Good News for my Parents

They aren’t very likely to die within the next four years.

My dad’s risk is 4% and my mom’s is 15%. Of course the test is only 81% accurate, so I might lose them anyway.

But considering my dad is sleeping a lot from exhaustion and my mom is in the hospital for the second time this week, I’m really liking the doctor’s quiz which says they’ll make it.

Even better is the news that my 93 year old Oma, who fell two weeks ago and broke her back and shoulder and went to the hospital with internal bleeding this week, also only has a 15% chance of dying in the next four years. I certainly hope the test is accurate there, but I can see some questions they might should have added. Like, have you been to or been admitted to the hospital this week? More than once? That would shoot my mom and Oma’s test scores down.

Take the quiz here.

Thanks to Internal Medicine Doctor for the push in the right direction.

Weight Tracking to Date

I went from 183.6 (after Christmas with water weight and all) to 181.4 a day or two later. Since then my weight loss has slowed. But today I weighed 167. Still too much, but going in the right direction.

I’ve been eating fairly well.

In the last month I have lost six pounds. I have one month and four days till the Premier party. I hope I can speed up the weight loss. But at least keeping at the same rate would be good.

Valentine’s Day Gift

I didn’t get my hubby anything for Valentine’s Day. It just didn’t seem necessary. I mean, we didn’t even celebrate our anniversaries last year.

But he got me something. And it was a surprise. I got a beautiful, sentimental card. And I got a chocolate box. I thought, “Well, at least there are only three or so pieces in there.” But when I opened it up, it wasn’t candy. It was a bookstore gift card.

Yes, my husband knows the way to my heart is through words. And he gave them to me.

Macedonian Tomb

Archaeologists believe it dates to the period after Alexander’s death, which was marked by mass power struggles.

The tomb was probably used by a noble family about 2,300 years ago – some of whose names are still visible.

Archaeologists said that the eight-chambered tomb was significant in style. It is accessible through a 16-metre entrance.

Funeral tombs found earlier in Greece contained no more than three chambers.

Carved into rock, the new find is reported still to retain part of its internal wall colouring of red, light blue and gold.

It is believed that the tomb has been looted over the years. However, jewellery, copper coins and earthen vases were still found in the chambers, along with inscribed tombstones with the names still visible.

“This was a very rich family,” archaeologist Maria Akamati told Reuters news agency. “This is rare as the cemetery is full of plebeians,” or commoners.

This is about 700 years too late for Dielli, but I still like the description. Maybe I’ll use it for the Kalhun royalty.

From the BBC via Cronaca

Shooting Today

R had two shoots today. Three models, two make up artists. Busy day. First one started at 9:30 and ended about 1:05. Second one started about 1:50 and ended about 5:10.

I was up early and so was R so we went to WalMart this morning. I can’t remember what we bought… Oh yes. White tape and a short “stool.” (The stool is really a table.)

After that I went to the library to work on the booksale. C came in, bless her, and worked with me. We have tons of books to unpack on Monday and Tuesday.

I left my leather coat at the library. Ouch. Hope it is still there on Monday.

Tomorrow I won’t blog. I’ll be going to my mother’s early and staying late. She’s in the hospital so I’m going to pick up some flowers, go visit her, then go to the house and help take care of Oma, clean up, and go visit my mom again.

I didn’t eat well today, but I still ate much more well than I used to.

2 Incomes, No Money

I was reading an old post of mine, filed under Marriage, and decided I would go read the original article that started the post off. It’s Bad Schools, Immigration, And The Great Middle-Class Massacre. It talks about a book called The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke.

“The average two-income family earns far more today than did the single-breadwinner family of a generation ago. And yet, once they have paid the mortgage, the car payments, the taxes, the health insurance, and the day-care bills, today’s dual-income families have less discretionary—and less money to put away for a rainy day—than the single-income family of a generation ago.”

The two authors note:

“The brunt of the price increases has fallen on families with children. Data from the Federal Reserve show that the median home value for the average childless individual increased by 23 percent between 1983 and 1998 … (adjusted for inflation). For married couples with children, however, housing prices shot up 79 percent—more than three times faster.”

