Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Scripture

Romans 15:4

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I was tagged by Tristi, who was tagged by Karen

Here are the rules:

1. Write your own six-word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want.
3. Link it to the person who tagged you and to the place of origin.
4. Tag five more bloggers, with links.
5. Leave them a comment and invite them to play.

I had to think about this for a while, but it came to me whilst driving in the car today:

Trying experiences followed by great joy.

I tag:
Ms. Parker
and Carrie

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

IOWA test results

Ben's test results came in, and all I can say is


Yeah! Uh huh, and yes these results do indeed once again indicate that homeschooling is the way to go. I was freaked out because Ben was blasting through the test so fast. It turns out he wasn't being slip-shod as I feared, but instead just knew his stuff.

He scored a grade equivalence of 13+ on most of the tests, scoring under that on only two of the tests. The lowest score he received was a Grade Equivalent of 11.4. (If I understand this right, this doesn't mean that he should be a Freshman in college, it means that he has the same score on the test that a college freshman would get. I think. Correct me if I'm wrong.)

He scored the lowest on Social studies - which makes sense because we didn't study the same things that 7th graders in PS were studying. The fact that he scored as high as he did is amazing.

Things we need to work on: Capitalization of organizations and groups, and adding and subtracting whole numbers. Yes, the child can do algebra, but he keeps making silly mistakes on his addition and subtraction; so I need to teach him to slow down and check his work.

I asked Ben, "So, are you relieved?" (he'd been worrying that he knew nothing at all =D) He was, indeed, a very happy Ben. =)

And I was a very happy Mum.

Not a boring day, hooray!

Wow! Well, it's been an interesting day for sure.

First off, Emily was wise enough to lock her door; Andrew's been going in there lately, pulling her bedclothes to the floor, turning on her radio full blast and bouncing up and down on her bed to the music. It had to stop. Thus, she locked her door.

Secondly, I learned to lock the homeschool room door as Benjamin was livid as Andrew had gone in there and taken the glue that Ben uses to put together his warhammer figures and spread said glue all over everywhere. Luckily, he also glued the exacto knife down, rather than fiddling with it and pushing the blade UP, which would have been a really scary thing.

Thirdly, I learned to lock every single door upstairs, as Andrew disappeared for a while right in the middle of English. All was quiet. Both Ben and I went "Where is he, and what's he doing?"

He had firstly pulled the stool out of the bathroom, secondly, he'd put it up against Bert's chest of drawers and pulled a couple of watches down. Luckily, he hadn't pulled the iron down on his head. And lastly, he'd gone into Bert's office - which is where I found him - and found a bottle of children's tylenol meltaways.

I found him there, with the bottle, and the cap off the bottle, and the pills spilled out all over the table, and my heart stopped. "Did you take any?" I asked, keeping calm.

"Yes", he replied
"How many?"
"Four? You took four?"
"Five? Is that how many you took? Five?"

Ok, Five. Later downstairs he told Ben he took three. Ok, so between three and five, with a regular dose for a child his weight being two. Not so bad.

So I called the doctor (or, more accurately, the triage nurse), who told me to call poison control. Poison control "made some calculations" (you have to say this with an Eastern European accent - it's a Brooks family tradition dating back to the Ford plant in Livonia circa 1993) and determined that Andrew had taken a double dose, and this was not toxic. They said he'd probably have a stomach ache, but he'd be ok.


Later on the Dr.s office called to make sure Andrew was ok, which I thought was nice. =)

THEN, I was taking Ben up the freeway and there was a bale of straw burning like crazy by the side of the road. DUDE! Bizarre! So we called 911 (I wasn't sure if this warranted a 911 call, but I didn't know who else to call) and after getting some info they sent out a fire truck. Good deed for the day! =) I hope the firefighters weren't mad that I'd disturbed their dinner or anything. Maybe the straw bale would have just burned itself out np....but it's hot out here today, and maybe it wouldn't've done.

