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Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth. I said if that's the case then why should I believe you" -Lecrae - Gravity

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Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Six Word Saturday: Video Edition

Six Word Saturday time again brought to you by the courtesy of http://www.showmyface.com/. My Six Words:

I think these videos are great.

Lin Manuel Miranda, the TonyAward winning lyricist recently got married. He invited me to his reception, so to speak, by posting some of it on you tube. My thanks to Why Homeschool? who ran it on their blog a few weeks ago. This is a wonderful video. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks also to Blogging 2 Learn who ran this you tube video on their blog recently. It was a shakesperean rendition of Who's on First. When I watched it on you tube I was directed tot he following who's on First with a home school twist . . .

I hope you liked the videos. Click here for more Six Word Saturday.

Next Time: The Age of Aquariums.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My name is Dave, and I approve this message.

It is just a few days before the midterm elections and even a guy like me who doesn't watch broadcast t.v. and only reads the Sunday paper periodically (It's a periodical, so it's okay.) can be overwhelmed with political messages. Between the print ads I receive in my mail, the phone calls, and radio ads I am besieged with election opinions. I received 8 pieces of mail today, 7 political ads and a circular for Bath and Body Works. If Plumeria were to run for office, I would consider voting for it.

Political advertising turn me off because they are so often negative. Their is also a general absence of talking about the positive things of your of your own candidacy. I received a letter today from a candidate who wanted to complain about the falsehoods and smear techniques his opponent was using against him. The thing is the letter did not really tell me anything good about the candidate or even defend him self against the purported slander. He did however take time to attack his opponent and ask me for money.

My son has even noticed all the negative campaigning. While listening an attack ad the Illinois Republican Senatorial Candidate was running against his democratic opponent. My son just commented, He should just say "My opponent is good, but I'm better."

Many of the mailers I receive comment on the misspending on of those in power. They also comment on the great economic problems in our country and specifically our. state. It got me to wondering how much less debt we would be in if there was a way to use all the money spent on political advertising could actually be used in running the country. Call me crazy.

Like many voters I have pet issues that are more important to me than others. Both candidates for my state representative have come and visited me at house this year and I have told them both that as a home schooling parent like that Illinois has very few requirement for Home Education. I have encouraged them that to keep me happy they should keep it that way. I am also pro-life, anti-abortion, anti-choice, whatever you want to call it. It bothers me that neither of the aforementioned candidates agree with me on that particular subject. That particular race
has no other candidates so I will have to choose on other criteria. This is unfortunate as the pro-life issue is usually the deal breaker with me.

In the Senate race my son was commenting on, neither the Republican or Democratic opponent are pro-life; I have decided to back the Libertarian candidate, who is. I received a phone call Saturday asking if I would be voting Republican in the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate and House elections. I explained that I was backing the Republican in the governors race and the House race but explained why I was going Libertarian in the Senate race. The caller responded "that's too bad.". Being a total smart aleck I asked if it was too bad that was voting for 2 Republicans, or if it was too bad I was voting my conscience for Senator. She said that she knew the Republican candidate for Senator and I should vote for him. I reexplained my reasoning in not supporting a pro-choice candidate when there was a pro-life one on the ballot. Her response was that a vote for the Libertarian was really a vote for the Democrat. Our call ended soon after that. What I didn't tell her (not because I'm not a smart aleck, but only because I didn't think of it) was okay I'll vote for the Democrat then.

So those are some political thoughts that have been simmering over the past few weeks. I'll be back tomorrow to talk about religion.

Next Time: Who's Fiddling on the Roof First

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blog Rolling with the Changes

Blog Insider - A look at the widgets, gadgets and whatnot's of Home School Dad

Tonight's Episode: A Simple way to improve your Blog Roll.

I have been doing a lot of meta-blogging lately. The majority of my posts have been about my blog rather than about stuff that is actually interesting to readers. At least that's my wife's take on it. The other day after reviewing my post about videos, she said in her BMPV (Best Miss Piggy Voice) "I don't understand any of this."

Well, I have good news and bad news for those who agree with her. The good news is that I will soon be posting again about the subjects that made me famous in 3 counties. The bad news is it does not start with this post.

Today, I am going to take up that provocative subject of Blog rolls. A blog roll is a list of blogs that you follow with a link to them. In the past I had always been tweaking my list of blogs on my blog roll. This was due in some part to the fact that I am always finding new blogs I want to share with the world. But it was mainly due to the fact that some of the blogs I follow post so periodically that I wanted to only feature blogs that were more current. It's kind of a publish or perish sort of thing.

