Library Privacy Rights - Parents Beware

Three of my most cherished possessions – having survived as many decades and cross-country moves – are beautifully illustrated books of poetry given to me by my grandmother. Through them, she passed along her love of well-crafted literature.


The Real Story

A photo documenting a poodle hugging a little boy is quite spectacular. It could so easily have vanished the moment I lifted the camera to my face…


Muffin Turf Wars

Blueberry Muffin I love using natural light when photographing food. Catching the last few rays of weak sunlight streaming through my dining room window, I was busily arranging freshly-made Blueberry Quark Muffins on a plate, when I had the overwhelming sensation I was being watched. Feeling like a songbird with a hawk flying overhead, I slowly looked up to find two pairs of eyes locked on the freshly baked muffins I was arranging.

My son’s excuse, for having his nose hanging dead-center over a tray of cooling muffins was he “couldn’t help himself, drawn by the lovely, intoxicating scent”. That’s a good illustration of why some children with Asperger’s are affectionately called a “Little Professor” He’s doesn’t know the meaning of “intoxicating”, instead, parroting it from a perfume commercial, thinking it has something to do with a pleasing aroma.


Surviving Minnesota

Winter Hat Today’s Minnesota winter weather cycle is downright balmy compared to the brutal multi-week sub-zero days of my youth. We knew adverse weather was good for us, because that’s what the adults told us. “Hey! No complaining. It’s good for you. Keeps you strong. Builds character!”

We were strong. And we somehow survived without the evolved “science” of meteorology. Looking through photo albums, I see we were not only strong, but also, scrawny, no doubt from wearing an extra 50-pounds of clothing in order to survive the trek to school.


"Meteorknowledgist" or Fear Monger?

Winter LabelSay “Minnesota”, and I think “weather”. And even though I haven’t lived there for almost 20 years, weather is still the filter through which memories flow. The Minnesota Historical Society’s homage, Weather Permitting sounds like it would be an interesting exhibit, documenting Minnesota’s weather challenges over the years.

Minnesotans tend to be obsessed about the weather forecasts …insatiable need to stay on top of weather conditions. Viewers have remained glued to their screens as the science of forecasting has evolved…backed by the science of Doppler radar. Minnesota Historical Society

Then again, “obsessed about weather forecasts”? That’s not the Minnesota I knew.


Cold is Relative

When we first moved to New England, I felt overwhelmed by the “locals” fascination toward all-things-weather. Within minutes of arriving at our new home, on a beautiful New England fall day, neighbors who greeted us didn’t waste time noticing our California license plates.

Skipping the usual niceties, the husband chortled, going for the jugular – the weather vein, “Whoa! Hey! California! Oh, you are SO going to freeze this winter.” Ha ha ha hahaha. Ha.

My attempts to ally their concerns, “Well, you know, we both grew up in Minnesota….”, were ignored. Misery loves company, and they were determined to make me as miserable as they were. The temptation to fall back into weather-fatalism – dreading every day, because it meant winter-was-one-step-closer – was not how I wanted to live my life.

I can understand confusion on their part, that Californians would swap ideal weather conditions, moving to New England, something I also found confusing. I decided, though, to view the joking as just a good-natured, socially-odd way to get to know someone.


Best Internet Homeschool Sites

I’ve been collecting favorite educational support internet sites. While none of our core daily work relies on this, it is wonderful to take breaks, letting Sarah play online math games, dissect frogs, or watch science demonstrations. I’ll constantly be adding new information to this site. Sections include art, charts, lesson plans, math, science, geography, history, nature lessons, composition, lateral thinking, typing, and more, more, more…


Surviving Meteorologists

Overstuffed Snowsuit Small When Minnesota winter temperatures dropped, sometimes as low as -50F, with -75F windchill, I habitually asked my parents to remind me, “why we left Florida”, moving back to Minnesota. For many years, they patiently answered, “So we could live by your grandparents – be around family”.

Their reply always seemed a bit wistful, not said straight-on, looking me in the eyes, but instead, glancing out the window to the frozen landscape. It didn’t help that a huge conch shell, they’d found on an “exquisite and beautiful Florida beach”, held a place of honor in the livingroom curio cabinet. Pressed against my ear, it filled my head with more than ocean sounds, instead, creating discontentment. (Phil 4:11).


Chocolate Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding Small

“Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder”, one of many traditional Swedish sayings, muttered under my grandmother’s breath, was practical in its wisdom. My interpretation of, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing”, was, “Stop complaining, and put on a warmer sweater if you’re cold.” Wise!

“Låt maten tysta munnen”, another of her favorites, interpreted by my heart as, “A big, bad snowstorm is coming, so Grandma’s making a hot rice pudding for her beloved, precious grandchildren”, was, in reality: “Let the food quiet the mouth.” Children trapped inside a house, during a storm, can be high energy!


Storm of '08

When we first moved to New England, neighbors and friends, noticing our California license plates, regaled us with stories about why we “Californians” would “love” New England winters given the history of “the worst, most miserable winter storms”, with the hurricane of ’38 mentioned the most often.

The “ice storm of ’08”, which occurred a week ago tonight, Thursday, December 11st, will no doubt give ’38 a run for top billing, for at least a few decades to come. The moral of this story isn’t in the details of persevering, but instead, what was learned about being better prepared, when it was all said and done.