Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

WordPress started this thing a while back where, as soon as you hit “publish” on a post, you are automatically taken to a screen that shows you the post as it appears on your blog with a sidebar saying something like, “Congratulations!  You have published 845 posts!”  Under that is a goal (“Five more posts to reach 850!”) and a quote about writing.  This is what I got this last time:

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.  — Tennesee Williams

Yeah, this is me.  The crazy woman who cares too much for most people’s tastes about the One Child Policy, genocide in Sudan, adoption, pro-life issues, homeschooling, gardening, and crafting, all at the same time, and couldn’t make happy chit-chat about much of anything except kids and maybe old Navy escapades (“So, we were doing divtacs with the Brits- you know how that is!- and the aft lookout says…”).


Some days, I wonder what it would be like to be normal.


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Family Vacation

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you don’t have to take vacations when everybody else does.  Therefore, places that are wall-to-wall people in July are easily navigated and enjoyed in, say, May.  Which is precisely what we were doing for the last week.

First, Philadelphia and the Independence Hall NHP on Saturday, after driving up Friday afternoon.

Then, Chinatown, hand-pulled noodles, and the largest sesame balls I’ve ever seen!

In the “exciting for me, but maybe not for you” category, we also found the Catholic parish that serves Chinatown.  They don’t have a bookstore,  but the priest kindly told us to take whatever we wanted out of a box of holy cards and stuff that he couldn’t get anybody to take.  Thirty holy cards of Chinese martyrs and five or six nice, large copies of “Our Lady, Empress of China” later, and I was a happy Catholic momma, especially since we found Oof’s namesake, St. Joachim Hao Kai Zhi!

Next, it was off to Niagara Falls.  We took a lovely (and expensive!) all-day, all-inclusive bus tour, including the Maid of the Mist, a boat that takes you right up next to the falls.

The tour also included tickets for the White Water Walk, which I highly recommend.  The boardwalk, which gets much closer to the water at points, follows some particularly impressive rapids between the falls and the giant whirlpool.

The whirlwind tour took us to the National Toy Museum in Rochester the next day (the kids absolutely loved it, I got very tired of it very quickly), then to the Finger Lakes region for winery tours the following day (which they got tired of very quickly), getting into Lancaster, PA, Wednesday night.  Thursday was dedicated to touring Hershey (if you want the museum and not the over-priced indoor rides, you want the Hershey Story Museum on the main street, not Chocolate World next to the amusement park).

We toured around Amish country, but I don’t really have any good photos of that.  Lots of beautiful farms and hefty noodles.

Finally, we headed home on Friday, via Annapolis.  We went to visit our alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy.  Since I already have tons of photos of that, I didn’t really take that many.  But I did take pictures at Chick and Ruth’s, the deli in downtown Annapolis that was our normal “cheap place to hang out as broke midshipmen” date.  Nothing says “romantic” like giant malts and kosher pickles by the bucket!

No, I won’t smile! I’m slurping chocolate shake here!

By the time we got to our exit off the freeway late that afternoon, the kids were squealing with delight, “WE’RE HOME!!!!”

We are such a bunch of homebodies.  But it was fun to get out.

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I wrote a while back about why I was dumping my subscription to the paper, after decades of being a faithful newspaper subscriber.

If I hadn’t before, this might’ve done it: apparently, a couple was surrounded by a mob of about a hundred at the intersection of Church and Brambleton (edge of downtown Norfolk) on their way home from a concert, someone threw a rock at the car, the driver got out to confront the rock thrower, and then the driver and passenger were beaten by about thirty young men.  The Pilot said precisely nothing for two weeks.

(No, this is not an area you’d go through at night without good reason.  It’s a little “iffy” during the day.  And I certainly wouldn’t get out of the car to argue with anybody, even in daylight.  Heck, if someone from a mob of a hundred threw a rock at my car over on my very boring, middle-class end of town, I wouldn’t get out of the car to argue!)

The couple who were attacked work for the paper.  They were both out of work for a week with injuries and trauma.

But the mob was mostly black, and the victims were white.  Heaven forbid the Pilot say anything so right-wing as to suggest that there’s some sort of problem in the projects by reporting a black-on-white mob crime.

Finally, the news hit the conservative websites today after an opinion piece was published on the incident.  (It’s only mentioned on the Pilot’s website because the piece made the “Most Read” list, a ways down the web page.)  What the author didn’t mention is that the theater the victims were leaving, the Attucks, features a lot of black artists and does programs in the local community for troubled youth (I saw Ladysmith Black Mombazo there; lovely restored theater, but the area around it, once flourishing, is now a total wreck).  The area is bordered by blocks and blocks of the projects.  The comments section at the paper’s website is full of frustrated people from Norfolk saying the police have given up on doing anything about the criminals in the projects, the violence, and the crime.   The location of the attack is only blocks from a number of concert venues and night spots.

