When the cat’s away, the mouse paints everything

In CategoryAdventures in Decorating, Navel Gazing

Jim was gone AGAIN all last week, making the 4th week out of the last 8 he hasn’t been here. This is very trying. I would complain about this more, but a lot of my friends have endured year-long deployments and I am a sissy in comparison. How you guys did it, I don’t know. It’s only been a few weeks and I already feel myself becoming sullen and resentful – “what’s it to YOU, you don’t even LIVE here!” and so on. I am such an awesome wife.

While he was away on the most recent trip (apparently a horrible one which afforded me the chance to crow about making the best pot roast ever while poor Jim endured awful group take out from the cheapest place the company could find (see also: Awesome Wife)), some things happened.

First, in the week he was home, he managed to catch a cold and infect us all. Naturally, the minute I realized Little was sick was the very instant stories of this new virus hospitalizing hundreds of kids started making the news the very week we were scheduled to start a class at the local museum where there would be a whole bunch of germ-riddled kids.

Second, I managed to lock the three of us out of the house. Why do these things always happen to me? At least this time I had clothes on. In any event, it wasn’t too bad, since we had access to the garage – where there are like, 47 keys on a hook which open exactly zero of the doors in this house – and Big was only too excited to go find his pocketknife so we could pry off a screen and shove him through the window. They couldn’t wait to rat me out to their dad that night when he called.

Third, since he wasn’t here to stop me, I did this –




I realize these pictures are pretty bad. I will apparently never be a Lifestyle Blogger who is featured in Domino Magazine. How does she get the top of the picture straight but the bottom stays crooked? I don’t knoooowwwww.

I am going to paint the inside with some black high-heat paint and also probably do something to those hideous tiles. And maybe get something for the big, stupid, inoperable black hole of a firebox. Dried hydrangeas? Pottery Barn says Yes.

I’d show you the whole room, but it’s basically covered in blankets and stuffed animals and used tissues. Fancy!

** The wall color is Sherwin Williams Quietude, which is a fantastic blue-green that manages to look different on every wall in every room. You can see way better examples of it on Pinterest.

Random Monday

In CategoryNavel Gazing



• I had a whole rant about yogurt, but when I wrote it all down it seemed really stupid and petty. Just know that yogurt did me wrong last week.

• I put stevia in my coffee this morning instead of sugar, and now I might die. This stuff is vile. VILE. To everyone who told me you can’t tell the difference: come here so I can slap you real hard.

A single doorknob can contaminate 60% of the people in a building within 4 hours. And people make fun of me for carrying antibac in my purse. Humans are gross, that’s why.

• I thought this was interesting. It reminded me of my dad, who would say, “we might not know where we are going, but we are going there with authority.”

• After seeing how much the kids like Scratch, I found this place – Youth Digital. Online programming classes for kids 8-12! Cool, right? Spendy, but cool.

• When I saw this article in Eating Well about how to heal your gut and balance your gut bacteria, I immediately thought of all the people I know with issues in that department, which made it all the more fascinating. It’s FASCINATING. I read the whole thing to Jim at midnight on Saturday night while he sat and wished I wasn’t.

• This is HILARIOUS. There’s cursing, so consider yourselves warned.

• Happy Monday, y’all!

Hopefully it’s a Talking-Whilst-Fully-Clothed Visit.

In CategoryNavel Gazing

Me: Okay, so you know how I’ve been crying all the time lately?

Jim, clearly wary of a trap: Yesssss?

Me: And all my friends have been encouraging me to go see about getting some hormones? (like seriously, ALL MY FRIENDS)

Jim, remaining noncommital: uh-huh?

Me: Well, New Friend told me if I didn’t make an appointment, she was going to tell me we were going to IKEA and then take me to the doctor herself. (ironically, New Friend thinks I’M the bossy one)

Jim laughs.

Me: So I made an appointment.

I pause, and give him a meaningful look.

Jim is oblivious.

Me, making a get-with-it hand gesture (not the heart one) (not the other one, either): Why do you need to do that sweetie, you are perfect just the way you are…?

Jim: oh, right. You’re perfect.

Me: Listen, I’m scared about this. But maybe it would be better if I was less bitchy. But I’m only bitchy in the most charming of ways, right?

Jim, straight faced: You are very charming.

Me: You know in 10 years they are just going to discover that the drugs cause some dread disease. But all my friends say they would make the trade, that it would be worth it.

Jim: See, what your friends don’t know…(sees my raised eyebrow)…is that you’ve ALWAYS been this charming.

So there you go. That’s what I’m doing. I am being done Chronically Cranky and Ridiculously Weepy, and having no energy past 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I am telling you this because I would like to not feel alone. I know I am not alone, because my friends struggle with the same thing, and that is surprisingly comforting.

I have noticed lately, that other women will tell me of their struggles when I open up about my struggles. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m struggling. And if you are too, you aren’t alone.

** It was not, unfortunately, a fully-clothed visit. It was more of a “I see you haven’t been here in a while. Get undressed and cover yourself with this martini napkin and I’ll be right back” visit. Oh well. At least it’s done. 

