Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

Sassy studied Abraham Lincoln at the end of this past school year, and she was fascinated by him. It was a great study, and I always love it when the children get sincerely interested in history.

Because so much of history can be dry facts and long-ago dates, I always try to do hands-on history whenever possible. When the opportunity came to travel south last month, I chose our path to take us by the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southern Indiana.

The Memorial is part of the US National Park service. The website didn't give a lot of detail on what to expect, so in typical me-fashion, I packed the car and set off, still not knowing but hoping for the best. It really is just as straightforward as presented on the website -- a small but lovely museum, a 15-minute introduction film, a short walk to the cemetery and farm site. The children also got a nice little "Junior Ranger" packet, which had puzzles and questions that they worked/answered as we walked the museum and site.

[Aside: Everyone who knows my love of Star Trek (original series!) will realize how delighted I was that Leonard Nimoy was the narrator of the film! We were two syllables in when I gasped, elbowed both children, and said, "You realize that is SPOCK, right?!"]

The film details Lincoln's life in Indiana, which sets the stage for the artifacts and reproductions in the rest of the museum. The museum is small, but very nicely displayed. Sassy loved that they had a cabinet that was built by Abraham Lincoln's father, Thomas.

(Is it just me, or does Thomas look like an older Harrison Ford in this photo?)

Also in the photo is Abe's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, who died just a couple of years after the family moved to Indiana.

They also enjoyed the interactive "house" which had a spotlight over certain components of the pioneer household with explanations of each.

After the museum, we took a small walk up the hill to Pioneer Cemetery, where Nancy Hanks Lincoln is buried. This fascinated the children more than anything else. Maybe it's because my love of old cemeteries has rubbed off? Maybe it's because it is a very personal, tangible link to such an important person in our American history? I'm not sure, but we stood in front of this for far longer than I expected. They were mesmerized.

(That big shadow isn't me; it's a stubborn tree that wouldn't move for me!)

A little further down the path, past the cemetery is where the Lincoln farm actually stood. There are outlines of the footings of the original farmhouse and a reproduction of the house just a little further down the path. The reproduction farmhouse has characters in costume to answer questions and interact with the visitors. While we were there, one of the men was trying to get a rooster in the pen. That was quite unintentionally entertaining!

Sadly, we didn't spend much time there (and I completely forgot to take photos) because the mosquitoes were having a nice feast on Sassy, who is not only tasty to them but allergic as well. It never occurred to me to bring bug spray!

All in all, we spent about three hours at the Memorial, and it was definitely worth stopping. Next time we have reason to go that direction, I'll probably stop again, just so we can see more of the farmhouse. When it isn't 90+ degrees, and I'm armed with bug spray!


Wednesday, June 08, 2011


I think I'm over the whole Facebook phenomenon.

I have an account, as do (it seems) most people in the electronically gifted world. Checking what other people are saying seems to be almost a necessity, since ... well, I'll get to that in a moment. But as a forum? I think I'm about finished.

Lately it seems that most of what I've read is rantings of one thing or another. Personal affronts, political agenda, religious ravings. Drama, drama, drama. Seldom do I see someone encouraging another person without attempting to tear down someone else, whether it's a group or an individual.

When I first created my account, I wasn't all that thrilled with it. It seemed ... pointless. But I joined because the leader of my (then) homeschool group was supposedly using it as a way to communicate. I never got one group-related item from her. Just random "pokes" that made me say "what was the point in that?" Then more and more people found me, and it was nice hearing from old friends. Unfortunately, those old friends don't post much.

Two things happened very recently to make me realize the extent that Facebook has reached.

First, Skeeter's best friend got married. We don't live near him any more, but they talk fairly often, and they see each other when Skeeter is in town. Best Friend got married, and he "announced" it on Facebook. Skeeter is rather like me. He checks Facebook from his phone at odd moments, and he misses a lot. So he completely missed that Best Friend had gotten married. Not to even mention that the idea of marriage for this man is shocking. Skeeter had been in town, gotten a tour of Best Friend's new house, and had dinner with him. Four days before the wedding. Not one mention that he may or may not be getting married in the near future.

Second, which occurred just yesterday, I found out that my sweet Memaw was admitted to the nursing home. Through FACEBOOK. I'm feeling rather bitter about the whole thing. I am not angry about it because it's over, done, and can't be changed. Also, I know that it was an exhausting, emotional day for my mom and my aunt.

(I won't mention here that The Michael KNEW and didn't tell me. KNEW. But even he will get the benefit of the doubt, since I didn't anticipate NOT getting a phone call about it.)


As I was saying, it was quite a day for them. I found out through a Facebook post because I decided to skim before I went to bed at midnight-ish. It is not secret how I adore my Memaw. I would have appreciated a three-minute phone call to let me know so that I didn't have to find out with the rest of the world on Facebook.

