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Welcome to Laurel Jamieson's Journal. Please leave a comment!

I know I type a lot. Only read the entries that interest you; I'll never know what you skip!

Oh, and because you can't hear "tone of voice" in print, please imbue the phrase in the title: "What's the worst that can happen" with a blend of irony, apprehension and humor.

Fortunately, Jamiesons, like Bumbles, bounce. Handy, since I'm always jumping off cliffs.

Profile/Bio: http://laureljamieson.livejournal.com/profile
Current Month
Jan. 29th, 2017 @ 12:51 pm Naaman the cure
The text for today's sermon was the story of Naaman, in 2nd Kings, 5. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Kings+5&version=NIV   see below the cut for a briefer version.

When I am asked for parenting advice, I prefer to offer books. I will also give advice, but I usually say, "This is a situation we faced, and this is how we handled it."

For there is a lot of wacky advice out there, lots of bizarre miracle cures... I will tell parents, "The only advice you should take as gospel is the Gospels. You're the one who best knows the situation and the natures of the people involved. That being said," I continue, "I always very carefully consider advice, even advice that I have a knee-jerk 'that's insane' reaction to, because, there is often a nugget of good in someone's advice. Even if it is dreadfully wrong advice, the very thing(s) that make it wrong may point you in an opposite direction you might find quite useful."

Naaman got truly wacko advice. And he rejected it out of hand.

Stuart was given a long list of totally wacky activities in kindergarten by someone we trusted. Both his teachers, Stuart and I all rolled up our sleeves, and they WORKED!

Be smart, be wise, be cagey, be a tad suspicious, but, do carefully consider advice.
The pastor's point was, "When God gives you a cure, even though it's not remotely what you expected, it's what you need. Accept the offer."

Naaman listened to his servants, and followed the advice of the prophet. It worked.
Abridged Bible StoryCollapse )
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Jan. 26th, 2017 @ 07:13 pm finished the program again.

FInished adding all the new bits to the billing program.
Boss came in and said, "Where's the Quad program".

"I moved it to it's secure shared area."
"Oh, but does that mean other folk can change the data?"

"Well, they can access it, and yes, they can change it. You wanted them to be able to access, yes?"
(This was a "little" program I wrote to archive 100's of research presentations from professors, that lets you search/select by tags, and create PowerPoints from the selected slides with one button push.)

I said, "I made a sweet security sub-system on the billing system. I could port it over to the Quad database?"
"No," said boss. "Now that you're done with the billing system, I need you to start and finish the CRM program."

If I weren't also planning a science tournament for 750 kids and 120 volunteers AND a science fair with 350 kids, each having 12 pages of documentation that needs to be verified, and enrollment fees to pay, I'd be delighted.

I'm still very pleased to be programming again.  I'll have more fun after the two big science parties.

Course, how many people get to plan science parties for 1100 kids?

I love to juggle.

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Jan. 24th, 2017 @ 08:12 pm Plan for failure, part 2, and, not a failure
My Wednesday lunch friend emailed me today to remind me to pack my lunch for tomorrow.
Yes, add a new good habit to the previous list.

Prepare for other's failures, and if reasonable, send them an email - help them out.

I actually remembered this week. Others, I have, indeed, forgotten to pack my lunch.  (Most days I don't eat lunch.)

The story I posted on Monday has gotten some very kind comments, including "simply magnificent" !!

Kudos: 93  Bookmarks: 11  Hits: 1197  @ 24 hrs
Kudos: 111 Bookmarks: 15 Hits: 1361  @ 48 hrs

Kudos: 120 Bookmaks: 18 Hits:  1476 Day 3.

               at about the 24 hour mark.

Whew. Not a failure, I guess. 7.8% kudo rate.
I think when I look at it (I edited it for minor errors), it counted my looks as Hits.
I'll have to not enter it any more.
But, now it's not fresh, so... it will probably stagnate.
I slept well last night, though, having gotten it off my brain.
and my username comes up on google with the title of my story.  What fun!
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Jan. 23rd, 2017 @ 09:11 pm I did it. I posted something on Archive of our Own.
And then I read it (for the 4th time), and it had some typos, and a few wrong words.

But it's up. And hopefully, the story will quit running around in my head and waking me up in the middle of the night.

I got 28 hits in an amazingly short time, and 1 kudo.

Now, I shall ignore it for a few days.  I put it up to get it out of my head. I hope a few folk enjoy it.
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Jan. 22nd, 2017 @ 02:41 pm Vaccuuming - Bleh. Start It, Do It, Get It Done. Or Don't.

  1. Analyze the actual time taken, and if it’s small, get over it and just do it.

Don't like vacuuming. Now that Stuart is back to college after Christmas break, vacuuming is my job.

I really hated it when we first got married. So I timed how long it took.  Nine minutes. That's really not long, and knowing that, helped. "Get over it," I told myself. "Start it, do it, get it done."

I'm older now, and I take a lot longer vacuuming, because I see more value in vacuuming now. I see the value in it. It probably takes me 18 minutes.  I go over every area twice and areas by doorways 3 or 4 times. It’s easier to invest the 18 minutes because I see value. (I see no value in dusting, and rarely dust.) It’s also easier because I’m older, and older brains are just less distressed taking longer to do things, I think.

  1. Simplfy and/or Ritualize

Simplify: I don’t care much for the weekly grocery shopping trip. I’m terrible at finding things. So I have a pre-printed grocery list in store aisle order, listing all the things I typically buy over a 6 week period. It took a few months to make a robust list, as I had to keep adding things.  Now, when it’s time to plan groceries, I circle everything I need on the list, and when I get to the store, I can plow through the job, without marking things off or having to go back 3 aisles to get something I missed the first time through.

I also have a list of about 60 meals. This makes it easier to fill out the list.

RItualize: Every Saturday morning, I get out my lists. I check inventory on the bolded items on the grocery list - the stuff we use every day, like bread, milk, OJ and margerine. I plan the meals, circle what I need to make them, and then get to the grocery store.

Sweeping the kitchen and bathroom? I analyzed the process, determined the best combination of speed, simplicity and effectiveness, and then I do it that way, every time, every week. It’s become so ingrained, so programmed, that my brain is free to wander wherever it wishes, while my body carries on with the cleaning.

  1. Do it frequently if that makes it easier, or do it in parts

Cleaning the shower is a terrible pain.  I’ve engineered that too. The best shower cleaner (with the mildest odor) are shower cleaners with citric acid. I consider it a badge of maturity that, given I’ve realized it is much easier to clean a shower and get it really clean if you happened to have cleaned it last week too, that I actually DO clean the shower weekly.  It cleans with one or (two) go-overs if it’s only been a week (or two) since the last cleaning. (Same with laundry - easier to do it when you have accumulated one just-right-sized load.)

I haven’t won my badge yet regarding balancing the rest of the weekly cleaning. Some weeks, I follow a schedule and do one or two tasks a day. It doesn’t take very long to vacuum, or sweep the kitchen, or clean the stove or the toilet. And the house seems so very clean if, every evening, you do one or two things. It takes a long time to do all of the tasks on a Saturday morning, and one has to do the grocery run too! Better to divide and conquer.

  1. Fe get aboud it.

Just don’t do it, but only if you have considered the consequences and are prepared to deal with it.  Explicitly considering a task and choosing not to do it, is allowed. NOT carefully considering - just ignoring it, or fretting about it but not taking any steps is not ‘choosing’? That doesn’t count.

  1. Bite the bullet

sometimes one just has to get-er-done. Like trips to the Dentist. Think about the consequences of failure. That might help.

  1. Let it simmer

Cleaning the shower is easier (if it’s been a while), if you wipe on the cleaner and let it soak for a while. Same for getting of wall paper paste.

Sometimes letting things simmer is really a good plan. And I say ‘simmer’ specifically. Simmering isn’t procrastination. Simmering is not choosing not to do it. Simmering is having a plan and executing it in parts.

7. Plan for failure

If you know you will carry the first two bags of groceries upstairs to the kitchen, the get distracted and leave the rest downstairs for six hours, then, pack all the cold stuff in one or two bags, and bring them up first. Go back down and get the milk, too. Embrace your flaws and make effective plans that work around them.

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Jan. 20th, 2017 @ 06:39 pm ToDo Lists
I had a wonderful idea for what to write today, but I didn't write it down and now it's gone.

Science Olymipad tournament is shaping up nicely. This is the fourth year I've worked on it, third year working with John, and this year, we have a student assistant to help.

Friend was pleased to receive the books and said they looked good.

Program hit a kink today -- we've had a mis-match of expectations bred from a batch of undefined expectations, about how to price services between sister departments.   It will be managable - the hard part will be to get everyone together and make the issue clear. We have a good group of cooperative people.  It's a blessing.

