Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Under control

There has been little of substance on this blog in quite some time. In years past, I would be spending much of this break preparing for the next semester for Yakov and Shoshie, choosing books and reading ahead. I don't have much need to do that with Noach. There are no mid-course corrections needed. He is reasonably happy with his studies this year and he is moving toward our goals for the year. In fact, I need to control my tendency to tweak and meddle.

Beginning in mid-January, I expect to start a middle school age group to do the previously mentioned free chemistry curriculum. I am looking forward to that. And the experience may provoke a blog note or two. PRM

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow Day

The snow started yesterday at 11am. Yakov made it out in time but his first flight, to Atlanta, was canceled. The lady at the Delta desk was absolutely dogged in getting him to Dallas. She made phone calls, cajoled, begged other carriers to get him on a plane, a true example of good customer service, not often found in the airline, or any other, industry today. PRM

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to those

who celebrate it.

Generally this is a boring time for us but this year I have enjoyed having Yakov home from college. He came home Wednesday and is leaving this morning to join some of his friends from his year in Israel for a 10 day reunion.

While he has been here, I have loved watching him, JP and Noach jam after dinner each evening. Noach received a banjo for Chanukah and he has been working hard trying to play it. An envious Yakov tries to play it as well. The guitars come out and music swells, cooperative and competitive. I love it. PRM

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Wayback Machine

Taken just before the photo for the Abbey Road album cover. PRM

Friday, December 10, 2010

Out the other side

I started this week facing a dental appointment for a cleaning Monday morning. While there I mentioned some recent discomfort with a tooth. Before I knew it, I was scheduled for a root canal on Thursday. I couldn't do it earlier in the week because I had a screening colonoscopy planned.

Now it is Friday morning and I can relax. I will spare you the pictures but no problems were found during the colonoscopy. I suspect I talked quite a bit and who knows what I said? The root canal was essentially painfree yesterday. Love those endodontists; they are good.

This is what you have to deal with when you get to a certain age. And well beyond a certain age. PRM

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Wayback Machine

For this next to last day of Chanukah, we remember 2007. Now the younger brother is the tallest kid in the family. And I miss Shoshie. PRM

Monday, December 6, 2010


in Chapel Hill with Yakov. Noach, JP and I drove in the snow to CH to have dinner and give gifts to Yakov Saturday night. We had a deliciuos dinner at a Thai/Malaysian restaurant where the server kindly provided me with a piece of aluminum foil on which we could place this tiny menorah. We lit the candles which were essentially birthday candles and chanted the blessings. The candles burned very brightly for about 3 minutes and then went out. Lovely evening. PRM

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Franklin and Eleanor

Recently I read a review of Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage and also heard one on the radio. I have read several books on Franklin Roosevelt, including Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meachem, which I highly recommend by the way, and had Yakov read for American History a couple of years ago. I want to read Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency Of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by H. W. Brands but have been intimidated by the 912 pages. Franklin and Eleanor is a more manageable 368 pages. I know, I am embarrassed that it mattered but it did. I recently finished a very large book that took me 6 weeks to finish plus, I was checking this one out from the library and would only have 2 weeks to read it. I could read 368 pages in that time frame and in fact it only took me 5 days, 5 very enjoyable, can't-wait-to-get-back-to-the-book days.

The focus is, as the title suggests, more about their marriage than his presidency. And it is a marriage that, as they say on Facebook, is "complicated." Franklin was a very needy man, who was accustomed to great attention from his adoring mother, and thus wanted adoring people around him all the time. No one person could have met Franklin's needs. Eleanor who grew up without loving parents always felt the need to earn any affection she received. Both wanted lots of people around all the time and the White House almost seemed like a boarding house and their property at Hyde Park like a commune or summer camp.

Despite infidelity on his part and quite possibly on hers, Eleanor and Franklin were inextricably linked and dependent on each other. There was a shared sense of purpose and trust in the judgment of the other. BTW this book is not a repetition of juicy gossip but an examination of the marriage, the alliance of two prominent people and how they respected each other and worked together but also worked around each other at times. PRM

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

This is what happens when you love to lick the very last of the peanut butter from the bottom of the can and yet have no hands. And it takes several times like this to really finish the job. PRM

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Free Chemistry Resources

A few days ago, someone on the WTM Boards asked about a free elementary chemistry program, Inquiry in Action. I saved a copy of this several months ago, hoping to use it sometime in the future with a small group of appropriately aged kids. My own are too big now.

