Thursday, March 31, 2011

[Pt 3] K12FreeHomeSchool and Mimi Rothschild: My Own Experience

In my eagerness to present a true account of my experience with K12FREEHOMESCHOOL and Mimi Rothschild, I did not count the cost in how I presented my story. I'm afraid that it's possible that the manner in which I structured my posts was not as helpful as I'd hoped. I in no way wanted to hinder or harm Mrs. Rothschild or her business. I did not consider that perhaps people would not read all three posts to get the "whole picture" and only focus on the less than flattering aspects of my experience. In an effort to present the whole story and not provide opportunity for others to link to only the bad parts of my experience, I have consolidated this three-part series into one. You can read it here...I've provided a summary of my experience and then the original, unaltered posts follow. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

[Pt 2] K12FreeHomeSchool and Mimi Rothschild: My Own Experience

In my eagerness to present a true account of my experience with K12FREEHOMESCHOOL and Mimi Rothschild, I did not count the cost in how I presented my story. I'm afraid that it's possible that the manner in which I structured my posts was not as helpful as I'd hoped. I in no way wanted to hinder or harm Mrs. Rothschild or her business. I did not consider that perhaps people would not read all three posts to get the "whole picture" and only focus on the less than flattering aspects of my experience. In an effort to present the whole story and not provide opportunity for others to link to only the bad parts of my experience, I have consolidated this three-part series into one. You can read it here...I've provided a summary of my experience and then the original, unaltered posts follow. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

[Pt 1] K12FreeHomeSchool and Mimi Rothschild: My Own Experience

In my eagerness to present a true account of my experience with K12FREEHOMESCHOOL and Mimi Rothschild, I did not count the cost in how I presented my story. I'm afraid that it's possible that the manner in which I structured my posts was not as helpful as I'd hoped. I in no way wanted to hinder or harm Mrs. Rothschild or her business. I did not consider that perhaps people would not read all three posts to get the "whole picture" and only focus on the less than flattering aspects of my experience. In an effort to present the whole story and not provide opportunity for others to link to only the bad parts of my experience, I have consolidated this three-part series into one. You can read it here...I've provided a summary of my experience and then the original, unaltered posts follow. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How I Experience You…

Have you ever had a friend ask you a question that was hard to answer? I was asked this question by another dear friend who has moved far away to the other side of the country almost, and another in our little group asked it as well. It's How Do You Experience Me? I haven't been brave enough to ask it yet, but my friend Heather said post this answer to her question on my blog, so I am. Hhhhmmm...should I ask you to leave a comment about how you experience me? I think that sounds dangerous, so I won't...LOL!

Good thing you are sitting down you know…or you’d probably fall right off your chair, wouldn’t you? I’m sure you gave up on ever getting a response from me…you probably thought I forgot. Couldn’t blame you…I do forget things a little too often.

Maybe you thought I was avoiding the question all together. No, not really. Maybe a little, because that’s one of those Real Questions and I’m not always real good at real stuff. I’m usually so concerned about what someone else will think that I can’t always be as real as I want to.

Well, when you were in Arizona…in the overly sunny land of people with common sense about time…and you said when you got back we would have to blog together since I’d have my Little Blue Friend, I decided right then that the first thing I would whip up would be the answer to your question. Isn’t that clever?

So, now that your cardiac issues have been resolved, be sure to fasten your seatbelt, put your chair back into an upright position and hold on, because I’m Going To Be Real:

….da da da da da da da…da da da da DA da da da da…

…boy I sure want more iced tea but that line is terribly long…

Wait…you want Real, not Stream of Consciousness, right? Ok…

You’ve said to me before that you don’t think you’re a good friend. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you that’s pretty much a bunch of crap. You are a great friend! Yes, you have things about you that aren’t ideal, but then who doesn’t? I know you could rattle off a few about me, surely!  (But wait until I ask you…)
You are…
  • giving
  • honest
  • loyal
  • dependable
  • hysterical
  • inspiring
  • encouraging
  • fascinating
Good friends give…they give their time, opinions, shoulders for crying upon, advice, things they have that their friends need without keeping score. They are honest and tell you things you need to hear, even when you don’t want to hear it. They got your back, and you know that no matter what they are there for you. And if someone attacks you, they are there to defend your honor. They make you laugh so hard you’re likely to pee your pants and they inspire you by how they live – taking on challenges other people wouldn’t touch, making the ordinary seem extraordinary and igniting a desire to learn and achieve in others. They encourage you  when the world has beaten the crap out of you and all you want to do is crawl into a hole where nothing exists and no one knows you're there, so you can fade away into nothingness. They remind you of what is important in your life and why you need to be present…that others are counting on you, like your family and your friends. They are fascinating, because while they share the same interests with you, they also have interests of their own and love to share them and teach you if you’re interested. And they always seem to have something interesting hidden away somewhere inside…there is always treasure to seek out within them.

Yes, that They I’m referring to is you. Just realized I should have been saying ‘you’ LOL…well, I finally got on a roll…you know how that is. But anyway, that’s the good I see and experience of you. You are honestly one of the most interesting friends I’ve ever had. I don’t mean that in a But She Has A Nice Personality kind of way, you surprise me often, and I love that! You’ve had some crazy adventures  and I love hearing about them! And even though you sometimes sell yourself short, you are someone I look up to and admire, and would like to be more like.

Now, with that being said, the other side of the Heather Harris Experience (just thought of Jimi Hendrix there….LOL) is that sometimes you can be very abrupt…sometimes your honesty is brutal (but then sometimes brutal honesty is necessary), and sometimes, I just don’t know how to take you because I haven’t yet deciphered your particular brand of sarcasm…those little nuances that are unique to you that take time to pick up on. 

But Heather, what all this boils down to is that I just love you to pieces…even if I don’t always ‘get’ you…because you ‘get’ me. I can talk about things with you that I can’t talk about with, say, Someone Else, because you know exactly what I’m talking about and where I’m coming from…and you wouldn’t write me off as heading to hell in a handbasket because I Went There...(sorry folks, location joke (; )

There is so much good in you that I am willing to take the bad right along with it. I understand why you are the way you are sometimes, other times I don’t…but that doesn’t matter to me, I know it’s something I’ll learn in time. You are a worthwhile investment of my time, my energy, my resources, and my heart and I am so very, very grateful that God brought us together. 

This concludes the trip on the Real Express. Please wait until the ride has come to a complete stop before unfastening your seat belt and moving around the cabin. We hope you’ve enjoyed your experience with us and that you’ll travel Real Express again soon. Have a nice day and thank you for choosing Real Express.
Ok, that was kind of dumb…but thanks for asking me this question…a million apologies for taking so long to get this done…and I hope that this answers the question satisfactorily.

Love you always,

Dawn <3

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Brings Renewal…Under My Kitchen Sink

Do you have one (or more) of those areas in your home that most of the time goes unnoticed, even though you use it frequently? Do you ever think, every now and then, “I ought to do something about that”…and then, don’t? I must confess to having too many of those areas, but one such disaster zone got a makeover this week…yep, Spring makes me want to fix things up. Take a look…

The cabinet under my kitchen sink is something that is used nearly every day here. The dish drainer and dishpans are stored there, as well as dirty towels and dishcloths, various cleaning supplies, and who knows what else. We moved here about three and a half years ago, and while it’s embarrassing to admit, I’ve never cleaned under there! I would notice that it needs to be done, but that’s as far as it got. 

There, I confessed…feels good to get that off my chest.

I bought a new dish drainer recently, so I could pass the old one (that I’ve hated since I bought it I don’t know how many years ago) on to Number One who is moving into his first apartment in a few days. It’s larger than the other one, and subsequently does not fit in the space the old one did. So, I was forced to pull everything out of there…and come face-to-face with the grim reality that it was, indeed, time to clean under there. See for yourself:

dirty under sink

After painting and putting some floor tile down under there, I commented  about it on Facebook.  A friend of mine asked me why I painted under the sink because nobody sees it. My response to her was that I see it…in fact, I see it every day and even though after a while the jumbled, disorganized disaster under there quit registering when I opened the cabinet doors, in the back of my mind that little voice nagged and condemned me. And so, I did something about it and shut up that voice. See…nothing to complain about now:


And now, I only have the things I really need and use under there…


Well, I take that back…I do need to empty the dirty towel bucket and do some laundry…but, aside from that, it is neat and tidy under there now. Much, much better! And, there’s one less thing for Miss You’ll-Never-Be-Good-Enough to use against me…

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Daylight Slaving Time: It’s All About the Money

TN_cr_man_clockAIt's that time of year again...time for my semi-annual Rant and Rave about DST, or as I so affectionately call it, Dumb Stupid Time. This year, I decided to do a little research on the origins and effects of this asinine practice. I learned a few things and was surprised by some others. Read on, then share your opinion on DST by leaving a comment below.

Growing up in Indiana, we never participated in DST (at least not in my lifetime). It still affected every day life, however. The TV shows you were used to were on at a different time. If you went to Michigan in the summer, you had to remember they were an hour ahead…at least, if you had to be somewhere at a specific time.

It was commonly accepted that the reason for DST was because the farmers needed more daylight to get the harvest in and that Benjamin Franklin was the genius who started it. Looking into the matter, I discovered that what I’d always believed about DST was completely wrong.

A Bit of History

Ancient civilizations adjusted their daily schedules along with the sun, but with more flexibility than DST affords. Daylight was divided into twelve hours regardless of the length of the day, so each daylight hour was longer in the summer. Roman water clocks had different scales for different months of the year.
Benjamin Franklin did not start DST at all. He “anonymously published a letter suggesting that Parisians economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight. This 1784 satire proposed taxing shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise.” It wasn’t too popular back then, either.

Modern DST was first proposed in 1895 when George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist, presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two hour daylight saving shift and again in 1898 after much interest was expressed. Apparently, we can thank his leisure time activities of collecting bugs, which made him appreciate the value of after-hours daylight. Great, I have to lose an hour of sleep because of a bug collector. That really bugs me.

Many people erroneously credit William Willet, who was an English builder, for coming up with the idea for DST. He did independently come up with that crazy idea, but not until 1905. He published his proposal to bump the clocks ahead in the summertime two years later, which was taken up by LIBERAL member of Parliament, Robert Pearce and who introduced the first DST bill to the House of Commons in 1908. It did not become law, and several other similar bills failed in the years to come, but Willet lobbied for DST until his death in 1915.

In 1916, Germany first began to implement DST to conserve coal during the war. Many other European nations hopped on the DST bandwagon soon after, with Russia adopting it in 1917 and the United States in 1918. Congress repealed DST in 1919, but it was observed again during WWII, again to save energy.
Even after the war, farmers still did not like DST because it actually adversely affects farming - “grain harvesting is best done after dew evaporates, so when field hands arrive and leave earlier in summer their labor is less valuable.” Minnesota farmers complained in 1959 that they can’t get into the fields any earlier than when standard time is observed because the morning sun does not dry the dew under DST (Minneapolis Star, Jan 28, 1959.)

Between WWII and 1966, when the federal Uniform Time Act became law, observance of DST was left up to states and localities.  Of course, this created a confusing “patchwork” of times, hence the passing of the UTA. States that wished to be exempt from observing DST could do so by passing a state law.

But It’s the Green Way to Keep Time, Right?

There are a lot of claims to “energy savings” during DST, but does the research actually back it up? Let’s take a look…
  • In 1975, a DOT study concluded that an energy savings of 1% was likely. A review of the study by the NBS in 1976 showed no significant changes.
  • A 2006-07 Western Australia study showed an over all increase in energy consumption of .06% – DST caused an increase of energy consumption in the hotter days and a decrease in the cooler days.
  • (Here’s my favorite…) “A 2008 study examined billing data in Indiana before and after it adopted DST in 2006, and concluded that DST increased overall residential electricity consumption by 1% to 4%, due mostly to extra afternoon cooling and extra morning heating; the main increases came in the fall. The overall annual cost of DST to Indiana households was estimated to be $9 million, with an additional $1.7–5.5 million for social costs due to increased pollution.” Terrific job, Mitch…thanks a lot…

And what about the brilliant idea in 2007 of extending DST another four to five weeks, moving the start of DST up two weeks? A California study in 2007 showed little or no effect. In fact, while the DOE concluded in 2008 that there was an energy savings of .5%, that was ONLY for the electricity used during the extended period, not the entire eight months of DST and did not include a study of the use of heating fuels. AND, while proponents claimed that the move would save the equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil per day, that was based on information from the 70’s – the DOE no longer stands by the accuracy or relevance of that information.

