Monday, December 19, 2011

Jolly Rancher Vodka (gift idea)

Speaking of trying to be more healthy...

I am made a few batches of Jolly Rancher Vodka for a few of our lucky friends and family members.

Of course, my batch doesn't look that fancy because I used the small 12 oz. mason jars. I added about 20 Jolly Ranchers to each jar, so we will see if my guessculation was accurate:

For directions on how to make your own Jolly Rancher Vodka and other fun infusions, visit and browse Mix that Drink's website: Jolly Rancher Vodka Tutorial.

If our attempts fail and for some reason we are embarrassed to give away our Jolly Rancher Vodka as gifts, I hope to have a girls' night out where we dispose of it all appropriately. =P

...I'm sure I am secretly making a few jars for me and hubby. ;) ;) ;)

Jump Start on New Year's Resolution

I thought that I had decided on a New Year's Resolution. A few family members and I had toyed with the idea of taking "The Vegan Challenge.” The Vegan Challenge is to eat vegan for a whole month. No meat. No eggs. No milk. No cheese. No YUM!

A New Year's Resolution that would only last one month? Sounded good.

The Vegan Challenge - the new year - would start off with a trip out of town to a store that I have never heard of in search of products and brands that have never resided in my pantry.

With a picky family of five, I decided that going vegan, even for one month, would be too much of a challenge for me THIS YEAR.

I searched for a NEW New Year’s Resolution. I found a site that shared one fam's challenge to eat non-processed foods for one-hundred days, 100 Days of Real Food. This site has a Facebook page where fans can take the ten day pledge. Ten days? That's less than one month! I figured I could do that before the New Year! It’s never too early to eat healthy, right?

The Facebook page featured a yummy looking breakfast/brunch recipe, Whole-Wheat Crepes. No special trips for this recipe or challenge. All of the ingredients were familiar.

Avoiding processed foods for ten days is still challenging, but much easier than totally going vegan for a whole month. Baby-steps…

I announced to my house that we would eat a healthy breakfast. I explained the benefits of avoiding processed foods. I decided to make crepes to prove how delicious healthy can be.

There was one moan.

I opened my refrigerator to retrieve the milk and eggs to prepare our healthy breakfast when I found a surprise. Hubby had picked up McDonald’s on his way home from working nights.

One person was ecstatic.

The End

Additional Thoughts: I think it would be very hard to be vegan in America. Most of our food products contain ingredients derived from animals, even foods you wouldn’t suspect. For example, marshmallows are not vegan friendly. You would think that an innocent white-as-snow marshmallow would be safe for everyone, including vegans, but the common popular brands use some type of ingredient derived from PIGs. “The squishy parts” as a Facebook friend explained it. This renders marshmallows not only off limits for vegans, but off limits to people trying to eat kosher or vegetarian!

I haven't given up on Veganism. I am thinking of adding a Vegan Night, right along with Italian Night or Mexican Night. I will have to plan Vegan Night for the evenings when hubby is working nights.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Fireworks in Port O'Connor July 2, 2011

Yesterday, we went to my grandpa's beach house in Port O'Connor to watch POC's annual Independence Day fireworks display. I took three gallons of Red Diamond sweet tea and two huge watermelons. My Grandma-Ethel had already purchased two gallons of Red Diamond ice tea, so the sweet tea tooth must run in the family!

Many interesting conversations took place last night. My grandpa told us the many ways to test a watermelon to determine sweetness. They were all new to me. He even told us that if you pick a watermelon and place the stem in sugar water, the watermelon will absorb the liquid and will taste extra sweet! Since I pick my watermelon from the big box in HEB, I have to use my favorite technique: I play the watermelon like a drum and if it sounds hollow, I will purchase it.

Another topic of conversation was reincarnation. I explained to one of my cousins that our most recent pet tragedy prompted me to share the concept of reincarnation with my nine year old. "Reincarnation is the belief that even when a body dies, the spirit continues to live. When a spirit leaves the body, it goes into another body. In fact, if we go to the pet store and buy another hamster, there is a small chance that..." My cousin immediately took the baton and finished my thought, "...the hamster you buy will be the same hamster as the one that died!"


Anyway, we sat out on the porch talking and eating hotdogs and drinking tea until the sun went down. Then we walked to the beach and found a place to sit so that we could get a better view of the fireworks.

After the city's display was over, the people in the beach houses started their own shows! There was screaming and smoke...

As we were leaving, we got to see people being arrested. Everyone must have had a good time!

Anyway, here is a short clip of the end of the POC fireworks display:

I still have two huge watermelons. Where to go?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another boring post.

Yesterday, the whole family worked on the landscaping around this house. We are thinking that we might just stay here, but we are going to fix this house up the way we like it and not wait until we are putting it on the market. That was the mistake we made with the Tanglewood house. When we put the Tanglewood house up for sale, we finally did all the updates and improvements that we had put off for the ten plus years we had lived there. The things we wouldn't do for ourselves. We tiled the floors, replaced the gold double ovens with stainless steel double ovens, changed out all the kitchen appliances, replaced the gold kitchen counter-tops with tile, and even put texture and fresh paint over the walls that still had paneling. Wait, there's more! We replaced the shop doors, re-textured the entryway, replaced light fixtures, and even - REPAINTED THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE! Let's just say that I didn't want to leave after that.

The one thing we DID do for ourselves while we were there was gut and update the master bath. It had the fanciest 12 x 12 tiled shower in town! Unfortunately, it had the fanciest tiled LEAKY shower, and we fixed that before we left too. We also let the kids pick out the paint color for their rooms and we had to paint over that. I don't know who would want a house with crazy room colors. One bedroom had two walls painted red and two walls painted blue and another bedroom had two walls painted purple and two walls painted green. That's what you get when kids pick the color: indecision. My room was painted orange - UT orange - and we painted over that, too. I miss my orange room! When my reading lamp was on I felt I was surrounded by soft candlelight.

