Monday’s Child …
Jun 22nd, 2010 by Sonja

… or is that a blog prompt.  Either way here’s my goods from Monday … and as you’ll see it’s a nice segue into Tuesday too.

What was the worst job you ever had?

This is difficult because I was always able to find some redeemable quality in every job I ever had.  So every time I start to think about the “worst” job, I remember something good too and then mark it off my list.  And I’ve done a lot of different jobs in my time too.

I began my working career as a babysitter.  I was in fairly hot demand in my hometown and if I remember correctly topped out at the whopping high cost of $.75 per hour back in 1979 when I graduated from high school.  Hey … I paid for my class ring and most of my clothes with that salary.  During the summer I was also an assistant swimming instructor and part-time life guard.  I was the go-to gal when the little kids were scared to put their face in the water.  I could always get them comfortable and feeling good enough to put their little faces in, blow bubbles and jump in off the dock by the end of the session.  Cause I’m a cheerleader for tots … or something.  But I really, really liked that job.

During college part of my financial aid package involved being on the work-study program, so I got assigned some sort of interesting jobs there.  My first year I was an assistant in the chem lab.  This meant I got to work in the shop where they mixed up all the stuff for the experiments each week.  That was a blast.  I loved that job.  It totally satisfied my inner nerd.  But by the next year it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to pursue a science degree so the job had to go to an actual nerd and I was assigned a job in the school snack shop.  There I learned to waitress, work the counter and be a short order chef (and make a mean tuna melt too).  I worked there for my sophomore and senior years.  I didn’t work my junior year because I was away from my main campus on a special study program.

After college I had a bunch of different (mainly secretarial) jobs in a variety of institutions here in the DC area.  I worked from 1983 to 1994 when LightGirl was born.  After she was born my job was to take care of her and then LightBoy and lose my mind.  I have been extremely successful at losing my mind; my relative success at raising children may or may not be seen until after my death.  During some of the time I was working, I was also going to graduate school at George Mason University in pursuit of a Masters in secondary education.  I thought it might be a good idea to be a teacher.  That never quite worked out for a variety of reasons, but while I was doing that I worked as a temporary office worker.  It was then that I had what would be my worst job ever.

Oh.  It didn’t start out that way.  It started out sort of fun and light-hearted.  And as a redemptive quality, I met one of my oldest and dearest friends at this job.  We were tight.  We still keep in touch.  We had a lot of fun together, laughing, talking, working.  We worked for an auctioneer.  It was a small business owned by two brothers who auctioned oriental carpets (persian rugs) on the weekends.  At first it seemed really innocuous.  My friend and I were in charge of setting up the auctions around the country; usually two or three per weekend.  We had to run ads in the local papers.  Ads for the auction and ads to hire local labor.  We had to set up hotels, auction venues, etc.  It didn’t seem like it was terrible.  But then we went to one.  And it wasn’t terrible, but it was really on the dishonest side.    By that time, I’d worked there long enough that I rationalized the dishonesty even though it made me feel very dirty.  LightHusband and I needed the money as we were very nearly broke because of some medical bills and I was still trying to get a job teaching.  However, the day came that one of the brothers asked me to sign letters of appraisal verifying the value of the rugs they had sold one particular weekend.  He gave me a title which indicated that I had knowledge of persian rugs that I did not and do not have.  I wish I could say that I quit on the spot.  I didn’t.  I was entirely too shocked and dismayed.  I signed approximately five letters and went home.  Talked to LightHusband about the situation and quit the next day.  There’s a lot I’ll put up with … grumpy bosses who pull rank and my vacation time (because they want to go to the beach with their boyfriend), customers who swear at me on the phone, c0-workers who are jerks, bosses who’ve fired me 3 hours after telling me they’re renewing my contract (and two weeks after having a mis-carriage), etc.  But I won’t ever, not not ever, engage in fraud.

Which leads me to today’s question/prompt:

Do you think it’s ever permissible to cheat?


I just hope that speeding is not counted as cheating.  Because then I would be in big trouble.

On A Mission
Nov 13th, 2008 by Sonja

Or maybe two or three.

I made a decision last year sometime.  I don’t remember when it was.  But I remembered it this year and I had time to make good on it.  The decision was that I would make our Christmas gifts for extended family members.  I think the decision began sometime around “Make Something Day,” but by then it was too late for me.  Especially since I had 35 people in my house that day.  And it took me … uh … weeks to recuperate.

