Monday, February 28, 2011

The Order Matters....

Sequencing is a big skill for first graders. Apparently Obama never mastered it.


Should have happened FIRST. THEN they should have had a national debate on what federal steps should have been taken.

Did I just read that?

Two headlines you never expected to see--At All--and on one page! From Fox New's Home page today:

(It was the last two that interested me, in case you couldn't tell.....)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011


Aside from wisdom teeth and childbirth (neither of which somehow "count" in my mind), I got my first set of stitches today. I had a mole removed, and it required 6 stitches.

Um...stitches hurt. Or, rather, a cut big enough to warrant stitches hurts.

I should have known, but I didn't.

Good thing we have tylenol.

Next time one of my kids needs stitches, I will be MUCH more empathetic!

Did I just read that?

From a Chinese Food Menu ("TastyAsia") that arrived in the mail today: "If you don't see your favorite dish on this menu, we'll be glad to prepare for you"

If you DO see your favorite dish, though, you're out of luck.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Did I just read that?

From Fox News Home Page today: "98 Dead, 'Grave Fears' for 200 Missing in New Zealand"

Oh, that was tasteless and tactless. GRAVE fears? For people buried in an earthquake. Yikes.

No wonder they changed the headline for the actual article.....

Interview with Tim

A writer friend interviewed Tim and wrote up a review of his show. She's a great writer, and I love her style (also what she had to say).

A quote: " My first thought: If T.S. Eliot could have sang and Allan Ginsberg had known how to beatbox and been stuck in one body, they could have been reincarnated as Mister Tim."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Math Fun

Caleb, today, answered this question: "Write four multiplication/division facts using the numbers 3, 8, and 24" this way:

"Four multiplication/division facts using the numbers 3, 8, and 24.
Just kidding ;)

Made me smile.

The Dental Saga Continues

Today was Benji's turn. He's been twice to the dentist. Once he wouldn't even touch the chair. The next time it took 2 hours, but he finally opened his mouth and let her peek. She scheduled him for Children's hospital (which is what I had been asking for all along, but me saying, "Visible decay" isn't enough--they had to see it, too).

Benji is a unique soul: brilliant, feisty, fiercely independent (but also fiercely loyal), fearless, strong-willed, sensitive, driven solely by his own ideas. He is every crying child's hero. He is the only child I've ever known who is completely, 100% unbribable. It just doesn't work. He is busy, thoughful, self-motivated, active. PLAY, fun, and teasing are the things Benji values the most.

He's also a runner. Honestly, I've feared for his life since the day he learned to walk.

Benji won't do something unless he, in his own estimation, finds it somehow desirable or valuable or important. If HE doesn't think it's a good idea, you'll NEVER get him to do it--no amount of pleading, begging, explaining, bribing, punishing, threatening, yelling, praising, helping, forcing, or tricking will work. This normally doesn't bother me--I'm good with indepedent kids who can reason--but Benji won't listen and reason. For a while we wondered if he's deaf (he's not) because unless he has determined you are saying something of value, he won't even acknowledge you are speaking. He makes his mind up quickly and entirely by himself, and very rarely changes it after that.

And yes, I AM talking about the 3 year old in our house. I can't count the number of moms who have said, "He's lucky to have you as parents. I would have killed him long ago."

Mostly, Tim and I have spent the last 3 years trying to keep him alive (no, you can't run across the parking lot or jump off the roof!) while he grows into himself.

So how do you get a kid like that to go to the dentist? You can't. Especially when, to complicate things further, he has a mortal dread of anything medical-related. And he never seems to forget. (Unfortunately, he's also the kid who is most likely to end up in the ER in our house!). It's so severe, the first dentist we met (who is an excellent pediatric dentist, by the way, and who has worked successfully with all my other dentist-haters really well) suggested he has a phobia of medical stuff and needs counselling. At age 3.

So today was his turn to get his teeth fixed at the Children's Hospital under general anaesthesia. I'm glad Tim took him--he has to be held down to even drink the pre-anaethesia medication that's supposed to make kids relax. He had to be held down to put the mask on--by more than one person. Not only was it too early in the morning for me to handle it, I'm not strong enough to manhandle Benji anymore. So Tim had to do it. He hates it, too, but we had to get his teeth fixed.

