Thursday, June 25, 2015


Because I have been so lax at getting around to things, I am going to post.

Here is a recent addition to our herd.

I think he is Shadowmere's cousin.

Friday, June 19, 2015

More! WC markers

Jessica was here for about a week...and somehow despite all the conspiracies (which were definitely *not* devised by me) she made it back home.

But not before we were able to shop for art supplies together. 

She got some wondrous tins of fantastic things, and I got some more water color markers, a couple more water color sticks (I needed some greens very much) and a tube of pink water color paint, which also was a serious need.

I discovered that you need at least semi-decent paper for the wc markers or you can just forget it.

These are both from my sketchbook, but I have several types of paper in it.

This is just a sketch-type paper.

This is nicer drawing paper.

Big difference on how the marker worked.  I couldn't get any of the lines to disappear on the cheap paper...even just getting pigment to lift was minimal.  The nicer paper enabled me to completely obliterate maker lines (my phone thinks I should be talking about market limes, incidentally) with a bonus of very minimal paper buckling.

I haven't tried on actual water color paper, and I am looking forward to seeing how they work there.

Yay fun colored things!!

It was really fun having Jessica here, even if circumstances were such that I basically forgot everything that we were going to do while she was here.  We managed to have fun and drink tea and paint and visit dinosaurs and zebras, though.  And, I got her hooked on Halo, which she really, really needed in her life.

So, success!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rubber ducky, you're the one... make tea time so much fun!

I love my rubber tea ducky!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Speaking of sharing...

Fourteen years ago, I got into some poison oak.

No, scratch that.

Poison oak *viciously assaulted me* and *continues to do so to this day*.

It wasn't just a matter of brushing up against it.  This particular poison oak had it out for me.  I think it was guard oak.

I was on a walk with my fiance, at night, near a golf course.  What could go wrong walking paths near a golf course?  We were on some hills with trees and bushes and a nice little bike/hike path.  We decided to take a little shortcut through the brush to the lower path.  I was wearing sandals and shorts.

Someone didn't want us to be by the golf course.  Going down the hill, I slipped and fell...grabbing onto foliage, brush rushing in between my toes, stripping leaves and probably making a nice new clear path for someone else to follow.

I didn't think much of it.  Until the next day.

Words cannot describe what followed over the next few weeks.  Weeks of incredible burning pain and itching and non-stop suffering.  Weeks of massive clusters of huge blisters, in between my toes, all the way up my legs to mid-thigh, on my hands and arms, even spreading to a few unrelated areas which I must have touched before washing off the oil. Weeks and weeks and I was fairly convinced that it would *never go away* (and...I was right!).

Despite not having the money for it, I went to both urgent care and the er, and the only relief I was able to find was the discovery that if you immerse itchy skin in really, really, really hot water (hotter than you can stand) for longer than you can possibly stand, the histamine in your cells will be eliminated enough for a short blessed relief of at least the itch.

I needed to do this so often and for so long that my nerves in my hands and my feet no longer function quite as they did before.

Eventually, it had to have run its course, though it took well over a month.  I had physical and mental scars for many months after that.  I did believe that it was something now belonging to my past.

I was wrong.

The next summer, despite not being out in the wilds at all, I had a violent flare up in July.  I could not imagine what it was from, because I knew I had not gotten into anything to cause such a violent allergic reaction, which is what I thought it was at first.  Especially odd was that most of it was on the palms of my hands, which is a thicker skin that is not supposed to get such reactions easily if at all.  I went to the doctor and they found no reason for it at all.  They also found it perplexing that it would be so concentrated in my palms, which is where it looked like it originated from.

The summer after that, again in early July, I had another.  Less violent, but very, very present.  The doctor did not believe me, but...both of these episodes were a residual reaction to the poison oak.

I've had it every year since.  Every summer.  It began the beginning of July and through subsequent years moved slightly earlier into June.  Now it can occur as early as the beginning of June.

Thankfully, it has gotten calmer over the years, some years slightly more than others, some less to the point that I had hope for a couple of years that it would eventually vanish.  But it has not.  It has been concentrated in the palms of my hands, though a slight rash will appear elsewhere during years in which the reaction is worse.

Don't get me wrong.  This is nothing like that first year.  But when it's stronger, it is incredibly annoying.  My hands itch and burn and feel stiff and difficult to use.  The rash is barely visible normally, unless you look closely and know what to look for.  It's easier to see after a hot water treatment, when the rest of my skin will turn pink.

Of course, this year has to be a year in which the reaction is more protracted than normal.  Of course.

I have no desire to go golfing at that golf course.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

To Share or Not to Share

This is another post with Jessica!

Jessica came across this article, which is interesting, and we decided to post about it together.  As always, I am probably going to be far more verbose than Jessica, lol.

I want to paraphrase the article, but it's short enough to just read so I'm not going to.

