August 2007


I really am. I love to look up at the stars and figure out which constellation is which; I love to find the planets in the night sky; and I love eclipses. They’re just too cool. Here in the northern part of the U.S., we don’t get too many decent solar eclipses…in fact, I’ve known of none that we can actually see well this high up. That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been any, I just don’t know of any. When we lived in Texas, however (in El Paso specifically…Mr Izz used to be in the Army, so we lived for a time in the very un-blissful Ft. Bliss), there was a spectacular solar eclipse. We made a Pinhole Camera so we could view it safely…you could see a little tiny eclipse at the back of the box for it was shining through the pinhole. It was so easy, and so worth it. Our range was 60%, so when the sun was covered, everything was darkened to where it looked almost like dusk. It was eerie to say the least. But it was cool. We only had 2 kids back then…unfortunately they were too young to remember.

Lunar eclipses are far more abundant, and quite often can be seen very well in the northern part of the U.S. This is what we were able to see very early this morning. Not all of the children were up, for only 2 of them were brave enough to face the 05:00 wake up call and actually watch. We’ve seen other lunar eclipses, but this was was great. The moon was full, the sky was totally clear, and we had a virtually clear area to observe, unobstructed by trees or houses…for a while anyway. It took a while, but we were finally able to see the moon fully covered by around 06:00 or so (I didn’t look at the clock, but lunar eclipses take far longer than solar). While it didn’t have the Corona of a solar eclipse, you could definitely see a subtle glow around the area of the moon. The only bad thing was that as soon as it was covered, the sun was about to peek over the horizon, so the visibility diminished greatly and we weren’t able to see when the moon peeped back out from under the earth’s shadow again. Also, while most of the observing time was unobstructed, but the time of full coverage, the house across the road was getting in the way. Oh well…at least we got to see it while it was under the earth’s shadow! It was very cool…and a good lesson in astronomy for the 2 that were watching. I’m thinking it would be great fun to simulate both a lunar and a solar eclipse for science this year. The kids would really enjoy pretending to be the sun, the earth, and the moon.

That was how my morning began, and what a beginning it was! It was worth the early wake up call to watch, for it was probably the best lunar eclipse I’ve ever seen. And the kids were excited too, which of course makes it all the more exciting for me…kind of like how Christmas is far more exciting when you see how excited your children are.

Off to finish up with breakfast…yes, we are running late today. The only drawback of being up too early and then going back to bed for a “few minutes”. 😉

Today is day one of the second semester of Nursing School for Mr Izz. While this is a good thing in a lot of ways, it’s of course going to be a bit difficult getting used to him being away so much again. Although, I’m sure that will only take a day or two to get used to 😉 After this semester is over, he only has 2 more to go through until he is finished with the course. Yay for that! It’ll sure be nice to have a steadier source of income!

My only hope is that he doesn’t stress nearly as much as he did last semester. But, knowing Mr Izz the way that I do, I’m fairly certain that my hope will be in vain. Stress is one of the things Mr Izz does best, I’m afraid. At least this time we won’t be moving during Finals Week, though! That’s definitely a good thing. But he really is good at finding other things to occupy his “need for stress”, so rest assured that despite the removal of one source, he’s bound to find another to replace it. Fun fun fun!

Next week begins school for the kids, so I have my own bit of stress to deal with. I’m not a great homeschooler…it’s never been something I loved doing. But onward I plod, attempting to make this year far more organised and structured than any other year has been. That shouldn’t be too easy, because as anyone who knows me knows, organisation is not one of my strong points, and I think that the word structure should be absolutely abolished from the English language entirely. Alas, since that is not about to happen any time soon, it’s a more structured and organised existence I am seeking…at least in terms of my homeschool! Last night, Mr Izz and I sat down to make up actual charts which will show what each child is to be doing each hour of the day…obviously his idea, not mine. Logically speaking, for someone like me this type of organisation is key. I’m sure that in some wonderful way, it will make my life so much easier, and homeschooling much more enjoyable for everyone involved if it’s all mapped out in this way. That doesn’t mean I have to like doing it, however, and I had to fight to keep all of my sarcastic remarks to myself as he helped me try to get the charts done. I’m pretty sure that a couple escaped despite my efforts, however…I got a look on more than one occasion. 😉

So that’s what’s going on this week. And why I’ve been rather absent here, and slacking in the new posts department. Pretending to have even some organisational skills is very tiring! But along with that, I’ve also been looking at books that I need and trying to find the best place to buy them for the cheapest price. Not an easy task. But it will be over soon enough, and then comes the fun part of actually using the books and teaching what is contained inside them. The one part I am looking forward to is English Literature…the older 2 are doing that in terms of English this year, and I can’t wait to get started. So, at least there is one thing to look forward to, right? Maybe I’ll force them to read all the works of Jane Austen. HA!