THEN when I came home, there were the missionaries chatting to Emily! And guess who was with them? Elder Brinkerhoff!!! Only one of my most favourite missionaries of all time! That guy is AWESOME!! =) We were SO bummed when he was transfered to Kentucky, but now he's back in Spring Hill being a Zone Leader. =) It was wonderful to see him. =) What a really nice young man. I should get the address of his parents and tell them what an awesome missionary son they have.

On the menu tonight: Mujadarrah (a fantastic food storage recipe). Thus, Andrew and Ben will have peanut butter sandwiches for dinner. =Þ Pity. I think this stuff is YUM! Emily likes it with salsa, to which I say BLECH!!! It's much better with ranch dressing.

Monday, April 21, 2008


It's a good thing I had Ben draft his letter to my Mum and Dad before he actually wrote it, and it's a good thing I checked it. This is because he began his letter:

Hi Parson,
Carrots much?

My parents actually would probably have found that really funny, but I made him change it to something a little more appropriate anyway. =D

A few minutes later I noticed he was bouncing up and down. I looked, and he was sitting on Andrew's big green ball. I said "Ben! Get off that ball!" to which he replied "But it's my egg!"

=D =D

Sunday, April 20, 2008

8th Grade

Well, as Ben finished up 7th grade last week, and as I finally got up the gumption to order the 8th grade Language Arts books, and as I borrowed someone's Saxon Algebra 1/2 book to see how it goes, and as everything was all in order to start 8th grade, I thought "Hey, I guess we'd better start 8th grade."

Soooo as of tomorrow, Ben's in 8th grade.

I've been kind of a bum about posting curriculum lately, so I thought I'd better get to it.

Without further ado....Ben's 8th grade schedule and curriculum. Ta da DAH!!!!

Also...keep in mind our schedule is, like the code, more sort of a guideline...

6am: Get up, get dressed, make bed, walk the dog, eat breakfast, empty dishwasher, open blinds, wipe downstairs bathroom sink. (That last one alternates between sinks, toilets and mirrors)

7am: 15 minutes each of Journal, Personal scripture study, family scripture study and scripture mastery. This year we're doing D&C.

8am: Saxon Algebra 1/2

9am: Wordly Wise grade 8, Rod and Staff 5 (as recommended by the WTM), write a letter on Mondays, Dictation on Wednesdays

10am: History using the Kingfisher Encyclopedia of World History.

11am: Science using Apologia Physical Science

Noon: Lunch

1pm: Reading (see list below)

2pm: Spanish. We'll see how this text goes. If I can find a better one at the used curriculum sales I'll buy it.

2.30pm: Electives.
Monday - Painless American Government.
Tuesday - Duty to God/Scouting.
Wednesday - Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?
Thursday - Computers a la Webmonkey.
Friday - Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

3pm - PE and Music. ie, Practicing guitar and treadmill or DDR or walking dog or gym class.

3.30pm - Afternoon chores.
Monday - Take out trash.
Tuesday - Take out recycling.
Wednesday - Clean toilets.
Thursday - Mow the lawn.
Friday - Mop floors.

I imagine we'll actually be done around 2pm or so, as the core subjects might not take a full hour each.

This is what Ben will be reading this year. The bold items are the ones he'll definitely read. The italicized ones are those that are optional and we'll read if we have enough time.

The Road not Taken - Robert Frost
Langston Hughes poetry
"If" - Rudyard Kipling

The Song of Hiawatha - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thunder on the Tennessee
Little Women
Tom Sawyer
Sgt. York and the Great War
Murder on the Orient Express
Importance of Being Earnest
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry
Endless Steppe
The Good Liar
Number the Stars
A Boy at War
The Upstairs Room
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Hiding Place
I Am an American
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
My Louisiana Sky
War of the Worlds

Hound of the Baskervilles
Last of the Mohicans
Time Machine
Sherlock Holmes
Red Badge of Courage
Jungle Books
Call of the Wild
The Lost World
White Fang
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Scarlet Pimpernel
G K Chesterton's "Father Brown" stories
Strong Poison
Gone with the Wind
Anne of Green Gables
A Little Princess
The Secret Garden
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Across Five Aprils
Sing Down the Moon

Sunday Scripture

Lamentations 1:16

For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.

