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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.

This topic was continued by The Hibernator is married!!!.

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: May 14, 8:39pm 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
15. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J. K. Rowling

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: Mar 21, 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!

Mar 21, 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.

Mar 21, 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.

Mar 21, 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.

Mar 21, 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.

Mar 21, 2:42pm Top

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

Mar 21, 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..

Mar 21, 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!

Mar 23, 7:24am Top

>68 Deern: Hi Nathalie! I often get behind on threads, too. No need to read everything. Just saying hi was enough to make me happy.

>69 lunacat: Thanks Jenny! I'll check it out. Though she has somehow become excited about getting a purple pixie cut at the moment. We'll see how long that excitement lasts. She still needs to keep it untangly until her bangs grow out long enough to swoop.

>70 Berly: Thanks Kim! I accepted a job. It wasn't the highest paying, but the most flexible. Flexibility matters.

>71 magicians_nephew: Thanks Jim! I'll look in to it.

>72 humouress: Hi Nina! Thanks for the crossed fingers. Don't know how long the hair will stay detangled, but you're right. Things are starting to get better.

Mar 23, 7:31am Top

Morning! I accepted a job yesterday...decided not to go to three of the interviews and to just leave town on my planned roadtrip. This morning I'm starting out in Paola Kansas. Today we will hopefully get most of the way through Oklahoma.

The job I accepted is a Direct Support position, in which I help high-to-middle-functioning adults in group homes. The pay is terrible. But it's a weekend position that works with my busy schedule. And I like helping people.

Mar 23, 1:17pm Top

Hi Rachel! Congratulations on the flexible job! Good luck with the hair. For what it's worth, I think you're doing a great job. :)

Mar 23, 5:00pm Top

Congrats on the job! I won't try the "do what you love the money will follow" silliness

But it is without question that if you do what you love you will love doing it.

all good wishes

Mar 24, 5:14am Top


I like that you like helping people.

Mar 24, 6:46am Top

Have fun on the road trip and congrats on the new and flexible hours job! When do you start?

Edited: Mar 24, 9:12am Top

>75 nittnut: Thanks Jenn! It feels good to hear it. Sometimes I feel that things blew up a bit when I moved in, so I need to positive reinforcement sometimes.

>76 magicians_nephew: Thanks Jim! You are very right about that. And since it's just a job for fringe money, it's ok that it won't pay a lot. It matters a lot more that Iove what I'm doing.

>77 humouress: Thanks Nina! I have always cared about people, but the fact that I love this sort of work surprised me, since I'm an introvert.

>78 Berly: Hi Kim! My orientation in on April 14th.

Mar 24, 11:22am Top

>74 The_Hibernator: And I like helping people
The same reason my husband started to work 2 nights as nightwatch in a home for autistic young adults. He started over 10 years ago and still goes happily off to work. No great pay, but very rewarding work for him.

Mar 31, 2:33pm Top

Congratulations on the new job. Flexibility and doing what one loves are both characteristics that can be very important.

Apr 1, 7:53am Top

>80 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita! It's good to hear that your husband feels rewarded by his work, as that is very similar to what I will be doing. :)

>81 tymfos: Thanks Terri!

Apr 1, 7:54am Top

Since I was out of town with limited internet access, I will give you last Sunday's update as well as this Sunday's update, both of which I typed on my phone.

Apr 1, 8:00am Top

On Thursday, I left town for a road-trip to Texas to see my cousins. My nephew J and father join me. Friday was a lot of fun. We started out going to the John Brown museum:

Dad seemed especially excited. Dad was even more excited to eat steak and pose by a wooden bear in Oklahoma:

Then was the really fun part. J got to have a movie date with his internet friend N. They’ve known each other for a while on the internet, but he’d never met her. He was really nervous and excited. It was adorable. I wish I could have taken a picture, but they didn’t ask, and I didn’t want to impose. She was cute, and she obviously was impressed with J, because she kept covering her mouth in a nervous little gesture. It was so cute.

Saturday, we stopped in Waco, TX for a trip to a trampoline park. J saw his second cousins there:

I saw my first cousins:

While the boys jumped, my cousins and I headed to see some silos that are apparently really awesome if you watch reality TV.

Fun stuff.

Edited: Apr 1, 8:22am Top

Happy Easter to those who celebrate! I thought this picture matched the season perfectly. Today I will be celebrating Easter with my parents, nephew J, fiance A, step-children D and M, and A’s mother and sister. I’ll be cooking ham, au gratin potatoes, corn bread, string beans, and zucchini squash mix. Should be yum!

I just got back from a week in Oklahoma and Texas. I visited my cousin K, and we went to San Antonio to see the Alamo and to Waco Mammoth National Monument to see fossils.

That’s a mammoth doing the splits.


I think I’ll take the kids geocaching as a summer activity. It will get them moving around.

Currently Reading

I decided to switch to the audio version of this because it’s easier for me to finish long books that way.

I’m reading this indie fantasy that the author provided in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Still working on anxious children.

Bible Reading Project

I am going to try a literary/historical reading of the Bible again this year. I tried last year, but set my goals too stringently and stressed out. This time I have no goals other than to educate myself on Biblical literature. This week I’m starting introductory chapters in:

Apr 1, 8:48am Top

Hi Rachel!

Fun times and good luck with your Bible study. Happy Easter, too. It sounds like a lovely menu and a great family group.

Apr 1, 10:56am Top

Always fun catching up with family.

Was your silo visit related to Fixer Upper?

Apr 3, 12:40pm Top

>86 karenmarie: Thanks Karen! Happy Easter to you, too!

>87 humouress: Hi Nina! Yes, indeed. It was the Fixer Upper silo.

Apr 3, 12:42pm Top

Last year, I wanted to do a one-year read of the Bible…but I became sick and that project fizzled. This year, I’ve decided to try again – but this time I made my goals much less stringent. I will read as quickly or as slowly as I feel like, reading as many or as few supplementary materials as I wish.