Off to get the kids moving, and try to figure out the rest of what I need to do in terms of school, and also get the house cleaned up and organised, see what I’m going to have for dinner (I need to make up a menu and go shopping, but the car has a problem and Mr Izz has the van…in other words, there is a wrench that is being forced into my attempts at getting things done). All of this before Mr Izz walks back in the door this afternoon. I can do it, I can do it, I can do it…….

you know, that did work for the Little Engine that Could. Unfortunately, I don’t see it working quite that well for me. SIGH!

Yet another favourite poem of mine. I know…I have too many favourite poems. But it’s because I absolutely love poetry in general, and deep down I know that I have the heart of a poet. My only problem seems to be in the writing…I just can’t seem to get down on paper what my heart is telling me to write. Maybe some day. Until then, I’ll have to live vicariously through those poets that are able to do what I can’t…savouring their passion until I am able to adequately express my own.

So, without further ado, here is Chamomile Tea :

Outside the sky is light with stars;
There’s a hollow roaring from the sea.
And, alas! for the little almond flowers,
The wind is shaking the almond tree.

How little I thought, a year ago,
In the horrible cottage upon the Lee
That he and I should be sitting so
And sipping a cup of chamomile tea.

Light as feathers the witches fly,
The horn of the moon is plain to see;
By a firefly under a jonquil flower
A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.

We might be fifty, we might be five,
So snug, so compact, so wise are we!
Under the kitchen-table leg
My knee is pressing against his knee.

Our shutters are shut, the fire is low,
The tap is dripping peacefully;
The saucepan shadows on the wall
Are black and round and plain to see.

~Katherine Mansfield

I know I’ve written about Séamus quite a few times, but his threeishness affords quite a few topics to write about. This is good for me, because it means I have an almost neverending supply of blog fodder. Hopefully, that news will bring the utmost excitement and sheer joy to all of my regular readers…all 5 of you (yes! We’ve now progressed to 5! Happy dance!!).

Now, on to the topic at hand…Séamus-isms. Ferris Bueller said the following:

A person should not believe in an “-ism,” he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.

This is all fine and dandy, but the only reason why he held to this viewpoint was because he never met Séamus. Believe me, if he had, he’d change his tune in a hurry and at the very least believe that certain –“ism”s are pretty darn funny.

As I’ve mentioned before, Séamus is three. Three year olds are notorious for being very matter of fact on issues they know nothing about…you know, come to think of it, so are many adults…oh well, nevermind that. Back to Séamus. Let me give you some examples.

A few weeks ago, Séamus came running into the kitchen, yelling: “Mommy! I peeped!” I looked at him, and asked: “Where did you peep, Séamus?” “In the BATHROOM!” was his reply. Of course, I understood perfectly what was going on, but to any other person who is not well versed in the goings on at Casa Izz, Séamus might have been thought to have been peeking in at someone while they were doing their business in the bathroom. But that wasn’t it at all. He wasn’t “peeping” at anyone. He went potty. We had just potty trained him and whenever he went potty, he would run and tell us that he “peeped”. We all had a good laugh for about a week after, calling him the “Peeping Séamus”.

Another “Séamus-ism” has to do with the way he acts, rather than what he says. He hates to go to bed (unless, of course, it’s with Mommy….darn Œdipus), and he has become very adept at faking sleep when it suits his needs. You can go into the room, lightly shake him, talk to him, tickle him…he just lies there without making a sound. If you pick him up, he stays totally limp, like he is totally asleep. It’s not until you’ve gotten out the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that you wait to take out until all the littles are asleep that you find out that he’s really not asleep at all. “Mommy, I want soma you ice cream!” he loudly states after he has sneaked up behind you. He can fool everyone in the house with his bogus slumber. He really is that good at it.

The latest “Séamus-ism” was one of the funniest ones. A couple of weeks ago, on a particularly hot day, Mr Izz and I proceeded to take the Izzlets to the beach. It took some time to endear poor Séamus to the water, but once he understood it’s capacity for fun, you couldn’t get him out of it. He would try to get further and further out into the water, pushing it to the limit each time he went in, and making his mother (which would be me) more and more anxious and afraid that he would make it out to the outer limits of the designated swimming area…although, the way he was going, he probably would have swam to the other side of the river rather than drown. But I really wasn’t in the mood to find out, so it was a close eye I was keeping on him and guiding him back whenever he tried to make a break for it. By the time we got home, several hours later, he was tuckered out, the poor guy. We had dinner, and shortly after tucked the little guys into bed (I was pretty confident that there would be no phony snoozing, based on how tired he was). Not too long after, Séamus comes running out of his room, yelling at the top of his lungs…don’t let his size fool you; he can yell pretty loudly when he puts his mind to it. I couldn’t understand him amidst all the screams, so I calmed him down, and then asked him what was wrong. “My BRAIN!!! It’sa comin’ out my EARS!!!” I just looked at him because I couldn’t for the life of me understand what would make him think such a thing. Then it occurred to me that he’d been in the water all day, and he might have gotten water in his ears. Sure enough, when I looked, you could see a water-like substance in his ear canal. I had my answer, and trying very hard not to laugh, I informed him that it was just water coming out, not his brain. It did take some doing to finally convince him, and honestly, I’m not too sure he really was. But at least he was calm enough to get back to bed, and really go to sleep.