While hubby and I were doing yard work, we found a doggie septic system in our back yard. Yeah. I didn't know that such a thing existed.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Catching Up

We are going to look at a house we can't afford today. It has some acreage and my mom would like to put some of her horses on it. That means she might help us buy it. We don't need that much land.

The house only has three bedrooms, but Matthan is going off to school next year to major is Psychology/Psychiatry. We could afford to send a kid to Victoria College, but our house hunting turned to downsizing once we understood how much his college would be... Psychiatrist = medical school.

Did I mention I need a job? Yeah. Because I have travel plans! Hubby and I are coming up on our twenty year wedding anniversary and we are dragging the whole family with us on a cruise to Jamaica, Cozumel, and ... somewhere else. We are leaving out of Florida.

After *planning* a trip for five to England and France, the top of the line cruise seems affordable. (Did I mention that *planning* is my favorite part of vacationing, schooling, cooking...) Planning is dreaming. I love dreaming.

I figure if I work part-time and put everything into an account, we can travel more and consider it SCHOOL. I don't want the kids to think that THIS - Victoria, Texas - is it. Recently, my daughter (14) had some jealous-teen drama and I reminded her, "You are about to be on a cruise with rich boys from around the world. Do you really want a boyfriend? Tell the boys that you want to remain single because when you travel, you want to be free..." It's advice I wish I could have been given, but I was stuck in the country in an even smaller town, just trying to get out.

We took the kids to The Oak Room for the first time the other evening. My daughter said, "I will never eat at McDonald's again!" The duck was everyone's favorite. I can't wait to go back!

Trips for FOUR will be more reasonable. Which is why I want to travel more. I was going to write a whole post on WORLD SCHOOLING the other day, but I got too busy. I'm still working on a recipe for itisi.

Land. **BEGIN DREAM** Maybe I can train horses again... Teach horseback riding lessons! Have a FREE SCHOOL in the country that revolves around equine management or training, breeding, and showing horses. **END DREAM**

I would like to substitute-teach because I do not want a full-time job. I already have a part-time job: parenting and housewifen' (yeah, it's really only a part time job if you do it right... or wrong, however you want to look at it). As far as homeschooling, the kids are old enough to read the instructions, work the sample, and complete the work on their own. I only have to plan, motivate, and check.

Hubby tore his calf muscle playing basketball with the homeschool high school boys. This, after declaring that he "didn't feel old," though he had just turned forty. I guess if I ever want to do P90X again I better not skip the Yoga. Now I understand why Yoga is important... S T R E T C H without breaking.

My friend's husband passed away. I spent the night at her house the first night and I've been spending much time with her. I think she's going to be looking for a house soon, too. She also wants to travel. Hopefully, when our girls graduate high school, we can plan a senior trip - for the girls, not us - to Paris. Our girls are the same age. That's what I want to do when Kelsey graduates high school - big trip. It's what Matthan did when he graduated.

I hope she keeps up with her French! I gave up. Information tends to leave my brain, and new information doesn't tend to stay.

The kids' passports are on their way! Then we will all have passports! YEAH! I hope it serves as valid ID for PSAT... I had to get a Texas State ID for Matthan when he took his PSAT.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good Idea: Gradeless schools!

We gripe about what all is wrong with our schools and forget to point out when a community tries to do something right.

Here is an article about a school that focuses on a student's ability instead of focusing on age or grade level.

School Teaches by Ability, not Grade Level

It makes sense to focus on ability instead of age. We know that children are different and develop at different rates in different academic areas. A child might be ready to move ahead in one area while still needing improvement in another. A gifted math student might be delayed in reading. This type of approach allows a child to soar where he is gifted while receiving remediation where improvement is needed. Students are not passed on to the next grade with "gaps" in their learning. Focusing on ability allows a more "individualized" education - an education tailored to fit each child.

There is a local homeschool support group, Tailor Made, which offers support for parents who are trying to give their child a unique or "tailored" education. The founder explained, "You wouldn't buy one-size-fits-all clothing for your child; you would find the clothing that fits him best and alter it when needed." I'm sure she did a better job of explaining it.

I think focusing on individual development instead of age or grade level is a good idea! Grade-less schools deserve an A.

P.S. When I saw the mention of the boy who wasn't sure what grade he was in, I thought that usually it's the homeschoolers who aren't sure what grade they are in. My fourth or fifth grader gets a deer in the headlights look when he's asked what grade he is in. "You are in third grade in reading and sixth grade in math, so I guess that makes you about fourth or fifth grade." Most of the learning materials that I use in my home are not designed for a specific grade level.

Our testing culture is like...

...manipulating symptoms to diagnose a disease and then blaming the doctor for the disease.

Here is a rant (meaning I don't expect anyone to read it) that just goes on and on:

I think our testing culture is ruining education. Education should be child-centered, especially childhood education, and not test-driven. I think we give our state mandated tests too early, too often, and that we depend on them too much.

Is the goal of these yearly tests really to improve education? No, the purpose is to judge teachers and punish schools. Since the tests are not able to improve education, and can actually harm it, think of all the time spent learning test taking skills, why do we support the tests? Do educators create these tests? No, the people who create the tests are making six figures while the teachers who are judged by those tests are not. Testing has become a multi-million dollar industry while our small schools are being closed and teachers are being "contract not renewed." Are public schools just about supporting the testing industry? The politicians who push these tests and the people who make the money from these tests, usually didn't attend public school and do not send their own children to the same schools where these tests are administered. I think the community should protest these tests.

I don't know if this is true for Texas, but in some states, tests are given three times a year - a practice for the practice test - and sometimes the tests take six hours to complete. Could the test be measuring a child's attention span? I think in Texas we just have the one mid-year practice TAKS. That's a lot of time spent not learning. Whose education is it? I think students should protest.

