Goals, dreams, ideals

When I was little I had strong goals. To go to college at what is now my alma mater. To get a PhD at Purdue. To own a house by the time I was 30. I did all those things.

Then, I confess, my life changed. I got married, something I hadn’t planned on, and then I had other things going on in my life. For a long time I felt that I couldn’t have any goals because my life was not my own, it was my family’s. That was not a good choice to make, because it wasn’t true, but as long as I thought it was, it looked like it was.

I am now 41 years old, almost 42. I have been, in years past, closer to some of my goals than I am now. In fact, at times I have reached goals I had and/or still have.

I did go and graduate. I went to Purdue and got a PhD. I owned a home when I was 30. I went on the mission field. I learned French and Spanish. I learned to cook. I’ve danced in public without embarrassing anyone. I’ve written the first draft of a novel.

But I still have goals that aren’t in the here and now.

I want to be out of debt. For me, that always meant any kind of debt, including house and car. I am willing, at least right now, to suspend my belief that all debt is bad and look into the possibilities of “good debt,” investments which others pay the mortgage on. Part of why I am working two part time jobs is to get out of debt.

I want to educate my children well. I am a homeschooling mother and that requires a tremendous amount of responsibility. For me, it means moving beyond the easy. It is another reason I have two part time jobs instead of a full-time job. Working part time I can set my own hours and that means I can be home with my kids.

I want to be healthy. This sounds like a general goal, but it isn’t. I have very specific things I want to do to be healthy. Just last year I was closer to this goal than I am now. I gave up doing what got me that far because it wasn’t getting me any farther. Now I realize that as far as I had gotten was good. Maybe I won’t make my goal, I am not sure, but I want to be closer to it than I am now.

I want to exercise whenever I am depressed and upset rather than eat. Last year I was doing that, but in the course of the last year I have dropped that habit and re-gained an old habit.

I want to eat well. I want to eat things I am not allergic to which will help me lose weight. For me that is hard. Many of my comfort foods are things I am allergic to. I need to gain more comfort foods.

I want to find a way to try the medicine which made my mother well when I was the age of my youngest son. If it works, I want to find a way to keep getting the medicine and taking it. I want to be healthy.

I would love to wear a size 8 and be fairly muscular. Last year I wore a small size 10. Now I wear a large size 12. That’s not where I want to be. I am aiming to get back down to a small size 10 and getting rid of all my size 12s. (I got rid of all my 14s and 16s and I am never going back.)

I want to finish my book, rewriting it, and send it to either Baen or Ace. They’re the publishers whose books are my favorites on my shelves. I also want to finish my second novel by the end of 2004. I think that’s a very high goal, because I will still be working and homeschooling, but I think it can be done.

I want to find the $1000 it turns out we owe the IRS without endangering our debt-relief plans. I think I can do it. The question isn’t “How are we going to ever be able to manage?” The question is, “How can I get this done?” I have a few ideas. Use my allowance. I have a spending budget that I don’t really need. Another idea is to use my birthday money. I was planning to use it to fix my car, but that can probably wait. Supposedly it’s only noise, not something that will hurt my car. Maybe I can work on my tutoring on Fridays and get students in to work on the things they really need help with. It’s a possibility at least.

I am sure there are other goals I have right now, but those are the ones that are in the forefront of my mind.

My mind figures out the way to get what I want. I just have to know where I want to go.

Tax shock

Apparently a strong teacher’s union exists at the college level because unlike other employees, whose Social security and taxes, are automatically withheld, my college withheld $0 for those things. That leaves us with a big tax bill which we were not expecting.

There are several good things about this. One, we know about it in January, not April 15. Two, there are ways that we can afford to pay it. It won’t be fun, necessarily, but it is doable. Three, I have a job I could get taxed on.

Now that last is not something you really want. To build wealth you need to be investing and building your own business. Right now, though, I am working on getting out of debt. Too bad the government turned out to be one of my creditors when I wasn’t expecting it.

The law on spanking

I think there is nothing wrong with spanking. I did not spank my children much when they were small, though, not because I disagree with it but because my children didn’t care if they got spanked. They did care about time outs and losing electronic privileges or later allowance.

Even so, I was once accused of beating my children because I removed one of them from a restaurant when they were deliberately causing a scene. I did not touch them except to pick them up and haul them out of the restaurant. However a woman followed me and said that she was going to report me for child abuse. (For removing a screaming child from a public place?)

