Marital upheaval

Originally written 21 September 2003.

The number one cause of trouble/arguments in marriage is money. Money. Money. Let me say that again, in case you missed it. Money/cash flow/budget/spending is the number one source of discord in marriages in the US today.

There's a reason for that. Our lives revolve around money. Work to make money to buy the stuff you want. Work to make money to pay the bills for the stuff you bought that you wanted but couldn't afford so you put on credit. Then eventually you're working full time on old bills and feeling like you're strapped. Because you are.

I was raised in a “cash or nothing” household. My husband felt that as long as you could make the minimum payments you were fine. Obviously money was a main source of irritation. If I talked about the money and his spending I was “acting like his father.” If I didn't talk about the money, that must mean I was okay with what was happening.

After 15 years of marriage, and fifteen years of debt, we are trying, both of us, to get rid of our debt and actually have some cash flow that we can use for what we want today.

Even that is causing trouble.

He made a budget. (I would have fainted, if I were the swooning kind. This is like winning the lottery on a ticket you found on the street.)

The problem with the budget was it wouldn't work. I looked at the numbers and I couldn't tell him where it was wrong, except eating out, which he ignored, but I could tell him it wasn't going to work. I gave him examples from past months of how that budget wouldn't have worked. But because I didn't give him the areas his budget was low, he didn't believe me. After a while of saying the same thing in different ways, I just give up. I figure he doesn't want to listen to me and it doesn't matter what I say. (Which I still think is true.)

Two or three weeks later it was today. He's talking about spending his “spending money” that he has in the budget. After he just spent $250 on fun stuff in the last two weeks. I quit talking.

He says that he won't talk about it because I am obviously getting upset.

I say it's because that money isn't there, no matter how much he wants it to be, and if he spends it, it not only won't be there, but we won't have it for something else. And yes, I will be mad when I don't feel like I can spend $3.72 on burritos for the boys and I for lunch, because he got a new gizmo/gadget.

He says it's in the budget. Once again I say that it might be nice to have a budget, but it ought to be realistic and the one he made up isn't, because it's not the way we're spending money. Then he says, “Why didn't you tell me that?” (See above for THAT discussion.)

We ended up shelving the discussion till we could get home to the laptops (his and the one I've permanently borrowed from my mother) and Quicken.

An hour after beginning, my behind is sore from sitting on a folding chair behind him in his office and I'm not sure we have made any progress except that he has found two areas he way underbudgeted: groceries and eating out. (Surprise.) Then I begin writing this blog…

Imagine my amazement that we really are making some headway. It's just not as much as I would have liked. (Miracles are only available on Mondays, I guess.)

Fifteen years into it isn't too late to be successful at talking about money. I hope we can keep it up.

Money Matters

I was looking for a site which actually gives the study about money being the number one problem in a marriage, but I didn't find that. Instead I found suggestions and scary stories. These follow.

Marriage and Money 101 on is about the necessity of discussing finances before you are married. I am not sure that will help. Engaged couples tend to be googlie-eyed and think they?ll always agree. But it?s a place to start.

Another site talks about tying the financial knot. It says the way you discuss money can make a huge difference to your marriage. It also talks about prenups for regular people. So before I go into a marriage, I am planning how I am going to get out of it?

This page in Ladies? Home Journal is one of those ?can this marriage be saved?? with a counselor and a couple. This one is about money. He wants to spend it. She wants to save it. It?s gotten so he?s rarely home because they argue about it so much when he is. It?s very interesting because I am a lot like the wife in the article, although my husband is definitely not Charlie.

Another article, this one in Christianity Today, tells about a couple who got along fine when they didn?t have much money, just starting out. It was once he started making more that they got into a spend mode and ended up with credit card debt they couldn?t pay. They?re working on getting out of it and have even managed a trip to Hawaii off work frequent flyer miles, but it has been a struggle.

Money Central offers this article Romance Can Wait discussing how spenders and savers can work out a plan by which they can live and not drown in debt.

