Sunday, November 30, 2008

Learned Around the Cottage This Week

--Learned the word "fugit" (run away) and "fUgit" (that's a macron over that *u*--meaning "ran away") in Latin. From which we get the word "fugitive" in English. Alvin Fernald got super-excited over that light-bulb moment.

--Railroad ties are four feet, eight inches apart. This is exactly the same width as the Roman chariot. *One*, awesome that the measurements are exactly the same. *Two*, had no idea chariots were that wide. I'll have to watch Ben Hur more closely next time.

--Saw Venus and Jupiter hangin' out together last night. You're not too late to the party if you didn't see them. Read about it here. Be sure and read the entire article. I love reading how people have seen these same astronomical "treats" throughout the centuries. It boggles my mind how I can see things 250,000 miles away (the moon), 93.2 million miles away (Venus), and 540.3 million miles away (Jupiter) With My Naked Eye. People: Only God could do that!

[ooh. I had a question, then I think I answered it myself. If Venus is 93 million miles away, and the Sun is 93 million miles away, and Venus is the next planet between us and the sun...But then, of course, it's the Elliptical Orbit thing, isn't it? I sometimes forget that the planets are not all lined up all the time, like the illustrations in the science books, and are truckin' around the sun at different speeds...]

--let four boys with guitars, who last year at Alvin's birthday sleepover were braggin' about How Good They Were (or were going to be), alone for a year, and they come back, a lot more serious about music, and playing for hours, finding their "groove." No need for braggin'. And an impromptu mini-seminar from "expert" Charming into the bargain!

By the way, only one of the above was actually learned during schooltime. I love, love, love, how homeschooling has made us love learning for its own sake!

Friday, November 28, 2008


Almost two-thirds of my life ago (okay, that is entirely TOO depressing, let's start again):

I was a college freshman. Now, my dating life had been pretty lean. I didn't get asked out until the middle of senior year. I had two dates with a nice guy (and he gave me a very satisfactory "first kiss"), but all he wanted to talk about was cars, so we went our separate ways. I went to the prom with a friend, and I had a blind date senior summer with an airman when I visited my sister and her husband on the airbase. That was it. Four dates.

I was sure that college would be a Fresh Start. I was at a women's college with 1,800 students, across the street from a men's college with 7,000. The odds were on my side, right?

I went to mixers and parties and such, and, though I had fun times, Nobody Asked Me Out. I was really beginning to wonder what was wrong with me. My mother continued to tell me that I was beautiful, and she even predicted that I would be married by the time I was twenty.

The Wednesday after Thanksgiving break, a friend of mine asked me to dinner at the Men's Place (okay, it was Notre Dame). We had reciprocal dining privileges there. She was going out with a guy who had three roommates, and he wanted her to bring three friends. We arrived, and were introduced to the four guys, each one cuter than the one before. The last to be introduced was...Charming. My first thought was, "this is the handsomest guy I have ever seen." Then I argued (inside my head)--don't be ridiculous, it's just a guy. My second thought was, "I want to marry him!" (inside my head--what is the MATTER with you???)

Dinner did not hold promise. Charming was talking just as much with the other two girls who came with us as with me. After dinner, walking across campus, I trailed behind Charming and the other two girls (the sidewalks at ND hold three-across comfortably). Somewhere along the line, his other two roommates disappeared. We went back to his dorm room, where Charming played his guitar for us for awhile. My infatuation was growing by the minute: in the '70's, *everyone* wanted to date a guitar player.

Charming excused himself a little later, saying he had a date.

I went home a little later, chalking up the experience as another fun time, but expecting little else. Until about 11:30 when I got a call. From Charming. I had accidentally left my purse in his room. It took him a good long while to ask me out the next night, but after he did, It Was All Over.

It is really hard to grasp the fact that thirty-five years have passed. Inside, I am still that 18-year-old girl that fell hard for the "handsomest guy I had ever seen." And, he is still that handsome! I know better than to say that Love at First Sight is real, but those feelings are still there, along with the real Love that came later. And, by the way, we were married at twenty.

So, Happy Anniversary to my darling. Let's do another thirty-five, okay?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


What Barbara Means

You are full of energy. You are spirited and boisterous. hmmm. Someone doesn't know me. AT ALL. I am probably the person with the *least* energy you know.

You are bold and daring. You are willing to do some pretty outrageous things. Wrong-o. I'm the one in fifth grade you couldn't talk into playing hookey because I was sure I would be the one who got caught.

Your high energy sometimes gets you in trouble. You can have a pretty bad temper at times. Again with the high energy? Now, I'll give you the bad temper part. My temper isn't too bad, but I can fly off the handle with no warning whatsoever faster than you can say "Jack Robinson."

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. Yeah, I strive for perfection. But I always give up 'way before I even get to "adequate." Again, I'm Not Type A.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. I don't know. Maybe you would think so. I certainly don't.

You have the classic “Type A” personality. If you change that "A" to a "B" or "Q" or "V", you'd be closer.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something. I may appear that way. Except for the "rebel" part.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense. Where did I lay my energy? I'm sure it's around here somewhere.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.
There. Something that Charming would agree with. I. Am. A. Handful.

Do you think these tests just spit out random answers? "We're rotating answers A through H today. You are "F" in the rotation. So here it is...

If you want to know the truth, my name means "stranger" [think Barbarian], and my family will tell you that I am Stranger Than Most.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My baby, Alvin Fernald, is 14.


For his birthday, he gets to drink coffee.

We bought him a razor.

