Thursday, August 30, 2007

Art Appreciation

The past four weeks we've been studying Vermeer. We're ending the section on Vermeer with "The girl with a Pearl Earring."

I have Ben study the painting for a while then take it from him.

"Describe the painting to me."

It's a girl. She has two eyes, a nose and a mouth and she's wearing clothes."

I wait

"And the background is black. And she's wearing a blue turban thingie with a yellow thing hanging off. And she has a brown cloak with a white undershirt thing. And she has a pearl earring that's really shiny."

"What do you think she's thinking?"

"She's probably thinking about the pie she ate last night."

I wait again

"Probably how boring it is to sit there forever and have to look pretty while she's sitting as motionless as a statue."

"What you think the artist was trying to capture."

"She looks a little sad."

"Really?" Amazed at this insight (and further amazed that Ben's being serious) I study the painting again myself. Wow, he's right.

"What do you think she's sad about?" I ask

"Probably her dog Fido fell down the sewer."

Okay then.

Thinking about how Ben had described what she was thinking of ie ,sitting motionless like a statue I notice how she's sitting. Man, if my neck were craned like that I would SO need some advil. So I say to Ben, "Sit straight and look over your shoulder like the girl in the painting" hoping by this he'd have some appreciation for the painting.

This is what I got:





I start snorting with laughter. Ben said "What do you expect? You're asking me to be a girl with a pearl earring."

After looking at the picture himself he commented, "I look like a Russian madman!" Then he tried to bite my toes.

Ok. Art Appreciation is done for the day.



MEANWHILE, we're also listening to music for Music Appreciation. The past few weeks we've been studying Vivaldi. Ben plays electric guitar and I found this AWESOME guy here who could interpret Vivaldi the way Ben understands:

http://dansindel.wordpress.com/

Then I found THIS guy here:

funtwo playing Vivaldi's "Summer".

Oh MAN! COOL!

But after we drooled over that amazing fingerwork, I made Ben listen to a Vivaldi Aria while studying The Girl with A Pearl Earring. Cos I'm mean, that's why.

Yes, that's a guy singing that Aria. Ben thinks he's rather creepy. (My horrid English prejudices whisper "Yes? Well...he's French" But I ruthlessly shove them down because, after all, I'm American now and there's no need for me to be mad about the whole hundred years war still etc etc.)

Ok....now to continue with our studies. =)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Eeeeek

I've just spent the past couple of hours watching "Survivorman" off and on as I've puttered about the house cleaning up and bathing the youngest child putting him to bed and putting him to bed and once more, putting him to bed and so on and so forth.

And all I have to say is "EEEEEK!"

Scorpions! Bugs bugs everywhere! Foot fungus! Jaguars!

Ewwww heebiegeebies! Gross Gross. I'm going to have nightmares tonight for sure.



My crops are ready to harvest. I believe I will make pickled beets tomorrow. Wish me luck. =) Sweet corn for dinner tomorrow! =)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bert and I have been really enjoying reading Terry Pratchett's books lately. Except for all the anti-religious stuff which just makes me go AGGGH, and except for all the bad language which I edit out with humorous inserts of my own =Þ it's really funny.

I've just finished "Feet of Clay" which Bert bought me for my birthday. It's a Watch book - my fave. I'm just crazy about Corporal Carrot Ironfoundersson.

I've just been snorting and giggling at a bit at the end of the book. It's probably not wise to share it as it probably doesn't make any sense at ALL unless you've read the book, but I think it's funny and this is my blog and thus I shall share it. Apologies in advance to those who think its really boring and fall asleep drooling on the keyboard because of the tediousness of it all.

However, for those who know Vimes and Vetinari...enjoy. Hehehe. =) =)


Lord Vetinari fell silent for a moment. His fingers drummed softly on his desk. "Many fine old manuscripts in that place, I believe. Without price, I'm told."
(Vimes) "Yes sir. Certainly worthless, sir."
"Is it possible you misunderstood what I just said, Commander?"
"Could be, sir."
"The provenances of many splendid old families went up in smoke, Commander. Of course, the Heralds will do what they can, and the families themselves keep records but frankly, I understand, its all going to be patchwork and guesswork. Extremely embarrassing. Are you smiling, Commander?"
"It was probably a trick of the light, sir."
"Commander, I always used to consider that you had a definite anti-authoritarian streak in you."
"Sir?"
"It seems that you have managed to retain this even though you are Authority."
"Sir?"
"That's practically Zen."
"Sir?"
"It seems I've only got to be unwell for a few days and you manage to upset everyone of any importance in this city."
"Sir."
"Was that a 'yes, sir' or a 'no, sir,' Sir Samuel?"
"It was just a 'sir', sir."
Vetinari glanced at a piece of paper. "Did you really punch the president of the Assassins' Guild?"
"Yes, sir."
"Why?"
"Didn't have a dagger, sir."