And a funny, from an old facebook post:

Apparently, there are stupid questions.  I asked my son, "Did you notice the two invisible new things in the livingroom?" He looked around, then my words fully sank in. He looked back at me, and rolled his eyes like only a teenager can.

The post was old enough, that I can't remember what I was referring too.  Now I'm puzzled.  Won't lose sleep over it, though. 
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Jan. 19th, 2017 @ 06:35 pm Hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter! Hey, you got your peanut butter on my chocolate!

Literally got my papers mixed up with someone else's work papers today.

While sorting them out, I saw one of the other person's papers, and said, "If you are willing to tell, is that from a grant, or is it personal."

The person quickly and comfortably said, "It's personal," and began to tell me about the situation.

I have some very fine, very helpful (very expensive) relevant books on the subject.

I offered to share, the person seemed glad to accept them.

I'm delighted the books will be getting used again, will become even more valuable via the help they share.

I pray the person finds them useful. I know I did.

I'm glad I got my peanut butter mixed up with in his chocolate.

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Jan. 18th, 2017 @ 08:24 pm lunch and exercise

Most Wednesdays, I eat lunch with a co-worker. Yesterday she joined a gym.  You go, girl. She's in her late 50's (?) which makes this a bigger step, I think, than it would be for a 30's woman. She's very brave and I'm proud of her.

Go Make that Change.

Think about your life and plan, act, do, Live.
It's so easy to float along...

She's elected to pick a direction and swim!

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Jan. 17th, 2017 @ 08:30 pm Got my programming done!

I quit work when my son was born. I remained a stay-at-home mom for 15 years.
Three years ago (more or less), I was looking at the University of Akron's web pages, to investigate going back to school for programming.  I got distracted by the "Employment Opportunies" page. There was a science outreach position requiring teaching experience (Trigonometry TA at Pitt for 4 semesters, substitute teacher for 5 years, playgroup for 10 years), Science Olympiad experience (coached a team for two years), administrative skills (could scrape up enough examples) and excellent excel and writing skills. (Oh yes, and good enough.)  It was 3 am. I stayed up until 5 am updating and focusing my resume and letter and applied.

That night at dinner I asked my family their thoughts - If I get a call, should I go in for an interview?
It was May or June. They said, "Sure!' and we discussed details.
I didn't hear anything until August 30. I interviewed the next day and started September 3rd.

The people at U Akron are wonderful.

About 18 months ago, I was sent over to a center to help out until they hired new staff.  They had great business processes, but much of the work was done manually. I started automating it in Microsoft Access.

The program has grown. Today I finished testing a major new component for an affiliated center.
I am DELIGHTED to be programming again, thrilled to be paid for doing it. I'm learning new skills...

I'm very grateful to like my job so much.
And it is very, very, very nice to be on the same campus as my son.  He pops in about 3 times a semester...

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Jan. 17th, 2017 @ 08:10 pm A good story
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Jan. 16th, 2017 @ 05:59 pm Swimlets and Productive Uncertainty

Stuart and I had a long talk before he went back to college.
I said I was proud of how he did first semester, and that I've been proud of how he's been doing.

I reminded him of swimlets and encouraged him to string his first semester swimlets into swimming this semeseter....
More after I get back from the dentist.
I'm back. No cavities.

Swimlets:  When Stuart was in 2nd grade or so (?) he was invited to a birthday party at the rec center. "Bring your bathing suit!" the invitation read.

Stuart followed the other boys and stood in line to jump off the diving board into the deep end.  At the end of the summer, he could swim about 3 strokes, then he'd stop. I walked swiftly, but quietly to the edge of the pool, shedding my shoes and socks and sweater as I went. I'm a strong swimmer and I knew I could get him out, even in wet jeans and a turtleneck. And I decided I'd rather jump in than express a lack of faith in his judgement.

He jumped in, came up, and swam his 3 strokes, a swimlet. He came up for air and a look around, saw that he was still miles from the edge, and, bless his heart, did another swimlet.  Still miles to go. Slowly (agonizingly - my heart was in my mouth), he made it to the edge. He got out, smiled a huge smile at me, and got back in line.  By the end of the afternoon, he was s swimmer.
After I reminded him of the event, he said, "I did think before I leapt. I was pretty sure I could make it."

My heart was in my mouth most of fall semester.  But, he did it. He kept doing his three strokes at a time and kept at it for 16 weeks.
He learned a LOT.

Prayers that by the end of second semester, he'll be doing 6, 9 or 12 stroke swimlets, or, maybe, be swimming.  I know he'll be strong swimmer, and, the stronger you are, the more fun it all becomes.

I am VERY proud that he jumped off that board. I'm rather glad he stayed in the dorms and I didn't have to (couldn't) watch.

Stuart, keep thinking and jumping. And STUDY and Learn everything about every topic you encounter in college.  God gives you wings before he walks you to the edge of the board. Work hard, grow lots and lots of feathers.


And, a funny: The church has family movie night once a month.
I saw my men's heads together and Roger beginning to laugh.  Stuart had shown his dad that the invitation says, "Come dressed comfortably. PJ's welcome!"  He whispered, "I sleep in my birthday suit. Do you think I'd be welcome in those PJ's?"

Roger thought not. After they explained their mirth to me, I said, "PJ's are a very specific THING. Birthday suits are a very particular absense of THINGS.  But, we ought to ask, to be sure."  (Mr. Movie Man is a jolly fellow.)

Mr. Movie Man rubbed his chin, and, wanting to be welcoming and positive said, "I suppose it would be ok, if he also brought a blanket.  A big, tight fitting blanket."  I like Mr. Movie Man.  Good fellow.  I have footie-all-in-one jamies with airplanes printed on them. Roger says they'd be ok, as long as I kept the bomb-door zipped. I bought Roger Batman footie-all-in-one jammies complete with a cape and bat ears. He would never, in a million years, wear them out of the house. He hasn't worn them inside the house either.

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Jan. 16th, 2017 @ 05:57 pm Day 3 - church, packing and taking Stuart back to college, wedding, Sherlock Season 4 episode 3

Sunday was very busy.

Sermon was about "the big picture", believe it or not.  The Bible story was Lazarus. Yup, Martha couldn't see the big picture until after Jesus arrived and raised Lazarus.  Pastor said the big picture was Jesus Wept.

Even though Sherlock episode 3 was what I expected, I would have liked to see more. Sherlock said John was "family".

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Jan. 16th, 2017 @ 05:52 pm Day 2 - Bits and Pieces (Alternate version that I thought I lost, but got saved as a draft.)

I'm working on a latch hook rug. It has over 24,000 knots - 144 rows of 168 knots.

I like working with little bits of color. I work in sets of 5 rows of 10. At that scale, the rows seem to have similar patterns to one another, and each group of 50 can have a new and unique pattern. In batches of 50, it goes pretty quickly.

I'm two rows short of half-way done today, so I spread the rug out on the bed, in a pool of sunlight, and the whole pattern was wonderful.

While I can see, and even enjoy the color patterns in the small grids, the glory of the whole is wonderful.

The stories of Joseph and Moses are amazing. On the small scale, Joseph's life was very different from his life looked at, at a distance, in full light.

Below are photos of the cat, and a cross stitch I completed before Stuart was conceived.  I finished it on bed rest.  The resting didn't accomplish its goal. But stepping back to see the big picture... even though my life is two rows short of half way done, (more or less), there is enough to wonder at, that I wonder what the full picture will be.

Everyone has gold strands, glorious strands. Even if you can't see how your 5 x 10 bit fits into the whole, even if your part sometimes seem all greys and dull blues, you are important.  Do your part, take care of your part, keep at it, keep striving.

And wait for the big picture.

Poor Moses. Living in the palace but not accepted in Court because he was not Egyptian. Not accepted at home because he was too Egyptian. But with one foot in each world, he could rock the boat.

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Jan. 14th, 2017 @ 08:55 pm Day 2 - Bits and Pieces

I'm working on a latch hook rug. It has over 24,000 knots - 144 rows of 168 knots.

I like working with little bits of color. I work in sets of 5 rows of 10. At that scale, the rows seem to have similar patterns to one another, and each group of 50 can have a new and unique pattern. In batches of 50, it goes pretty quickly.

I'm two rows short of half-way done today, so I spread the rug out on the bed, in a pool of sunlight, and the whole pattern was wonderful.

While I can see, and even enjoy the color patterns in the small grids, the glory of the whole is wonderful.

The stories of Joseph and Moses are amazing. On the small scale, Joseph's life was very different from his life looked at, at a distance, in full light.

Below are photos of the cat, and a cross stitch I completed before Stuart was conceived.  I finished it on bed rest.  The resting didn't accomplish its goal. But stepping back to see the big picture... even though my life is two rows short of half way done, (more or less), there is enough to wonder at, that I wonder what the full picture will be.

Everyone has gold strands, glorious strands. Even if you can't see how your 5 x 10 bit fits into the whole, even if your part sometimes seem all greys and dull blues, you are important.  Do your part, take care of your part, keep at it, keep striving.