I understand the need for tests, like the PSAT for scholarships or the SAT or ACT for college admission, or subject SATs for credit, but for tests like the TAKS to actually control and shape our educational system - insane. The test is driving the curriculum and publishing companies. Our dependance on these tests are making the very thing we focus on, obsolete.

Tests are not an accurate measure of what a child knows. It's a measure of how well the child takes tests - a measure of test taking skills which can be taught - and a measure of attention span. Is the purpose of schooling to prepare students for tests? Is that the goal of public education? To produce good test takers?

There are all kinds of factors that affect a child's performance on a test, knowledge of basic skills is a factor, but not the only one. Sleep, anxiety, culture, and nutrition - attention span - can affect a child's score and then a teacher is judged or a school is judged by those factors? Factors that are out of a teacher's control.

Used correctly, tests could help a teacher determine a student's strengths, and could give an educator a hint as to how to tweak teaching methods to help the child. But, these tests are not to help students, they are to compare, track, punish, and pit schools against schools and even countries against countries.

I think we give the state mandated test too early. We teach kids more and more earlier and earlier hoping that they will be ready for the test by third grade. The test is driving our scope and sequence. Late readers cause alarm instead of being allowed more time to mature, physiologically, which is not an indicator of intelligence or knowledge. We want the physiological development to speed up for these tests. Not all children develop at the same rate.

I'm for a test maybe right before Junior High, maybe before high school, and before college. But testing all year long every year as if the goal of schooling is really testing - is insane!

But, I'm sure, as usual, I am the one who is really insane. I don't think that things should be done just because "that's the way it is done."

I would provide links and edit this, but I have so much more on my plate today. I think we are leaving for College Station tomorrow and we might watch a baseball game while there...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Let go my EVO

It was wild taking all the drama of the VicAd comment section with me to my nine year old's soccer game this morning. I imagined all the fights happening in the bottom of my purse. Yes, I finally got one of dem der fancy phone-a-ma-jigs. I'm still in the explore-tweak-play phase, so bear with me. I'm finding it hard to type in complete sentences or to keep a thought in my head for very long. Also, the keyboard on this laptop seems gigantic now that I have grown accustomed to typing on the display screen of my phone.

My husband and I both upgraded to the HTC EVO from phones that were so old we were laughed at by everyone in the store. How old were they? My phone had an antenna. (My daughter upgraded to a Samsung Triumph.)

I love the EVO because it is similar to my iPod Touch, which I liked, and which made me doubt that I would like any phone but the iPhone. I have to admit that I love my EVO! The apps that enjoyed on my iPod, I now have on my EVO.

The negatives are that it's not holding a charge as long as my old phone. I can't stick my new phone on my iPod dock. (I love listening to Pandora Radio through those speakers.) The EVO won't replace the iPod in that regards. Also, the EVO is pretty big and won't fit into my phone holder that I strap on my arm when I go walking. Ok, I only go walking three times a month... I secretly want an iPad, but it ain't going to happen on my salary. =P

I can't find anyone to Skype with and no one to stalk on Latitude, because everyone here is now addicted to Angry Birds. My husband and my nine year old have been playing day and night (one night and one day) since we bought the phones. I even downloaded Google Chrome so we could install Angry Birds on my laptop. That kept the nine year old off of my EVO.

Here are two pictures that I took with my laptop of me with my phone taking a picture of me:

That sounded really narcissistic...

Now I have to follow hubby to Port Lavaca so that he can pick up the van that he will drive to fire school. I'll use my EVO like a Garmin on the drive there and back - just because I can.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thoughts on BorgLord's Post

Well, I should say, my COMMENT that was too long to actually submit on BorgLord's Blog, How Do I Know?. It was really in response to the comment thread and not to BorgLord's Post. I don't care if he is an atheist. I do care that "fighters" see everything as an opportunity to engage in what they love: THE FIGHT.

Do nonbelievers come to believe when fighters fight and argue? I think it's counter productive. Knowing that fighting to convince someone of your point of view, even if you just KNOW that God would agree with you, only turns them off from what you are trying to get them to believe, means that your only goal in arguing is to FIGHT. Sometimes I want to fight. =P But, to do it as a representative of God, makes me against God. Right? Wanna fight?

I did post two or three sentences from the last paragraph on the comment section.

"Faith is the evidence of things NOT seen. Science is man trying to understand the physical or the things seen, or observed. I think it's wrong to use the Bible as a science text or to tweak scientific observations based on its literal translation.

Those who argue that the bible is the word of God have to admit that it was physically penned by men who had limited scientific knowledge. The message to them was not one of science. Even if that message was of science, they would not have understood. They would have a roach-like understanding.

I love the synagogue-explanation of trying to explain creation/evolution: "It would be like trying to explain the internet to a roach." Humans have such limited knowledge before the Creator. Imagine the roach trying to explain how the internet works to other roaches. There wouldn't be comprehension so an accurate picture wouldn't be shared.

An example: in the bible it says that the earth stands still and it can not be moved. For years that made good scientists, ones that admitted to belief in a heliocentric solar system, "heretics." That type of literal translation stunts us.

Recently, a lady stood up during a lecture by Bill Nye and shouted, "We believe in God!" because he said that the moon (the lesser of the two lights) was not actually a light source, but a reflectant.

I think that if you want science (physical) to line up with or prove your faith (things not seen) it's a sign that you have no faith, unless you think that the message of the bible was one of science. I don't let "the inspired word," as shared by humans thousands of years ago, dictate my understanding of modern day science."

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Innovative or Orwellian?

I don't know if the phrase, interest driven learning or individualized learning, had been coined, or if it was a popular subject of discussion in the late eighties, but Isaac Asimov was describing the concept in this 1988 interview with Bill Moyers:

That's not the amazing thing about the interview. Computers weren't in every home at the time, yet Asimov envisioned how this technology could revolutionize learning.

