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How is your mom?
February 21 at 10:45am ·

She's up and down (or back and forth?) She's still having cluster headaches, which are preventing her from sleeping at night, and slowing down her recovery. The actual incision/aorta replacement seem to be healing as scheduled, but she is... still swollen in her upper body area, has vision trouble, dizziness, weakness, and of course the cluster headaches which in and of themselves are debilitating. She really still can't be by herself, but I had to come home for a couple of days for a Dr. appt and my mammo, both of which have already been re-sched. more than once. We are going to see how she and my dad do on their own with some help from MammaSmith.
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Update !: I'm in Nashville, enjoying being with family, except for the whole spending the days at the hospital dealing with medical people all day. My mother is getting her Aortic valve replaced, and we are up here for days of tests, and pre-screens and consults and "teaching."

Mother's surgery has been postponed until Thursday because her surgeon let himself get snow bound!

UPDATE on my Mother: Today (Jan 12) we had the final pre-surgery meeting with the surgeon.

Tomorrow we get there at 5:30AM, surgery at 8AM until 1PM-ish. I'll have my laptop at the hospital, and will try to remember to post updates to FaceBook as things happen.

Thank you to all the wonderful friends and family for the well-wishes and prayers I've received. And thanks in advance to all you wonderful other friends and family that I know will be doing the same, since I know things may get wild and I won't be able to let you know just how grateful I am for each and every one of you.
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Good-Bye old year. You were okay.


Oct. 20th, 2010 07:00 pm
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Do I still know anyone watching/writing Torchwood? I just accidentally stumbled on this absolutely wonderful fanvid.

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From Face Book:
Am doing unpacking, and laundry, and mail sorting, and phone calling, and re-packing, and other just downright productive, if boring, getting-ready stuff.

<a friend> comments: 
yeah, never the fun part of travel, that's for sure. I use to do all of the work, get the pets ready for the sitter, get the kids ready, pack my stuff and their stuff. Then husband would run in, throw in a pair of shorts, a few shirts in the suitcase. Then he always wondered why I was so stressed at the beginning of the trip.

I reply:

--for most of our trips, your scenario was mine. But since it's a rope/rappelling/camping related trip, and Mark is the designated "Camping Chair" he has to get all that stuff r...eady. And "the kids" are now just Thomas, who will be staying at home and pet/house sitting. Not having to worry about the kids, the pets, and the house while we're gone relieves a TON of stress!

photo tag

Sep. 19th, 2010 08:21 pm
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If you read this, you're tagged. Take a picture of you in your current state, no changing your clothes or quickly putting on makeup. NO PHOTOSHOP. Show your f-list the real you!me, being a good sport, and no photoshop.
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I rarely praise our current president. And honestly, he's no public speaker. But if you read the transcript of what he said, you couldn't be prouder of him.  My favorite part was:

"And so the highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most -- to stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are." 
The whole speech bears reading. Even if you heard him give it.  Here it is: (no, I'm not putting it under a cut.   Read it.  Live it.)

THE PRESIDENT: Secretary Gates. Admiral Mullen and members of the Armed Forces. My fellow Americans. Most of all, to you -- survivors who still carry the scars of tragedy and destruction; to the families who carry in your hearts the memory of the loved ones you lost here.

For our nation, this is a day of remembrance, a day of reflection, and -- with God’s grace -- a day of unity and renewal.

We gather to remember, at this sacred hour, on hallowed ground -- at places where we feel such grief and where our healing goes on. We gather here, at the Pentagon, where the names of the lost are forever etched in stone. We gather in a gentle Pennsylvania field, where a plane went down and a “tower of voices” will rise and echo through the ages. And we gather where the Twin Towers fell, a site where the work goes on so that next year, on the 10th anniversary, the waters will flow in steady tribute to the nearly 3,000 innocent lives.

On this day, it’s perhaps natural to focus on the images of that awful morning -- images that are seared into our souls. It’s tempting to dwell on the final moments of the loved ones whose lives were taken so cruelly. Yet these memorials, and your presence today, remind us to remember the fullness of their time on Earth.

