Where Did Friday Go???

Ok, so I totally ran out of time to do a Friday’s HHH post today.  It’s been one of those days.

Where the phone rings so much that you get a temporary case of tinnitus.

Where you forget to put a VERY LATE bill into the mailbox, so you have to drive to the post office, which always tees you off.

Where you are on the way to the post office and your sunglasses break, and you are incredibly light sensitive, so you have to stop by the drugstore and pick up new ones on the way.

Where you discover that your dogs have fleas, so you have to vacuum the house from stem to stern – – including under the furniture – -  and give the dogs the Capstar junk, and then basically burn their beds and buy new ones.

Where you go to make supper and get everything almost ready when you realize you are out of the key ingredient, which not only tees you off, but makes you curse loud enough for the neighbors to do that peeking thing through their mini blinds.

And where you hear the weather forecast and discover that it is going to rain.  The entire weekend.

Yep, one of those.  You can relate, right??

In fact, the whole day would have been a complete and utter WASH if it hadn’t been for coming across this post at the Pioneer Woman today.  If you’ve had one of those days as well, then I INSIST you read this one.  It will seriously crack you up and make you fall in love with homeschooling all over again.

Have a great weekend, everyone.  (And if it is supposed to be sunny and crisp and fall-like at your house, please spare me the details.)

Anyone like miracles??

The first night of my trip to Florida, I was tucked into my king size bed, in the deepest of travel-ridden comas when I was awakened by my cell phone.  Once the consciousness began to return, I noticed it was 1:30 in the morning and that the origin of the call was listed as “HOME”. 

Well, I don’t know about you, but the first thought that pops into my head at a moment like that is: “It can’t possibly be good.”  So I gingerly reached for the device, while simultaneously clenching every muscle in my body in preparation for the impact.

Imagine my shock when the voice on the other end of the call is my husband’s insanely elated one.  “You are not going to BELIEVE it!  You just aren’t going to BELIEVE it!!!” 

Actually, at 1:30 in the morning, I will probably believe that aliens have landed and have taken over the Pentagon, but ok.  On with the story.

“She’s back!” my husband squeals into the phone.

“What?”  I reply, praying to goodness he isn’t referring to Sarah Palin.

“Frisky!  She just showed up at the back gate!!” 

Frisky.  Our missing black lab.  Our precious doggie who had been missing for 23 straight days.  The one, who had run away in terror after the 4th of July fireworks, and I’m sad to say, we had finally given up hope of ever seeing again.  That crazy girl had reappeared into our lives again!!

She was 12 pounds lighter, and several ticks heavier, but she was Frisky.  And she had somehow survived her ordeal and found her way back home.  I can’t even possibly explain how incredible the excited squeals of my boys sounded in the background of that phone call. 

My only frustration was not being able to be there to greet her.  I told my husband to tell her I was still out looking for her. (Moms know how to add guilt at even the most inappropriate times).

So yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  Or at least a Black Lab Claus.  At this point, I’m ready to believe in just about anything. 


Summer is so…so…unstructured, isn’t it?  I guess that is a good thing, because we all need some “unstructured,” right?  But what about us ADD-types?  I’m beginning to think that there is such a thing as TOO much unstructured.

My exercising, for instance, has gone the way of the dinosaur.  During regular homeschooling months, I always fit the exercising right into part of my daily schedule.  Now, I just wait for the wind to blow my stair-stepper in my direction (so far, the winds are pretty calm here).  Oh well, I’d prefer to hike and dance and walk to the library and do more non-exercisy-type things anyway. 

I AM, however, being consistent with my No-S diet.  I’m not really weighing because I really want to concentrate more on it being a new way of eating than just a way to “lose weight.”  But my pants are already a little less snug, so I’m thinking it is having some positive side effects!

In other news, we still haven’t found our girl.  Golly I miss that black cow of a dog!  When we go to feed our other dog and see both bowls sitting there, waves of depression come over all of us.  We’re still getting the occasional call, though.  And checking the Animal Shelter about every two days.  I haven’t completely given up…but almost. (Sniff.)

My cousin won the title of “Coon Dog Day Queen.”  What do you  mean you haven’t heard of the “Coon Dog Day Queen”??!!  Well, suffice it to say that here in Redneck Central, we DO have a Coon Dog Day, where we celebrate those coon-tracking dogs that hunters are so fond of.   And that celebration is topped off by electing a Coon Dog Day Queen.  And my cousin won this year.  And she will ride on a float or some such thing tomorrow in the Coon Dog Day parade.  And yes, I will be front and center to see it.  Wouldn’t you??