I have become convinced that inquiry is the way to present science to children. I also think scientific inquiry is best done in small groups rather than with a single homeschooled kid. Peer interaction is essential, I think. And the adult needs to be more facilitator than teacher. I did this 2 years ago with 4 kids, 10 to 13 yo. I used Teaching Physics with Toys by Taylor, Poth and Portman as the outline for our activities. I enjoyed it and I think they did, too. Inquiry in Action would have been wonderful to use with my group.

Because traffic to the online book site from the WTM board picked up substantially, an employee of the American Chemical Society joined the board and responded. He mentioned a new middle school text, also free online. Although I need to spend some more time with it, this text looks very useful as well. And I was stimulated to look at the ACS website and of course there are wonderful resources there as well. I'll link them.

Inquiry in Action

Middle School Chemistry

On the ACS website, there is so much material I can only link a few. Just go look.

Cool Science where there are links to some ChemMatters articles such as Chemistry of Fireworks and Chemistry in the Kitchen.

ChemMatters, a quarterly journal for high school students. I love to read this myself.

Science for Kids, with activities for younger kids.

And Reel Science, a site with reviews of science in movies such as Inception and Food, Inc. This looks great.

Enjoy science. PRM

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Living books, not textbooks

Educating Shoshie and Yakov was easy really. Both loved to read and helping them find appropriate reading material for whatever topic they were working on was just fun for me. Spending hours on research at the library or on the internet, I loved it. For science and history, we eschewed textbooks. That's not entirely true. Yakov, the literature/history guy, preferred his science rather straight forward. Shoshie, the budding biologist, read widely for science but she also loved historical fiction. And Jane Austin. She enjoyed Spielvogel's World History: The Human Odyssey as a background text. When she was doing American History, she combined it with American Literature and created a good course for herself.

What prompted this train of thought was this post at I.N.K. blog. I read this blog regularly because some of our favorite authors blog there and I learn about new books as well as older books that are new to me. If you read the article, click through to Joy Hakim's article in the Washington Post. It will make you glad you homeschool, if you do. (And if you read the comments on the post, just know that the grammatical error in mine is driving me crazy but I don't know how to correct published comments.)

Oh, another blog I discovered this week, Book-A-Day Almanac. So many new books.

Noach is different. He has little interest in reading anything not specifically assigned. Neither fiction, nor nonfiction. This is hard for me but I am adjusting. Slowly. And I read a lot of books to myself. PRM

Friday, November 19, 2010

Psychological Projection

"Projecting thoughts or emotions onto others allows the person to consider them and how dysfunctional they are, but without feeling the attendant discomfort of knowing that these thoughts and emotions are their own. We can thus criticize the other person, distancing ourselves from our own dysfunction."

For example:
An unfaithful husband suspects his wife of infidelity.

Roger Ailes, of FOX News who says this about the executives at NPR, "They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don't want any other point of view." Gee, who is really talking about?

Ailes speaking about Jon Stewart, "He loves polarization. He depends on it. If liberals and conservatives are all getting along, how good would that show be? It'd be a bomb." Could he be talking about his whole FOX enterprise?

Rush Limbaugh accuses Democrats of being racists and then suggests that Rep. Jim Clyburn get the House position of "drivin' Miss Nancy." The blackness of Obama has brought out the black heart of Rush like nothing else.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Wayback Machine

This picture showed up on my daughter's Facebook page and it made me nostalgic. That's Yakov from 2006. And this is Yakov today, 30 pounds lighter, after a fitness program and a haircut. PRM

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Classic Movie of the Week

Our lunch movie this week is Inherit the Wind. It also is related to OM Civics, which as I have mentioned before is a success here. So much to discuss. PRM

Slight adjustment

One of our goals for this academic year is for Noach to improve his essay writing skills. The OM Civics assigns 1 to 4 essays of varying length each week. There are additional essay assignments in OM English 8 but not every week. Rather than 3 badly written essays done over the week, we have decided to do one good essay that is then edited the following week. The remaining work is discussion BUT he must come to the discussion after preparing his answers. This prevents my waiting on him to hem and haw and mutter "I don't know. What do you think?" It is a waste of my time unless he is prepared.