My child then repeated what the woman said, that I was going to hurt him. I asked if I had ever hurt him. He said no. I explained that Mommy was mad because he had been acting badly and he knew it, but that I was not going to hurt him. I did wonder what the CPS would have thought if they had heard that at the time.

I thought this post on Jan. 24 by the Curmudgeonly Clerk was fascinating.


It has always been my contention that dragons were real. I believe that most things we talk about have some basis in fact. In the 1910s a snake that ate livestock whole (cattle) was chased through farms in Italy. I would not have wanted to be the one who caught that.

I found a 19th century dragon which everyone says is probably a hoax. I agree it probably is too. But what if it weren’t?

What will it do to your view of the world if we ever find out that dragons flew into the middle ages? Even if it turns out they were pteradactyls or some such.

The world we live in is a wondrous thing.

Microsoft uses Macs

Michael Hanscom, a temp worker at Microsoft’s in-house print shop, is fired after posting to his blog a photo that showed workers at the facility taking delivery of several Apple G5 computers. His supervisor insists that Hanscom was fired not for showing the company relying on the product of its chief rival, but for revealing the location of one of its shipping and receiving departments.

101 Business Mistakes

A fight at the restaurant

We had more excitement than we were planning on tonight.

Seven couples and their kids went out to dinner tonight. There were too many kids in the game room of the restaurant and several of them started pushing the kids they weren’t with around. Of course, they were already doing that with the kids they were with. I am not going to say my son was blameless because I am sure he wasn’t. No matter how often I say to move away from someone when they want to fight, they don’t listen to me. Even when they get pounded.

Tonight the fight, according to my son, was between a kid and my son. The kid pushed. My son pushed. The kid hit. My son hit. I will say that he is not coordinated and when they were scrapping it is quite possible someone else got hit. I will say that he didn’t do that on purpose.

My son comes in the room where we are. He’s been fighting. My husband tells him to stay there. Sit down. Take a break. Fighting is not a good thing.

Then into the room comes a guy, buff and belligerent, asking for my son’s father. When my husband stands up he says that my son beat his younger son up. His younger son does have a bloody lip. My husband says that my son said he hit the bigger kid, but not the littler one. The guy says my son is a liar, that my husband isn’t “doing anything about it” and that the two of them should go outside and duke it out.

Okay, it is possible that my son was lieing. But how does he figure my husband isn’t doing anything about it? My son is obviously sitting by himself at a table in a room full of grownups. Not the place most kids like to hang out.

Even given that my son may be lieing, however, what is the point of this guy beating up my husband for it? And it wasn’t just one guy with too much beer. His wife follows him in. Another friend comes in. His wife brings all their kids. They want to see the fight. What kind of lunacy is that? Your husband is cursing and wanting to fight with a guy because his kid fought with your kid and you bring the children to watch this?

I’m thinking the guy is going to hit my husband right there. My younger son is sure of it. So is my husband. On top of that, he’s worried the guy might take him out and then go after my son. (My son is 5’1″ and weighs about 100 pounds. His son was about 4’6″ and weighs about 100 pounds. It wasn’t fat either.) So here’s this guy, already bigger than my husband, who looks like he may be going after my son. After he takes out my husband.

I’m thinking concealed carry laws suck and we should have a gun with us. Even though I know pulling out a gun would have either escalated the situation or ended it.

But you know what something like this does? It lets you know that you are not in control. That no matter how careful you are, how much you do to make sure your life and your kids are going in the right direction, all it takes is someone angry enough to hurt you to make you realize that you are not in control. The guy didn’t even have to hit anyone.

One of the people at the table got up to talk to his friend. His friend started threatening the guy. The guy’s wife got between them with her two year old baby and the friend kept pushing her with his body to get to her husband. Okay, I wouldn’t take my kid into that, but what was the friend thinking? I’m going to push this lady and her baby out of the way and then go after big mouth?

There was a lot of cursing. Some pushing, by grownups of grownups. Ugly vicious comments. (Not by our side, isn’t that a miracle?) One of the couples are immigrants. The wives of the two belligerent guys told them to go back to their own country. We actually had three immigrants out of the eighteen grownups. But they’re immigrants. This IS their country.

It’s an hour later and I am still shaking. We left the restaurant while they were still there. I watched for a car following us home. There wasn’t one. But when we got home a truck pulled into our neighbor’s driveway, sat there for a few minutes and left. I was terrified. I was also thinking, okay, if I shoot him in my house I’m not at fault. But I really don’t want my husband to go to the hospital just so I can shoot the guy.

Sometimes it bites to be alive.

Science fiction is from the devil?