And wait for the big picture.

Poor Moses. Living in the palace but not accepted in Court because he was not Egyptian. Not accepted at home because he was too Egyptian. But years later, with one foot in each world, he could rock the boat.

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Jan. 14th, 2017 @ 07:21 am Sherlock Guess Before Season 4, Episode 3 is Shown.
If I'm right, it's a spoiler.
Under the cut:

I've been NOT googling Sherlock, or otherwise seeking others' thoughts, because I want to see episode 3 with only my own expectations.  So, really, don't look under the cut.
Read more, if you wishCollapse )
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Jan. 13th, 2017 @ 07:23 pm It's been a while.

It's been a while. I long while. I went back to work in September of 2013, and, well, it's been busy.  And Facebook.  It was GREAT to reconnect with so many folk from my past. But Facebook never sits still long enough to have a good conversation.

I got a chromebook this week.  I've felt a calling to get back to journaling for months and months (years), but for many reasons I haven't.  I thought if I got a chrome book, a simple, little machine I can use on the sofa, that it would help.

On the day after picking up the chromebook, massive rains fell, the ceiling at work leaked, again, and I began to open drawers in a cabinet under the leaky spot - a cabinet that I haven't used for years, for several reasons. Did it contain anything that might suffer from getting wet?

It was nearly empty. The only things in the little cabinet were Bible verses, printed in very large letters, that I made to post in the Bible story room, years ago. I pulled them out.

Thus, the morning after getting the chromebook, I was clearly reminded, by a quiet voice in the midst of the deluge, to "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19).

Which was pretty much the calling I had been feeling.  Yes, thank You for the confirmation. I truly do appreciate it. A lot.

So, today, I commit to writing something in this journal every day.  Nearly every day.

For I have many small thoughts and stories to share of joy, faith, doubt, life, gratitude, blessings, and love -- lots of love.  Small stories, like the reminder in the rain, that may add up to something for you.

They certainly have added up for me.

Wishing you blessings on your new year,

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Aug. 11th, 2013 @ 07:33 pm Michigan Vacation 2013 - Day 3
Day 3 – Monday

On the way to Greenfield Village, we saw a runner get totally confused about how to read the traffic signals, or maybe he ignored them. He ran through a light that JUST turned green, which was ok on the first half of the crossing, when he ran directly in front of cars that were already stopped. But when he hit the second half of the street, he encountered a group of cars who had accelerated through the intersection, and they encountered, him, slamming on their brakes. It scared him, clearly, and the drivers were probably scared too. He made it across the intersection, and then stood, panting, leaning against a fence.

The Ford Rouge Truck Assembly plant was absolutely amazing. We stayed there for about three hours. Roger's company is quoting a sticker dispensing machine to Ford, and Roger got to see the sticker operation. After they galvanize and paint the bodies, they separate the doors, the cab and the bed, which go through separate processes, then bring them back together. We saw cab assembly (dashboard, skylight, carpeting, panels etc), bed assembly (tail lights, stickers, protective plastic bits...) and door assembly. Lots of different configurations were being made simultaneously.

Greenfield Village was, “Meh…”. Ford had collected (actually MOVED) houses belonging to famous people to the village. In the time he lived, the “House in which George Washington Carver was born”, was a lot smaller than houses now-a-day. The standard joke was, “Wow! John Phillip Sousa grew up in this town TOO? What are the odds?”

We saw an advertisement for constipation relief (ducolax?) , and we started asking each other, “What’s in YOUR colon?” (as in the Capitol credit card advertisement, “What’s in your wallet?”) Many humorous answers resulted. Yeah, we live with an adolescent boy...

After dinner, we cavorted in the pool (Stuart) and the hot tub, (Roger and I). Stuart joined us in the hot tub some, and within 22 seconds figured out how to make the pressure relief valves pop.
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Aug. 7th, 2013 @ 07:13 pm Michigan Vacation 2013 - Day 2
Day 2 – Sunday
The Henry Ford Museum literature made a great deal about how bad the traffic would be, for the Maker-Faire, so… we decided to get there early. Besides, there’s not much to do in a hotel in the morning. The Faire opened at 9:30. We arrived in the parking lot at 8 am.
But prior to that, we had WAFFLES. At both Science Olympiad State tournaments, there was a possibility for waffles at the continental / hot breakfast, but the first year, there was a line for the machine and the second year, I had to leave before the official start of breakfast, to sign our team in. So… to my deep regret, no waffles. For our trip, I specifically picked hotels that claimed to have waffle makers as part of their breakfast offerings. And Roger is just an early bird. He restrained himself, and didn’t get up until 5:45. So we were all showered and ready to go, five minutes before the 7 am opening of breakfast. We galloped down the stairwell, laughing about “gotta get there before the waffle batter runs out!”

And, to my joy, the waffle maker was hot and the batter dispenser full. In fact, there were TWO waffle irons, so both Stuart and I could make one simultaneously. He figured out how to work the dispenser, and showed me, sighing, “The instructions are written right on the tap…” They didn’t disappoint!

So, it’s 8 am, and we’ve taken a silly-long time to find just the perfect parking spot (there were three other cars in the lot), and we’re sitting there. Stuart and I managed to get Roger to sing (OutLoud!) to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”, and the next song too! We had assorted pleasant conversation. Stuart and I got out of the car to peer into the VW micro bus that parked two spots down. We kept our hands behind our back, ‘cause, by then, two police officers had arrived to run the cross-walk, and they “observed us” observing. The bus was in desperate dis-repair and full of a wild assortment of stuff, including the bus’s back bumper. It did appear to have its original curtains though. Back in the car, I looked ‘round aimlessly and saw some crumpled cellophane. I picked it up from the door compartment and said, “Oh, Stuart, is that your peanuts?” Roger mis-heard, intentionally, gasped and said, “His WHAT?” and Stuart played along, with, “Huh? …. Oh! pea-NUTS? Why, yes it is!” [Ok… give us a break, we were stuck waiting for nearly 90 minutes…]

While we were waiting, at the front of the line(!) for the gates to open, having thoroughly run out of things to say, I mentioned that a friend on facebook had seen a commercial for euthanasia, as her state is debating making human euthanasia legal. Stuart pondered for a moment and said, “I guess a euthanasia commercial can’t feature testimonials.” Roger and I were quiet for a moment, too, then laughed. Yes. Stuart had to be exactly right.

We were second into the Maker Faire. http://makezine.com/2013/07/28/maker-faire-detroit-day-two/
(Lots of very interesting stock photos at this site, but be sure to click on the arrow to page through them, and the arrow bounces around…)

Maker Faire was awesome. The pictures from the website give an excellent overview… and I will upload a few of our pictures, including me pretending to eat a giant Hostess chocolate cupcake on a tiny bicycle. “I eat you! I eat you!” It was also fun to look at the attendees too.
Interesting sites: A dragon made of teaspoons, full sized wookies, amazing bicycles, a fog-horn, 3-D printers, amazing home-made water fountains, two gorgeous hand-made cedar strip canoes, a HUGE train engine, and countless more. While there, I also picked up a bull-dog temporary tattoo from Kettering College.

The Ford museum was awesome too. We spent a long-long day there, a good dinner at a fancy Italian grill, and collapsed back at the hotel. (Had to get to be early, so we could be up for waffles the next morning!)
The day was so, very, very good, that we’re contemplating heading back next year, and taking a group.
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Aug. 6th, 2013 @ 06:31 pm Michigan Vacation 2013
“My mother hit me on the back repeatedly with a canoe paddle, but…”

“O-oh, there’s only one cookie left. Who gets it?”
“I did the grocery shopping,” said Mom.
“I did all the driving,” asserted Dad.
Stuart claimed, “I haven’t whined the whole trip!”

Prep: Stuart and I walked through our camping pack list and cut our supplies down to the bone. We would be sleeping in hotels for three nights and camping for the last four. We chose well, and only wished we had a few extra things, like a scrappy towel to dry the inside of the tent. We used Roger’s beach towel instead. (He suggested it.)

We started the day kayaking in Ann Arbor. Roger went solo and Stuart and I paired up, with me in the back. I’ve kayaked quite effectively, solo, but coordinating two people, neither of whom are particularly good at keeping “right” and “left” straight? Well, Stuart put it quite succinctly, “I’ve discovered the secret to learning something hard. Do it with someone who is just as bad as you, and doesn’t care.”

The beginning of the journey required navigating through 8 or 10 “cascades”, or drops, that allowed kayaks and tubes down past the dam, and fish to swim up past the dam. They were about four feet wide. By the end, we could get lined-up for the descent, first time ‘round, but every time we hit the bottom of a chute, it would throw us sideways. Roger just shook his head at us. Stuart and I howled with laughter, and spent a lot of time chanting, “right, right, right”, or shouting, “LEFT, Hard LEFT”, trying to figure out how to steer the thing, or to avoid a rock or… “Other Right!” when one of us either shouted the wrong direction, or called out the correct side, but the other got mixed up.