Thus each week there is an essay being researched and written in rough draft and another in the editing phase. Editing is difficult for Noach since any discussion of the paper seems like criticism to him. After seeing a review on Strewing: Unschooling Resources last week, I am thinking about using in January. Noach improved his writing greatly last spring while doing K12 lit with a teacher and I think this could be used in a similar way. The assignments could come from OM and the time commitment would not be much greater than it is right now. Having another person to work with rather than me is definitely better for shalom beit. And shalom beit is important. PRM

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bad News Day

If you should have 24 hours when you lie in bed praying that you don't throw up AGAIN and you hurt all over, add to your prayer that it not be the day after an election. The radio is so boring. Even if things had gone your way, how much would you really want to listen to it? Not that much. PRM

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oak Meadow Civics

One of our successes this year, at least from my perspective, is Oak Meadow's 8th Grade Civics. Noach is doing this with 3 Boy Scout badges, Citizenship in the Community, Nation and World.

Last week, Week 5, was the Bill of Rights. He wrote an essay on the pros and cons of the First Amendment. Can you think of any topic more timely? We have had some wonderful discussions. The Supreme Court is considering a case involving the obnoxious Fred Phelps and his "church". The speech is hateful but legal. And I for one cannot condone limiting it. (Now I don't feel the same for Koch Industries but that's another post.)

Yesterday there was the case of the young activist stomped on the head/neck at a Rand Paul event. In the past it was common to have protesters at political events but the people who swear they love the Constitution have a problem with tolerating free speech.

This curriculum is rigorous, just ask Noach. He has one long and 2 short essays to write this week on freedom of religion. He is working on a 3 or 4 week paper, begun last week, on the Fred Phelps case. Also he has an ongoing project collecting news articles that illustrate the Bill of Rights. I had to resubscribe to the local newspaper for the year and I have to admit that I have enjoyed reading it daily. I just wish I could justify the expense of the NY Times. Many of the assignments are discussions rather than essays and he will be going to City Council meetings later in the year.

I highly recommend this. And it is especially relevant during an election cycle. PRM

Saturday, October 23, 2010

2010 Trip

On September 25th, JP, Noach and I flew from NC to Denver, loaded our stuff into a rental SUV and began a 20 day tour of Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The sites were wondrous, Yellowstone, the Black Hills, the prairie. I always try to imagine what our early European settlers must have been thinking when they saw the Rockies, when they looked out over prairie that seemed to go on forever. Some highlights -

Wildlife. We saw many bison but they never failed to be awe-inspiring. A bald eagle. As a birdwatcher I enjoyed Western and Mountain Bluebirds, Pinyon Jays, Western Meadowlarks, a Trumpeter swan and so many more. Mountain goats, elk, pronghorn, deer, I could go on.

Museums. We especially enjoyed the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman and the Journey Museum in Rapid City, SD. The unexpected delight was the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE. We found ourselves spending the night in this little town on our way back to Denver. Before leaving the next morning, we checked out this little museum which had a huge collection of guns, textiles and as well as the tools of the early fur trader.

Geology. I had purchased the Roadside Geology of Wyoming before we left and we consulted it repeatedly as we drove through the state. Sometimes not only could you see for miles but also for eons.

Mountains. The Grand Tetons, the Rockies and the Black Hills. Truthfully I was relieved to get out of the mountains after several days. Noach and I are both prone to motion sickness, JP less so. Thus I had to do much of the mountain driving with Noach riding shotgun and poor JP in the back.

History. Little Bighorn Battlefield.Minuteman Missile Silo. This is a relatively new national park and not exactly well organized but as children of the Cold War it was engaging nevertheless.

Homeschooling. I had a list of chemicals in my purse that I was planning to order so they would be waiting on us when we got home. One morning in Billings we drove by this as we were looking for good cup of coffee. I saved on shipping.

That's just a taste of what we saw and enjoyed. We loved Bozeman but not the flies. Actually there were flies almost everywhere. The Aspens were turning. The weather was beautiful except for rain and mist when we were at Mt. Rushmore. Fortunately it lifted in time for photos. PRM

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Coloring in the states

We are home from a 3 week jaunt around the West. We can color in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The weather was lovely. We saw some wonderful things. More later but here is our updated map. PRM

visited 29 states (58%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Beginning this past week, one of Noach's friends and her mother, my friend, starting coming over on Thursday mornings to watch movies for American History. She is studying American History and we are just watching for pleasure. Some of the movie choices will reflect topics in Noach's Civics but I don't expect him to do any assignments related to the movies.