First, I have to the article, I think that they're kind of splitting things up (or maybe lumping them together?) to try to say something.  I don't blame people for doing's a common thing and hard to avoid.  People want to categorize things.  A term gets applied to a variety of situations that are tangentially related, but multiple sides of an issue are not explored.

I don't think that teaching, or not teaching, sharing is a "gray moral area" like the author seems to believe.  Just because one "policy" does not apply across the board does not make that subject "morally gray".  Welcome to parenthood!  It means that an individual needs to use discernment as to what is correct in a certain situation.  And on top of that, what applies to one age group does not apply to another.

I definitely believe that a lot of people nowadays want us to think that sharing is very morally gray.  On the one hand, there is a sense of entitlement in society, while on the other hand, it's okay to tell people that *they* ought to be more charitable.  People who have no real morals love to have double standards.  But that's another topic.

It concerns me that an "interesting perspective" these days consists of someone having the stance that others are not *guaranteed by right* to take possession of something that someone else has.

This interesting perspective seems quite straightforward to me...

But I don't think that perspective is necessarily saying "I don't teach my child to share" if by "sharing", you mean, "I don't teach my child to be thoughtful and caring and charitable and not possessive and greedy and bratty".

But hey, he got a good-sounding title for his article, right?

There are two things going on in the situations that the article mentions, and these two things need to be covered on both sides.

On the one hand, there is the inappropriate behavior and attitude of thinking you are due something that someone else has, simply because you desire it.

On the other hand, there is the inappropriate behavior and attitude of not considering others...specifically, being selfish and greedy and believing that material possessions are more important than relating with people.

You can't teach both things at the same time.  And there are different levels and nuances and situations in which these things apply.

As a parent, you ought to be in tune enough to your child to know which lesson need apply in a certain situation, and in how they are growing in understanding.

I would never allow my toddler to take something away from someone else.  I would never allow my child of any age to take something away from someone else.  I would never allow (without consequences) my child to throw a fit or get upset about something they could not have.

On the other hand, if my non-toddler is hanging on to something simply because they want to be a brat and don't want someone else to have it, then I will likely step in and insist they share, giving appropriate time to the different parties.  But, this is dependent on knowing my child and knowing when they are acting like a selfish brat.

And, as a parent with multiple children, there are times when I do need to put a time limit on something so that one child does not monopolize a favorite item or activity to the exclusion of the others.  (Cases like that, where a child's normally limited attention span is taken over by some possessive activity, this usually means said activity cannot be all that healthy in the first place, anyway, and even without competition, time should be limited.)

It's really more about learning selfishness vs. selflessness and understanding the role of possessions in our lives than some glorified idea of "sharing".

I couldn't care less about "sharing" in the sense of how society believes in it these days.  Today, "sharing" is about "everyone having a turn" or "everyone being able to enjoy this or that" or "everyone having the same imaginary rights" or "the world belongs to everyone and so we need to do x, y, and z, because I think that makes the world better for everyone" or some such nonsense.

People, even children, are not the same and frankly we don't *need* everything to be equal along all lines. "Sharing" and "fairness" and "equality" become annoying buzz words.

I'm sorry.  Life is not fair.  The world has limited resources and some have more than others, and for the most part...if you're complaining because you don't think that things are "fair", then you can just shut the hell up because I don't care what you think is fair.  It's simply not possible to be "fair" with everyone.  One person's idea of fairness is anything but to another.  Fairness doesn't enter into the real world at large and morality is *not* about being fair.  If fairness enters into a child's relationship with his peers, then this is simply because there are scenarios when raising children in which we *need* to establish order and we need to teach certain lessons.  More specifically, in a group setting, fairness is a necessary component of a closed group of specific individuals, because otherwise the group cannot work or even abide together.  But fairness is a fluid construct whose rules need to be defined within that group.  There are times when consideration *must* be given to others, and this is especially evident with multiple children in one family.

All that being said, charity is one of the most valuable things we can attempt to instill in our children.  Insisting on "fairness" or "sharing" is not going to give our children charitable hearts, but it is a necessary step to teach that when you deal with others, you consider their feelings and wants and desires.  Children have very basic understandings of the deeper mechanics of our hearts, and they need concrete, real-world examples to deal with.

When there is a genuine need, or lack, it most assuredly ought to be met by another in position to do so.  Not because of some obligation instilled upon us by our authority figures, not because our culture tells us it is the right thing to do, but because it is in our hearts to do so.

We do not have control over our children's hearts.  But we can do our best to guide them.


Face does not share his post.  But no one else wants it, anyway.

Shibe was very happy when we shared the remnants of our corn on the cob.

Oh, the timing.

I was just finishing this post up when I heard a commotion downstairs.  My four-year-old daughter had something that my two-year-old daughter wanted.  My two-year-old ripped it from her sister's hands.  Then, my four-year-old screamed bloody murder and ripped it back.

The toy is now in my possession.