Things I learned today

Today I had to attend a workshop regarding the 6 main priciples of writing.

I learned a new use for the words “conventions.”

I found this quote and loved it, “Human beings have a great need to represent their experience through writing. We need to make our truths beautiful.” Lucy McCormick Calkins

I was introduced to this book: the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon. It is written from the perspective of a boy with autism. He has the following to say:

“Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk. . .”


“Chapters in books are usually given the cardinal numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 and so on. But I have decided to give my chapters prime numbers 2,3,5,7,11,13 and so on because I like prime numbers.

This is how you work out what prime numbers are.

First you write down all the positive whole numbers in the world. Then you take away all the numbers that are multiples of 2. Then you take away all the numbers that are multiples of 3. Then you take away all the numbers that are multiples of 4 and 5 and 6 and 7 and so on. The numbers that are left are the prime numbers.

The rule for working out prime numbers is really simple, but no one has ever worked out a simple formula for telling you whether a very big number is a prime number or what the next one will be. If a number is really, really big, it can take a computer years to work out whether it is a prme number.

Prime numbers are useful for writing codes and in America they are classed as Military Material and if you find one over 100 digits long you have to tell the CIA and they buy if off you for $10,000. But it would not be a very good way of making a living.

Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them. . .

. . .Mr. Jeavons asked me whether this made me feel safe, having things always in a nice order, and I said it did.

Then he asked if I didn’t like things changing. And I said I wouldn’t mind things changing if I became an astronaut, for example, which is one of the biggest changes you can imagine, apart from becoming a girl or dying.”

I cannot WAIT to read this book.


Dinner with Friends

Today we had new carpet installed in our entire house except for the bathrooms and the kitchen. That means about 1300 square feet of carpet went in, and I can’t even tell you how it all happened. It took the guys who did it about four and a half hours during which time Tony and I moved all of Thad’s furniture and STUFF into Victoria’s room with her furniture and STUFF and all of OUR furniture and STUFF went into our closet, our bathroom, and Thad’s room after they finished his room and the closet. Then we re-moved all of Thad’s furniture and STUFF and all of Victoria’s furniture and STUFF into Thad’s room along with some of our stuff. There is VERY LITTLE left in our living room, so the carpet guys took care of that.

Why, then, did I entitle my post “Dinner with Friends?” Well, I had planned to meet some friends from my former school for dinner tonight. I very nearly called and cancelled, but decided I NEEDED to go. We were to meet at 5:30. The restaurant was about 15 minutes away. At 4:30 I pulled myself up off of my bedroom floor where I had taken a nap, unloaded the bathroom so I could get to the shower, got clean, went downstairs to the garage to get my blow dryer, went into the powder room in the kitchen and plugged in the blow dryer behind the rolled up 5’x8′ rug, then had Tony come and move the mattress so I could get shoes out of the closet. Then I left.

I was about 5 minutes late, and the poor waiter had to wait ANOTHER 45 minutes for us to order as we were chat-chat-chatting. You know how THAT is. Then we ate and laughed and gossiped (yes, we DID even though I don’t normally recommend it, but I HAD to know what all was going on at my old school) and ate and laughed some more. It re-energized me so much that I came home and put our bed together (frame in our bathroom, mattress and box-springs in Thad’s room, bed slats in the linen closet) so we won’t have to join the kids on a pallet on the floor tonight. I threw some fresh sheets into the deal, so I’m pretty excited about bed.

Right now I’m debating whether or not I need to go ahead and vaccuum up all of the carpet fuzz the kids managed to kick up tonight. Odds are against it.

Tomorrow I have a workshop, which I would normally HATE the thought of, HOWEVER I am looking upon it as an opportunity to sit still for several hours and not have to do ANYTHING–including listen. As Alexander said in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. . .”They can make me BUY them, but they can’t make me WEAR them.”

Forming the Forms

So we have been waiting and waiting and W-A-I-T-I-N-G for “them” to REALLY get started with the house. The papers are signed, the colors are picked, we are neck deep in getting our current home ready to sell, and all we’ve seen is a construction road and culverts go in.