This was working out okay, but it meant that every once in a while I had to go back and see if those other blogs had put out anything new lately. Than I happened on a cool way to list only current blogs but not lose touch of the old ones.

On Blogger there is a feature on the blog roll that allows you to limit the amount of blogs that shows on your list. While I now have 50 blogs on my roll, only 25 are listed at any one time. These are the 25 that have posted the most recently. Currently, the 25 listed are all less than a week old.

What I really like about this is when, a someone in the lower 25 posts again it automatically springs up to the top. Some of my favorite blogs post intermittently. Allen Levi's blog essentially went silent after his 7 songs in 7 days this past August. But every couple of months he puts something on and I will be one of the first to know. Out Walking took a bit of a summer sabbatical but is now putting up his usual 1 -2 provocative pieces a week. With my new system, he came back to my attention without my having to search for him. I mentioned the blog, Rocks in My Dryer when talking about Works for Me Wednesday last week. She hasn't posted since July, But if and when she comes back I (and my readers) will know about it.

Now it is essentially true I could do the same thing just by subscribing to these blogs. Yes, and no. I like having what I like available for everyone to see. This method works much better for me. If you go through my blog list and do not see a blog you have seen before. Click on the See All button below the last blog on the list. It is very likely you will find it there.

So now that I have proved once again that Boring is just not a suburb of Portland, I will wrap up this look at the making of the making of this blog.

Next Time: An Unpaid Political Pronouncement.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blogging the Days of the Week Part III

It started with Works for Me Wednesday. That for a long time was my favorite meme. 3 Things This Thursday came along and soon became my favorite. Then Six Word Saturday came into my life and became my new favorite.

Here are six words to describe what I like most about this colorful meme hosted each week at Show my Face dot com .

Fun. Describing your life in six words is many things for me. At it's center it's enjoyable. If it wasn't fun, I probably would not do it.

Challenging. Trying to get a snapshot my life in six words can be somewhat of a challenging task. It's a good challenge, especially for the writer in me.

Versatile. I have been able to use those six words for so many purposes. Obituaries, book reviews, give-a-way plugs.

Relaxed. The host allows you to explain your six words and never blares a horn at you if you happen to miscount.

Good Company. I especially enjoy reading other peoples six words and the feeling of community established there.

Six Word Saturday is the kind of meme I would have wanted to create. It is simple yet provocative. I enjoy participating and hope to for a long time.

Next Time: Blog Insider

Blogging The Days of the Week Part II

Three Things This Thursday (3TTT) was once hands down my favorite meme in blog world. Then, I took it over. Michelle of Psalm 104:24 used to run it. In the summer of 2009 she asked me to take it over which I gladly did. It quickly went from being a labor of love to just labor. I made some changes to it but I never liked it as much as when Michelle was running it. After about a 3 month absence, today will be the final installment of 3TTT. Since it's the final installment I'll make it a very special triple edition.

3 Things I liked about 3TTT
  1. It was really easy to participate, as I didn't have to have any special theme.
  2. By writing about 3 things I could actually put 3 posts worth in one post.
  3. It gave me the ability to blog about things I would not normally.

3 Things I did not like about 3TTT

  1. I lost that loving feeling for it. It felt more like work than fun.
  2. Very few people participated in it.
  3. It cramped my style. Having a meme to write every week or every fortnight got in the way of writing the rest of my blog.

3 Things I learned from 3TTT

  1. Passion without purpose can become a drudgery.
  2. For now, I am a better meme participant than host.
  3. It's okay to stop doing something without considering yourself a failure.

Next Time: Bloggging the days of the week Part III.

Blogging The Days of the Week Part I

As many of you know I counting down the top 25 labels of this blogs first 300 posts for some time now. I was looking over the top 5 labels, I noticed a bit of a trend at the top. Labels 3,4, & 5 are all memes. Not only are they all memes, they all have a day of their week in their title. In quick fire fashion I will tell you what I like and or liked about these meme's in 3 quick posts today.

# 5 WFMW

Before I blogged my wife used to tell me about Works For Me Wednesday(WFMW). At that time it was hosted at Rocks in my Dryer. There were some pretty good ideas there on how to save , time, money, brain cells and other substances we only have a finite amount of. When I started blogging, I fell in love with the format and became a regular even when it switched to it's new home at We Are That Family.

