We’ve Still Got It

Increased Geek Quotient

Image by bpende via Flickr

So from time to time, I look back at my bloggy beginnings, and I’m a bit in awe of the way things have taken shape over the last couple of years.  I wish I had a saved screenshot of Topsy-Techie in it’s humble first months…it would be a hoot to do a before & after shot here!

But I also occasionally look back to my goals for what I wanted to accomplish with my blog.  I happened to think a wanna-be techie mom, raising two geeklings – – one a techie-genius and the other a techie-addict – – was somewhat hilarious, and I hoped other people might find it to be so as well.  And then, of course, I wanted to share all the fun ways I had found to integrate technology into our day-to-day homeschool lives.

In some ways, I’ve really stuck to those original ideals.  My Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints series, for instance, has been a way to share my favorite educational technology for homeschoolers on a weekly basis.  But in terms of other content, I’m usually all over the map.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing…it might possibly get REALLY boring to regale you with the tales of Uber’s latest programming conquests.

But today, I’m heading back to my roots.  Gonna fill you in on a little of the true geekiness that’s been going on around here in T-T land.

  • Uber loves coffee.  He loves coffee shops even more.  Our town has its fair share of ones to choose from, and several are within walking distance of our house. So, Uber starts out many of his mornings by walking to a local coffee shop and chilling.  This morning when I asked him what he did while sipping his java, he matter-of-factly explained that he was working through some hexadecimal problems and figuring out how they could apply in real-life situations.  He then told me he had given the barista there his email in case she needed some tech support.  I didn’t bat an eye at any of this.
  • H-T loves video games.  You would think I mean that he loves to play them, but trust me – – that is a secondary interest.  His first love is watching videos ABOUT video games online.  Ratings, reviews, cut scenes, and sometimes people actually just acting out the game as the game characters.  Scary thing is, I’m pretty sure H-T would be making these videos himself if he weren’t so pre-occupied with watching them.  It’s the weirdest pastime I’ve ever heard of.  And he can spend HOURS at it. 

The thing about raising two geeky teens that I find the MOST hilarious, though, is listening to them call each other to their respective rooms:

Hey Uber!  Com’ere!  You’ve got to see this new video game trailer!!

Hey H-T!  Com’-ere!  You are going to FLIP when you see this new Linux interface!

I consider myself fairly technologically savvy, and I assure you that this is all greek geek to me.  But I adore it.  It is a unique and unusual way to live…and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

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Early Edition: Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints – Thanksgiving

fridays hardwired homeschool hints pic Yep, I’m kicking in this week’s HHH post a couple days early so that you homeschoolers can get in on some terrific Thanksgiving-related educational treats online.

I’ve come across most of these in the past few days, and just knew I needed a special post for sharing them. 


Please enjoy…and of course, have a


    Happy Thanksgiving 1

    Run, R-T, Run!!!

    Have you ever felt trapped in a particular situation in your life?  Trapped by circumstances beyond your control?  Control-freak that I am, I’ll admit that doesn’t happen to me much, but once in a while, I wake up and realize my back is against the wall, and there isn’t a single crappin’ thing I can do about it. 

    I’m in one of those situations right now with our house.  Our beloved 94-year-old house.  The house that we bought because it was in the city, which we love, and had a big fenced in yard, which we love.  But it is also the house that is beginning to fall down around us, and which we have no money to repair. 

    So what do YOU do when you are trapped?  Do you drink?  Do you curse?  Do you pray?  I guess I do a little of each.  But of course, then I am still trapped.

    So I take it out on the people I love.  Like I did today on poor Resistant-Techie.  He had been gone on one of his hikes in the mountains this afternoon, which gave me time to enjoy the sunshine out in the backyard. 

    Enjoying the sunshine in the backyard, though, means walking through the sun porch which is basically slanting downward from settling, over the deck, which has actual boards that have come loose from their moorings and are waving hello in the air, down the steps which are like a splinter factory, past the basement door which has nearly rotted in. 

    By the time I got to my favorite chair in the backyard I couldn’t enjoy one single minute of the gorgeous weather; I just sat their stewing in my own juices until R-T got home and I could finally boil over.

    R-T, (who, by the way, had nearly been knocked unconscious on his hike by a wayward laurel limb) came in dazed and totally unprepared for my graphic comparison of our home of ten years to the cells at Guantanamo.  Wolf hunting

    But that’s what I do when I feel trapped.  I react a bit like a wolf caught in a steel vice.  I growl.  And flail around.  And nearly gnaw my own leg off in the process.  It isn’t pretty.

    But then R-T brings me a dark chocolate truffle left over from my birthday festivities, and for a few minutes I can ignore the chain around my neck and just chill.  At least until I throw away the wrapper and see the crack underneath the window sill.

    Sigh. Grrrrrrr.

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    Topsy-Techie Birthday Giveaway Winner


    In a cool turn of events, and according to Random.org, the winner of the Topsy-Techie Birthday Giveaway is…Cake 39

    Rational Jenn, the other birthday girl this week! 

    Unfortunately, Jenn won’t receive her prize in time for her own birthday, but she says she might do something jazzy for Thanksgiving or Christmas with her new set of tools!!

    As for me, I’ve already had a lovely day – – including gravy biscuits in bed, thanks to my incredible hubby – – AND I’ve got a lovely night ahead of me.  R-T is taking me out to the Melting Pot for a night of fondue fun. 

    (Yes, for me, birthdays are now all about the calories)

    So a BIG thanks to everyone who entered, and for the creative birthday cake ideas.  I enjoyed every single one of them!!  Thanks so much for sharing my birthday fun this week, everyone!!