BUT, TOMORROW they are supposed to set the forms for our foundation. At 7:00 a.m. Which means we will leave here at 6:00 to make sure they set the forms, and therefore the house, in the right spot. Now Dolly has had her way with the Texas Gulf Coast, and Houston is no different. We’ve had two days of band after band after band of rain. Thundering rain, blowing rain, straight down rain, soft rain, hard rain, splattering rain, dumping rain, whispering rain. Forrest Gump’s got nothin’ on our rain. We do, however, according to the powers that be, have “perfect” soil. It is evidently 4-5 feet of sandy loam then clay. That means that water drains quickly. Let’s hope we are still on for tomorrow. If we aren’t, we will have all just had a nice early morning trip to the country.

So you’ll know

If you have a Cost Plus/World Market anywhere near you, these are THE BEST GINGERSNAPS IN THE WORLD EVER.

I have only ever seen them in the fall and around Christmas, but low and behold if they didn’t have a “spring” version of them this year in little flower shapes in a blue can. They are normally just round and in a red can. The spring can is also smaller. I found them yesterday and am eating them RIGHT THIS SECOND even though it’s not autumn.

ANYWAY. If you are a fan of the gingersnap, these are the ones to buy. They are also PERFECT to use for anything that calls for a gingersnap crust as they are very thin and crispy and much easier to crush up than the average gingersnap.

Anyway–I know it is hot and humid and WAY early to be talking about spice cookies and pumpkin cheesecake, but I needed to tell you. AND I am CLEAN while enjoying them. That is all.

Cleanliness is next to. . .

My friend Sandy, who lives in Canada, just returned from a trip to India. She has been posting her thoughts and journal entries from her time there. Call me what you will, but I have no desire to go to India. . .the middle East. . .Asia in general. I have loved reading Sandy’s journal entries though–to hear a “westerner’s” view and experiences in another country is interesting at the very least and life-changing if you let it be.

I looked up the origin of that famous phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness,” and found that it dates back to a sermon by John Wesley. The website states that it is probably a much older axiom than even Wesley’s time–and we know from scripture that God demanded cleanliness and stringent standards of sanitation from the Jews, but the saying as we know it is not found in scripture.

That being said, tonight I am thankful for cleanliness in the particular forms of:
clean sheets
clean hair
clean bodies
clean jammies
clean faces
clean teeth
floors not made of dirt OR with cracks through which dirt can be seen

A few years ago on PBS there was a reality series called “1900’s House.” It was the first in several that PBS did, and the best. After that first season they sort of veered into “Survivor” and “Big Brother” style episodes that were more about the drama than the experience. But, when the first people–a family–left their Victorian house to go back to the “real world,” I clearly recall them stopping at a convenient store. The mom said that all of the smells were overwhelming. She could smell clothes detergent, shampoo, deoderant, perfume, hairspray on all of the different people around her because they had been without those things for nearly 3 months.

Well, right now I plan to go and make sure that all of those things can be found on me. I embrace the clean.

Why I have “Coolest Wife in the World” Status at My House

Below you will find a picture of Tony’s boa constrictor. It’s not a gross photo–he is not having dinner or anything. It’s just a photo of my two children (82 combined weeks gestation) BESIDE the huge snake. TOUCHING the huge snake. I’ve mentioned the snake here before, but there has never been an “appropriate” photo–he’s either been curled up or enjoying a meal. So. . .WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY BELOW (just in case you don’t want to see it) is David Boa. (Tony did NOT name it–some teenaged boy did.) We just call him the boa constrictor. So you will know, he lives in a cage that is locked with two locks. The children are not allowed to handle him–only to touch him. He does not move quickly. He is normally not turned loose in the yard, but this day Tony was taking a photo to send to the lady who gave him to us WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY back when he was only tiny–just 3 feet long. He’s now 8 feet long.

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Okay. Here it is.