This year is different.  We’re not having a big, ornate Thanksgiving.  The day after LightHusband is taking the LightKids to go play paintball with one of his compatriots at work.  Most importantly, we are not painting the house all autumn.  On the other hand … this means that the house is all wrecky.  And making me slightly insane.

So I have spent the last several days pouring through tutorial websites, blogs and magazines finding cool things to make for my nieces, nephews, siblings, in-laws, out-laws, etc.   There was a condition though.  I had to have most, if not all, of the materials on hand for the project.  And it has to be fairly simple.  In other words, these gifts have to be made out of stuff I already have and not take too much time or energy.  There will be a few things I have to purchase (like some plastic mesh to make a fabric garage & doll house).  But for the most part, I will be able to make these gifts with stuff I already have.

Then I spent an inordinate amount of time organizing myself.  Making lists of what I would make and in what order.  I’m using Evernote to keep track of all the websites and people/gift recipients, and I’m using Things to keep track of the when and how.   If you’re also interested in making your gifts this year, start with Sew Mama Sew.  It’s a group blog and they’re doing gift tutorials every day this month that link to other blogs, which (of course, branch out to others.  For even more inspiration, they did this last year, so if you click on “November 2007” you get even more ideas.  Everyday they have gift ideas centered on a particular theme (such as teachers, or books or cold weather) with tutorials, gifts to buy that are handmade, patterns to buy and then homemade food recipes (like homemade marshmallows! yum!).

Mission number two involves the hockey team (what else?).  We’re traveling out of state about 12 days before Christmas to play a couple of games.  This involves a hotel stay.  I usually organize some activity while we’re in the hotel to prevent large groups of young women from roaming the corridors in the evening teeheeing and making too much noise for the other guests.  The girls don’t seem to understand that no one else wants to hear them.  So for this trip I’m organizing dinner out and then a Christmas party back at the hotel.  I thought it would be a good idea (based on some discussions last year) if the Christmas party were to involve some sort of charitable activity/donation to a local shelter.  So I have to call them this morning and find out what we might be able to do for them in that situation.  That’s just an extra wrinkle in my planning/organizing.  I’ve found a bunch of fun games for the tween/teen set that can be played in a hotel setting.  We’ll be having fun.

Mission number three is to return to my old tradition of making plum pudding this year.  I use my Welsh great, great grandmother’s recipe handed down to me by my grandmother.  I dropped it for a couple of years because I was having such a difficult time finding suet, among other things.  But I think I can find it again this year.  So I’ll be making my plum puddings in a couple of weeks.  Ready to go for Christmas dinner.  YUM!!

UPDATE:  Eureka!  I found the suet at a small local butcher shop about 7 miles out of town.  When giving directions, the man told it was next to some antique shops and he said, “But you have to spend more here than on antiques,” in a gravelly southern accent.  I cheerfully assured him I’d rather have some good beef than an antique (never mentioning that this close to DC they’re likely to be overpriced junk in any case).  I’m going to pick it up this afternoon.  And dig out my grandmother’s recipe to get the rest of the ingredients this weekend.

In all, though, my missions seem to be taking me away from the computer.  In addition, I’m trying to do more reading and I have some quilts that are slowly being pieced as well.  So if you don’t see me very much around here, don’t worry.  I’m still here.  Just trying to be faithful to my missions and get them accomplished.  You’ll prob’ly see more of me in the New Year.  As I stay off the roads while LightGirl learns to drive!!!

Personally Speaking
Sep 4th, 2008 by Sonja

I haven’t written in a while and I apologize.  Things have have been bubbling here in the LightHouse, some good, some … eh.  So I’ll fill in the gaps for you.

Back in July LightGirl was visiting a friend and they went walking in the woods chattering away as girls are wont to do.  A few days later, she found a tick in her bellybutton (of all places).  She had a rash and some other odd symptoms so I took her to the doctor … who chastised her for not wearing insect repellent and did some blood work.  And off we went on our trip to Vermont.  Some days later I received a phone call from the doctor’s office saying that the test for Lyme Disease was positive and they were calling in a script for antibiotics.  Okay.  She didn’t do well on those particular antibiotics, so we changed to a type called Ceftin.

She finished that round last Thursday (a week ago today).  But she wasn’t doing well.  She was lethargic and achy.  Her head hurt and she didn’t have a very good appetite.  I had to beg her to go to hockey practice (which is very unlike her).  So we went back to the doctor, who put her on another round of antibiotics and got us an appointment with an infectious disease specialist if she did not improve by the end of this round (mid-September).  By Tuesday morning, something was seriously wrong with my girl.  She couldn’t stand up longer than a minute or two and was complaining that her knees hurt.  She would not go up or down the stairs more than once a day.  So I called the doctor to get in to see the infectious doctor earlier.  It took two days, but we finally got an appointment to see a specialist in Charlottesville today.  Our doctor faxed her records to him.  Imagine my surprise, when he called yesterday afternoon to tell us that her Lyme blood test results from July were NEGATIVE!  They had never been positive at all.