In sadder news, my grandmother is passing away.  My 98-year-old Nana who in my eyes will always have the title of “Most Incredible Cook” in the entire southeast.  Let’s just say my Nana’s pecan pie could have put Paula Deen to shame.  She was just that good.  And she taught me just about everything I know in the kitchen…AND how to play bridge, to boot.  I know its almost her time, but I’ve had just about enough of goodbyes this week. 

So how’s all that for random?  I dare you to make a connection between any or all of it.  I certainly was too lazy to today.  Have a great weekend, everyone!!

I Have a Permanent Grudge Against July 4th

Its bad to hate a holiday, (and although I’m not necessarily Little Mary Sunshine, I still enjoy a good celebration), but after this weekend, I’m officially putting July 4th on my Grudge List.  Stupid Independence Day.

It started out okay.  We headed to a waterfall we had never visited (which was basically at the bottom of a ravine, so we had quite a climb down and up).  It was a beautiful place, and so shaded we actually had goose bumps in the middle of an 80 degree day!  We had a picnic, sitting sideways because of the angle of the ground, and watched our resident daredevil – – H-T – – trudge through the coldest water known to man to get a closer look at the bottom of the falls.  A pretty decent start to a day.

In the evening, we went out for Chinese…there is quite possibly a law against eating Chinese on a quintessentially American holiday….so lets keep that one between us.  But it was GOOD Chinese, and the guy that checked us out said “Happy 4th” in the cutest Asian accent, and it made the whole meal even better.

Then at supper, things started to go south.  First of all, we kind of all realized we didn’t want to fight the crowds to see any formal fireworks this year.  So what to do instead?  The testosterone three came up with the idea of going to see Transformers 2.  Oh joy – – just what I’ve always wanted to do on America’s birthday – – watch cars save the world.  But I knew that my favorite theater – – the one where you can have wine and nachos with your movie – – just happened to be showing a chick flick at approximately the same time, so we made a pact to celebrate America by pouring some cash into her failing economy.

But therein lay the critical error.  As we headed out to watch sub-par movies in separate overcrowded theaters, we forgot that our two dogs were home, locked in the outside fence, with basically World War Three going on around them.  Our neighborhood was overrun this year with people shooting off illegal fireworks, and our dogs were beside themselves with terror.  I found this out when I arrived home from my movie and discovered our Terrier-mix shaking in his fur, and our other dog – our 10-year-old black lab – – missing. 

The fireworks had so panicked her that she basically dug her way out of our bolstered metal fence and pushed it to the warping point to squeeze her body through and seek some kind of shelter from the noise and commotion.  And she has never come back.  We are devastated beyond belief.  She is SUCH a part of our family, and has been a source of joy for us since H-T’s fourth birthday all those years ago. 

All this because of the 4th of July, and people who think they just HAVE to create a firestorm to have a good time.  So that’s why I now have a permanent grudge against this former day of celebration.  I’d probably even kick a picture of ole’ Uncle Sam right now. 

I just want my doggie back!!

Thisses and Thats+

It’s New Years, and I am feeling random. So let’s throw momma under the train and rabbit chase for a minute.

  • ~~Have you checked out my blogroll lately?  I’ve made some changes as my feed reader has updated, and you might just find that one of my new favorites is your new favorite as well!  How ’bout giving my new bloggy buddies some love, k?
  • ~~Found an awesome post over at MakeUseOf (my absolute fave website of ’08).  It is called 10+ Web Tools To Save Your Butt In School and granted, we aren’t having to save our butt in school, or anywhere else, but I thought some of these were pretty dang good tools for high school college level students
  • ~~Webinars…do you attend?  Sure. Some of them are just another online waste of time, but I have found some incredible information that I could implement into our day to day homeschooling at the better ones.  One of my all-time favorite webinar series is Discovery Education’s series.  Just go here to view their upcoming offerings, sign up for one, and then be sure and add it to your calendar so you don’t forget to attend.  For purely homeschool-related info, keep a check on the Homeschool Connections calendar for upcoming webinars.
  • ~~Just saw “The Great Debaters” last night and it was a compelling, if somewhat contrived script.  I am always drawn into those “based on a true story” kind of films, and if nothing else, this one will get you and your kids talking, so I give it a recommendation as a family watch for ages say – – 12 and up.
  • ~~You know how much I love cool tools and sites, so here is one you may or may not already know about, but that I had missed somehow and was quite psyched to learn about: Invisible-Auctions.com.  Did you know that a lot of auctions on ebay are overlooked because a word in the title listing is mispelled?  Those auctions can end at far lower final bids because they can’t be located via the normal search methods.  This site lets you type in the item you are looking for and searches for all the different variations of misspellings that might occur for it, and …voila!  You’ve tricked the system! 

So for my final randomness, why not enjoy this pic of our dog Squat on New Year’s Eve?  If this one doesn’t make you go “ahhww”, then you need to head to the doc for a psych tune-up! 

