I just need 5 minutes...

in a room with the President. And this article sums up what I would ask him. Because, Lord knows, the press sure as hell isn't asking the right questions. Actually, they really aren't asking any at all.



- hfs

Budgeting for Christmas

I probably should hold off on posting this until AFTER Christmas when people are starting to line their budget plans out for the following year. But my brain seems to resemble a sieve these days and I'm pretty sure the holes are big enough to drive a Mack truck through them so I'm going to post this here and now before the thought skitters away like that $20 I had in my wallet last week.

Obviously, our budget has been pretty tight these past three years - the uncertainty of MacGyver's work situation has really forced us to cut back on unnecessary spending. We're not *quite* to an austerity budget but we really pared things down and tried our best to focus on what was truly important to us as a family. There's no better place to see that than our Christmas budget. In the past, our budget really wasn't a budget at all. We just kind of bought whatever we felt like buying - slapping it on the credit card and not really worrying about how much we were spending.

We're paying for that now. Dave Ramsey calls it "stupid tax". Yup.

This year, we knew that we really needed to put some limits in place. Not so that we can necessarily save money but so that our children don't have to feel the sting of our tight finances on Christmas Day. I have no problem explaining to them that we will wait for a movie to come out on DVD, rather than see it in the theatre because there are other things to do on any given day other than drop $50 (on TICKETS!) at the movies. But Christmas Day...there's something about Christmas Day and we want to preserve that as much as possible.

Most importantly, we wanted to maintain our tithing and our ability to give gifts to those that are facing tough times. There is nothing better in this life than sharing our abundance. And even in the midst of a tight budget, we are still so abundantly blessed and we feel called to share that with others. Now that our children are older, they grasp the joy and the blessings behind giving to those that would otherwise not have any gifts and I love that we are still able to do that.

Our children really only get 3 gifts from us - that's what Jesus received so that is good enough for our family. There are stocking stuffers and gifts aplenty from extended family and friends so we feel no need to over-indulge our children. That has helped our budget this year. However, our extended family extended significantly with the addition of a niece and a nephew. So we made the decision that gifts for extended family members would be confined to nieces and nephews. I'll probably include a tin of homemade cookies or apple-pumpkin butter or body scrub for the adults in the family but the main gifts will be for the kids.

We will buy for our parents, although none of them have given us anything that resembles a wish list or an idea of their preferences and likes so it's possible that their gifts will contain the words "Hanes" or "Jockey".

We've also decided not to send Christmas cards this year. The postage alone for our list was between $35 and $50, in addition to the cost of the cards, pictures, and/or letter to go along. Besides, in a few months, I'll be sending out 'change of address' cards so we'll count those as Christmas cards. And no real Christmas tree for us this year, either. We'll use our trusty old hand-me-down fakey tree that we bought from friends in Alaska back when MacGyver was a brand new E4, 14 years ago. I may supplement the tree with some cuttings of real trees if I can find some but it's so dry here that I worry about the fire danger. Growing up, I never noticed if our tree was particularly special - I noticed the ornaments. I know no one else cares if my tree is real, fake, pre-lit, or Charlie-Brownish. With the lights on it, it will look beautiful.

As for how we actually budgeted for the holidays this year, my attack was multi-pronged:

1. Amazon gift cards
2. SwagBucks
3. plasma donation
4. spare change
5. budgeted savings

1. Amazon gift cards - Our local grocery store offers fuel points for every dollar you spend at the store. When you buy gift cards, you can earn up to 4x the amount in fuel points. Each month, I budgeted $50 for Christmas and used that to buy gift cards. $50 x 4 = 200 points = $0.20/gallon savings.

2. SwagBucks - For every 450 points I earn on SwagBucks, I can cash in and earn a $5 Amazon gift card. Doesn't sound like much but I earned about $100 this year doing just that! Most of my points these days come from referrals, so feel free to click THIS LINK and join. Basically, you earn points randomly by using their search engine (powered by Google) to search the internet. No cost to join, no commitment. Easy peasy!

3. Plasma donation - This one took me a while. I can't stand needles. And it seemed kind of...skeevy. But I looked into it, read up on what is involved and what the company (CSL) does with the plasma, and decided to check the local CSL out. I was impressed  by how clean and efficient the place was. The phlebotomists and techs are all really nice and I'm usually in and out in under 2 hours. I usually earn $15 - $20 (it's based on weight) and I can't beat getting paid to sit and read! The only side effects I've felt is that I'm usually kind of tired afterward but I'm not sure that's the plasma donation or my insomnia.

