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The Hibernator rushes for finishing touches on wedding plans

This is a continuation of the topic The Hibernator Welcomes Records Her Steps.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Mar 7, 12:44pm Top

Hi, my name's Rachel (the_hibernator). I'm recently engaged to a science-fiction reader/gamer (Aaron) who has two kids: D (8yo) and M (5yo). The wedding will be May 19th. I have two handsome nephews and one beautiful niece: J (14yo), B (3yo), and L (2yo). I have three cats: Myra, Hero, and Puck.

I try to read a variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Edited: Mar 12, 7:23am Top

2018 Books Read

1. American Psychosis, by E. Fuller Torrey
2. Incarceration Nations, by Baz Dreisinger
3. Roots, by Alex Haley
4. Against the Tide, by Tui T. Sutherland
5. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
6. Get Ready to Get Pregnant, by Michael C. Lu
7. Mouse Guard Fall 1152, by David Peterson
8. Shadow Land, by Elizabeth Kostova
9. Caesar's Last Breath, by Sam Kean
10. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
11. The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher
12. The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H. G. Wells
13. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
14. I Stop Somewhere, by T. E. Carter

Mar 7, 12:47pm Top

I just bought my "wedding dress!" I decided to go for a Salwar Kamise instead of a sari to save myself the headache of tying it properly. It's a surprise, though - you'll see it when I post the wedding pictures in May.

Edited: Mar 12, 7:21am Top

Currently Reading

Mar 7, 12:57pm Top

Happy new one, Rachel. Great topper. >3 The_Hibernator: LOL, looking forward to your wedding dress.

Mar 7, 5:19pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel.
Good you found your wedding dress :-)

Mar 7, 5:54pm Top

Happy new thread Rachel! Glad you found your wedding dress already. We eagerly await its unveiling soon. :D

Edited: Mar 7, 7:38pm Top

Summary: Mr. Prendrick is stranded on a strange island with two people - the drunken and uncaring Montgomery and the enigmatic, violent Doctor Moreau. As Prendrick begins to discover the mysteries of the island, he feels more and more danger to his life.

My thoughts: Wells' stories are so deep and thoughtful. He explores his unique belief system in a way that is inspiring and energetic. I love his allegory, I love the plot, and I love how much this book made me think.

Well-Educated Mind Analysis: Even though this book is not one of those suggested by Bauer's The Well Educated Mind, I'm using her outline of questions to analyze this story:

👽What is the most central life-changing event?

Predrick's landing on the island is the most central life-changing event in the book.

👽Am I transported? Do I see, feel, and hear this other world?


👽Can I sympathize with the people who live there? Do I understand their wants and desires and problems? Or am I left unmoved?

I can sympathize with all characters in that they are well-developed enough that I understand what their motives are. Prendrick is motivated by a will to stay alive, no matter what. Moreau by a desire for great discovery. And Montgomery is simply controlled by forces more powerful than himself.

👽Is this a fable or a chronicle?

The Island of Doctor Moreau is a fable in that it has fantastical elements, and a chronicle in that it supposedly takes place to a "real" character in the "real" world.

If the novel is a chronicle, how are we shown reality: Physical? Mental?

This story is told mainly through the observations of the physical reality around Prendrick.

If the novel is a fable, what was the intent? Is it an allegory? If not, is it speculation?

To me, this story has two major allegories: The beastly nature of man, and the devolution of God as science emerges, and the fact that this can have terrible consequences.

The first allegory is first seen in Montgomery's boredom with whether or not he saves Predrick's life. Montgomery is an apathetic man who is motivated by nothing but the chaotic world around him. Just as beasts most generally are. Moreau epitomizes the beastly nature of man by not caring about the pain he inflicts on his victims - he is motivated solely by his own interests. Even Prendrick's motivations are animalistic in nature - he is motivated by survival. But it's not just the characters that show the animalistic nature of man in this story. It's the events. The "men" of the island started out as animals, they struggled for years against their animalistic urges when they were "men," but those urges were always there, and then, when there was no god to keep them in order, they regressed back into animals.

The second allegory, the devolution of god, develops when Prendrick is first visiting the beast people and they begin to recite the Law - building up Moreau to be a god. It shows how beasts with a mind (i.e. men) can build up a god in their head based on their fear and sense that there must be some punishment to not follow their values. Then, when Moreau dies, the beast people realize that god is mortal; that there is no reason to obey the law. They therefore descend again into bestiality. This suggests that the state of religion in modern times, as a result of an understanding of science, is falling apart. Religions, as they stand, don't fit the needs of the people any longer, and without a god, there is no reason to keep a moral law and we become beasts.

This fits a statement made by H. G. Wells in The Fate of Homo Sapiens: "there is no creed, no way of living left in the world at all, that really meets the needs of the time… When we come to look at them coolly and dispassionately, all the main religions, patriotic, moral and customary systems in which human beings are sheltering today, appear to be in a state of jostling and mutually destructive movement, like the houses and palaces and other buildings of some vast, sprawling city overtaken by a landslide."

👽What does the central character want? What is standing in his or her way? What strategy is pursued to overcome this block?

As I said earlier, Prendrick was motivated by a desire to survive. Ever since stepping foot on the island, every decision he made was one which took into account his own personal safety. There were many dangers (real of imagined) that he faced. Would Doctor Moreau torture him like he tortured these animals? Would the beast men eat him alive? Prendrick's first attempt to escape was run into the island, but that was before he realized what kinds of dangers inhabited the island. After Moreau and Montgomery were killed, he protected himself by trying to uphold the law in the eyes of the beast-men. When he discovered that without their "god," they were descending into beasts again, he built a raft to float away from the island.