One resource I’m using is The Great Courses lecture set: Reading Biblical Literature Genesis to Revelation (Koester). It asks the question:

People begin reading the Bible with different questions in mind. Why are you interested in reading the Bible? What positive impressions do you have of the Bible? What negative impressions do you have?

I am interested in the Bible for a few different reasons. First of all, it holds a spiritual interest for me – it is a guide for morality. Second, I’m interested in the Bible as a literary work. There are endless references to the Bible in literature, movies, and colloquial lives in many countries around the world; therefore, my understanding of the world will be enhanced by a strong familiarity with the Bible. Third, I’m interested in the differences between historical Jesus and the Jesus of the Bible. Learning about these differences will teach me about human nature, and how humans can be transformed into gods. In order to start my study of historical vs. biblical Jesus, it is necessary to gain a strong familiarity with the Bible and how different people interpret it.

Koester, Craig R. Lecture 1: The Bible as Dialogue. Reading Biblical Literature Genesis to Revelation. The Teaching Company, 2016.

Edited: Apr 3, 1:13pm Top

Synopsis: Dorian Gray is a beautiful and innocent teen when his portrait is painted by an admirer. However, Dorian is soon corrupted by the world. Somehow, the portrait of Dorian becomes uglier and uglier as Dorian’s soul becomes blacker – but Dorian himself remains as beautiful as ever.

My Thoughts: This seems like one of those books that literary folks all want to have read, but no one actually reads. It wasn’t a book I’d ever read again, but I think it was quite…soulful.

Well-Educated Mind Analysis (SPOILER ALERT): 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?

Dorian Gray had a love interest towards the beginning of the book. When he realized that love wasn’t all it cracked up to be, he was very cruel when ridding himself of her. She killed herself in response. This is when his portrait changed for the first time.

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

Well, it wasn’t the most exciting book I’ve ever read, I suppose, but it was entertaining enough.

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

I don’t know if I can really sympathize with Dorian Gray. He is a terrible, selfish person and he deserves any negative outcome that he gets. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really get many negative outcomes at all. In this way, I am emotionally involved in the story of Dorian Gray.

👽Is this a fable or a chronicle?

This is a fable.

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

I believe this was an allegory about the state of one’s soul. Perhaps that beauty is only skin deep. Or that one’s greatest secret is the state of one’s soul. To be honest, I didn’t really get the book.

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

This character wants to enjoy life selfishly, with no thought about how his actions might affect others. The only thing that stands in the way is the portrait, which reveals in horrifying detail how deranged Dorian’s soul is. Dorian puts the painting away in an attic and kills the only person who has seen it.

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

The narrator is omniscient. It seems reliable enough.

👽Where is the story set?


👽 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?

In the beginning, Dorian first met the man who would end up negatively influencing him the most. By listening to the philosophical ramblings of this character, we learned where Dorian would be led.

There was a resolution at the end, though not an optimistic one. It implied that Dorian’s greatest problem was solved (he was no longer in danger of being killed by the brother of his former lover), and he was going to continue living his degenerate life without negative repercussions.

👽Did the writer’s times affect him?

They always do

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

I don’t think so.

Apr 4, 5:19pm Top

The oldest known reference to a city in Israel is in the Execration Texts, originating in ninteenth century BCE. The Execration Texts are clay tablets carved with the names of Pharaoh’s enemies. The tablets would be smashed and otherwise desecrated. Then they would be buried – a representation of the destruction of the enemies. Some towns in Canaan were mentioned on some of the tablets.

Another collection of Egyptian texts, called the Amarna Letters, mention cities in Canaan. These fourteenth century documents were letters written by Amenhotep to other rulers of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq as well as to his own appointed mayors in districts like Canaan. They are filled with information about Canaan at the time of Egyptian rule.

The first mention of Israel as a land is in the Merneptah Stele. This is a large rock placed as a monument of the Egyptian king Merneptah, who ruled in 1203 BCE. It has a text inscribed on it which enumerates his fabulous conquests. At the end of the inscription, are a few lines about Canaan. Translated by Miriam Lichtiem, they say:

The princes are prostrate saying: “Shalom!” Not one of the Nine Bows lifts his head: Tjehenu is vanquished, Khatti is at peace, Canaan is captive with all woe. Ashkelon is conquered, Gezer seized, Yanoam made nonexistent; Israel is wasted, bare of seed, Khor is become a window for Egypt. All who roamed have been subdued. By the King of Upper and Lower Egypt…

Notice that all of these ancient references are about the defeat of Canaan. The Bible was written as a way to cope with the changes that occurred during and after defeat. They are a way to remember how things came to be, and a guide of how to rebuild when conquest is over.

Wright J. L. Defeat and the Response to Defeat. The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future. Emory University. Coursera. Spring 2018.

Wright J. L. The Oldest Reference to Israel. The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future. Emory University. Coursera. Spring 2018.

Apr 4, 5:51pm Top

Wow! Some impressive research there Rachel.

Apr 5, 6:53pm Top

Sounds like you such a fun time with family Rachel!
I've tried the do the one year through the Bible so many times now I've lost track. The last attempt was to do it with my husband and so far we have been stuck at February for the last 10 years...... I haven't given up hope that it will be an achievable goal for me at some point...haha. :)

Apr 6, 10:31pm Top

>90 The_Hibernator: I first read The Picture of Dorian Gray as a teen. There was a late-night TV production of it which caught my interest and made me want to read the book. I rather enjoyed it the first time around, but when I tried a re-read years later, I found it wasn't one I wanted to experience again.

Apr 6, 11:15pm Top

Pleasure as always to catch up with you Rachel.

Trust you have a wonderful weekend.

Apr 7, 8:38am Top

Hi Rachel: I'm just catching up with your interesting and thoughtful posts.