Has his vision been realized with the availability of the internet and with the many sites created for autodidacts or independent learners? Sites like HippoCampus, Khan Academy, iTunes U, BBC Languages, just to name a few. Independent and *pure* interest driven learning is possible.

Today, if we want to know about anything, we just search it on the internet, like Asimov described. We don't even have to buy the book, the floppy disk or the cd-rom at the store. Whole courses are available online - most are free. Maybe Sci-fi writers ARE able to see into the future.

Some feared that computers would "dehumanize" learning, and Asimov answered that. I think this technology would become cold and impersonal *only* if it were forced, uniform, controlled and the knowledge gained from it, tested with a one size fits all test. That would make the innovative seem Orwellian.

I think, as a society, we've outgrown the one size fits all type of education that was once so convenient. Technology has allowed for higher quality conveniences. We have the opportunity to make learning a unique experience for each person, based on their "bent." The interviewer asked, "What if I only want to learn about baseball?" Asimov answered, "That's alright...The more you learn about baseball the more you might grow interested in mathematics to figure out what they mean by those earned run averages, the batting averages, and so on... you might, at the end, become more interested in math than baseball, if you are following your own bent..." He sounds a little like John Holt and the many unschoolers I've encountered over the years. ;)

Do you think his vision of learning via computer (the way he described it) was innovative or Orwellian? I think the distinguishing factor is Freedom.

I also think that, contrary to what Asimov said, it could replace school for the independent and motivated learner.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tuesday (Homeschool Drama Party)

Today was the end of the year homeschool drama party at the park. Tots to teens played basketball, volleyball, tennis, or soccer for several hours. Lots of playing.

My nine year old played so hard, that one of his tennis shoes ripped almost in two. When he showed us his broken shoe and told us that he needed a new pair, I said, “ I’ve seen several homeschooled kids running around with duct tape on their shoes. It’s almost a fad.” My daughter agreed and began to name a few of the homeschooled high schoolers who were guilty of sporting the fashion.

As soon as we got home, my son found some duct-tape and was about to tape up his shoes when I reminded him that we had leopard print duct-tape somewhere. He couldn’t find it so I had to add it to my grocery list.

One of the homeschool moms had brought eggs from her farm to the park and I was lucky enough to scratch off one of the items on my grocery list.

Off to the store for fancy duct tape and the rest of my groceries (minus the eggs) and then to soccer practice...

*I ended up buying the camouflage duct tape.

Kelsey in "Mission Possible"

Monday, May 02, 2011

Monday Monday

Today, I opened all of the windows to bring the outside in. I thought that since the windows were open, it was a good time to clean around the frames. No telling how many insect carcasses now reside in the bottom of the vacuum cleaner bag.

I love it when all of the windows are open because I can hear the birds and the wind chimes. It’s windy enough that I can also hear the trees. The only problem is my nineteen year old playing Call of Duty Black Ops. I mostly hear machine-gun fire and the occasional dove.

I should be making the kids finish up school, but my spring cleaning was contagious. My daughter removed the screen of her bedroom window and is cleaning the glass with Windex. My nine year old built a car for his hamster out of a paper-towel tube and Tinker Toys. His hamster loves to go inside of the tube just as much and as quickly as she likes to exit. He is upset that she won’t poke her head out and stand still so that it looks like she is driving the little makeshift car. He even sang, "Doo da dippity."

Osama. After the news of his death, one of my Facebook friends posted, “is wondering what sort of childhood Osama bin Laden must have had to turn into the man he was.”

That's food for thought.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Eggs

Our inspiration:

Our interpretation:

Notice the blue egg at the very top of the image? Christian decorated one of his with a battle ax. I thought that was cute. These aren't Faberge eggs, but we had fun Easter morning with crayons and food coloring. We are planning on making deviled eggs and tuna salad with our "art." Christian suggested that we decorate all the eggs that we buy from now on.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crumbs for Breakfast?

This morning, my nine year old and I woke up shortly after 6:00am. Though he's usually the first one up, he’s not accustomed to waking up that early. He walked to the kitchen windows, looked outside, and shouted, “Wow! I’ve never seen it look like this before!” I told him that he should go sit outside on the porch and listen to the birds. I think all the doves in town congregate in the oak trees around this house. (I’ve shared the tragic dove story with you all.)

I have a little rule in my house: the early bird gets to choose what we will have for breakfast. This morning I asked my son what he wanted, and reminded him that we had sausage, eggs, and tortillas, for his favorite morning meal, taquitos. At one time, his favorite morning meal was Deviled Eggs. After the Deviled Eggs phase, he played chef and made us all breakfast. He prepared what I can only describe as migas*, but instead of using crumbled tortillas, he made his migas with Fritos. I thought it was crazy, but then one day while looking through the Come to the Table cookbook, I found a recipe called Frito Eggs on page 285. No way!

This morning, my rara avis was in the mood for noodles, “spicy noodles.” Maruchan Instant Lunch was the breakfast of champions this a.m. I’m ok with it, because an equally fast and healthy meal that he will eat is made with a rotisserie chicken from H.E.B., a bag of flatbread, and a Caesar Salad kit. We call this Caesar Chicken Wraps and we load the bread with the chicken and the yummy green salad. It's usually difficult to roll or fold.

I tell my children that if they don’t add some color to their meal, their body will make bricks. =D

*Today I learned that the Spanish word, migas, means "crumbs."

Friday, April 22, 2011


My items were being scanned at the checkout of H.E.B. Plus as I woke up. This was another dream that created a storyline around the sound that pulled me out of sleep. Before I had placed my items on the conveyer belt, I was walking around the store wearing a hat that was three feet tall. I wanted to laugh out loud as I imagined what the other customers were thinking as they looked at me. I tried to keep a straight face. A man sporting a head of disheveled hair gave me an inquisitive look, and I told him, “You have strange hair.” I was projecting in my dream. =D

Before I had selected the tall hat, I had tried on others. I was looking at my reflection in the glass doors of the frozen food section. I remember thinking that the hats were similar to something Lady Gaga would wear.