Actually, it reads "Vimes glanced at a piece of paper." However, it only make sense if it's Vetinari glancing at the paper. It's fun to find mistakes in books. =)

Happy Happy Birthday!

My little baby girl is 17 today. =) Bro. Montebello asked me at church "is that scary?" Heck no!!!! I guess it would be if she was a crazy girl going off and doing wacky things, but she's not. She has her head screwed on right even if she does kiss boys when she's not meant to and thus gets her heart broken.

But in any case, she's fantastic and beautiful and smart I mean...totally smart! Not only AP and Honors smart, but common sense smart too) and funny and unselfconscious and friendly and beautiful and all that kind of stuff. =) =) And I love her SOOOOOO much.


Because of seminary, we had to open her gifts at 5.30am. Yes, this is how STUNNING my daughter looks at 5.30am, so you can imagine how she looks when it's actually daytime...



*Happy sigh* I'm so proud of that girl. Happy 17th birthday to you, Emily Sarah.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

One ebay auction not to miss....

This item has already sold...but oh my, you have to read the story as to why they're being sold in the first place.


Ok, I really have to get off the computer and go clean the house and buy food and buy my daughter's birthday pressies. 17 on Tuesday. How is that even possible?

A farewell to arms

The "drought" got so bad (though Bert's Mum visiting from CA said it looked beautifully green here =D) that walking on grass sounded like we were crunching egg shells. Brown and dying and bare patches on our lawn. Didn't look good, but my mile wide lazy streak enjoyed not watering the grass.

Then last night the heavens opened and it POURED. Woo hoo! Gales of wind and rain. Oh yeah! Just LOVE those storms. =) Lightning every few seconds. Man, what a show!

Then...even better...the lights went out. How can you possibly top that? It was SO fun. Luckily there was so much lightning I could see my way to the fridge (we keep all the flashlights stored there) and handed them out. Because of the storm everyone went to bed at a somewhat decent time (about 10 or 10.30pm) except my husband who stayed up reading Pratchett's "Monstrous Regiment" by lanternlight until goodness knows what time of the morning.

I'd complain except I'm rather addicted to Pratchett myself, having just finished "Guards! Guards!" for the gazillionth time, while simultaneously reading "Feet of Clay" that Bert bought me for my birthday. =)

The only thing is I need to keep a pen handy to cross out the naughty words and write in substitutes. You got a problem with that?


Power's unfortunately on this morning (obviously, as I'm typing this) and I realize with horror that I haven't ordered Emily's bumper sticker.

Emily drives an ancient red Ford Escort Wagon. The whole family has a love/hate relationship with this thing. I mean, it just WON'T DIE. We love it because it's so dang reliable and we can't afford another one...but oh my we're sick of it. =D Emily deals with it by naming the car "THE WAGONATOR" and tells everyone it's a sweet ride. "Hey man, do you want to see my car? It's sweet." and then, of course, her friends look in disbelief as she shows them an ancient Ford wagon. =D

Anyway, Emily has been begging for a bumper sticker for her car that says "Respect the Wagonator" and I realized with horror that I hadn't made or ordered it yet. ACK! SO glad the power's back on so I could do it this morning. =) Hopefully it will arrive for her birthday on Tuesday (uh huh, yeah, I know...in my dreams)


Somehow I surfed on into Cafepress.com and inamongst the Mormon products - which include some hideous, foul and upsetting anti-mormon things, btw, so peruse with caution - I found this WONDERFUL question on a t-shirt:

2008 Presidential Quiz:

Question:

Who is the only major 2008 Republican Presidential Candidate who has NOT had multiple wives?


ROFL! =D =D Brilliant. =)


Also, this t-shirt had Ben and I giggling. =D

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh wow!

Oh hey, take a look at this blog. Wow, it totally changed my whole attitude and outlook on the day. Thanks to Tristi!

Oh maaaan

I'm hungry and can't find any food in the house and am tired so just can't be bothered to go buy any food.