👽Who is telling you this story? Is this person reliable?

The person telling the story is Prendrick in the first person. The prologue to the story provided some "historical" evidence that the story was, indeed, truthful; though the fact that this evidence had to be presented in the first place seeded doubt in the minds of the readers. Overall, I'd take the story as literal (though fictional) truth.

👽Where is the story set?

The story is set on an island, mostly natural but with some human construction. The wild untamed natural part of the island where the beast people lived represents the real world of humans. It is something to explore, something to get to know, something that can be dangerous if not understood. The huts that the humans lived in (called The House of Pain by the beast people), represented the structure in which god currently resides - i.e. the House of Pain represents the world religions in which we house our beliefs in god. However, as soon as the beast people realize that these structures can be destroyed and therefore have no power over them, the beast people no longer feel compelled to obey the law (their morals).

👽 Beginnings and endings. Does the beginning sentence/scene come with meaningful imagery that represents where the story is going? Does the end have a resolution or a logical exhaustion?

The first sentence is a detailed and precise description of what happened to Prendrick's ship when he was originally marooned. This is provided as evidence to say "what is about to take place is true."

The ending chapter of the story entitled "The Man Alone" shows the state of man as Wells presumably saw it. That man is degrading to a beast because the world religions are no longer enough to keep our values safe. As Prendrick says:

"Then I look about me at my fellow men. And I go in fear. I see faces keen and bright, others dull or dangerous, other unsteady, insincere; none that have the calm authority of a reasonable soul. I feel as though the animal was surging up through them; that presently the degradation of the Islanders will be played over again on a larger scale."

👽Did the writer’s times affect him?

Wells lived in a time where the theory of evolution was having a powerful impact on the way people saw humanity. Eugenics was taking off and people were asking the questions: "Are there different stages of humanity in which some are more evolved than others?" "Are there people who are more 'fit' and therefore more deserving of survival?" These are huge moral questions that, before, were left for God to sort out.

👽Is there an argument in this book? If so, do you agree?

This is a hard question for me. I am a Catholic, so I am part of an organized religion which Wells apparently scorned. However, I do believe that organized religions did not keep up with the needs of its followers. We are stuck in a world in which there are so many reasons not to believe in God, and those reasons are mainly due to the rigidness of organized religions. Because of this doubt, it is easy to let our values slip because we doubt that anyone is watching or that there will be consequences to our actions. In that way, we may become beasts - driven by animalistic pleasures and not by a higher moral ground. Then again, I know plenty of atheists who have a very good value system (by my standards) as well as many who do not (again, by my standards). So it remains to be seen whether humanity will win out, or if the beasts inside of us will.

Mar 7, 8:41pm Top

The University of Michigan is teaming up with Coursera to create Teach-Outs which are week-long MOOC lecture series which address problems currently faced in society today. The following are notes for lecture set 3 of Solving the Opioid Crisis.

This lecture was given by Daniel Clauw, Professor of Anesthesiology, Medicine (Rheumatology) and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. He serves as Director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. Until January 2009 he also served as the first Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research within the University of Michigan Medical School, and PI of the UM Clinical and Translational Sciences Award (CTSA).

People are mainly focused on the deaths by overdose due to opioids, but another aspect of the epidemic is that many people are on opioids long term due to chronic pain. This is not a good use of opioids, since they do not target many forms of chronic pain, so doctors are no longer prescribing them (as often) for this purpose. Chronic pain that is located in a certain body part (such as in osteoarthritis) can be helped by a small dose of opioids, but pain originates in the nervous system (like fibromyalgia) is not helped by opioids.

Opioids bind the same receptors as endorphins, so when people are given opioids their endorphin systems are being hijacked. When someone has been on opioids for years, it is difficult to take them off because they no longer have a normally functioning endorphin system. There should be two sets of rules for prescribing opioids: those for people who have been on opioids chronically and those who are newly starting with a pain control regimen.
Until the 1990s, people who died of opioid overdose were heroine addicts that started on heroine. They were lower socioeconomic class, inner city, and black. Therefore, it wasn't considered a major problem by the privileged classes. However, in the 90's, doctors started over-prescribing opioids so that now, 60 to 70 percent of people who die of opioid overdose started with a prescription. That's something the privileged majority is willing to pay attention to.

This lecture came with the following discussion question: Dan Clauw mentions the pharmaceutical industry’s argument that access to opioids are “a human right”. Do you agree with this sentiment? If so, why? If not, why?

I believe that healthcare and access to proper medications is a human right. However, I do not believe that there is a human right to be pain-free. If the risks of giving opioids outweighs the benefits, then opioids should not be prescribed.

Mar 7, 9:19pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel. I really enjoyed The Princess Diarist when I listened to it last year. Based on your previous thread, I also borrowed, and then ended up purchasing The Well-Educated Mind. I'll be reading it very slowly - don't know if I will read the books she recommended but I want to try her methodologies/questions on books that I read.

>9 The_Hibernator: Very interesting subject and discussion question. It certainly doesn't seem like opioids are the answer.

Mar 7, 9:30pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel!

Mar 8, 9:20am Top

Happy new thread!

Mar 8, 10:07am Top

Happy new thread, Rachel! And congrats on finding you wedding dress - most exciting!

Mar 8, 10:40am Top

>5 Ameise1: >6 FAMeulstee: >7 jolerie: >11 karenmarie: >12 drneutron: >13 Crazymamie: Thanks All!

