16th Anniversary

Tonight my husband and I had a date. I wore my special red dress. (The one the kids and he gave up a PS2 to buy for me. They spent 10 hours in the mall with me looking for it. They bought me shoes, a purse, and hose to go with it.) We went to an expensive restaurant with absolutely incredible food. And we ate what we wanted, regardless of the diet.

While I was getting ready tonight, I thought, Hmm. It’s the last weekend in July. We went on our first date the last weekend in July.

I looked it up. July 30th was our first date. So this is the 16th anniversary of our first date. We had another one.

On our first date we went to Rainbow Lodge, with both my sisters and their SO’s. Tonight we went to Churrasco’s alone.

On our first date I wore a green velvet and taffeta dress and garter hose. Tonight I wore a red dress and no hose.

On our first date we drove in my Camaro. (White.) Tonight we rode in his car. (Red.)

On our first date he asked about the most embarrassing thing my family could tell him about me. Tonight he knows them all.

On our first date we went to Steak and Ale and shared a dessert and talked about missions in Japan. Tonight we went to Barnes and Noble and I read decorating books while he looked up a novel. The Steak and Ale we went to then is only about two blocks from the B&N, but we’re both on a diet now. Even a shared French Silk pie slice is too much.

On our first date I was nervous. Tonight I wasn’t.

I’m glad we’ve been together 16 years. Happy anniversary, darling.

The Importance of Naming

I do not think that there is magic in naming. Although there is some power. George Washington knew this when he refused to be anything other than “Mr. President.” Children on the playground know this when they use namecalling to keep other children where they want them.

I have always had a think about names. I wanted my son’s name secure before he was born. I understood why a 42 year old man would change his name. I think what name you give someone can change who they are.

Today I discovered I think it is very important. A friend called with news about a baby who needs praying for. She’s in NICU and her veins have collapsed. I asked what her name is. “She doesn’t have one. She’s ‘baby girl M-‘.” No. No. No. I thought they needed to name that baby girl right now, right away. As soon as possible. She needed to have a name that they called her, that she knew for her own.

It’s one reason why my husband didn’t want to take on my last name with his. It’s why I dropped my first name, a heritage name, and kept my middle and last, adding his.

Names do matter.

Quick Weight Loss Center: Day 70


After being extremely slow for two weeks, my weight loss has speeded up a bit. That’s good.

I’ve now lost 24.4 pounds.

I decided I would walk today and give my youngest a break from watching the dog, so I took the dog with me. We’d been out about seven minutes when it started pouring. The dog can run a lot faster than I can in the morning rain. I think if I had let the leash go, she’d have been home before I got to the pool, but I was afraid she might run off instead of heading home.

Red hair

Today I went and got my hair dyed again.

Jenny did it this time. I like her. She’s much more personable and she seems to know what she is doing.

The hair isn’t quite what I was hoping for, colorwise, but it is much closer to what I wanted than it was last time. The roots are considerably lighter, all the gray and no brown, I guess. But it is a red, not a brown with red highlights.

I asked E about it. On a scale of 1 to 10, one being totally natural and ten being clown hair, what he thought of the color. He said a 3 or 4. That’s lots better than a 9.

School Starts

Public school starts August 12th. I can’t believe it! That’s less than 2 weeks from now.

The homeschool high school tutoring ministry (see why I call it an alt. HS?) starts when the college does, Aug. 23.

I still don’t know if my class will make. It hasn’t made yet.

In some ways that’s a relief. (No getting up early and my oldest won’t have school on Friday.)

In some ways it’s not. (This will be a much slower paced class than last year. I’ll have good students- the ones I know. It would be more fun. The money.)

So… I guess I’m still feeling ambivalent.

Quick Weight Loss Center: day 69


That’s 24 pounds. In 69 days. That averages out to a pound every 2.9 days. It has definitely slowed down, but the average is better than it was yesterday.

I went in today, in jeans, expecting them to say I hadn’t lost any weight. But they said I lost 1.5 pounds since last Saturday. They said I should be coming in three times a week. I didn’t remember that. I thought I was only supposed to be coming in twice a week. Maybe I’ll go in on Friday or something.

Hell Makes You Rich

Okay, so the title’s a little misleading. Actually, Yahoo quotes Reuter’s who says that economists have found that those who believe in hell are less corrupt and more prosperous.