Our first movie was a light one, 1776. Not a great movie, only somewhat historically accurate, no memorable songs. Well actually, JP, who played in his high school orchestra and thus knows ALL of the lyrics to MANY musicals produced by high schools in the early 70s, is known to sing the Richard Henry Lee song whenever this movie is mentioned but otherwise it's not a musical known for its show tunes.

But I thought it did show how the founders, those venerated, almost worshiped, men were not of a single mind about the beginning of our country. I know this was not the Constitutional Convention but it was many of the same men, the same contentious, egotistical, opinionated men. You don't have to know too much about American history to know that there were Federalists and Anti-Federalists, that much compromise was necessary to produce a document that would be acceptable to enough people and states. That some of the compromises were quite ugly and have been corrected by amendments.

So when people talk about getting back to the Constitution, whose interpretation do they mean? PRM

Sunday, September 19, 2010

All in all

it was a good Yom Kippur. We all agreed the fast was not too bad, as we jostled in line to get water Saturday evening. Yakov came home Friday night and stayed through a break the fast Thai dinner.

This was the second year our family did the Jonah haftorah for the late afternoon service. We missed Shoshie's help but were grateful to have Yakov's. JP did most of the Hebrew chanting and gave the D'var. Noach did the blessings before the reading and could easily learn the blessings for after if someone would just take the time to work with him. Unfortunately my Hebrew is inadequate to the task. I'll try to pay attention next year and get it done. PRM

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cooking lessons

This was Noach's submission for dinner last night. Seared fish with shallot parsley butter. Delicious, too.

He is working through the chapter on searing from the book How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson. He will be preparing something from this chapter weekly for the next few weeks. PRM

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Amendment Right to be an ass

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Just as we have the right in this country to religious freedom, we have the right to free speech, a right that often equals the right to be an ass. The attention seeking preacher in Florida has the right to burn a book, even a holy book. What is most offensive to me is the press's giving this creep the attention he desires. Why can't we just ignore him? Move on! Just another religious jerk. Move on! PRM

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Week 2 in Review and more

Our second full week was largely uneventful. We watched all of It Happened One Night and both enjoyed it. He chose Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for the next movie.

We have settled on a routine for the morning. First we listen to the Writer's Almanac, followed by CNN Student News. Noach is very fond of poetry and the Writer's Almanac is usually a charming beginning to the day.

OM Civics really increased his workload and he was displeased by that. There is a lot of writing to do. There were two essays to be done last week. Since this is a very short week I let him put one of them off.

Math at the whiteboard is much less stressful for both of us. He hates to write on paper.

Week 2 1/2 Preview

We are not adding in any other Civics or Science during this week which will be Week 2 1/2. Rosh Hashanah will take up the last two days. Practicing the Ashrei for Thursday morning will be Hebrew for this week. Completing the literary essay from K12 Language Arts will be the prime focus of work. Finishing the last essay from Lesson 2 in Civics will be the second focus.

L'shana tovah. PRM

Monday, August 30, 2010

It Happened One Night

My choice for the lunchtime classic movie festival. I wanted to chose a comedy.

I first saw this movie at a college movie festival, long before you could buy a movie and watch it whenever you wanted to. Everytime this was shown on television in Nashville, the newspaper would note that one of its editors had a brief role greeting Clark Gable in the newspaper locker room.

So far we've seen the "walls of Jericho" and the hitchhiking scene is soon. PRM

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Week 1

We finished our first full week. We had "preschool" the week before. During that, we began Rosetta Stone Hebrew and Math. We are doing, I hope quickly, a pass through pre-algebra topics and then will move into Algebra 1 in the winter/spring. Dolciani's PreAlgebra book was my text choice.

So our first full week

1. Continuing K12 Literature. We only have time for one more unit so we are doing Unit 11. This finishes with a literary analysis essay.

2. Oak Meadow Civics for 8th grade is our social studies topic this year. He will be completing three Eagle-required merit badges that coordinate well with this. He completed Week 1.