A dense, but narrow forest surrounded the river, and views of the city kept popping up unexpectedly. Quite nice! It was 72 degrees, but Stuart and I managed not to capsize on the cascades, and though our bums were wet, our spirits were high, our bodies warm from the exertion of paddling. By the end of the trip, we were coordinated… mostly.

Stuart was occasionally effective at saying, “Rock ahead”, and sometimes wasn’t. Identifying obstacles so they can be avoided is the front-man’s job. We all recalled the time I failed as front-man. Years ago, in Michigan, Roger’s and my brand-new canoe stopped dead with a stunning lurch. Roger had shouted, “What did we HIT?” and I was quite chagrined, and whispered, “Refrigerator?”. It gleamed white through the greenish water, and nearly tipped us over as we tried to un-beach ourselves. It seemed quite funny, now.

And yes, being rather uncoordinated as an individual, I did, repeatedly, hit Stuart on the back with my paddle. Fortunately, he wore a lifejacket, which worked better than armor. Armor would have made an unpleasant noise each time I hit…

After kayaking, we had pb&j, and discovered some bi-color frosted animal crackers in our pack. Normally they’re all pink or all white. We then drove to Ann Arbor. We spent quite a while in the Archaeology museum, looking at an amazing variety of artifacts, some from the time of Babylon and King Darius. Amazing.

The University of Michigan’s campus is beautiful. The clock tower sounds wonderful. The squirrels eat peanuts right out of your hand. One steadied itself while dining by gripping Roger’s thumb with its hand. Stuart attracted and fed squirrels too. Near the bell tower is a bizzaro brass sculpture/fountain, with spitting fish, and a barfing not-human humanoid. One of the fish was being quite fresh with his spitting, aiming his water at the privates of a small, very amenable brass humanoid.

We had ice cream – black cherry with thick fudge ripples. Yum! It rained some, but it had warmed up significantly by afternoon.

We ended the day at Marvin’s Mechanical Museum, which simply has to be seen to be appreciated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin's_Marvelous_Mechanical_Museum It’s full of coin operated devices, from an organ/orchestra, to a “Bravery Test”: Insert your quarter, place your hand on a pedestal and see if you can keep it there. A dog growls, then the door opens and a “dog” peers out, then the dog sticks its head out. Stuart was super brave. Roger quipped, “The squirrels were scarier than that!” Stuart laughed. He IS brave.

Dinner was exceptionally good, though we sat for 40 minutes at the table before it arrived.

Spent the night at La Quinta, and in the morning, I achieved one of my primary goals for the trip. Waffles!

SATURDAY July 27th
Drive from Ohio 176 mi – about 2 hours 45 mins
B Ann Arbor Paddling
1055 Longshore Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Drive to Museum of Archaeology and U of Michigan 1.7 mi – about 7 mins
C U Michigan – Ann Arbor, Museum & Bicyling
University of Michigan - Central Campus, Ann Arbor, MI
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology (pg 12) 434 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1390 http://www.lsa.umich.edu/kelsey/publicprograms/visitorinfo
sat, sun 1-4, Tues-Fri 9 – 4

Marvin’s Mechanical Marvels: 31005 Orchard Lake Rd Farmington Hills, MI 48334 (248) 626-5020

D Drive to Hotel - 12888 Reeck Rd, Southgate, MI 48195 Phone: +1 (734) 374-3000 34.2 mi – about 41 mins
La Quinta, with waffles for breakfast
About this Entry
May. 13th, 2013 @ 08:09 pm Mother's Day Card from Son
Dear Mom  (drawing of  a big heart)

I love you, Mom.

I know it seems like I am impossibly annoyed by everything about you, and sometimes I am, but I really actually love you.

Dear Son (drawing of a big heart)

I love you, Stuart, and I believe in you.

I know it seems like I'm always telling you the right way to do things, but I truly believe, that when you get out on your own, if you pause and contemplate, you'll always figure out the right way to do things, or at least a tenable way of doing things.  I really actually do believe in you.  And I love you.
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Apr. 16th, 2013 @ 04:06 pm Science Olympiad

Two weeks until the State level competition of Science Olympiad.

Our kids really outdid themselves and came in FIRST in the regional competition.

Stuart joined the team with five weeks before regionals, after we lost two kids.

So, in his three years, he's medaled in Chemistry, Microbiology (twice), Rocks and Minerals, Trebuchet, Bottle Rocket, Epidemiology, Topography and Chartography and Genetics.  Yay him.

I wonder if the tournaments had been available to me in high school, if I would have participated.
Heck yes.


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Aug. 5th, 2012 @ 11:51 pm To R
Tags: , , ,
when someone dies, I grieve for myself, that I won't be seeing them for (presumably) a long time. I grieve for their children, for the same reason. I grieve for them, for lost opportunities, but it's a tempered grief, for they've gone on to a place of healing.  I don't look forward to death, but I do look forward to having all my internal knots untied. I look forward to seeing how good it will feel to "unfold" into higher dimensions.
I don't see church services as a waste of time, anymore than I see reading a good novel as a waste of time.  There's companionship at church, there are hymns whose verses make me think, ask questions and resolve to make the most of the days I have on this earth.  The sermons are great learning experiences too. At church, I have slipped right or left to hold the hand of someone who is crying.  And it's only been the last five years or so, that I didn't cry on the 4th Sunday of November, mourning the loss of our twins... Church is the only place I've ever cried for them.  Church is healing others or being offered healing, and it's learning and questing and sharing.  And any sacrifices I make for "church" or God... I'd probably make anyway, in some other form, were church not around.
I'm deeply troubled about the "No one comes to the Father but by Me" of Christianity.  I am a very rational person, as is my father before me, as are many folk in my congregation.  I heard an interview on public radio of a Hindu woman who rescues little girls from brothels. She shared her faith in God. When the interviewer said, "Aren't you afraid the pimps will kill you?" She responded, "I've been cornered and beaten. I expect that they will someday kill me... I am doing God's work, and when my work is done, it is done.  Such faith-in-action!  How could I cluck and say, "She's not Christian, so she loses!" ?
I asked my father once, "If aliens came to Earth, would you proselytize to them?" He replied, "Of course!"  "But how could you know if they have souls?".  Dad replied. "They will respond or not, as God gave them the capacity. It's not my place to judge."  That's my rational answer to the issue.  God calls. Who answers answers. That doesn't tie it up neatly with ribbons, but it wasn't a  glib, "Oh well, it's a mystery."
I and many other Christians, including C.S.Lewis, for instance, think, and we seek.
And regarding proof... I've actually seen "Evidence", and God's presence has communicated to me repeatedly.  Despite this, I still have doubts sometimes. (Mostly when I think about all the suffering in the world.)  This doubt was troubling me, so I prayed, and soon after, while poking through the Bible, looking for a filler Sunday School lesson for an extra week outside my curriculum, I found Moses and the burning bush. "No, keep reading!" I sensed. So I kept reading and walked with the children of Israel through the desert. Manna blossomed on the ground every night. Flocks of quail arrived periodically to break up the dietary monotony. They saw water gush out of rocks. They walked through the Red Sea. A pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire abided with them each day and night... and when it came time to march across the Jordan and take possession of the Promised Land, they quailed.
Faith is not a collection of proof.  It starts with desire and/or curiosity. It hungrily gathers "Proof", but proof is not sufficient. A rational person can't find Enough Proof.  A truckload of manna doesn't prove you'll be safe after you cross the Jordan. You can't KNOW - and that's the mystery.  And every day or week there's another branch of the Jordan to cross, which requires more communication with God, which keeps the dialog flowing. Looking backward, seeing the Order in the interweaving of all the tracks, adds more proof...  It's a good, vibrant, abundantly "Alive" place to be, on the delta, in the ebb and flow of proof and faith and works.
Oh, sure, there's sacrifice, but it's not as you described. And it's a process, not a destination.  I've still got a lot of growing to do...
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Aug. 5th, 2012 @ 11:25 pm Pat, and Sue.

People DO touch. People SHOULD touch.

Posted this in someone else's journal, and, today, I wanted to re-read it today... so I've copied it over...

In church, I moved over and offered my hand to a weeping lady. She held it tightly, and after the service hugged me for a long time, whispering, "Thank you" over and over. I knew her name, and had taught her daughter in Bible School, but we had never spoken before that. (Gramma brought the little girl to school.)

My dad and I used to hold hands, even when I was a late teen, while walking through the mall, and boy did we get looks! (May, December...) It felt good to be close to my dad, in that soft, gentle way. He had such a large, strong hand. I felt safe and protected. It was like being at home, away from home.