>10 rretzler: Hi Robin! I hope you enjoy The Well Educated Mind, it has proven quite useful to me. I finished Princess Diarist this morning, and quite enjoyed it. :)

Edited: Mar 8, 10:44am Top

These are notes from a Coursera lecture series entitled Everyday Parenting - The ABCs of Child Rearing.

Lecture one: Praise>

Doctor Kazdin suggests using effusive (his word) praise immediately after a child's behavior in order to reinforce that behavior. For instance, I should say M, great job putting on your outside clothes quickly! While having tone of voice rise with excitement and gesturing with my hands. This should be followed by a light, kind touch like a hug, kiss, high five or whatever. (I am not good at effusive praise because I think praise should match the task completed. Effusive praise for getting on outside clothes seems condescending.)

Lecture two: Antecedents

Doctor Kazdin suggests that using antecedents can make behavior either more or less likely to occur depending on the content of the antecedent. For instance, if you started a sentence with "If you really loved me..." it makes the child less likely to obey. Antecedents should be used strategically. There are three types of antecedent that change behavior.

The first type he names "prompts." They are instructions that ask or tell someone to do something. Often, it's best for that prompt to be specific. For instance the verbal prompt "I want you to brush your teeth," could then be followed up with a physical prompt of leading the child to her toothbrush.

The second type of antecedent he calls "positive setting events," and the third "negative setting events." Following a positive antecedent a child is more likely to behave and she is less likely to behave after a negative antecedent. These can be subtle like tone of voice or facial expression. Ordering a child to do something with a frown on your face is a negative antecedent. Whenever possible, use a gentle tone of voice. If you are far away, come closer so that you don't have to yell across a room.

Providing a child a choice may also help the child to behave. For instance, a choice of what to wear when you tell them to get dressed. "Please put on one of these two shirts."

Dr. Kazdin suggests using the word "please" as an antecedent, though he says many parents don't like using "please" with their children. (I'm not sure why parents would feel that way, but ok.)

Another way of encouraging a child to behave is to offer help. Once the behavior is started, help can be slowly withdrawn and praise can be given to the child for starting the behavior on her own.

He also suggests challenging a child by saying "I bet you can't do that again. No child could do that until they're all grown up." (This, like the effusive praise, seems a bit too condescending to me and I would feel fake doing it.)

Mar 8, 1:34pm Top

Happy New Thread, Rachel. xx

Edited: Mar 8, 3:09pm Top

Happy New Thread, Rachel! Is you fiancé still planning on wearing a kilt?

I just finished reading your comments on the previous thread about totalitarianism. Scary stuff. I have a friend that has been doing quite a bit of reading on that topic. She's convinced me to read How Democracies Die which I've just started and is excellent. It so far is making very similar points.

I'll definitely have to check out the short MOOC's. I love that they only last a week.

Are you following along with the next Now Read This? I've ordered Exit West but it hasn't come yet. I do wish they'd announce the next book a little more in advance.

Mar 9, 7:57am Top

>16 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul!

>147 I should probably read How Democracies Die, as well. Should put it on my Audible wish-list. I have been paying attention to Now Read This, though I am simply requesting the books from the library and waiting for my turn. With my luck, they'll all appear at the same time!

Mar 9, 3:30pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel

>15 The_Hibernator: I'm not sure the reasoning for parents not to use manners with their child but I feel that children do as they see. My husband and I say please and thank you to them and we expect it in return. I feel that manners are important for small children to learn.

My husband likes to make a game of "I bet you can't do that again." with our three year old when she is being stubborn about eating. I find it helps makes certain situations more fun for her. Not sure if it would be as effective with older children though or if used in a more serious way.

Mar 9, 4:11pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel. Did you make it to your in-person book club or is that yet to come? Driving and finding a place to park also make me anxious so I tend to take transit when I don't know the area or if it is downtown where parking is a problem and meeting new people can be nerve racking enough!

Mar 9, 4:24pm Top

>19 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! Yes, that's exactly why I think "please" and "thank-you" should be used. I could use them more often myself, mostly because I forget to, not because I am uncomfortable doing so. I had a bit of a run in today with trying to get D to give M the remote. She usually obeys pretty quickly when you tell her to do something, but not today. And it didn't end well. *sigh* Not sure what I could have done better, though. What do you do when they just refuse to do something? I eventually just snatched it from her as she curled into an angry little protective ball. :( She got over it quickly enough, though. There's a huge learning curve to this parenting thing, and it's hard being a new step-parent.

As for the "bet you can't do that again..." Aaron agrees. He says that it works quite well. And I can see myself doing it with a 2 year old potty training or something like that. But with an 8 and a 5 year old? It just feels insincere and cheesy.

>20 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! I didn't end up making it because Aaron had friends come in from out of town unexpectedly. Then I realized that I really should focus on seeing Morphy more often for our bookclub instead of ignoring that bookclub and going to a Meetup one with strangers. Not that I was purposely ignoring Morphy, but the third member of our group is having difficulty finding time. So I figured Morphy and I could hang out just the two of us if my other friend can't make it. We'll be meeting once a month again - third Sundays unless otherwise specified. We read Princess Diarist for the upcoming one.

Mar 9, 4:30pm Top

Today was a day off school for the kids. I tried to get them out of the house to an indoor park since they were getting argumentative with each other, but they unfortunately took it as a threat "since you're not getting along, I think we should get out of the house." They decided to behave so they could continue liquefying their brains in front of the TV. I plan on getting the parental controls up on the TV and tablets tonight when they're in bed and starting the new screen-time limitation rules tomorrow. Wish me luck. I do NOT look forward to their reactions.

About to go to swim lessons for the kids. And tomorrow will be a birthday party for a 3yo friend, so hopefully they'll not suffer too much from our terrible rules.