My posts differed from many of the other posts shared at WFMW as the things that worked for me were mostly ideas and experiences rather than household hints. I posted about How Libraries, Song Parodies, and even WFMW itself worked for me. Even though my posts were more unconventional I benefited from the more traditional posts being shared at WFMW and I even wrote a post about them.

At one point I had 4- 5 months of WFMW post ideas stored in my handy dandy notebook. Last fall due to a scheduling conflict, I began to post less and less there. I still have the occasional idea that I think will work for the WFMW crowd. I hop there from time to time just to see if there's a new way to clean a sink using only paper clips or other intriguing ideas. WFMW still works for me, just not as often.

Next Time: Blogging the days of the week Part II

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brewers Should Think About Giving Ryne Sandberg Shot At Manager | Brew Crew Central

This is the very idea I had when the Cubs didn't give HOF Infielder and Cubs AAA Manager Ryne Sandberg the Big Club Skipper nod earlier this week. As muh as I'd like Joey Cora to get the Brewers gig, I think putting Ryno in the managerial mix is a win-win for the Brew Crew and Sandberg.

Brewers Should Think About Giving Ryne Sandberg Shot At Manager | Brew Crew Central

United Breaks Guitars 1, 2 and 3.

One of my most popular tags is videos (# 6 after initial 300 posts). There are 3 types of videos that I post here:

1) videos I have taken of my family

2) Videos friends and family have asked me or allowed me to post

3) Viral videos I have found on the internet or that have been reccomended by other blogs.

One of the videos from the third category that I found most compelling is actually a series of three videos by a group called the Sons of Maxwell fronted by Canadian Dave Carroll.
The incident that inspired the songs took place in my home town of Chicago as United Airlines mishandled the guitar of Mr. Carroll. The real tragedy took place as Carroll could not get United to fix the guitar. After going round and round with United, Carrol told the airline's representative that he was going to write 3 songs about the incident, record them, make music videos and post them on you tube. Carrol was as good as his word and he posted the following 3 songs:

United Breaks Guitars Song I

United Breaks Guitars Song II

United Breaks Guitars Song III

Now I haven't flown United since the incident. This isn't really much of a boycott as I haven't had flown anywhere to since July of 2001. I will continue to post cool videos like these though.

Next Time: WFMW

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Heart is for Loving Mommy.

At Puppy's art station today I had her make a few pieces of art work.

As I looked over the first one I asked her to describe it for me.

"This is me." she said as she pointed to the purple person in the middle of a page. She then pointed to the figure inside the heart. "That's a bunny." she said. She told me a little more about other parts of the picture and ended with a flourish by saying "The heart is for loving Mom."

It was such a cute interaction that I snapped some pictures and abandoned my planned post for today just to share this little puppyism with you guys.

Sometimes, (on my "low self-image days") {I'll mail a dollar to the first commenter, besides my wife, who can tell me what movie the quote in parentheses comes from} when my children tell me how much they love their Mom, I wonder why they don't say they love me. On this occasion, however, I felt glad that my children re discovering what I've known for years. My heart is for loving you babe, and you Puppy, and you Spider Droid, and you also Bunny.

Next Time: United + Guitars times three.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In Praise of The Carnival of Homeschooling

If you have been following this blog you know that since I hit post 300 earlier this year I have been writing some tribute posts to my top 25 labels over that time period. Now with 12 posts left until # to 400 I am inching to the # 1 label.

Tonight's Episode: # 7 The Carnival of Homeschooling.

I have been a contributor to the Carnival of Homeschooling since January 2009, my first month in the blogging business. It was a little ditty called No Child left Ahead. I have also hosted the carnival 3 times since then. My last time was with reflections on the panorama of homeschooling. I need to move on because this is teetering towards self promotion, and I am really here to talk about the carnival. Here are a few reasons why I like the Carnival of Homeschooling:

1. It's better than a meme.

I say this because, while I love a good meme they can have 100's of linked articles. Good luck reading 1/2 of them and having any semblance of a life. The carnival has a finite amount of submissions each week and can usually be read cover to cover without abandoning your loved ones for weeks at a time.

2. It covers a lot of bases.

While all the articles are home school related, the carnival is generally an eclectic mix of ideas, opinions and insights. Homeschooling flakes are a lot like the snow variety as no two are exactly the same. It is good to have a 1 stop shop each week that will cover such a vast spectrum of home schooling issues.

3. It is an excellent networking tool for home educators.

Since there is this vast spectrum of home school banter, the reader is exposed to many great ideas to implement in their own classrooms. From field trips, to curriculum, to coping skills the carnival has been an invaluable asset.

