Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Summer Vacation

This year we went someplace completely new: an old manganese mine! 

The mine itself closed years ago, and as soon as they stopped pumping out groundwater, the mine flooded, turning into a small (deep!) lake. 

Someone bought the property and decided to build a vacation home near the lake.

And then they added a boathouse with kayaks!

 And a firepit!

The interesting thing was that, unlike a beach trip where there are a lot of things to do away from the property, there was almost nothing to do away, but lots of things to do on the property.

They billed it as a "retreat" and it really was.

They were well stocked with games and puzzles, and they had a foozball table and two pool tables!
Best of all, because it was away from everything, it had a beautiful view of the stars and Milky Way!

We really had a great time, although I was still sick while we were there, so I didn't get to explore the woods and trails as I would have liked.

Although I did reread  six Jane Austen novels in three days, so I did enjoy myself quite a bit!
And we saw a lot of wildlife, including this fellow coming across the road... He turned out to be a rattlesnake, the only one I've ever seen in the wild!

It's not a great picture because I didn't want to get too close (as in, I stayed in the car!).

Hopefully we'll go back next year!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Back and Catching Up

So, yes, I'm finally back and I'm finally well!  It just really took a few months to recover.  My advice: don't get bitten by a tick!

I have lots of photos and things to blog from the summer, and I am gearing up for the new school year (actually, my Anatomy and Physiology class starts today!), so I'll have lots to blog about.

In the mean time, here are a few pictures from the summer:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Eclipse!

At our local maximum,  the eclipse covered about 80% of the sun.  That meant we didn't get the cool coronal ring effects, but we did get some really interesting shadow effects.

 The dappled sunlight turned into beautiful crescents!

We didn't have solar glasses, but we had several other ways to observe the actual eclipse besides the shadows.

We did successfully use a pinhole in paper to project the sun's image, but we found it projected much more clearly if we used binoculars.

Please note we were not looking through the binoculars, even to line them up!  

We just moved them around until the sun's light passed through them and projected onto the paper.

Then we realized we could observe these effects inside, where it was 78 degrees and low humidity!

We had punched a page full of holes, and, when held to the light, you could see the moon and sun clearly.

It was interesting, at 80% occlusion, it didn't get super dark, it just got weird. 

It definitely got darker, but not really like night time - it more felt like we were wearing sunglasses.

I think what made it feel odd was that it was dim, but the shadows were (crescent shaped) midafternoon shadows,

And, of course, we also live streamed the eclipse from areas where they had totality!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Poem of the Week: Barter


Life has loveliness to sell,
     All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
     Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
     Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
     Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
     Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
     Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

HT: Poetry Foundation

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

a few realy quick words from oob

oob:so, my mom is feeling a lot better now. and, we have been doing a lot of fun things together.
like, the great British baking show. i hope you have a great summer (we will be going on vacation soon),  good luck. we will look forward to seeing you soon. bye!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Seven Quick Takes: The Big Sick

1. I feel like I should explain the last month.

I went to NJ to take care of my mom, who was hospitalized because of a variant of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever/ Tick Disease, got bitten by (the same?) tick, and have been sick and unable to do anything for the last month.  I'm feeling much better now and can be on my feet for an hour at a time.

2. I thought I should do "Seven Things I Learned from Being Well and Truly Walloped by a Tick Borne Disease." I thought about that, but everything on the list turned out to be uselessly practical or practically useless.

Me reading blog books while my children hug me and bring me tea

1. Don't get bitten by a tick.
2. Avoid northwest NJ.
3. Have a husband who gets summers off.
4. Have older children who can drive, clean, cook, and shop.
5. Have said husband and children willing to wait on you for a month and then some.
6. Learn that God loves and cares for you.
7. Drink lots of tea.

3. In Which Wendy Discovers She is Not Required to Make Everything Happen

Stuff really does happen!

Meals were cooked and laundry folded!

Kids continued to learn and try new things, like building 3D models out of paper!

I learned to title my quick takes a la Charles Dickens!  I might still be a little loopy.

4. My favorite tea right now is twig kukicha.  I'm not kidding, you have to try this stuff!  It is, literally, roasted tea twigs and a few leaves.  It tastes kind of creamy and nutty and a little sweet.  It's Japanese.  I don't get any money or free tea or anything for posting this, but I've got 6 boxes of it, so I'm ok with that.  For now.

5. And 4 takes was enough to wipe me out.  So I guess that means I'm 4/7 of the way better!

Have a great weekend, more fun with Kelly!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Guest Blog by Mxyl: Reminiscing

Sometimes it's good to get back to the roots, however small they may seem.  Seeing what you've done can help to inspire you to go further, and it can also remind you why you're doing what you're doing in the first place.  Going through the past can result in a much better perspective, as it contains both mistakes to avoid repeating and once-buried ideas that can inspire greater ones.  To quote a considerably unlikely source, "building the future and keeping the past alive are one in the same thing." 

The Prime Minister is recovering well, slowly but surely (as the previous post shows), and during her recovery, she decided to look and read through a few print-outs of our blog in its earliest years with a few Zoomlians.  Reading together can be a very close time for families, so I decided to try and capture the moment as best I could. 

 Here she is reading with Oob--when the Prime Minister started the blog, Oob was just a few months old!  He was very interested in seeing the stories from when he was that age.  It's very strange for me to see him looking back on what had happened a decade ago, especially since it's a time I can recall fairly easily, whereas he may be hearing about some of his early life for the first time. 
Going back and hearing about the past isn't just about retaining memories.  Reading, recording and documenting life can also help share it with others--even my taking these pictures can help give a taste of life from someone else's perspective, be it the Prime Minister's or Leena's in this photo.  Much like how reading even fictional books (as a certain high school English teacher I know can attest to) can give you a glimpse into how other people view the world, reading the Prime Minister's posts from several years after the actual stories can help give us--especially as Zoomlians--a look into how the Prime Minister viewed the events of the past decade, rather than just going by our views alone.  As an amateur filmmaker, I believe this even ties in to what I want my works to do--the characters, worlds and stories in film can help spread different perspectives to others, allowing them to ask questions that may not have occurred to them, and perhaps leaving them thinking about the world slightly differently. 
Even if things are going slowly, we're still going strong.  Hope to be back soon! 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Oob Asks

Oob: Can we have smores?
Me: I don't think we have all the ingredients.
Oob: Okay.... Can we just have chocolate chips?

Feeling better very slowly, hope to get back to blogging soon

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!