Yeah, yeah, make the dog look ridiculous. Great start to 2009.



Da’ Bomb

I didn’t post yesterday cause I was in a state of shock.  SHOCK, I tell you.

Why? Cause it would seem that our little teeny tiny house is not just snug – – but snug as a BUG on a rug.  WE HAVE FLEAS!

Technically, it is the dogs who have fleas, but we are pretty sure they have shared with the rest of the house, cause I discovered a few flea bites on my ankles. 

This in itself is bad.  But what makes it worse is that H-T is a serious bug-a-phobe.  Once we made the discovery, he started looking up local hotel rooms in the phone book. 

Our dogs have had to be outside on the back porch for two days now – – two days which happen to be the coldest two days of the year so far.  They are so bummed. They have started looking up local hotel rooms in the phone book.

So the answer?  A flea bomb.  I can’t believe I dissed those news guys for warning us to build bigger wider bomb shelters!  They were right.  And now I wish I had one (not to go in, of course, but to send H-T and the dogs to so I don’t hafta hear their whining anymore).

Today’s sole purpose seems to be readying the house for the coming Armageddon.  Taping up cabinets with food.  Moving furniture onto non-carpeted surfaces…which of course makes me come to terms with how dang gross it is under the furniture, so of course I have to CLEAN.  As if bombing the house weren’t bad enough, now I have to CLEAN it too??!!  Will the injustice never end??!!

And the final straw is that of course we have to be out of the house for at least  2-3 hours this afternoon while the bomb goes off.  I had SO better get to see Quantum of Solace today for all my trouble.  The pic on the right would happen to be the blond Bond – – star of said movie..(a BIG thanks to my buddy over at Pack of Hungry Snails for this pic!!)

I had to walk a mile just to vote!!



Now that I got your attention, I guess I had better admit that I VOLUNTARILY walked a mile to vote. 

Sometimes it is just so awesome to live and homeschool in the city!  Like this gorgeous, 65 degree day, when the boys and I were able to combine civics with PE today and head out on our trek to the polls.  Wanna come along?


Totally unneccesary pic from our front porch.  But doesn’t our neighbor across the street have a tidy yard?Totally unneccesary pic from our front porch.  But doesn't our neighbor across the street keep a tidy yard?

Gorgeous day for a stroll to the voting booths!
Gorgeous day for a stroll to the voting booths!

When even your shadow is heavy, it's time for a diet!

                       Geez, even my shadow needs to go on a diet!

Pre-Poll Scenery

Pre-Poll Scenery


We refused to be intimidated by the scary-looking poll watchers

All-too-common site in our neighborhood.  Even more incentive to vote…let’s go!



Think anybody on the ballot supports life imprisonment for littering? If so, they have MY vote!

Definitely getting closer!
Definitely getting closer!

Well, ok, if you insist.

Well, ok, if you insist.


No lines. Hmm...did everybody vote early?

No lines. Hmm...did everybody vote early?

H-T rocks the Kids Vote!

H-T rocks the Kids Vote!


Thought it might be inappropriate to take a pic of my actual ballot, so I finally had to turn off the camera.  But let me tell you – – that was one of the most worthwhile miles I have ever walked with my kids…
Don’t forget that every comment this month gets you an entry for the HP Printer, so let’s hear your election story in the comments section!

Dining Rooms Are Overrated

Yes, the Topsy-Techie household remodeling project is about 90% complete.  I think I may have mentioned that we live in a SMALL house (2 bedrooms, 1 bath), and our boys are growing at the rate of about 8 cm per day.  They are like bamboo…you can literally watch them growing.  Add in some privacy issues, and you have a recipe for OVERCROWDING!! 

Now please don’t think I’m complaining.  I know that in some developing countries, entire villages could probably set up camp in here and still not have to tie each other’s shoelaces, but compared to many of the mansions in this tourist town of mine, ours might as well be an outhouse.

We’ve chosen this life and it has chosen us.  No one goes into being a director of a homeless shelter for the perks and bonuses.  And homeschooling has meant that we aren’t really a two-income family.  So we deal.  And we improvise. 

And we decided that the one thing we could probably live without, at least for now, is our dining room.  So, we added some doors, shined up the floor, threw on some paint, and spiffed up some furniture we got at a second hand store and….voila!  H-T’s new bedroom!

Of course I’m not smart enough to take “Before” pics, so you will just have to trust me when I say that it looked REALLY different.  The walls were wallpapered with flowered paper, and the bottom was painted this deep wine color.  And there was a huge oriental rug over the parquet.  It was wall to wall antique cherry furniture in there too. 

At least I have some “After” pics….

Notice the dog bed in foreground.  That was the most important piece of furniture of all!

Notice the dog bed in foreground. That was the most important piece of furniture of all!

