31 October 2008

27 in 33

By the time I turn 33 in March, I will have moved 27 times. And I have spent multiple years in multiple houses. My first move was when I was 4½ years old, so really it will be 27 times in 29 years. Moving sucks. So why am I moving again? Because I have to. We don't exactly think this place is paradise (far from it), but we had hoped on staying until we could move onto our own land so we would never have to move again. Alas, the housing authority has to upgrade everything in order to change the way they are funded since their current funding is going away. They are switching from subsidized rents to Section 8, which is a program that provides housing vouchers for those who are eligible. There is lots of good news about this.
  • The HA is paying for all costs associated with the move, including movers. I have never had movers help before. This will be delightful.
  • The HA will help us find a place to go. Extra eyes scouring the For Rent ads will be useful, and I am sure the HA has connections to local landlords.
  • We can finally get out of the projects and not have to listen to "He-ey!" all day or threats of violence at 11:00 at night.
  • Occupancy laws require them to find us at least a 4 bedroom dwelling, "even if that means we have to put you in a house." Oh, twist my arm.
  • We can go anywhere within the HA's jurisdiction, which is a pretty generous area -- this entire county plus part of the neighboring county. I would like to get back to the towns near where we have family.
  • Moving in March will allow me to still have a garden since I won't have put a lot of work into a garden just to leave it behind when we move.
  • Did I mention we get movers for free?
The down side is that we do have to move again. They are remodeling one building at a time, moving everyone out of each building and trying to keep them as close as possible so as to disrupt lives as little as possible. There is no building-by-building timetable yet, but construction begins March 1. There are 220 households affected and we will all be switched to Section 8 at that time. I'm not waiting for them to get to my building. We will go in March so as to have a chance to settle in to our new place before starting in on the garden. Fortunately, homeschooling means there will be no disruption for the kids on that front. No changing of schools part way through the year.

I have five months to declutter. Five months to decide what we will keep and what will be gotten rid of. Even with movers helping (which would have been nice for either of the two moves we made while I was 7 months pregnant), I want to pack as little as possible. I have five months to imagine what our new place will be like. I have five months to mentally gear up for yet another move. I don't think I've ever had that long before.

21 October 2008


My best bud posted this at her site, so i thought I would join in.
* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

"John and Barbara gurgled from their perambulator."

I had to hunt under the piles of papers threatening to fall off my desk to find a book. Turns out I had rescued a small pile of books from destruction by the boy (who turned 2 today). The books in the pile are Mary Poppins (on top) and two Hardy Boys books from when I was a kid, The Flickering Torch Mystery and The Mystery of Cabin Island.

What about you? Feel free to post it in the comments.

14 October 2008

Some thoughts on religion in our country

My brother-in-law forwarded this to me today. He often forwards me many posts about loving God and how we as a nation should embrace our love of God. I love my brother-in-law dearly, but usually these posts leave me saddened that others feel that they need to force their Godness on others, rather than speaking to the more universal aspects of Christianity. But this post was different. Instead of feeling battered about by a Bible, I felt a call for religious tolerance. Maybe that wasn't the point of the post, but it is what I came away with. I am not a Christian. I am a Unitarian Universalist, and the UU religion is based on support of diversity of beliefs. I personally feel most comfortable with Earth-based creeds, and the UU faith encourages me to follow that. I love my faith because I feel that it demands that we follow our religion and develop our spirituality, regardless of what specific doctrine and path to spirituality we choose. I think this post touches on that.

I wish that America could find a middle ground, one that allows everyone to feel welcome, be they fundamentalist Christian or devout Pagan or decidedly atheist. Our country was supposedly based on religious freedom (not really, the Puritans were anything but religiously tolerant), and yet we have become a bizarre mix of fundamental Christian and Atheist. There is a middle ground. Just because one person wants to do something doesn't mean they are going to try to force you to do the same. I do not believe prayer or Bibles (or any other religious trapping) should be required in school, but I also don't believe they should be banished from school either. I think prayer groups for students are fine, since anyone who wants to can go and if they don't want to, they don't have to. I am even fine with the school permitting use of their space for such a group and for other groups of differing religions.