Does anyone know where I can access an actual research study on money problems in marriage?

Education Do-Over, my comment

There is a fascinating discussion of education going on at Mrs. DuToit's. I read the whole thing and commented. But sometimes when you have so much to say, you want to post your own. So here it is. My comment:

As a homeschool mother, a private school teacher, and a public college teacher, I think that I can pretty much say I've seen it all.

I don't think the public school system is fixable. What can be done instead, I am not sure. I know that Switzerland has a system much like Germany's. It works well for what they want. But Switzerland is not the US. We have, I think, different goals.

Switzerland wants to know where people fit. Americans, while wanting that, are more willing to live with ambiguity if it will provide some other goal. And we want, more than knowledge, for our children to do well. Now what that means varies from individual to individual, but people want our children (not just your child or my child but all children) to be successful.

A one size fits all grammar school (use of the term is intended, although I DESPISE diagramming sentences) where the basics of courtesy, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, math, and civics are covered would be my preference. We need that.

Then I would probably move to a three year (7-9th grade) campus where you get introduced to many new things. In my junior high, we had two electives a year. (It is the only good thing I can say about my innercity junior high.) The first year language elective course was eight weeks of four languages: French, Spanish, Latin, and German.

Maybe 7th grade could be all elective classes. Science electives. Math electives. Life skills (home ec, shop) electives. Fine arts electives. Introduce the child to multiple options and special interests.

Then the next year they have to choose. Limit the choices and allow them to go more in depth with them. For science, perhaps they could have a choice of biology or earth science. If they loved the languages, they could take two or even three languages and limit their other classes.

In ninth grade they could continue on with more advanced work in the classes they have chosen or start a new set of year long electives, or a mixture. Perhaps keep French, drop Spanish, and add music. That's only three classes and I am envisioning at least five in the day, but that's an example.

I know people have said that students don't know what they want when they are in 8th grade, but frankly, most of my classmates were already set on what they were going to do or be in life then. And if you look at the grades, most kids have set themselves in tracks, even within our public high schools now.

Plus, the idea of “trying out” subjects as your job in junior high would add interest to a time when most kids are beginning to figure themselves out. It adds a new dimension to their self-understanding and lets them experiment in ways that are not anti-social.

Then you can have magnet high schools where the emphasis is really on those subjects that the students are most interested in. They may have literature, but it's French literature in translation and then later in the original. Or “English” class is writing and you do research and write on whatever your field is. It's more like a directed study.

We can't totally toss the high school systems unless we reform the colleges, too, because they expect a minimum number of science, math, and English classes. But I think that this would work.


I am feeling very mushy right now. I want to go cuddle with my hubby and snuggle. But he's upstairs watching TV (which I don't enjoy much) and I'm down here. I was reading a book. Now I'm blogging.

I don't know why I am in a mushy mood. There was a mushy song on the radio on my way home from the hospital. And I was visiting a friend who is in the hospital and her husband was there with a mask on because he has a cough. But I don't know why that would make me mushy.

I just was thinking about how much I love my husband. He's so considerate. I love it when we cuddle at night. He puts his hand on my back. Sometimes I get a really hot kiss when he comes home. He's a flower kind of guy. I got pink roses last week for no reason but that he loves me. I like the flowers. But him being there, talking to me, holding me, knowing he'll come home tomorrow night, too, if he can possibly manage it… He's a good man and I love him.

Going to talk to the head

Today I was planning on talking to the head and saying, “I feel as if I am being barraged from all angles and there is no relief. I am not the parent. I can't be the parent. I can't even be “the teacher” like a homeschool parent is. All I can do is tell them how to do things, give them guidance if they ask for it, and move them along on a certain learning pathway.”

I came into work this morning and Mrs. F was talking to the head. The head was saying, “Oh my. I feel as if I am being harrassed from every side and I just want to quit. I talked to S and D about some ideas for relieving problems and …”

I did tell her I was going to talk to her, but that now that I know that it's not just me, that it really is happening like that, I feel a bit less stressed.