And the intersection of Church and Brambleton is the site of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, a large obelisk with fountains around the base in the center of the intersection.

The irony of MLK’s dream vs. the reality is just sad.

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Library updated!

At long, long last, I have updated the Library tab (look at the top, over the blog header) with the promised list of our favorite Chinese culture books, or at least all the children’s books and cook books.

If you haven’t ever looked, the Library tab also leads you to a listing of general-interest children’s books that we have enjoyed.  I don’t put up with lousy books; if I’m going to have to read it a dozen times a week, it had better be good!

Since I’m at it, I also finally updated “The Cast”.  Our youngest, who came home from China last November, shall be known as Oof on the blog.  Inelegant, perhaps, but elegance isn’t really his thing.  If you know Kung Fu Panda, he’s definitely Po, definitely “Panda style.”  My parents got him a Christmas ornament of baby Po in the radish box from the second movie, when we find out how Po came to be adopted by Mr. Ping; oh so appropriate!  He’s round, he’s cute, he eats a lot, he wants to do kung fu… Yep, he’s Po.  But that name is copyrighted, so, here, he’s Oof. 🙂

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Latest addition to my “why I homeschool” list: Nobody will ever enter my house, throw out the lunch I chose to prepare for my children, then bill me for the privilege of force-feeding my child, without my permission, “healthier” fried franken-chicken reconstituted parts (a.k.a. “chicken nuggets”).

Before you think I’ve really lost it this time, here’s what triggered this: in North Carolina, a pre-schooler’s lunch was deemed to be sub-standard per the USDA guidelines.  So, the child was fed the school lunch of chicken nuggets, and her mother was informed that her lunch failed inspection and billed for the lunch she didn’t ask for.

I know, I thought it, too: that must have been one awful lunch or something!  What, was it, two Twinkies and a Coke?  (Even so, the school was overreaching.  Teaching kids about healthy food is one thing.  Taking their lunches to feed them school food without notifying their parents is another.  What if this kid had had some kind of allergic reaction?)

But no, the lunch sounded pretty darn healthy: a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, some fruit juice, and a bag of potato chips.  I’m still a bit confused as to why this lunch was deemed lacking in nutritional value; it sounds healthier than 90% of what I remember people eating for lunch in high school.  Heck, it’s healthier than most individual meals my kids have eaten as preschoolers with me standing right there trying to make sure they ate a bit of everything.  I complained once to the pediatrician about trying to get preschoolers to eat a variety of food at one meal; she laughed at me and said, “As long as it evens out over the week, we call it fine.”  So why would anyone pick on that particular lunch?

From the update appended at the bottom of the article, apparently the school district is trying to figure out what put them at the center of the brouhaha, too.  Yet another case of nannyism run amok; even if you didn’t mean for it to be enforced like this, somebody will usually take it upon themselves to go too far with it.

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Three years…

On July 19, 2008, I double-checked that nobody else was calling themselves or their blog “Political Housewyf” and registered with WordPress.

My first post explained my hope that I could inspire people to pay some attention to a few deeper subjects (although I post plenty of photos of my kids and garden produce), try a new paint scheme (“At least it isn’t as crazy as that dark blue kitchen ceiling on that housewyf blog!”), grow a garden (“No, dear, if you want to see ‘obsessive’ gardening, you have to check out this blog I found.”), or write the paper or your Congressman.

The first ten posts covered abortion, gardening, frustrating children, China’s One-Child policy, the spiritual advantages to us of work, black mermaids (and quilts), people looking to politicians for salvation, figs, and Chinese brush painting.

Some things don’t change much around here, do they?

I have been having a very lazy summer.  The end of last school year (and the beginning of the summer) demanded some recuperation time.  And I’ve had enough annoyances in my “real” life that I don’t feel like starting arguments on the blog (which I don’t enjoy but seem to have a talent for creating).  Plus, I finally figured out a wind-resistant shade system on the dock, so the kids have been swimming like crazy, and I’m not taking the laptop anywhere near Crash doing cannonballs into the lake.

But school starts next week (Why keep doing summer when nobody will go outside?), so I may get around to more blogging.  In the meantime, I’m going to re-post some stuff (which is what I should have been doing, instead of letting the blog, yet again, go dormant for a month).

Thank you all for reading.

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I didn’t give up blogging for Lent.

I just gave up staying up past midnight, which has resulted in almost the same thing.

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