Apr 10, 12:22pm Top

>92 humouress: Thanks Nina! Mostly it's just chapter notes.

>93 jolerie: Hi Valerie! Yup, one year is too stringent for me. Life just keeps on happening.

>94 tymfos: Hi Terri! Yeah, I'm not exactly sure why Dorian Gray is such an important classic.

>95 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul! Have a nice week!

>96 streamsong: Hi Janet! Hopefully you're doing well

Apr 15, 2:21pm Top

The last two weeks crazy with life stresses, and I got almost no reading done. Sorry I got to no one’s threads. Real Life, you know.

But one nice thing that happened is that I went to my step-son’s Kindergarten concert, which was really sweet. He wants to be a ninja when he grows up! We decided to sign him up for Tae Kwon Do lessons soon. He already took a ninja class, but it was mostly gymnastics where the Tae Kwon Do lessons will be martial arts. It’ll be fun watching him progress. His sister will also be taking Tae Kwon Do, at least until her art class starts in summer. She wants to be a sculptor when she grows up.

Some crappy stuff that happened is that M is having suicidal thoughts. He says he's had them for a while, but we don't quite know how long because it feels like "years" to him. He actually came up with the words "I want to kill myself." Normally, I'd think he was just trying to get attention, but he sounded pretty darned serious during the therapy session last week. Luckily, they're only passive thoughts. We are hoping the depression is due to unmanaged ADHD. We are waiting for our appointment to get him assessed in May, and then we will take him to a child psychiatrist.

Meanwhile, D is still having pretty bad anxiety, and we are struggling to get her to do her breathing exercises when she is in the middle of an attack.

I'm wondering if I can find a good meditation video guide for kids somewhere, so they can do that to earn screen-time. They will also have to practice their Tae Kwon Do stances each day as their first step to earning more screen-time.

Currently Reading

Still working on Don Quixote. This is a really difficult book for me. In fact, I began skimming so thinly that I decided I’m not getting enough out of the story, so I’m going to try another tactic. I got the audio version of the same translation, and I will listen to it while reading along. I think that will help me to get through the book with less struggle. Hopefully.

Apr 16, 1:54am Top

Oh, Rachel, sorry about the stress. Poor kids! Thank goodness you are going to be going to a child psychologist.

Apr 16, 9:03am Top

Thinking of you Rachel. Hope things lighten up a bit for everyone at home.

(I wouldn't go near Don Quixote, so kudos!)

Apr 21, 12:08am Top

Hi Rachel--Love all your photos from the trip--looks like it was a blast!

Sorry the kids are having trouble. Looks like you are on it and that they will hopefully get help soon. You know I am a big fan of TKD--I hope they like is half as much as I do!! I have my third pre-test toward Third Degree Black Belt tomorrow--wish me luck because I am NOT in shape.

Apr 23, 9:58pm Top

Don Q is a doorstop but worth it sez me.

I take all people who talk about suicide seriously - glad you are talking M seriously.

I've had two people in my life i cared about commit suicide - it stays with yuo

Apr 26, 9:00am Top

>99 banjo123: Hi Rhonda! Yes, I'm glad they're going to a psychologist as well. It's possible this stuff with M is coming out because he is talking about it with their psychologist. I hate to think how long he may have been thinking about suicide.

>100 charl08: Thanks Charlotte! Yes, Don Quixote is difficult but I'm sure I'll make it through this time. :D

>101 Berly: Hi Kim! I hope your test went well. Good luck in retrospect. They are enjoying the Tae Kwon Do Quite a bit. I'm surprised, because the instructor is so strict with them and makes them work even when they complain of pain in the muscles. I think that's good for them, I think some discipline will work wonders for their self esteems. Especially D, who has a tiny anxiety attack at the smallest display of independence (even reaching into a rack of donuts at Cub). I really hope they stick to it.

>102 magicians_nephew: Hi Jim! Yes, I take all suicidal talk seriously. Part of that is because I worked at a suicide hotline. My cousin's son killed himself a couple of years ago, and it just tore my cousin apart. He was much older than M (19 compared to 5). But it's still a horrifying possibility. And M is incredibly smart. He could figure out how to kill himself if he wants.

Edited: Apr 26, 10:13am Top

Hi all! This last week was better than the one before - much less stress. My dad is being much better in his behavior. I don't think I mentioned that my dad's impulse control and anger have become significantly worse lately - I suspect he had another TIA. He was EXTREMELY rude to a cop that pulled him over for running a red light the week before last, and ended up in a physical tussle with the cop. The cop wanted to arrest him, but thankfully was talked out of it by his backup. Then the cops escorted my dad home and tried to explain to my mom what happened, but she didn't understand because of her dementia. They finally called me, and I explained the problem with impulse control. Hopefully they'll get the state involved without me needing to do anything myself.

D and M had a very good week - M even got an email saying he'd been good ALL day. (Yes, a day of being good all day is so rare that he gets emails about them. This was our first in months.) We will be getting him assessed for ADHD and depression on Monday. We are hoping the depression is due to lack of impulse control from untreated ADHD. Hopefully we can get by on just ADHD meds and not have to give him anti-depressants. I just feel he's too young for those.

I have been super-duper tired lately. In all honesty, I'm pregnant. I didn't mean to tell people so early, but everyone knows because we told the kids. So I guess my sense of secrecy is blown. On my vacation I was taking 10 mile walks and now I can't even climb the stairs without getting out of breath and needing to sit down. Plus, I'm hallucinating. This apparently happens to some women when they're pregnant, and I'm already prone to it because of my bipolar disorder. It is still disturbing, though. Yesterday I felt uncomfortable being alone in the house because I was unsettled by hallucinating during the day for the first time ever. But I didn't want to drive somewhere, because I didn't think I should be driving in that state. :( However, I am immensely pleased at my pregnancy! :) I'm willing to go through 9 months of pain for that.

