“My Life and Hard Times”

I’ve been meaning to write for weeks, and haven’t found quite the inspiration to do so. It’s been a busy time, in its own, slow way. But now Mom and Dad have left, and the field trip is over, and it is time to put all eight of our noses to the figurative grindstone and finish up this school year forever. Today we are doing lesson 160, and the lessons go to 170, which means that this school year truly will end someday. 


Happy national stress awareness day, even though it’s over now. On a similar note, one thing we’ve been occupying our time with is Dickens! Tricia was reading Bleak House, and when she discovered that BBC had done a mini series of it and it was on YouTube, of course we needed to watch it, all six or eight hours of it. So we collected at her parents’ house for three sessions of bleakness and despair. It really was quite interesting, even if it did contain someone spontaneously combusting on account of drinking too much. And although lots of people died, the best character had a happy ending, so it was worth it. It was rather funny to see how engrossed in the story Tricia’s dad became. But here is the awful thing that happened. The night we finally finished it, Tricia, little villain, with an evil glint in her eye, started Jane Eyre, which is four hours long, I think. So now we are stuck in that morbid story, with the insane and violent wife locked in the tower. Tricia has already seen it, so she doesn’t have to finish it, but we haven’t, so now Ron and Arlene and I are quite stuck in the story. 


Michael, I would like to assure you of your success in sponsoring me for the Walk for Life.  Remember you said you weren’t going to give much if I only walked a measly two blocks? Well, I walked two miles, and it rained the whole time, and blew in nice Illinois fashion. My shoes were puddles at the end, and I have a scab on each heel from it. Feel better? 🙂 It really was rather jolly, nonetheless. Alice, who is a Downs girl from church, enjoyed it the most, splashing in the cold puddles. 


The field trip finally passed without much incident. Josh was sick, which was kind of tragic. But I got to take Mom and Dad along, which was fun. We went to the Lincoln museum in Springfield, and sped through it at the speed of light. Kids in museums = a fast trip through. They thought the dress up clothes from the 1800s were pretty cool though. After the museum, which I could’ve spent much longer in, we went across the street to eat our pizza, and to watch a mini accident happen in front of us. Pizza downed, we went to Lincoln’s house and toured it. As in, really and truly the house Lincoln lived in. As in, his stuff and everything! I was very interested. Our last stop was at Culver’s, where we ate ice cream and made very much noise. I’d like to see the museum again someday without a passel of kiddos with me to speed me along. 


A week and a half ago I spent Saturday in Chicago with Kyle, touring the museum of Science and Industry, eating pad Thai and duck curry and TARO BUBBLE TEA, riding the metro for hours, and hanging out. One of the most interesting parts was when I was sitting in the train station, and a very intoxicated guy starts talking to me, sticking his hand out for me to shake, and telling me that he can usually ascertain everything, but that he is sooo drunk. Huh. After talking at me for a bit, he slumped over (away from me, fortunately!) and fell asleep. I guess he really was “Sooo drunk.” Also, it was interesting to listen to a loud conversation on the metra between a man and two sisters. I found out that one sister spent either 6 or $9,000 on her wedding flowers, but that it was fine because her dress was only $1,500. Wow. I can’t even. 


Another interesting happening when you live on a farm as I do is the escape of cows from their pens. Recently one got out, and hung its head into the barn wishing to get back in, but too dumb to do so. And this morning I was awakened by pounding on the door. After trying to believe that it would fix itself if I ignored it, I stumbled downstairs to be told that we had a cow out and it had been in the middle of the road. So Tricia had to call the landlord and they chased it back in. This time it was (we think) a bull that had escaped. Yikes. It makes lying outside under our lilac bushes slightly less appealing when you think that any minute a bull might trod over you on his way to stand in the middle of the road. 

Today Kyle is beginning to work nights, which frees up his weekends some, which is amazing. He has maybe three or four weeks left up here, then it’s off to DC. Hopefully the DC branch of PrimeStar works out and he’ll be able to stay there. He should only be three or four hours from his family, which will be awesome for him. 

I would say come and visit, but I suppose it’s about too late to ask for that. At least Mom and Dad were just here, and I did so enjoy their visit. “Think of me, think of me fondly when you’ve said goodbye.”





Our Easter vacation was simply marvelous. Clearly Tricia wasn’t too sure about the drive out, but we made it safe and sound. 


First we went to York, to see her sister Michelle, and to eat good mexican and Chinese food and to go dumpster diving. Dumpster diving was simply tons of fun, because it felt so scandalous. Kyle said I need to get out more. 😛 Falling down the stairs wasn’t quite so much fun, but at least my bum had a few days to reinflate before we had to go all the way home. 


After York, we went to Reading to see Tyler and Cathy and Arlyn.  We had way way too much fun together, coffee shopping and eating mexican and watching minions and rehashing old jokes. We are a hilarious group, really. We all share kind of the same sense of humor and interests. It was delightful. 


 Pan dulce for breakfast, anyone?  



Not sure what’s up with Cathy.  


The city was gorgeous. I don’t know when I’ve seen a place so packed full of old stone churches. It was great fun walking through it and exploring. 


Ain’t we cute? 


Hello, Tyler’s chopped off head. 





Teachers night out! 


We had a lovely party, which looked quite North Carolinian. I was happy. They were happy.  



Story time outside sounded like a great idea… until the kids noticed the barn burning down. Attention- gone.  

For April first we parked behind the school and left the doors locked. We were quite pleased with ourselves when the kids were standing outside waiting for the “lazy teachers” to arrive.