Facebook can be such a great thing. My current Mom group uses it. I've used it for Bible study. I like seeing photos of my friends. But there are just some things that need a little more than a group post. I'll keep checking it a couple of times a day though, in case there are other life changes that I need to know about.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Radish Salad

I got a new recipe last week that is too good not to share! Yes, as the title suggests, it's radish salad. I'm not a great fan of radishes because they are so spicy, but this uses a Daikon radish, which has a much more mild flavor. The recipe actually reminds me of my Memaw's cucumber salad.

1 Daikon radish, peeled and sliced very thin
1/3 cup diced scallions
1/4 cup black olives (whole, sliced, diced -- whatever you fancy)
2 T olive oil
2T vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Simply mix and enjoy! It would probably taste wonderful with a zesty Italian dressing, if you prefer not to do the olive oil and vinegar. I also added a little bit of feta cheese to the dish when I made it at home. Next time I will probably throw in a thinly sliced regular radish as well, to bump up the spice a little bit. Feel free to suggest other improvements!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter

The scene: Mother, walking out of the bathroom after cleaning.

Sass: Oh, Mom, you smell good! Can I wear that perfume? What is it?

Me: Bleach.

I swear, I can't make these things up. I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but my love of bleach is no secret. Seems like Sassy takes after me in that.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


A snippet of a texting conversation with my 9 year old:

Me: Do I need to tell Daddy how to rent the Redbox?

Me: Just tell him to put in the promo code before he swipes his credit card.

Sass: I got you covered, girl.

Maybe it's because I could hear her voice in that, but I laughed aloud right in the middle of Spyder's magic meeting.


Friday, February 11, 2011


Friday is my least favorite day of the week.

By the time Friday comes along, I've usually had a hectic week. Running here and there, schoolwork, messy house because I was busy with everything else. The minutia just catches up to me. I don't like Fridays.

For several years, the urchins and I didn't do book work on Fridays to alleviate my Friday Blahs. Instead we did "Friday Fun Time" where we would go to the zoo or a museum, or even just a park or a movie.

We haven't really done that since we moved. It's ironic that we now live in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US, and it's harder to do things. Not because there aren't opportunities available, but because it just simply takes so long to get to things. It's not uncommon that it takes a hour just to get to a museum, once I factor in the time for locating parking. And some things are just cost prohibitive. I never realized how much I took it for granted that we lived near the Memphis museums and zoos. Getting there took 20 minutes, tops. And we were able to go to the zoo year-round. Ah, those were the days.

But the children miss it, and I miss it. So I'm making it my mission to seek out those opportunities.

Today's activity: outdoor ice skating.

I'll report back the results, assuming I can sit once it's all over. :)


Wednesday, February 09, 2011



I've never truly lived in the suburbs before. We lived in midtown Memphis, then we moved to a suburb of Memphis, but it wasn't The Suburbs as I had seen portrayed in movies. The houses were all older and different from one another, on unevenly spaced plots of land. That was our old neighborhood.

Now, we DO live in one of those neighborhoods that looks like a movie set. Every time I hear the "Over the Hedge" version of "Rockin' the Suburbs" I laugh because it is now so familiar. Skeeter drives past our house at least once a week because everything looks so similar.

This isn't to complain because we chose to live here. There ARE good things about our neighborhood. Skeeter and I aren't really suburb types -- I like my space, and people tend to annoy me -- but the urchins have many friends and places to play, and I am satisfied with that.

Still, our neighbors are now significantly closer, and Skeeter and I are careful to have good neighbor manners, specifically where the dogs are concerned. Just like us, the dogs were accustomed to having more space and (minus the squirrels) fewer neighbors. As a result, it took them a while to get settled. They were barky outside, but we made sure to shush them every time. And they stay in our yard; we don't let them roam free. Of course, with dogs, we have the usual "doing their business" issues, which -- again -- is in OUR yard and we clean up. (I might mention that we clean it much less frequently when it's 15 degrees out and there's snow on the ground, but we DO clean it.) While we are certainly not perfect, we do make an effort to not be intrusive on others.

Some of my slightly-too-close-for-comfort neighbors don't seem to make that same effort.

One neighbor with a beautiful Great Dane lets him sit outside and bark for 20 minutes at a time. BARK BARK BARK. BARK BARK BARK. They are three doors down, and it sounds like he is sitting in my yard. You'd think it would annoy his owners just as much as it annoys me.

The barking is bothersome. Very bothersome. But the worst ones are the neighbors who let their dogs do their business in other people's yards, either on a leash or by letting them roam free. I'm not particularly thrilled with having to clean up after my beasts, but I do it. I'm definitely not happy when I have to clean up after a dog belonging to someone else. It seems to be happening with increasing frequency too, and I'm completely at a loss for what to do about it.

I've never seen the dogs in action, but I'm cleaning up the aftermath, so I know it's happening. Sometimes it's on the sidewalk; sometimes it's in the driveway. Sometimes it's from a small dog; sometimes it's from a big one. It always makes me mad.

So ... suggestions? What can I do, if anything?