Before the hats, I was sitting at a table in a restaurant when my Aunt Lucy came up to me and said, “Grandma’s kidneys are failing.” She put her head on mine and I could tell that she was very tired. I asked Lucy if she could help me with Kelsey’s prom dress, which I remember thinking was selfish even in my dream.

I can’t remember much before that.


Looked at some houses yesterday. The kids fell in love with one on Riata, but I think it's too small. Where will we put MY books and HIS tools? I sure do miss our old Tanglewood home! He had a 20x20 workshop...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Yard Hunting

We are getting ready to go house hunting. We have been in this house for almost two years. It's not that we are unhappy with our home or this neighborhood, in fact, I doubt that I will ever find a house I like as much as I like this house. I picked this house for me, big kitchen and a heaven of a back porch.

Did I mention that my heaven of a back porch was pretty much our back yard? My lovely home is basically an over sized patio home. Perfect for my favorite activity: lounging around reading books, but not conducive to my family's active life-style.

As soon as we moved, our needs changed. First of all, my daughter developed an interest in basketball. She went from being anti-sports to a sportaholic almost overnight. This house has a sloped drive-way which left us no choice but to set up her basketball goal on the curb, which means that she plays basketball in the street every day. That's fine, because this street has hardly any traffic, but I would rather have a flat driveway for her 24/7 hoop shootin'.

Also, my youngest put on some weight around his mid-section and has become an avid gamer. This alarms me because I've never seen any of my children this sedentary.

Active families should be on the other side of John Stockbauer OR they should have an over-sized backyard.

Friday, April 01, 2011

More on Dreams

“Jaime had never realised that trees made a sound when they grew, and no-one else had realised it either, because the sound is made over hundreds of years in waves of twenty-four hours from peak to peak. Speed it up, and the sound a tree makes is vrooom.” Good Omens

I hate it when, in my dream, I am lying down or viewing the dream-world from my bed. Maybe it is another symptom of sleep paralysis, only instead of being totally conscious while unable to move my body, my unconscious mind is restricted by the placement of my physical body. How is that for a role reversal?

That happened to me last night; I dreamed that I was lying in bed staring at the ceiling. A vine poked through the ceiling and began to grow straight down to the floor as if the sun was below me and the sky was the earth. I was amazed in my dream that I could witness the growth of the vine. I thought that maybe this is what happens when I am sleeping – I go into slow motion as time around me goes into fast forward mode.

I saw that another vine was growing up from a pot sitting on the floor. The two vines stopped midway and began to spin around as if blindly feeling for the other. Finally, they connected and began to tangle and grow towards the right side of the room. The vine that had come from the ceiling suffocated the vine that grew up from the floor and this was very disturbing to me. The vine I had watched in amazement caused me to forget about the vine that I was to nurture. It was my fault and I felt guilt and remorse.

I’ve wondered if dreams are symbolic or if they are so literal that we are forced to give them too much meaning. I remember a dream I had as a little girl after a bout with a stomach virus. I was dreaming that my step-dad was chasing butterflies with a butterfly net. I emerged from that dream to my mother saying, “Tony (my step-dad) caught your bug.” That always fascinated me. Why, in a dream state, would my mind interpret the dreaded “pukes” as a beautiful butterfly? Literally, my step-dad had caught my “bug” which was symbolized as a butterfly?

I did go outside this morning to check on the landscaping. I often pull and redirect passion vines from roses, but this morning I attempted to pry tight tendrils away from my grapevine and ended up just yanking the aggressive vine out of the dirt. I had redeemed myself!

Which makes me wonder: What does poison ivy look like again?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Making Money

Yesterday, while I was washing dishes with the television tuned to TLC, my nine year old said, "Mom, we should build a machine so that we can make money."

"Really? What type of machine should we build?" I love it when children come up with creative ideas. Children are natural entrepreneurs.

"A machine that makes money."

He didn't want to build a machine that could do something useful and that we could sell, he wanted to create a machine so that we could print counterfeit currency. I assumed that he came up with the idea after the program about the man who had won five million dollars in the lottery. I guess, in his little mind, it would be easier to just print money than to win the lottery. The two are probably just as ethical, in his mind. Who knows?

I asked him what he thought would happen if we did print money. His said, "We would get rich."

I told him it was illegal. He said, "We wouldn't get caught."

"So, as long as we don't get caught you would be happy with printing money, even though it's against the law?"


I didn't judge. Mainly, because a part of me was busy spending...

A few hours later, I asked him again if he wanted to make money. He said, "We can't." I was relieved that he had come to that moral conclusion on his own without my help. Children are natural learners, after all. I was proud of myself for avoiding didactics.

I asked, "Why can't we make money?"

"We could if we lived out in the country."

The truth is, he has "made" money before. He turned our dining room into a restaurant and created menus for his customers and even "made" money so that they could purchase food. Does a restaurant like that exist? "Here's fifty Chili's Bucks, have a nice meal."

Now, isn't that the kind of person you would want "making" money; The kind of person who would give it to you?

Guess what this is:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Patchwork of Springs (not too silly)

Our Texas Mountain Laurel has been adorned in purple cascading blooms. The scent always takes me back to Southwest Texas State University (Texas State), as there was a long walkway seasonally walled by the lavender flowers. The trek to class was an event when the little trees were in bloom. When the air didn't smell like the river, it smelled like the grape flavored powder from Fun Dip and Pixy Stix candies.

The breeze brings the yummy fragrance into the house when the doors to the backyard are open. If I close my eyes I can imagine myself back on campus. I remember some of the characters I encountered on the way to class. I remember the frat guy who wore base; I remember the mean Prozac PETA girl, and I remember the fighting stallions.