I held the cold, hard, hand of a best friend for a long time. Then I walked away. What else could I do? She was dead. One must walk away from that. It was so final, and unnatural, this turning away, this abandoning her to her death. I got out of the room and lost control. Blinking back tears, clamping a hand across my mouth to bite back the wailing, I saw a stairway and dashed toward it. I would hide, I would disappear into my grief. Instead, I was caught by strong arms and an ample bosom covered in soft navy. She held me tightly, and I hid my face in the dark softness, both hands stifling the ghastly noises I was making. She held me until my body quieted. Only then did I look up, to see and know my comforter.

I've shared my other thoughts on sensuality vs. sexuality in earlier posts. But I guess it's not just sexuality vs. sensuality, there's comforting, healing, companionship... all vital categories, and different, I think, than sensuality, per se. And we should be free to express/share/uplift each other, in those ways too, in public, outside of church or funeral parlors.
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May. 7th, 2012 @ 09:55 am Mary, Donna's Dad died...
Mary (from Hghschool), Donna's Dad died...

Please contact me if you wish for details...  I tried to leave you a p.m., and Livejournal wouldn't let me.

Hope all is well with you and yours!
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Mar. 27th, 2012 @ 10:39 am Lot of sparkly, glittering water under the bridge....

It's been a wonderfully busy year.
In the fall I was rolling around the house like a marble in an empty shoe box.
I investigated becoming an apprentice electrician.  I really liked the people I met, but decided that I wanted the next level up.  Electricians bring the power to the machines.  It's the machines that I want to work with.

So I went to the local community college. They have an absolutely fabulous Integrated Industrial Technology associates degree, with lab benches that made my mouth water.

Except they hardly ever offer the classes in the 15 class cycle, because they can't get minimum class sizes.  I stood with the Recruiter guy, on a walkway overlooking the machining classrooms.  20 students were working diligently.  "Well," I said, "I guess you have enough students to run those classes."

He said,"Yes, and no.  We have capacity to train a hundred each quarter. Companies are constantly calling us, looking for machinists. We can't get the kids."  I asked why, and he said, 'Because no one wants to do the work required to pass the algebra class.  It's the math. They're not 'getting it' in highschool, and don't want to work for it as young adults."

Terrible shame.  And it's probably the same with the industrial technology classes I want to take.  Darn shame.  I told him that I'd work with him to drum up interest, do publicity, give talks at high schools.  He hasn't called me back.

So... I was pondering what to do about the integrated technology (Electronics, Motor Control, HVAC, Blue Print Reading, PLC Programming....)  when I was called in to school for a day of substitute teaching.  I happened to see Mrs. T in the copier room.  (The teacher left me one short on a set of worksheets).  "Mrs. T!" I smiled, "When's Science Olympaid starting?"

"Oh, it's been cancelled due to the budget ax."

Well. That was simply not acceptable.  I went immediately to the principal and asked what needed to happen to keep it afloat.  I wouldn't have started it alone, but I knew who to call. Mary Anne and Cindy immediately agreed to help.

We took two teams to the regional competition.  The first team qualified for States. The second team came in 9th place, and were "Second place of the Second teams"... which is majorly wonderful.  Together, our teams won medals in 18 of the 23 events!  Stuart got medals in Microbiology, Rocks & Minerals, Bottle Rocket and Trebuchet.  Roger lead Trebuchet, Bottle Rockets, Mousetrap powered vehicles.  I lead Microbiology, Optics and co-lead Thermodynamics.   As a family, we "medalled" in 7 of our 8 events.  (and Mousetrap missed medal by 2).    What fun.

We three started the ball rolling, then Mr. S, Mr. C, My Hubby, Mr. R, Mrs.C, Mr. B and Mrs. H joined to lead one to four of the 23 events. They made enormous contributions.  Parents also worked one on one with their children. And the custodians and the school staff helped too.  We only had one parent-snit, and it wasn't too bad.

I had to learn thermo, to help lead it . Thermo is fascinating, and is very philosopical, in a sense.

Nothing can be at absolute zero.  Every material contains some amount of "internal" energy". Nothing is a Zero.  Therefore, Thermo focuses on CHANGES.  The trickiest part of leading an event was finding the line between educating, helping and "doing the work for them".  You want the students to be successful, but you want them to be successful under their own steam.  6th, 7th and 8th graders are not adults.  What looks "good" to them, doesn't always look "good" to adults.  And for about 1/3 of them, you have to keep pulling them out from under tables or out of cupboards, and say, "Please get back to work." Discipline is not yet internalized in some of them, so you must provide some.

It's vital, when working with middle schoolers,  (and frankly, anyone) that you focus on the CHANGES.  A student who scored in the bottom 3 on the pre-test, might achieve an enormous CHANGE, and end up with a medal.  And she did.  A student might not achieve a medal, but throughout the 3 months, she might grow in soft skills, and "find a niche."  She did. One kid is still glowing. He learned that he has a gift for science. He is literally standing straighter now, and is more alive than I've ever seen him.

I can document a CHANGE in every single one of the students.

What a blessing!   As I said to two boys (as a teacher, not as an Olympian), "Look for the gold, the glitter, the joy, the pearl of great value in every person you encounter. Everyone has some glory, somewhere. Once you get good at mining gold -- everywhere you look, every where you go, you see shiny."

Much, much polishing, warming, work, effort, growth and achievement happened, and is still happening at Science Olympiad. We qualified for states.  20 of our 29 kids got medals at regionals.

And 8 of the students who didn't make it to the state competition are busy preparing a Science Olympaid assembly to present to next year's sixth and seventh grade students.  This project sprung from S's plea: "Mrs. Jamieson, I know I didn't do well enough to go to states, but I have so much fun staying after on Wednesdays... Can I keep coming? What can I do if I still stay after?"

Imagine that.  Science being a fun, "clubby" and cool place to hang out.


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Jan. 3rd, 2012 @ 02:46 pm Things I don't want to lose
Smalin Music Machine

The cow Trip: http://archiveofourown.org/series/10114
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Jul. 12th, 2011 @ 07:37 am Acral Peeling Skin Syndrome - APSS Skin Peeling Feet Painless Solution Treatment
Ahhh... it's genetic.  And harmless (which we suspected) and painless, which we knew, and annoying, but what can you do?  (At least, now, I have an explanation and some fancy words to back up my assertion: "No, it's not contagious. Your child won't catch it from him.")

Each spring, along with the grackle migrations, Stuart's feet begin to peel.  A thin layer of skin simply separates from the healthy skin underneath, 
and comes off.  Jokes about Stuart being a snake abound. The entire bottom of each foot is involved in this process.  It has happened every summer since his second summer.  
Years ago, there were NO HITS on the internet for "Skin Peeling, Feet, Painless", except one hopeful note that said, "When I turned twenty, it got better, more or less." The doctors said, "Wha??"  The podiatrist instantly dismissed it as fungus and gave us harsh chemicals that made it MUCH WORSE.
Now, with the relative inexpensiveness of genetic testing, there are plenty of hits: 


BUT NO SOLUTIONS.  SO.  Here is what works for us.  Perhaps you will find this link, and tell me what works for you.  Try our solution and let me know what you think. 

Best wishes!

Our treatment plan: Harsh chemicals (like tea tree oil) made it WORSE.  High quality lotions like Cetaphil, applied daily, make the peeling layers much thinner, and allows them to peel off easily (they almost slide off) and to peel in larger sheets, often without having to cut.  When we do cut, we use cuticle scissors (side cutting) to cut off the parts that stick, and only go for the hanging bits that are large enough to catch on something and pull.  The idea is to prevent catching and tearing into the living skin, which might invite infections.   It looks like heck, but it's painless, not contagious, and he just puts up with it.  It's so helpful to have an explanation, finally.

Acral Peeling Skin Syndrome - APSS  Skin Peeling Feet Painless
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Jun. 26th, 2011 @ 07:39 am Whew! Running water in the utility tub. What a blessing!
After a soggy weekend at a Society for Creative Anachonism event (NOWM). You know, where the ladies wear ankle-length gowns.

yah know, if you're ever feeling Woe is Me, due to some miserable household task you must perform, consider the poor sops doing middle-aged laundry.

We had fun this weekend, but mud was everywhere. It took me at lest 12 bucket rinses to get the mud out of everything... and it was simply MUD. There were no horses adding their compost, and no one emptying chamber pots and chicken guts into the gutters.

And I didn't have to draw the water from the well... just carry it out to dump in the yard. And I only had one kid (Who got hosed off with a horse sprayer outside the barn, the first night, before bed.)

I find myself very fond of sidewalks and roads and linoleum. One thinks of how much work it was, to build cobblestone roads, but wow... everyone must have been so relieved when the workers finished their street.
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Jun. 24th, 2011 @ 07:41 am I found my fourth grade teacher on Facebook...

Hi Mr. Z! 