4. Spare change - I don't usually spend change. I'll break a $1 bill or a $5 bill before I spend change. Then I come home and dump it in my glass jar (there's something satisfying about that 'clink!'). When that is full, I take it to the local grocery store and dump it into their machine and walk away with my Amazon gift card (no fee if you choose this option!). MacGyver and I started doing this when we were starving college students as a way to afford our anniversary dinner. Yay for good habits! My goal is to get to the point where I'm saving $1 bills too.

5. Budgeted savings - In addition to the money I budget for the Amazon gift cards, I also budgeted directly for Christmas cash savings. When we moved from Hawaii to Kansas, we took advantage of the Army's 'interest-free pay advance'. Basically, you can take an advance on your base pay and then you have 12 months to pay it off (they take it directly out of your paycheck) with zero percent interest. We used that to knock down a small bill that the pay advance would cover. Once the repayment was done, I simply diverted that amount directly into savings each month. I ear-marked it specifically for the holidays - whether it is needed for Christmas gifts, food, giving something like the Angel Tree...it's there and I don't have to tap into another part of our budget if a need arises. Should we get to the end of the holidays and I find I've not spent it all, it will either sit in savings or I'll throw it at the credit card balance (see "Stupid Tax" above).

I just finished up on Amazon.com. I went through eBates to buy on Amazon, earning about 4% of my purchase in cash back. I didn't score any 'killer deals' (there wasn't a single thing advertised for Black Friday this year that made it worth my time to get out of bed at that hour, go out in the cold, and deal with stupid people...) but the prices on Amazon.com beat the prices I'd researched elsewhere (i.e. Lego.com) and the free shipping (yay Amazon Prime!) and cash back via eBates really helped keep me under budget. I still have a few bucks left in my gift card balance so those will hang out until next Christmas or I'll use them to buy school stuff.

This will be the first year since I turned 18 that I will not use my credit card to purchase Christmas gifts. It feels pretty good. It will feel even better when I pay those infernal things off and cut them up. I can't wait to call into Dave Ramsey and scream "FREEDOM!!!".

How did you budget for Christmas? Did you scale back? Or is this year a 'good year' for you? I'm hoping that next year, our budget will be a bit more relaxed. We'll see.


- hfs


A missed opportunity

If you google Lindsey Stone, you'll get a pretty good idea as to who she is and what she did. I'm not going to link to any stories or put up any pictures because her actions at Arlington turn my stomach. They are disrespectful and disheartening. I have friends there. My family has friends there. It is hallowed ground. It represents the sacrifice of the best that this country will ever have to offer. And this woman disrespected it. Publicly.

The picture - taken about a month ago - went viral this week and the reaction from the military community was swift and brutal. The reaction was not just directed at Ms. Stone - it was directed at her employer as well (she was in D.C. on the company dime) and they paid the price for their employee's actions. People called for her to be fired, to be physically assaulted, etc.

Most people who know me would expect that I would support those calling for this woman's head on a platter. Some might even expect me to lead the charge.

I do not.

I find the reaction of the military community to be sad. We blew it. We missed a golden opportunity to show this woman - and the rest of the population who are watching - what we are about; to educate her as to the sacrifices our servicemembers and their families make; and to extend grace in an ugly situation.  And we failed. Instead, we lashed out and launched vitriol at her, her employer, and anyone who didn't call for her head on said platter.

Another friend of mine posted a reaction that made me smile because he gets it:

Update on the disrespectful Arlington Cemetery picture - the woman has made a public apology. Her name is Lindsay Stone. Ms. Stone, I don't know if you will ever see this post from me - but I would like to offer to take you through Arlington National Cemetery myself and tell you some stories about the Heroes buried there. I would also like for you to meet some of the amazing families I have met
 in Section 60. People who come and spend the entire day with their Hero buried there - little kids who have their pictures taken next to their daddy that they never even had a chance to see. I would also like to teach you something that I live by everyday - "Always do the right thing even if you are the only one doing it" and that means doing the right thing when nobody is watching too ma'am. Semper Fi, Luke

Luke gets it.

Instead, the reaction from the military community probably solidified this woman's opinion (as well as those of millions of others) and pretty much guaranteed that she will fall solidly in the 'military hater' camp for a good, long time.

Sad. Just sad.

Someone elsewhere asked what Lex might have to say about it all. I suspect he might have some snark to throw down but I also suspect he'd be just as disappointed in the reaction as I am.