Mar 9, 7:26pm Top

We are also big on modelling behaviour for our kids. Please and thank you is the bare minimum. Whenever we say it to someone in public (i.e. someone holding a door for us), my little guy will always chime in with a big thank you because he hears us saying it. There is always opportunity with one another as well because they are required to apologize to each other and to say I forgive you as well to understand that you need to treat people the way you would want to be treated... It's definitely a lot of work but I well worth the effort. :D

Edited: Mar 10, 6:48am Top

>21 The_Hibernator: on the "refusing to do something" front I'm not sure what to tell you. My oldest is only three and hasn't quite figured out that she can refuse things yet. She tries and I get stern and she loses. If she is really naughty about something we have a chair that she has dubbed "her time out chair" and she has to sit there quietly and think about why she is there, but again that's not something that would effective with older kids, IMO. My parents were big fans of grounding or loss of privileges, but I guess with the anxiety issues maybe you could ask the school psychiatrist for recommendations on how to deal with the refusal issue.

I guess I would also suggest pick your battles wisely. Some things are not worth fighting over or getting involved in. Not sure why you were taking the remote from one child to give to the other, but was that maybe something they should have been working out between themselves? I don't know the situation but sometimes siblings need to work things out (or argue) on their own. I'm not looking forward to both my girls being teenagers as I can only imagine how that will go! My sister and I argued constantly!

Mar 10, 8:08am Top

>24 ChelleBearss: Well, D was being a bully to M all day. In this particular situation the house rule before I came here was to take turns on the TV. It was clearly M's turn (even D didn't argue that) she just didn't want to watch his choice. So she was keeping the remote from him and he was crying. Intervention was thus necessary and normal for the household rules.

I will talk to her therapist next time I ser her, and ask a good way to deal with blunt refusal. 😊

Mar 10, 12:56pm Top

Still lurking around. Can't seem to keep up with all the talk so I'll just poke around a little. :) Happy new thread.

Edited: Mar 11, 12:03pm Top

Happy new thread Rachel!

>3 The_Hibernator: Take it that, if I could wolf-whistle, I just did.

>15 The_Hibernator: I think I pretty much agree with you.

>21 The_Hibernator: >25 The_Hibernator: I find count downs work quite well. You could be the bad guy and say “If you don’t give him the remote by the time I count to 5, the TV goes off (and stays off)”. Don’t ever bluff with your consequences and don’t ever let them talk you out of it :0)

Mar 11, 12:33pm Top

Happy new thread Rachel. You sound very busy!

Mar 11, 12:45pm Top

>25 The_Hibernator: Ah, I understand. Sounds like you are taking the best steps that you can. Good luck. There is a million ways to be a parent and you will find what works for you all.
I tend to lose my patience a lot quicker than my husband.

Mar 11, 9:23pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel! I can't wait to see the wedding dress pictures.

Parenting is hard, and I think step-parenting has extra challenges. Our favorite school-age parenting books were by Anthony Wolf. The one I remember was It's Not Fair; Jeremy Spencer's Parents Let Him Stay Up all Night

Edited: Mar 12, 7:36am Top

>26 Kassilem: That's ok Melissa. I often feel that way on the threads, too.

>27 humouress: Hi Nina! I tried a countdown once, and it worked fairly well. I probably should have tried it with D when she had the remote, of course. Though I would have taken screen-time away from her, only, because in this case it really was just her. She was being a bully. Both physically and emotionally all day. Bullies make me angry, and I shouldn't allow my anger to influence my decision making with the kids. But this parenting thing takes practice. Actually, this being human thing takes practice. :)

>28 charl08: Hi Charlotte!

>29 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! Aaron loses his patience a lot quicker than I do. That was an example of me losing my patience and regretting it, but it's actually rare that I get that frustrated with either of the kids. Like I said to Nina, I don't like bullies, and she was being a bully.

>30 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda! I'll definitely check Wolf out. I have a few parenting books already stockpiled that I'm going to start with before buying more, but those will go on my wishlist at the library.

Mar 12, 7:46am Top

Saturday was the first day of our new screen-time rules for the kids, and they took it much better than I thought. We ended up playing a game of Sorry as one screen-time earning opportunity and then I read Amulet: Stonekeeper for a while as the second screen-time earning opportunity. They didn’t throw a fit or anything – seemed to take it as a challenge.

Saturday we went to a birthday party for my friend’s nephew, L (3). I brought my nephew B, my niece L, and my step-kids-to-be M and D. The party was a lot of fun, though A and I came home a bit over-stimulated. Luckily D did a good job of dragging B around with her, so I really only had one little one to chase around. I thought this portrait of them was a gem:


Aaron and I decided that we would subscribe to The Economist. I’ve subscribed on and off in the past and always felt that it provided more information than I was capable of reading in a week. But now that there are two of us reading it, the subscription feels more worthwhile.


For our family night on Sunday, we rented How to Train Your Dragon. That is such an adorable movie.

Aaron and I also finished watching the fifth season of Supernatural, and started in on the 6th. I’m as of yet unimpressed and wish they’d ended it at the natural conclusion of the series (5). They had to jump the shark a bit to reboot after they tied up most of the important plots in 5.

I finished reading The Island of Doctor Moreau and listening to three audiobooks. Reviews all upcoming.

Currently Reading

On today's agenda:

*Take measurements of my sister and order her sawar.

*M has a therapist appointment. I'm going to have to talk to the therapist and ask her if play therapy is really the best option for the kids...at least for D. I don't know the purpose of play therapy, but the last therapy appointment with D was just talking about her dolls until I redirected the conversation to more pertinent issues.