Think I'll write her an email and tell her what good things happened at school today.

Blog City problems

I put one copy of Hospital Calls up. Two showed up on my blog. When I tried to delete one, both went away. I was unable to remove either one from the trash.

I am seriously considering moving. Even though I may have to pay more. This is just getting to be too much trouble.

Hospital calls

Today I have gotten two phone calls about people in the hospital here in Houston. Considering I know just about no one well enough to be aware they're in the hospital, that's a bit amazing.

One phone call was from C telling me his wife M is in the hospital. We were hoping her not feeling good was morning sickness. Nope, it was gallstones. I called to try and speak with her, but she was napping.

Another call was from my mom asking me to call MW, who I don't know, to give her some encouragement. She's been bleeding and is pregnant, so they've put her in the hospital for the rest of her pregnancy. Since I've been there/done that and have a healthy son out of the deal, Mom thought I might be able to encourage her. I called her. She wasn't answering the phone.

So… two people in the hospital. Two calls made. Neither one connected.

Individual Insanity

No, not mine. I got a call from an admin up at the college. “The parking at your campus will be non-existent today due to a party scheduled there. Do you want us to call your students and cancel class?” I talked to the admin for a while and then said, “I guess we could just put a sign on the door to let my students know class is being cancelled.” “You're CANCELLING class!!! Why would you do that?”

People are just plain scary. I am going to go to class, maybe not get a parking place, and my students won't get one. Because an admin who suggested I cancel class had a cow about it when I agreed to do that. I wonder what this admin thinks of the math teacher who has missed more than 8 classes out of 16 in the last two months. Or does she care? Why is she messing with me? Why would she call and suggest cancelling class and then have a fit about the idea?

Family Planning-of vacations

When we all started getting married years and years ago, we agreed to a simple Christmas/Thanksgiving plan. We would go to in-laws for one holiday and our parents for one holiday and then switch the next year. We've all been doing that for years.

Except my youngest sister. Her husband somehow (on purpose) always manages to plan something they “just can't miss” on the family holidays she is supposed to be with our family. Last year it was a trip to Mexico. This year it is a trip to her in-laws, since his mother is having surgery. But he has plenty of money. They could have flown in on Tday or after. He has plenty of vacation. They could have gone the next week. But they aren't.

My mom is furious and hurt. She says she isn't going to plan anymore family get-togethers. I told her it wasn't fair to punish the rest of us because M is such a control freak. S feels it is safer/easier to disappoint all of us than to tell M no. I think that's a bit scary. I love R to death, but if he were doing something like that I'd say, “Fine. Go visit. I'm going to my parents' like we said we would.”

My brother made his reservations only after making sure my sister was really going to be here. My middle sister made her reservations three months ago and made sure that M knew that she was coming and expected to see S for Thanksgiving.

All I can say is M is a jerk. If it would not make life worse for S, I would call and talk to him about rescheduling the trip. But I guess it would make it worse.

Your Info wanted

Where I live now no one is on time to church or parties. If you are invited over to someone's house, you show up 15 minutes late. If it's a party, you show up even later.

I don't remember this growing up. We were always on time everywhere.

Is this lateness normal or fashionable where you live? I would really like to know. Does anyone know if it is a new phenomenon?

Dating a Jerk, Marrying a Nice Guy

Reuters has a study in which 17th and 18th century passages, referring to nice guys and cads were read. Then college age women were asked whether they would marry or have sex with the guys. Most appeared to say they'd marry the nice guys and sleep, short term, with the jerk. This, says the authors, proves that women are genetically engrained for these choices. I'm thinking that maybe not. For years and years whoever you slept with was your partner or you had the potential not to marry anyone. You were “ruined.” I think that the sexual revolution has a lot to do with the choices the women made.

I do think that a nice guy makes a better husband. And the sex is great too.