Turns out he needed it even more than we realized. EVERY SINGLE TOOTH had a cavity. All 22 needed to be fixed. So he had 5 pulled and the rest (to my knowledge--he's still sleeping, so I haven't seen him yet) crowned. That's sad, but it also means that it's unlikely we'll have to do this again until he is old enough to at least use nitrous oxide (he won't let it near him now). It means all that can be done for his baby teeth has been done, and there won't be any need for additional forcing him to see the dentist until he is getting his adult teeth--and hopefully he, at age 7, will cooperate more (Caleb does better now, and he was kicked out of a dental office when he was 6 for being uncooperative).

Also, Tim said all the people who came in said, "He has a sensory processing disorder?" Not that we know. It must have worked its way into the charts somehow.

It is possible, of course. People have suggested autism spectrum to us before. But I think the problem is not a disorder of any kind. I think it's a personality combined with an unusual brilliance of mind that doesn't lend itself well to being a toddler. You put brilliance with fierce independence, feistiness, fearlessness, and a love of play and you get a nightmare toddler. Honestly, what do you expect out of a kid who matches all the descriptions of brilliant 13 year olds but who is 2 or 3, with the impulse control and judgment for his age? Especially when he doesn't have to vocabulary to reason with you.

For now, the Dental Saga here is not quite over. Caleb goes back Friday, Anda next Tuesday, Daniel a little after that. But at least we don't have any more whole-mouth overhauls in the near future. Why? Because the only kid left who might need one is Elijah and, at 2 months, he doesn't have any teeth yet.

Benji identifies colors

Benji was quick to pick up language, but slow to fill in precise words for things. He's still working on it. So he's been able to sort colors and match colors but not name colors.

I was concerned he's red-green color blind, but yesterday he sorted red and green into different piles just fine, and matched "this thing is the same color as this thing but not that thing" just fine. And he could tell me which things were red. But not green--he didn't know the word for green, and didn't retain it when I told him. He knows red now. He sometimes identifies pink as red, but often as yellow, and he has no CLUE what to call yellow things. He mixes up the words blue and purple.

But he knows orange.

And he is very consistent with what most of us call blue. He always identifies it the same. "What color is this one?" "That one is water."  "Which candy do you want?" "The water one."

Yes, in Benji's world, "water" is a homophone that can mean either "that stuff that comes out of the tap" or "the color of the sky".

Next time we have popsicles, I want the water one!


5 seconds of every number one song ever. This is SO fun. Is it sad that I knew every single early song, but not a lot of the later ones?

Math Lesson Answers

From Dan, age 5:

Question: "What is 5 + 6?"
Answer: "One more than ten."
Next Question: "What is 6+5?"
Answer: "Still."
Next Question: "What is 0+8?"
Answer: "The same."
me: "Do you mean the same as the last one, 11?"
Dan: "No. I mean the other one that wasn't zero is the same as it was before you added zero."

I marked his assignment 100% right.

He also learned about fractions today. He started out by looking at the page and saying, "I think this is going to be too hard for me." I explained it, and he did 4 pages of fractions just like that and loved it.

From Caleb, age 9:
Question (on a test): "What months have 31 days in a leap year?"
Answer: "The usual."

I marked that one right, too.

Good thing they don't go to public schools!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Did I just read that?

From's menu today: "One Dead After Church Bus Falls Over Side of California ..."

Benji says,

Upon waking, Benji said, "Oh! Not anudder dream?!?"

Guess he was disappointed to be awake. (Later, he said he'd dreamed we had turned him into a star.)

Did I just read that?

"Tattoo of Leviticus 18:22 that forbids homosexuality on your arm: $200. Leviticus 19:28 forbids tattoos: Priceless"

Homosexuality elsewhere, though (off your arm) is okay.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I never knew, before

There is a kind of grief I never tasted until last night. Though not without cause, it is without reason. It comes in waves, crashing and then receding, only to crash again later and recede yet again.

This grief, intense and deep, cannot be "talked out" or "Talked through." There is nothing you can say that can dissipate it. It's there, and, without reason, cannot be reasoned out of. No amount of logic, no matter how true, can ease the intensity of it or make it go away.

There are no words to define this grief, no way to answer, "Why are you crying?" because none of the little whys add up to the sum of the depth of the feeling. Nothing can truly explain it. It's just there, being experienced separate from thought, reason, logic. Born of love and tragedy, there are no words for it, no words to guide you through it, no words to wash it away.

And it's not something you want to talk about to someone who doesn't already know, even though it cries out for the comfort of mourning with someone who DOES know. It is grief that seeks companionship, to mourn together with someone else who is mourning, to lean on each other. Not just companionship--love. Family. Not merely a shoulder to cry on, but a heart to hold and be held by without having to explain why you are crying, since it cannot be explained.