I miss living in a place where you could safely, and without destination, walk from evening until sunrise, and where you could, without guilt and with a few new acquaintances, eat breakfast before finally going to bed. I miss the guy in the dorm beside ours who would play Eric Johnson’s “Cliffs of Dover” so loud that we could open our windows and hear the music as if it were playing on the stereo in our room.

I wonder why I was in such a hurry to get out of the dorms and into an apartment. Looking back, dorm life was the best part of college, though I hated it at the time.

I wonder what I was thinking when I chose a Saturday morning class as if I would actually attend a Saturday morning class. Only I can boast that a lack of common sense was the reason I failed Philosophy.

It’s amazing how a scent can gather up old memories and press them together at the folds. For a brief second I can see right through the fabric to all of my springs, but they quickly fade and wilt like the flowers on our Texas Mountain Laurel.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Saturday Silliness (dream)

Salvador Dali "Sleep"

The sound of thunder woke me up this morning. Remember that earthquake of a thunderclap? Anyway, I was in the middle of an audio-dream. Do you ever have audio dreams; the dreams that are more verbal than visual or emotional? It’s as if someone is talking to you in your ear - real time. It’s not always associated with a story or a plot. Sometimes, the words conclude a dream, like a punctuation. I don’t always remember the actual dream, but sometimes I will remember the parting words.

This morning my dream ended with a voice saying, “Some people wake up to light and some people wake up to wind…” just as the thunder was pulling me out of my sleep.

At first, I thought, “Silly unconscious brain! You forgot about how some people might wake up to sound!” But, after I thought about it, I realized that when you are experiencing something, it speaks for itself. The fact that it was happening to me completed the thought. “Some people wake up to light, some people wake up to wind, but you will wake up to thunder!” How cool to become a part of the narrative. Wait, I already was, it was I who was dreaming.

It’s very windy right now. If the wind woke you up, I guess you were one of the people who woke up late! Lazy!

Isn’t that fun? My dream made me didactic. =P

That concludes my little post on "Saturday Silliness." But, before I go, I have to share with you something my nine year old told me:

Last night, while watching a play put on by the junior high homeschoolers, I leaned over and whispered something in my nine year old’s ear. He put his hand up in front of my mouth and whisper-screamed, “Mom, your breath is burning my eyes!” Isn't that sweet?

It wasn’t onions, I promise, it was my menthol cough drops. I’ve been hitting the cough drops like an addict lately. I've been coughing for three to four weeks since the flu. Seriously, it was the cough drops!

P.S. Don't you think it's hypocritical of me, unemployed and all, to call someone sleeping in on Saturday "lazy?"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Unschooling Anthem (song)

a sample of Amy's art
Artwork by Amy Steinberg

I am fascinated with the unschooling philosophy. I think it is a nice compliment to my natural parental instinct: bossy control-freak. I guess I like to think that the unschooling philosophy balances me.

I would love to attend a conference like the LIFE ROCKS! Radical Unschooling Conference.

On their website they say that Amy Steinberg's song, "Exactly," from her album, "Must be the Moon," is becoming their anthem.

I always thought that the perfect song to describe this alternative educational philosophy was John Lennon's, "Imagine" or Pink Floyd's, "Another Brick in the Wall." Freedom is a big enough place for many anthems.

I wanted to share the song "Exactly" because the lyrics are amazing and part of the song reminds me of slam poetry. Slam poetry put to music. A worthy anthem.

Here is Amy singing "Exactly."


i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am a blessing manifest
i can undress the moment
naked time unwinds beneath my mind
and from within i find the kind of beauty
only i can find

i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am surrendering so willingly
to be the perfect me inside this now
and truly how else could it be
destiny she blesses me
destiny she blesses me

when i try to fight or run
i only wind up back at square one
when i think i know what's best for me
fate she takes me back
to exactly where i need to be

i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am divinely timed and shining brightly
yes i believe that there's a purpose just for me
yes i believe that we are light
and we shine infinitely

i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am not aimlessly existing see
i am in perfect harmony with universal energy
and i am truly free when i accept my own divinity

look at me look at me closely
what exactly do you see
if you are paying attention you will now begin ascension of the mind
why, because if you look at me just right you will see a kiss
for it took a kiss to make this breath exist
the intersection of my mother's and father's lips
to touch twist and perfect what came next to produce me
look at me and you will see the breeze
the breeze it took to shake the leaves to make
my mother's hair move, my father dare touch it and say
please may i have a kiss
yes the breeze made me exist
and if you want to get even deeper into this
when you look at me you will see a cloud
the cloud it took to form the storm to shake the leaves to
inspire the liplock - yes a raindrop will pop up out these words
you heard me right
if you look at me close enough you will see a dark stormy night
and what is night without it's polar opposite of sunlight
so if you watch the way my hands sway
you'll see the light of day
and everyday is a testament to the sediment of the earth's core
it's ever spinning enormous force so if you look at me just right
you will see a spark of the source
but the most fascinating thing about this, and it's true
is that if you look at me close enough, you see you
it's only what you perceive how you believe the space between
you and me
that creates reality
so when i sing you can feel it
when i cry you can heal it
when i speak words you can be the words i speak by singing with me

peace love free
peace love free
peace love free

and when i am alone and full of fear
i just remember the rising sun always appears
everyday miracles that i see
well they take me back to exactly where i need to be

* * * * * *

I hope that you are exactly where you need to be!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day of Wuv or Wust?

I was looking at some of the latest headlines from around the world and saw a few articles that I thought were very interesting. Apparently, some deeply religious men on the other side of the globe are protesting the infiltration of western "lust." Not our rated R movies or our Paris Hiltons, mind you, but our "lust" manifested in the shocking form of card stock folded in half with a red image printed on the front. Buildings and shops are being burned down in protest of Valentine's Day. “Death to those who would partake in this Western day of lust!” or something like that.

