I didn’t get picked for jury duty.

But it was still interesting.

The best thing about jury duty was that the presiding judge reminded us that what we were doing helped keep our government working and that it was only an inconvenience to us, while those who are in Iraq and Afghanistan are doing the same thing only way more.

The worst thing about jury duty was…
the hard seats, no cushions
the hour and a half drive in
the thirty minutes in a running car it took to get out of the parking garage
the fact that I didn’t get picked.

I think it was the fact that I didn’t get picked.

The plaintiff’s lawyer was very well spoken and made lots of attempts at humor. He said he was younger than all of us, though, and I was insulted. He didn’t look any younger than I am.

The defendant’s lawyer wasn’t as well spoken, but he was better looking. Does it work in trials like it does for president?

Who was right and who was wrong? I don’t know. But the trial will be over tomorrow evening.

I wanted to be on the jury.

My brother said they try not to pick educated people.

Weeks without nightshades

Valentine’s Day I started not eating nightshades. I’ve had some since. Feb. 16th I went out with my dad and had some. That hurt. Then Feb. 17th, I think, I forgot and ate a small slice of pizza. Got pain immediately. About two weeks later, I had a small amount of nightshade. It didn’t hurt. I think since then that once a week I’ve eaten something with nightshades…

I have a hard time believing it’s been almost six weeks without nightshades on a daily/each meal basis.

How to Read

The Constructive Curmudgeon had a list of twelve suggestions on how to read.

I love to read and I thought the ideas were interesting. But I didn’t agree. And you know, since I’m so quiet and shy, I couldn’t just leave it at that. I started a comment, but it grew so long, that I knew I needed to move it over here.

As a bookaholic, I love number 1. Read and read often.

#2, though, quit watching TV, I thought was unnecessary. I read a few books a week, besides the romance novels we aren’t discussing here since this is for highbrows…. I still like to watch TV. I don’t watch a lot, but I do watch three hours a week, but Tivo’ed so I can skip boring commercials, so it comes out to less than that.

#3 Take notes in and on your book. That one I’m not sure about. I used to. I still do occasionally, but now I am much more likely to put an outline and notes of good pages in a notebook or on my computer. (Mostly on the computer.)

I totally agree with 4 and 5.

#6 is never get rid of a book. I think that if you have number six on your list, you do not read tons of books. I have about 5000 books in the house. And I’ve given away about twice that many. My brother has so many that he has an entire room filled with boxes of books he doesn’t like because he doesn’t want to get rid of them.

I think that reference books and books with good in depth stuff are good to keep, even if I don’t really re-read them on a regular basis. At least I still have them for when I need them. And I do keep two copies of books that I think are wonderful, so that I can loan them out without fearing the total decimation of my library. (I lost a few books that way that I haven’t been able to replace.)


Read and reread old books. Don’t be taken captive by fashion. Savor the classics.

I’m an English teacher and one of the reasons the classics are classics is because they are tragedies. I figure once is enough unless I am teaching them. I personally don’t need that much depression in my life.

Perhaps he was speaking of Christian classics. That’s a whole different story. Those are worth perusing, studying, and re-reading.

#8 is a point most readers know. But if you don’t read a lot and want to learn how to read good books, this is the rule for you.

#9 Read in silence. My husband and sons will tell you that if I am reading it is silent. Because I don’t hear a word or a thing that anyone says. I just shut out the whole world. This comes from growing up in a big family and sharing a bedroom. There never was any place to get away from it all.

#10 is rude, in my opinion. I don’t mind learning new words. I don’t mind using them. But I think that dropping them in conversations with people you know won’t know them is a tad aggravating. Now if you have a friend who also likes to learn new words, that would be different. No one is going to want to talk to you if they can’t understand what you’re saying because of the vocabulary.

#11, absolutely! Do it all the time. Take my friends. Do that for dates.

#12 I can’t believe I am saying this, because I am about as big a bibliophile as it is possible to be without being totally crazy, but sometimes buying anything, even a book, is not the right answer.

I did enjoy the list.

About Me

Top Ten Design Mistakes says the number one mistake is no autobiography. I already have 7 “About Me” posts, but they were written for fun. Apparently I need to write them as a resume.

“Even if you don’t have formal credentials, readers will trust you more if you’re honest about that fact, set forth your informal experience, and explain the reason for your enthusiasm.”

I have a BSEd with majors in history and English and a minor in Biology.
I have an MA in English, with an emphasis on Old English and 20th Century American literature.
I have a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition with my second field being Old English. (Where I had to translate works.)

I have been a Christian most of my life. I have 18 graduate hours in missions. I have twelve undergrad hours in Bible. I have taught a course on Church History to a women’s group over a year. I teach a Bible class for young children and am a host for an adult study. I have been a member in good standing of six different “denominations.” I am now back in the one I grew up in for reasons I sometimes question, but understand.