3. CPO Life Science, jazzed up with extra reports, labs and reading will be science for this year.

4. Modern Hebrew. We started Rosetta Stone. I'm not convinced yet that he is learning much. With the homeschool edition of RS there are supposed to be worksheets and other teaching helps. Not so in Hebrew. I am looking for supplemental materials to have him writing in Hebrew, too. This is difficult since I don't read or speak Hebrew myself.

5. Kitchen studies, some techniques, some kitchen chemistry. We won't start this until next week.

6. Math, Dolciani PreAlgebra, finished the first chapter. Chapter test on Monday.

7. Megawords to improve his spelling. We are doing 2 pages/day. I want to get through 2 or 3 books this year.

8. Handwriting. Someday he will have to write an essay for the ACT or the SAT and someone will have to read it. Right now they could not. I want to work on this for a few weeks and then just re-enforce as we go along.

9. PE. He lost about 15 pounds at camp this summer and it has given him the incentive to lose some more. I can't say he is interested in sports but he is willing to be more active this year. Right now he wants to run each morning. If that doesn't last, then I will have to enroll him in martial arts or swimming. PRM

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Classic Movie Study

Fancy name for watching classic movies by streaming Netflix during lunch. Noach chose The Odessa File for our first movie. I am going to try to keep a running list of what we are watching in the sidebar to make sure we are mixing it up a bit.

And "study" is a bit misleading since basically we are watching them during lunch and talking about them informally. I do plan to have a formal movie study at some point in his education but not yet. This is for fun.

The hard part will be choosing. PRM

Friday, August 20, 2010

Moving day

Today Yakov moved into the dorm. His school is about 1 1/2 hours away. Shoshie, Noach and I helped him pack all his stuff into the car. Jasper says "Good bye". Or "I want to go to college". It's so hard to tell which.

Pictures of his new digs await someone's help with getting them off my phone and into email. I haven't quite mastered that consistently.

It was sad to leave him but not nearly as sad as it was last year to watch him walk through airport security and think we would not see him for 9 months. In 9 days we can watch Shoshie do that. PRM

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Well, my small voice is speaking out. Now they are complaining about the Muslims and their community center. Someday it could be the JCC or a synagogue. Who knows?

Sometimes people just want to be angry about something. But it is so tiresome. We really need to discuss some important issues, our economic situation, our national debt. But no, let's waste our time and energy on BS. And intolerance.

For people who claim to revere the Constitution, they sure like to ignore it when it suits them. PRM

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last night

Our anniversary gift to ourselves. It was great! He looked better after he took that jacket off which he did pretty quickly. It was hot, even back the in 12thousandth row.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Transitions, Pt 2

Last year was a transitional year for our homeschool. Each year has been a bit different, of course, but last year, one student was out of the country and the next was at community college classes or working much of the time. The transition was mostly an emotional one, however.

Now I am transitioning the school, the space, or spaces, where we work. My last student has been the least academically interested kid I have educated. He is not a reader, so where I focused on living books for history and science with his sibs, I have to look to other ways to educate him.

I have sold some of our books, given many away to the library, and stored a few others. There is still too much around, but I am working on it. Constantly. PRM

Friday, July 23, 2010

Substance, the challenge

Thanks to Suji who has awarded me a Blog with Substance award. I feel I had substance in the past but lately, I've been pretty lame. There is some substantive material in my archives. But I am feeling the challenge and I am going to meet it. Soon, I promise.

Now, to fulfill the award requirements
1. Thank the one who honored me. Thank you, Suji. It has been a great pleasure to know you and work with you on the Living Science group.

2. Sum up my blogging philosophy, motivation and experience in 10 words. Humm, thinking. Okay- I love doing science with kids. You can too. Watch!

3. Award 10 blogs with the award. I read a number of blogs but many have already received the award. So, I'm going to do something a little different. I'm going to link my favorite 10 science resource websites.

a. Learn. Genetics. from the Univ of Utah. There are online activities, lesson plans, you name it.

b. Hands-on Activities for Teaching Biology to Middle and High School Students. I have used many of these.

c. Off the Shelf Chemistry. More from the Bryn Mawr site.

d. My Science Box. I have mined this site every year for something.

e. The Science House - Countertop Chemistry. From our own NC State University. Since we will soon be a Tarheel family, this may be the last time I can mention NC State. And if you are wondering why that is, well, you don't live in NC.

f. HHMI BioInteractive. This site has more than just interactive material. You can order DVDs about evolution among other topics. Shoshie did a lot from here in high school.

g. NASA. Rocketry, living on other planets. There are interactive materials here and you can order free teaching modules as well.

h. Science NetLinks. Many lesson plans, experiments.

i. The Science Spot. Another collection of many lab ideas.

j. and finally, where to buy lab materials, Wards, Home Science Tools and Carolina Biological.