LightHusband looked up her antibiotic on the internet and it seems that the symptoms we had attributed to Lyme Disease are also less common side effects of the Ceftin.  She has not taken any of the antibiotic since that phone call (she’s missed two doses) and she is steadily improving.  She has no joint pain and her soul is back there in her eyes.  She’s laughing with us and eating normally again.  She has a lot of her sass back … which I may regret, but I will enjoy.

So there have been quite a few ups and downs over the past few days.  I’ve been reading the political news fairly avidly and will probably be sharing some of my thoughts on that soon.  I have a few more book reviews to post in the next couple of weeks.   I’ve been trying to get school organized and begun … but of course, with LightGirl sick, no school has happened.  However, LightBoy has begun making SockMonsters from all of our singletons this week.  He is also using LightHusband’s old ties as accoutrements.  He is busy dreaming up an internet kingdom selling these recycled toys.  So, this is an education of a different sort.

Sigh … onward and upward.

UPDATE:  And now the rest of the story …

We had an appointment with our primary care physician this afternoon and an education at the same time.  So … it turns out that there are “strict constructionist” doctors, just as there are strict constructionist judges.  Who knew?  When testing for Lyme Disease there are these things called bands.  I have no idea what those are … but they … um … are.  In any case, there are five of them.  For a strict constructionist doctor, you must have five of five positives to get a diagnosis of Lyme Disease.  Now, our primary care doc, saw LightGirl … saw that she was presenting with a tick bite and a rash AND three out of five positive bands and decided to be conservative.  She does this all the time.  She said that only one of her Lyme Disease cases presented with all five bands positive this summer.  It’s a gray area, as she freely admitted.

LightGirl is doing better and better the longer she is off the meds so all is well and we are all breathing a little easier now.

Hokey Pokey – Book Review
Aug 12th, 2008 by Sonja

Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey: Curious People Finding What Life’s All About by Matthew Paul Turner

I remember being small and pestering my mother with “what if” questions til she’d finally cry “Uncle.”  “We’re not playing the ‘what if’ game today.”  I was a curious child and have continued to be a curious adult.

It was that curiosity that lead me to chase down God; only to find He hadn’t exactly been hiding.  I simply hadn’t been looking very effectively.   No matter, we met up.  That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the many of God’s messengers here in earth have done their level best to squelch my inborn curiosity about life, living and all things to with the here and the hereafter.  I tried to contain it for a long time.  Then I tried to channel it into respectable outlets, but I’m a woman so there aren’t really any for me.  I taught youth group, I taught women’s classes, but they all got too deep and I continued to ask too many questions.  Silly me.

So I liked this book and I didn’t like this book.  And for the same reason.  It challenged me to get off my duff once more and dance.  Life’s been sorta painful these last couple of years.  The last few times I’ve “put my left arm in and shook it all about …” I got it ripped off and clubbed with the wet end (as my grandfather was fond of saying).  I’m not so anxious to try again.  I’m not even certain I want to listen to the music at this point, but let me finish telling you about the book.

I do highly recommend Hokey Pokey (although I really wish for a better title) for those seeking validation of their curious nature and for those beginning to ask questions but wonder if it’s okay (yes, it is).

Honestly, when I first cracked this book open I wondered how much there could be to write on the subject of curiosity.  Mr. Turner takes the subject far more seriously than his title suggests.  Along the way he manages to deal with calling, the silence of God, mentors, negative relationships, community, waiting on God, our image in God as well as several other fairly deep topics (these are what struck me).  Far from being a light read, I found this to be challenging on a level that I wasn’t anticipating.  Hokey Pokey would make a good book for a small group study for a group that has been together for some time and knows one another well.  It would also make a good book to read and journal through with a friend or on one’s own (as I plan to do later this fall).  It also made for enjoyable reading on it’s own and I found a lot that I simply relished; not the least of which was that many places were familiar as Mr. Turner lived and worked in the DC area and he managed the coffee house where I used to go to church.

As If …
Oct 16th, 2007 by Sonja

This is kinda funny … and if only my hair were really green. O wait … it could be!