They were fathers and mothers, raising their families; brothers and sisters, pursuing their dreams; sons and daughters, their whole lives before them. They were civilians and service members. Some never saw the danger coming; others saw the peril and rushed to save others -- up those stairwells, into the flames, into the cockpit.

They were white and black and brown -- men and women and some children made up of all races, many faiths. They were Americans and people from far corners of the world. And they were snatched from us senselessly and much too soon -- but they lived well, and they live on in you.

Nine years have now passed. In that time, you have shed more tears than we will ever know. And though it must seem some days as though the world has moved on to other things, I say to you today that your loved ones endure in the heart of our nation, now and forever.

Our remembrance today also requires a certain reflection. As a nation, and as individuals, we must ask ourselves how best to honor them -- those who died, those who sacrificed. How do we preserve their legacy -- not just on this day, but every day?

We need not look far for our answer. The perpetrators of this evil act didn’t simply attack America; they attacked the very idea of America itself -- all that we stand for and represent in the world. And so the highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most -- to stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are.

They doubted our will, but as Americans we persevere. Today, in Afghanistan and beyond, we have gone on the offensive and struck major blows against al Qaeda and its allies. We will do what is necessary to protect our country, and we honor all those who serve to keep us safe.

They may seek to strike fear in us, but they are no match for our resilience. We do not succumb to fear, nor will we squander the optimism that has always defined us as a people. On a day when others sought to destroy, we have chosen to build, with a National Day of Service and Remembrance that summons the inherent goodness of the American people.

They may seek to exploit our freedoms, but we will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. They may wish to drive us apart, but we will not give in to their hatred and prejudice. For Scripture teaches us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

They may seek to spark conflict between different faiths, but as Americans we are not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam. It was not a religion that attacked us that September day -- it was al Qaeda, a sorry band of men which perverts religion. And just as we condemn intolerance and extremism abroad, so will we stay true to our traditions here at home as a diverse and tolerant nation. We champion the rights of every American, including the right to worship as one chooses -- as service members and civilians from many faiths do just steps from here, at the very spot where the terrorists struck this building.

Those who attacked us sought to demoralize us, divide us, to deprive us of the very unity, the very ideals, that make America America -- those qualities that have made us a beacon of freedom and hope to billions around the world. Today we declare once more we will never hand them that victory. As Americans, we will keep alive the virtues and values that make us who we are and who we must always be.

For our cause is just. Our spirit is strong. Our resolve is unwavering. Like generations before us, let us come together today and all days to affirm certain inalienable rights, to affirm life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. On this day and the days to come, we choose to stay true to our best selves -- as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

This is how we choose to honor the fallen -- your families, your friends, your fellow service members. This is how we will keep alive the legacy of these proud and patriotic Americans. This is how we will prevail in this great test of our time. This is how we will preserve and protect the country that we love and pass it -- safer and stronger -- to future generations.

May God bless you and your families, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.


9/11 again

Sep. 11th, 2010 11:27 am
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I ache. My heart feels frozen solid. Seeing the images again today on TV puts me back in exactly that same spot. I was completely devastated. I felt raw and exposed and paralyzed. I had never before been in the presence of that kind of Evil. I couldn't believe the world still spun.
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Note to self: Do not lick the self-sticking stamps! Ptew! ptew!
2 hours ago ·
Ray Celeste likes this.
Meagan Eve Mathews LOL
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Carolyn Rivamonte Teehee!
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Rook Atthedoor Oh Sherron...I love you...
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Nash McCallum Could you cc me on that?
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Mark Ostrander That's my Darling!
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Deborah Blevins Cazalas ‎:D
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I used to just put up pithy little quotes and folkes would nod and smile, but now everybody's got an opinion.  Yesterday I Quoted:

Dare:    If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much space.

Sounds just like a rappeller, if you ask me. :)
Yesterday at 10:30pm ·

I used to do the edge, but I fell out of bed and hurt myself... now I decided it was better to take up a bit more space. Even if I had learned to do what you do off cliffs and such, would it have worked for me in bed??
3 hours ago

Okay, There ARE the other philosophies, of "living large" or "large and in charge." Guess it depends on which meds are working that day!
about an hour ago ·

Buffy (yes, of the pine cones)
I live on the figurative Ledge.
9 minutes ago ·

ledge, edge, I'm not picky . . .