Andrew asks for crackers. I'm just glad it's crackers he's asked for as we have those... I give him a slice of chocolate cake too, just so you know what kind of mother I am. *sigh* (guilt)

Then I just kind of...lie down for a minute. I'm sooo tired.

I wake up I don't know how long later. Luckily Emily has been keeping an eye on Andrew. She, unfortunately, hasn't kept an eye on the mess he's been making. I walk into the kitchen, bleary eyed, only to be confronted with chocolate cake crumbs all over the kitchen table, chair and floor. ARGH!

Then I look closer, and there's ANTS EVERYWHERE. Eeeeeek! Freaky! I vacuum them all up but they reappear again within seconds. Gross gross gross icky icky blech!

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that the mouse returned. Poo on the counter one night, but none in the cupboard, and none since that first night, though Ben said he saw its little nose a few days ago. The mouse trap has thus far not trapped anything. Maybe it decided to go away? Maybe it ate the poison in the crawl space? Poor little thing.

That last paragraph probably contained way too many commas for the literary world.

Tonight is a ward adult activity. *sigh* I suppose we ought to go. Emily's off at the first football game of the year; Ben's at Jack's house; there's babysitting at the church...so there's really no excuse except I'm tired and don't want to go. I suppose we ought to go and be sociable though. I'm not good at being sociable. I'm more of a hermit type person.

Oh crackers!!!!!! I've forgotten to do my visiting teaching!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My son doesn't really write letters like this...

I am attempting to teach my son word processing using a book we got from Sonlight last year but didn't use: "An introduction to word processing".

He protested writing the letters. He whined, "I already know all that stuff!" To which I predictably replied, "Show me."

So he did. I paste it here so you know what I have to put up with.




Cheesy House
19 Clonk Ln.
Losertown
FZ7 0FE

August 22, 2007



Dear Julio,
I found your face vulgar and disturbing yesterday. I don’t know why you got those braces, because you look terrible. I am saying this as your friend.
Also, I’m going to send you a subtle hint: Eureka! I don’t know if it was the pig farm or you, man, but boy did it smell! Do you realize I have not been able to stop retching since I last saw you at that pig farm?
On another note, that Spanish meal you served me last week has given me diarrhea since then. I mean, that stuff was awful. I just looked at it and was blinded for several days. It was just nasty gross.
Thirdly, why’d you slap me? My face has been red and has not stopped bleeding since then. All I said was,” Hey man, let’s go to Taco Bell and then play video games until our thumbs are sore.” As soon as I said that, you backhanded me across the face and said in your teensy voice, “You have disrespected my family and my chinchilla, Pablo!”
Lastly, well I can’t think of that last thing, but I’m pretty sure it was terrible. In fact I remember my eyeballs throwing up.
I hope I can remain your friend,


Bsquizz.



After laughing myself silly, I became concerned about the punctuation in this line:

"I don’t know if it was the pig farm or you, man, but boy did it smell!"

Does that seem like an inordinate amount of commas to you, or is it correct? I'm thinking it's correct even though there are a couple of commas - "man" is like a name. Do you separate names from the rest of the sentence with commas in this country too, or is that just in England?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Computer illiteracy is not good when one is exhausted

Ok, so I wandered over to Candace's blog. And it was incredibly interesting. And I found this LDS webring thingie and joined up.


Soooo.....now I have this code. What do I do with it? How on earth do I get it in a nifty little panel down the side?

I'm going to bed.

A fuzzy day

Does anyone else have these days? Maybe I'm just exhausted from rising early. Emily started Seminary again yesterday morning and oh my, that 5.30am rise for Family Scripture Study is a killer.

I don't know how Emily does it - she got up, read scriptures with us, went to Seminary, came home and got ready for school (it happened to be a late start day today so she didn't go to school straight from seminary), went to school, came home, did homework, snarfed down some dinner and then went off babysitting. She'll be there until about 11pm and then will flop in bed for a few hours before getting up for family scriptures. Killer.

It's 8.30pm and I must go to bed. My brain is mush. It turned mush at about 4pm. We were at Tuesday's Odyssey (Ben's co-op). I was looking after the younger kids (I do that because I can't afford to pay the monthly fees, so I help out a bit.. =)) in the pool. I'd been there about 2 1/2 hours.

All of a sudden, my brain leaked out of my ears. We came inside as I didn't think I was capable of looking after those elementary school kids in the pool. =) They played games and I read Sister Wendy's Gazillion Trillion Artists book whilst my brain slowly dissolved.