It is also grief that seeks to be alone. To not have to speak. To not have to listen or explain. Just to sit and...(and there it is, the value of art and music and poetry) be alone with art, which is also something that is best understood outside thought.

It is outside the realm of words, outside the realm of comprehension, and can only be experienced. Felt.

And then she did not die. Not then. Not when we expected, when the plug was pulled. She still might, but not yet. Not today.

So the grief is gone, replaced with hope.

But having tasted it, just for a night, I will never be quite the same again.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

With impending grief, why do I find this so comforting?


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

An unnamed tragedy, not unfelt

Sorrow strikes and I cry.

And then seek solace in words.

And it is there.

Thank goodness for the poets who put them down.

She told me her novel, but never wrote it.
And now it's lost. The story can never be told again.
And there will be no good-bye.

I cry.

And I resolve to put the words on paper.
Nobody else can tell my tale.

Enough of tragedy. I can't bear to pile one more sorrow on, and so I write.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Did I just read that?

"only 150,000 Miles on her.New Caskets , New Oil change.Good tires."

from a craigslist car ad.

I guess this van is ready for you if you crash. Good thing they're NEW caskets. Nobody likes a used casket. It's too hard to figure out what to do with the old body.

Fantastic Opportunity for Writers

I am not available to do this, but it's a FANTASTIC opportunity for writers--and really affordable. How often do writers bemoan the fact that they can't get feedback from an agent? NOW is your chance.

Seriously.  Do it.

It's even for a good cause.

Fiction Writing Workshop
In honor of the Boulder Jewish Day School
Taught at the Boulder Jewish Day School, 7415 Lookout Road, Longmont CO 80503 (on Lookout Road just west of 75th off of 119)

Sunday March 13 and Sunday April 3. 9:30-11:30am
30 spots per day (the workshop is the same on both days, so pick whichever one is more convenient) RSVP quickly as this will fill up!
$50 per writer, check made out to Boulder Jewish Day School
RSVP via email to
Sara Megibow, Associate Literary Agent at Nelson Literary Agency, will lead a two hour writing workshop open to any fiction writer.
Do you write novels? Do you want to learn about the business of publishing fiction books? Are you looking for that elusive “critique” from a literary agent? If you are a writer – anywhere on your journey between that first sentence and published author – come join us!
The goal of the workshop is to look at your work with an eye towards publication. Sara will talk about the process of finding a literary agent, what a literary agent looks for in a submission and how agents go about selling books to major NY publishing houses. Each participant will be encouraged to bring their work – on paper, on a laptop, on a Kindle (yes, we will have internet access). After talking about the business of publishing, Sara will look at your work specifically (if you want her to) J

-          30 spots per workshop means VERY specialized attention
-          plenty of time for Q&A and personal critique of your novel (yes, Sara will look personally at your query letter, synopsis and/or novel if you’d like her to and will offer direct feedback)
-          Sara is actively acquiring new clients so will be open to pitches the day of the workshop, and will provide submission information for writers who may be interested in pursuing publication later
-          All proceeds (yes ALL proceeds) go directly to the Boulder Jewish Day School
-          Bagels and coffee will be provided, so even if you want to come simply to listen and enjoy a coffee, that’s fine
-          Manuscripts do NOT have to be complete in order to attend this workshop
-          The only restriction is that Sara represents fiction, so if you want personalized feedback on your novel it MUST be in one of these genres – romance (any category except inspirational), young adult or middle grade (any subgenre), science fiction or fantasy, women’s fiction, chick lit or commercial fiction
-          Yes, you can absolutely bring more than one project to workshop

Sara Megibow has been with the Nelson Literary Agency since early 2006. Her first responsibilities included reading the query letters, sample pages and full manuscripts submitted for representation. In early 2009, she was promoted to Associate Literary Agent and is now actively accepting submissions of her own. From sexy romance to epic fantasy, Sara has loved reading since picking up her first copy of The Hobbit. Some of the books Sara has helped acquire include NYTimes Bestselling HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford and NYTimes Bestselling PERFECT CHEMISTRY by Simone Elkeles. She has personally sold 6 debut authors in the last year (including the upcoming SCORE by Miranda Kenneally and THE SIREN by Tiffany Reisz). Sara has a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a B.A. in American History from Northwestern University. She lives in sunny Boulder with her beat-boxing husband, adorable son and two fuzzy cats. Nelson Literary Agency is a member in good standing of AAR, RWA, SCBWI and SFWA.