I have really missed doing science with kids other than my own son this last year. I am motivated to try and organize a class or two for the fall. When I look ahead to my post-homeschooling life, I sometimes imagine having a once a week science school for homeschoolers. PRM

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Follow up on that bake sale

This morning on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR I heard Bill Shore, Founder and Executive Director Of Share Our Strength, the nonprofit organization whose goal is to end childhood hunger in the United States. The Great American Bake Sale in which we participated last month was one of their programs.

Noach and I baked brownies, more brownies, Snickerdoodles and more Snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies, Whoopie Pies and lots of other things. Our friends baked also. We sold our wares in front of a Harris Teeter grocery store on a long hot Saturday. But the total sale and donations generated over $2000 dollars. What a success! Worth every drop of sweat, burned fingers, and crumbled cookies that needed to be eaten rather than sold. Wait until next year. PRM

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Not exactly the summer we planned

but it is turning out to be a good one nevertheless.

Yakov came home from Israel for a restless week then headed to CJ for another summer of camp counseling. He enjoyed last year and signed up for the entire summer this year. It has been a good way for him to adjust after the intense year away. He came home for one day last week, Noach's birthday, and was glad to be with us for the almost 24 hours. JP and I go to Chapel Hill with him for orientation next Thursday and Friday and we will stay an extra night to catch a minor league baseball game in Durham.

Noach was away at Boy Scout camp last week but Thursday was both family night at camp and his birthday so we were able to spend the evening with him. He was surprised to find Yakov with us. We brought lots of cupcakes to share with his buddies and their families, too. He came home yesterday but leaves again tomorrow morning for the 2nd session at CJ. He will be gone for another 3 1/2 weeks.

JP and I were expecting to have most of 4 weeks without kids here, a rare treat indeed. And don't think I don't love and enjoy my kids but I was planning on accomplishing some tasks that are most easily done when no one is here during the day. Alas, it did not work out for us. But our disappointment in that pales in comparison to Shoshie's who was not planning to be at home much this summer.

Shoshie had big plans, working kitchen staff at Camp Tel Yehudah for 4 weeks with her VERY BEST friends and then spending another week with them in New York, going to concerts and museums. She drove my car to NY in mid June, visiting friends along the way. She was sick the week before she left but was feeling well enough to drive, or at least was unwilling to admit to herself that she was unwell. She arrived at camp with fever of 102 and a raging sore throat. She felt better, then she spiked again, finally after the strep test was negative, they did a mono test and it was positive. She had to leave camp. I flew up and drove her home. She was so sad.

Within a few days of getting home, she felt much better except for some late afternoon fatigue. A friend of ours, an infectious disease specialist, told us there was really no rational need for her to leave camp but, as a society, so many of our reactions to infectious diseases are not rational.

Now she is home with me. All of her local friends are working every day so she has been bored. And she's worried about not making the salary she was planning to make at camp. So I am finding jobs for her to do here. She painted a small bathroom last week. Next week she will help me do some work on the trailer.

I have enjoyed having her around, some real mother-daughter bonding time. We've gone out to lunch at little places she and her friends like. Last week I dyed the streaks in her hair purple for her since her friends were not available to help. I told her the last time I did anyone else's hair, we were probably listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on the radio while we did it. Yes, I'm that old. But we had hairdryers with hoods, not bowls on our heads. Just sayin'.

So, it's not the summer we planned. For me, it's better. For Shoshie, it's probably tolerable. Some of the time. PRM

Friday, July 2, 2010

The youngest and the oldest

with an 89 1/2 year spread. PRM

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You can't tell me

that you don't have a little grin on your face right now. That little face just needs smooching. And I am the Bubbe to do it. Soon. PRM

Friday, May 21, 2010

Great American Bake Sale

We are doing this with our friends June 19 at a local grocery store. We are making cookies and brownies and much more. If you can't be there, you can donate at Noach's personal page.