Homeschool: Surveys

This article discusses a survey done for HSDLA which involved 7,306 adults who were homeschooled. People worry about socialization for homeschoolers. According to this survey, that's not a big deal. Homeschooled adults are involved in community service at a rate of 71% as opposed to the 37% for the general population. Of those who are 18-24 14% worked for a candidate or cause as opposed to 1% of the general population. Of those who are 25-39 13% worked for a candidate or cause as opposed to 5% of the general population. Of the younger group, 75% have voted in the last 5 years, while only 29% of the general population that age voted. Of the older group, 95% voted in the last 5 years, while only 40% of the general population did.

This study from 1999 said, “Major findings include: the achievement test scores of this group of home school students are exceptionally high–the median scores were typically in the 70th to 80th percentile; 25% of home school students are enrolled one or more grades above their age-level public and private school peers….” So the homeschooled child isn't missing out academically either.

Of course, these weren't the first homeschool adults ever studied. This site covers a study from 1994 that says that homeschooled adults are not disadvantaged socially.

It's interesting. I've been homeschooling for eight years. My children are one at least one full grade above their public school counterparts. Their achievement test scores are remarkably high. But they're just kids. They aren't finished growing yet. Of course, neither have I and I'm a lot older than they are.

It's raining and cold

It's October. If you live in the Northeast US, it's been like that for months. But I live on the gulf in Texas. It's hot as all get out here normally. But it's going into the 40s tonight. I am so looking forward to that. I hope it stays cool tomorrow. I'd love to be able to wear a sweatshirt all day.

Normally, though, you get up and need a jacket and by the end of the day you are in shorts.

I can still hope.

Dreaming and possibilities: Furniture

We don't have the money, so it sure won't happen anytime soon, but I've been dreaming about furniture changes in my house.

I would like new sofas. I don't think I've ever had a new sofa in my life. I've only bought one sofa in my life. That was used. All the other sofas I've had were hand-me-downs. (Thank God for rich relatives.) Of course, one of my relatives has said they are going to get rid of their year old leather couches because they don't match the house. If they do, we'll get those. (Whoohoo!)

My husband wants a dresser. Not a new one. We don't have one. But he's decided he's tired of keeping his underwear and socks in a big box in the top of his closet. I thought if we had one we should have two. He said there's no point in that. (Hasn't he heard of symmetry?) But one is definitely more doable than two. I found a beautiful one at But it's a bit out of the price range except for dreaming. It's $675. I am hoping to find one at Cost Plus World Market. That's where we got our beautiful bookshelves and I would love to have a dresser that is made of the same wood.

We would also like a bed frame. But the cheapest we've seen one that is the kind we like is $1000. That's not going to happen for YEARS. Just don't have that kind of money for a headboard. Don't need a headboard anywhere near that badly.

I would like a new dining room table. I have a vintage one I love but despite having had it fixed once, it's breaking/broken again. I have looked and there are Duncan Fife tables available, which is what I have, but in a sturdier manner. However, a poor condition one is $275 and a good condition one is $700.

However, my husband has figured out a way to make some changes that I have wanted. We're going to be moving furniture next weekend. (Provided it doesn't rain.)

We're going to move the table in the office (a large room over our garage) into the dining room where it will be covered with a tablecloth to disguise the fact that it is oak and the chairs are cherry.

We're going to take the boys' computers up to the office and hook them up there. The table they are on will go in the garage. I don't know what we'll do with the desk. It's usable, but we don't have any poorer friends. We're the poorest people we know. I guess we can see if one of the charity shops will come pick it up.

We'll take my desk out of our room and upstairs to the old computer room. The old dining room table will go up there as well. I'll take the leaf out and fold the ends down and it will make a sturdy enough table to hold some pictures and a knick knack or two. I am going to take my grandfather closet (an armoire my grandfather made) out of the closet and put it against one of the walls in the computer room. I've already taken a bookshelf up there and sat my dollhouse on it. I'll have to decide whether to take my school books up there. (Probably.)

