Thursday, July 02, 2020

Bob Hope (and things)

I sat a little shell-shocked at my computer after I got the news that Greg Hope had died. It was rather late at night and Andrew was working. For levity's sake, here's a picture I snapped of Andrew this evening before he began filming his lecture:


Business on the top, casual on the bottom. I haven't seen him wear pants in weeks (it would be months but Benjamin's baptism last month kind of broke his streak).

Bird man

"Hoo-hoo, Mom," Alexander said, stumbling into my bedroom at 1:00 in the morning (I know it's up late; Andrew is still recording his lecture and I'm in the very bad (?) habit of staying up until he's ready to go to bed). He often stumbles into my room and says weird things. Sometimes it's just, "Hey." Sometimes it's, "Will you take me potty and then tuck me back in my own bed? Because I do want to sleep in your bed but my bed has all my toys." Sometimes, apparently, it's "Hoo-hoo."

I caught him mid-yawn, but you can see he brought one of his stuffed owls with him.


This boy and his birds!

She loves me (she loves me not)

We are reading The Ickabog right now. In fact, we're all caught up as it's being published chapter by chapter. The kids were so frightened by the end of last week's installment that when I realized new chapters apparently aren't posted on the weekend and so began reading The Trumpet of the Swan to the children they begged me not to return to the The Ickabog. It was just too scary. 

But we've gotten a few good drawings out of it. Zoë has been drawing monsters and nightmares for everyone in the family. Here are a couple she drew from me and Alexander. Alexander's picture is clearly a terrifying beast. My picture looks like a bucolic home scene...until you notice the venomous snake slithering in the grass. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

First world problems

As I mentioned, we've had some wonderful summer storms roll in (we're supposed to be seeing a Saharan dust storm but haven't really noticed if it's hit us or not because of all the rain we've been getting) and they've been knocking the power out quite regularly.

On Friday it was clearing up a bit so I told the kids we'd go play outside really quick before it stormed again, but as we were lugging our bikes out of the garage the storm clouds gathered together, blocked out the sun, and started throwing a temper tantrum. So we put our bikes away and sought shelter inside.

"I'm going to start making dinner right now," Andrew said, even though it was a little early. "I'm just afraid the power's going to go..."

And at that moment the power went off. But then it came on again! But then it went off again. But then it came on again! But then there was a loud exploding noise and it went off again. We waited for it to come back on but the exploding noise was exactly as ominous as it sounded.

"Never mind about dinner," Andrew said.

We played UNO instead. By candlelight because the storm was blocking out so much sunlight that Alexander asked if it was bedtime (at 4:00 in the afternoon). Alexander usually plays but he couldn't because "power outage" so he snuggled on Rachel's lap and mumbled "power outage, power outage, power outage" while the rest of us played.



Monday, June 29, 2020

COVID quarantine

Our power was out for about 8 hours yesterday, so I actually have quite a bit to blog about. We had a pretty great time without the internet! One of the activities that Rachel and Miriam did was write a little parody about our current life in quarantine to the tune of Yellow Submarine. They did a great job coming up with lyrics. We recorded it today after church for you to enjoy:


(One note on the lyrics is that even if you are wearing a mask we still probably won't play with you; sorry (not sorry)).

Friday, June 26, 2020

Mud, baths

The kids were being wild at lunch so we sent them outside to play. Soon Alexander and Zoë tromped up the deck steps to complain that they had gotten muddy, and they had. Their shoes were muddy (Zoë was in rain boots and Alexander was in crocs) and they had a bit of mud on their legs and hands.

"You're a bit dirty," I agreed, "But that's okay. We'll just wash you off before you come back inside the house. Where's Ben?"

"Benny is dirty, too!" Alexander told me. 

I walked to the edge of the deck so I could see into the backyard and...yup. Benjamin was dirty. Benjamin was very dirty. Our poor backyard is just a swamp right now; we've had so much rain.



Mask insanity

Today's PSA: Just because you stop caring about something doesn't mean that thing stops mattering. In other words: We are still in the middle of a pandemic.

A friend of mine posted an article about pandemic numbers rising (quite astronomically in some places) and her post has garnered 213 comments on Facebook. People fighting over whether or not masks work, whether or not masks are a political statement, whether or not masks are stripping us of our freedoms. It was a definite popcorn-muncher (as in you wanted to just pop some popcorn, sit back, and watch the entire conversation devolve into chaos).

How is this even a question at this point?

Anyway, a different friend on the other end of the mask-wearing spectrum posted a video of a a certain representative from Ohio who refuses to wear a mask because he believes "that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. That image is seen the most by our face," and thus he refuses to wear a mask. In the video he has various youngsters stick a GX-2009 gas monitor inside their masks to measure whether or not there is an acceptable level of oxygen in their masks.

