Do you do documentaries?

I was one of those kids in school who couldn’t wait for the classes where the teacher was going to show a documentary because that meant at least 20 minutes of extra snooze time.  I remember my dad begging me to sit down and watch various documentaries with him on PBS, and I would comply, for a little while, until I suddenly “remembered” I had homework to do.

Documentaries just weren’t my thing.  Don’t get me wrong – – I enjoyed learning – – but for some reason I associated documentaries with the geriatric Geratol generation, and couldn’t overcome my bias for many, many years.

Then when my kids came along, they grew up with cable, which is basically just one long stream of mini-documentaries – – especially on the channels my boys enjoyed most like Animal Planet, Discovery, National Geographic, and the Science Channel.  I was amazed that they were actually choosing to sit through programs about the National Forest system, the life of humpback whales, and the newest research on renewable energy.  Even more amazing was finding myself sitting right there beside them – – happily enraptured.

This change in my viewing habits had a profound influence on me, actually.  I find that my thinking about issues is much more analytical now.  I love looking at things from both sides, weighing the arguments for each, and creating an opinion (or not) based on these observations. 

I also find that now, when I want to learn about something new, in addition to Googling it, and poring over my book options, I also check to see if there is a documentary about it.  Quite a switch.

snagfilms But I have a new tool in my arsenal now, that I had to share with you.  Snagfilms is an online library of documentaries that not only lets you watch full-length documentaries for free, but also lets you embed them on your website or blog.  And as an extra bonus, they offer a charitable link related to each documentary so that if you feel inspired by what you see, you can support the cause behind it.

So if you “do” documentaries, like I do, check out Snagfilms and give them some love – – well, unless you have homework to do, of course.


Looking for a Tour Guide?

The Topsies have company!  In what is an absolutely appropriate turn of events for a tech-geek, Uber developed a relationship with one of his classmates at the virtual reality school he has attended the last couple of years.  He and she became really close over this school year and began “dating” online sometime after the holidays.

I’ve watched in awe and fascination as her name came up in conversation over and over again, and he seemed to know as much about her as if she had grown up next door to him all his life.  This online dating is an interesting thing because the constant conversations that are required to maintain it mean that the dating couple probably get to know each other far better, at least in some respects, than couples who live in the same town!

Anyway, this young lady lives approximately four states away, but her mom was willing and eager to drive the ten hour trek from her state to ours and bring her for a week-long visit so these two could finally meet in person.  And that has been the excitement of the summer for Uber and the rest of the Topsies!

Because they have never visited NC before, we have had the most wonderful time showing them around our waterfalls, small-town shops, and mountain overlooks.  As if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of our area enough, it has been incredible seeing it through the eyes of folks who usually breathe only the smoggy air of the big city. 

I find that the Topsies have a talent I was unaware of until now…tour guides, extraordinaire!  We have so much pride in our natural beauty here that I guess it just spills out of us as we lead our guests through the paces of mountain life. 

So if you are struggling to come up with your next vacation spot, I have an inside source on a personalized tour.   For the right amount of flattery, I’ll put you right at the top of the docket for the next round of official “Tours With The Topsies!!”

Popping In For An Update

Yes, I’ve been absent.  But it isn’t you…it’s me!  No really.  You are great…perfect even.  It’s me with the issues.  I think I have commitment issues…or maybe my dysfunctional family history has scarred me…


Ok, truth is that I’m busy as heck right now.  Our internet was out for several days after an unfortunate electrical storm took out our router.  So I’ve been playing catch-up.  Lot’s of work-related things…OH…and did I mention I’m hosting a brand new website?new logo

It is called, and it is sort of a combination  resource/info site for secular homeschoolers combined with a social network.  I’m writing articles about secular homeschooling and submitting them for the site, as well as collecting info for the Resources section.  And then there is the overwhelming simple task of chasing after the millions of glitches that have already come up, and building a base of members. 

I would LOVE it if you, my bloggy buddies, would drop by the site, check it out, and even sign up, if you think it is something you might enjoy being a part of.  (Obi-Mom – – 007 that she is – – already found it!) Granted, it is starting out small, but with more and more secular homeschoolers joining the ranks, I think it has the potential to be something special in the near future. 

But I’ve done a couple of non-techie things lately as well.  We’re having out-of-town guests coming this week, and I’ve been trying to get some of the 3,425 unfinished projects around the house completed.  I finally finished sanding and painting the porch (only took me two years from start to finish), re-landscaping the flower beds, painting the kitchen trim, etc, etc. 

Thank goodness for company.  They are the only motivation that actually works for me when it comes to maintaining a home properly. 