We'll take the foozball table out of the media room and move it over to the office. Basically we want to turn the office into a teen room. If we get the leather couches, our old green couch will go over there as well. If not, I am thinking about moving one of the living room sofas up there. But the living room sofas are cream and we'd need a slipcover for the couch at some point. Those are definitely cheaper than a new couch, but still a lot.

That will give us new arrangements of furniture in our dining room, bedroom, media room, computer room, and office. That's a lot of movement. If we take a couch out of our living room, we'll have changed up six rooms. That's good. I was getting bored.

Having trouble blogging

It's not because I have nothing to say. It's because I can get to the home page for my blog and then I can't get past it. That has happened several times this week. Don't know why.

I will say I didn't try yesterday, though. So maybe something got fixed between Wed and today.

100 Things About Me

Because I loved the idea, which came from Kelly, Alan, and Annika, I am going to tell you 100 things you never knew you wanted to know about me.

1. I went by my middle name all my life because first names are “family names” in my family. My brother, my dad, my grandfather, and my cousin all have the same first name. I share a first name with my aunt. Kids in my classes were always asking me what my “real” name was. My real name was my middle name. My first name was something else. When I got married, I got rid of the aunt’s name, moved my middle name to the first, kept my maiden name as a middle, and added my husband’s name as a last.

2. I was conceived in Flagstaff, Arizona.

3. I was born in Plainview, Texas because the doctors at the Lubbock hospital would not admit my mother because she was so young.

4. My mother was 15 when she got married and 16 when she had me.

5. No, I was not conceived before the wedding.

6. My parents had no intention of having kids that early, but my mother’s doctor said she was too young to get pregnant and told her to come back in three months. By then she was pregnant. With me.

7. My brother was conceived on the IUD and my middle sister on the pill. So even if he (the doctor) hadn’t been totally stupid, I might still be here.

8. My dad is a transplanted Okie. He loves Texas.

9. My mom was born in California, but grew up in Flagstaff. She does not love Texas. She does, however, love my dad, so she lives here anyway.

10. I first held a book when I was two weeks old. It was a college physics book and the cat and I tried to read it together.

11. When I was little (one year old) I went to UT with my dad because my mom was too sick to take care of me. I sat behind him in class and turned the pages in his law books for entertainment.

12. When I first saw children’s books, I said they were not “real” books because they had pictures in them. –I now like pictures if they are drawn in styles I enjoy.

13. I made lunch for my mother everyday when I was 14 months old. We had peanut butter a lot. My mom was pregnant again and very ill.

14. I was supposed to stay with my grandparents while my brother was born, but my brother started coming early and, in his hurry to get home to my mother who didn’t have a car and couldn’t drive anyway, my father picked me up and put me back in the car. We were several hours gone by the time he realized he was supposed to leave me. (Tha’s when I went to UT with him.)

15. I remember falling and cutting my head when I was two. I was on a rocking horse on some pavers in front of a house in Austin, Tx.

16. I remember falling down the church stairs when I was two. It was University Church of Christ in Austin, TX. They have painted the wood and changed the carpet color, but I remember the stairwell.

17. I remember being attacked by the cat (not Francoise, but a descendant) over and over again when I was two. My parents thought I was sitting on the cat, which Francoise had let me do. The cat was smart and never attacked when my parents were in the room.

18. His mistake was finally made when he attacked me outside and my mother was in the neighbor’s yard watching me. No more Mr. Bad Cat. I am, however, still mostly afraid of cats. I have also developed very bad allergies to them, which keeps most people from knowing about the phobia.

19. I love trees. Big old oaks or pecans are my favorites, but any tree will do in a pinch.

20. I love sunsets and sunrises. I don’t like to drive during them, but I like to look at them.

21. I have lived in 17 different cities in my life.

22. I have lived in one city six different times and one city three different times and one city twice.

23. The longest I have ever lived in any one city consequetively is four and a half years.

24. The longest I have ever lived in one building without moving is three and a quarter years. I live in that place now. So unless I update this by moving, the time I’ve spent in one place will continue to get longer.