Rook Atthedoor
Well I'm pretty edgy...

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From a recent letter to a friend:

Two weeks from yesterday we drive to Nashville and get on the plane to Sacramento, on our way to Yosemite so Mark can rappel and climb El Capitan. Quite the adventure for a man about to turn 50.  Our total travel time is two weeks.  We have a day or so on each end for flying, and sleeping and showering in real hotels.  Rental car (SUVish) from Sacto to the park. But 8–10 days in tents and going  down to Curry Village to shower and eating camp food and fast food.  I really do love him beyond the point of reasonableness, I'm telling you.

I will NOT be rappelling in Yosemite.  This one, rightfully so, requires experience and qualifying rappels that I do not have.  That and the fact that the hike from the "high" camp (Yosemite Creek Camp if you know anything about the park, it's accessed from the Tioga pass road) where we will be, to "top" camp from where they will rappel, is a grueling nine hour, 9-10 mile, carrying rigging and gear backwoods trek. That usually takes all day, then you are exhausted and sleep up top and rappel the next day.  I'd rather be martyred.

There's 32 people total, I think, and not everybody will rappel every day of course.  I think Mark plans two rappels and one climb up rope.  Rappels are about 45 minutes, and I think climbs vary between 3-6 hours on a rope.  People climb in pairs.  I will be "on belay" at the bottom the first day Mark rappels.  There's a whole, complicated, excel spreadsheet of where everyone is supposed to be and when.

Judge if you want.  We're all going to die.  I intend to deserve it.

ETA details
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I have judged myself as a journal keeper, and found myself lacking.  Of course, there's something freeing in knowing that one doesn't have to attain certain standards all the time.

So, admitting that I can't even keep up with Facebook, For God's Sake, much less a real journal, where people expect me to actually be literate, I'm admitting to stealing a recent FB posting for here.  It's my "Plans" for the weekend.  I'm hoping that said plans are loose enough even to go unnoticed by TPTB, while still allowing me to "get something done."

This is my hope. To wander aimlessly from "thing that needs to be done" to "pile that needs to be sorted" to "hopeless mess that needs to be thrown out" to "other thing that needs to be done," and back and forth thus so, calmly and quietly making progress without any of the efficiency gremlins noticing.
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Today is my baby's 21st birthday.  I officially only have men for children now.  We're going to all meet at a restaurant and he's going to buy an alcoholic beverage.  Because he can, and that's a traditional thing for young men to do on this birthday, and the waitress Must card him or it won't be as fun, so we're going to a really strict place, where they even card ME from time to time!  And eat an expensive piece of red meat, and decadent chocolate cake with hot fudge and ice cream because that is Thomas's idea of a REAL celebration.  I haven't gotten him a present, because he hates surprises and he hasn't decided on anything.  I'm sure something will come to him soon.
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I opened a short email to a friend this way, a few days ago:

No time to chat, ::frown::

In my head for the last few days I've been composing a letter to all the people around me whom I owe time (letters, list, chapters, phone calls, books, journal entries, graduation gifts, visits, etc.) to, saying basically, "I love you, I haven't forgotten you, I'm busy, I'm physically iffy, etc."  In much more detailed, soothing language.  But I haven't actually had time to write it.  You're on the list of recipients.  Maybe I should hire you to write it. ;-)
She didn't take me up on the hint.  I was only half joking.  Half of me was in there going, "Please, please, somebody writing me a good excuse note!"  There's either something seriously wrong with me or I'm very seriously over-committed.  Definitely the second.  Maybe both.
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My beloved was so good as to write up a trip report for out North Carolina adventure on Whitesides Mountain, so I thought I'd just steal it and add a few comments.  The long and short of it was I rapelled 650'ft off a cliff!

Sherron and I had quite the adventure this past weekend, and I thought I would relate.  We drove over to Highlands, NC again for more rappelling off the big cliff.  The main reason was supposed to be for me to get a 'weighted rope' rappel in, in preparation for the big rappel in Yosemite.  The second reason was so Sherron could get a long rappel, as she is supposed to get two Whitesides rappels in to qualify for the Bridge Day rappel in October.