Note: Boing Boing presents this as the “bizarro, dubious factoid of the day.” I think it’s interesting that Boing Boing doubts this, but not other things. Shows their leanings to the left left of left.

Quick Weight Loss Center: day 68


I’ve now lost 23 pounds. My weight loss has slowed down. I heard rumors they will do something different when that happens, but I wasn’t able to go in yesterday and I am not sure I will be able to go in today either.

Note: It took me two weeks to lose these last two pounds. A pound a week isn’t bad, but it’s not great either.

A friend on the program has lost 9.4 pounds in 11 days. Wish mine was that good.

Quick Weight Loss Center: day 64

Yesterday 163.6

Today 164.2

That makes it exactly eight weeks with 21.6 pounds lost. That is still better than two pounds a week. Even better than two and a half. Of course, I liked it better when I’d lost 22 pounds.

I am a bit frustrated with the weight fluctuation. I did eat a little off yesterday, but I thought I had compensated for it by not having a bar, but having a second protein drink, and by skipping one bread and one fruit.

Apparently not. Maybe it’s just water weight and by tomorrow it will be gone. I hope so.

We’ve been eating out a lot because we haven’t figured out what to eat at home that tastes good. But I would guess that eating out tastes good because it adds salt to the food.

I think I’ll have tuna for lunch and try the Alton Brown version of scrambled eggs for supper. R has fish and shrimp in the fridge he can eat.

Update on R:

It’s the 7th day and he’s lost 6.4 pounds. That’s not GREAT, but it’s really good. They say you’ll lose 3-5 pounds the first three days, then 3-5 pounds the first week. He’s done that already.

I am sure he would like to lose 3-5 more pounds this week, but even if he didn’t lose anymore, he’d be doing well. I expect he will though. At half a pound a day, he’ll have lost 8 pounds in the first 10 days. I won’t be surprised at all if he makes that.

For a reference point, I had lost 5.4 pounds the morning of my 7th day.

Quick Weight Loss Center: day 62

I weighed 164.2 this morning. Basically that makes a week at right around this weight.

The BMI stuff says I’m 26.5, which is overweight. So, even though someone told me last night she thought I looked good, I still have a ways to go. Of course, looking good compared to how I did look is easy.

I am tired of the diet again and I am not losing weight rapidly. Obviously. I hope I drop a pound or two before the weekend.

I am also very tired. Lethargic. One might almost say depressed. I am definitely stressed. Had nightmares last night and woke up with a mega charlie horse. (Poor R.)

Popcorn smells good. But I haven’t eaten any, committed as I am.

Fall class

I’m teaching a class on “Heroes, Villains, and Henchmen.” Our first class is on Egypt and Joseph.

We’re going to look at slavery, mummies, and general history.

I thought it might be interesting to find out how much a slave cost and how much money people had. But, as you can see from the last post, how much a slave cost varied a lot depending on the time. It does, however, give them a feel for the idea of selling people. (Aack.)

This site has a Sunday school lesson on the Joseph story. But I really wanted to go beyond the story to the history and reprecussions. There is a thing on weights in Biblical times on this site.

This site on Greek slavery has an interesting overview.

Anyway, I can discuss it somewhat. Even if I haven’t figured out what, besides the funny mummies, I can do for a craft project.

Egyptian tidbits

This website says that in marriage, the husband paid about the cost of a slave to the wife’s family as part of the marriage contract.

This site, whose background looks like lined school paper, is a good intro to basic Egypt stuff, including interesting things like the calendar, medicine, the decimal system, and the Pharoah who tried to introduce the worship of a single god.

This site tells the history of silver and gold in ancient Egypt. Gold was more common in the Old Kingdom, so silver was rarer. The gods were thought to have skin of gold and bones of silver. But I was really wanting to know about slave costs. I found that here, too.

“The shat (seniu, Sna or shena) was originally a flat silver disk. It came to denote about 7.5 or 7.6g of silver. A deben, or kit, was a weight of 90 to 91g. It should be noted that the shat was always used as a unit of value and not as a weight for other purposes, while the deben was used in such a manner. . . At the end of the 18th dynasty a goat, for example, cost one half of a shat of silver, a cow was eight shat and a typical house cost ten shat of silver. A male slave could bring seven deben of silver, while a female slave might bring four deben. ”

So a house was cheaper than a slave by a huge amount. Hmmm.