For more information on The Nelson Literary Agency, go here:

For more information on Sara, her sales, her tastes and her philosophy, go here:

To follow Sara on twitter, go here:  @SaraMegibow
RSVP: email to - your name, contact info (phone or email) and date you want to attend. Yes, you can ask limited questions at this email address if you need clarification on something.
Bring a check for $50.00 the DAY of the workshop, made out to Boulder Jewish Day School.
Boulder Jewish Day School is a fully accredited independent community day school whose motto is “Educational Excellence and Jewish Values.”

Why I’m doing this…
My son is in kindergarten at Boulder Jewish Day School. He reads and writes in Hebrew and English (at five years old) and this is thanks to the outstanding curriculum and world-class teachers he enjoys. This writing workshop is my chance to give back to the school. I know writers are eager for feedback and coaching from a literary agent. And, I am eager to meet new writers! Also, I want my son to know how much I value his school, his teachers and his education. So, all the money raised will go to support the literature programs at BJDS. Education should inspire and BJDS has proven itself to me as a mother over and over through the years. In fact, I just signed myself up for Hebrew classes (to catch up to my son).

Did I just read that?

"Father admits music group abuse (UKPA) – 7 hours ago"

Because, you know, music groups are the next drug....

Caleb says...

"Uh, Mom? What's the connotation of denotation?"

I was waiting for that one!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fantasy Map

My latest research:

Hypokalemic Sensory Overstimulation.

It has been proposed as a "different form of ADHD"--one where the brain is bombarded by too many stimuli instead of the brain being unable to process stimuli.

My initial reaction was, "This is Caleb!" My secondary reaction was, "Oh my gosh, this is me!" and my third reaction was, "Is this what we've been calling fibromyalgia as well as the ADHD/Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities/Sensory Processing Disorder/Asperger's Syndrome that have been proposed for Caleb?"

Whatever it is, it's genetic--shows up very clearly in my dad, at least one of my sisters, and me, and at least one of my children. The "tag" that helps you identify it? A lack of sensitivity to lidocaine. Need lots of shots to get your teeth numb at the dentist? Yeah. That's it.

Now I'm wondering if my cousins also have the lack of sensitivity to lidocaine? Uncles? Grandparents? I would love to get a genetic study on this (and have contacted the men who did the research on the paper--so we might get to be involved!).

Apparently the treatment is really easy: potassium supplements. Word on the street is it "cures" the sensory overload that is diagnosed as ADHD (and maybe fibro? Could it really be that easy to get relief?).

We will have to see.

Meanwhile, I might just take some potassium before I go to the doctor on Monday. Last week, when she removed a mole, the lidocaine didn't work almost at all. This week, I'd rather not take that chance again.

Caleb says....

After his English lesson today, Caleb asked, "What's the denotation of denotation? And what's the connotation of connotation?"


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nathanael says....

Upon pulling a paper scrap out of between the pages of a book: "This is a memory card!"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Did I just read that?

"Katy Perry walks the carpet with her grandma and hubby Russell Brand."
Read more:

Whoa. Bad enough that her grandma's name is Russell--but did she have to marry her?!

Benji says,

"Mom, you are a giant bagel and I am a hot dog."


Did I just read that?


"Treat breastfeeding like planing a wedding, or interviewing for a job. "

I'm trying to imagine what kind of plane you use to plane a wedding. A carpenter's plane? Airplane?

Sounds destructive....just like breastfeeding?

And I'm sorry, but most of us don't just...well....some things are best left unsaid. Still--Job interview and breastfeeding can't really be treated the same way. Not only does the interviewer not need what the baby is after, the baby certainly doesn't need your resume and isn't going to critique your method. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Did I just read that?

From Boulder Craigslist's free page today: "FREE 5 Drawer Black Dresser & Kids - (Thornton) pic"

Wow. Kids, too? I didn't think they were legal to give away.

This made me laugh a LOT

Friday, February 11, 2011

Did I just read that?

"Residents have repeated accidents and injuries, inadequate behavioral and psychiatric interventions, and relies on restraints to heavily, the report said."
Read more:

Residents relies on restraints for what? Comfort?   To heavily what? Sleep?

Sheesh. You'd think they don't expect people to actually read the articles!

What I read today

"Each of you is a unique child of God. God knows you individually. He sends messages of encouragement, correction, and direction fitted to you and to your needs."

" they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth."