*D has an orthodontist appointment today. She's getting what I believe is called a spacer to increase the size of her upper palate. She is rather excited about the appointment. I don't really expect her to like the equipment, though. Doesn't sound fun to me.

Edited: Mar 12, 7:50am Top

Before I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I was diagnosed with depression and put on an antidepressant. Doctors need to be careful when prescribing antidepressants to people with Bipolar Disorder because many antidepressants can cause mania in patients with Bipolar Disorder. I recently unearthed some of my poetry from my first-ever truly manic days. (Ever since then, I have had several manic episodes. I think the antidepressant rewired my brain.)

Over the next few weeks, I will publish it stanza by stanza.

Facing my Demons

I sit in a tomb
dark, except for a flickering red glow.
Eerie screams of tortured souls
slither up from the catacombs.
The despair of the lost potentiates my own.
But they’re not really there.
All in my head.
My friends outside push and heave at the tombstone.
They want to save me.
But they can’t. Because they’re not really there.
All in my head. Shall I go down?

Edited: Mar 12, 7:50am Top

I hesitate before taking my first step.
Once I make this choice
down is the only way out.
Am I ready for this?
Or will I be just another lost soul?
Unable to retreat
Too afraid to face the demons further down.
My friends outside have become quiet
have they given up?
moved on to happier friends
who walk easier paths?
Why burden themselves
with my problems?
I take the step.

Mar 12, 7:49am Top

The screams of despair intensify
like razors slashing my soul
like a heavy net entrapping my essence
confining me.
The heat sears my lungs
smoke stings my eyes
I cannot breathe!
My movements are slow
I turn back to the entrance
but it is gone.
I am committed.

Edited: Mar 12, 7:57am Top

Happy new thread, Rachel. I like your decision to go with a less complicated wedding dress. Goodness knows, there's so much going on on your special day you don't need to start it off with a headache.

Your posts are very thought provoking. I like how you deconstructed The Island of Dr. Moreau. For the meantime, I'm going to copy your prompts to examine my reads more fully and I'll look into The Well Educated Mind too.

Have a wonderful week!

PS: I love The Economist! Like you it's just too much info in a week and rather expensive for our budget so I borrow them from the library.

Mar 12, 9:43am Top

>31 The_Hibernator: Yeah, I know. I’m still practicing. :0)

I found the Supernanny shows helpful, but I don’t know if you can still get them. Sometimes a strategy might not work well the first time, but stick with it and believe that it will work. If you don’t believe it, it’s hard to convince the kids; that’s why it’s helpful to see it in action.

Parents unite!

Mar 12, 9:50am Top

>36 Carmenere: Hi Lynda! Yeah, I'm really happy about the less complicated gown option. And so is my sister. The salwar is still beautifully made in the Indian style, without the hassle of tying a sari. Thanks for your compliments on my review. Hopefully you enjoy The Well Educated Mind as much as I am.

I really should have thought about the library. But oh well, the first quarter is only $12 for the Economist. We'll at least survive THAT blow.

>37 humouress: Hi Nina! Practice makes perfect. I'm not sure how much practice perfect takes, though.

Edited: Mar 12, 9:52am Top

Book 14: I Stop Somewhere, by T. E. Carter

Summary: Ellie starts her freshman year of high school simply wanting to blend in, but when the handsome and rich Caleb starts flirting with her, she starts craving more – romantic love. But then, Ellie is brutally raped…

My Thoughts: This was a hard book for me to read, and it was clearly written by an author who is very angry at rape culture. Carter is ruthless in expressing the emotional strain – the feeling of being vulnerable and invisible at the same time – that comes after being raped. However, she also manages to never have a fully physically violent scene in the book, and for that I am grateful. It is important for teens these days to understand rape culture so that they do not get trapped in their own horror story – and also to teach them some empathy for those who are trapped. Books like this are exactly what is needed right now. At first, I felt that maybe the subject was too heavy for teens. But no. If they can read books like Hunger Games where teens are brutally murdering other teens, then they can certainly handle a book like this. And the subject of this book is infinitely more important than the average teen book these days. Good job to T. E. Carter – this was probably a very difficult book for her to write.

Mar 15, 1:34pm Top

So long day yesterday. I was just recovering from a therapy session in which D said she got along with me so-so and got along with her mom great. I know I shouldn't take it personally, but I had spent the entire day researching new therapists (we decided the first one we found wasn't a good fit) and preparing for an intake, and D's mother does nothing but fun stuff, so of course she looks like the more awesome parent.

ANYWAY, I was feeling a bit depressed about being so-so, when we decided that we were going to have to cut off D's hair. She has very fine hair that forms rat's nests in the back. It's a constant struggle to get her to brush her hair daily because she doesn't want to. But she wants her hair down to her waist. She cries whenever we try to brush out the rat's nests. So we finally decided that we were going to go get her a pixie cut - and that as a reward for bravery, we'd dye the hair pink.

I was nice enough to ask her mother if she minded if we dyed D's hair pink, and the mother volunteered to take her to get the haircut that day. She returned D with the rat's nest professionally removed, and with still-long hair. With a promise that she could get pink hair over the weekend. But NOW the rules are: brush the hair twice a day (we can't even get her to brush once a day, and I'm pretty sure their mother doesn't even make her do that much when she has D on every other Friday and Saturday.), braid hair at night, and get a hair cut every two weeks. So basically, the mother volunteered us to do all this extra work to keep D's hair untangled, when we already know it's going to be a fight getting her to brush her hair at all. PLUS D's mom looks like she swooped in and rescued D from the pixie cut, since she can get pink hair either way.