The weather did not cooperate.  Sherron and I left town at a useless hour on Friday — not early enough to get up on the cliff when we got there, and early enough to have a lot of time on our hands before turning in.  So, feeling groggy from the long drive, we just ate Chinese food 'in town' and stared out the window.  It was cloudy, and after a bit, the sky opened up and the bottom dropped out.  "Wow," we thought.  "Glad we're not up on the mountain after all,"  Hah.  When the rains ended, we drove down off the plateau to find the campsite and set up camp.  It cleared off and all was well.

Saturday dawned sunny and we were excited at the prospects.  Sherron started the day off with a headache/migraine and got off to a slow start, but was a trooper.  Enough of the right kind of drugs allowed her to put a game face on
(Meaning I got the headache down from 8 to 4 on a 10 scale), and we drove over to the trailhead.  Sherron and I, along with TinY and Nikky, were the last ones up the trail.  TinY forced us to stop often, which allowed everyone to get up the hill without being dead on our feet.

One rope had been rigged the previous day (Yes, folks had been up on the mountain in that rain) and two more needed to be rigged.


(The following is details, interesting to a few, the important part for later is to note that there are three ropes) The task of rigging one of them fell to me and Kevin Mulligan.  It was a spot I had been over several times before and I was fairly comfortable with that.  In spite of that, it was still a lot of pressure and we had a few stops and starts.  The rigging point was a cluster of bolts 50 feet down a bare 45-degree granite slope from the trail at the top.  There was a nice big ledge with places to stand and work.  To get to it, you get on rope at the fence up top and back down the slope with your rappel rack keeping you in control.  From the rig point, we tied in the main 750' line, and two shorter ropes.  One of the short ropes was to have something to tie rope pads to, and the other was the 'edge attendant' line.  From the bolts, the slope continued at 45 degrees for maybe 25', then steepened to 60 degrees for 15' then steepened again for a few feet before encountering the last little ledge that was the actual lip.  I got two spots padded.  We thought we getting ready to go, when the weather came up over the mountain on us.


We had watched the clouds build, and listened to thunder off in the distance.  When the lightning finally started cracking above us, we were all called back topside and huddled under the rain tarp.  We were warned to be ready for rain, so we all had our rain gear and put it on, and we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  It rained.  It thundered.  It hailed.  We huddled together some to keep warm.  There were 20 of us, I think.  At one point, I was sitting on the ground under the tarp when a particularly close strike hit.  Some folks said they heard a weird noise like a click, maybe.  I don't remember the noise, because my right foot jumped from a large electrical shock.  Other folks got a jolt in the butt, and we were going, "Did you feel that?"  It was spooky.  After a few more hours, there was a lull in the storm.  It was mid-afternoon, but some of the folks were ready to pack it in.  Sherron was among those who decided to head down, so I figured that I wouldn't see her again until nightfall.

The rains came back, and more huddling under the tarp ensued.  But it wasn't as bad, and it seemed like the sky was lightening.  During another lull, I decided that I would go down to 'my' rig point and hang out, just getting some rope time, even if it might be to no end.  Mike Mirov came down to join me, and as I was looking back upslope at him, I happened to see a bolt of lightning practically silhouetting him.  So it was back up to the top and under the tarp again!  But it was a short spell, and we were back out, with the sky lightening and the sun peeking out in places.  So all of a sudden, we were go!  Of the people left on the mountain, the only ones that got gear on were me, TinY, Perry, Mike and Robert.  Perry needed a weighted rope rappel to qualify for El Cap, and there was one more spot on 'my' rope that needed padding, and it fell to me to go down first, pad the spot and continue down to the bottom to belay and be the weight on the rope.  That meant I didn't get a weighted rappel that day, but I agreed to it.  Team first.

The last spot to be padded was about 80' below the lip, where the cliff face came back out to touch the rope line.  I had to stop, tie off, reach out and tie the pad to the bolt without dropping it, then continue on down.  On the bottom, I called off rope and Mike called on.  Robert had gotten on the second rope to follow TinY on down, leaving Perry behind at the top.  Perry was worried about getting his rappel in, but finally got to come down after Mike.