" I am to build trust in God and His servants enough that we will go out and obey His counsel. He wants that because He loves us and wants our happiness. And He knows how a lack of trust in Him brings sadness."

"That trust comes from knowing God. More than any other people on earth, we have, through the glorious events of the Restoration of the gospel, felt the peace that the Lord offered His people with the words “Be still, and know that I am God.” 6 My heart is filled with gratitude for what God has revealed about Himself that we might trust Him."

"You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks."

BEST LDS blog post EVER

I think I love this blog!

What I read today

"When faith is properly understood and used, it has dramatically far-reaching effects. Such faith can transform an individual’s life from maudlin, common everyday activities to a symphony of joy and happiness. "

"Faith in the power of obedience to the commandments of God will forge strength of character available to you in times of urgent need. Such character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation. That is when it is intended to be used. Your exercise of faith in true principles builds character; fortified character expands your capacity to exercise more faith. As a result, your capacity and confidence to conquer the trials of life is enhanced. "

"Character is woven patiently from threads of applied principle, doctrine, and obedience."

"Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind."

"Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life. Such choices are made with trust in things that are believed and when acted upon are confirmed."

"What are some of the empowering principles upon which faith is based?
• Trust in God and in His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.
• Obedience to His commandments and a life that demonstrates that He can trust you.
• Sensitivity to the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit.
• Courageous implementation of that prompting.
• Patience and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and when answers come a piece at a time over an extended period."

" As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions you would not obtain otherwise. "

"A secure foundation for your growing character is laid by making Jesus Christ and His teachings the center of your life."
"Material things do not of themselves produce happiness and satisfaction and the joy of attainment on earth. Nor do they lead us to exaltation. It is nobility of character, that fabric of inner strength and conviction woven from countless righteous decisions, that gives life its direction."

"You become what you do and what you think about."

"You cannot successfully bolster a weak character with the cloak of pretense."

"But a testimony is not emotion."

"A strong testimony gives peace, comfort, and assurance. It generates the conviction that as the teachings of the Savior are consistently obeyed, life will be beautiful, the future will be secure, and there will be capacity to overcome the challenges that cross our path. "

"Humility is that quality that permits us to be taught from on high through the Spirit or to be taught from sources whose origin was inspiration from the Lord, such as the scriptures and the comments of the prophets. Humility is the precious fertile soil of righteous character. "

"Life may seem difficult now, but hold on tightly to that iron rod of truth. You are making better progress than you realize. Your struggles are defining character, discipline, and confidence in the promises of your Father in Heaven and the Savior as you consistently obey Their commandments. May the Holy Ghost prompt you to always make decisions that fortify your character and yield much joy and happiness."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Did I just read that?

Perhaps maybe this is the possibly best headline ever:

"Apophis asteroid will probably almost certainly not smash into Earth, say scientists"

And another source on the same story give us this:

"Still, Russian space officials apparently consider Apophis a significant threat to life on Earth despite the low odds of an impact. "People's lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and design a system that would prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people," Perminov said, according to RIA Novosti."
Not very good at hiding their motives behind the science, are they? People's lives are at stake--GIVE ME SEVERAL HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS!--to counter the 1 in 250,000 chance of someone getting hurt.

Okay. I'll pay up!

Very cool

The guy sealed his house up as a time capsule, and they opened it up a hundred years later.


Did I just read that?

Two in a row on the same site!

"February 10, 2011
'Felony' fox definitely lindsay is hot guilty"

Freudian slip, perhaps? (It does link to a real article, btw).

"February 10, 2011
'Wife-cheater' pol is exposed!"

Yes, indeed. His entire chest was, in fact, exposed.

Read more:

This one is actually hard to cite the source for. They were both in a list of recommended articles at the bottom of the article linked to above.  Here is a screen shot:

Benji says,

"Mom, I'm sorry to be your eyes not square."

He was looking at the reflection of my laptop in my glasses!

Did I just see that?

There is an iconic view of Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road that you find all over the place. The road is somewhat central in the composition, with a tree on the left and some green (often the Emerald City, which is all spire-y  like it's made of Evergreen Trees) in the background. Sometimes flowers, sometimes water....but it always kind of looks the same, so that even if you left Dorothy out, you'd know what the picture was really a picture of. You recognize it. It's that common.

Like here:

and this:

and this:

and this:

Even Google understood this is the iconic view of the Yellow Brick Road:

So did Thomas Kincaide:

And so did  Greg Olsen?

Did I just see that?