Sure smells good here. Wish you could join us. PRM

Monday, May 17, 2010

Elbows out

In the "We're gonna miss him when he's gone" category-

In a concurrence, Stevens, joined by Ginsburg and Sotomayor, threw an elbow at one of their colleagues: "While Justice Thomas would apparently not rule out a death sentence for a $50 theft by a 7-year-old ... Court wisely rejects his static approach to the law. Standards of decency have evolved since 1980. They will never stop doing so."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tidal blogging

I like that concept. The tide has been out here most of this year, a year of adjustments.

I hope next year lends itself to more blogging than this one has. PRM

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Proud taxpayer here

I am proud to pay my taxes today. I am happy to have roads to drive on, medications that are safe to use, air traffic control and a military. Yes, the government is not perfect. But in a democracy, I have the option of showing my displeasure at the ballot box. PRM

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why my blue car is yellow

And why some family members are sneezing and have red eyes. PRM

Monday, March 29, 2010


My street is 3 blocks long. This is what one end of it looks like today. Fortunately for us, we live at the other end.
There are MANY that are this damaged or worse. But there were no deaths or serious injuries.
That was close.

Friday, March 5, 2010


New grandbaby! So sweet. Sweet big sister, too.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

What?! Not that cold, wet, white stuff again! Enough! PRM

An award!

Thanks to Sarah at Quarks and Quirks for the

I must complete the requirements a bit later. We just moved back into our house from some major remodeling. And early tomorrow, Noach and I leave for a few days for a surprise mission. Look for an announcement later in the week. We are excited. PRM

P.S. What the heck is that box? Can you see it? Or is it just me?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This is pretty cool

I was looking for a place we could see manatees when Noach and I go to Florida next month. We will be looking for some things to do with a 3yo. I found a site in Tampa. And online , you can control a camera and watch the manatees. And take pictures. I took these pictures.

Alas, the pictures aren't coming up anymore.

Check out the site, Tampa Electric. PRM

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Myth of bipartisanship

It takes two willing partners to have bipartisanship. Two.

Rachel spelled embarrassed correctly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

College Acceptance

Shoshie has been accepted to Earlham College. She is very excited. And relieved. That first acceptance really lets everyone relax a bit. She only applied to 5 places, four are state schools and she should get into those. She did well in all her community college courses which weigh heavily in state school decisions. She applied to one rather competitive school that requires homeschoolers to jump some extra hoops and she has dawdled a bit on those. PRM

Addendum: A letter came the next day offering her a scholarship. Cool.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Biology, the CM Way

Shoshie chose a Living Books curriculum for high school Biology. She has long been a nature lover and watcher of Animal Planet, and went to practically every class or camp that the local nature center offered. When she outgrew the camps, she became a volunteer who helped the naturalist lead the camps.

We designed the course by taking a generic high school text and listing the chapter topics. Then we looked for appropriate living books to cover the material. I also looked online for appropriate labs to include. We did labs with 5 other teens who came to our home weekly.

Her assignments varied from compositions, drawings, and regular discussions.

Some of the websites where we found labs or lesson plans that we used include

She also used some of the materials from HHMI, including lesson plans on

1. Adherence: What Sticks Can Make You Sick

2. Tracking the Source of Disease: Koch's Postulates, Causality, and Contemporary Epidemiology3

3. Epidemiology, Viruses, and the Scientific Method: Independent Study Assignment

4. Food Safety

5. Microbes and Mankind

6. Microbe Hunters

Books she read included

The Way Life Works: The Science Lover’s Illustrated Guide to How Life Grows, Develops, Reproduces, and Gets Along by Mahlon Hoaglund and Bert Dodson

The Human Story: Where We Come From & How We Evolved by Charles Lockwood

Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould

The Double Helix by James D. Watson

When Plague Strikes: The Black Death, Smallpox, AIDS by James Cross Giblin

Invisible Allies: Microbes That Shape Our Lives by Jeanette Farrell

Diversity of Life: The Illustrated Guide to the Five Kingdoms by Lynn Margulis

The Private Life of Plants by David Attenborough

In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall

The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild by Craig Childs

King Solomon’s Ring: New Light on Animal Ways by Konrad Lorenz

Food and You: A Guide to Healthy Habits for Teens by Marjolijn Bijlefeld and Sharon Zoumbaris