By that time, Sherron had gotten back up to the top, along with Perry's wife Sharon.  She had met Bruce White down in the parking lot, and when it was clearing off, Bruce insisted Sherron go back up and get her rappel in.  He even carried her gear for her.  That was great of him!  So I'm down at the bottom when I hear Sherron on the radio, "Mark Ostrander, Where are you?"  "I'm at the bottom."  "Well, I'm at the top."  So I thought that was great - she was going to get her rappel in after all.  After a few radio calls, I realized that she was 'on approach' to the lip and didn't have anyone with her!  I'm down below having kittens at that point.  When Sherron made a radio call asking which of the
three ropes was the main line, I about had a stroke.  My blood pressure went up, I could feel my lips tingling, and I told Mike I could use a Valium at that point.  TinY was monitoring this all, but said he could tell from Sherron's tone of voice that she was managing it well.  After a period of time, I could see Sherron silhouetted against the sky - on the right rope - and I felt better.  But she still had to get past the Velcro rope pad I had placed on the way down.  I wasn't sure that she had ever done that task before.  I needn't have worried.  Sherron did great, and I watched her smoothly descend the rope.  She had a great ride (650'!) down the rope and was justifiably thrilled when she got down.  The first time I did that rappel, I had TinY right there with me at the lip on an edge line, coaching me and keeping me calm.  And Sherron managed it on her own!  I'm amazed and proud. 

Sherron decided that she would prefer the hike around the cliff and back up in preference to climbing all that ways on the rope,
(This is not true.  I would have preferred to go back up the rope.  I’d been told how bad the hike was.  But it was really late, and the conditions were bad, and I didn’t want people having to wait up at the top for me.) and I agreed to hike with her.  Mike was going to climb with Perry, but decided he wasn't quite up to frogging all that ways, and he hiked with us.  Both TinY and Nikky tell people that climbing the rope is preferable to the awful hike, but you have to experience it once to know.  The hike about killed Sherron after the rope didn't.  It's a lot of scrambling up and down, with a long, very steep pitch at the end.  She managed it without throwing up, but it was close.  It took us about an hour and a half to get back down to the cars, (“normal” hike time is about an hour) but we made it.  We made it back down shortly after the crowd from the top.

If we hurried, we could get back into town before the pizza place closed, so off we all went.  The food was great and Nikky had arranged for a pair of birthday cakes for TinY, so we had a surprise party too.  It was fun.  Then back to the campsite for the obligatory huge bonfire.  It had been raining again, but they managed to get the fire going, with the help of considerable accelerants.  Sherron was pooped and crashed in the tent, while the rest of us had a few beers and enjoyed the fire. 

We had left the cliff rigged with the understanding that we'd go up Sunday morning and clean it and bring it all down.  Tiny had been left with the task of de-rigging solo on an outing last Fall, and I told him I'd be around to help this time.  So we got up in the morning, packed up and headed into town for real coffee and on to the trailhead again.  Our camping gear was supposed to go on the trailer and be carried out to Yosemite, but it was all damp, so Sherron agreed to stay down at the parking lot and dry stuff out: both ours and the Manke's. 

(Then there's several paragraphs about Mark's day at the top of the hill.  I spent the day reading, spreading things out to dry, moving them around, etc.)

I was hoping that the day would have gone quickly and Sherron and I could be back on the road home, but it ended up being something like 3:30 before we got down to the parking lot.  Oh well.  Everyone trickled in and we sat around and pooled what food and beverages we had, and had a brief picnic, but then the rains came.  Everyone scattered to their cars and, one by one, drove off.  I had to get our camping gear back in the duffel and loaded onto the El Cap trailer, I and stood out under the back hatch on the Vue and got that ready with out getting the gear too wet.  A brief lull allowed me to back our car over to the trailer and I threw it aboard, and finally we were done.  A honk and  wave to the Mankes and the Hrizuks and we were gone at about 4:30.  It was a long, but almost uneventful drive (coming into Huntsville, I was tired and mis-judged my closing speed and almost ran over a slow car) and it was about 6 and a half hours later that we pulled in the driveway at home.  Thomas was glad to see us, as were the dogs, and we were glad to be home to real food and a dry bed! 

It was a good outing, but really draining.  Sherron could hardly move yesterday. As in, I slept all the way through Monday!

