Saturday, June 17, 2017

More Explanations

Much to my surprise, I did not go back to NJ to take care of my mom and dad.  That's because I found spots on my legs the night before I was supposed to leave.  Spots like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever spots.

So, I have a mild case and I am on antibiotics. I'm just really tired and spotted, and tired of being spotted.  I'm not in danger of death, or even hospitalization, if you are seeing all the cases in the news. 

And then my dad also tested positive for it, but he "only" has the fatigue, and he is now on antibiotics.

My mom is continuing to feel better each day, and may be back up to driving soon.  She seems to have skipped the Feeling Horrible for Two Weeks phase.  Thanks be to God! 

And I'm going to take a nap now.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Well, I'm glad I got caught up on all the back blog posts from when I couldn't upload.

Now I have a backlog of posts because I don't have time to sit and type! Here's the deal:

Shortly after my last post, my mom, Mumpy, got very sick and I  needed to run up and take care of her (it only took me 5 hours for a trip that usually takes 6).  She ended up in the hospital and my very dear Aunt and Uncle flew out from Washington state (literally the other side of the country) to help take care of her and Pa.

It turns out Mumpy had Rocky Mountain Spotted Wood Tick Disease, which is a variant of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Fortunately it was caught in time, and she is expected to make a full recovery (this is often fatal if untreated).  But she's in for a rough month.  I am headed back up later this week.

But first, Klenda is graduating high school tomorrow and the next day Zorg is headed off for an epic adventure at Philmont (which is only mostly on the other side of the country).

And the Emperor and I started a six week "boot camp" exercise program called Fit for Christ.  It's been wonderful!  I am so sore!  It's from 5:30-6:30 in the morning 5 days a week! 

But, surprisingly, it really is a good thing.

I hope to post more later, but if it's a while, at least now you know why.  Prayers appreciated!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Steampunk Room

We'll add more gears to this wall as we find them
I've noticed it's really hard to photograph metallic colors.  In photos, the color wash here is shiny brown.  In person, it's shiny coppery bronze- very metallic looking. 

At any rate, doing the finishes on this and the jungle ruins room was really fun.

But probably not as much fun as doing the pipes, and finding things to go with the steampunk theme!

Choclo and Oob put the pipes together like a giant Lego set, and then had the great idea to save some pipe to put around the room coming out of other walls.

The pipes are plastic plumbing pipes and fittings, spray painted black and then  lightly over sprayed with copper and bronze.

I used primer on the smaller pipe, but I'm not sure it made a lot of difference.  They scratched a little as I was cutting them, but I touched them up after they were put together.

So now they have a place for their exotic cactus collection, as well as a cozy reading nook.

Their actual idea was a steampunk space ship, so we are hoping to add lots of dials and gauges (and gears!) as we find them.

They also want more pipes...

And I want a nap!

Jungle Room

Klenda and Leena wanted a jungle theme. 

I wasn't really sure what they meant by that, but, since they were capable of creating it themselves, I told them to go for it!

It's really quite lovely!  They painted the walls a peaceful green, got curtains in a natural "bark" color, and then draped the room in living and silk greenery.

They also got a little fountain decorated with birds, and moved the furniture so they had a lot of open space in the center of the room. 

The effect is rather like a peaceful forest glade.

Mxyl and Zorg liked the jungle idea, but went in more of a "jungle ruins" direction.

It's pretty cool that they made rooms with linked themes since these are the two rooms which are connected by a secret passage.

I also like it that, while they had a similar idea, they really did it in their own style.

It's been one of the real pleasures of parenting for me to watch my children grow into their own ideas and creative styles, and to see them come up with things that never would have occurred to me!

In case you are wondering, they do have beds in their bedrooms, but in both rooms, they put the beds against the same wall as the door, and you don't really see them when you first walk into the room

Friday, June 2, 2017

Room Switch!