It’s Dumb, It’s Stupid, and It’s Bad for Your Health and Safety

I was surprised to find that there isn’t necessarily an increase in traffic fatalities and traffic-pedestrian fatalities, but rather evidence suggests a decrease. North America and the UK show a correlation between clock-changing and traffic accidents, but Finland and Sweden do not. However, as far as personal safety on the job and health effects, these facts are not surprising:
  • A 2009 U.S. study found that on Mondays after the switch to DST, workers sleep an average of 40 minutes less, and are injured at work more often and more severely.
  • Changing clocks disrupts sleep and reduces its efficiency
  • Male suicide rates rise after “falling forward”
  • The effects of messing with the Circadian Rhythm can be severe and last for weeks (and I can vouch for MONTHS)
In 2005 the government of Kazakhstan abolished DST because of health complications attributed to DST!
From the time we “spring forward” until a few days after “falling back” to normal time again, I spend my days in a foggy stupor. I am tired and dragging all summer long, when I should be out enjoying the nice weather and all that lovely, cancer-causing daylight. I just want to hibernate all summer long. I have recently developed some health issues, and while I can’t completely blame DST for them, I am certain that it exacerbated them.

Do You Want Fries With That DST?

No discussion of government antics would be complete without a look at the bottom line, and who benefits most from a healthy one.

In the mid 80’s, Clorox and 7-11 provided the primary funding for the Daylight Saving Time Coalition’s push for the  extension of DST in 1987. Both Idaho senators voted for it, based on the premise that fast-food restaurants sell more fries during DST! And what do they grow in abundance in Idaho? Why, potatoes, of course!

In 2005, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores successfully lobbied for the 2007 extension to U.S. DST. Of course, with more daylight hours we’ll have more time for sports…which requires equipment…and apparently a stop at 7-11 for some slurpees afterward. I couldn’t find any mention of Big Pharma, but I’m sure there’s no objection on their part to the prescriptions for sleeping pills so we can get to sleep when it’s still broad daylight out…or the antidepressants because we’re sleep-deprived and slightly mentally unstable…

More Government Control, Please, We Certainly Don’t Have Enough

Of course, the argument can be made that it’s just one more way for the government, which our founding fathers intended not to be the out-of-control monstrosity that it is today, to tell us how to live, how to think and what to do.

I came across a comment on Facebook today that made me look at Dumb Stupid Time in a whole new light:
Evelina Marie EEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKK! I dislike time change so much. *sigh* I lived in Japan for nearly 20 years and was so spoiled without the time change. I can't get use to it after 15 years. It is like a mass, government ordered jet lag. I'll feel so out of sync with the rest of the world till we go back to normal time. : (            (emphasis mine)

I suppose it’s rather convenient for Them that the sheeple are tired, disoriented, confused and distracted. It makes it a lot easier to stick it to us when we’re not paying attention to the shenanigans in the White House…yep, Dumb Stupid Time is a conspiracy…a nefarious plot to destroy our great nation…can’t say that I’m surprised really. I knew that there was more than one reason I despised, loathed, detested and abhorred it. Between the advertising industry and Big Brother, They’ve found a great way to keep us all in line. But not me…nooooooo way…I will NOT conform…

…in fact, I’m going to buy myself a special watch to wear just during Dumb Stupid Time, so I’ll never have to change a clock. I grudgingly change my watch after several days, since the DST-induced stupor I’m in makes it difficult to figure out what time it is…and what time zone, for that matter. Since I refuse to do it, my husband changes all the clocks. You know, I’m starting to question who’s side he’s really on…

many thanks to Wikipedia for the exhaustive study of the history of DST: and

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Emptying Nest

empty nest I feel funny writing something “empty nest” related. I mean, I’m not even 40 yet and our youngest just turned three. But, as it often is with blended families, we have the whole gamut here in age ranges: 20, 18, 16, 10 and 3.