I have so many fond memories of fourth grade. I'm so grateful you were my teacher.  You were kind and wise. The life-lessons you took time to teach me, are with me still.  I remember two, specifically, besides the way you simply lead and taught by setting a good example of integrity, kindness and good humor. 

The first was that you heard me say a naughty word. I'm sure it wasn't a biggie word, but still.  You took me out in the hall and discussed the choices one makes in life, the paths one chooses to follow. Then you simply asked me to take the time to THINK and CHOOSE which paths to take, instead of just going with the flow.  Wow.  It was a life-changing moment.  I owe you a lot for that one.  I still rarely, rarely curse. It was a good choice, and the smallest of the benefits I gained from your advice.  Thank you!

The other was when we got busted for throwing wet wads of toilet paper to stick on the ceiling of the girls room.  You demanded to know who had participated in the vandalism. Jane and I and one or two other girls raised our hands.  You said, simply, calmly, "Go get the toilet paper off the ceiling," and sent us out of the room.

Man, solving that puzzle, and fixing the damage was the MOST FUN I had in gradeschool.  We girls stood, staring at the 12 foot (?) ceiling for a long time. Then I suggested, "Tape a bunch of rulers together to make a really big stick? Then whack them off?"  The girls agreed. We asked for masking tape, and asked students to donate their rulers.  You gave us tape and didn't ask any questions. The four of us held the tottering, swaying stick and aimed our best. Slowly, we whacked down each of the wads. Laughter reigned the day as the clumps rained down.  I learned that getting in trouble doesn't require crying, and that I can solve problems and get out of scrapes.  I worried a lot less about life-in-general after that day. I was bolder, after that, less shrinking.  And I had a ball. 

Again, you trusted me to think and make good choices.

You changed my life.  Thank you!

I do hope all is well with you and yours!
Best wishes,
Laurel Jamieson

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Jun. 2nd, 2011 @ 06:55 am Eyes all Aglow with Delight and Anticipation
We went camping at a church camp over Memorial Day weekend.  I knew one of my playgroup boys would be there.

"Clint will be there. He's old enough to Really Play imagination stories now," I told my son.  I told him for three purposes... at playgroup, Clint showed all the signs of being ready for imagination play, but he wasn't really doing it. (Fewer and fewer kids know how to do that, now), and because I know that little boys adore big boys who deign to play with them, and because Stuart LOVES imagination play.

I was right.  And three other preschool boys were there, too.

Stuart was marvelous.  The second day, Stuart started the morning reading.  Clint told his mother, "I hope Stuart doesn't read books all day!"  He didn't.

On Monday afternoon, once home, we stopped at Clint's home, so that Roger could help with an unexpected house repair. The family with two of the other preschoolers was there too. (Big repair)

Clint's mom said, "Ok, boys, go outside to play."  At that moment, Stuart was next to the sliding glass door to the porch. He put his hand on the handle, and looked at the boys.  The boys were standing in a row, on the far side of the kitchen table.  As a group, they trembled ever so delicately in anticipation, and their eyes glowed and their faces shown with delight.  Yes, Stuart was going to go out and play with them.

Very nice!

Most of the play was Superhero, Super Villain play.  On the way home from camping, I asked Stuart, "So, were you the hero or the villain?"
"Frankly Mom, most times, I wasn't really sure."  
Very, very nice!
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Jun. 2nd, 2011 @ 06:41 am It was a DREAM, ok...?

A long elaborate dream, where everyone around me was dying. Murdered, likely poisoned.

A cranky woman, who I know didn't like me much, offered me a large half of a strawberry, covered with white powder.


"What's the powder?" I asked.

"It's just powdered sugar. It's good. Eat it."

So I did.

I'm really hoping this dream isn't trying to tell me something!

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Apr. 15th, 2011 @ 10:00 am Diversity Award
Everyone (> 500 kids) in the whole school had to write an essay discussing "Tolerance".  There were assorted  topics to choose from.  The six Language Arts teachers forwarded the best 25% of their students' works to the judges.  The judges judged and selected four essays.

Stuart won a cash award.  The school invited the parents of the finalists to the media center where each student read his or her essay. 

A most pleasant trip to the school.  Very fine, very emotional essays.

Mrs. B was there. She was the principal of the elementary school where Stuart attended preschool.  Stuart adored her.  ADORED HER.

My preschoolers usually don't remember me when I see them, years later, so I pointed her out to (13 year old) Stuart and reminded him that she was one of his very most favorite people, when he was four.  He nodded, and whispered, "I don't remember." 

I smiled and said, "Preschoolers never do. That's ok. You loved her."

Later, she approached me first (wise woman who knows about preschoolers), and said, "I didn't realize that was STUART at first. Oh, my!" and she smiled a smile that clearly told me that Stuart was one of her most favorite students. "He's grown. He's doing so very well!"

I told her that she was one of his most favorite people, back in preschool. I said that the schools had treated him and us very, very well and thanked her. I said I was delighted she remembered him. 

She kept gazing at Stuart. "He was a wonderful, wonderful boy.  Still is."  I smiled at her, then nodded toward Stuart.

She smiled, and walked toward him. "Stuart, I'm so pleased to see you. May I give you a hug?"

Stuart, knowing how dearly he loves what he loves, though he didn't remember, agreed, and gave her a genuinely rich hug.


'twas a very good day.

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Apr. 15th, 2011 @ 09:42 am Goin' Commando
The good news is that the laundry is done.

The bad news is that I left two straight pins in a garb-bit, when I laundered it.

The good news is that one pin remained in the garb-bit.

The bad news is that one pin is on-the-lam.

The good news is that the lost pin was in the last load, so I only had to carefully examine one load.

The bad news is that a) I didn't find the pin and b) that last load had all the family undergarments and socks. YIPES!

The good news is, that should someone get stuck with the pin, it will be very clean. I used non-chlorine bleach in the load.

So... Is the pin inside the workings of the washer? Is it in my husband's briefs? I know it's not in the dryer.

Would a pin, going through the washer pump-out impeller, or the water filtering system pump be ok, or VERY BAD? (I"ve already received some helpful answers on this, via another posting.)

Wish zippers were period for Society for Creative Anachronism events.

I'm hoping this won't be worse than the time the washable crayon went through the wash/dry cycle, or the cherry chapstick.

Son says he's going commando for the next week.

A friendly and helpful comment I received, via e-mail:

The water-to-washing ratio might give a clue. If the washer was
generous with the water, then the pin, being heavy, might well have
settled to the bottom of the tub and found its way out of the load
whilst the clothes were suspended above. While it may have jammed
itself between impeller blades, like as not no immediate harm was
done, though over time it might collect lint and eventually cause a
blockage or balance problem. Most impeller housings are translucent,
so a visual inspection with a bright lantern might tell the tale.

Which lead me to respond: 

Thank you!
The load was light with plenty of water.  Thank you for the advice and the tip-off that the impeller casing is likely transparent-ish.
Opening up the washer to check out the inside bits sounds like a lot of fun, especially now that I know that I can gather real information without actually taking the mechanical parts apart. 
I took EVERYTHING apart as a child: every last one of my toys (the screw heads weren't triangles then), wind up alarm clocks, the neighbors' musical jewelry box... drove my poor mother nuts. The neighbor was livid.  One day, it occurred to me that I probably shouldn't take something apart unless I was sure I could get it back together. This wisdom made me feel very mature.  I was a remarkably good judge of my mechanical skills, and they were, indeed, impressive.  Therefore, there were still plenty of Take-Apart projects, and I correctly judged by abilities, until the sewing machine miscalculation. 
I took my sewing machine entirely apart. It was in excellent shape. I was just curious to see all the insides. I couldn't get it back together.  To figure out the missing links, I took my mother's sewing machine apart, and then... (hullo!) couldn't get hers back together.  Nothing like that sinking feeling when you turn around and see your mom in the room. There's the eternal pause of dread, broken, eventually, by a crushed, emphatic, "Laurie WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY SEWING MACHINE". 
Fortunately, I had taken care to keep both part sets separate...  Eventually, I got them both back together. It took hours and hours.  (Driving the point home, my capable mom refused to provide either hints or hands.) 
I know that the insides of 20 year old analog washing machines are very simple... but the cost of failure (including the possibilty of breaking a seal and needing to find a replacement) is a bit higher than the post-sewing-machine-crisis child in me is willing to risk.
Of course, you tempter, you... once I open it and LOOK... 
Again, thank you.


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Mar. 6th, 2011 @ 01:39 pm Science Olympiad Part 2
Stuart and Sam placed 3rd in Can't Judge a Powder.
Stuart and Alex placed 5th in Microbe Mission.

Stuart is very, very, very, very happy and proud.
Sam (who also won a first place in Experimental Design), wore his medals to church today. He's very happy too.

Once again, I did little to help. Stuart read four books on Microbes. He paged through "Chemistry for Dummies" and read a Manga Electricity book(really!), Twice.