4. It helps unlock the Internet.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that each issue has Easter Eggs with cheat codes on how to unlock the Internet. I'm not saying that each issue doesn't either. So knock yourself out if you want to search for them. What I am saying is that in many ways the Carnival of Homeschooling has helped me better navigate the web. If you look at my blog roll you will see many frequent contributors to the carnival who I am only familiar with because of said carnival. I also have picked up followers to my blog because of some of my submissions here.

I became aware of the HSBA that I wrote about in my last post through the carnival.

I have nominated many blogs this year that I learned about from this carnival. You could nominate your favorite home school blogs by clicking here. My great humility and desire to not promote myself prevents me from mentioning that you could also nominate my blog if you wanted to. Good thing for my legendary humility.

5. It's a blast and a half (kaboom, kab.) to host the carnival.

Honestly, hosting the carnival is a lot of labor. But anyone who's ever done it knows it's a labor of love. It gives you the opportunity to get the first look at all the articles before hand. It also gives you a back stage view of the carnival. If you have never hosted, you would be surprised by how many non home school related carnivals come in each week and how about 1/3 of the submissions come in the last day (including this one). Hosting is also good for me because a theme topic is usually one that I would not have written about otherwise.

So there we have it, I like the Carnival of Homeschooling. If you are reading this from the carnival, I imagine it that you like it too. You can also click here to check out the most recent edition.

Next Time: The United Guitar Trilogy

Saturday, October 16, 2010

HSBA Nominations have begun

Join Me at The Homeschool Post!

Show my face dot com has Six Word Saturdays each and every Saturday. I am a regular contributor. Sometimes my six words are funny, sometimes they are windows to my soul. Today they are purely self promotional:

Nominate me. I homeschool. I'm funny.

The Homeschool Blog Awards nomination process began today. Last year I was nominated in the best Homeschool Dad blog category and with a blog called Homeschool Dad that is a good fit for me. If any of my readers see fit to nominate me again this year in that category I would be very grateful. However there is a category of the 20 or so that I covet more than that. It is the Funniest home school blog category.

Funny is definitely my love language. I worked at a company for almost 10 years and always received very good annual reviews. The part I always highlighted to show my wife was the Dave has an excellent sense of humor comment that seemed to get written every year. I know that in the world of business a nice sense of humor comment may seem to some as akin to saying that a homely person has a great personality. I never took it that way. I often tell people that my job aptitude tests in high school said my ideal profession would be court jester. I love making people laugh and this blog among other things is an opportunity to do just that. Also one thing that I have found in my 2+ years of being the lead home educator in the family is that a good sense of humor is as important as a good curriculum.

So if you are up for it feel free to nominate me for funniest home school blog and be sure to nominate other worthy home school blogs in other categories. Click here to participate in the nominations.

For more six word Saturday head back to http://www.showmyface.com/. Also As a show of good faith I will teach you one of my favorite jokes that I have created over the years. Here's how it goes.

On a rainy day when you are around some people that you know. Get their attention than run outside in the pouring rain. Lift your right hand over your head and close your fist in a way that looks like you are holding something in your hand. While holding the pose turn to your audience and say "Why mimes get wet."

Next Time: In praise of the carnival of homeschooling.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Lucyism by any other name

Before I decided to give the kids nicknames here on this blog I called them by their real names and even the labels reflected that. Amidst all the real stuff I do off line, I have been trying to clean up past posts and labels. I have changed all the posts about the ways and sayings of my youngest to Puppyisms rather than her nameisms. But let's face facts they are Lucyisms!

She says so many of them I can't always recall them. One of my recent favorites was when my wife commented on the fact that Puppy is always hungry and asking for food said that we were going to give her a meal every 10 minutes. The next morning and for the next few days Puppy would come up to me and say has it been 10 minutes yet I'm hungry again. I had to finally explain to her that we were not, in fact, going to feed her every 10 minutes. She was less than thrilled.

A few weeks ago I was having a little trouble with my oldest daughter talking back to me. So I called her into my room and was having a private conversation with her about her attitude. Now Puppy doesn't know what a private conversation is so she just wandered in. Here is a transcript from that convo

Me: Bunny you need show me respect.

Puppy: Daddy do you know what spect means?

Me: No, I don't. Bunny and I are talking right now.

Puppy: Daddy you shouldn't use words if you don't know what they mean!

After a few more interchanges I realized that she was asking what spect meant because I said respect and she heard the word spect.