So now I'm talking up getting D's hair rainbow colored instead of just pink as a reward for being brave and getting a pixie cut because there is no way I'm going through 3X as much work as before trying to fight her to take care of her hair. I'm SO angry at the mom.

I was originally thinking something like this...only it now may not be possible because D's mom had her bangs cut short. :(

With this kind of coloring:

Of course, it would have to be touched up around the time of the wedding. I am also pondering getting my own hair rainbow colored, though I have to think how it would look with my dress. It's black, so I guess my dress matches everything, though. Maybe something like this:

Mar 15, 2:08pm Top

Sounds like a bit of stress for you. Hope you’re hanging in ok.
How old is D? Perhaps double check with her school before dying her hair as I’d hate for you to run into an issue if the school frowns upon that for young kids.

Have you tried a leave in conditioner for her hair? My baby has issues with her hair getting tangled in knots due to rolling her head around in her sleep and my oldest struggled with tangles sometime. I have a leave in conditioner that we put in right after her bath and it helps keep it from becoming dry. Could help D perhaps.
We use Pantene moisturizing combing creme but I’m sure most are very similar.

Edited: Mar 15, 2:12pm Top

Sorry I can't give any advice about long hair since my boys all have buzz cuts.
I do remember as a little girl hating to brush my hair as well. I just couldn't be bothered until my mom realized what I was doing and she tried to untangle my nest. Anyways, she was unsuccessful and out of frustration chopped my hair short. I was devastated but learned to take care of it from that day forward. :/

Mar 15, 2:15pm Top

Hi Chelle! We've tried salon quality shampoo, leave in conditioner, detangler, etc. It's still a horrible mess.

I did call the school and got the ok on dyed hair of fun colors. It's the first thing I did, when considering coloring her hair as an option.

Mar 15, 2:18pm Top

Hi Valerie! We're trying not to make the pixie cut seem like a punishment. D's mom didn't help when she threatened to cut it off and not dye it pink if she doesn't take care of it now. 😑

Mar 15, 3:01pm Top

>40 The_Hibernator: I'm sorry that you feel hurt that D says she gets along better with her mom. It's easy to get along with someone who pushes all responsibility and consequences onto other people.

I had very fine rats' nest hair when I was D's age as well. I was very tenderheaded and hated brushing my hair because it hurt my head. I used a soft-bristled brush because that hurt less, and copious amounts of detangling spray. I do think my parents often brushed my hair for me though.

A few times I did get all my hair cut off, but at this point I don't remember which times were because it was too tangly and which times were because I wanted short hair. It was the early 90s so *every single woman I knew* had short hair, so I didn't view it as a punishment. (And they definitely were not cute pixie cuts.)

I am a little jealous of D because with super-blonde hair like that the pink dye is going to look so great.

Mar 15, 3:09pm Top

I’m with Val; my boys can get away with not brushing their hair ever morning. And do, unfortunately *sigh*

But my nieces had the same issue and I had to help them brush their hair when they had a sleepover at our place. Just start at the bottom and work upwards a few inches at a time is all the advice I can offer. Annoying that your solution has been sabotaged. Best of luck.

Mar 15, 3:28pm Top

>45 norabelle414: Hi Nora! Yeah, I know I shouldn't feel hurt and someday they'll appreciate that I volunteered for this job when Aaron had to talk their mother into as much as 15% custody (she wanted none).

We brush her hair several times a week, but she always cries when we do it. So it's a very unpleasant experience. I'm better at it than Aaron, as I know to start from the bottom. But she refuses to let me use the right kind of comb. So I told her that she'd have to self-care if I can't do it my way. She wants a fine-toothed brush, which hurts more. We're supposed to use a pick. She says the pick doesn't get tangles out because the teeth aren't close enough together. She won't listen to "but it actually hurts less and gets tangles out faster."

I agree. The color will be beautiful. 😁

Edited: Mar 15, 3:32pm Top

Hi Nina! That's what I do, though I have mostly given up for reasons described to Nora. She cries less when I use a pick, but she whines about how ling it takes.

Plus, it needs to be detangled twice a day, which takes a lot of time.

Mar 15, 3:56pm Top

Hopefully she starts to listen to you about her hair when she sees that it hurts less that way. When C's hair has been quite bad I've had success combing the leave in conditioner through it while still in the shower (or just after while it's still wet)
Good luck! Hang in there

Mar 15, 5:32pm Top

Rachel, sorry to hear about D's therapist visit. I guess I'd think of it this way - although it's great to get along with one's children, that isn't really the purpose of being a parent and I think if you are a good parent, there are going to be times when your kids are not going to like your decisions and at those times, they may even think that they don't like you. I think you are making wonderful parenting decisions and I also think that someday, D will get that. So hang in there.

I have baby fine hair and it tangles very easily, especially the longer it is. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to wear my hair long, like many of my friends. It hurt so much when it was combed that I ended up wearing it in two braids all the time - that way, I only had to have it brushed and rebraided once a day. The braids were awful, but that was my mother's compromise. Finally, when I was 13, I got my hair cut short and the longest it has been for the past 40+ years is shoulder length. Short is definitely better for fine hair.

Love both the rainbow pixie color and the gorgeous magenta/purple color that you are considering! I think it would look fantastic!

Edited: Mar 15, 5:43pm Top

>47 The_Hibernator: Yeah, all kids say things like that to their parents. Don’t worry about it. :0)

She sounds as logical as my 9 year old. My husband says he gets his stubbornness from me. Hah! What does he know. Hmf.