Okay, on to the post from my brother-in-law:

Remarks from CBS Sunday Morning (everyone should read!)

I only hope we find God again before it is too late!!


The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning


My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are sl ighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on

your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they

will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

03 October 2008

What I've been doing

It seems that it has been almost a month since I last posted. Shame on me. So what have I been doing? Well, we have been finishing up the garden. We got about 10 carrots, the longest of which was about 3-4", a dozen or so good sized potatoes (which is remarkable, since I never hoed them or did anything else with them), a handful of tomatoes, a boatload of cherry tomatoes (which we don't eat and I would have bought a different type of tomato if I had realized that one was a cherry tomato), a few peas, several cucumbers, several blossoms of broccoli and cauliflower, some lettuce and lots of lettuce seeds, a strawberry or two in the few days after we brought them home, some tiny onions, and a couple of radishes that never got big enough to even be a single bite. We are still waiting on the beans that I planted very late. The beans are growing nicely, but now I worry that they won't have time to dry properly before the season is over.

I learned some valuable lessons with this garden, though. First of all, I can actually grow something and not have it die as soon as it sprouts. That discouraged me for a long time. I learned that watermelon and pumpkin really do need sun rather than mostly shade. The potatoes did okay in the shade, producing a half dozen or so that were as big as my fist. We had nine potato plants. The "Atomic Red" carrots are really red and look neat. Tomatoes should definitely be caged, preferably with something other than a bent split cheap curtain rod. Trellises need to be securely planted in the ground for the peas and cucumbers so they don't continually fall over onto the peas and beans and squish them. Slugs really like strawberry plants. Inchworms really like broccoli and are nearly impossible to see there. It is a good thing I started working with the white cauliflower first and saw the green worm against the white flowers. Yuck. If I hoe the potatoes, I could probably get a lot more potato from each plant. Fences would have been nice so as not to lose baby plants to 3-year-old neighbors stepping on them to reach the first bright red cherry tomato or to 5-year-old neighbors playing lawnmower with a stick. I can really put a lot of stuff in a small space using the square foot method, but I really should do it right and not try to fudge it by eyeballing distances. My "feet" turned out to be closer to 14-15" rather than 12", thus requiring a bit more weeding. I already have nest year's garden planned out, and it will be roughly twice as big as this year's.

In addition to the garden, the school year has started up. Moira has done a block of mathematics and is now starting a block on farming, while Lauren started with a block on form drawing and is now beginning her letters. Oh, and we did a week on nature as well at the equinox. One day that week we harvested elderberries from a tree in the park nearby and made elderberry syrup for coughs and colds this winter. The people on the internet lie. Whoever would put elderberry syrup into yogurt is masochistic. The stuff tastes like Robitussin, which I suppose is appropriate. Ick. Even with extra sugar to try to make it more palatable. Now it tastes like a very sweet bitter flavor. Moira agreed that it did work for her the one time she took it, and is amenable to taking it again if she gets to hacking her lungs out again.

And finally, knitting. My order of yarn came in from Knitpicks.com and now I am slowly but surely working on Christmas presents. Since I know they will never read this blog, I will telly ou what I am making. For hubby and Eirik, I am making earflap hats (scroll way down to #37). For Cait I am making Pixie slippers since she is the only one in the house now without warm woollen slippers. I saw her Shrek slipper today but I don't know where the other one is, unless the one Rowan was using as a treasure holder is the other one and not the one I saw today. Moira is getting a lace cowl, Lauren is getting tights (no pattern or picture, but I am using this yarn, color Princess Multi), and Rowan is getting bloomers. My goal is to have them all done by December 1 so I don't get overwhelmed in December. We will see how that goes.

So that is what I have been doing other than worrying about the economy, the election, and all the other normal everyday worrying that everyone else is doing.