Ben was finally done at 5pm and off we went. I managed to cook dinner (traditional English - beans and eggs on toast) and put Drew in bed...

But now I'm typing with my eyes closed so I must go.

ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Birthday! School's in!

My first born son was 12 yesterday. =) And on Sunday, there will be two priesthood holders living in my home. How thankful I am for Ben and his tender heart, his thoughtful mind and his courage to choose the right.

Emily went back to school yesterday. I drove her and picked her up as she is still grounded. Oh gosh, I really really don't like public school at all. I think it's probably because I'm an incredibly opinionated person and, furthermore, am exactly as my husband once described me - vehemently anti-authority. =Þ

Today, however, Emily drove herself as I once more had an attack of the dizzies. As this is becoming quite the habit I talked to a nurse (who also happens to be the coordinator and one of the teacher's in Ben's co-op, "Tuesday's Odyssey") who said "it sounds like vertigo, you need to see a doctor."

Have I mentioned my whole anti-authority problem? I dislike going to doctors intensely, almost as much as I dislike hospitals. I dislike the way they care more for their time than mine. They make me wait until they can see me at their convenience, then can barely give me two minutes of their time before they throw a prescription in my general direction and race out the room. Then they charge me an INSANE amount of money for that two minutes.

Once I had a doctor stand with his hand on the doorknob almost the entire time they were in the room. I joke not.

So. I think I'm blowing off the doctor's visit again. =Þ Maybe if it happens again in the next six months I'll go. Or maybe not.



And to balance my negativism - in need, I truly am grateful for doctors and nurses who know what they're doing.

Why the decietful sensationalization?

*sigh* Here in the buckle of the bible belt, I am SO not looking forward to the inevitable fallout from the hurtful, deceitful bias in this film:

Hollywood's terrorists: Mormon, not Muslim


"The measured response to public smears of Mormonism in effect rebuts the September Dawn suggestion that the church represents a relevant example of violent religious fanaticism. Despite the turbulence of their founding generation, Mormons have been conspicuously peaceful, patriotic, hard-working and neighborly for at least the past 117 years (since the church repudiated and banned polygamy)."

Oh please please please let there be more thoughtful, measured comments like this.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Nifty email

My friend Cat sent this to me today. I've read ones like it a gazillion times, and they just never get old.


A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebecca- age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just
know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5 (ROFL!!! I'm going to have to tell the kids that when Bert and I go out on a date, we're going out to smell each other. I can imagine it now..."Oh man, that's gross!" accompanied by retching sounds and "Ewwww"s =D)

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss" Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." Bobby - age 7 (This one's my favourite)

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate," Nikka - age 6 (Very wise)

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore." Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford." Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." (what an image)Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8

And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him
cry"

Ok, on that last one. Beautiful story - really lovely. But really, what kind of weirdo enters their child in a "most caring child" contest? Very odd!!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Lern Yerself Scouse

This morning I rediscovered a brilliant book on Bert's bookshelf that I had completely forgotten he'd had.

"Lern yerself Scouse - How to talk proper in Liverpool, a teach-yourself phrase book by Frank Shaw edited with notes and translations by Fritz Spiegl and a scouse pome by Stan Kelly"

"Ere, tatty-ead!" = I say, young woman!

"Make yer name Walker, wack" = Please go away

"Yer wha?" = do I hear you aright?

"I don know a blind werd e says" = I do not understand him

"Ee wus gawpin wid eyes like atpegs" = he looked surprised

"Give yer chin a rest" = please be silent

"Purra zipper on it" = please be silent

"Isavvy" = This afternoon

"It's crackin de flags" = The weather is very hot (Actually, my mother from Lancashire also says this)

"Ee's gorran ed as big as Berkened" = He is rather too self-assured. (Birkenhead is across the Mersey from Liverpool)

"Ee's as queer as a nine-bob note" = He buys his clothes in Carnaby Street. (Hahahaha, the translation on this one is as good as the phrase. =D =D It means he's homosexual. I was brought up with "Ee's as bent as a nine-bob note." =D A "bob" is a shilling. There's no such thing as a nine-shilling note, and therefore if someone hands you one it's "bent", "queer", or in other words, counterfeit...there's summat up wid it.)