We aren’t paying day care bills, but we do live in a good school district. I think we have been very fiscally responsible with our house, though my husband disagrees. But still we are not making the amount of money we need to live at the level we want to.

2242

This post makes entry number 2242 on my blog. I did delete a few early posts for family-friendliness, but only two or three.

2242 posts. In three years and two months. 38 months. Averages out to 59 posts a month. Almost two a day. For three years.

Wow, I love blogs.

Austin Was Listening

In this post I mentioned the $3 BILLION dollar surplus in Texas’ budget and suggested that border patrols be upped. According to Redneck’s Revenge Governor Perry has launched state-run operations to secure Texas’ borders.

Gov. Rick Perry today launched “Operation Rio Grande,” a state-led initiative to address escalating violence, increase border security and ensure Texans’ safety. The operation brings together a variety of state resources to better secure the Texas-Mexico border from Brownsville to El Paso.

Although Perry emphasized that border threats are best addressed by law enforcement, Texas Army National Guard planners and analysts will also provide support to operation.

“Operation Rio Grande” builds upon Operation Linebacker, an initiative developed by the 16-member Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition to deter border-related criminal activities through increased manpower and equipment. Perry has provided nearly $10 million to Operation Linebacker since December.

The original is here at rick perry.org.

Cursing on Halo2

Josh did a self-directed study of the number of curse words that he could hear in 33.9 hours of playing Halo2, divided them by word/category, and gives graphs, pie charts, etc. on them.

I knew it wasn’t just the internet corrupting my kids.

On another note I learned tonight that “That 70s Show” is educating them in drug words, like head. (Which I didn’t know the meaning of until tonight.)

Found at File it Under.

The Whole Pie

When I was young I thought that there was a pie and you could have a piece of it but your piece’s size would effect everyone else’s. While I still think this is true for cherry, apple, and pecan pie (but not coconut cream because I will give you my whole piece), I don’t think it is true for life.

My husband is upset because he got a teensy weensy raise, less than the cost of living, and is still making less than he did during the dot com boom. Especially when what he really wanted was a weekday off each week.

I love my husband dearly. He is a wonderful man. But sometimes I get put out with him. He wants the whole pie. And he wants it right now.

He seems to think that he should be able to have it.

And maybe he should.

I do know most people don’t have it.

His best friend, a doctor, does. He works 9 months a year and makes 4x what R makes. But R didn’t want to be a doctor. Most people don’t have it.

I don’t have the whole pie. Right now I have a piece of it. I’m doing the things I think I’m good at, teaching little kids and college students, on a part-time minimal pay scale, while working full-time at something I am not as good at and which I often find frustrating– homeschooling.

But that is beside the point. The point is it needs to be done and I am the person who is going to do it. I do the best I can at it, which sometimes feels incredibly poorly, and I keep it up. I’ve been homeschooling, with structure, since the boys were 2 and 3. They’re 13 and 14 now. That’s a long time to keep doing this. It’s not over yet, either, I have at least three more years and more probably five more years of it to go. Even if you only count since M was in kindergarten, since I did send E to a private school for 1st grade, I’ve been doing this for eight years and still have more to go.

But I’m not fussing about it and trying to figure out some way to get out of it. I think because of that R thinks I enjoy it. I don’t always. Yes it gives me flexibility. But I’d have just as much or more if my kids were in school and I was teaching college. Then I wouldn’t be working two part-time jobs and I’d be making a heck of a lot more money than I am making now.

I also know, however, that there are many positive aspects to homeschooling. My sons have their parents around a lot more than most kids. They are learning lessons, not just in education, but in life. We talk to them. We trust them with information. They think critically, because of our influence. Both boys are far ahead of the curve in reading and vocabulary. They are able to progress at their own pace, whether quickly or slowly. If they don’t understand something, I can spend as much time as they need to review the information. If they do understand something, they don’t have to hear me talk about it for an hour. All of those are positive points of homeschooling.