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

(ht Kay)

Going Green?
May 19th, 2007 by Sonja

The street sweeper went by our house today.  It blew up a lot of dust and sucked it all back up into its big dark tank.  It was very quick and painless.  Our little cul de sac only took about a minute … maybe two.

It came early in the morning.  Shortly afterwards I left to go to the gym.  As I drove down a nearby street I noticed that the street sweeper had been there as well.  It had only been down one side of that street though because parking is allowed on on the other side of that street.  I admired how clean and grime free the curb area was on the “clean” side.  Then I looked at the “unclean” side.  It was full of leaves and clutter.  And mostly cars.  It was not clean because the street sweeper couldn’t get there when the cars were parked there.  It being basically a huge gasoline driven power scrubber and vacuum cleaner, it cannot go where cars are parked.

It really bugged me seeing one side of the street clean and the other messy.  I like matched sets.  So I started to think about ways that the messy side could be cleaned.  I came up with a novel approach.  I thought of …

… wait for it …

… a broom.

Then I began to think more about it.  What would happen if we got rid of all the gas powered street sweepers and replaced them with brooms?  And paid people who don’t have jobs (homeless people, for example) to sweep the streets?  What might happen?  What other jobs, simple jobs, do we now engage gasoline or oil powered machines to do that people might do?  I think it might kill two birds with one stone.  We could simultaneously give people employment while reducing our dependence on petroleum products.  It might not be much of a reduction, but it would be some.  Maybe there are some other things we can do in small ways to reduce our dependence.

In a similar vein, we participated in the Gas Out the other day.  Which is to say, by coincidence we did not need to purchase gas on May 15, so we did not.  LightGirl and I were talking about it later and thinking about how it really probably didn’t do any good.  Her idea was that there should be a Gas Out Month!  “That would make a difference!” she declared.  “Well … yes,” I thought.  Then I began to imagine what that might do our economy.  How would we go about managing to not buy gas for a month?  How about a week?  Think about it … how long can you reasonably go without getting gas?  How long can you make a tank stretch?  Can you make it go longer?  I wonder if we all just started thinking in terms of how long can I make it before I have to fill up again? it might change our use habits, which might change our dependence.  It might just take a slight change of perspective.

Like brooms, and paying people instead of buying machines.  Like finding out how many days you can take a tank of gas.

Something New
Apr 4th, 2007 by Sonja

You heard it here first …

Apple’s latest and greatest has been unveiled.  You can see the video here.  I’ll be saving my pennies for one.  They’re sure to sell like hotcakes 😉
(ht 8th Day)

Tag for Grown-Ups
Jan 15th, 2007 by Sonja

Jamie at MoreThanStone tagged me in a meme … it’s a fun one, so I’m being compliant 😉 but I’m a day late and a dollar short because I’ve been lagging behind in my blog reading. Sorry about that Jamie.

1) What’s the most fun work you’ve ever done, and why?

My most fun work ever was when I was a member of the word processing pool at Prison Fellowship. I got to type Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint episodes and I got in good with guys in the IT department. They used to give me all the new software to try out and learn first before installing it throughout the organization. There was no pressure at that job, I just showed up, did a good job for a good reason and went home. It was pretty neat.

2) A. Name one thing you did in the past that you no longer do but wish you did?

Rode my bicycle everywhere. I used to ride my bike as an adult in the city to work and back and I was fit. I wish I rode my bike more and had a reason to.

B. Name one thing you’ve always wanted to do but keep putting it off?

Visit Scotland, Ireland and northern England. OR … take the LightChildren to Yellowstone.

3) A. What two things would you most like to learn or be better at, and why?

I want to learn how to take photographs and turn them into quilts. I also want to learn/become better at mediation. I started learning this in college, but that was a long time ago … I want to revisit it and grow it.

B. If you could take a class/workshop/apprentice from anyone in the world living or dead, who would it be and what would you hope to learn?

I’d want to apprentice under Mahatma Gandhi because I want to learn his abilities to speak peace, redemption and reconciliation into hate and anger.

4) A. What three words might your best friends or family use to describe you?

smart, scattered, silly

B. Now list two more words you wish described you…

wisdom, tact

5) What are your top three passions? (can be current or past, work, hobbies, or causes)

Like Jamie, it’s my blog and I’m the boss of me … so, I’m changing this question to—

Assuming love of God and love of family, what are your top three passions?

Redemption, history, fabric (not necessarily in that order) 😉

6) Write–and answer–one more question that YOU would ask someone

What is your vision for bringing about the Kingdom in the here and now?