Obligatory Curriculum Post

In CategoryHome Schooling, Navel Gazing

So my friend, Tressa, she of the “we’ve mastered All The Latin, Now Onto Greek” homeschool of more excellence than I can ever hope to attain, tagged me for the yearly Let’s Talk About Curriculum post that all us homeschoolers feel compelled to write.

Big is 4th grade-ish this year, something which I cannot seem to get through my head, to the point where I reach for his little sister’s books when I work with him because to me he is still seven. Truly, I feel like the last two years have slipped by without my even registering them, but if I think about that too hard I will cry. Fourth grade? No one around here is old enough for FOURTH GRADE, that’s just nonsense.

When I was in fourth grade, I had Mrs. Nosamond, my least favorite teacher ever and I stole gum out of her drawer during one recess. I STOLE something! I just remembered that. Perhaps I was a bad child. The things I remember most about fourth grade were Mrs. Nosamond reading aloud to us, which was my favorite thing, and also pretty much being in my own little world. A new girl had moved to town and stolen my best friend (Deena, that cow. How I detested her. Or was it Amanda? Either way.), so most of my fourth grade memories are of things that happened in my own imagination.

I read pretty much all through elementary school, openly ignoring the teachers in favor of Harriet the Spy. In retrospect, I can’t believe I got away with that, but perhaps one mousy little girl reading silently was the least of their teacherly problems. It’s strange to see our childhood selves through the lens of adulthood, isn’t it? Sometimes I want to go back and pat Little Deb and tell her to be herself because none of those people matter.


In my attempts to simplify All The Things, I have tried to also minimize school, weeding out the things that seem arbitrary and pointless (like cursive. sorry, I’m in the Cursive is Stupid camp. judge me if you must), and keeping only the important stuff. In spite of these efforts, there are still so many subjects that fall into the important camp and I find myself once again with an uncomfortably large list.

To wit –

• Math. Math will be Math-U-See as per usual. My more experienced friends (Tressa and Melanie, both of whom have kids in college whilst managing to be younger than me) advised me in the beginning to just pick something and stick with it when it comes to math, and that is my plan. MUS is terrific and there is no need for me to be seduced away by glowing reviews of Teaching Textbooks.

• Spelling. Spelling is All About Spelling, which I love. You can read about my love affair with AAS here.

• Latin. Latin is Prima Latina from Memoria Press. I have never really been attacked by strangers about homeschooling (except once)(I think I do not have the kind of body language that invites rude questioning), but every time I bring up Latin to anyone – especially homeschoolers – I have to defend it. It’s so weird.

So those are the Big Three, the We Are Doing These Every Day So Suck It Up Buttercup subjects.

Other stuff –

• History. Still carrying on with reading aloud from my cobbled together living book list. I bought the Early American History pack from Beautiful Feet and then backfilled the gaps with some of the books listed in All Through the Ages. In truth, I suck at history, but it’s on my list of things to Improve At For Crap’s Sake Deb, Do You Want Your Kids To Be The Kind Of People Who Think Bengazi Is Hilary’s Running Mate?

• Science. My kids are very science-y in general, so I’ve never sweated science too much (periodic red cabbage murdering notwithstanding), but figure getting in the broad strokes is probably a good idea. I bought both the 4th and 2nd grade bundles of Real Science 4 Kids Building Blocks. I got a sale email the day before we started school and went for it. It’s not here yet. Because planning!

• Grammar. I have been assured that grammar is A Good Thing, especially for the Latin set, and after buying and discarding eleventy-five intimidating grammar programs (seriously, I took one look at Rod & Staff’s grammar and had a panic attack, but at least I wasted $35), finally settled on Growing with Grammar, which I like a lot and Big tolerates. It is incredibly priced, which is a nice bonus.

• Language Arts. Beyond spelling and grammar, I am planning on not doing any other language arts this year. I know a lot of people start writing around this time, but I don’t think Big is ready. As far as Literature, I just buy books. He told me last year that HAVING to read something ruined it for him and in an uncharacteristic fit of Doing Something Right, I have decided to just stop. He is a voracious reader, like I was at that age, and beyond chucking good books at him, I’m out of it. I’m better served saving my energy for long division.

• I should start Outlining, which I think happens around this year? I know Rod & Staff covers it, but what with my irrational fear of R&S, I will need to find something else. Thoughts? Do you all teach outlining? I know the Classical types do, please advise.

Okay, so that’s it! Plus also we are taking a homesteading class at a local museum, plus I am working on figuring out some extracurriculars like ice skating or gymnastics or ballet or horseback riding. My main problem with extracurriculars being I hate leaving my house, so I’ll need to work on that too. Dang it.

Happy homeschooling, y’all!

I realize I only talked about Big in this discussion, but Little will be doing all of the above as well, just at her level. Except Latin, which they will be doing together, particularly if Big doesn’t stop being so obstinate.

Oh look! Melanie already covered outlining here. I will just make a note to remind myself next year. Melanie has had quite a lot of good advice for me over the years. Like this one on formal literature. I have Mel to thank for the Chuck Good Books At Them plan. More here. Oh look, she wrote to me here, too! And here!