Benjamin Quote

A Quote from Benjamin, who was frustrated his game wouldn't work:

"What the PIE? They're a bunch of noobs that don't like cheese!"

At first Emily and I were just "Oh yeah, this is normal" and then we realized "Hold on a mo...that was a mighty odd thing to say, and even odder that we totally understood it." =D

"What the heck? This thing is all messed up."

Ahhhh, I remember the good old days when Ben was just 6 or 7.
"BEN! Stop eating the furniture!"
"Ben! Stop spitting in the pool!"

Ahh yes, good times, good times. =)

FLDS persecution

My soul and heart have been wracked over the plight of those poor little children forcibly removed from their homes at gunpoint in Texas. Every night I wonder how many of them are crying for their mothers? Is there anyone there to hold them? Their mothers aren't there to hold them, or wipe their tears, or comfort them. Can you imagine being a little six year old with chicken pox taken away from the family who love you, suffering at night, crying for your parents, feeling awful, and there's no-one there?

It tears at me. I am absolutely distraught over the whole situation.

And if the government can do that kind of thing there, what else can they do? Am I safe? Is my family safe? I certainly don't feel safe.

Maggie over at Frugal Abundance has this wonderful post with some really startling links. I did not know that police have now identified that the phone call was a fake! It was a total fake! Why haven't all the court proceedings then ended? Why aren't the children back with their parents?

There were some laws definitely being broken there...BUT NOT by little children!!! Interview the pregnant teens, and the girls who obviously had children while underage. Find out who the father was, charge him with statutory rape. DO NOT make innocent children suffer! They have nothing to do with it.

Oh I'm so angry and upset about this. Maggie does a fine job being more coherent...go read her post. And the comments too. Saffiyah's comment is especially insightful, as is a poem Maggie quoted by Pastor Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.

Another thing that drives me bananas is the fact that the media are going nuts saying how dreadful it is that these children are taught from a very young age to be obedient.

Um. So? Yes? Isn't this a GOOD thing? What the heck is wrong with being obedient?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cats and engineers

Oh my good gravy, take a look at this awesome video. =)

It's fantastic even if you are allergic to cats, and even if imagining living with three cats makes you want to scratch your itchy burning eyes out. =)

BEWARE! It might make you want to live with an engineer!!! I have lived with one for almost 20 years now and I can attest that it's AWESOME! Engineers ROCK! =)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Religion of Public Schools

I've just read the prologue of John Taylor Gatto's "The Underground History of American Education." and may I humbly suggest that it's vitally imperative that you also read this book? =) If the paragraph in the prologue named "Bianca, you animal, shut up" doesn't get to you, I don't know what will.

What I think is absolutely appalling is that most people, when they read what happened to that poor child, will nod their heads and remember at least one instance of something similar happening to them or another child. I can think of MANY instances in my own memory.

In the boarding school I went to, every so often (every month? I think so) we had "Marks". Chairs would be set up in the gym. The whole ENTIRE school would assemble in the gym and sit according to grade. The teachers would then file in, and sit on chairs on the elevated stage, facing the students. The grades ("marks") of each child would then be read out, grade by grade, for the entire student body to hear. "Jenny 75%, Clare 76%, Rachel 77%" and so on and so forth.

I remember the absolute terror of that day. They would read from highest to lowest, and as the grades were read...and read...and your name wasn't mentioned...and the grades were getting lower...your heart would sink and you'd want to cry, but you couldn't because the whole entire school was there.

And if your grade was lower than expected, the teachers would call your name and you'd have to stand up in front of the whole school. Then they would castigate you and rip you to shreds. In front of EVERYBODY. They would not only rip up on your school work, but would then loudly and derisively comment amongst themselves about personal things. "Well, no wonder her grades have fallen. Look at her HAIR. She's more concerned with the colour of her shoes than her science, it seems" and so on. Then they'd tell you to sit, while they moved on to the next trembling victim.

It was bullying and intimidation, pure and simple. I wonder how they looked themselves in the mirror each night; but of course it was easy for them. They were the elite teachers, we were just the disgusting student rabble.

And then I came here, and began Early Education courses at college...and went on practicum and saw the most awful things happening in the classroom....and had children and watched them experience awful things. Oh my. SO so heart-rending. A nation of children wounded at the hands of complete strangers....strangers who for some reason their parents totally trusted without knowing anything about them. I mean HELLO - don't we talk about stranger danger?

So after I read The Underground History of American Education , the next book on my list is The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America. Should be interesting

Pictures and Videos

Ah HA! I was finally able to get admin privileges on our computer and thus was able to download a buncha stuff off my camera.

Here we have Andrew's first soccer game. Andrew is number 11. This is the Coach Bryant saying to Drew "When I blow the whistle, kick the ball, ok?"

And here we have the kick-off! He just loooooves kicking that ball. =) Unfortunately, he has no idea what's going on after that. =D My gosh, he's so cute.
"Kick the ball, man. Kick that ball." I just love the Southern accent. I wish I had one. =)


Andrew's favourite food is "crackers and cheese and dress". (Dress is ranch dressing) Normally Mum gives it to him on a plate. A pile of crackers here, a pile of cheese there, a squirt of ranch dressing on the side. However, on this day DADDY made it. And thus it was incredibly fancy-schmancy. =)

Not only does Andrew like to play soccer, he also likes to play the piano. Here he is, tinkling the ivories singing about soccer.


For your edification, here are the words:
I tell you what
I want to see
I want some friends to play with me
I'm going to sneak up a-hind you
And when I find you we'll play SOCCER.

It's from the Backyardigan's "Monster Detective" episode.

It was General Conference a couple of weekends ago. Here's a fuzzy picture of Ben and Andrew enjoying it. =)

Andrew didn't last too long...

Here's ten little piggies

And Ben's new Halo 3 shirt, of which he's very proud.

And here he is, being a nerd. =)

Where are the pictures of Emily? That's what I want to know. I suppose she's not around half as much as the boys, and therefore I don't have the opportunity to snap photies of her as much. I'd better get snappin' because in another year she'll be off to college. Wow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Meet the Robinsons

I just watched Meet the Robinsons with Emily and Ben. It was AWESOME! We laughed our heads off. I bawled my eyes out. What a great film. =)

A confession

I confess, I'd like more children. I honestly confess I'd like at least one more. Or two. Or three. Or more.

It takes me so long to get pregnant, and I'm so very ill the whole nine months. I hardly ever feel well. It takes me a long time to recover fully. But oh how I love babies! How precious children are! =) Even the teenagers that occasionally do things that cause me to cry myself to sleep. =) (Though I admit my teen hasn't done anything like that for a good couple of years now, because she's AWESOME!) =)

I've wanted to adopt for many years now...but who has the money for that? How could we possibly afford it?

And then I read a post like this over at Carrie's blog and I think "Oh my, that lucky lucky family. Oh how I wish something that wonderful could happen to us."

What a blessing for them! I'm so, so happy for them. Maybe, one day, the Lord will bless us similarly?

Monday, April 14, 2008

logically surviving on the moon

I found this nifty challenge on baby steps. I thought I did pretty well, especially considering I realized the matches would be useless.... =D =D I did give the portable heating unit too much weight though, putting it about middle on my list. I also didn't consider that the pistols would be good propulsion devices. What a nifty idea!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ben has been bugging me...

...about putting this little video on my blog. He's in love with the smiley face and music, and was singing it happily to himself as he emptied the dishwasher. Enjoy.

Ben would like me to mention that it's set in the half-life world.

I would like to mention that as much as Ben would like to, he may NOT play half-life.

Sunday Scripture

2 Nephi 32: 8-9

8 And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.

9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

We'll be famous!!!!

...or maybe not quite famous...but it's exciting for our family nontheless.

Christina at Home Spun Juggling creates wonderful homeschool cartoons. She recently asked people to send in homeschool experiences and she'd choose some as a basis for a strip.

I sent in the experience I had with Ben wherein I read a math problem to him about a father giving his son 5 1/2 feet of wood. The son used 1 3/4 feet for a shelf - how many feet did he have left? Ben immediately quipped "TWO!" =D And Christina made a strip about this experience! WOO HOOO!!! =) =) I think the cartoon will be posted tomorrow (Wednesday), so go check it out. =)

While you're there, enjoy the other fantastic cartoons, and check out the COOL Trojan Horse and Stonehenge her children made from crackers.

Meanwhile, I'm about to buy Ben's 8th grade books. Wish me luck. I hate spending money.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Case for Terrestrial Energy

I somehow got on the mailing list for Hillsdale College's "Imprimis" magazine. In the February 2008 issue there was an INCREDIBLE article by William Tucker on Nuclear Energy.

The Case for Terrestrial (a.k.a. Nuclear) Energy

It is not very long, but is incredibly insightful and had all sorts of information I simply did not know.

"Consider: At an average 1,000 megawatt coal plant, a train with 110 railroad cars, each loaded with 20 tons of coal, arrives ever five days. Each carload will provide 20 minutes of electricity. When burned, one ton of coal will throw three tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We now burn 1 billion tons of coal a year - up from 500 million tons in 1976." (This ties in nicely with the "perfect electricity storm" article) "This coal produces 40 percent of our greenhouse gases and 20 percent of the world's carbon emissions.

By contrast, consider a 1000 megawatt nuclear reactor. Every two years a fleet of flatbed trucks pulls up to the reactor to deliver a load of fuel rods. These rods are only mildly radioactive and can be handled with gloves. They will be loaded into the reactor, where they will remain for six years (only one-third of the rods are replaced at each refueling). The replaced rods will be removed and transferred to a storage pool inside the containment structure, where they can remain indefinitely (three feet of water blocks the radiation). There is no exhaust, no carbon emissions, no sulfur sludge to be carted away hourly and heaped into vast dumps. There is no release into the environment. The fuel rods come out looking exactly as they did going in, except they are now more highly radioactive. There is no air pollution, no water pollution, and no ground pollution."

William Tucker also talks about how it is IMPOSSIBLE that the reactor could explode. He also says,

"Another objection to nuclear power is the supposed waste it produces. But this is a mischaracterization. A spent fuel rod is 95 percent U-238. This is the same material we can find in a shovel full of dirt from our back yards. Of the remaining five percent, most is useful, but small amounts should probably be placed in a repository such as Yucca Mountain. The useful parts - uranium-235 and plutonium (a manmade element produced from U-238) - can be recycled as fuel. In fact, we are currently recycling plutonium from Russian nuclear missiles."

"Unfortunately, federal regulations require ALL radioactive byproducts of nuclear power plants to be disposed of in a nuclear waste repository. As a result more than 98 percent of what will go into Yucca Mountain is either natural uranium or useful material. Why are we wasting so much effort on such a needless task? Because in 1877, President Carter decided to outlaw nuclear recycling...Canada, Britain, France and Russia are all recycling their nuclear fuel. France has produced 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear power for the last 25 years. It stores all its high-level "nuclear waste" in a single room at Le Havre." (emphasis mine)


I was delighted a few weeks ago when on a scouting trip we learned how to catch a fish, gut it, clean it and cook it. I felt that "Ok, if we run out of money we can come fishing and at get some protein for free." It was a relief; I'd be able to feed the bellies of my family even if the money disappeared.

And then Bert came across a chart in the 2008 Tennessee Fishing magazine about contaminants in fish.

Loosahatchie River - Fish should not be eaten
McKellar Lake - Fish should not be eaten
Mississippi River - Fish should not be eaten
Nonconnah Creek - Fish should not be eaten
Wolf River - Fish should not be eaten
Woods Reservoir - Catfish should not be eaten
Buffalo River - Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the smallmouth bass. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
Boone Reservoir - Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the carp and catfish. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
Chattanooga Creek - fish should not be eaten
East Fork of Poplar Creek - Fish should not be eaten. Also, avoid contact with water.
Emory River - Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat any fish. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
Fort Loudon Reservoir - Largemouth Bass from the Little River Embayment should not be eaten
Hiwassee River - Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the largemouth bass. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
Holston River - Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the fish. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
Melton Hill Reservoir - Catfish should not be eaten
Nickjack Reservoir - Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the fish. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
Norris Reservoir - Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the largemouth bass. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
North Fork Holston River - Fish should not be eaten
South Holston Reservoir - Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the largemouth bass. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
Tellico Reservoir - Catfish should not be eaten
Watauga Reservoir - Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the largemouth bass and channel catfish. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
Watts Bar Reservoir, TN River portion - Catfish, Striped bass, and hybrid striped bass should not be eaten. Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the white bass, sauger, carp, smallmouth buffalo and largemouth bass. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.
Watts Bar Reservoir, clinch River Arm - Striped bass should not be eaten. Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not eat the catfish and sauger. All other persons should limit consumption to one meal per month.

Ok, great. There's so much Chlordane, mercury, PCBs, and "other organics" in the water that it's dangerous to eat the fish???? Ok. Soooo.....this kind of blew my mind. That is SO gross. For sure I'd better get in food storage, eh? Because in a desperate situation I sure can't count on living off the wild without poisoning my family...

Electricity, the perfect storm

I apologize for the long post that is coming. I wish I could link to a page where I post this long post so if you want to read it you could just click on the link and go there...but I don't know how to do that, so I'm just going to post it here and if you don't want to read it please scroll down. And if that's not a run-on sentence I don't know what is. =D

The first thing I'd like to post is an article that was written by Tom Purkey, General Manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, of which Bert and I are members. This article was posted in the March 2008 Tennessee Magazine.

"If you watched the movie "The Perfect Storm," you saw an event where three different weather fronts eventually moved together to form the most devastating storm on record. Based on a true story, the film's action climaxes with the 1991 weather event off the coast of Gloucester, Mass., and the crew aboard the fishing boat Andrea Gale caught at sea with the powerful storm bearing down on them.

After the vessel sets out, the crew members hear of a storm front moving toward them but believe they can beat it back to port. However Hurricane Grace, moving through the Atlantic, is tracking for a head-on collision with this and another building storm. The three forces of nature meet and merge, forming the deadly weather event so quickly that the National Weather Service doesn't have time to give it a name and can barely send out a warning beacon to all ships at sea. The crew is tuck and must make a life-or-death decision of weather to flee the storm and assuredly lose the bounty of a successful expedition or hunker down and meet the storm, gambling their lives to earn their pay.

Our country is facing the possibility of a perfect storm, too, but his one concerns electricity and its availability and affordability over the next several years. I know this may not sound like a particularly valid fear because most of us have never really experienced life without electricity nor has it been outright unaffordable. But while the following "storms" seem to be manageable, we're on a collision course that, should each problem come to a head at the same time, the entire industry as well as our member-owners could bear the brunt of their combined force.

First, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which oversees reliability of the bulk power system of the United States and most of Canada, has announced that demand for electricity will increase by 18 percent over the next ten years. However, the electric industry's capacity to generate power will increase by only 8.5 percent. Also, if you look at projections for as far in the future as 2030, electricity demand is estimated to increase by 40 percent. Do you see a storm developing?

Next, climate change is beginning to touch our lives from several directions. According to recent polls, Americans are generally aware of climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are unclear, however, about what needs to be done, who should do it and what it will cost. But they are clear about one thing: they don't want to get stuck with a big price tag to pay for climate-change solutions.

Solutions to reduce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) include energy efficiency, new technologies (finding ways to store CO2 produced by coal and natural gas fired power plants), nuclear power and renewable energy sources. But these may come with hefty bottom lines. An article in the Washington Post last year suggested that electricity bills could rise 25 percent to 33 percent just to "stimulate and pay for new technologies". Do you hear a storm rumbling in the distance?

Finally, our nation has run out of excess generating capacity and needs to build more power plants to keep the lights on - all at a time when prices for fuels to produce electricity and construction materials like steel, copper and concrete continue to skyrocket. Do you sense the gathering power?

Electric cooperatives work hard to ensure that you receive safe, affordable and reliable power. We'll do all we can to reduce the potential effects of this "perfect storm," including giving you reports of developments and projections soon as possible so we're not "caught at sea" when forced to confront these issues. Keep your communications lines open for more information on the coming storm so we're not forced into rash decisions concerning energy policy."

Scary, eh?