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You see, I went a little selfish at the Barnes and Noble the other day and let Lara-the-Nook-girl talk me into buying a Nook. It's B&N's version of the Kindle if you've not seen it.  I'm sure I'll regret it somehow, but anyway, spent that money, and bought several books real quick and dared the camera killer to say anything. Which of course it didn't enter his just-spent-another-$120-for-a-Yosemite-camera head to do.  You may be coming in on the middle of the whole, my husband and the curse of the camera thing, it's a long, would be funny if it wasn't so damn expensive, long story.  He's down-right famous in some circles. He has a camera, and this one, which is broken, which got broken in the woods at SERA, —remember, last week?!? has a damn warranty, and it's only 4 months old, but it's not broken ENOUGH, so they're going to try to fix it, so it won't be fixed before we leave tomorrow, so he bought a camera for Yosemite.  But he just bout a cheap, works outside CoolPix thing, thinking basically, vacation disposable.  It'll probably last the rest of our lives.  I have my own camera, by the way, which I don't let the man touch.  Although, in all honesty. and in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit, I did drop his camera at Golindrinas last January, into a 10-12 foot crack, bang bang bang to the bottom, and killed it dead.  Some little Mexican boys retrieved it for me and the chip with all the already taken pictures on it was fine.  And everyone is still blaming it on him. And they were all quick to tell him so after I dropped the camera and broke it and cried Because.  It was in a "Pelican case" around my neck, and the latch on the pelican case either wasn't quite secure or popped open, and the camera came out.  Which makes it Marks fault for many reasons. A. It was a Pelican case instead of an Otter Box, which are much better. B. The Latch on the Pelican case had already taken a hit and was chipped and he knew that when he gave me the case. C.It was Mark's Camera. 
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Maybe some of you have seen my last Facebook Profile pic:

I recently re-connected with someone who knew me in high school (My first true love's dad). He said, "You've changed since the last time I saw you."

I answered, "Naw, I always looked like this.  It was the makeup"  and I changed to another "younger" pic:

His reply: "And now you use the cheep makeup??"

I always did love that man!
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"Hillary Clinton says it takes a village to raise a child. I've seen the village; and I don't want it raising my child."

From the Website:

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Public School Parents' Guide to Homeschool Parents

We all know that there are a lot of misconceptions about homeschoolers, and, while most of those tend to be centered around the kids, there are a lot of misconceptions about homeschool moms (and dads), as well.  I'm often surprised to hear some of the things that people who don't homeschool think about homeschoolers.  I guess I shouldn't be.  I used to be a public school mom (for two years) and I imagine that I thought some of these things, too, though it's been so long, I really can't recall for sure.

Anyway, I'd like to make some homeschool mom confessions (at least, as relates to this homeschool mom).  Oh, and the title just sounded fun.  No negative implications intended there at all.  Some of my best friends and favorite relatives are public school parents.

1.  We do not have superhuman patience.  I can't tell you the number of people who say to me, "I couldn't homeschool; I don't have enough patience" or some variation thereof.  Let me tell you, my name and patience rarely occur in the same sentence unless someone is saying, "Kris has no patience."

I have told people, "I know that homeschooling isn't for everyone and I'm not suggesting that you should homeschool, but if you're going to give me an excuse, you'll have to come up with a better one than that because if I have enough patience to homeschool, anybody does!"

When we first began homeschooling, I told the neighbors, "If you come home from work one afternoon and there is yellow police tape around the house, you'll know that one of us [the kids or I] ran out of patience."  So far, we've all survived, but seriously?  I've done homework with my oldest when she was in public school.  So far, my worst day of homeschooling hasn't been any worse than my worst night of homework.

2.  We don't homeschool because it gives us the warm fuzzies.  There are probably almost as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschoolers, but I don't know of anyone who does this just because it makes them feel good because, you know what?  Some days, it does not feel good.  Some days involve tears, whining, yelling...before breakfast...and not necessarily from the kids.  Which leads me to confession number three...