Call them Puppyisms, call them Lucyisms, I just call them precious snapshots of a very special person.

Next Time: Nominations

Monday, October 11, 2010

Death disrupts order

I have been systematically going through my top 25 labels as of post 300 and breaking them down label by label. I am up to # 8 and was about to wax eloquent on the many and various sayings of my precious little puppy.

This was until I saw the topic of the latest Men's Monday Meme, How do you handle the death of a loved one. This made me jump all the way from daughter at # 8 to brother at #2 with Keith for 300.

I will return to the puppyisms next time. For now let's turn to Tim the author of Families Again. He reported in his last post that his mom is possibly terminally ill and he's not quite sure how to handle things like last goodbyes and tying up loose ends. In his meme he raised these questions for any men who wanted to answer them:

How do you fellow men deal with things like this? What are your secrets? Is it okay to be weak sometimes?

As I alluded to, this reminded me of my brother Keith. Keith passed away in April of 2009. Coping with his death and remembering his life have become mainstays of this blog. Keith's death took me by complete surprise. However, he had been in and out of hospitals with kidney and heart ailments for almost three years. Some of the hospitalizations lasted for months. When he was in the hospital, I would visit him at least once a week, sometimes even staying overnight in the hospital. My purpose for visiting him so frequently was three-fold: helping him pass the time with games and watching shows together, being an advocate for his health care, and there is something compulsive in me about visiting people when they are in hospitals. Even though I never expected him to die, you never know.

When I was out of work in 2006, Keith became ill. Within a month, he was at the Mayo Clinic. I had found a job that didn't start for a few weeks, so I was able to take the entire family and Keith's daughter to visit him. After that, Keith's health and well-being was like a family project.

I found that the more I got involved, the easier things became for me. Especially after he died. I never find myself thinking, "Why didn't I do more? Why wasn't I there for him?" As for being weak, that's a difficult one for me to answer because I've never been one of those Let's Chop Down a Tree and Not Talk About Our Feelings, kind of guy. Even though at some points, Keith had only 10% heart use and 10% kidney use, I never felt like his death was imminent. Perhaps that's why when he was living, I never felt weak.

I did often feel drained from the frequent visits. At the same time, Amy's dad was also having months long hospitalizations and at one point, my dad had a hip replacement and spent several weeks rehabing. It seemed we were always visiting someone in a hospital. Amy was especially encouraging and understanding during those times. I was working outside the home at the time and would often be at home only to sleep.

After Keith died was when much of my weaknesses showed. In some ways, I'm still in shock. Today I looked at a picture of Keith and me taken when I was living in Russia. The first thing I thought of was I couldn't believe he was dead. The initial grief was seemingly omnipresent. I would cry for no reason. Some of those moments are well documented in these posts. My family was a tremendous blessing to me during those times. I remember a time where my oldest daughter wrote a letter to me that was incredibly encouraging.

When Keith was in high school, I was his youth group leader. Several times he came forward saying he wanted to follow Christ. I was always unsure whether he was genuine or just trying to please me. When he was in college, he began to grow in his faith. My grieving for him is lessened knowing that he is in heaven now and someday I will be reunited with him.

Since Keith died last year, I have been active in the lives of his widow and children. Spending time with them and helping them as they need it, has also helped me move on to the next stage of life.

If you are interested in participating in the Men's Monday meme, click here. If you want to see more things I wrote about Keith, click here.

Next time: A Lucyism by any other name

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My son the action hero: the slide show

Talking about my children is one of my favorite things to do on this blog. In terms of labels the # 9 through the first 300 blog posts has been posts about my son and his action hero ways. Here is an interview conducted by his sister this past winter . . .

He has many facets ...


Fashion Plate


School Project assistant

School Project Model

Day Laborer


Big Brother


Military Archivist

Did I mention

Next Time: A Lucyism by any other name.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Winner is ...

It is now time to give the Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing CD away.

I will say all the people who entered this one all seemed pysched about receving it. So I am glad that I was able to give it away. The winner is CT. Congratulations. I will be contacting you soon.

Next Time: My son the action hero.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mavis Beacon Give--a-way Update

Six Word Saturday appears each Saturday at Show My Face dot com.

My Six Words: Click and comment to win Beacon.

Last week I posted about how I am giving away a copy of the Mavis Beacon Typing Class CD-Rom. The contest ends on Sunday. It is not too late to enter. You can enter at my original post by leaving a comment or just leave a comment here.

For more Six Word Saturday click here.

Next Time: My Son the Action Hero.

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