You know that horrid bumper sticker campaign about random acts of kindness? Yeah … that’s my vision. If everyone (including me) were on the lookout for the random acts of kindness they could do and smiles they could give out each day I think we’d be a step closer every day.

So … now I get to tag a few people. Here goes nothing. I tag … J4CK13, Kievas, Princess of Everything, and Becky … have fun stretching out to this. It really is good. :-)

My New Home
Sep 29th, 2006 by Sonja

Here it is … my new little place in the blogosphere. I’m settling in. I kind of like this spot. And, hey, if you’re unhappy with the current background you can play around with it by clicking on the little thumbnails under the title at the upper left. I’ve imported all of my posts from blogspot, so there’s not much new here … yet! It’s just a new look. I still have to bring over all my links and fun stuff and there’s a big learning curve I’m working on. So I hope no one’s feelings will get hurt if you’re not linked here yet.

Welcome … poke around and have fun.

Sep 28th, 2006 by Sonja

Lately I’ve seen some sights around town that made me look twice and think thrice. Since I just got back from my long drive (to East Overshoe to our CSA farm) and I need to wind down, here are a few of them.

The other day I was driving past a church. The sign out front advertised a family movie night on Friday and an open house on Sunday. “Huh?” I thought, “And here I thought everyday was open house for a church! What was I thinking??!!” Today I drove past it and they are advertising “World Communion” for this Sunday.

I saw a young guy walking down the street. I know I’m firmly implanted in my middle years. But I’m used to seeing all sorts of clothing and not being phased by it. I don’t remember specifics, I just remember remarking to Sizzling Ewe that perhaps this particular young man ought to cease purchasing his fashion sense at Montgomery Ward, since they’ve gone out of business.

I found it remarkable today that the two vehicles that were the most aggravating to drive behind were SUVs with dealer tags. They were aggravating because the drivers were having issues handling them. They didn’t even want to go the speed limit and braked at every turn. It was annoying.

There’s a church I pass on the way to East Overshoe called Believers Baptist Church. For some reason this name makes me laugh. It also makes me want to stop and ask the pastor what sort of believers they are looking for. There is something about that name that is officious and pompous. It sounds like hiked-up pants and slick hair.

I love the drive going out to East Overshoe. It gets progressively less congested and more beautiful. I hate the drive coming home. It’s everything in reverse and I’m driving into rush hour traffic. Bleh….

We made butter in the Osgiliath Classical School Potions class the other day. That’s chemistry for all you who might be wondering. We were investigating the different states of matter. It gave me renewed appreciation for my colonial mothers. We made butter with just one cup of cream and we had a cold storage unit handy. If it didn’t work, so what? But my colonial mothers had to do this and much more every day … every, every, EVERY day. Or their families went hungry and cold. We have so much convenience in our lives we don’t even know what to do with it. We don’t even recognize most of it.

LightBoy’s current ambition is be Mr. Spock from the original Star Trek. This morning he brought me his sister’s eyeliner and asked me to draw Spock eyebrows on him. I complied, but it’s been very unsettling to look at him today. He has, essentially, two sets of eyebrows on his sweet round face and one set makes him look sinister. Of course, he thinks this is very wonderful. We are now in the market for a Mr. Spock costume for Halloween. Oh … yay. Then LightGirl decided she would like to be Lt. Uhura (with the very short dress). I said, “No. You will not be Lt. Uhura (with the very short dress).”

Back in March, you may remember that LightGirl entered a contest called Fashion Revue with a pair of pants she had sewn. She won a blue ribbon for her efforts. At that time, I fought a full scale battle to get her to wear a little eye shadow, mascara and blush for the contest as she had to model her outfit for some judges. It was just to make her look well put together. Finished, as it were. Now (less than 6 months later) she wears full makeup every day. I finally asked her one morning if we should expect this from now on. She said we should. The other morning tho, I had to object. I think that when eyeliner can be measured with a ruler in eighth inch increments, it has been applied too liberally. She has backed off a little since then.

We began walking again this morning. I should say huffing and puffing. It wasn’t pretty. It was interesting to see all the gardens on the far side of the season. Then I felt sad. I realized how much I’ve missed by not walking through the summer. I could have seen all the comings and goings of the flowers and other crops, but I was lazy and I missed it. I did part of the loop alone. I couldn’t have done that last winter because I was so scared. And I left the house without any wallet or identification … another huge step for me. I am much stronger now.

Well … those are some snapshots of life in the LightHouse and more frightening still, into my mind recently. I’ll try to keep these posts to a minimum.

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