25. I met my husband in Abilene. At the time he was in college and I was in grad school somewhere else.

26. I like most kinds of music, but I don’t like any one kind of music well enough to listen to it all the time. I like polkas, reggae, country, blues, jazz, rock, country western, and classical. I don’t like heavy metal, although there was a time when I did. I don't like rap at all.

27. The only time I have ever danced, on a dance floor was at my husband’s 20th High School reunion. I did a slow dance with him and a fast dance with a girlfriend. Since I don’t know how to dance, I just did whatever anyone else was doing. There were about twelve of us on the floor.

28. I have three siblings but only one nephew born. I do have another on the way. (Congrats to S and M, the parents, and A, the big brother!)

29. I prefer chocolate over vanilla, but I also love strawberry. As a kid, I always went for the sherberts in ice cream. Nowadays, I don't do much ice cream. But give me a doughnut and I’ll get a sugar high.

30. One of my goals, a relatively new one, is to furnish my home in nice furniture and beautiful art. I have lots of beautiful art, so that isn’t too hard. The nice furniture, however, is quite a few years off.

31. I collect children’s books.

32. I collect blue depression era glass.

33. I collect art I like. I have a Tarkayserigraph and a print and two Treby's, both Artist Proofs.

34. I also have an oil by a wonderful painter from Canada who signed his work but I can’t read it.

35. My other favorite piece in the house is a tiny orange oil with a hummingbird painted by an artist in Austin.

36. I like Coca Cola, but dislike RC and Pepsi.

37. I prefer Dr. Pepper.

38. My favorite mixed drink is Hawaiian Punch and Sprite.

39. Though I once drank a bottle of vodka in one sitting, the most I drink these days is a frozen Strawberry Daquiri. I actually prefer it without the alcohol.

40. Zio’s used to be one of my favorite places to eat, but they took the food I like off the menu and started serving herbs and oil instead of butter. (If I wanted Macaroni Grill, I could go there.)

41. My favorite steak house is Saltgrass, but it's like the little girl with the little curl. When it’s good it’s very very good, but when it is bad it is horrid.

42. I prefer Burger King over McDonald’s, like 1000 to 1.

43. I’ve been skinny dipping, in a lake, when I was in college. It was a mixed bathing forum.

44. My favorite color is royal blue. Growing up my favorite color was royal purple.

45. I have been to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, and Belgium.

46. I have not been to Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, or Portugal, even though I have wanted to go there.

47. If I could take my family to one place in the world for a vacation, it would be to New Zealand. I’ve been told it is more beautiful than any country in the world.

48. When I was little my parents seriously considered moving to Australia. The reason we didn’t go is my dad knew he wouldn’t have the money to get us back here again if he didn’t like it.

49. My favorite pair of shoes are my black high heels with the rhinestones. The heels are three inches and the shoes are still comfortable.

50. I've always wanted to go back to New York (where I spent my high school years) to live. I haven’t ever done it and I probably never will.

51. Autumn is my favorite season.

52. Crisp cool mornings are my favorite time of day.

53. I am not a morning person. But I don't mind getting up early, it just takes going to bed earlier.

54. My most remembered grade in a college class is a C. It was in a genetics class. You were supposed to have a year of college chemistry and a year of college biology to get into the class. I had never in my life had chemistry. I got in anyway. It was a summer course. There were over 50 students in the beginning of the class. Seven passed. I was one of them.

55. My lowest grade in high school was also a C. I still made the honor roll every quarter. (Only because they didn’t count PE, though.) The C was in geometry class. I tried and tried but I could not get it. The final was the state required final and so was multiple guess. I got an 83 on it and passed the class. It was the first test I had passed all year.