3.  Some days, we watch with envy as that yellow school bus drives by.  We don't do this because it's easy or a cop-out.  Some days, homeschooling is just hard.  Some of us have been known to threaten to send our kids to public school (my kids can tell you exactly how far we live from the public school because I've mentioned it a time or two).  Some of us have spent more time than we'd care to admit daydreaming about what we might do if our kids were in school all day.  And, there are some days when it takes every ounce of will power not to chase down that school bus.  However, when push comes to shove, we know there is nothing else we'd rather do than homeschool our kids.

4.  We don't think our kids are better or smarter than yours.  Most of us are average moms and dads with average kids who have their areas of strength and their areas of weakness -- academically and personally -- just like yours. We have our hopes and fears, doubts and insecurities just like you do.  Do some homeschool parents have gifted kids?  Absolutely!  Do some homeschool parents have kids whom the parents think are gifted, but in reality, not so much?  Yes.  Do some public school parents have gifted kids?  Yep.  Do some public school parents have kids whom the parents think are gifted, but in reality, not so much?  I think you see where this is going.

We all -- public, private, or homeschool parents -- think our kids are pretty special.  That doesn't mean that we, the homeschool parents, think our kids are better than those not educated at home.

5.  Our decision to homeschool is not a personal commentary on your decision not to.  Contrary to popular belief, we do not think that homeschooling is for everyone.  We don't think that you're a bad parent or that you don't care about your kids as much as we care about ours because you don't homeschool them.  We see educational choices as yet another personal parenting choice and we realize that you are making the choices that you see as best for your family, just as we are.

6.  Our decision to homeschool is not a personal commentary on the jobs of public school teachers.  Many of us do have a beef with the public school system as a whole (I don't think that is exclusive to homeschoolers).  Although we may see the system as flawed, this observation does not typically extend to individual teachers.  Most of us realize that the majority of teachers are good people, doing a good job with a whole lot expected of them for pitifully low compensation based on the time and effort their jobs require.

7.  We realize that there are homeschooling families who probably should not be homeschooling.  However, this is true in every area of life.  There are public and private school teachers who have no business in the classroom.  There are parents who have no business having kids.

We, who are so often judged, try not to judge others and we definitely do not want to our rights as parents restricted because of a few sensationalized cases.  The majority of parents who homeschool are doing so honestly and with integrity, raising kids who are just as ready for life after homeschool as any other kid is for life after graduation.

8.  Just because we're Christian doesn't mean that we are "religious homeschoolers."  There are a huge percentage of us who, while we are people of faith, would not necessarily say that we are homeschooling for religious reasons.  Being able to share our faith with our kids and looking at our studies with a Christian worldview is a huge benefit of homeschooling, but many of us would not consider it the singular reason we homeschool.

9.  We don't do this to shelter, over-protect, or isolate our children.  People who don't homeschool often don't realize what is available to homeschooled kids.  Our area offers band, soccer, baseball, football, tennis, track, volleyball, prom, monthly socials, graduation, graduation banquet, year book, co-ops and classes, and so much more.  These kids are not sitting at home by themselves every day.  They're out with other kids enough to experience their fair share mean kids, bullies, and, for the older kids, teen-aged angst.

And, look how many of us how more kids than the national 2.5 average!  Seriously, if you have siblings, you know that there's no one better to help your practice interpersonal and conflict resolution skills than siblings.

10.  We don't do this to annoy  you.  We homeschool because we feel that it's the best choice for our families.  We don't ask you to think it's the best choice for your family.  We did not wake up one morning and flip a coin to decide on this lifestyle.  We prayed about it, researched it, and talked about it long before deciding that homeschooling was the right choice for our family.  We do not come to your blogs or corner you at the soccer game to tell you how bad we think your decision to send your kids to public school is because we don't care -- not in the negative "don't care" way, but in the "that's your family's decision and we respect that" way.  You are doing what you feel is right for your kids and that's exactly what you're supposed to do.  It's what we're doing, too.

Just for the record, this post has been on my calendar for a couple of weeks and was not prompted by any conversation or event, so if you're one of my public school mom friends (because, yes, I have those), don't be freaking out trying to recall what you might have said or done to prompt this post.  You didn't do anything.  ;-)  I just thought it would be fun to address misconceptions that I've heard over the last eight years.

What about you?  What misconceptions would you like to address?
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A short, homemade video using pennies to help you visualize the US government's budget.
Really cool.


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July 2011

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