So even when it is frustrating, I don’t quit. Of course, neither does R. And the positive list for his work is shorter than mine: good money and stability.

I know R’s job is boring. I know A is not the most fun boss to work for. I know he didn’t get what he wanted when he asked for it. I’m sad that is so. But sometimes I get frustrated and want to tell him that most people’s life is like that and he shouldn’t expect to do better than most people do.

That’s not very nice though. So until he read this post I hadn’t told him that.

We have very different views of life; that’s true.

I told him to go back in on Monday and offer to take a 20% pay cut in order to get a day off a week. I’m not sure how we’ll manage to live on that, but we’ll figure something out. And once we’re making it, we’ll have to figure out how to live on it.

Hopefully A will go for it.

— I did panic after telling him to do that and said maybe he should just ask for 10% less and one day every two weeks. But he didn’t want to hear that.

Note: This whole post came about because of a blog entry by Matthew Yglesias entitled “The Home Front.”

God’s been reminding me

that I am very blessed. I knew this already, of course, on many levels. I have a husband who loves me and lets me know it. I have healthy sons who are smart and good.

But I don’t always see what God has done for me.

The other day, I don’t know when or where, someone asked about being happy. I am happy. I have been happy for years now.

No, my life is not perfect and there are things I would change if I could. But I am happy. I have been blessed and I know it.

However, I hadn’t noticed that the arc of good in my life now overshone the arc of bad. I’ve had some really bad things happen to me. They were awful. Despite the bad my life has now been more good than bad.

God has been very gracious to me. I wonder how he has felt while I had all this good and didn’t recognize the overwhelmingness of it. I still don’t, really. I just have glimpses of “Wow. I have had it good.” I appreciate his patience. Thank you, God, for the good you’ve brought to my life- especially the good that has overwhelmed the bad by the strength of it and the length of it.

And I’ve noticed that, despite no diminishment of health problems, God has answered many of my prayers. For R’s photography. For my weight loss ability. For more work. For insurance that we can actually afford.

Thank you, God, for the good you have done in my life. For all the things I’ve noticed and thanked you for before and for all the things I didn’t notice but that you draped around me like a soft shawl.

Professional Photographer

My husband is now a professional photographer, having had two paying gigs on Wednesday. I am thrilled.

And I’m exhausted. I’m his assistant, which most of the time just means I have to be there. But sometimes I actually have to work. And it’s a lot of work.

I hope soon that most of his gigs will either be paying ones or result in tears. (Tears is not the stuff you cry out of your eyes but the pages you tear out to show your work. Tears is a good thing in photography. It means published work.)

Running Today

I did only 2 miles. And I didn’t run the whole way. I ran one mile. Then I walked till I felt recovered. Which took me ten minutes. It took me 28.40 minutes to run/walk the 2 miles.

Obviously I’m going to be very slow with this 5K on Feb. 25th.

Weight has been low for two days in a row. That’s always a good sign. I’ve been being careful about what I eat. The interesting thing about that is it hasn’t been hard. God’s answering a prayer with that one. I appreciate it, too.

Teaching Discovery

I was upset on Sunday, pacing back and forth and talking to God in my normal forthright (and possibly offensive) way. Then I got in a spiral of anger and depression and started saying that I don’t do anything well.

Silly that. Of course I do.

I finally told myself I teach college well. Then I asked why, if I did that well, couldn’t I homeschool just as well? And I figured out the answer. College English is something I’ve taught at least twenty different times. And if my students don’t do their work, I flunk them. I don’t like doing that, but the answer is simple. If they turn it in, grade it. If they don’t, they fail.

But with homeschooling it’s not the same class over and over again. And the two students I have are very different. And they’re my children who, though they love me, probably get very tired of me. I know I get tired of them sometimes. So we’ve got personalities in the mix that aren’t really there for the college class.

I am trying to do well, though. I hope that counts for something.

32.45

That’s how long it took me to, mostly, jog 2.2 miles this morning. I walked 3 minutes total because I couldn’t run the whole way. The first walk was at 20 min. The second at 25. The third at 30.