- hfs


Tin foil hat still firmly in place

Victor Davis Hanson gets close but not close enough.

In many ways. First, pre-election, the U.S media had decided that Libya was taboo. Those who dissented were immediately blasted as politicizing a national tragedy or, in Romney’s case, using national disaster as a cheap campaign ploy. The prurient sexual matter inadvertently directed media attention to the CIA director — who also happens to be the most renowned American soldier since Matthew Ridgway — and by extension to Benghazi. The administration’s narrative about the Petraeus resignation, like its Benghazi narrative, simply asks the American people to believe something that they cannot suppose to be true.

Sadly, Mr. Hanson never really goes beyond the surface on this one and never really gets into the meat of the matter. He starts off with the supposition that General Petraeus actually had an affair, thereby skewing the rest of his hypothesis. But you all know my take on that.

A better take on the whole thing comes from Debbie Schlussel - an angle I've not seen addressed anywhere else - that Jill Kelly helped Muslim nations infiltrate CENTCOM. Something about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? Seems we may have taken that a wee bit too far. The whole story is like an onion - the layers just keep going.

"Kelley, who is part of the soap opera that the Petraeus scandal spawned, was in charge ofhosting parties and social events to push the Islamic agenda of Middle Eastern countries. She was seen by Muslim Mid-East nations, especially Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, as the “go to” woman to push their agenda on top American generals. She was a lobbyist for their cause and, yet, wasn’t required to register as a lobbyist, like all others who host lavish parties for top American officials, like she did, in an attempt to influence U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Kelley, a dhimmi Christian Arab of Lebanese descent, was well known in the Muslim Arab embassies of Washington for doing their bidding and hosting their parties at and near MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where our nation’s top generals are based. It’s where Central Command–the U.S. Armed Forces’ leadership over wars and military personnel Middle East–is headquartered."

Layers. Going back to Hanson's story, his closing paragraph rings true:

 Where does all this lead?
I think nowhere. Unlike in the cases of Watergate and Iran-Contra, there is no investigative press, given the media’s worry about endangering the second-term agenda of a progressive president. There is no special prosecutor salivating after a government official, as there was with Scooter Libby. “The fog of war” and accusations of “Conspiracy theory!” should be enough to bury the scandal and discredit those who seek the truth. Modifying a CIA analysis for political purposes is probably no crime. Quid pro quos are simply the polite, everyday — and legal — Washington version of blackmail. In the end, the only casualties in this sordid tale were the sterling career of David Petraeus — and four murdered Americans whose deaths were preventable.

Sadly, I think he's right.


- hfs


A few more questions

I've said, time and time again, I'm not particularly smart. And maybe it's naievete on my part to think that the people running entities such as the CIA would know that email communication is not safe from the prying eyes of the Federal government...even if you use the Tom Clancy supersecretsquirrelspy trick of leaving your communication in the draft folder of your 'anonymous' email account for the other person to read.

But really...if *I* know that, wouldn't it stand to reason that the head of the freaking CIA would know that and find...I don't know...some other way to communicate with the woman with whom he was having an affair and divulging state secrets? Because I know *I* would. And I'm not running the CIA.

Ghostery.com put up an article today from MakeUseOf regarding the 3 Most Secure and Encrypted Email Providers. Timely, no? I had heard of one and am making note of the other two, but like the article says, even those won't protect you from a court order. You can take your chances with the 5th Amendment but I hope you have the name of a good lawyer.

But it all comes back to this: if *I* can figure this stuff out, then the man running the CIfreakingA can figure this stuff out. When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Man, I wish I were a fly on the wall in those hearings today.


- hfs

p.s. I'll be updating as more questions come to mind. Feel free to post yours in the comments.


Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

I've held my peace thus far on the Petraeus debacle. However, with the news yesterday of General John Allen facing investigation, I can hold my thoughts no longer. I have my theories as to what is possibly going on but I'll get to that in a moment. 

First, let me say this: I do not believe that General David Petraeus had an affair. Not for a minute. One of the things I have learned in my life is to trust my gut. And my gut is screaming at me that he did not have an affair. The little I know of the man - snippets of information gleaned from people who know him and have known him since his early years in the military and before - paint a picture of a man so focused on his career path that I find it shocking that he's even married. He married the daughter of the superintendent of West Point - HIS college! If that doesn't scream "good for my career", I don't know what does (I'm not speculating on the nature of their marriage nor the motivations behind it). The idea that he would derail his career - what he's worked for all his life - over some starry-eyed fanfic author, twenty years his junior - is about as ludicrous as...well, I can't even come up with something that ludicrous. I just don't see it. And everything I read abouther friends' impressions of Mrs. Broadwell indicates the same. It doesn't fit with their character.