Currently Reading

Still plodding through Freeing Your Child From Anxiety. It isn’t too interesting of a book, and at the moment it’s not very helpful because D is not accepting the “thinking brain” vs. “worry brain” terminology suggested in the first several chapters, and the rest of the advice is dependent upon that. However, I’ll finish it up before I start my next non-fiction. I think she will eventually accept the terminology, it just takes time.

Don Quixote is going much better this time around since I’m listening to the audio book at the same time.

I think I may set aside And I Darken for a little while as I'm in a reading slump. (Though part of that is lack of attention span in recent weeks.) I think I may pick up the Harry Potter books. I've been wanting to read them ever since I bought the series as illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi a little over a year ago.


Instead of reading this week, I watched a lot of shows. I completed the miniseries of Sense and Sensibility, and went to Black Panther on Friday night. Enjoyed both quite a bit.


World Book Day was Monday 23rd, and Amazon was giving away several Kindle books in celebration.

Apr 26, 10:40am Top

Hi Rachel! first of all congrats on your pregnancy! I hope it goes more smoothly with much more energy as your body adjusts. Hallucinations sound scary.

I'm sorry about your dad (and your mom). Aging parents can be such a heavy physical load while at the same time dealing with the emotional repercussions of knowing their 'time is light' and may be coming to an end as a Celtic saying goes.

I'm glad to hear D & M had good weeks. Cheers for M, especially.

I downloaded most of those, myself. I skipped two or three of them.

Is the wedding in May? Or have plans changed?

Have a lovely.

Apr 26, 11:55am Top

>104 The_Hibernator: Congratulations Rachel!
The side effects of your pregnancy sound scary, I hope all goes more smoothly soon!

Apr 26, 4:22pm Top

Delurking with pregnancy congratulations! I hope you’re feeling better soon. You need all your energy for the kiddos and an upcoming wedding. Please take care of yourself as much as you can.

Apr 26, 4:25pm Top

Congratulations on the pregnancy! Hope that the symptoms get easier as the pregnancy progresses.

Apr 26, 5:10pm Top

Wow, Rachel! Congratulations on your pregnancy. How exciting. I hope the hallucinations go away soon and that you settle into just the 'normal' pregnancy stuff! It's a very special time, for sure, and totally worth it.

You have so much going on right now. I hope you get a chance to breathe now and then, take special time for yourself and special time for you and Aaron. I hope D and M are excited about a new sibling.

Apr 26, 5:11pm Top

Congratulations on the pregnancy!!!! Super exciting news. I hope I included enough exclamation points.

Apr 26, 6:01pm Top


So sorry to hear about everyone else’s health woes. Take care of yourself.

Apr 26, 10:30pm Top

Congrats! Hope the symptoms get better for you.

Apr 30, 9:25am Top

>105 streamsong: Hi Janet! In retrospect, the hallucinations weren't particularly bad - in the sense that it's not like I saw a gigantic spider or something.Plus, I'm not actually afraid of spiders, so I'm not sure that would be scary, lol. One woman was saying she was seeing people jump in front of her mom's car while driving. Luckily the pregnant woman wasn't driving herself!

Yes, I knew my parents would get old eventually, but it's still hard to watch. I'll survive, though, it's a part of life. My sister, on the other hand is freaking out.

The wedding is still May 19th. The pregnancy distracted me and I've stopped thinking about the wedding as much. But we've got 52 people planning on coming. I have the dresses and everything all ready to go - except for the fact that a certain part of my anatomy seems to be growing and I have to let out that part of the dress. I'll see the seamstress tomorrow. Hopefully she can pull something off.

>106 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita/Frank! Thanks for the good luck. A lot of people have it worse than I. I am not bedridden, and I hear the fatigue goes away in the second trimester. I did feel the need to sign a document giving permission of A to put me in the hospital "against my will" if I am found to be unfit to take care of myself or the baby, which sometimes happens with people with bipolar disorder. Still, it's worth it to go through the miracle of pregnancy.

>107 Donna828: Thanks Donna! I am doing an ok job of taking care of myself. I have stopped worrying as much about keeping the house clean, and have had A going to do a lot of the shopping and taking kids to Tae Kwon Do. I am practicing reading a chapter, then getting up and doing laundry for a few minutes, then reading a chapter, and so on. I will hopefully start finishing books soon. Summer will be more difficult, what with the kids being home all day every day. I have stuff planned - passes to the zoo, pool, indoor park (outdoor is free), etc. But I told A that I will need either Saturday or Sunday off EVERY week during the summer just to relax and get some personal time.

>108 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda! As I said above, I'm thankful that I don't have it worse than I do - that's something. And there's always a chance that things will improve soon. I certainly feel better today than I did by the end of last week...though that's probably because I did almost nothing but sleep and read for several days.

>109 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I admit that special time with A has been lacking lately. We do get to sit and talk or watch something together after the kids are in bed. And we get every other weekend away from our kids, though on those weekends with have my nephew J staying with us. Otherwise, he is alone at his house all weekend, and that's not good for a depressed teen. We like having him on our weekends off because we can watch adult movies with him and leave him at home to run errands.

>110 _Zoe_: Hi Zoe. You could PROBABLY have included more exclamation points. But I would have understood on the first one. lol

>111 humouress: Thanks Nina! Like I said, I'm trying to sit and read a lot of the time and only go out when necessary. Luckily, I got most of the footwork done for the wedding before the fatigue set in.

>112 Kassilem: Thanks Melissa! I certainly hope they will, though the pregnancy is worth it.

Apr 30, 9:31am Top

Morning everyone! This was a good week, though I was still a bit fatigued.

This weekend we switched the kids to 2 hours a day of screens total instead of letting them earn screen-time by the hour, which was our new rule a little over a month ago. (They are disappointed, but now M is standing over my shoulder reading this because it’s like looking at a screen. He’s slowly reading it back to me aloud as I type.) They are addicted to screens to the point of it being an unhealthy behavior, and the earning time only gave them another way to obsess about screens. 😦 The first thing they’d say in the morning is “I read this morning before getting out of bed, did I earn more screen-time?” While at the zoo, they say “does the zoo earn more screen-time?” Constantly. All day. We decided that the option to earn screen-time was only feeding their addiction rather than finding a healthy alternative.

Saturday I participated in Dewey’s 24 hour readathon but only managed to read from 7am to 4pm. At that point, my dad called and said he was bored, could he come over for dinner? How can I say no to that? So we all went over to Perkins for dinner. We sat around and chatted after dinner, and when my parents left, I didn’t feel like squeezing in another couple hours of reading. A and I watched Galavant instead.

D had her VERY FIRST EVER sleepover at a friend’s house on Saturday night, which she reminded us of daily for an entire week. She was pretty thrilled. She hasn’t returned as of 7:45am Sunday morning.

Despite what I said last week, I gave up on Freeing Your Child From Anxiety this week. I felt that the book wasn’t helpful to my situation since we can’t really get D to talk about her anxiety, which is a required step for the book’s strategy. So I was finding the book rather boring. I picked up No One Cares About Crazy People, by Ron Powers as my nonfiction replacement.

Since I was in a reading slump, I also decided to give up on And I Darken and pick up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I got most of the way through it, and will happily finish my first book in quite a while this upcoming week.

I’m loving Brandon Mull’s newest book, though I think his creativity is fading a bit. His first series (Fablehaven) was about couple of kids discovering that their grandparents had a secret reservation for fantasy creatures on their property. The second series (Beyonders) was about a kid who got sucked into another universe and wanted to save the world while looking for a way to return home. The third series (Five Kingdoms) was about a kid who got trapped in another universe and wanted to save the world while looking for a way to return home. Even some of the cool species that he created in the Beyonders books are reused for Five Kingdoms, which makes it more of a spin-off series than a true new series.


Despite it being a better week, I didn’t finish any new books (probably because I gave up on two). But I did watch the BBC miniseries of Emma with D and the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice with A. Both liked the movie much more than I would have expected. I should try D out on more Austen and see if it was a fluke. She may have liked Emma simply because she thought the character was fantastic and knew everything. In other words, I think she wanted to be Emma.


Audiofile has a program called Sync where two free teen audiobooks are provided each week. These books are available to anyone with Overdrive (which is a free app) on their phones or tablets. The Great War and A Study in Charlotte are free until 5/3.

Bible Study

For my Bible reading, I finished the first chapter of How to Read the Bible, by James Kugel (notes upcoming) and the introduction to The Literary Guide to the Bible (this is too dense to write interesting notes for, but it is still worth reading).

Apr 30, 11:10am Top

I'm glad you're feeling better this past week and hooray! that the wedding plans are on track with all the challenges you are going through.

I'll be interested to hear what you think about No One Cares About Crazy People. I'm trying out a few new-to-me bookclubs and that is the current read for one of them.

Apr 30, 5:04pm Top

Hi Janet! I'm enjoying No One Cares About Crazy People so far, though it is not exactly what I expected. It's a very personal story so far rather than a work of journalism. Still...I'm enjoying it.

Apr 30, 10:38pm Top

Wow you have a lot going on! I hope you are getting some quiet time. :)
Congratulations on the pregnancy! A baby is a very exciting event. How do the kids feel about it?

May 1, 12:02am Top

Whew! So much happening here! Sorry about dealing with aging parents. I feel you. Sounds like you two made the right decision to switch teh kids to flat two hours of TV instead of earning obsessing. And...

Congratulations on your pregnancy!!! I hope the delusions die down and you get to experience just the fun quirks like eating odd food. : )

And wedding countdown...less than three weeks! Good luck on re-fitting the dress a little. So much fun!

May 1, 4:13am Top

Finally cought up. Gosh, how much is going on in your life.
Congrats on your pregnancy. I was both time terrible tired. It will get better. Sending you lots of energetic vibes.
Girls and their hair is its own chapter. You'll get over it and your stepdaughter too.

May 1, 9:20am Top

Congrats on your pregnancy! Hope you find a way to control the hallucinations! I had very vivid dreams while pregnant so I can attest for the pregnancy hormones being cruel.

May 1, 9:26am Top

>117 nittnut: Hi Jenn! Yes, both kids are excited. That was surprising since M hasn't been responding perfectly to the wedding. He keeps saying that he doesn't want to go. We even decided that he's not going to be a ring bearer since he is so reluctant. But the baby interests him. We'll see if the baby continues to interest him once it's born and he's no longer the baby of the family. Hopefully we get his depression under control by then.

>118 Berly: Hi Kim! Thankfully the hallucinations have died down for now. I was getting about one a week, though, so I guess I can't really say that. :) The fatigue is still going strong, though. Yesterday I sat for more than 3 hours waiting for M's ADHD assessment, and by the end of that I was so exhausted I couldn't do any of my plans for the rest of the day. Which is unfortunate because we desperately need groceries and I have some things to do before the wedding. Hopefully today I will be more energized.

>119 Ameise1: Thanks Barb! I'm sorry you went through the same fatigue I'm going through. Hopefully you weren't working at the same time? I know I wouldn't be able to do any of the jobs that I have worked in the past right now - all of them were on my feet. In fact, I had to tell my new boss that I wasn't ready to be trained for the job because I didn't think I was capable of completing it. I'm currently looking for a weekend job in which I am mostly sitting. The extra money sure would be nice to have.

The hair problem isn't so bad anymore. I have an appointment to go get a pixie cut and dye it purple in a couple of weeks. Luckily I called when I did, because the earliest appointment she had was on the 14th, and the wedding is on the 19th!

May 1, 9:50am Top

>121 The_Hibernator: Rachel, I went directly from work to hospital for birth and worked 100% during both pregnancies. The fatigue lasted only the first four months. I figuratively fell asleep while standing. My job as a teacher helped me to keep up.

Edited: May 2, 4:17pm Top

Today has gone well so far. I have had more energy than in a while and managed to get some wedding errands run. Once the kids get home, I will take D shopping for her shoes - sandals for the day of the manicure and open toe dress shoes for the wedding. Then the family is going to Chuck E Cheese for my nephew B's 4th birthday.

M has been doing well this week. He had his ADHD assessment on Monday. I explained to him that the test was to check for a condition that affects his impulse control (after I explained impulse control he announced that he has none). That if we treat this condition, maybe he'll have better impulse control and stop hating himself because he thinks he's a bad person. He totally seemed to get it. Even said that sounded like something he wanted.

I also discovered that he knows how to play chess! At 5! He's terrible at it, but he understands all the moves and set up the board himself. I wonder if I should put him in some chess club to really learn? That would, of course, take away from Tae Kwon Do...and he also has therapy once every two weeks and we're putting him in a social skills group once a week because he has no friends and is unfortunately becoming a bully.

Also considering Boy Scouts for both kids now that they've changed their name to Scouts of America and welcomed girls as full members. But, I need to be careful about over-commiting them. Tae Kwon Do is going so well and even chess may be more interesting to M than Scouts.

>122 Ameise1: Wow! Bravo. I couldn't pull that off right now. I'd faint - at least doing my last job. I can't even keep up with the dishes and laundry around here, most days.

Edited: May 2, 4:21pm Top

It's time the little ones give you a hand and help doing the dishes.
Boy Scouts are great. We all were with the scouts (my daughters still are). Best friendships for ever.

May 2, 4:40pm Top

>124 Ameise1: I was never a fan of the Girl Scouts of America - we did stuff I was bored with. I grew up in a Boy Scout oriented environment and several of my friends are Eagle Scouts, including the kids' father. So I see the benefit of scouts. But they're kids. They can't do everything. I'll ponder it for a few months, they recruit in the fall. Maybe by the end of summer M won't need therapy and social skills groups, so he'll have more time.

May 2, 6:22pm Top

Hi Rachel!

I agree with Barbara - Mom had us sharing dish duties starting when we were very young. In our house, one child would set the table, one would clear the dishes after the meal, and the third one, mostly me because I was the oldest, would "set up" - stack the dishes in the sink, put all the glasses on the counter together, and put all the silverware together in the sink. As we got older I seem to remember that it became set the table, clear the dishes, wash the dishes. Pre-dishwasher days, of course.

I think you're smart to be very careful about over-committing them to activities, even ones they'd enjoy, with so many other changes going on in their lives. Even with just our one daughter we tended to want her to try lots of things and we'd blink and she'd be busy 4 nights a week. We became very careful about her down time.

May 2, 7:51pm Top

You have so much going on Rachel. Kudos to you for keeping all the balls that you are juggling in the air. Congratulations on your pregnancy. I hope that the return of your energy lasts. It sounds like you need it!

May 2, 10:11pm Top

>126 karenmarie: Hi Karen! The problem with starting them on dishes duty is that I have changed SO many things already, and I'm trying to introduce further changes slowly. I have stopped the waiting on them hand and foot. For instance, I make them pour themselves a glass of milk if they want one. I've introduced eating vegetables and breakfast. Turn off the TV during dinner. Make them change clothes in private instead of in the living room while the TV is going. I reduced their TV time from all day every day (except school) to 2 hours a day starting at 5. They now have to take baths at least twice a week instead of every more-than-a-week. M now goes to bed an hour earlier. They now have therapy, swim lessons, and Tae Kwon Do. Etc. Is now really the time to start them on housework, or to let them get used to the new rules without thinking I'm a total tyrant? Chores will come with time, but I can't change everything at once.

>127 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg! So far my energy has lasted the whole day. 😁

May 3, 7:03am Top

Sweet Thursday, Rachel! Somehow I lost your thread in the crazy LT shuffle, but I finally found my way over here. Congrats on your pregnancy. How very exciting! i am wishing you all the best, my friend.

May 3, 7:11am Top

Hi Rachel! Congratulations on your pregnancy. Wonderful news.

I think, after reading your thread that you are really doing well as a mother, trying to instil good habits for your kids. You are not being a tyrant, but a responsible adult, so kudos to you.

May 3, 7:28am Top

You're good for the kids, Rachel, for sure. I wasn't being critical, but I had a vision of exhausted pregnant you, doing the scut work when you had two able-handed little'uns in the house.

May 3, 7:48am Top

Well, uncomfortable news. Aaron seems to have the flu. He has a fever of 101F and several other symptoms. I know pregnant women are at risk if the get the flu, and I'm not sure what to do. I told him to go today to get tested just ti make sure.

It's tempting to stay at my parent's house, but if I bring the flu there, THEY are also high risk as elderly adults.

I messaged my doc and said I was vaccinated (so was Aaron though) and that I was diagnosed with "we're not going to test you, but you have the flu" in January. :( ☹

>129 msf59: Hi Mark! I lose threads all the time. In fact, I just recently realized I didn't have yours starred. So it hapoens.

>130 EllaTim: lol, thank you. I'm trying to be a good mother and didn't mean that I think I'm a tyrant. Only that I may appear so to them if I throw on anything more at this time. So far, they both seem a little emotionally healthier by the changes. And D's even started reading more. 😊

>131 karenmarie: I didn't take that as a criticism, Karen. It was good advice. I was just explaining why it wouldn't be a good idea at the moment...which is something you couldn't have known .

May 3, 8:01am Top

We're cool.....

I'm sorry to hear that Aaron seems to have the flu. Let's hope he doesn't share with you or the kids.

May 3, 8:18pm Top

>133 karenmarie: Aaron is already starting to feel better. Still very fatigued, but the fever has subsided. The doctor gave him some Tamiflu, and we're hoping that'll be the end of that.

May 6, 8:07am Top

Well, this was a good week – though despite claims that this would be my week to start reading again, I have not finished any books. *le sigh*

I found myself more energetic than I have been in a few weeks, and was able to do some important tasks in preparation for the wedding. We got some vital shopping done, went to a seamstress for some last minute adjustments, ordered the food and eating supplies, etc. I took my step-daughter D out shopping for shoes and jewelry. She was jumping with glee and said that when she was older and had money of her own she would spend it ALL on shoes, and then she would go to Claire’s and decorate her room entirely in unicorns. We bought her some wedges, which means she has to practice walking in them. In fact, I should probably practice walking in my shoes too! Less than two weeks left!

Hopefully my energy perks up even more, because I need to get the house cleaned before everyone arrives for the wedding. But I’ll still try to get some reading done. 🙂

Currently Reading – Same as last week


I watched North and South again. Although I don’t really like either of the very flawed characters at the beginning of the story, they both turn out so wonderful in the end. 🙂 And look at that handsome brooding face…


Solo and The Devil’s Highway are the free Sync books this week (available till 5/10). Burning Magic is the third in a really cute series that I started reading a while back (the first one is Shadow Magic, and it’s well worth the read if you like middle school fantasy). Pete the Cat and the Dinosaur books are for M’s 6th birthday.

May 6, 9:10am Top

Good to see your wedding preps are going well, Rachel.

Have a lovely Sunday.

May 7, 2:43pm Top

Thanks Paul!

May 7, 4:37pm Top

>123 The_Hibernator: I wonder if there's some sort of summer chess club he could do. Won't he have plenty of free time once school is out, or is the summer already booked up too?

May 8, 7:51am Top

>138 _Zoe_: There is a weeklong chess camp he could participate in. It's so rare for him to express interest in anything but TV that we would be thrilled to get him involved.

May 10, 8:45pm Top

If you wanted to jump in on Ink and Bone chapter a day starts today. :-)

May 14, 8:11am Top

Hope everyone had a happy Mother's Day! Mine was spent with my step-kids and parents. Aaron cooked a roast.

Last week I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the umpteenth time. First book in a while!

On the agenda for today:

*Oil change in anticipation of honeymoon.
*Bill paying
*Ordering two cakes from Cub, one for the wedding and ine fir a surprise bday party for M. We're calling it the "rehersal dinner" and it's the evening before the wedding.
*Shopping for condiments and other grilling supplies for the after-wedding grill.
*Getting D her pixie cut and purple hair. We told her that since she's done a great job keeping her hair brushed since the fiasco with her mom, she doesn't HAVE to get the pixie cut. She claimed that if she didn't get a pixie cut, growing her bangs out would be a loss. I explained the law of minimizing losses. Didn't seem to change her mind.

>140 ChelleBearss: Behind already! But this upcoming wedding isn't helping.

May 14, 5:39pm Top

What is it, 150 messages for a new thread? My wedding is a perfect reason for a new thread. I must make more posts.

May 14, 5:43pm Top

I'll help you out a bit and delurk to wave hi and give best wishes for the weekend!

Hooray for pixie cuts, purple hair and unicorns!

May 14, 7:27pm Top

Thanks Janet! I'm sitting here at the salon with D's hair short and purple.

May 14, 8:34pm Top

May 14, 8:40pm Top

You can't really tell in the shadow how cute it is. Hopefully you'll be able to see in the wedding photos.

May 15, 2:00am Top

>145 The_Hibernator: Cute!

Wow, when you list it like that, you have made a lot of changes in the kids’ lives - for the better, I hasten to add. Good on you. Currently, I think my husband gives our youngest way too much leeway ... while he thinks I’m always at loggerheads with the little guy because I don’t compromise enough. Parenting is not easy.

Yay for the wedding progress and make sure you look after yourself and baby.

May 15, 2:23am Top

Glad to read plans going well. The hair looks great!

May 15, 7:20am Top

Hi Rachel!

It sounds like things are coming together nicely. I really like that pixie cut and M looks excited and happy in the photos.

May 15, 8:18am Top

Hi Rachel
Hope your wedding plans are moving along well! Good luck with everything :)

Edited: May 15, 9:34am Top

Well, a friend of mine got hacked on Facebook yesterday and messaged me about how to get $80,000 from a new government program that's working through Publisher's Clearinghouse. I informed him that he was a hacker. He denied it. I asked if he was in Nigeria. He said "yes." I asked him what he was doing there, and he answered "selling your daddy's head." I told him it wasn't my fault he was stupid, and he called me a mumu.

A nigerian slang used to describe a person who acts daft

a dress people wear when they want to eat alot of food.

another word for pussy. it's very childish and that's why it's only used by men... when girls can't hear it


a mysterious creature that dwells within the South Wales area, a formidable force in eating and sleeps 95% of its life. They can munch 15 pounds of grapes in 30 minutes, and drink 45 gallons of petrol in an hour.

Clearly he meant the last.

I just went through Facebook and changed my password and security settings, so I am much more confident that he can't attack me.

On the agenda for today:

*Shopping for condiments and other grilling supplies for the after-wedding grill. (Too much to do yesterday)
*Wrap presents
*Do a bunch of cleaning

I've gotten to the point where I'm tired only every other day...because I tire myself out running around when I have energy and the next day I need to rest. But that's a step up from every moment of every day! Today I will probably not get as much done as I want to, because I'm tired. Due date is 12/12 so I'm almost 10 weeks. The baby is the size of a green olive, but tomorrow will jump to the size of a kumquat.

May 15, 9:39am Top

>147 humouress: Hi Nina! My fiance thrilled with the changes I have made. The reason he didn't make them himself is he was overwhelmed with being a single parent. I DID spearhead the therapy, which is a change he didn't expect, but is turning out well for the kids. In fact, D is handling her anxiety much better now and we're taking her out of therapy. M still has some issues where he has no friends and bullies others, he has a low self esteem and wants to kill himself, and he potentially has ADHD.