I read voraciously on many subjects. Hobbies to read in are history, science, English, and home improvement. And religion. I own over 5,000 books now and have given away or sold more than that many over my lifetime.

I homeschool.

I teach at the local community college.

I teach homeschoolers other than my own.

I have taught either as a substitute (1) or a full-time teacher (3) at four junior or senior high schools. English, history, biology. Before that I taught in a one room school house and taught everything, including PE. These were both public and private schools.

I have been fiercely interested in politics since 2000. I voted in all presidential elections I was able to before that, but I don’t remember being highly involved in the political debate arena before 2000.

I have written a novel and have received my first rejection letter for it. When the wound has healed I will send it out again. It is part of a trilogy which I am halfway through writing.

I write poetry for fun and have taught poetry classes for groups and schools. The students have been ages 9-15.

I have taught at the college level in English for four years full-time and eight years half-time. Both public and private colleges.

I watch lots of HGTV shows, but I don’t have much DIY experience.

I don’t mind mowing the yard and I work haphazardly in my garden. But it doesn’t look too bad.

I’ve been blogging for over two years.

I am not now and have never been in the military. My brother and my husband’s brother both served in the army pre-Middle East conflicts. My uncle was in Japan and another in Korea. But, despite this lack of affiliation, I feel that our military is vitally important to our nation’s security. I have worked with 200 homeschoolers to send more than 100 packages overseas. I have had a VBS at church where we created and wrote cards for the military and then sent them off. (These were both from us and for them to send home.) There is nothing I can do to thank those who have served in our military adequately. But I have adopted a Marine and a Soldier to try to make a dent.

I rarely write about art or glass, but I have a small collection of both.

My father is an attorney so I grew up in a household with lots of legalese running around. I don’t think I write about the law, but just in case…

I have been on myriads of diets. Body for Life. Nutrisystem. Quick Weight Loss Center. Weight Watchers. Others I don’t remember. At my heaviest I was over 200 pounds. (I was pregnant and on bed rest, but that’s not much of an excuse.) At my lowest as an adult I weighed 145.

I am new to the sport of running.

I have lived in five states, two countries, and 17 cities. I have visited Thailand, Brazil, Germany, Spain, and France.

I used to speak Spanish and French with enough fluency to get around town and do my groceries, banking, etc. And to translate sermons from English into Spanish.

I’ve been a missionary apprentice.

I’ve lived in Europe.

I’ve attended five universities, both public and private.

I’ve been poor, as a child, far below the poverty level. And I think I’m now in upper middle class.

I have had surgery for TMJ, two emergency C-sections, and an emergency surgery for internal bleeding. I have been told I was crazy when I was sick. I’ve been told I wasn’t sick when I had pneumonia. I’ve seen more doctors than “you can shake a stick at.” Some of them needed sticks shaken at them too. I have a definite personal, logical, and forceful prejudice against doctors who believe that patient symptoms are psychosomatic just because the doctor doesn’t know what is wrong with them.

Oh, and I like to take quizzes and tests and do navel gazing.

I think that is about all I can think of that I’ve been commenting on. So those are my areas of expertise and interest.

Bimbos and Zombies

It’s the title of a sci fi fandom mystery duality. It certainly was not the light read I was expecting when I bought it off the library sale bookshelf nor when I pulled it off my “I need to read these” shelf today.

I like the main characters, an engineer who accidentally wrote a sci fi novel, and his girlfriend-we-won’t-get-married-till-we-both-get-tenure/if-we-both-get-tenure, a PhD from the English department.

The setting was fun, if a little too… sci fi fannish. The first was at a con and the author introduced many varied and unnecessary characters, just so that you would get a feel for the place. Since I’ve gone to cons, I didn’t need that, but it was still interesting.

The first one I thought was a little slow. But it got going and was interesting. Great character development.

But the second one was depressing to me. If she had ended it with the police agreeing to say they were heart attacks, I would have been okay with it. It wouldn’t have been happy, but okay. But, no, she has to have an informed character decide to sell a tell-all book. And the whole gang rape thing, even if that’s not what it was, was a little too much information I would rather have not existed.

But it was an interesting book.

I’m finally mixing our scifi/fantasy books.

We’ve been married eighteen (yes, 18) years. And I’ve always shelved our sci fi and fantasy books as his/her shelves.

Most of the time that is not a problem. He hates Lackey. I despise Heinlein.

But then what do you do with John Ringo, who we both read? Or Elizabeth Moon? Usually, the books I thought I liked better went on my shelves. The books I thought he liked better went on his.

His were always alphabetized, because he liked them that way. Mine were always shelved by author or category. Author if I would know the author’s name, category if I liked a single book, but not all the ones by that author.

Now we have three bookshelves, our biggest, filled with sci fi and fantasy books. They are alphabetized.

I kept one shelf out for “I bought this but haven’t read it yet” books.