Friday I did the run in about 36 minutes, with five or six minutes of walking and about one and a half minutes of running.

I didn’t try to run at all today. I was just trying to jog the whole time. I didn’t make it.

Don’t know how I am going to do the rodeo run in less than three weeks. Maybe walk the first ten minutes and then try jogging/walking.

But it doesn’t matter. I’m in better shape to jog now than I have ever been in my life and that’s good. Improvement is good.

I have been weighing and taking my lowest weight each week for the last two weeks, but I am now consistently right at 170, even on my high days.

I think I am eating too many carbs again. So I am backing off on those.

Ancient Words

We also sang “Ancient Words” by Michael W. Smith.

Holy words long preserved
for our walk in this world,
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the Ancient words impart.

Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.

CHORUS:
Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.

Holy words of our Faith
Handed down to this age.
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world.
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart.

But this section is the one that made me cry.

Holy words of our Faith
Handed down to this age.
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.

Have you ever read of the martyrs? The people who gave their lives rather than give up their copies of the books that eventually became our New Testament? If you haven’t, you should.

The fatal day fixed upon to commence the bloody work, was the twenty-third of February, A.D. 303, that being the day in which the Terminalia were celebrated, and on which, as the cruel pagans boasted, they hoped to put a termination to Christianity. On the appointed day, the persecution began in Nicomedia, on the morning of which the prefect of that city repaired, with a great number of officers and assistants, to the church of the Christians, where, having forced open the doors, they seized upon all the sacred books, and committed them to the flames.

The whole of this transaction was in the presence of Diocletian and Galerius, who, not contented with burning the books, had the church levelled with the ground. This was followed by a severe edict, commanding the destruction of all other Christian churches and books; and an order soon succeeded, to render Christians of all denomination outlaws.

from Chapter 2 of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

Timothy, a deacon of Mauritania, and Maura his wife, had not been united together by the bands of wedlock above three weeks, when they were separated from each other by the persecution. Timothy, being apprehended, as a Christian, was carried before Arrianus, the governor of Thebais, who, knowing that he had the keeping of the Holy Scriptures, commanded him to deliver them up to be burnt; to which he answered, “Had I children, I would sooner deliver them up to be sacrificed, than part with the Word of God.” The governor being much incensed at this reply, ordered his eyes to be put out, with red-hot irons, saying, “The books shall at least be useless to you, for you shall not see to read them.” His patience under the operation was so great that the governor grew more exasperated; he, therefore, in order, if possible, to overcome his fortitude, ordered him to be hung up by the feet, with a weight tied about his neck, and a gag in his mouth. In this state, Maura his wife, tenderly urged him for her sake to recant; but, when the gag was taken out of his mouth, instead of consenting to his wife’s entreaties, he greatly blamed her mistaken love, and declared his resolution of dying for the faith. The consequence was, that Maura resolved to imitate his courage and fidelity and either to accompany or follow him to glory. The governor, after trying in vain to alter her resolution, ordered her to be tortured, which was executed with great severity. After this, Timothy and Maura were crucified near each other, A.D. 304.

also from chapter 2

I can’t find what I remember on line, but I know that several people went to their horrible deaths to preserve their copies of the books that became the New Testament. I’ll have to see if I still have hard copies of the stories I read for my class on church history. It is amazing what those people went through.

Thank you, God, for their willingness to persevere.

There was one

We sang a song today.

“There was one who was willing to die for my sins
that a soul so unworthy might live.
And the path to the cross he was willing to tread
all the sins of my life to forgive.

They are nailed to the cross,
They are nailed to the cross,
O how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss Jesus went to the cross!
But He carried my sins with Him there.”

To hear the music of the song go to cyber hymnal.

I used to sing this in Switzerland, but I didn’t sing it this way, even though that’s the way I grew up singing it. While I was in Europe, a difficult time for me, I sang it this way.

“There was one who was willing to die for my sins.
There was one who was willing to die.
There was one who was willing.
There was one.
There was.
There was one who willing to die.”

It means a lot to me because it was my “focal point” when things were bad. If he could do that, I could bear this.