    Awww…They’re Human Again

    Parthenon from west

    Image via Wikipedia

    So yesterday, I gave into the whine that had been building up, and gave it free rein.

    But today, I have been privileged to sit on the sidelines and watch and listen as my two wonderful young men have made their plans for learning today.  Thanks to the suggestion of Stone-Age Techie, we have begun to read aloud the first in the Percy Jackson series to supplement Uber’s current interest in Ancient Greek culture.

    This read-aloud has led to a natural interest on H-T’s part in Ancient Greece as well – – especially the different gods and their attributes. So, the boys have added a documentary on Ancient Greece to the Instant Watch queue on Netflix.  Then, together (yes I said TOGETHER), they have decided to watch that documentary over the network, on our new BluRay player.

    Then, as I have sat hear quietly eavesdropping from the bedroom, my two free-form scholars have begun watching and making the most awesome comments back and forth about things like airborne illnesses, Sparta, and the Coliseum.  It is a beautiful thing to listen to!

    So I think at least PART of the prescription for the illness that is teenage-dom must be taking charge of one’s own education.  Perhaps it meets some of the cravings for independence that are so common at that age.  Whatever the reason, I’m feeling pretty doggone happy about this educational experiment.

    For today, I have my young men back.  And I have unschooling to thank.


    p.s. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to head back to Monday’s Topsy-Techie birthday giveaway to enter for a chance to win the Martha Stewart cake decorating kit!


    Consider Yourself Warned, Moms

    For many of you who have been following me for a while, you may already be aware of this, however it is completely new to me.  Why someone hasn’t given me a head’s up on this before now, I’m not quite sure.  It certainly would have been the compassionate thing to do.  But instead, everyone has simply let me find this out the REALLY HARD WAY.  No one thought enough of me to fill me in on the fact that…

    I am the mother of two teenagers!!!!

    For the past year or two, I have gone about my life blissfully unaware of this fact.  But in the last month, it has become all too clear.

    Uber, for instance, who as a general rule is a VERY laid-back young man with a soft-spoken demeanor and a heart of putty, has recently turned into an emotional roller coaster of drama, defensiveness, and diva-tude – – especially in regards to his girlfriend (aka “soulmate”).  The Venus flytrap, a well known carnivorous plant

    Have you ever seen a documentary about those weird carnivorous plants in the rain forest that sit there so peacefully and beautifully, and then some insect lands on them unawares and WHAMMO – – bug soup??!!  Well, I’ve experienced that phenomenon up close and personal by happening to drop the slightest of negative opinions about a recent action of said girlfriend within earshot of Uber.  WHAMMO!  – – Mom soup!!

    But the real metamorphosis has taken place in my youngest spawn.  Dearest H-T, who has always been eager to please, slow to anger, and cuddly as heck, has morphed into this smart-alecky, know-it-all whose main goal in life is to push each and every one of my buttons.  In fact, I dare say his ability to go to sleep at night would be direly affected if he couldn’t look back with pride on his ability to turn me into a crazed demon at some point in the day. 

    Have some advice for him?  Be ready for the snickers that will ensue.  Some words of wisdom?  Prepare to get not just an eye-roll, but a full on sneer of disgust.  Actually make the suggestion that he has fallen short in some manner?  Be on the lookout for a  lovely door-slamming, curse-mumbling display. 

    Yes.  I know.  I’m wallowing in a bit of self-pity today.  I guess it is because up till now I thought I had successfully snuck by the line where they checked your “mom of teenager” credentials. I had “opted out” of the whole teenage drama-thing.

    Why does life ALWAYS have to catch up with you???

    So THIS is my good deed for the day.  Have a young man or woman around the house who is edging nearer to those lovely teen years? Unless your skin is much thicker than mine, go ahead and stock up on some titanium full body armor. 

    Consider yourself warned.

    Topsy-Techie’s Birthday Giveaway!

    Ok, normally I let my birthdays slide by like sands in the hourglass, but this coming Friday happens to be a celebration of my very last year in my 30’s, so I’m puttin’ on the ritz.

    R-T is taking yours truly for a night of fondue fun at the Melting Pot, AND, of course, I already was the recipient of a kick-ass Blu-Ray player, so I’m feeling pretty doggone generous this week.

    Therefore, I’m sponsoring a giveaway at Topsy-Techie to honor the occasion. I thought it would be a hoot – – me being the absolute antithesis of Martha Stewart and all – – to give homage to my lack of domestic skills by RE-GIFTING this beautiful Martha Stewart cake decorating kit that I received and will NEVER, EVER use.  (Don’t worry, the giver doesn’t read my blog and will never know!)

    The kit has never been used (duh – – this is me we’re talking about!), boasts 52 pieces, and retails for 80 bucks at Macys.com.  (Ok, now I’m having mixed feelings. I mean I feel a little guilty re-gifting something someone was willing to shell out 80 smackeroos for. BUT they obviously don’t know me at ALL if they think I would ever take time away from my computer long enough to actually decorate a cake!!!!)

    cake decorating kit

    Anyway, all you have to do to get a chance to win this beautiful cake decorating kit, is comment on this post about what you would put on a cake that you were decorating for my birthday.  Now, maybe that makes this an unfair challenge for those of you who don’t know me as well, or haven’t been around Topsy-Techieland for long, so YES, I will choose a random winner…but you still have to try to be creative because it’s my birthday and I SAY SO!! 😉

    So pull out all the private jokes on me you want this week.  I’ll pull on my thickest skin – – just for the occasion.  I can take whatever you can dish out. 

    What would you put on my cake, dear readers/friends/family???

    May the best cake decorator win!!!!!!

    (Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on my birthday, this Friday, November 20th!)