His Dad is letting him play his $$$$$$$$$$$$ Taylor guitar all day today.

Whatever happened to Thomas the Tank Engine?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Almost in the No-Cavity Club!

I went to the dentist yesterday, after three years. (Don't lecture me, it was really only a little over two-and-a-half years, because when I called for the appointment, I couldn't get in for more than four months...) I didn't know what to expect, because, I have Figured Out, dental health is a cyclical process. I had bunches of fillings when I was younger, then a few years there when my reports were "clean." Then, in my 40's, my fillings either started falling out, or otherwise deteriorated, and needed replaced. For the past few years, I'm back in the "monitoring" cycle.

Ten years ago, I had a bad experience with a crown. Everything was going well, until the dentist put the Permanent Crown on. I had to bite down on a cotton wad for thirty seconds until the cement set. As I bit down, the tears literally rained down my face. It. hurt. so. bad. I mentioned it, and the dentist apologized, saying something like "it was probably because we had messed around in there so much" or something. I figured a couple of days would take care of the discomfort.

People, it was TEN MONTHS before I could chew on that side. I cancelled my next six-month checkup, but, after the ten months was over, I decided to give dental health another go-round. In the ensuing years, I let him do anything except Go Near That Tooth. However, I have had a lot of gum issues in that area. He warned against Bone Loss, and, three years ago, suggested that we Re-do That Crown. (sound of "Psycho" music with stabbing motion--eee! eee! eee!)

I said no, thank you.

You know about Pockets, don't you? The hygienist sticks a probe into the gum around the back, middle, and front of each tooth. 1's, 2's, and 3's are acceptable. I hear her going around my mouth: 2,3,3. 3,2,3. 2,2,2. 3,3,2. 2,1,2. (what?? I have a ONE?) Then, the Dreaded Crown Tooth: 6,7,6. People, Seven is not healthy.

I love the times in which we live. She took a little syringe thingy with anesthetic (no needle!) into the gums in the area. Then she took an sonic-wave thingy to remove the plaque. (no scraper--though it did "zing" me a couple of times. (Don't worry, though--the circulation in her wrist where I grabbed her, has probably come back by now.) Finally, a laser treatment to kill all bacteria. She said, "You may smell a little burning. Maybe see a puff of smoke. Hear some snap, crackle, pop sounds." As I smelled the acrid odor (how often do you get to use the word "acrid?"), she said, "that's just the laser, killing necrotic tissue." I felt like I was on CSI!

So, the end result is that I am starting with a Clean Slate. With good dental care, I should be maybe seeing some 5's by my next visit.

Then Dr. Bob came in. He said my only "cavity" was an old silver filling which had started to deteriorate. He'll just clean that one out in a minute, he said. But. We really need to talk about Replacing That Crown. It's Not Doing Well.

Yeah. Tell me about it.

I got out to the front office to check out. Which dentist would I like for my next appointment?
Gotta be Dr. Bob.

We have a History of Pain together.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Cool Giveaway

Wow! Julie over at Red Hen Studios is having a giveaway. She is doing so, in order to advertise all of the great, great stuff she has in her Etsy shop.

I can never decide whether I like the handmade stuff or the vintage stuff better. (well, I already know. I love it all. But you get it all-in-one over at Julie's place.

So, go check it out, and put your name in for the giveaway. You'll have a difficult time deciding what you like best!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Big Week Ahead

Mostly, I'm posting this so I won't forget anything. There is a lot to do each and every day.

--I need to sign up for all the insurance *stuff* for next year for Charming's work by Thursday.

--I need to Not Forget to go to the dentist on Wednesday. Of course, I made the appointment six months ago. Used to be, the dentist sent a reminder postcard about a week before. Now he sends them for the whole month on the 1st. So I've had almost three weeks to forget.

--Our Thanksgiving meal will be this Friday, since Thanksgiving Day is the busiest of the year for Charming (can you say Cr*cker B*rrel??) and Nobody Gets Thanksgiving Off. Now, if all of you people would quit going out to eat on Thanksgiving, he could stay home. (okay, off my soapbox now--I *know* that there are older people and others who can't or do not desire to make a mess that takes three days to clean up.) It's okay. We're going to have a great time Friday. Charming's Dad and his wife are coming, as well as (I think) all my kids. Long about twenty in all will be here. Which leads me to...

--I need to make desserts on Thursday. Need to thaw the turkey starting 'bout Wednesday. Need to BUY a turkey before that.

--Pay the car payment by Thursday. Check already written, in my purse, to be dropped off at the bank today. Check this one off.

Guess it's not so bad. Adding, of course, cleaning and schoolwork and grocery shopping, but that is an everyday thing. Oh, yeah, one more thing:

--Remember to have a Good Attitude. Every day.

workin' on it.

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Day

You Should Be Allowed to Vote

You got 15/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.

If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.

Well, I didn't take the quiz until *after* I voted, but it's nice to know that a random internet quiz thinks I'm ready-to-go.
I take voting very seriously. It is all-in-one a privilege, a right, and a responsibility.
A privilege, because we live in this country that is unique in all of civilization.
A right, because so many have fought for my right to vote.
A responsibility, not only because of the above two reasons, but also because of all the places in the world that voting is not available to its citizens. What happens in the U.S. affects so, so many other places in the world.
As always for the past 17 years, (since we've lived in this house) I walked just one block to my voting place, and cast my ballot. Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald accompanied me, as they have every election since they were born. This time, since it was Charming's day off, we were privileged to vote at the same time. An added bonus was that Lily and the children showed up at the same time!