But, it’s not murder if they were lusting when we kill them, right? They were evil first? They started it by handing me this darn card with lacy looking stuff on it! Too girly! I guess no one over there wears pink to prove they are real men.

Maybe these deeply religious men have a point. As a child I would have identified with them. I don’t know how it was where you guys grew up but when I was a wee-Becca Valentine’s Day was not a fun day. I would have gladly faced death rather than the mortification of having to give BOYS cards with hearts on them! I remember holding the list of classmates in my hand and the humiliation and horror I felt as I imagined Shane or Mark getting the big “will you be mine” card. I was picked on enough as it was back in elementary school. Everyone called me “horse lady” and all the boys pulled my pigtails IF THEY COULD CATCH ME. I could outrun them all except for Anthony.

Anyway, the process of deciding who would get what card was a very intense time of strategic planning. First off, I would not hand out the cards that actually had the word “love” or “be my...anything ” on them. Those went to the trash can. Maybe I would have liked to burn the offensive cards in a public display of outrage like our anti-western pals. That would have been very dramatic! Nah, I was too mature for that.

I would have loved to throw some of these anti- ♥ -Day articles in my teacher’s face. Could you see little snaggle-tooth with her Pippy Longstocking braids (that’s me as a 7 year old) squeaking, “I will not practice this lustful tradition with you infidels!” to my elementary teachers? I wonder if they would have bought it.

Now that I’m older and more mature I enjoy a gushy card! Why can’t these men just be flattered and get over it? I did. It’s just so strange to me that on the other side of the world people are threatened with violence if they DO buy cards and flowers for their loved ones. There would be violence if my husband ever decided to NOT celebrate Valentine’s Day in the form of flowers and chocolates. I think I lust after chocolate? Is that a crime somewhere? Probably.

Not only are Valentine’s Day cards and the practice of this "day of lust" seen as evil but in India couples are actually fined if they kiss in public. I saw an article about how during a wedding ceremony when it was time to "kiss the bride" there was someone ready to give out a ticket for the offense!

We think we have religious fanatics here in America? Ours have nothing on theirs! Valentine's Day a day of lust? PLEASE. Evil IS in the eye of the beholder - what are they thinking they are getting with their cards? ::giggle::

First published here.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Food Cravings During Pregnancy (Silliness)

Pregnancy: a time when my body had a very strong-willed mind of its own, a time when I was blindly obedient to the commands of my food cravings. Not satiating a food craving was punishable by nausea. Nausea was a state that I spent my pregnancies desperately trying to avoid.

I wonder what those intense food cravings meant and if I interpreted the signals correctly. I bet that something got lost in transit.

Imagine The Depleted Vitamin Store in The Pregnant Body weakly reaching out to The Brain and pleading, “We are low on Vitamin C up in here. Can you send a shout-out?”

The Brain sends the most obvious signs so that Rebecca can get what she needs, “Hey, Body, we need some ascorbic acid. You are officially craving something fruity, citrusy, sweet, and sour. Oh, and, we need it now, or else!”

The Mind: “Or else what?”

Rebecca gags a little.

The Mind is repentant and immediately goes to work decoding the messages with all the mystery and precision of John Edward...

Rebecca to hubby: “I want gummy bears.”

Hubby to Rebecca: “It’s after midnight and we live 20 miles outside of city limits.”

The Brain and The weak Depleted Vitamin Store exchange confused looks.

Depleted Vitamin Store: “What? Rebecca, no, try harder.”

The Brain clarifies, “Stop thinking SUGAR!”

Rebecca to hubby: “I need SOUR gummy bears! NOW!”

Depleted Vitamin Store to The Brain: “Tell her to think more along the lines of citrus. Oh! Oh! I got it! Tell her to think NATURAL.”

From Rebecca’s little mental scrap-book The Brain selects a stunning image of an orange grove to convey the point.

Rebecca to hubby: “I neeeeeeeed O R G A N I C sour gummy bears!”

That was silly, but I imagine that THAT is how it all goes down.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dream (planes, panic, cruel boss)

I pull back the covering of a very large swimming pool. Leaves are floating on the surface, though no trees are around. In the distance, I hear airplanes. There are two planes and because I am not there to watch them land, my “boss” yells at me, “I told you that when I land, you are to be there waiting!” He says this over an intercom system so his words are loud, though he is a tiny speck in the distance. He is standing on a metal structure. He is angry.


I’m inside preparing and serving frothy cappuccino. The froth is overflowing the silver cylinder and I'm scooping it with a soup ladle. People are enjoying their coffee. I think of monks, cappuccino, and ivory soap. It's the "air." I hear the sirens and I know that the planes are coming in to land again. I panic because I know that I am supposed to be there. I am going to be in so much trouble. I am too far away. I won’t get there in time. So much fear.

I miss my boss’s plane, but a second plane lands and crashes. For some reason it is my fault. I’m in a lot of trouble so I go to investigate the damage. On my way, I walk through wreckage. I come up to an empty helmet ... it's all my fault ... and then a body – whole – unscathed. His eyes are closed. I walk around him, he is wearing light jeans and a light gray shirt. ...his eyes open. It’s ____ who is referred to as "the husband" later in the dream.

I’m *severely* punished for this.


We are at my D-mom’s house in San Antonio. (My favorite place to be as a child.) I am showing a group of people her house. “This is where I used to hide and pretend that Darth Vader was looking for me. And this is where I always dream that there are stairs and as you can see, it’s just a wall.”

I hear the planes outside. This causes panic, but for a different reason. We are at war and when people are found, they are killed, so I tell everyone in the house to hide in the attic. I take a gallon of water with me because I don’t know how long we will be hiding.


We are at a little college, small like a community college, but bustling with student activity: people playing football and studying in groups along and around the outside of the building.