Am I the only person who finds this more than a little creepy? I mean, there you've got the "missionary"--and he's holding the stereotypical horror film murder weapon, and the title could go with maniacal laughter....

I know this is supposed to be a visual representation of scripture, but...some scriptures, perhaps, are best left unvisualized.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Did I just read that?

"A first-grade teacher in Maryland was arrested when police found out she was allegedly abusing her students during school hours."
Read more:

It would have been okay had she waited until school was out.....

The Truth (?) about ADD

No such thing as Attention Deficit.

"You are always paying attention to something. Attention is not the problem." Alejandro Lleras

This strikes me as SO true. You can't have a deficit of attention--attention is a constant. The deficit is in pleasing someone else by what you choose/must pay attention to. Sometimes in pleasing yourself, as well, I admit.

But the disorder needs a new name!

Other good quotes from the article:

""Constant stimulation is registered by our brains as unimportant, to the point that the brain erases it from our awareness," Lleras said. "So I thought, well, if there's some kind of analogy about the ways the brain fundamentally processes information, things that are true for sensations ought to be true for thoughts. If sustained attention to a sensation makes that sensation vanish from our awareness, sustained attention to a thought should also lead to that thought's disappearance from our mind!" "

This is why I don't nag, whenever I can help it. Constant stimulation is registered by the brain as unimportant. If you just say it over and over, your kids/spouse/students will TUNE IT OUT.

And maybe the ADD brain has some good ideas. Apparently, this research discovered that "prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance."

Nathanael Says....

Yesterday, Nathanael saw the moon was setting and tried to tell me about it: "Mom, the moon is coming down the sky."

I didn't understand what he said, so he tried again, "The moon is coming down the sky! See? The manana moon!"

Then I got it--the "banana moon"! How cute! I ran to the window and, sure enough, the moon looked like a banana resting in the sky. And it was going down the sky to the West.

So today he ran into the kitchen while I was preparing to make dinner and said, "You can't eat a manana moon."

I had to laugh. He was thinking a lot about it, I guess. Two year olds find such amazing things fascinating.

"You're right," I said. "You can't eat a banana moon."

"You can't reach a manana moon, Mom."


"I can't reach a manana moon and I can't eat a manana moon because I can't climb up the sky."

I love that kid!


I've posted pieces of this process before, but we had pizza tonight and I thought I'd post the whole process in one place--both for ease of reference and because we've updated the process.

So, Home Made Pizza, from scratch. It's a 3-part process.

First, the crust. Start this at least 2 hours before dinner.

Put 2 c hot (120 degrees or so) water in a mixer. Add 2 eggs, 2 handfuls of sugar (about 1/3 c), 2 tsp salt, 1/4 c oil (optional, we discovered tonight when we forgot it). Add 1 Tbsp of yeast. Let sit 10 minutes. When the yeast is dissolved and foamy, add 4 SERIOUSLY heaping cups of flour--as heaping as you can get them. Let the mixer do the work--mix for 5 minutes or more, until the dough is smooth and satiny. Cover and let raise for a long time in a warm place (I often turn the oven on to about 100 degrees, let it heat up, and then turn it off and put the bowl of dough in there). Leave it at least 2 hours. Punch it down when it starts going over the top of the bowl (about every half hour or 45 minutes). (This recipe also makes incredible bread, scones, and donuts.)

Second, the sauce. 

Put 4 small cans (or 2 big cans) of tomato sauce (about 30-32 oz) in a pot. Add 2 tbsp minced dried onion, 4 tsp Italian seasoning (I use the kind that costs $0.50 at WalMart), 2 tsp dried oregano, 2 tsp dried basil, 4 tsp sugar, garlic to taste (I use 1 tsp or so, but I just shake it in until it looks right), salt to taste (I shake in about 1/2 tsp), pepper to taste (I shake in about 1/4-1/2 tsp), and four pinches of red pepper flakes (optional). Stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste it before you use it and adjust the seasonings.

