If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always had.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Playing the role

As a child, my favorite game was anything that involved pretending--Barbies, playing house, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians--I wasn't picky as long as I could be someone I wasn't. Once, a friend's mother suggested we do something other than pretend games, and I had a genuine 'like what' moment. I think I was about 9; I still remember the confusion. Playing a board game never occurred to me.

In the years since, I have used my love of role playing in constructive ways. It helps with writing, certainly, but it's also a confidence booster. When Eric was deployed in 1990, Alex was a baby and I was Active Duty. We were working 12-14 hour days regularly, getting ready for more deployments. Of course, I was sick for a solid month. One of the things that got me through and made me stronger was pretending to be my mother-in-law on the hard days. She had been a nurse for 25 years at that point, and had worked on almost every ward. She was about the strongest woman I knew, so when I felt weak I would ask myself how she would handle the situation. Essentially, it was fake it 'til you make it, but in the process I learned to better manage my emotions and my tongue, and I learned to stand up for myself.

I still do this, but in different ways. When I read, I key in on different ways of saying things. I notice character quirks. Sometimes I'll re-read whole pages to try to see the technique. Other times I get wrapped in the story and read it again later for self-improvement. Writing can be taught, but a lot of us learned not only writing but also spelling and grammar by burying our noses in paperbacks. These days, when the words won't come, or when they're not the right words, I find myself thinking, "How would Holly Lisle write this?" I'm still faking it 'til I make it!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Everything Glorious

Clearly I am not perfect yet.

Our choir is singing the cantata "Everything Glorious" on Christmas Eve. We got practice CD's to help learn our parts, and mine has lived in the van practically since I got it. Yesterday I was running errands and had the CD in. I pulled into a parking lot, and two people were walking across it, but they were taking the long diagonal route (i.e.: taking their sweet time). As I slowed to a crawl, I was singing, "Sing glory to God in the highest, sing glory to God in the highest, sing glory to God!" at the top of my lungs while thinking, "Get out of my freaking way, y'all!"

Body and soul, working together. Sort of.

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Hair issues

Once upon a time, in North Carolina (yeah, the Land Far, Far Away), I went to a hairdresser recommended by a friend for a trim. I was so pleased that over the course of several years, I let her do whatever she wanted with my hair, within certain parameters (I was still Active Duty and had regulations to deal with). I hated to leave her; she and Wilber's BBQ are the only things I miss to this day.

Over the next several years I kept my hair long, mostly because I didn't find anyone who could manage my mop like my NC Hair Whisperer. My hair is thick, so long began to get very heavy. It was giving me headaches and was usually in a pony tail to keep it out of my face. When we got here, I went to one of the dreaded Chain Hair Cutteries and had the length brought up. By chance, one day, I stopped into the beauty shop across the street from the Day Job for a trim. I went back again when Vicky needed a hair cut, and when I went short, I went there, too. I was so happy! I found my new Hair Whisperer!

Alas, they closed the shop. The Mom had back problems and couldn't work much, and the Daughter (aka Hair Whisperer) couldn't handle it all on her own. There was much sadness, and the search for a new Hair Whisperer began.

There is a happy ending. I got a letter yesterday saying they're sorry, they didn't know what they were thinking, and they're re-opening the shop! Woo hoo! I'll be cute again! (And if I take the letter with me when I go to get my hair trimmed, I'll get 10% off!)


Monday, December 11, 2006

Cookin' with gas

I haven't said much about school lately. We're still doing it. Actually, this is probably the best year we've had. I took a hard look at what she's going to need to live through her Freshman year, set some hard goals, and it looks like we might surpass at least one: The Dreaded Math.

Vicky hates math. She's always had a hard time getting it. I'd get light bulb moments with everything else (I can tell how well she's gotten something by the volume of the "Oooohhh!"), but they have been few and far between with math. Then I found MathUSee. I wish I'd started her with it.

I ordered easy stuff to start with last fall because even though she'd already had most of it, I knew she was missing some things. Gaps will set her up for failure in Algebra, and she already hates math enough. I told her what I was doing and why, and she agreed. The books have 30 lessons each, and each lesson has six practice sheets, half of which focus on the new concept, and half which are cumulative. We blew through the first book in two months. The second should take us about two months, but we're taking time off for Christmas so it really will be about ten weeks. I've already got Pre-Algebra ready and waiting, and now we're talking about getting the Algebra book and going through the summer.

I must say how proud I am of the work she's doing. Her confidence grows a little every day and I'm finally starting to think she's going to be ready for high school. Maybe her Freshman year won't be as ugly as Alex's was.

Homeschooling moms, take heart. The ugly days get fewer and further between. We still have plenty of them. We still have a lot of work to do, but for the first time ever, I'm looking forward to IOWA testing.

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