The boys did most of it on their own -- the learning, the application, the work.

I'm so proud. And delighted.

Yay boys!!!
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Stuart's Desk
Feb. 11th, 2011 @ 02:43 pm Heeh-heeh-heeh.... Finale SongWriter
Just upgraded to Finale Songwriter from Finale Notepad.

Ooouuuuuhhhhhh it's nice!

(after the awkward initial getting-acquainted period.)

Just transcribed Korobuska to Clarinet and Horn from 5 part Recorder ensemble. Yeah, it lost a lot of nuance, but we should have a ball working on it. You start playing it really, really slowly, then with each run-through, you get faster and faster, hoping that the dancers pass out before you pass beyond your ability.

sca.uwaterloo.ca X /~praetzel/ X phaedria/ X KOROBUSH.MID

(sorry, I've been getting plastered with spam on a post that had a link to youtube, so Take out the Spaces and the X's.)
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Feb. 10th, 2011 @ 05:19 am Holy Moley Science Olympiad!
Stuart placed 12th out of 48 at the Science Olympiad Invitational, in "Microbe Mission".

And I've done nothing to help, except find library books for him to read!

(And apparently, the top 10 teams are crazy-intense and considered impossible to beat, unless you live-breath-eat your topic. One team drove 'bout 400 miles, another about 700!! We drove 8 miles.)

How 'bout that!?!?!

His other two events?
One, he survived, with some dignity, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. It was not what he expected -- they thought they were prepared, and they were not, at all.

The other, they were competent, but need to pick up speed, in order to complete the test.

He'll be getting some coaching on all of them, now, from the science teachers.

Whoa! Yay Stuart!
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Feb. 8th, 2011 @ 02:53 pm Glories of Very Small Airports
I rode with Roger to a an airfield for his jump across Lake Erie. He forgot something in the car and I gave him back the car keys.

After Roger walked to the runway, I took preschooler-Stuart to use the airport potty. I realized there that Roger STILL HAD the car keys.

I left Stuart on the pot. "DON'T MOVE" and ran ONTO the runway, waving my arms frantically. The pilot saw me, cut back his motors and called back to my husband.

Realizing I had been seen, I jogged toward the plane, mouthing "Car Keys". The pilot laughed, called back again, and soon handed the keys to me, through a little window in the cock-pit canopy.

Whew. Stuart stayed in the bathroom. All was well. Stuart and I were likely the only people in the building, short of the air-traffic controller guy.
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Jan. 16th, 2011 @ 03:16 pm Sunday School
I felt inspired to offer an adult Sunday School based on my Preschool curriculum. I've been teaching the preschool lessons for 8 years, and have put A LOT of thought into them.

To Mature-It-Up, I'm pulling other, related Bible Stories into the lessons, or taking the story further through it's arc. For instance, Lesson One, Creation, for preschoolers stops when God rests after creating the world. For the adults, we carried on through the fall, then introduced Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and God's promise to bring Abraham's children into a land flowing with Milk and Honey... a new "Eden" that they didn't build for themselves, but that God prepared for them. We hit Deuteronomy 6, hard.

Mr. B asked, "For the preschoolers, why do you stop before the Garden of Eden and the Fall?"
My answer, after some thought, was, "Because 2's 3's and 4's are still living in the Garden. My experience with them, my deep discussions and my observations indicate that they have not yet developed the knowledge of Good and Evil..." I gave examples.

Today's lesson was The Burning Bush -- Proof vs. Faith
We had great discussions. Both lesson sheets, as Replies

So far, I've gotten good reviews.
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Jan. 10th, 2011 @ 02:32 pm Kittens
The kittens are a lot of fun.

And we STILL call them the Flying Monkeys.

Tootsie continues to explore gravity. "Hmmm. If I pick up something from the mantle, dangle it over the edge and let go... will it fall? YES! yes it does fall. And makes such a delightful sound!"

Both cats explore the garbage can after I clean the bird-cage. Hope springs eternal. "Someday, someday, she might just throw the BIRDS into the can, and when she does, we'll be ready!"

When I open Stuart's bedroom door each morning, (his alarm is quiet and he's been sleeping through it, lately), Juliette ga-lumps from where-ever she is, and dashes into his room for her morning scritches. Giving scritches, and receiving an enthusiastic paw-kneading, is a great way to start the morning! J-cat has deeply bonded to Stuart. (Mommy purrs with delight when she ponders that gem.)

The two kitties have truly enriched our lives. What a furry, purry blessing.
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Oct. 13th, 2010 @ 10:49 am Leap, leap, leap.
Sunday and Monday were dreadful, full of the down-side of adolescence. And for the first time in our life together, when Stuart refused to do any homework, I allowed it -- respected his choice, called the day a total loss.

On Tuesday, Stuart made another quantum leap. Wow. The Artemis Fowl books, by Colfer, have sentences written in a cypher code at the bottom of each page. On Tuesday, he searched for unique symbols until he had almost 26. He assigned them letters, at random, then converted several sentences into the new alpha-cypher. He typed that into the crypto-secretary program I wrote, years ago, and set about decoding. With very little help from me, besides basic training on how to go about solving a cryptogram, he solved it. (He did know exactly which symbol is "E", but the crypto-secretary reports letter frequency and he would know to guess that as "E", anyway.) He re-wrote the cypher decode, and by the end of the evening, he was sounding out the sentences from the bottom of the pages, with rare reference to the decode sheet. He says some cyphered words are "popping", meaning he sight-reads them. These new "sight words" include, "The" and curiously, "Buttocks". (The stuff at the bottom is very silly, and a lot of fun to read.)

Also on Tuesday, in the midst of this focused work, he ate dinner. After dinner, I suggested he do his homework before going back to cypher land. He did work in Science, Social Studies, Math and Language Arts. They weren't long assignments, and he kept at them. SS had some tough questions, so he skipped them, finished the rest, and returned to the sticklers. "I felt a bit overwhelmed by them," he said, "so I moved on. When I get to the end of an assignment, I can tell myself, 'Hey, you're very nearly finished.'"

This morning (Wednesday) on the way to the busstop, I explained that babies and children make neural connections with abandon, desperately trying to figure out this LIFE STUFF. The neruons are tangled like the growth in a lush jungle. In adolescence, the brain starts pruning, cutting out the undergrowth. So, a young brain, on the way to remembering the square root of 16, pauses at "blue sky", "tacos", "Look, there's a quarter". The adolescent brain says, "Wait, Blue Sky? Yeah, I looked out the window in fourth grade when the teacher was talking about square roots... but no, we've got to nip this connection. We'll leave Blue Sky connected to beauty and science, but this math link... Sheesh! It's gotta go."

Stuart laughed.

I continued explaining. An adolescent brain moves more smoothly, for there are not 97 distracting, diverging paths on every millimeter of the route between 16 and 4.

Stuart nodded, and began spinning in a circle while moving in a circle around my body. (Blue sky -> Science -> Sun and Earth -> Sunrise -> Earth rotating and revolving ->)

I giggled. "Yes. Definitely. Take care, during all this pruning. Take care not to grow up!"

Stuart smiled wider, nodding in agreement. (We are still in agreement -- Grow in wisdom, grow in compassion, grow in knowledge, grow in faith, hope and love, but NEVER grow up!)

Stuart has leapt.

These are the good days, the dashing along a recently cleared path days, the days that help you get through the bloody pruning days. On days like this, one can almost see into the distance. Today, the long-view looks rosy.

Thanks for listening.
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Sep. 19th, 2010 @ 08:15 am I'm getting spammed
I apologize, but all non-friends now must do the "type what you see" dialogue to leave a comment.

I don't remember leaving a comment on an harry potter focused something or other, but It seems that's where they're picking my name from.

I'm also changing my password.


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Aug. 22nd, 2010 @ 06:36 pm I'm still here
And school starts on Wednesday.

Hope all is well with you and yours.
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Jun. 24th, 2010 @ 11:57 am (no subject)
The difference between a Coach and a Mom

Stuart is going out for cross country running in the fall. He’s been attending Endurance Training on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Parents are invited to attend. Therefore, I was present when R had his event.

R couldn’t keep up on his first day, so on his second, he was determined to complete the three miles in 30 minutes. He over exerted.

He ran ‘til he puked.

He stood in the parking lot, projectile vomiting. The kids called out to the coach. The coach, from half way across the graveled ground shouted, “Hey, R, Whad’ya have for breakfast?” His voice was loud and sharp but not unsympathetic.

R paused in his puking to moan, “Orange juice,” then continued spewing.

The coach walked toward him at a brisk pace, impressive, as the retired gentleman had just finished running at least two miles, “Oh, man, OJ is the worst thing to drink before running. When did you drink it?”

R paused in his puking to gurgle, “About 20 minutes before we started.” He resumed puking.