I’m banking on the fact that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Feeling fonder of me yet??

A Little Slow On The Uptake

I fancy myself fairly web-savvy…I do!  I’ve had my hand in the waters of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and multiple blogging networks for quite a while now.  But I swear that as fast as I navigate those, there seem to be hundreds more sites out there mocking me from the banks.

You guys know that I do online marketing for a homeschool curriculum company, right?  Well, that company has a new chief marketing manager who is on the pulse of what sites are necessary to be plugged into…so I’m being introduced to things like:  LinkedIn, WeFollow, PeoplePond. 


There is nothing like the internet for creating a sense of inadequacy.  How can I possibly ever keep up???

Well, perhaps having “keeping up” be part of my job description helps, I guess. 

What are your feelings?  Do you feel like you are staying ahead of the curve of the social networking scene, or constantly doggie paddling to keep up?


A Thousand Words Thursday


This is the very waterfall where my hubby of almost 18 years proposed marriage to me on bended knee. Romantic, yes?

We headed back the other day for a family hike, and after the recent rains, the falls were more gorgeous than ever!

You Grab the Kids; I’ll Grab My Binder!

With my adult ADD, it isn’t often that I actually FINISH a project I start.  So when I do, I must shout it from the rooftops, no matter how inane.

Two years ago, I bought one of those recipe software programs.  You know, the ones that let you input all your personal recipes and categorize them, rate them, take pictures, etc, etc.

Cooking and baking are one of my greatest passions, so I thought it might be good for me to take all those terrific recipes from my two grandmothers, the ones I’ve clipped from magazines and newspapers, and those favorite ones I’ve created myself, and finally put them into some kind of organizational structure.recipe book

Sounds lovely…until you actually have to DO it.  So my project went  by fits and starts.  A recipe here.  A recipe there.  A few at a time during Deadliest Catch when the action got tense and I needed a brain distraction.

Then this May, for some reason, I got a second wind on the project.  I spent hours inputting and inputting all my remaining recipes, until one day I realized my stack of papers and 3X5 cards had dwindled down to nothing.  I had inputted every last one of the suckers!!

Next up: buying a new printer cartridge and letting them rip!  When the printer had exhausted itself, and the stack was complete, I had over 200 pages of my favorite concoctions, stews, and sweet nothings to show for it!!  Best thing?  The program prints out an index, categorized by name, cuisine, and category.  Oh, the glory of it all!  I took yet another day and put each page into a plastic protector sheet, and then all of those into a large three ring binder.  (After my children, it will be the first thing that makes it out in case of fire, I assure you)

And if I have some strange ingredients on hand?  I just input them into my program, and it will spit out at me all the recipes in my file that use those ingredients.  I gotta tell you – – this is a project that I am SERIOUSLY going to make use of!

Two years of work.  Check.  One spent printer cartridge.  Check.  A binder full of blood, sweat, tears, and my Nana’s pecan pie recipe?  Priceless.

Giving Baaaaaack

Uber had some difficult decisions to make before this summer began.  First off, he decided he wasn’t ready for Driver’s Ed, despite what his birth certificate says.  This was the summer he was supposed to take driving lessons and get behind the wheel, but amazingly, he came to the conclusion that he simply wasn’t ready for that much responsibility yet.  (No tears here)

Following that decision was the joint decision that he wouldn’t get a summer job, either.  That, too, had been the plan.  But since he wasn’t going to be motoring anytime soon, the desperate need for money subsided.

So the last decision was then…what to do with his summer??  We hadn’t signed him up for camps of any sort, and he hasn’t got any real projects going, so this was a quandry.  Until I suggested the idea of a summer of volunteering. 

Say what?

That’s right.  Spending a summer giving back to your community.  Hmmm.  Uber actually jumped on the idea, and we inquired around to different agencies and non-profits.  Finally, an interdenominational assistance ministry took him up on his offer.  They need help revamping their website (one of his specialties), volunteering and he will also be helping them in food distribution and office work.  He went in for a “job interview” and he was as nervous as if a triple figure salary was at stake.  It was too funny!

But he started this past week, and I think it is going swimmingly, so far. 

Not to be outdone, H-T is getting in on the bandwagon as well.  He is going to be offering his services at a local historic site, helping out at the goat farm one day a week.  He’s all about the giving baaaaack. 

And I’m not too proud to put my hat in the ring.  I’m busy supporting my main passion – – local farmers.  Helping out with an upcoming family farm tour that lets local residents see up close and personal what our farmers do on a daily basis.

Sounds like a recipe for summer success, don’t you think??


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