Every time the monitor is placed inside the mask the alarm starts beeping and it won't quit until it is turned off manually (so it continues beeping after it's taken out of the mask and is in fresh air; it must be turned off by pressing the reset button). This is important to note. It doesn't turn off once it's back within acceptable, breathable levels. Our politician friend points out than anything less than 19.5% is considered an oxygen-depleted environment. That's true.

So this alarm will go off when it detects an oxygen-depleted environment (or an oxygen-enriched environment, which is also dangerous) and will not turn off when oxygen levels return to normal.

The alarm sounded in all three tests and when he checked back on the "peak reading" they were as follows:
First test: 17.1%
Second test: 18.1%
Third test: 17.6%
Now, I'm just going to point out an interesting fact for you. Fun facts are fun, after all.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Gotta have Hope

In the middle of writing my "School Bells" post last night, I found out that Greg Hope passed away, so the post quickly devolved into chaos. It's fine.

Greg Hope is my dad's cousin's husband, which sounds like a rather distant relation, but he's is an emotionally close relative. My dad's immediate family isn't at all tight-knit, at least not with us. His brothers tormented him when he was younger and he simply didn't end up great friends with any of them in adulthood. My aunt lives in Washington State and we used to visit with her family when we lived in British Columbia, but I haven't really spent time with anyone from her family since I was 8 or 9. My uncles all live in Utah. Some uncles have walked a path riddled with addiction and difficulty and simply live a lifestyle that is so, so foreign from my own. Others are fine people, good people. Still, if I was walking down the street and one of my uncles was walking towards me, I honestly couldn't say that any of them would recognize me. And on the off chance that they did recognize me, there is no way they would be able to guess my name. I mean, I would be shocked if they both recognized me and had my name pop into their head. It would just...like...

We're not close, is what I'm saying.

The Hopes though? They're different. They're family

School bells

We are getting set to open our homeschool academic year very soon (Monday is the plan, actually), which feels very strange to me as I'm seeing my Canadian friends just barely posting their end-of-the-year pictures. But, honestly, our social life is pretty bland right now and we have no plans to do any sort of fun vacation this year, so I figure we may as well get a little bit of our formal learning out of the way. We're abandoning the school calendar this year, anyway, and are embracing a year-round calendar (which is something we've missed since we said goodbye to Easley Elementary School). Plus, I think it will be nice to have the kids into a routine and feeling comfortable with their new curriculum before I begin my classes (because I'm a little nervous about that).

Our math text books arrived a couple of weeks ago and the kids were rather excited about that. I just ordered our science curriculum (it's downloadable, though, so its delivery is fairly instantaneous). Various novels have been trickling in. We just built frames for and hung up our maps (finally). I reorganized our kitchen cupboards and reclaimed an entire cabinet in the dining room for our homeschool stuff. And when our new notebooks arrived, you should have heard the children squealing with joy—so many colours, so many ruling options (wide-ruled, college-ruled, primer-ruled), so much bliss!

Zoë was thrilled with her new notebooks and was sure that her very first assignment will be the writing prompt featured on the front of her notebook. She wanted to practice writing the way she would for her notebook but she didn't want to write in her notebook because she wanted to keep it clean and fresh for kindergarten. So instead she got out some scrap paper and copied the writing verbatim and then drew a picture of a house next to it (it's a picture of Benjamin, in case you can't tell).


She writes a lot of things from her own brain as well, but I thought it was cute that she thought she would need to write the exact thing that's on the cover of her notebook.

Mysterious text messages and Medieval creations

It's 11:15 PM and a new text notification pops up on my screen. It says:

Ben H is talking to you. Ben H should absolutely not be talking to me at 11:15 PM so of course I check my phone. His text message simply says, "Keep going."

So I walk down the hall to Benjamin's room. "What are you doing, buddy?" I ask.

"Nothing," he says, doing a terrible job of hiding his phone...which, for the record, isn't technically a phone; it's an old cast-off phone that he uses as an iPod—he likes to do Duolingo on it, and enjoys listening to a pod cast before bed and then to music while he falls asleep, oh, and he can text a limited number of people on it as well. And which, for the record, is not supposed to be plugged in next to his bed but across the room from his bed.

"I'm going to have to take your phone," I tell him and he reluctantly hands it over. "You really need to go to sleep," I remind him but I still am just baffled by his message so I start asking him questions. "But what does it mean—keep going?"

"I don't know," he said.

"Who did you think you were texting?" I asked. "Because clearly you didn't think you were texting me."

"I thought I was texting Rachel and Miriam and you."

"That's exactly who you texted. But why 'Keep going'?"

"I don't know!"

"Then why send it? And why send it in the middle of the night when you know you shouldn't be on your phone?"

"I just...I didn't realize that texts sent so quickly! I thought it would be a nice message for you to wake up to in the morning. I didn't think it would go to your phone right away. I thought it would take some time!"