But after eighteen years of marriage I finally decided I won’t really get cooties from having my books sit next to his Heinlein’s on the shelf. (Although that could be why we both got sick this week. Maybe it wasn’t from licking File it Under’s screen after all.)

Socialized medicine

My youngest thinks socialism is a good idea. Forget charity; take it from their pockets and share with everyone. My eldest seems to agree that socialized medicine is a good way to go.

But… think of this.

Walter Reed is hospital by government. And what are we going to do when all the hospitals have mold and leaks and dirty beds? Right on the Left Coast pointed this egregious example out. Yes, it may have been run by individuals, but it is clearly government-run medicine, which is what socialized medicine is.

Here’s another example. BBC says a patient was rousted from his room at 3 am and put in a waiting room because of an emergency admit. He was in the waiting room for over a day.

I can’t imagine throwing someone already admitted out of their bed. But I do know that my husband was so ill he couldn’t sit in a chair without falling over and the hospital kept him in the waiting room for several hours waiting for a bed to come open. So unfortunately this might not be the greatest example either.

Homeschoolers and Socialization

It’s the big question that people want to bring up about homeschooling. What about socialization? For some, very few, special needs children, homeschooling does not provide sufficient socialization.

But for the rest of them…

See The Buck Stops Here with his quote from a study of 70 always homeschooled and 70 always traditional students. (I will say the age is awfully young, 8-10.)

The money quote?

The observers used the Direct Observation Form of the Child Behavior Checklist . . . , a checklist of 97 problem behaviors such as argues, brags or boasts, doesn’t pay attention long, cries, disturbs other children, isolates self from others, shy or timimd, and shows off. The results were striking — the mean problem behavior score for children attending conventional schools was more than eight times higher than that of the home-schooled group. Shyers (1992a) described the traditionally schooled children as “aggressive, loud, and competitive” (p. 6). In contrast, the home-schooled children acted in friendly, positive ways.

Re the special needs comment: I have a friend with an autistic/ADHD son. He needs peer socialization for his brain to progress. He wouldn’t get that at home.

“But, Mom, if I brush my teeth I’ll have a seizure.”

According to Live Science, reporting on a March 6 Neurology article, “The rhythmic act of brushing teeth may excite an already overly excitable area of the brain. This is similar to photosensitive epilepsy, which involves seizures triggered by flashing lights and moving patterns,” study author Wendyl D’Souza, with the department of neurology and neurological research at St. Vincent’s Hospital, University of Melbourne, said…

Help a Woman

Go to Tampontification and choose a state and move a heart. If you do, the company, Seventh Generation, will donate feminine hygiene products to a women’s shelter.

That’s all you have to do. Click and click and drag.

Lost City: Found

A city built 8000 years ago, lived in for 6000 years, has been uncovered in Turkey (I think).

Interesting tidbits:

home with a timber floor, remnants of food supplies and blackberry seeds….

The graves, mostly rectangular in shape and placed in a circular formation, contain hundreds of funeral gifts buried with the dead. Among them are ceramic and bronze pots, jewelry, clothing accessories, iron and bronze weapons and tools and a number of other objects of unknown use….

Of particular interest are the pieces of jewelry, hairdressing and beauty aids in nearly all the women’s graves as well as those of little girls….

The depiction…(by the archaeologist of the people) shows details of bronze ribbon diadems and bronze and gold hair ornaments, bead necklaces of stone, bronze or shell, iron, ivory or leather belts decorated with bronze, a wide variety of bracelets and bronze rings for the middle or ring finger.

…weaving looms, ceramic pots, 53 clay figurines, 25 small figures of humans and animals, a large number of jewelry items and charred remnants of plants (wheat, lentils, pomegranates and fruit seeds)….

This is especially interesting for me, because Wynne would have come through this area at the time and she and Toban met up there and then came to Eiroan’s Port.

EKathimerini has it all.

Note: At the beginning of the article it says the place was lived in from 6000 BC to 60 BC. However, towards the end it says it was inhabited from 6000 BC till 3100 BC. I think the second makes more sense, since they are calling it an “iron age” graveyard. But there is bronze and bronze weapons in the grave. So I still may borrow it for Dielli’s mother and uncle.

Vikings could navigate on cloudy days

I think that must have been true, else how would they have attacked the British Isles and Normandy?

One author believes they used sunstones, rocks like calcite or turmaline which let them see the position of the sun through the clouds. The full article is here.

Note: This would be useful for Dielli’s story. Maybe that’s how the ground troops travel when there is no road?

How do you know

you have reached an answering service that isn’t in Houston? They’ll ask you for your phone number, area code first.

In Houston, there are no numbers that don’t have area codes. We have at least three: 832, 281, 713. And everyone has to dial the whole area code.

Compare this to my friends in New York who have lived there for forty years and whose phone number, in total, only has five digits.

I am sure that soon/eventually all of the US will have 10 digit phone numbers and that then we’ll have to add more numbers to the system.