56. I loved rain until we bought a house in Austin. Then my husband was always sure something got left open. Then here in Houston our roof was leaking. I will soon get over it, though, and go back to liking rain. We did get the roof redone after all.

57. I love to hike in the mountains.

58. I love to be in the mountains.

59. When I get to heaven, I want to live in the mountains. It won’t be heaven without mountains.

60. Of course, I don't think it will be heaven without sex, either, so that's a problem.

61. My favorite meal is Mexican steak. It's steak simmered all day in a sauce of ketchup, mustard, Worchestershire, butter, onions, garlic, and water. It's great over rice.

62. My favorite dessert is hot brownies with cold ice cream and chocolate and caramel sauce on them.

63. Another favorite dessert, which I don't get very often, is pineapple upside down cake.

64. I wear size 10 shoes. (I used to wear 8 and a half, but…)

65. I also wear size 10 clothes.

66. I like to ride my bike when the weather is cool.

67. My family lives in Texas and NC. (Two sibs in NC. One and my parents in TX.)

68. Both my grandmother's lived to be in their late 80s. So did two of my greatgrandmothers. I expect to live that long as well.

69. I was named after a girl my dad had a crush on in high school. My husband wanted to name our daughter after a gril he had a crush on in middle school. Thankfully, we didn't have any girls.

70. One of my goals is to go back to full time college teaching when I am 47.

71. All the carpet in my house is a dark green.

72. Since we moved in and decorated, our style has changed a bit. The accent color in every room except the kitchen and the bathrooms is now red. There was no red in our decor when we first bought the house three and a half years ago. Now we have a whole room painted in that color.

73. My Christmas present last year was an antique sideboard in Tiger Oak. My adopted grandmother (91 this year) remembers one just like it in her grandmother's house.

74. I wish my hair were naturally curly and red. Two of my three sibs have naturally curly hair and my relations on my mom's side have red hair. In heaven I'll have curly red hair.

75. My favorite stone is emeralds. My next favorite are amethysts.

76. I prefer silver to yellow gold.

77. I like stained glass and would one day like to have several pieces in my house. My cousin makes stain glass, but I can't afford it yet.

78. I like to wear dresses.

79. I like to sing old hymns. When I was growing up we sang them as we drove from one place to another. I used to start singing as soon as I got in a car.

80. I like thick socks.

81. I also like crazy socks– colors, or toes, or pictures.

82. I like sex. All hours, most positions.

83. I don't do coffee.

84. My drug of choice is Dr. Pepper.

85. When the lights are turned off, I can't see for quite a while. My hubby can see much better than I can in the dark. I do eventually adjust more, but he still sees better than I do. And did before his Lasik as well.

86. I am now well enough to get bored fairly frequently. I take it as a good sign and generally get housework done. (So, yes, the house is getting cleaner.)

87. I started a list of 100 things I wanted to do before I died, but most of them involved traveling to places. I'd love to go hot air ballooning again sometime.

88. I've never been to Oregon.

89. My favorite candles are called “cappuccino” and come from the Georgetown Candle Factory. If you're a coffee drinker, they smell like coffee. If you aren't, they smell like chocolate chip cookies baking.

90. I usually have all my Christmas shopping done by August. This year I only have two people's gifts. And it's the end of October.

91. I collect nativity scenes, but I only have a few. My mother doesn't collect them, but she has more.

92. I like to window shop for house items, jewelry, and books. I like to really shop for clothes and books.

93. I own way more jewelry than I wear. Most of it I inherited from my grandmother.

94. I don't have a primary care physician anymore. The last ones I had were in NC, seven years ago.

95. I've had three emergency surgeries, two of which were C-sections. I have had surgery for TMJ. It cured mine. I know that it doesn't work for most people, but I went from constant pain and regularly locking to the rare spasm, maybe once a month.

96. I did not have a TV in my home until I was 12. It was after Hank Aaron beat the record. But my favorite TV show when I was little was a Saturday morning show with Donny Osmond, a witch and a big purple character. I would go to my next door neighbor’s to watch it.