Coach stood at a safe distance, asking several diagnostic questions, "Are you light headed..." (Puke) and then lecturing him. "Milk is bad too." (Puke) "You need to eat solids, not just a beverage…" (Puke) "And eat at least X minutes before..." (Puke)

I’ve never seen such enthusiastic disgorgement!

R’s surges finally eased and he stood up. Coach turned around and shouted to the other students. “Okay, let’s head down the hill for a 20 minute cool-down walk. He looked over his shoulder and grunted, “R, you stay here.”

I saw that R still had plenty of water in his water bottle. Being a substitute teacher, he knew me. I gave him some time, then approached to see if he needed a wee bit of Mothering after his coaching.

He smiled as I approached, so I said, “Well, now you have a story to tell YOUR kids when they start running cross country.”

His smile broadened. “That was a lot of puke.”

I laughed, “Dude! You looked like a fire hose.” (I mean, he may as well take some comfort in feeling proud about it.)

He smiled. And then he started talking, and I started listening. Seventh graders don’t need hugs, but they DO, apparently, appreciate a Wee Bit of arms-length Mothering.

And I didn’t say, “Dude, that’s how you get a knick-name.” (Though once Stuart went to bed, Roger and I brainstormed a few.)
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Jun. 21st, 2010 @ 08:48 am Two Kitties
We got two kittens yesterday. Much hilarity ensues.
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Jun. 21st, 2010 @ 08:44 am Bardic Event
I attended my First Bardic Weekend with the local Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).

It was marvelous. I've been telling Stuart that "His People" are out their, but as a grade-schooler, his world, right now, is too small to find them. After spending time last week-end at the bardic coffee house and this weekend at the bardic weekend, he's now a believer. His people ARE out there.

Playing along with the "Authorizations" required of SCA fighters, before they fight, during the weekend, each bard was encouraged to seek Authorization as a bard, in the following categories: "Rapier Wit, Thrown Insults, Heavy Metaphor and Seige Mentality, or Any Other Category".

Here follows my Attempt at Qualifying. To understand it, some, you must know that I, ME!, I was the very first person to use the port-o-let. It was shockingly clean... something that I'd never, ever, ever experienced. I was so enamored of it's pristine nature, that I wrote a song about it. You should also know an "In-Joke" of the group. Once, a lady, upon exiting a port-o-let exclaimed, "Well I've never used one of these before, and it wasn't so bad. It even had a purse holder." The group, who had extensive experience with port-potties, were most curious, and one said, "I didn't know they had purse holders, please show me." Turns out the woman had plunked her purse down into the urinal. Ick. But it's a great story.

Submission for Authorization in "Painful Personification"

The lady stood proudly, erect in the sun.
Bright white was her bonnet; the week just begun.
She beckoned me over, to her I was drawn.
I intended to use her, and then I'd be gone.

(refrain) I'm not a rapscallian, and I'm not ashamed.
When the urge comes, we must all seek a dame.
We'd rather a young maid, we'll take any tart,
For nature keeps calling and will not depart.

I opened her chamber, she welcomed me in.
Her hearth, it was spotless, her purse holder trim.
I cried out in wonder, how blessed could I be?
I unwrapped her rolls. Her first user was me.


By the end of the weekend, the girl needed care.
Her hat was still pristine, but not her underwear.
I slunk to her chamber, still drawn to her flanks,
And gingerly used her, although she was rank.


The flower, once lovely, she'd now lost her bloom.
Engorged by her actions, her countless bridegrooms.
She'd take any comers, for nary a fee,
And her floor was all covered with dry crusty *stuff*.

(new tune here:)
The event, it was over. She sat there alone.
Her lovers had left her, gone off to their homes.
With no one to service, with nothing to drink,
She sat in her fumes-ing, she had time to think.
"We girls still have dreams," she thought with a blush.
"Perhaps they'd stay with me, if just I could flush."

----- by Hazel the Carpenter's Wife. aka Laurel Jamieson

Amid most satisfying laughter, I was awarded Authorization in Painful Personification, AND Heavy Metaphor, and I also won a boon from the Muse of Comedy.

Absolutely WONDERFUL weekend. I thank all the fine members of the SCA group for their friendliness, generosity, and nurture. I watched faces as each person performed, and was re-assured to see that even when the performance was not Excellent, each person CHOSE to find something to enjoy in Each and Every submission. Nice, and Good, and Creative. Oh, MY!
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May. 8th, 2010 @ 09:52 am exploring timestamps
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
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Apr. 21st, 2010 @ 10:26 am Blind as a Cat
My kitty woke up blind, yesterday.

She's taking it with great dignity.

We suspect she had a stroke.

She's much less wobbly on her feet today. She can find her food bowl, her litter box, and the blanket I set in the sun.

She slept nearly all day yesterday, her sister keeping vigil next to her, sitting upright with concern. Today, she's not casting her head around constantly, seemingly muttering, "Where did everything GO?"

Should I ever go blind, I hope to sprout kitty whiskers around my nose and eyebrows. They're fabulously useful.

Dear kitty.
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Apr. 21st, 2010 @ 10:14 am WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!
Oh, what fun!


hee, hee, hee! Thanks Mike!
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Apr. 20th, 2010 @ 08:39 am New Moon
"You know? sometimes, you gotta learn to love what's good for you, yah know what I mean?"

The one truly good part in the New Moon movie.

time mark 1:05, here.


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Apr. 14th, 2010 @ 08:26 pm Going out for Pizza on the Diningroom Chairs
My husband and I are most usually Lawful-Good in alignment. But our styles are very different. My husband is overly concerned with propriety, in my opinion. In his opinion, I am disconcertingly unconcerned with propriety. Whether in pursuit of a noble goal or a harmless whim, I don't give a fig what anyone thinks. Herewith, I present the telling of my hysterically telling dream to my husband.

"Roger, I had a dream last night. We were going out for pizza. I said to you, "Let's take the chairs."

"The WHAT?" the real and the dream Rogers ask in unison.

"The old dining room chairs. We'll set them up in a two by two array, Stuart will sit in back, you and I will sit in front and you'll go, 'Vrooom, vrooom, vrooom.'"

Real Roger smacks his head. "And I agreed to this?"

"Well, you were very un-impressed, but yes, it being my dream, you consented."

Real Roger smiles and shakes his head. We're both quiet for a moment as I recall, and Roger imagines, the kind of muttering noises Dream Roger made during the whole trip. "Did it work?"

"Oh, most beautifully."

Real Roger scoffs, cheerfully.

"The pizza was excellent, and we had a good time. When we came out, I re-arranged the chairs and said, 'Hey, let's put three chairs in a row, so that Stuart can join us up front. That'll be more fun."

"What did we do with the fourth chair?"

"Don't know. Dreams are like that. Anyway. That was pushing you too, too far, and you said, 'The h**l with that!' You vrooom, vrooom, vrooomed, and you and Stuart took off down the road with out me."

Roger grinned, pleased that his dream-self finally asserted himself, and then shook his head again, imagining himself vroooming down a public road and through a public intersection, on a dining-room chair. "What did you do?"

"Well, without the other chairs, mine wouldn't work, so I picked it up, and ran after you. I never caught up."

We laughed. A lot.

Yesterday, I made an insulated water-bottle sack for Stuart. Roger and I have had them since before he was born. Stuart used a smaller system, but he's a big kid now and needs a big water bottle. The new sack looks pretty good. For insulation, I used closed cell foam that something was shipped in. It's the same stuff I used for making an insulated carrier for a 1.5 gallon bottle we carry on canoe trips and camping. It works exceedingly well.

Roger said, "I was thinking. You should fill up two of the bottles with water, leave them the fridge over-night, then put them in my sack and Stuart's sack and set the timer. Every ten minutes, you can stick the meat thermometer in them, and chart which one stays colder.

I smiled and nodded. "The meat thermometer doesn't do cold, I think. I think I could just stick my finger in each bottle and tell which was colder."

Roger shifted in his chair. "Stick your finger in? No. You'd need to do blind testing. No. I'll borrow an electronic thermometer from work."

I smiled gently at him and said, "Vrooom, vrooom."

He looked surprised for a moment, then started laughing a deep belly laugh. "No!" he cried out mirthfully, "I need NUMBERS!"


I think "Vrooom, vrooom," has entered our family vernacular.

And yes, testing makes sense. If the new one is far superior to the old ones, (and it's GOT to be -- the old ones are insulated with a layer of felt) then I may as well make new ones for Roger and me too... but if the difference isn't signficant, why bother?


There's a minor flaw on the new water bottle sack -- a horizontal nylon reinforcing band didn't line up quite right. I pointed it out to Roger, and said, "I was really disappointed when I turned everything right-side out and the strapping wasn't aligned perfectly." He went down, got his, and pointed out that his professionally made sack had the same flaw. Dear heart. And he didn't say, "Vrooom, vrooom" at me, either. (smile!)
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