Second, I don't believe in coincidence. There is no such thing. And this...the circumstances surrounding this are so incredibly conveniently coincidental that it reeks. REEKS. Something is definitely rotten in the state of Denmark. 

Instead of swallowing the news story hook, line, and sinker, I like to actually think for myself - something that many of my friends in the milblogosphere and outside of it seem to have failed to do this time around. I am appalled at the fact that so many of my friends - people I've always considered to be smarter than the average bear - have jumped on the "I'm so disappointed in General Petraeus!" bandwagon without so much as a tilt of the head to consider how ridiculously convenient this all is. THINK, PEOPLE! Use your brains for something other than keeping your skulls from caving in! What motivation(s) would the White House have for sidelining General Petraeus? And why now? 


When the news broke late Monday night about General John Allen's involvement in this mess, the scent of smelly rat increased ten-fold. Can you say 'scorched earth policy'? What is the connection between General Allen and General Petraeus? Why go after both of them? What is to be gained and by whom? 

One of the blogs I read on a regular basis, The DiploMad 2.0, is getting closer - and actually using his brain. But I think he's just scratching the surface. Here's my hypothesis:

1. January, 2009 - Newly-installed President Obama issued Executive Order 13491. This EO ensures 'lawful interrogation' and basically does away with detaining prisoners in locations other than Guantanamo Bay or other United States' facilities. Can you say 'extraordinary rendition'? Good. 

2. August 15, 2012 - An emergency meeting is convened by the US Mission in Benghazi and word is sent to Washington that the Mission felt that the Consulate could not adequately protect against a 'coordinated attack'. (Source: Fox News)

** and before anyone jumps on the whole "But it's FoxNews!" whine...shut up. For the most part, they are the ONLY major news outlet to have followed the Benghazi atrocity from the beginning. Had CNN or MSNBC or HuffPo or any other non-FoxNews outlet been on this, I'd use THEM. But they haven't. So I won't. So shut up. **

3. August 16, 2012 - A 'SECRET' cable is sent to the Office of the Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, indicating that the Regional Security Officer does not believe "that the consulate can be defended in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capability, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound." (Source: Fox News) The cable also explained that the mission in Benghazi would be formally requesting additional help (security upgrades and staffing) from the US Embassy in Tripoli.

None was sent. Why?

4. September 11, 2012 - Ambassador Stevens sends a 3-page cable outlining his growing concerns over security issues and his belief that the security forces and Libyan police were too weak to keep the country secure. Weeks after the attack, evidence of Stevens' opinions - sensitive documents and Stevens' own diary were found by the FBI and a Washington Post reporter in the wreckage of the consulate. (Source: NY Times) We still have yet to understand the reason(s) why Ambassador Stevens was IN Benghazi in the first place. Later that night, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans would die in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi. For one of the most detailed timelines I've seen of the attack in Benghazi, you can go to FactCheck.org and look at theirs. But it all leads you back to the question of WHY? Why did the State Department and the White House ignore the repeated warnings by the US Mission and the Ambassador himself as to the growing threat of attack on the facility in Benghazi? Why was there a growing threat in the first place? What was it that was being held at the Benghazi facility that led so many insurgents to its location? Why, after repeated requests for help of ANY kind, were they given none? And why, in the middle of the attack - that the President and his staff WATCHED while sitting in the Situation Room (there was at least one drone flying over the chaos, streaming video) - did no one lift a single finger to help those people? WHY? What is being hidden? 

5. October 26, 2012 - To answer that question, I direct you to Paula Broadwell's speech at the University of Denver.

Specifically, this:
"Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually, um, had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.
The challenging thing for General Petraeus is that in his new position, he’s not allowed to communicate with the press. So he’s known all of this — they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in, in Libya. Within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening." (Source: Washington Post Blog)

So the CIA had taken prisoners in Libya (WHY?) and was holding them at this facility (WHY?). I now direct you back to point #1 - Executive Order 13491. If the President knew that prisoners were being held by CIA staff at a US consulate, he has directly violated his own Executive Order. And if this administration has knowledge of, or is complicit in, the holding of prisoners at CIA facilities in Libya, what OTHER countries does it have knowledge of the same? How MANY times has this President violated his OWN Executive Order?

What wasn't Extremis in Force used? The excuse that we did not have assets in place to respond in a timely matter doesn't hold water. Not when we have these capabilities available in most regions throughout the world. The battle in Benghazi went on for SEVEN HOURS. There's no way a QRF or an Extremis in Force could not be deployed. Why weren't they? What is it that this administration was afraid of exposing? And what is the penalty for a President that violates an Executive Order (does he get the double booby prize if it's his own?)?

I don't usually don a tinfoil hat. It's not my style and I truly believe that most people are not smart enough to engage in a complicated, convoluted cover-up of any kind. We, as human beings, tend toward the easier solutions rather than the complicated ones. Hence, Occam's Razor. But this one? This one STINKS to high heaven. I'm sure Shakespeare agrees. The Petraeus/Allen sideshow is nothing more than a diversion. Sadly, it's working. 


- hfs


Thirty Days of Thankful

Many of my friends on Facebook are into the whole 'Thirty days of thankful' thing (say that ten times fast) and are posting the things in their lives for which they are thankful. And it's all wonderful and sweet and whatnot but I have red hair and I like to be different. A rebel, if you will. So I'm going to skip the typical 30 things for which I am thankful and have some fun with this. The people and things in my life for which I am most thankful (hopefully...if I'm doing things right) receive my thanks more often than just in November. So here's my list - in no particular order...

1. central air and heat - We saw heat indicies as high as 114°F this summer and (supposed) lows of -20°F (maybe that's with a wind chill...), central air and heat are pretty much required in these here parts. Otherwise, I'd move back to Hawaii and MacGyver would be a sad panda.

2. chai - Because coffee is gross but caffeine is nectar from heaven.

3. the internet - It's where all of my friends live!

4. the mechanical skillz of MacGyver - Otherwise, I'd never be able to leave my house and I'd go crazy and kill us all. I drive a 14 year old car with 125K miles on it. It has issues. Actually, it doesn't have issues...it has the entire damn subscription. He just finished replacing the thermostat housing (again) that was leaking coolant and  some other part that was leaking oil and has a new radiator on order because that's toast too. Reverse is being a stinker (a common issue for this make/model of car). She needs a new hood/front left quarter panel and a paint job. She probably will need new tires before the end of 2013. The alignment needs to be adjusted. The bushings on the sway bars need to be replaced, as do the bushings on the driver's side front door. See? Subscription.

5. Heated mattress pads - See #1. Best Christmas present EVAR.

6. Indoor plumbing - See #1 again. Oh, and I smell good. And so does everyone else in this house.

7. My APUSHistory teacher - Because those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Mr. Marshall was one of the best teachers I've ever had the privilege of having and no one who went through that class should find themselves repeating history. He was THAT good.

8. My Government teacher - He taught us to THINK. And he held our attention. And he stood up for what was RIGHT. And he found you a date for prom if you didn't have one. And he gave a damn.

9. My red hair.

10. Pinterest - Better than a cookbook and a craft fair all rolled up in one!

11. Elf on the Shelf - Clyde is our elf and he's a mischevious little bugger. But he's fun and we all really get into it. This year, MacGyver will be home and can help come up with some trouble for Clyde to get into.

12. Amazon - How else would I keep track of what to get everyone for Christmas, what books to read, and the best prices on organic coconut oil? And FREE SHIPPING! And free streaming videos!

13. My smart phone - I don't need a TomTom or a Garmin or a dictionary or a calculator or a phone book or a watch. I have my PHONE! And I can play Scrabble on it so life is good, even when I'm stuck in line at the commissary. And sometimes I WIN.

14. Homeschooling - The school bus rolls past my house about 0715...or so I hear. I've not seen it because, at that hour, I'm STILL ASLEEP.

15. Being FROM SoCal - It's a fantastic place to be FROM. Never want to live there again. I just go back from time to time for my In-N-Out fix.

16. Being from SoCal - Beach, mountains, desert...all within a day's drive. In-N-Out, real Mexican food, food of 79 different cultures, pretty much every shopping experience, outdoor experience, live performance, and activity you can think of...all in one crazy location. Oh, and 115 million of your closest friends. And smog. And crime. And gangs. See #15.

17. Manual transmissions - Because dropping it into 3rd gear to shoot past some moron in the fast lane going 60 is FUN. And I don't have to wait for an automatic tranny to catch up with my thought process.

18. Chocolate - Do I really have to explain this? If I do...you won't get it.

19. Starbucks - because they have chai. See #2.

20. My iPad - Best babysitter money can buy.

21. Melatonin - Because insomnia SUCKS.

22. Fleece - It's like wearing a cloud. And see #1. Again.

23. Dennis Miller - he gives voice to the thoughts in my head. Only he gets paid for it.

24. Team Rubicon - www.teamrubiconusa.org

I cannot watch this video without crying. Which is impressive for a redhead who has no soul. I love TR more than I can express with words. If you have an extra $5 and a few minutes, go donate. Not only are the helping the people on the east coast after Hurricane Sandy, they are helping people like Harry realize that they have SO much still to offer this country and this world.

25. Cereal - It's not just for breakfast.

26. Waffles - Because drinking maple syrup straight from the container is rude.

27. Spaghetti - Who doesn't like spaghetti? And with our crazy schedule on some nights, this has been a LIFESAVER (and budget saver) for us recently.

28. PX brand bandaids - See #4. All of that mechanical work comes with a price. Often, MacGyver will come in from the garage, bleeding. I'll ask, "What did you DO to yourself?" and he will say, "I have no idea." The PX brand Strong Strips are wonderful - tough and they stay on forever (I think I've yanked a few freckles off when trying to take these bandaids off). We buy them in bulk and not being able to buy them anymore is one of the saddest things about MacGvyer's Army career coming to an end. Thankfully, we'll have 2 years of commissary/PX benefits after he gets out.

29. Neosporin with the painkiller stuff - See #28. Also, I have children. And a very low pain tolerance. Hangnails are EVIL!

30. Blogger - Because where else would I be able to put stuff like this up? Blogger has kept me sane for eight YEARS now.

So, for what are YOU thankful? And don't give me some pat, namby-pamby answer.


- hfs


Just Keep Swimming

I've been trying to get my feet under me after this move and I just can't seem to gain any traction. I got hit with a cold during the move (I wouldn't recommend this) and managed to recover enough to not die on our 12th or 13th trip between houses. And I managed to survive getting things either unpacked or stuffed into storage and make the new house at least livable.

And then I managed to come down with a second cold. I usually get one major cold per year - usually when the seasons are changing. It knocks me down, takes my voice, and moves on. This year, I seem to have been caught with a one-two punch. The first cold was icky but not quite as brutal as my colds usually are. I should have known something was up. This second cold is kicking my butt. I sound like I've been smoking since I was 12 and I cough like a coal-miner. Right now, I'm living on a diet of Mucinex, Sudafed, motrin, Vitamin C (along with the other vitamins I usually take), echinacea, and NyQuil at night. I have no appetite even though I am HUNGRY so I am sucking down orange juice like there is no tomorrow. I'm surprised my nose hasn't turned orange.

And, while I'm fighting to get my immune system back on track, MacGyver's busier than a 1-legged man in a butt-kicking contest (he came home at 4pm yesterday and it was shocking to see him home while the sun was up) and the kids' activities (and mine) are still going full-force. No rest for the wicked, it seems. Keeps me out of trouble, I suppose. And, if I'm being honest with myself, I did this TO myself. I'm that mom that gets excited over all of the opportunities at the beginning of the school year. Flag football! Swimming! Archery! Awana! Art classes! FUN! It doesn't dawn on me until later - how am I going to fit all of this into our schedule. I used to do the same thing when I was in college - the classes all sounded like fun. And when I realized I had signed up for 21 credits, I about fell over. But I did it and wound up on the Dean's honor roll that semester so, apparently, I thrive under pressure.

In the midst of all of this, the job hunt continues. We have a few promising leads but nothing solid just yet. I doubt we'll have anything solid until after the holidays. And that is fine. I'm not panicking...yet. Talk to me after the holidays and you might see a different scene.

The school year is chugging along. The Boy is enjoying learning cursive and has moved into 4th grade math (not bad for an 8 year old) and The Girl is starting to really gain traction with fractions (hey! I'm a poet and didn't know it!) and is loving the switch we made for Language. We switched to Total Language Plus and it's literature-based so she's really enjoying it. The Boy is as well since I read aloud to him for the most part. And we are all enjoying science (anatomy) and all of the hands-on stuff that we get to do.

Other than that, life is a big waiting game. Waiting to see how this upcoming election goes (I've held off posting anything political but I have a post forming about Ambassador Stevens' murder in Benghazi). Waiting to see what jobs pan out and where we go next. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Fun times (says the impatient redhead)!


- hfs


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...