"Yer gorra cob on" = you are in a bad mood (I'd say "She's havin' a mard")

"Once every Prestin Guild" = very infrequently (A phrase my mother also uses. A Preston Guild is a town fair held every twenty years)

"Yews" = you, plural. When a Liverpool teacher says, "Stand up, Hughes!" to a boy thus named, the whole class usually rises.

"Me judy/me tart/me gerl" = my lady-friend/my fiance/my wife. The word "tart" does not generally mean "prostitute" in Liverpool and is not, therefore, pejorative.

"Im" = my husband, slightly derisive.

"Dis pur a kecks is too tight" = These trousers are too tight. "kicks" is 18th century thieves slang for trousers.

"I wanna new wicker wacker" = I require a new suit, my man.

"Eh! Yew wid de ead!" = Waiter! (We used to say "'ere, yew wid de 'air on!" to catch the attention of a person)

"Scaldy" = A swimming hole; part of a canal warm with industrial effluents.

"Me gob's like de bottom uv a berdcage" = I think I have halitosis (We used to say that too)

"I'll get off at Edge Ill" = I will resort to coitus interruptus. Edge Hill is the penultimate station before Lime Street, the terminus of the London-Liverpool line.


Enjoy. =)

Sisterly Affection

For those of you who don't know, I have two sisters. Nicola is 3 years older than me (and, incidentally, two days younger than my husband) and Caroline is 18 months younger than me.

Caroline, unfortunately, has endometriosis. Not just endometriosis, but ENDOMETRIOSIS. Several surgeons have declared it's one of the worst cases they've ever seen. I say several surgeons, because she's had several operations. A few years ago she had one that we hoped would eradicate the endometriosis - it was a pretty hefty operation.

Unfortunately, within a year the endometriosis returned with a vengence. Earlier this week Caroline went in for yet another operation. They began with a laparoscopy but immediately realized it was worse than they thought. They opened her wide up and removed:

Her right ovary
Her right fallopian tube
Her appendix
A large part of her colon
A large part of her bowel

My mother was there in the waiting room going insane because the operation went on a lot longer than was planned. They put Caroline in the ICU and when my Mum went in to see her she nearly passed out - tubes and wires everywhere.

This week has been (obviously) excruciating for Caroline. She is more with it now that they've turned off the morphine drip. She's up and about a bit, but not much. I believe they've moved her from ICU and she's scheduled to go home on Monday or Tuesday but may not return to work for eight weeks.

Meanwhile, my older sister, Nicola, has had her own health concerns which she has not previously told anyone about because of everything happening with Caroline. She had tingly, shocking "pins and needles" down her right arm. When it started being shocky/tingly in her face she got kind of freaked and went to the doctor, who sent her for an EKG.

The EKG chap sent her for an MRI.

The MRI chaps looked. And looked some more. Then gave her a shot and looked some more. Nicola was pretty freaked by this time. =( Poor thing! Then she had to wait for the results - and wait - and wait.

Finally, the nurse comes out and says all they found was an old scar on her brain.

PHEW!!! =) Nicola was really relieved as she knew exactly what that was. When she was three (just after I was born, actually) she fell of a climbing frame and whacked her head pretty badly and developed epilepsy.

The doctors presume that since for the past few years her epilepsy has been so under control - she hasn't had a fit for quite some time - her body is freaking out. SO they've upped her medication somewhat. She has to take her pills in the morning as well as in the evening, and the "pins and needles" have immediately ceased. Hooray! =)

Now we just have to hope that Caroline recovers well and the endometriosis doesn't return.

In honour of my poor sisters, I will post some scouse translations to make 'em smile. =)

Friday, August 03, 2007

7th grade curriculum

Bert's home! =) It's wonderful and feels weird. How do those families cope when their husband/father is away for a year or more? The adjustment period on returning must be long and even weirder.

I'm still really tired.

I may have to drive Emily to some lake or other tomorrow for the youth activity and OH my GOSH I REALLY REALLY REALLY don't want to.


I can't remember for the life of me if I've posted Ben's curriculum for this year, and I can't be bothered to check to see, so I'm going to post it again. Here it is:

Scriptures - Treasures of the Book of Mormon
Math - Abeka 7th grade math
Grammar - Easy Grammar Plus
Writing - I just signed up at a co-op, and they'll be teaching IEW composition. HOORAY! So I don't have to worry about it.
Spelling - I may or may not worry about it this year. His spelling last year was phenomenal
Science - Apologia General Science
History - Story of the World 3 and Kingfisher World Encyclopedia
Logic - Fallacy Detective
Art - Taken care of at the co-op. Woo hoo! =)
Art/music appreciation - various things off the net
Scouts - scouting handbook
Japanese - I think we'll skip it this year and start up again next year with a high school text.