Finally, assembly.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Keep them covered when you aren't actually working on them. Work with one piece of dough at a time. Roll, pinch, press, pat, and stretch it until it is about 16 inches across in a circle or square. I roll it on the counter until it is about 12 inches across, then I put it into a greased pizza pan or cookie sheet (no cornmeal!) and stretch it gently and press it with my finger tips until it fills the pan completely. Cover with sauce (I splotch on 5-6 large spoonfuls and then smooth it around. Use about 1/5 of the total sauce for each pizza).  Sprinkle with cheese (we prefer a mixture of mozarella and medium cheddar, sprinkled with parmesan at the end). Top with your favorite toppings (we like ham, pepperoni, pineapple, mushrooms, olives). Let raise uncovered for 10-20 minutes (the longer it raises, the thicker your crust will be--technically, this is optional, but the crust comes out really thin if you don't let the pizza raise) while you start on the next pizza. Bake at 350 for 13-14 minutes, until the crust is just golden and the cheese is just starting to bubble. As soon as you take it out of the oven, remove the pizza from the pan. Let it cool on a cooling rack (this is REALLY important--if you don't, the crust ends up soggy.)


2 1/2 to 3 of these feed my family of 8 (but the kids are mostly small still!).

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Just realizing it?

Some of us Independents have wondered for a long time when Academia would realize it was a moral-tribal society that barred independent thinking:

The 7 Habits of Ineffective People

This guy shows a lot of insight into relationships (perhaps because he has the unique position of being able to analyze from the outside, since relationship-forming is not a natural skill for most Aspies? Just guessing, though.).

He cites here 7 habits that interfere with your social life.

 I would like to suggest that they be read as 7 things that can destroy a marriage or relationship with your children--with your looking at YOU, not your spouse or child.

After all, you can't change them. But you can change you.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Did I just read that?

"NASA has released the first 360-degree view of the entire sun today, just in time for Super Bowl Sunday."

Phew. Because, you know, they were going to cancel the Super Bowl if NASA hadn't come through. Right? Right?

Cuz football and the sun are related.  Somehow.

I can't believe this

This is what we're teaching our girls that boys should do:

"Mattel says the revamped Ken doll is "the ultimate boyfriend for every occasion," because he "says whatever you want him to say!" according to a report on Marshable."
Read more:

Really? That's what makes a man ideal? They have no ideas and no backbone? Great.

I was already peeved that they had introduced relationship drama to a toy that is supposed to be for little girls--never mind the physiologically impossible body shape and the fact that it's an adult doll that fosters "soap opera play"--making it formally "appropriate" for girls to have that kind of weird relationship drama was stupid.

Barbie, actually, is iffy in general (despite the fact that I loved the clothes when I was little).

More Benji Grammar

"Mom, I got a dream and I let you sleep."

Translation: ?

Your guess is as good as mine. When I asked, "Did you dream that you let me sleep?" he said, "Yes. Um. I don't know."

More Benji Grammar

"Will you check that one out to me?"

Translation: Will you show me that?

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Did I just read that?

You see the ad in the image? Yeah--Math Disability test. On a video about the mandelbrot set.

Somehow, I think that they missed their target audience this time......

Did I just read that?

From google news today: "Colo. man convicted of 2007 that killed 1, left 5 passengers injured"

2007 was a vicious year, I guess--and it's all his fault, whoever he is.


Now that's my kind of "prank"--leaving Snowdecahedrons all over the place.

Number 6

While the other kids were building a snowman, number 6 was sleeping.

He's gotten so big in 8 weeks that when I pulled out the box of 6-9 month old sized clothes by accident, he was wearing them for a week before I noticed it was the "wrong size"--because they fit and were a little snug!

Snow Man. or. The 5 Children and It.

Did I just read that?

What is the child's birth history?
Biological and uncomplicated
Biological and complicated
Non-biological and complicated
Non-biological and uncomplicated
This is from an online survey I took for parents of Gifted kids
So, tell me--how do you have a non-biological birth? Hmmm? And doesn't that, by its very definition, mean it is complicated?

Yeah.  I thought SENG, of all people, would understand that gifted kids are not cyborgs.....

Jell-o Cities. Very cool.

Did I just read that?

"Currently the team is working in -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit), but during the winter, it can get twice as freezing. Lake Vostok boasts the lowest recorded temperature on Earth: -89.4 degrees Celsius (-129 degrees Fahrenheit)."Read more:

I didn't know the two scales converged on -40 degrees! (They really do, actually. It just looks really funny in print this way.)

Here was the funny part, though: "twice as freezing" is an awkward phrase....I think "twice as cold" would be more grammatically sound.

Did I just read that?


"Longmont Museum exhibits American quits, not like your grandmother's collection"

Perhaps that's because Grandma exhibits quilts?

(Oh, and they are like my grandmother's collection. It just so happens that my grandmother is an award-winning American art quilter, just like the artists whose works are in the Longmont Museum.)