ETA: love your colour choices. I think I’ve given up with hair colouring, so I’ll just envy you both.

Edited: Mar 16, 9:53am Top

>32 The_Hibernator: Love the portrait!! Good luck with the hair dilemma. I think the hair color is a great reward idea for going with the Pixie cut. And I echo Robin's thoughts about parenting--we can't always be our kids' friend if we want to do a good job. Sometimes they are just not going to like us and that's okay. You are making decision with their (and the family's) well-being in mind so don't feel bad!

PS--Your stanzas are dark and really good!

Mar 18, 1:34am Top

I thought it might hearten you to know that, as of 5 minutes ago, I am “the worst mum ever”. Which means I must be doing something right :0)

Basically, I said “No Netflix until you do some tidying up” But he’s gone to watch TV in the other room, so... um... not quite a win. I’ll have to go and roust him out presently, but I’m suffering from weekenditis too.

Mar 19, 9:51am Top

>49 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! Actually, D's hair has managed to survive the weekend despite not being brushed or taking a bath after swimming. (Yes, she was at her mother's.) I am a little concerned at cutting it in a pixie because it is so fine and thin that she might look like a boy - which is exactly how she doesn't want to look. But I'm not sure what else to do.

>50 rretzler: Hi Robin! Strangely, D has chosen to only get the purple hair. And I'm willing to dye it purple while long as long as she manages to keep it untangled for several weeks. If she can do that, then I'm satisfied with her hair being long.

I feel a little better about the whole "so-so" thing. D and I have a great relationship. She was upset at the time that she said that because we had just brought up a rather unsavory incident at McDonald's. Either she's angry at me about it, or angry at me for bringing it up because she's ashamed of it. *shrug* Either way, I DO know that as the 85% custody step-mother, I'm going to have to do more discipline than her mother.

>51 humouress: Hi Nina! I wimped out and decided not to dye my hair rainbow. I really don't like the idea of bleaching it because it makes it so unhealthy. I've never bleached my hair in the past, and I was surprised at my sudden willingness to do it now. But then I changed my mind. Lol.

>52 Berly: Thanks Kim! I should really put more of them up. I'm kind of slacking. :) There are 26 stanzas. They might get old after a while.

>53 humouress: Hi Nina! Hopefully you got things tidied up! D is accepting our new screen-time rules much better than M. But they still don't like leaving the house to do any wholesome activities like playing at the park. And they watch so much TV that they "forget" to eat. I'm trying to introduce some eating-at-table-with-tv-off activities, but it's hard when they're so used to eating (or, rather, letting food sit in front of them) while in front of the TV.

Mar 19, 10:01am Top

Last week was mostly uneventful, other than the hair incident, getting a new therapist, and going out to dinner with the whole family. Oh. And I applied to a bunch of jobs. At first, I applied to some stay-at-home tutoring jobs. But then I realized that during the summer those would be hard to concentrate on because the kids would be around ALL the time. So now I'm applying to Direct Support Professional positions. I have an interview on Tuesday for a job helping mentally disabled people every 2nd and 4th weekend. It wouldn't pay much, but the point is simply to bring in enough money to be able to save up for frivolous things like camping and bike-rides. Except we're not sure the kids will be willing to do something that doesn't involve their screens. We'll have to see! I'm actually hoping for another job - one that will be 24 hours on either every other Friday night or every other Saturday night. It pays more because it's more hours. I took the initiative this morning to call them up about it...maybe I can wrangle up an interview by being proactive. I don't want to accept the lower paying job if I can get this one.


Since I’m studying Don Quixote, I went to Half-Price Books and acquired a copy of the Cambridge Companion to Cervantes, which I’ll read once I get through that gigantic novel on which I’m making very little progress. 🙂 And because I decided that I’ll break Don Quixote up with easier reading (H. G. Wells), I got a book of essays about Wells, edited by Harold Bloom. I was then at Barnes and Noble and feeling impulsive – so I bought The Bone Witch, which I think will be quite enjoyable light reading on my upcoming road trip. I used my Audible credits on The Boy on the Bridge and Time Jumpers. The former I will listen to as my real life book club choice for April. Time Jumpers is the fifth book in a series by my favorite middle grade author Brandon Mull. Finally, my dad bought copies of the second Diary of a Wimpy Kid book for D and The Adventures of Captain Underpants for M. Both were really excited about their new books, though I think M’s book was a bit too much over his reading level. He’s only 5. But dad didn’t want to get one kid a book and not get the other kid a book.


My hold for an H. G. Wells biography came up at the Library, so I set aside Don Quixote again and will work on H. G. Wells Desperately Mortal. Also moving back to Freeing Your Child from Anxiety. And I’m of-course listening to Brandon Mull’s new release. I really, really, really wish I could listen to audiobooks while driving on my upcoming road trip. J doesn’t mind the audiobooks, but they bore my dad silly. Maybe I’ll stick one earbud in my ear while I’m driving (which I’ll be doing ALL of). Or would that be ashamedly unsocial of me? I’m looking forward to being in Texas and maybe finding a walking path with NO SNOW ON IT. Wow. No snow. Just think. I love walking. Listening to an audiobook as I stroll along beside a lake….

Mar 19, 10:14am Top

Forgot to mention, I'm meeting with Morphy today for our Real Life Bookclub. We read Princess Diarist, which I will review shortly. (I'm way behind on reviews, but maybe I can catch up on vacation.)

Mar 19, 10:54am Top

Hi Rachel!

Seems like things are moving steadily in good directions, even with minor setbacks.

