimbing/artist friend (SteveN art link) said we could camp with his family on their property, but we had to live in a teepee for the esthetic value(versus a tent). Well, I suppose you could lump us in there with 'eccentric' rockclimber people, as well, which is why we said, 'no problem'. :)
....During this time, we researched the customs and culture of the Lakotas and other Native Americans and found their cultures to be fascinating! This was a very interesting time for us, and to be honest, I miss the simplicity and the freedom of it.
I suppose I'm reminiscent due to the recent fires in Southern California, which proves in an instant all can be taken from us. One fire was about 20 miles away from our home, and thankfully was heading away, or it would have been a crazy state of affairs trying to evac horses and other animals.
I'm not going to get mushy and pontificate about valueing your friends, family, etc,.....most of us know that it's the right thing to do, so....just do it...Pay it Forward!!! :)
"It is not life and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power."
"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much."
-Siddhartha Gautama

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."
-Malcolm Forbes

"The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals…We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate…"
-Martin Luther King, Jr

What are you seeing?

I love optical illusions...the challenge to question what we see! And, this is a great distraction from attending to homeschooling and domestic duties at the moment!! ;)
Try these links for more illusions:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Braw Blogging and Bayeux

Blogging has been a fun adventure thus far! Of course, there's the time spent thinking on what to write about, then acting on said thought, then trying to rearrange photos and type so it looks half way decent, and just when you think things are in an orderly fashion, the one photo falls off at the bottom, so you have to start all over, again!! Aagghh!!

So, with that said, I've just learned that if you save to draft, because you've worked all day, it's late, you're so cross-eyed you can't finish the post because the photo keeps falling off, and... wait a minute, you learn that when you save to draft it keeps the date you started with not when you've finished....which is why my wee filly post "All Grown Up" is down below on the blog somewhere! The photo here is of beautiful Bayeux, Normandy...not my photo, I stole it from a friend!! (my Euro pix from our pre-kid rucksack walk-about are the old-fashioned kind, and currently in storage) I loved Normandy, the people were nice, and I was in sober awe as I walked along a D-Day Beach.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Snakes, snails and puppy dog tails

For anyone with children, I really want to recommend the 'Dangerous Book for Boys'. Per Time magazine, " it celebrates curiosity, bravery, and respectfulness, as well as an appetite for any challenge. It even vindicates the noble failure." I'll let the book speak for itself: "In this age of video games and cell phones, there must still be a place for knots, tree houses, and stories of incredible courage."

The book gives the rules of chess, poker, rules of rugby, soccer/football, directions for making a battery, a bow and arrow, secret ink; famous battles, and pirate flags. It also teaches on insects, grammar, and how to talk to girls. There's a lot more to the book, but in all honesty it encourages imagination, curiosity, and the rough and tumble
adventure that boys really do need. And, there's no reason why girls can't secretly read it too!! ;)

I've included the 'Daring book for girls' which I understand is much more than sugar, spice and everything nice. Graciousness and deportment are important, but there are a few girls, who like to climb trees, ride horses, collect tadpoles prior to putting on their dance shoes and dress for the evening out! This book is on the list to get. :)

I've included this cute video which is a neat advert for the book, and for encouraging the value of quality time with our children! :)

Thanks to Felicia from HarperCollins for supplying the cute video for the 'Daring Book for Girls'! :)

Sigh of relief, let's celebrate!

For those of you who read 'do you want to live forever?' thanks for your thoughts and prayers! The preliminary tests are coming back that it's nothing life threatening nor something with some horrible unpronounceable and untreatable condition!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

All grown up!

The long awaited day has come. My little one is all grown up, and is broke out and ready to ride. Long story short, she was born in the day area, so that's my hubby carrying her up to the foaling barn (there are cougars in the area, so foals need to be well protected). She still needs some riding miles, and to give to the bit, but she's doing great! It felt great to be riding her for the first time! I was first put on a horse when I was three, and have been dreaming ever since to be able to have a horse of my own...and to be able to ride with my children. Well, now I have the two horses, and my teen is an advanced rider.....dreams do come true! :)

Thanks to my hubby, my kids, (for their patience at my working extra over-time hours to make this happen) and to Vicki at Valley Ridge Morgans!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Unexpected blessings