The next day, he did talk a little about it, saying things like “My brain too big to get outta my ears”…I’m not sure where I got this, for I didn’t think I said. Maybe he’s smarter than I’d thought, or at least more conceited. But at least he felt better about the situation. So did I. Especially because he went right to sleep afterwards, and was so tired, didn’t come to sleep with me. It really is the little things…

While I am looking forward to Autumn in a way, hearing the geese for the first time is somewhat depressing. It seems to be coming fast this year, that’s for sure. I think we all should be ready for a long, cold winter (especially here in the North Country) because the animals seem to be preparing already. And then there was that nip in the air as I hung out the laundry. SIGH! I’m really not ready. But then, even if it came later, would I be then? Probably not.

I’m not a fan of the U.S. Interstate System. I do realise that it is supposedly an ingenious invention, for with the construction of these vast concrete mega roadways that ribbon across our country, we are now able to go almost anywhere we like in a fraction of the time. For most people, I’m sure that is a wondrous thing. I, on the other hand, mourn for the days when the words “road trip” meant more than just climbing into your vehicle and hitting the interstate; only seeing the road and other fellow interstaters. It meant a weeks worth of driving, and seeing what there was to see between points A and B. Things like a small town with it’s diners and two screen movie theatres…or better yet, a drive in. Or some rinky dink museum of sorts which boasts the world’s only rock that looks like Abraham Lincoln as its main attraction, or even a quaint little hotel in an even quainter town which claims that George Washington slept there. You know the places: the ones off the now beaten path that no one seems to happen upon anymore because we’re far too interested in getting to point B as quickly as possible. Gone are the days of Route 66 and the enjoyment in the getting there. They have been replaced by I-80 (or I-90, or I-5…) and our penchant toward instant gratification. It really is a very sad thing, and a direct result of our “fast food” culture, where what we want, we need now.

Unfortunately, when one does travel in this inordinately large country of ours, you almost have no choice but to utilse the Interstate System. As much as I abhor the whole mentality behind it, I too would prefer to get to point B in a speedy manner. Now, for me, it means 6 hours to New Hampshire with 11 fidgety and quite often surly children in the back of the van, as opposed to possibly 10 or more hours to New Hampshire with 11 excessively restless, angry, screaming children in the back of the van. So while my choice to go against my better judgment may seem hypocritical, my reasoning why is hopefully understandable. It is this reasoning that puts me in Vermont, on I-89 south as I write.

Usually, I find interstates to be very ugly and even gaudy with their overabundance of far too bright billboards. But this is not the case on the Vermont portion of I-89. Here, the interstate runs gracefully through the Green Mountains. They are all around you as you drive, rising up majestically wherever you look. From time to time, you might see a sleepy village, with a few roof tops or a church steeple poking up through the foresty carpet which seems to go on endlessly along the never ceasing mountainous terrain. . You pass over valleys with magnificent rivers running through them…with names like the Black River, the White River, the Winooski River, and the Lamoille River. You drive past meadows teaming with wildflowers, and wonder if you’re really going to see a bear or moose when you see the sign indicating that one should be watching for them for the next 3 miles or so. The views are breathtakingly beautiful and absolutely make the travel along the interstate much more bearable. It also doesn’t hurt that each and every rest stop has the ultimate in hospitality: a free cup of Green Mountain Coffee waits for each weary traveler in need of a pick me up. This in of itself would almost be enough for me to actually like this leg of the trip…almost, but not quite. I do love those views.

One of these days, before I leave these shores in favour of those of the “Emerald” kind, I will forgo this road and take my time on the one now less traveled. I’ll allow myself to take in the sights and sounds of each small town I find myself in, and finally see things at a leisurely pace rather than at a blur. But for now, as I travel New Hampshire bound, I will be grateful for the beauty around me…and for that cup of delicious coffee…even on this road far too traveled.

I know that I don’t get all that many people who actually look at my blog, but the few that do are imporant to me. So, to those of you that come here often enough to notice the change in theme…what do you think? Please be honest…I’m not sure if I like it or not, so if you hate it or love it, give it to me straight. I can take it 😉

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