I'm glad our daughter 'came up' before cellphones and tablets and computers were so wired in to our everyday lives. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to wean kids once they've become addicted and admire you and Aaron for trying to bring more balance and structure to their lives.

Best wishes on the job front.

Mar 19, 12:46pm Top

Happy Monday, Rachel! Good luck with your job applications.

Have you tried getting the kids into a game or app that requires them to move around or go outside? I'm thinking particularly of Pokemon Go, but I'm sure there are others. Certainly it's best for them to go outside without a game to play but that might be a nice stepping stone.

Mar 19, 4:33pm Top

There's also supposed to be a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go coming out this year, so maybe they could get into that while it's still new and exciting.

Edited: Yesterday, 3:26pm Top

I've been reading the Economist for years - helps to have a perspective on the world that's not SO Republican verses Democrat.

Like everyone else I think we always read the obit page first.

I get the Economist on my tablet and sometimes download the audio book of it for a change of pace.

Hang in there on Don Q - when i first read it i thought it badly needed an editor but now even the dryer patches seem to be there for a reason.

Curious about Bone Witch always like reading books about witches if they aren't too silly.

Enjoying looking over your shoulder as your wedding plans roll along.

Mar 20, 9:39am Top

>57 karenmarie: Thanks Karen! Yes, I'm wishing we'd never bought those tablets for the kids. I'm going to try to take the kids to an indoor park to play for a couple of hours today after school to get in some much-needed exercise. I think I'm going to make a habit of that as much as possible.

>58 norabelle414: Hi Nora! We've still got snow on the ground (in fact, it's snowing today) so we can't go walking around much with Pokemon Go! But that's a really good idea once the snow melts. :)

>59 _Zoe_: Hi Zoe! Wow, that's fantastic. D is so excited.

>60 magicians_nephew: Hi Jim! Yes, we love the Economist as well. Conservatives tend to think of it as a liberal magazine, but it's pretty close to middle of the road. It's actually a conservative magazine in England, but the British version of conservative is pretty liberal compared to the US version of conservative. At least, that used to be the case. They're polarizing more and more over there.

Mar 20, 9:42am Top

Well, yesterday went well. I set up a total of 4 interviews, and discussed them with Aaron to get them ranked in terms of which job I'd like the most. We decided that (assuming I get a job) we'll start a Wisconsin Dells family vacation tradition. We can manage that in a weekend with at a reasonably affordable price if we camp. I'll also use the money to buy bikes and helmets for the crew. I'm the only one with that equipment.

On the agenda for today:

*I have some cleaning and errands to run in the morning. Haircut for mom, library, pet store, groceries.

*Interview at noon for last place job (pays the least and fewest hours)

*Take the kids to an indoor park.

Edited: Mar 20, 9:53am Top

Book 9: Caesar's Last Breath, by Sam Kean

Summary: This book is a detailed scientific description of a variety of different gases. It works as both a history book (covering the discovery of different gases throughout history) and a science book.

My Thoughts: This was a fun book to listen to, but I often wondered what the point was. It lacked a certain charm that I expect in popular science books. On the other hand, it covered a lot of interesting material, and I certainly learned a lot.

Mar 20, 8:01pm Top

Having fine hair is a pain. Poor D. I hope she is successful keeping up her long purple hair and colour might add some volume, at least that is what I've been told. It sounds like you are doing well on the parenting front, Rachel.

Mar 20, 8:24pm Top

Good luck on the job front and finding the perfect option to fit your family's needs!

Yesterday, 4:15am Top

Good luck with the job hunt. I wish I could cut my hair really short and be done with it (but it really doesn't suit me like that!) Bike riding sounds like a great answer to getting out of the house. I've also heard friends' kids of a similar age to yours enjoy geo-caching.

Yesterday, 9:04am Top

>64 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg! She's been good about asking to have her hair put up all night, and that has actually helped. She isn't waking up with rats nests every night. So here's to hoping.

>65 jolerie: Thanks Valerie! My interview yesterday went quite well.

>66 charl08: Hi Charlotte. Geocaching is an excellent idea! Fantastic mixture of technology and moving around. I looked into it while dealing with stress insomnia last night, and there are plenty of kid-friendly geocaches in the Twin Cities. I'll try experimenting with it a little on my own while I'm in Texas this week. I'll have a lit of free time.

Yesterday, 11:18am Top

Carefully stepping in again after some LT absence (I was in Germany for my parents' move and they don't have internet yet). I can't read up on everything, but your energy is inspiring as ever! I wouldn't be able to manage half of it.

Yesterday, 2:09pm Top

On the subject of hair - try a brush called a tangle teezer. They are the absolute best. I have nearly waist length, thick, half curly half wavy half frizzy hair (and yes, it sometimes feels like I have hair and a half) and it gets through mine with no tugging or pulling at all, and doesn't damage the hair either. It won't look like it will do the job but trust me, it's brilliant. I wouldn't be without mine, and I know plenty of people who use it on their childrens' hair as well. You can get them from Amazon.

Yesterday, 2:42pm Top

Hi there! Best wishes on the job hunt. And the parenting. I assume both will go swimmingly.

Yesterday, 3:28pm Top

The Invention of Air by Steve Johnson is a funny and smart book if you are in the mood to read about gasses..

Yesterday, 3:32pm Top

>69 lunacat: Your hair sounds like mine Jenny, except I couldn’t deal with the length. I’ve cut it shorter and I’m tempted to go all the way short except I won’t be able to grow it back out in this climate if I change my mind again; I have to be able to tie it up and get it off the back of my neck when it’s hot and humid.

>67 The_Hibernator: Sounds like things are starting to work out, on the hair front. Fingers crossed!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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