You're probably wondering why I've posted the YouTube music videos of Ireland. No, I haven't been back there lately. In fact, as I write this, I should have been in Galway about now with my gal pal, and our rucksacks visiting my friend Mick's sister. But as things happen sometimes, our plans unraveled. No need for details, other than the rest of my gal pal's family wanted to do the touristy, guide and bus tour which I said 'No Way!'; she, the puir thing, had no choice in the end.
Now, I've found myself at home with extra time on my hands and, well, I'm loving every minute of it!! If you've read 'Do you want to live forever''ll know that I've had some not so nice news of late. My cancelling of my Ireland holiday has left me with time at home to enjoy my husband's and children's company without the stress of putting in long shift work. As I homeschool, our schedule is flexible, so it's almost...well, what do you want to do today...hurry, let's get the school work done!
So, in the end, although I was feeling rather down about not traveling this year, I am thrilled to being able to enjoy time with those who are most important to me. And, on a fun note, my husband and I have a bet (details remaining undisclosed) which I plan on winning! The reward....we're off to Donegal, and depending on time, perhaps Iona, and some of the other Scottish Isles. Wish me luck!

Water From The Well

Ireland - Flying through the country

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Do You Want to Live Forever?

Recently I've had some bad news. Well, at least I could interpret it as bad news. I thought when I was told I had thyroid cancer, that was bad news; and, I suppose it was to a degree. It was caught early, operable, manageable with radiation and medication. I've some lingering effects from it all, but again, manageable thankfully. You hear of others and their trials, tribulations, unexpected deaths. I've seen infants die and heard the mother's wail. My father died of a prolonged illness when I was a child; I remember what my mother went through. I've three acquaintances who lost their husbands. One murdered while working as a police officer, one thru cancer, another in a motorcycle accident. I've helped them as I could, and as they would let me. Still, you banish the thought that it might ever happen to you. Life's too busy, chaotic, complex to be thinking of these things. Well, think again. I've just found out that my husband is having symptoms that are needing the evaluation of an MRI and a neurologist, and may be related to a car wreck last year. What was always an unconscious assumption (of growing old together) is now an uncertain reality. Yes, I've seen all the quotes of 'live today for tomorrow may....', 'appreciate the small things...'. Haven't we all?! Well, I had a good cry; okay, I've had several good cries, some alone, some in his arms. I have come to the realization that the quotes are true and are to be Heeded; and, above all, the hope of tomorrow, although not guaranteed here in this world, but perhaps in the one that faith teaches us will last for eternity.

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever."
Mahatma Ghandi

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Paint on the carpet, Handprints on the wall

Well, now that the heat of the summer is over (for non-desert dwelling readers....average temps are 110-115F/ 43-46C with a high of 120F/49C...and the air-conditioner can only compensate so much! Both outside and indoor temps are not encouraging to activity unless it's very early or late in the day. Yes, I'm whining/whingeing abit here...but you see, I'm a coastal/cooler climate creature by nature and still haven't adjusted to the lack of humidity nor the high temps. (Although I'll take a summer here over Florida, anyday!!!) But temperatures and the argument of the best place to live (I've yet to endure a Scottish or Alaskan winter) are not the subject of this post.

My post is on....children and messy rooms!! We who are parents can relate, I think!! With the cooler temps and the holidays coming, I've decided to get onto task of a Fall Cleaning. Into the murky depths of their rooms I go, prepared for battle!! I miss the squeaky toy, but step on the Legos. My foot is unscathed. I have donned my boots which are normally reserved for outdoor ranch work; they are perfect for this jungle adventure. I perservere onwards, can I make it to the bed? How can a child collect so much in such a short time? My spring cleaning plan of action must be re-evalutated to be sure! The toys have changed as they've gotten older, now 10, 13 and 16yrs, but the clutter is still the same. I will overcome, and vanquish into the rubbish/trash bin all outdated, broken and non-essential items!! Tears of joy for them, as things long thought lost are found, again!! Tears of joy for me, as at last I can see their floors, again!! The day's event has left me, as my friend would say, fairly puggled (exhausted, in Scots). Some advice has been to just shut their doors and walk away, but I cannot. Soon they will be out of the nest. I'm not sure what I'm going to do?! The shock of things staying tidy might be too much!! Perhaps, they can stay here for the start of their college years.....