Another website gives different info on the price of goods and what a deben actually was.

“Cost was measured in a deben (a copper weight of .5 ounces).� For goods like razors or shoes the cost would be one or two deben, but for four pigs it would cost more like twenty deben which they would trade for something that was worth the same amount.

Jobs in Ancient Egypt included government officials, soldiers, scribes, doctors, merchants, dancers, fishermen, hunters, bakers, carpenters, coffin-makers, spinners, weavers, jewelers, pyramid builders, Egyptian artists, and farmers.� Most Egyptians were farmers.� The main crops grown in Egypt were wheat, barley, lettuce, beans, onions, figs, dates, grapes, melons, and cucumbers.� The pharaoh was the controller of the jobs .�

Between the ages of four and fourteen children attended school.� Little boys started learning their father�s job when they were four.� When they were older they were expected to do the same occupation as their father.� Girls and boys both attended school together.� They studied reading, writing, and math.� Children who were going to be lawyers, scribes, or doctors went to a special school were they studied hieroglyphics.� When girls grew up they took to tending the home.”

This is interesting info for me, since I’m going to be teaching one short class on Egypt.

Another site gives info on the hair cuts of the day. It also talks about slavery as much more indentured servanthood. Which was true in some other areas as well, historically.

“This image of the child whose head is shaved except for the single “lock of childhood” was standard in ancient Egypt. Shaving the scalp was standard practice for adult males as well, partly because the wearing of wigs was a regular practice, but also because of the climate. Egypt is a desert nation, and even the cooler regions along the river are hot and humid. Shaving a child’s head regularly served two purposes ~ the main one was to keep the head free of parasites, since insects of every kind were more of an issue then ~ but also to accustom the child to such grooming habits. Self-grooming was very important to the Egyptians, who were known throughout the ancient world as the cleanest people in the civilized world. Our modern penchant for hair comes from our background of the cold climates of Europe ~ we need all that for extra warmth!…

Slavery in ancient Egypt was different from the kind of slavery we have come to recognize, and certainly different from slavery in Mesopotamia or Rome at the same time. Egyptian slaves were more like the indentured servants of colonial America. They were able to buy or work their way to freedom, and were usually well cared for. They could hold important advisory positions in government, and there were several well-known slaves who became high officials in the Pharaoh�s court. Prisoners were sent to work in the various mines which Egypt owned. The Pyramids, by the way, were NOT built by slaves, but by paid workers who were very proud of their work. The workers put their names and the names of their work teams on the insides of the blocks of stones, and they were allowed to build their own tombs within sight of the Pyramid, which was quite an honor. In those ancient times, you were better off as a slave in Egypt than as a free but poor person anywhere else.”

Even if you don’t know how much a dinar is worth, it gives you a relative scale to look at. “In a side room of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin I discovered a stone tablet on a wall.� It was an edict, very probably Diocletian�s, that had been displayed in the marketplace at Aizanoi.� It gave the binding price of commodities in dinars, in relation to the price of gold – one pound of gold equalling 72,000 dinars.� Livestock prices included the following: cow (formae primae)…2,000 dinars; goat formae primae…600 dinars; domedarius optimus…20,000; two-humped camel…60,000; human male from 16 to 40 years…30,000; female in the same age span…25,000; male over 60 or under 8…15,000; female same age…10,000; riding horse (equus currulis)…100,000; military horse formae primae…36,000.”

There is a site which has a lot on slavery in Ancient Egypt. It does, however, state that the story of Joseph is “apocryphal.” I wonder how they know that? It’s right after a section where forty women slaves were ordered from a prince of Canaan. Doesn’t seem to me that makes it unlikely. –It’s irritating when people don’t like something so they say it’s not true, with no basis for saying it other than they don’t like it.

An interesting and detailed discussion of slavery in Israel is found here.

Quick Weight Loss Center: Husband Day 2

R is not liking this diet. It’s mostly greens and beef today. I remember it not being horrible. But I went back and looked and actually the first nine days were pretty bad. After that they got better. Significantly better.

I figure that, since he’s a guy, he’s going to lose about 8-10 pounds in the first ten days. That’s going to make him feel positive enough about the diet to stay on it for a bit more time. At least, that’s how it worked with me. And if he loses 5 pounds a week, which is certainly possible, by the time I will have lost 25 pounds, he will have too– just starting eight weeks later.