 As of last weekend, we were finished with all our classes, had filed all our annual paperwork, had finally caught up with blogging, and no one was sick.

What would we do with ourselves?

We took everything out of all three kid bedrooms, re-painted, re-designed, and reshuffled room mates, then moved everything back in!

 Fortunately, the Zoomlians are old enough to do a lot of the work themselves! The oldest four did all the moving and taping.

Klenda and Leena painted their room. 

Mxyl and Zorg painted the base coat in Choclo and Oob's room.

Meanwhile, we kept the gold in Mxyl and Zorg's room as a base coat, and I ragged on some texture to make it look like stone.

Later I did a bronze color wash over the yellow walls in Choclo and Oob's room. I hadn't realized that I had managed to pick up an oil based glaze.  It worked fine in that the oil bonded well with the latex undercoat, but I won't be able to repaint with latex later without treating the walls first.

Ah, well, the oil gives a depth and shimmer that are really beautiful.

Tomorrow: our results!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Awesome American History: 1849-1856

 This class covered two weeks (since we missed one due to illness) and it covered Sojourner Truth, the Underground Railroad, clipper ships, redwoods, potato chips, and the discovery of fossils in America.

This is pages 99-119 in The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.

And again I forgot to get pictures except at the end when the youngest member of the group threatened Choclo with a foam sword (adorably).

Our active activity was hide and seek (for the Underground Railroad).

Our art activity was chipping bones out of plaster (fossils).

Our snack was potato chips and birthday cupcakes.

And that's a wrap for Awesome American History I, you can now view the whole thing in the sidebar!  We'll pick up with Awesome American History II in the fall, when, doubtless, I will carefully photograph the entire class!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Guest Blog by Mxyl: Oops^2

A follow-up to my previous oops

My website had, for a while, allegedly been extremely script-heavy enough to crash the server CPU (which, given that I hand-coded everything there, I personally doubt) and wouldn't load, and much more recently it announced that I apparently have to back up everything and restart the uploading from scratch to join a new membership redirect thing. 

Fortunately, by that point, I'd already backed up everything and restarted from scratch.  Powered by the fantastic GitHub, I may now present the new Zoom Times website at, complete with a few minor updates and under-the-hood navigation improvements! 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Happy Birthday, Choclo!

Choclo is 12!

He wanted a robot cake, and it came out hardly creepy at all!

Actually, he had two cakes because we celebrated once with Pop, and once with just the eight of us.

On his actual birthday, he wanted a pumpkin cake. He wanted it to look like a pumpkin, and he wanted it to taste like a pumpkin, something I found very funny at the end of May!

He liked it so much that he declared it to be the best 3D cake he had ever seen, "Even better than a 10 layer wedding cake!"

12 Great Things About Choclo

1. He likes to be tickled.
2. He is a Minecraft master!
3. He loves to create secret places.
3. He tells funny jokes.
4. He loves babies.
5. He makes great paper airplanes.
5. He likes to cook special snacks with lots of hot sauce!
6. He knows a lot about sharks.
6. He knows even more about penguins!
7. He can build pretty much anything out of Legos.
8. He has lots of great story ideas.
8. He's about to cross over to be a boy Scout.
9. He's an altar server!
10. He's a Duck fan.
10. He really likes garlic.
11. He's a sweet and loving brother.
11. He likes to play games with "smash" in the title, and he's a good sport
12. He's interested in everything!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day!

 This Memorial Day we split up the visits to the graves.

Last Wednesday we visited Arlington, and Sunday we were supposed to visit our graves at Fort Lincoln.

I'm super glad we did it that way, because Mxyl came down with a horrible stomach bug, and we weren't able to go on Sunday!

As it was, we got to go to at least some of the graves, and we got to see at least some of the cousins.

And today we'll be praying for the dead (and praying that no one else gets sick!).

Bouquets for Moi, Grandpa Frank, and Grandpa Bob

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Poem of the Week: In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

HT: Poetry Foundation