Current Research Around Our Place

(If you usually get this via email, click here to see the embedded videos on this post:

New videos.

That's what's up around here. We need new videos.

The biggest chunks of Tim's income in the last long while have always come as a result of his work online. So we need more videos. We emptied the garage and remodeled it into a movie studio (on a budget of $25 no less--Tim is a make-it-work GENIUS.)

But there is no value in making more of the same, and there is no value in making a video that won't "go anywhere" (ie not get further work, not get passed on, etc.)

The world of online videos is driven by trends that change really really fast.

We got introduced with this:

Corey used Tim's song and performance (with moosebutter), 4 boxes style.

Tim did his own 4 Boxes video:

It spawned "parody" ads overseas:

And a whole genre of kazoo videos (when Tim made his vid, there were maybe 3 other kazoo videos online, and none multitracked):

Notice what happened, though, over time?  No longer just 4 boxes. The whole concept developed, grew, changed, until 4 Boxes is, well, passe.

So now we're seeing the trend going here, being used by groups:

There's this:

And here, being used by solo artists still, but with enhancements:

And here, which is drifting even further from the 4 Boxes idea:

And this--it's all the same guy, but no boxes:

So that's one approach to a solo performer doing all the parts. You have multi-tracked songs, either performed live or performed lip-synced, showing each part in a box.

But there are other solo performers, like Tim, who do ALL the parts live. And they are interested in showing that in their videos--that they can perform all the parts by themselves live.

So we've been looking at videos from other performers who do the whole shebang live:

That 1 Guy, who does everything himself live using that cool, funky electronic instrument he invented:

BeardyMan, who is one of the early live loopers and who takes the more common DJ approach to looping:

I love how BeardyMan shows visually the movement of the loops in his song, and also how he uses hats to indicate when he's laying down different parts. Also love the view of his equipment on the table that anchors the video at the bottom there.

There is also DubFX's "Rude Boy":

I like that you can see just what he's doing there, what he has in his "rig".

So there you have it--the research we've been doing into solo a cappella artists and live loopers (and other solo artists) and how they show what they're doing.

Of course, the videos have been embedded in a larger, ongoing discussion here at home.

Tim doesn't want to just do what's been done. Especially not quite as good as has been done before. He needs to add to the evolution in order for it to be worthwhile, so we're talking, looking, dreaming, imagining....hopefully soon we'll be creating. (It has to warm up first--our garage is not heated.).

Hopefully soon we'll have videos to show you.

Meanwhile, a video of a live performance by Tim of his original song "Heartbreaks", taken by a fan.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

More Benji Grammar

"Is that a nothing baba in there?"

(translation: "Is there nothing in that bottle?" or "Is the cupboard that holds bottles empty?"

Did I just read that?

This came in the mail today. On a Pizza Hut ad: "New Menu Prices Every Day!"

Really? So I'll never know what I'm going to end up paying for my pizza because the prices change every day?


That's bad for a budget.

(Funny how "New Everday Menu Prices!" means the opposite of "New Menu Prices Every Day!" Placement of your words matters in English!)

Thin Women

I've been watching little videos, and looking at slide shows of formal gowns from all the award shows lately (I  admit it--I love pretty dresses).  What I've seen has surprised me. Not because I've never seen it before, but because somehow I couldn't SEE it before.

Most of the stars out there look downright sickly. Really grossly thin. Unrealistic for a human body. Not healthy.

Not even pretty.

Not even vaguely attractive.

Certainly not healthy.

This video pretty much visualizes it for me.

See? Pearl Baily looks gorgeous. Dinah Shore looks horribly thin. Emphasis on the horrible.

Here, too, see?

Just like one day I realized that many many people in Hollywood have the same exact nose, and that's unreal, I'm looking at all these adult women who are shaped like 14-year-olds, only with oversized busts, and I'm wondering how we ended up in a world that thinks this is not only  normal, but ideal. It doesn't even look real. Or normal.

Weird world we live in.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

SO excited about this--can't not share it.

This is the coolest site on the web.  Seriously.

You can now walk 17 of the world's greatest art museums virtually. Zoom in on paintings. Make comments.

You can even make a personal art collection that you can share with others.

Incredible. I love this place.

Secret Agent L

For Family Home Evening, we became spies. Following the lead of Secret Agent L (, we became Secret Service Spies (who do Service, of course). The kids picked spy names and thought of nice things to do for each other and for others, and they liked the idea a lot. Me, too. Sounds like a fun hobby.

Be Kind. No Exceptions.