That’s what one of the parents appear to think. “Why should we read science fiction?” “What’s good about science fiction?” “What does it teach us about God?”

It teaches us that God made man infinitely creative. But that’s not what she wanted to know.

“Tell me where in the Bible it says we should read science fiction.” I told her that it says to pursue wisdom. She replied that it also says that wisdom is found in God. I told her that was true and if all she wanted to do was find wisdom in the Bible, then she should get rid of all her other books, including missionary biographies, because they weren’t Bibles and they didn’t tell God’s truth, just the truth of the person writing the book. That stumped her for a minute, but only a minute.

Her daughter is staying in my class, but she is not reading any science fiction. The work she picked for her isn’t as long, which means her daughter is going to be doing some extra writing. And I’ve got a lot of extra work fitting in her projects around what the rest of the class is working on.

The book that will “hurt her daughter’s soul” is Time Machine by HG Wells, because the bad guys are cannibals.

Some days trying to teach is just more work than it is anything else.

going on

Today classes started again. One of the students who dropped my class last semester is taking it this semester.

I gave the students a book to read over the holidays. My 8/9 class read the book, at least most of it. I had one student who only read parts. My 10/11/12 class had one student who didn’t read any. Most students read it this weekend, which was great, because we’ll be writing on the books these next two weeks.

It looks like two smaller classes will consolidate into one class. That gives me three less hours a week at school, but no more grading/etc. It means my pay will be a third less than last semester, but it was going down almost that much anyway, because the school pays based on how many students you have in class.

Two days ago I read six or seven novels by Suzanne Brockmann, a romance author, whose work I really enjoy. I’d read them before and romances tend to be a quick read for me. It was a fun thing.

My hubby left today. He’ll be gone a week for work. I’m glad he has this trip. It’s always so good to have him come home afterwords. However, I find it hard sleeping when he is gone. The house creaks, the door shifts… It’s just louder when he’s not here. Plus it’s cold, so I can’t turn on the fan to cover the noises.

I’ve been avoiding sugar, wheat, and yeast for several days now. I do feel much better, but I don’t think I’ve conquered the thing yet and I am getting tired of the food choices. Some of that is my fault. I get in a rut. But some of it is that my favorite foods, my comfort foods, have those things in them. My family of origin’s favorite meal is one I made last week. But I didn’t get to have a single bite because I got so sick and there is added table sugar in it. So none of that. I wanted a peanut butter sandwich and milk tonight. But that would have meant bread. Even our crackers have yeast in them!

Health is better than taste. I am starting to learn that. I know that I have cravings for foods that I shouldn’t eat. If I will just wait them out they will go away. If I wait long enough I will cease to want them. But that takes a while.

My husband and I plan on starting back on BFL when he comes home. I need the encouragement to start again. Of course, mine will be an amended BFL because I’ll be avoiding sugars, wheat and yeast… but I can do it. I will do it.

I was sitting in the kitchen reading and I was just hungry and bored. No, I wasn’t hungry, but I kept wanting food. So I came out to the living room to write instead. That was a good choice.

Work Again

Classes start back up on Monday. At least at the high school. My college classes don’t start up till the 18th. That means next Saturday is my last free Saturday for a while, but hubby is out of town on business.

I spent the day today working on my syllabus for English 8/9 and English 10/11/12. Having that wide a range in one class does keep it interesting.

English 10/11/12 will actually finish the grammar book, the lit book, and most of the vocab book. Except for the analogies which will no longer be on the SAT anyway, so most people won’t care anymore.

English 8/9 will have read seven novels for class, about 20 short stories, about 60 poems, and seen one drama. They will finish the vocab book, sans analogies, but not the grammar book. Italics, quotation marks, apostrophes, and hyphens did not and will not get covered.

English 10/11/12 will have written basically the same research papers I require from my freshman first semester English course at the college, but over a much longer time period. They will also write three in-class essays, like those required of first semester freshmen. That’s their bonus for the class, although I am sure they would prefer to do without such a blessing.

English 8/9 will have read the classic books for their age group. I didn’t get to do as much as I would have liked, but they are only in class three hours a week. They’ve done well as a group, but the class is so large I am not able to work with them individually very much. One of my favorite students dropped the class this semester because of that. I was sad.

Anyway, the schedule is done. It should be totally do-able, so that I don’t have to do a lot of adjusting, but we’ll see. I have four essays plus one research paper for English 8/9 over the course of the semester. English 10/11/12 has two research papers (two different sides of the same topic) and 6 essays over the course of the semester.

I can’t believe school is starting up again. I was just starting to feel rested.