But you know, it doesn’t matter. I want him to be in better health and looking better than he has been. So that will be a plus. And I’ll have lost the weight too.

Quick Weight Loss Center: Day 58

I’ve lost 20+ pounds. But I had some salt yesterday and gained one back. I’m still at 20+, it’s just not as plus as it was.

It makes me want to have salt. Then I’d know when I was actually losing weight and not just water. But I think I’ll stick with the plan for a while. It’s been good to me so far.

Eight weeks, two and a quarter pounds a week, even with the water weight regain, is pretty good.

I am having some reaction to chicken and am trying to think of ways to have less. Besides eating fish.


The only Picasso I have ever liked was for sale at Costco Fine Art. “La Folie.”

Now it is gone. And I did not buy it.

Someone did, though. I know they will enjoy it.

Posted in Art

Day off

My dad took the boys to Splashtown. My hubby took advantage of the time and took a day off to spend with his wife and car. (That’s even how he turned it in at work.)

We drove to Galveston, ate well, drove around, took pictures, and came home.

Of course the problem is we came home. The boys are here. So my day off is over. I need to get them working on school and household chores. Fun fun fun.


But the time with hubby was good.

Being sick

I have started getting sick a lot.

Yesterday, I got sick after dinner, nauseated and having hot flashes. I wondered if it might be related to menopause, but nausea is not one of the symptoms and I’m not old enough yet, anyway.

Saturday I was also having stomach problems, throwing up, etc.

Today I was fine. Hurray. Then I ate lunch. Before I had even finished my lunch, I was sick. It took five hours to get feeling better.

So what’s up? I think that I am reacting to chicken. I had chicken for dinner last night. I had chicken for supper Saturday. I had chicken for lunch today.

I have looked up food allergies. While some of them mention meat as a possible food allergy, most of them don’t. The physical symptoms for food allergies and food intolerance are the same, so that doesn’t help. Of course, as long as it doesn’t kill me whether it is an allergy or intolerance is irrelevant. I think I am going to avoid chicken and see if I get any better.

The problem with that is that there aren’t a whole lot of other meats I actually eat that I’m allowed on this diet.

If I get significantly better, then I’ll have to figure out something.

If I still get randomly sick, then I will go back to eating chicken.

Quick Weight Loss Center: Day 54

I’ve now lost 21 pounds. I weigh in at 164.8.

I am nearing the 25 pound mark. That’s the weight at which I stayed on another diet for six months and didn’t lose any weight.

I’m hoping this will not happen with QWLC. I am hoping I’ll just keep dropping.

Truthfully I am amazed at the weight I have lost. It has not been 8 weeks yet. At two pounds a week I would be at 16. At three pounds a week I should have lost almost 24 pounds. And that’s what they tell you you’ll lose. But I don’t care about that. I care about what I actually lose.

I don’t think I’ll lose 3 more pounds in the next two days, but I am happy with the weight loss I have achieved.

BTW, they say I’ve lost 23 pound. However, I’ve switched from weighing in jeans to weighing in light weight shorts. However, because of that, they will probably say that I have reached the 24 pound limit in two more days.

Parents and Children

I am over forty. I have two sons, both pre-teen as of this writing. I have two parents, both ill but almost guaranteed by their incredible genetics to hang on for another two decades.

For most of our married life, my husband and I lived above our means. However, in the last two years, and in the last year seriously, we have been trying to get out of debt and stay out of debt.

We paid off tens of thousands of dollars in debt. We were making progress.

To help us in our attempts, my father offered to pay off our remaining credit cards. (Massive amounts of debt was on that. We’d paid off quite a bit, but not all.) He did. In return we pledged our immortal souls to not put anything on a credit card until June of 2004 and to pay it off immediately. Doing that.

Then, he offered to pay off a chunk of our student loans. This would free us up to actually start paying on the principal instead of most of the year (11 months) spent in financing. In return we agreed to put $10K in savings once we got all our bills paid off and not get into any long term debt.

However, my husband didn’t like that idea. Once we had money, he wanted to start investing it. However, potentially we will have a son in college in three years. My dad is thinking money for school. I pushed R to agree.

Now, though, we have a problem. R’s car, and mine, are both in the shop. His has been in the shop twice in the last two months. Plus this time. (Mine’s been in six times now, all for the same problem that hasn’t been getting fixed.) An immediate repair needs to be made and will cost $800. We have that in savings but were hoping to be able to pay off my car by December. They also say that another $600 repair also needs to be made. We pay for the necessary one and put off the other.