I wouldn't worry too much about the different parenting styles between you and your husband. My parents were like that, and I turned out just fine. :) I'd say I'm somewhere between the two. The changes I made are not hard-and-fast rules, they can be bent. But they act SO much better with less screentime and more sleep.

>148 charl08: Thanks Charlotte!

>149 karenmarie: Thanks Karen!

>150 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle!

May 15, 11:30am Top

Also, the groom's women, who were all condescending like "getting hair and makeup done is so girly! I'm not girly!" are now asking to be added to my wedding party at the salon. But it's prom weekend. Guess that's their fault. They shouldn't have said they weren't girly enough for it. *rolls eyes* They'll be fine. They just want French braids, anyway. But who does that? I'm not girly either, but if I were in a wedding I would agree to get an updo if my hair were long enough (which it is).

May 15, 12:10pm Top

Reading update:

Currently Reading



The free Sync books this week.

May 16, 9:30am Top

So, here I am. Wednesday of wedding week. STILL need to do the grocery shopping! lol.

M came home with a bruised eye yesterday, and when I asked him to explain he gave a rather strange, inconsistent story. I asked him if the bully he had mentioned before school that day had hit him in the face again, and he said no, today the bully hit him in the penis and got sent home. So I emailed the teacher and that was a complete lie. She says as far as she knows there has been nothing at all going on between the two boys. Oh well. And apparently M gave the same confused story to his teacher when he went to the nurse about his eye, so at least it's consistently inconsistent. LOL. I'm wondering if he punched himself in the face harder than intended. He's been punching himself lately.

Anyway, on the agenda for today is to clean, shop, and get our nails done. Yay! I NEED to get that shopping done today (please let me have the energy). D, my sister (bride's maid), and my best friend (officiator) will be getting our nails done at a fancy salon (Yay for Groupon) and then going out to dinner while Aaron is stuck at home taking care of my nephews and M.

Poor M is jealous of all the attention D is getting, but he didn't want his hair dyed when I asked, and now it's too late. And he doesn't want his nails done, either.

May 16, 9:39am Top

Hang in there, Rachel! It will all work out.

I'm sorry that M is punching himself - if the bully situation is under control then perhaps he'll get calmer after the wedding.

May 17, 12:30pm Top

Well, the nails and dinner was a lot of fun. I got my fingers pink and my toenails gold. D, of course, was purple. Here are pictures of D and my niece L. L refused to look at me with her eyeballs.

Afterwards, we had hibachi at Benihana's. (In other words, our seats were placed around the grill and the chef made a show out of cooking our dinners.) D had never experienced anything like that before, and was thrilled. L was a little put off by the tower fire he made (on purpose) when he first started, but she recovered. The chef jokingly told us it was his first day, and D kept exclaiming that it was NOT his first day, lol. D tried 8 new foods, which is AMAZING for her. Aaron had to pay her $4 when we got home, because she gets 50c for trying new foods. She loved the shrimp and found most of the rest of the food to be quite tolerable. lol. She was stuffed to full by the time the main course was actually served (it was a 5 course meal), and she had a HUGE pile of food on her plate. I told her she had to eat it all to earn her dessert, and you should have seen her face. haha! (Of course I was joking, she'd already eaten to the point of being stuffed, as had I.) We both brought our entire plate-full of food home with us. But it's almost as yummy cold as it was hot.

Today I will be getting henna in about a half hour. One hand and one foot. I'll put up pictures later. Other than that, I'm mostly done with my preparations.

>156 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Well, things are already starting to calm down from when I moved in in January. But M obviously has long-term problems that need to be addressed. However, he hasn't had a total meltdown in over three weeks! We're very proud of him, and told him so. Nor has he said he wanted to kill himself in over a week...maybe even two weeks by now. :) I don't think he's being bullied, based on what his teacher says. She seems to have a really good idea of what's going on in her class, so I trust that nothing, at least, has happened in front of her or the other students (who would tell her).

May 18, 2:33pm Top

See henna above! :)

Today we will have a rehearsal for the kids at 2 and then a Chuck E Cheese birthday party for M.

May 19, 8:43am Top

Beautiful, Rachel!

May 19, 10:59am Top

Hope it is a wonderful day Rachel. Love the henna.

May 19, 11:03am Top

Happy Saturday, Rachel. Hooray for the henna markings. Nice job! Have a great weekend.

May 19, 12:18pm Top

Happy wedding day, Rachel!

May 19, 2:08pm Top

Happy wedding day!

May 19, 2:11pm Top

Hope your day and years are full of happiness!

May 19, 4:41pm Top

Wishing you and your family all the best for a wonderful day!

May 19, 5:16pm Top

Wishing you and yours the most beautiful day. Happy wedfing day.

May 19, 6:01pm Top

Hope you had a wonderful wedding day!

Edited: May 20, 7:18am Top

^I am sure you had a beautiful wedding day, Rachel! Congrats!

May 20, 8:48am Top

I hope your wedding day was beautiful, Rachel!

May 20, 9:05am Top

I hope everything went great yesterday, Rachel. Congratulations!

May 20, 11:39am Top

Congratulations on your wedding, Rachel! I look forward to seeing photos from it.

May 21, 8:21pm Top

Thanks all! I am currently with no phone signal and only wifi at the main lodge, so there's not much chance to reply back. However, pictues coming up next weekend.

May 21, 9:28pm Top

Congratulations!!! Can't wait to see your pictures. : )

May 22, 4:40am Top

Belatedly catching up on your thread Rachel to say congratulations on your wedding (looking forward to the pictures) and on your pregnancy! I also love D with the pixie purple hair :-D

May 23, 3:01pm Top

Congratulations on your wedding, Rachel!

May 24, 9:27pm Top

Congrats on the wedding! Looking forward to seeing pictures :)

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