97. I own three pieces of antique furniture and wish I owned more. My husband says we don't have room for anymore. He doesn't understand that I'd get rid of stuff to make room for antiques. He ought to know that. He says I'm the “throw away queen.”

98. Since we aren't allowed to have garage sales, I think it is much simpler to give our stuff away and take a write off on our taxes than save the stuff and cart it to the annual garage sale at the college, where I'd have to pay for space.

99. I hated doing the laundry growing up because it was our Saturday morning chore. I don't mind it so much now. I do it during the week. I used to be like the Pilgrims and do it on Mondays, but now that I work on Mondays, I usually do the laundry on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

100. I'm so transparent I can't think of anything to put on this list that my husband doesn't know. I guess I will have to come up with something. The mystery isn't there if there isn't anything he doesn't know.

Germany and Us

An interesting post from a monitor of German news. They are moving away from the educational objectives the German government fashioned after WWII and moving back to something else. I knew that already from a different post which said that most young Germans think the US orchestrated 9/11. Also, there is a book out in Germany which says it was all a plot and we did it. It's now a number 3 best seller.

It's a scary world out there. I wonder if the rest of Europe has considered what they are doing with the EU and a more militant Germany. Are they giving Germany a chance to suck them all in without having to fight them this time? It's a possibility, even if it isn't an intentional plan yet.

Midterm grades- spike in work

I handed out midterm grades on Wednesday of last week. Most people took their report cards home today, but my students already knew what they had.

What I found hilarious, and telling, is that normally I have between five and eight people turn in the regularly scheduled extra credit work. Over the weekend 24 of my 31 students did it!

I'm thinking they noticed their grades weren't as good as they expected. Or that they should get ahead now. After Thanksgiving there is only one extra credit project available and it is a doozy. (Memorize 150 lines of a poem.)

The Flu

Rumor has it that this season the flu is nasty. Many people who don't normally get a flu shot are getting one. I heard that this flu is so contagious you can get it from someone who's got the germs. They don't have to sneeze on you or anything. Just breathe near you.

I was very queasy last night. My youngest threw up this morning. (Of course, he hadn't had breakfast, so it could have been that.) I was queasy today.

I can't afford to get sick. I can't afford for the kids to get sick either. If sheer stubbornness will keep us well, then we'll stay well.

Too Much Work

I had a student drop out of English 3 (10th and 11th grade English) today because it was too much work. It was too much work. In eight weeks we did exactly two chapters of grammar and six chapters of vocabulary. We did actually make it through 150 pages of the lit book. (Which is less than a quarter of the book.) And they wrote 7 essays of 5 paragraphs each. That's less than an essay a week. It's less than a chapter of vocab a week. It's WAY less than a chapter of grammar a week. It is also less than 20 pages of lit a week. Which I would think would not be too much.

–Okay, I will admit that one of the seven essays required research. The students had to find three articles on the net to get information from. But they were not required to cite the information or give a bibliography.–

Two students came to class today complaining of too much work. Where was there too much work? When was there too much work?

I think it was because they made good grades on the first half of the midterm (the take home) and not so hot grades on the second half of the midterm (the in-class).

I told them EXACTLY what the grammar test was going to be. I took it word-for-word from the book. But NO ONE made a perfect score on it because no one went to the book and did the stupid exercises I told them to do.

I also told them that the vocab test would be one third the lesson we hadn't had a quiz on and would have three words each from the other lessons.

The other third of the in-class test was over their lecture notes. I also told them quite a bit of what would be on that. They weren't even able to identify the authors we read.

I guess they thought that since I let them use their books for the take home section that the in-class section would be a breeze. Or something. I really don't have a clue what they were expecting.

There was only one failing grade on the test. That person has a 50+ in the class anyway.

There were some C's and D's. I guess that's what made the work too hard. But the student who dropped the class hadn't turned in 8 different assignments. She had 8 0's. So, no, her grades weren't going to be very good.