We’ve had our share of difficulties over the years, some unbelievably hard…the kind that can kill a marriage and rip a family apart. But, by the grace and faithfulness of God we weathered each storm that came our way…unfortunately, not completely intact but still, not completely destroyed either. There is still hope.

Now we are entering into what will be a very long season of nest-emptying. The oldest is moving out by the end of the month. I wish that it was happening under better circumstances, but choices were made and consequences followed as is the way of things. The next oldest, although he doesn’t live with us, is leaving for Marine boot camp (HOO-RAH!!) in September…and going all the way to the other side of the world in California.

All these birdies flying the nest cause me to become quite introspective. As most parents do, I have many regrets. All of our good intentions didn’t always turn out the way we intended. And some of the issues we had to deal with along the way made it excruciatingly difficult to be the parents these fine young men needed. Now, they are about to enter the big, bad world on their own.

They will make their own choices…how much that reflects on us and our parenting skills is not quite clear for me. On one hand, we, as parents, have had set before us the task of teaching them right from wrong and to model how to be a responsible and productive citizen. We should teach them to be compassionate and care for others, to be good stewards of God’s creation, and to have impeccable integrity. When we succeed in those areas, they can learn well…and when we fail in those areas, they learn as well.

Then we have the other hand…

They will make their own choices

And, chances are, at least some of those choices would not be ones we would make. Or possibly choices anyone should make. These young men are perfectly capable of making good choices and being responsible. Whether or not they do is up to them. It’s hard to let go and let them be themselves.

I am fully prepared to be proud of their successes. That part is very easy. But how will I react…or respond, rather, when they fail? I don’t want to sound like I expect them to fail…it’s just a fact of life that people in general make mistakes and fail at things. And when you’re a young adult out on your own for the first time, the world can be a minefield of potential mistakes. How do we respond when they step on one of those and - God forbid – get hurt?

Natural Consequences are wonderful teachers. They do a better job of teaching than Advice From Parents. I don’t know why I get so irritated when the 20 year old asks for advice then does the complete opposite. But then, the nurturing part of a parent’s heart doesn’t want to see their children get hurt and wants to swoop in and rescue them when they do. It’s so fine, that line between helping and enabling!

Really, the best advice I can  think of is to remember that God is in control all the time. And when His children, which is exactly who our children are, mess up, He is there to gently correct and guide and to bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted. My job as parent will move from taking care of the immediate here-and-now needs…the never-ending need for food and shelter and clean underwear and food (did I mention BOY at all?) to a 24/7 need for prayer and support. The trick is knowing how support without hindering or enabling. For that, prayer is also quite handy…as long as I listen to what God is saying…

And so…while I would be fibbing if I didn’t admit that I’m looking forward to Number One moving out, since we don’t exactly get along famously, still, there is a sense of unease and a sudden desire to protect him building within me. Regardless of our differences and the list of things that annoy us about each other, he is still my family. I still want to see him succeed. I still want the best for him. And I am still grieved by the circumstances that have launched his foray into the big, bad world.

Number Two won’t be leaving for several months yet, and we still have his high school graduation to look forward to, his open house to plan, and a summer to spend with him yet…unless, of course, he is too busy working. But, at least he’ll be around and we can see him more easily than when he’s a zillion miles away in California.

My mind, which contains the vapors of mistakes made mere years ago, takes those memories of failures and hairs-of-chinny-chin-chins and weaves them into what could become in the months and years ahead for these boys. I don’t want them to repeat my own mistakes, or the mistakes of their parents…but I can’t control them and micromanage their lives. They alone must responsibly use and manage the freedom that adulthood brings.

So, for now, I will plan on spending more time in prayer for these young men. And start making plans on what to do with Number One’s room when he moves out…

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure and Darlene Schacht

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Integrity is a Lost Virtue, but I Choose to: