Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Shameless Plug

It is the time of year (okay, one of the times of year!) when I want to try something new, schoolwise.  I already have next year's curriculum picked out, so it needed to be something little.  So I ordered Shakespeare for the Ears, because I will need E. Nesbit's Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Tapestry of Grace, Year 2, in the fall (yup, we are doing Year 2 over again.  It is a long story, but it will be fine!) and also Ellen McHenry's The Science Jukebox, because my kids don't mind memorizing facts if they are in songs.  And here is the shameless plug part... Travis was looking over my shoulder while I was ordering The Science Jukebox, and he told me to order the mp3 download instead of the CD, so I did.  Which would have been fine except that of course the mp3 files don't come with a print out of the lyrics, and the kids need to read lyrics like

                                                "Beetles and weevils will cut your yield,
If you plant a cotton field,
 so keep your collards and your cukes
From Coleoptera.

Fleas that bite your dog and cat,
Don't go sit where they just sat,
Fleas will siphon blood from you,
They're Siphonaptera."

at least once if they are to get the full benefit and remember some science lingo.  So I e-mailed Ellen McHenry with my problem, hoping she would have a pdf file of the lyrics that she could send me.  She got right back to me, saying that she did not have a pdf handy, but that she would mail me a cd with the lyrics.  Which she did, right away, for nothing, and included additional cds with a couple updated songs and The Brain Song.  And was just wonderfully nice about the whole thing.  Did I mention how much we liked her chemistry program, The Elements?  I plan to use her Brain program this fall with both kids, and Excavating English looks fun for next winter, when I know I want to try something new!

You know how sometimes your reading and your life come together in funny (or not so funny) ways?  Katie's book for bookgroup last week was The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes.  In it, a young girl learns that she should stand up for what she knows to be right, even though doing so might be uncomfortable.  Katie had no doubt that she would do the right thing if someone was being bullied, but I failed the test on Sunday.  Ed and I were in the church kitchen, talking with the Senior Warden, when a member of the vestry came storming in, breathing fire, and started haranguing the Warden.  Telling myself that it was vestry business (it was), I hustled off, leaving Ed and the beleaguered Warden.  But the truth is that I loathe confrontation and unpleasantness, and I was avoiding it.  Ed stayed and was supportive, which I am glad for, but I felt guilty all afternoon.  Finally I called the Warden and told him how sorry I was and how he was obviously in the right in the disagreement, and he told me what was going on (which I had not been fishing for).  So I learned that my church is not quite as blissfully harmonious as I liked to imagine, and that I am a coward.  And that our new priest is coming into a bit of a hornets' nest when he arrives next Sunday, poor fellow.  I hope he is braver than I am.

And we watched Food Inc.  I've been postponing watching it because I was afraid of what it would do to our grocery budget (see, I am a coward), but we watched Supersize Me last week and it seemed like we might as well go whole hog.  So to speak.  Oh, and I also just read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, and handed it on to Ed, which is unusual because we never read the same sort of books.  I kind of expected to be shocked by the slaughterhouse scenes, and I was, but I didn't expect the degree to which the government agencies which are supposed to ensure the safety of our food are run by food industry insiders.  Well, and the government subsidies for crops like corn, which are making Americans fat and putting farmers in third world countries out of business was kind of dismaying too.  My church and my government all in one week!  sigh.  (Actually, I still love my church.  All except that mean guy, that is.  And I sort of suspected that my goverment wasn't run by saints even before watching the movie.  So it was only mildly traumatic.)  Fortunately I haven't been grocery shopping in quite a while, so the only meat we have is a few frozen chicken breasts, so now I am going through our cookbooks, trying to figure out what to replace our meat meals with**.  It really won't be that hard, but Travis is not pleased.  He pretends to be unsympathetic about the poor abused animals we've been eating, but last night we were reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly, and my Travis nearly cried when Calpurnia's younger brother, Travis, was devastated because the turkeys he had raised were to be Thanksgiving dinner.  He's really a softy, but he does love burgers.

And finally, one of the hydrangeas that my daddy and Katie planted is blooming!

and some of the roses.  Aren't they pretty?

**We aren't planning to give up all meat, but we've been buying all our groceries at Walmart and I don't plan to buy beef or pork or poultry from them in the future.  I'm sure we'll find a better source, but until then meat is off the menu.


Anonymous said...

How about becoming a vegetarian? It'll be 20 years this May since I ate "anything that had a mom" - or, if not a complete vegetarian, then how about choosing one day a week? Or becoming a "weekday vegetarian" if your family can accept it for 5 of every 7 days? It really is better for us, better for the planet, and better for animals - and after the initial shock, Travis will survive!
(just a suggestion!)


Melora said...

We do already eat 2-3 meatless dinners a week (our other meals are almost always meatless), and we will be certainly be eating much less meat (none, until I find a better source than Walmart!).