We are inside of the building. Hubby and I are going up the stairs and hubby grabs me by my shoulders and turns me around, “It’s the husband.” He won’t let me see him. He's protecting me from him and we are leaving quickly.


I go into a room and “the husband” is there. He is tied to a chair and someone (like a mob boss) is going to kill him. “You realize that he gave a woman $100.00 for her night gown?” The mob-boss throws a white gown at me. I have compassion on “the husband” and I’m told to leave or they will kill me too.

The next room contains all of my school books. I have to leave them behind. I had doodled much in one of the notebooks and it is open. I had written the letters “ABE” in cursive down one side of the page. I'm looking at the letters, wondering what "abe" means. For some reason this doodling is incriminating, but I don’t have time to close the book or take my stuff with me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dream (spinning room, orange and white)

Yesterday, I decided to take a little nap.

I was dreaming that I was standing in the middle of a circular room. Instead of windows, the perimeter of the room contained door after door. The room and the doors were spinning around me. I could look into each door for only a split second. Each door led to a room filled with information that I felt I needed to know more about. I couldn’t get to the rooms. Not only were people (unintentionally) blocking the entrances, but I couldn’t see around the people and the room was spinning too fast around me. One of the doors contained people and information made up of orange and white. I was frustrated, but the people were happy and weren’t aware that they were blocking my view. Crazy dream - spinning.

I don’t know what happened first, me waking up or the buzz of the dryer startling me. My dream seemed to last about a minute. Could all that information, the people and the unreachable mysteries in the rooms behind them spinning around me, have just been one packet of data sent in a split-second as the dyer buzzer startled me to consciousness?

Fact: We dream even during non R.E.M. sleep.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lilith-tov (silliness)

I’m sitting in a huge bus with other girls my age. We are headed to a youth camp and I am very excited. I feel more like I am seated on a sofa and less like I am riding on a bus. I’m worried because I’m not wearing a seat belt. We are facing each other and not the front of the bus which allows for conversation. Everyone is talking but I am very quiet because I imagine myself as a projectile and worry about which girl I would fly into if the bus were to wreck.

The bus slows down and stops in front of a beach-themed restaurant. I look down at my bare feet. I’m sure that I can’t go in if I’m not wearing shoes. Just then I realize that I didn’t even pack for camp!

As I’m getting off the bus I confess my shoe-less state. A lady tells me, “That’s alright, we sell shoes here.” This is perfect because I love to shop! Inside, I find a section of the restaurant dedicated to boutique-cute clothing and footwear.

I expect to quickly purchase a pair of cheap flip-flops, since the restaurant has a beach theme, but the shoes look more like fancy boots. They are made of soft leather and they are decorated with real fur and jewels. The prices start at $80.00. If I spend $80.00 on shoes, I will have no money left for the rest of the trip.


I must have “shopped” too long because we are back on the bus and I don't remember eating. The girl seated across from me has straight black hair. She tells me, "Lie-lah had slanted eyes.” I realize that she is talking about Gutav Klimt’s painting, “The Tree of Life,” which I had looked at with much curiosity a few weeks before. How did she know? The girl has “slanted” eyes and looks just like “the other woman” in the painting. I realize that she isn’t just a stranger, or even a kid on the way to camp, but she is the daughter of the woman who wrote “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.” I had just read her reply, "Why I love my strict Chinese mom" the night before. The girl across from me is a combination of the Tiger-daughter and the lady in Klimt's painting. The contradiction reminds me that I am dreaming.

Awareness of the dream always wakes me up or puts me in a state of sleep paralysis.

Dreams are fun to decode. Last night, before I went to bed, I completed a second lesson of Hebrew. I remember thinking after the first lesson that the Hebrew word for night, lialah, reminded me of the name, Lilith, as mentioned in the Talmud. “Lilith,” and all that the name implies, was how I remembered the Hebrew word for “night.” Maybe my trick backfired because last night I told hubby, “Lilith-tov,” instead of "Lialah-tov."

Weeks ago I had wondered if Klimt’s painting was of Adam, Eve, and Lilith. I wondered that, but couldn’t find anything to confirm or dispel it. I wonder if unsatiated curiosities manifest in dreams because they have not been filed or solved. Are mysteries the stuff of dreams?

Dreams fascinate me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

French, Dreams, and Learning

I am having a difficult time learning French. It's not finding a sticky place in my brain.

Yesterday, I forced myself to listen to a French talk-radio station (France Info 105.5 FM) that I found on the internet. French conversations served as background noise as I went about my day. I cooked to French, cleaned dishes to French, read some of “The Four Agreements” while trying to tune out French, and I commented on this site while listening to French. (My laptop is in my kitchen.)

Something interesting happened last night as I was falling asleep in the dark and quiet of my bedroom. As I was slipping into an unconscious state, I heard someone speaking in French. I didn't know what the words meant, but I knew that my brain was dealing with the new sounds and patterns that I had heard throughout the day. I hate it when awareness of dreaming wakes me up.

I had many dreams last night. In one of my dreams I was watching a huge pyramid-like structure in the process of being constructed. It was like an inverted Sierpenski gasket and as the little parts of the whole were being hoisted up and snapped into place, I was aware that each piece represented or contained some random bit of information that I had encountered throughout the day, including the Sierpenski triangle itself. I was an observer of the building process and I was being shown each piece and what it represented before it became a part of the whole. My reaction in the dream to each was, “Yes! I remember seeing that!” Of course, sitting here, I can’t remember the details of each piece that I was so aware of during the dream. It doesn't translate.

Research Links Sleep, Dreams, and Learning.

Dreaming is when new information finds a permanent home in the brain. Awareness of this influenced my dreams along with the new patterns, new shapes, and strange new sounds...

Here is another French radio station: RFI Monde 89.0 FM Paris

The image of the triangle was taken from The University of British Columbia's Math Department's web page.