That's about it.

I've got to go to bed before I die of insomnia-induced depression.

I can't sleep

I'm remembering a time when I was small. It was 1974 and the Turkish/Cypriot war was in full swing. We lived in Famagusta which was at the center of the fighting, and were eventually evacuated.

My mother, my two sisters and myself were evacuated to Dekelia. The army placed us with another family for two weeks until they could get us on a flight back to England.

My mother says the woman was odd. She was absolutely obsessed with cleaning. Everything had to be absolutely spotless. We were only allowed to use the bathroom at certain times and after we were done the room had to be immaculate. You can imagine the stress on my Mother - a young lady with three very young children.

The woman of the house would make her 11 year old son wash himself at the kitchen sink. He was not allowed to take a bath.

My Mum related a time when the father was home one morning. The mother, the father, and the young boy were in their bedroom, when the boy started to wail. It started off quietly and then went on and on, rising in intensity. Eventually my Mother - who was a very shy lady - gathered up her courage to knock on the door to see what was the matter. I can imagine in order for her to do this, there must have been some sustained wailing going on.

She was told "It's ok. He's just had a bad dream." and the wailing stopped.


Ok, now with hindsight we all know what was going on. There is no doubt in my mind that that poor little kid was being abused by his parents in the most sickening way. My Mum says she had no idea at the time that such a thing could happen, but when in later years, she heard stories of such things...she knew it had been happening to this boy.

Every so often I think of it. Every so often I think of this young man going through unimaginable torture at the hands of those people who should have been lovingly caring for him. My heart drops to my stomach and I feel sick. My mind is harrowed up with thoughts of it and I start praying that the poor kid survived that appalling childhood, and got away from those toxic parents. I pray that he has recovered. I pray that when he goes to the Lord, or if he's there already, that his pain is removed, swallowed up in the love and the peace of the Lord.

That these things happen in the world is .... well, it's just evil. There's just no other word for it. I imagine it is one of the most difficult sins to repent of. I imagine the deepest parts of hell are ready and waiting for those who do not repent of such sins.

"Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6).

Somehow, just finding out that Jews were detained in Dekelia just makes this whole nightmare worse.


Somehow I have to get back to sleep. It's difficult to put this aside and rest in my comfortable, warm, soft bed, knowing that there are children experiencing this and worse right now. Where does the Earth find the strength to keep turning with such evil upon her?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

For the benefit of my son:

1. It's Scottish, not Scotch.

Scottish = from Scotland

Scotch = a bottle of whiskey

Saying "I am Scotch" is like saying "I am a bottle of whiskey"

Furthermore, "Mary, Queen of Scotch" means "Mary, Queen of whiskey". If a test asks you to name the cousin of Elizabeth I, the answer is "Mary, Queen of SCOTS".


2. England is not Europe. Saying England is Europe is like saying Canada is America. It's not. England is England. Europeans are those left wing nuts across the channel, and the tunnel should never have been built. Furthermore, there is a distinct lack of stiff upper lips in Europe; England has them aplenty.


3. A fortnight is not "a night in a fort". A fortnight is two weeks. That is to say, FOuRTeen NIGHTS. Do not question me on the spelling.


4. "Graham" is pronounced "Grayum", not "Gram". Don't argue with me. It's very simple:

"ham" on the end of a word is pronunced "um"

"Birmingham" = "Birmingum"
"Nottingham" = "Nottingum"
"Rotherham" = "Rotherum"
"Oldham" = "Oldum"
THEREFORE,
"Graham" = "Grayum"


5. "Shire" is not pronounced "shy er" This is gauche. Pronounce it "shuh" with the "uh" having a short U sound. It might help to think of it as "sher", but that might put an extra emphasis on the R and that would be incorrect.

Leicestershire = Lester shuh
Yorkshire = York shuh
Staffordshire = Stafford shuh
Lancashire = Lanc uh shuh


6. Worcester is pronounced "Wusster". That is, not "Woo ster" as in "woo hoo", but "Wuh" with a short U sound.
Therefore, Worcestershire sauce is "Wuss-ter-shuh sauce".

However, my mother calls it simply "Wuss-ter" sauce, so it's up to you as to whether you pronounce the "Shuh" at all


7. Don't get saucy with me, my lad.