All artwork on walls is done by H-T, our resident artist.  He loves his sheepdog marionette, hanging from the ceiling.

All artwork on walls is done by H-T, our resident artist. He loves his sheepdog marionette, hanging from the ceiling.

Most of the room is dead space, cause H-T can barely lift his hind end from this chair you see right here!

Most of the room is dead space, cause H-T can barely lift his hind end from this chair you see right here!

Behind the door is H-T's built in display shelf area for his collections and creations such as...

Behind the door is H-T's personally customized display shelves for his collections and creations such as...

His fossil collection

His fossil collection

and his soapstone carvings.  He and Uber are master soapstone carvers!

and his soapstone carvings. He and Uber are master soapstone carvers!

Hey, anybody can have a dining room, but not everyone can have a dog-hosting, sheepdog-hanging, fossil-displaying, computer-hogging, homemade-knitted-blanket-cozying room like H-T’s.
And he is lovin it like a horror movie marathon!! (yes, for H-T, that’s a GOOD thing!)

The Dangers of Remodeling


Remodeling should definitely come with some kind of warning on the package.  Last night, I got up as usual in the pitch black darkness to take care of business, and had forgotten about the dining room rug rolled up in the hallway. 

So I guess you know what happened next.  Tripsy-daisy, right into the pile of yard sale items I had been collecting.  Out went my lower back, in came my hubby running, and splat went the small amount of dignity I still have left at almost 40. 

I received some valuable information in the process though. I found out that I do not have one of those dogs that will come to my rescue in case of an emergency.  Our black lab was so traumatized by the noise of my fall that she jumped up on the couch and lay there shivering until I physically removed her.  

I needed that couch. The rest of the night was spent laying on it on an ice pack, praying that my shaken hubby would be able to get back to sleep before a big day at work today.  I didn’t know I had woken up Uber, although he informed me that a big crash had interrupted his beauty rest as well.  If I had, I would have added even more guilt to my repertoire, so I’m glad he never came out of his room.

I have about one million things to do today, and no back to do it with, so any good thoughts and prayers sent my way would be greatly appreciated….

And I’m a big believer in learning from other people’s mistakes, so if YOU undertake a remodeling project, you might want to leave a night light on in the hallway.  Just a thought…

WISH it worked for me Wednesday

I love the Works For Me posts over at RocksinmyDryer.typepad.com, but since not much ever works correctly around the Topsy-Techie household, I thought I would talk about what I WISHED worked…

Case in point: Using my son’s Wii Remote as an All-Purpose Remote Tool    

Thanks to a blogging buddy’s Teaching and Learning Spanish blog, I discovered some really neat uses for the Wii Remote today.  This one is particularly cool for teachers and homeschoolers:

So I got to thinking that with my Wii remote, my bad-self techie skills, a couple infrared dots, and some duct tape, I ought to be able to save the planet.  Now don’t get me wrong…the Wii remote in our house isn’t gathering dust, or anything, but surely it could be put to better uses than just helping H-T defeat jungle monsters in the latest Lego Indiana Jones game.  My ultimate goals for the Wii remote would be to:

  • Virtually clean the toilet bowls.  I’m thinking that a couple of infrared dots where the Tidybowl man hangs out ought to do it.  Then I would just swish that remote in a circular pattern, and voila!  Sparkly johnnies!
  • Virtually retrieve the mail – – especially on rainy days.  One dot on the front door of the mailbox, and one on the flag, and I should be good to go.  Although those Wii remotes can be pretty sensitive sometimes.  I would hate to overshoot and pick up my bachelor neighbor’s girlie mags by mistake.  That one might need some tweaking.
  • Virtually water the plants – – .  I love, love, love, my houseplants, but I tend to forget about them when they aren’t making a lot of noise.  Squeaky wheel and all. I mean I never forget to water the dogs, you know, cause they sorta make this moaning, whiny sound when they get dangerously dehydrated.  But the plants?  Well, I’m sure they whine and moan too, but non-advanced human that I am, I can’t usually pick up on it.  So my ideal Wii remote gadget would include a timer, and a virtual waterstream from my sink to the plants, because I also can’t be bothered most days to find the watering can.  Do you think infrared dots do any damage to live plants?  Gosh, I hope not.
  • Virtually write my blog while I am away.  Yep, Topsy-Techie will be traveling to Nevada tomorrow, and won’t be back till next week, so I could really use that Wii remote to digitally post for me while I’m away.  What’s that you say?  My blogging software already lets me schedule my posts while I’m gone??  Hmph. That is not nearly as cool. 

Be thinking of you from Vegas, ya’ll.  I promise that if I hit it big while I’m out there, I’ll split my earnings with everyone who leaves a comment on this post.  So comment away…