R’s thinking we’re pouring good money down the drain that he could be using to drive something else, so we take the car to CarMax (great place) and have it appraised. They give us very close to bluebook on a car that has 70,000 miles on it. (Beautiful but a piece of crap.)

Okay, we sell his car.

Now he has no car. We go to the Toyota dealer. Closed on Saturday. We go to the Mazda dealer that is open on Saturday. They have no “bargain” lease, as adverted. But they do have a very nice car with features for lease. R falls in love with the car. We decide to use the car sales money to buy down the lease. I leave R signing papers.

I get home. I am so freaked I can’t settle down. I can’t do anything constructive. I call R and tell him I am freaking. Then I go for a walk. I get about seven houses away, turn around, call him. “Have you signed yet?” No. “Well, don’t.”

Okay, his beautiful beloved piece of junk is gone. He has no vehicle. I am hyperventilating, telling the boys to get their shoes on, going to pick him up. The sales people follow him outside and I ask him to get in the car and shut the door. I am thinking we should drive to another parking lot to talk, but my mouth is so cottony that my tongue is clinging to whatever it hits and I’m afraid to drive I am shaking so much.

We decide not to put the huge down down. We’ll pay off the student loans. That way we’ve done what we said we would.

We get the car. R is thrilled. His friends love the car. It’s a show off car. Like I care.

We get home. I want to write a check that evening. Why, he asks? So we can tell dad we’ve done that before he sees the car. Is he going to freak? Yes, I think so. We talk. We talk. R suggests that instead of paying off the loans, which have the higher interest rate, we pay off my car. That way my dad, who gives us money whenever he feels like it, won’t feel like he is paying for my car so that my husband can drive a new car.

That’s a plan. We’ll pay off the car (no interest) and leave the student loan (8%) interest. But the plan has the added bonus, besides of making my dad feel better, of getting my huge payment out of our budget. The student loan payment is significantly less. That will leave us with a car payment less than the one we had. Good plan.

Neither one of us wants to talk to my dad. We don’t want to be anywhere near him when he finds out we’ve leased a car. (We have terrible luck with cars. My father-in-law can smell a lemon, but he lives in Arkansas. Drats.)

I write the check for the car, even though I am not totally certain it is the right amount of money, so I can say that is done. GMAC has no online help and their “24 hour automated voice response system” only tells you to push 1 for English and 2 for espanol and then tells you they can’t help you and to call back later. Some voice response system.

Then I write a friend email and ask her to pray that my dad doesn’t kill himself freaking over this.

While writing the email I think, ah hah. One advantage to having hooked up parents. Email. I can write dad email.

I do. I point out the amount of times the car has been in the shop. Then I say how much the immediate repair was. Then I mention the one that will need to be done soon. Then I say that we decided to sell the car. We’ve used the money to pay off my car. That leaves Ron without a car and, given our luck with cars, we want one someone else takes car of, so we have signed a lease.

Then I don’t answer the phone for two days because I don’t want to know what he said. (I actually didn’t answer the phone only three times. My cell isn’t ringing for some reason.)

I check my email. Nothing. The phone rings. I answer it. It’s a student leaving for Switzerland in the morning. Wonderful child is going to bring me chocolate. (God bless her.)

We leave. We do errands. We come home. The phone rings. I answer it. It’s my dad. He says, “I used to have a daughter.”

I’m thinking ouch.

“But now she won’t answer her phone.” I tell him I was sick, true, and gone, true, and my cell phone isn’t ringing, true, but I don’t tell him that I didn’t answer the phone a few other times.

He’s fine with the lease. He thinks it’s a great idea for us. He also thinks we got two lemons, but not as defined by the law. (They are Pontiacs.)

So, we breathe a sigh of relief and giggle.

It’s ridiculous when you are afraid to make decisions because you are afraid your parents will be upset. Both R and I were compliant oldest children. (Well, technically he was an only child because he was 9 before they got his brother.) Also, my dad has started reading our mail. So we’ve moved the mail to R’s office. I like it better up there anyway, because then I don’t have to look at it or figure out what to do with it.

I made the best decisions I could make and still was afraid to tell my dad. Who does that say more about? Me or my dad?