Burro Bushes

when I was a kid, we sang a song about the kukuburro in the ol’ gum tree (merry merry king of the bush is he)

Today I conquered the last of the burro bushes that grow seasonally in our cactus garden & it made me think of the kukuburro song. Funny how Aleve & Ryobi Pole Saw are the kings of these bushes!



Commemorating 9-11-01 RW&KW style

Commemorating September Eleventh RW&KW style:

1) realize wardrobe is missing anything that’s both professional and red white & blue – wear navy blue NAU polo & khakis. Put flag scarf in hair.

2) snap photos outdoors and enjoy the crisp fresh air


3) Donate Blood

Makin’ it Mo’ Betta: Slow Cooker Garlic & Brown Sugar Chicken

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken

adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff

4-6 chicken breasts *I used 2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts

1 cup packed brown sugar *I used 3/4 cup

2/3 cup vinegar  *I used apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup lemon-lime soda *I used Sprite Zero

2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic *I used about 1 1/2 T. fresh minced garlic

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 Tablespoons corn starch

2 Tablespoons waterRed pepper flakes (optional)


Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken (frozen, thawed or fresh) inside slow cooker. Mix together brown sugar, vinegar, soda, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper together. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Take chicken pieces out of slow cooker (mine basically fell apart) and pour remaining sauce into saucepan. Place saucepan over high heat. Mix together corn starch and water, pour into saucepan, and mix well. Let sauce come to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken and turns into a glaze. Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two (it will continue to thicken as it cools down).

Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top if desired.  This can be served over rice or noodles, but we had ours with a baked potato on the side (It’s good on top of the potato too!)

via Makin’ it Mo’ Betta: Slow Cooker Garlic & Brown Sugar Chicken.


Yeah yeah I know – anxiety is the opposite of grace. worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength – yes. You’re right. But at 3:30 this morning, all the transcendental knowledge and wisdom and grace in the world abandoned me as I rode the waves of an anxiety attack the likes of which I’ve not experienced at all in my 30s.

I had been struggling with the anxiety for almost a full week. But the longer I struggled, the more my brain spiraled out of control. What started as just too much work product in too few days triggered a “hey, i got out of public accounting to get away from this insanity” and landed me in an exponentially magnified existential crisis by my boss asking me one question about one error from 14 months ago. (Big words = I had an attack of the who am I & why am I here & why can’t I ever do anything right crazies!)

Boom a tailspin was born & it didn’t recede til this morning when I made sure with my boss that we were all good. (If you don’t know the anxiety tailspin, I’ll spare you the mental drama. If you do know it, that’s all the description you needed).

Ordinarily I wouldn’t share that on my blog. But Lisa-Jo Baker’s post about Mom Guilt reminded me of the tailspon.

You can read her post here – lisa jo

Why did it remind me of that? Because somehow I hauled my head out of my asinine tailspin before I got one of those “mom-portunities” to respond the “right” way to my daughter when she needed her momma to tell her it was going to be ok, to help her find humor and to be proud of her for doing what she believed was right.

There’s always mom guilt –
1) I cheated on my diet & had a bagel for breakfast *ooooohhhh* and
2) I sometimes take 15 extra minutes in the morning and let the dog go with us on the drive to school *bad mommy* and
3) I think that rotten eCard “children shouldn’t sacrifice so you can have the life you want, you should sacrifice so your children have the life they deserve” needs a footnote that says “this message is intended for deadbeat parents, do not take it as a verbal assault against relocating, having a career, being in school, not having 3 ponies & a unicorn, etc”

But at the end of the day, all moms pray in the same language: Lord I’m tired. Please watch over my family so I can sleep. Thank you for our blessings, our gifts, and the mysteries of the world around us so that we may be infatuated with a world of wonder and grace; not a world of fear & power mongering & terror & war. Amen.


From The Chive

From The Chive

Five Minute Friday – Red

Red, huh?



well this year for the first time ever in my whole entire life, Red (ok Scarlet) is a school color for me. And it’s Liturgically important on feast days of martyrs, pentecost, and palm Sunday. And on the US flag.


but other than that? Red is visibly absent from my days. It’s symbolic of 3 of the “big” institutions in my life – nation, church & school.





The Western Canon – what’s your take?

Earlier this week I came “out” as not having taken a Literature course since High School. Whether that’s ironic or not depends on what you think of someone with a freshly minted MA in English not having taken a lit class in the better part of 20 years …

Despite that, I did spend that time that I wasn’t in school doing a pretty significant self-study of the Western Canon – I didn’t read it all … it’s a lifetime pursuit … and I intentionally omitted Victorian Literature and American literature from the same era.


The internet wasn’t what it is today when I started it – I actually got the hardcover version of Howard Bloom’s book from the Library & used it to select my reading (I see there’s a new text called All Things Shining that might serve as a shortcut to the Bloom text)


But now that we’ve got our ever present albatross (monkey? demon?) Wikipedia, the contents of the Western Canon are a lot easier to list than they once were:

For purposes of discussion – let’s use the Harvard Classics  (copied wholesale from the Wiki page) – what would you add? what would you remove?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_canon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Classics

Contents[edit source | editbeta]

The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction[edit source | editbeta]

The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction was selected by Charles W. Eliot, LLD (1834-1926), with notes and introductions by William Allan Neilson. It also features an index to Criticisms and Interpretations.

UPDATED with a challenge ;) Culture: make your own – no not yogurt – and quit letting 2 people define culture rot

Can’t speak for anyone else but I think this needs to be said:

What matters to you, your kids, your life, your happiness, your satisfaction happens right there within your family. Turn off the t.v. if it offends you (duh?) If you object to the lousy role models you see on t.v. then FIND OTHER ROLE MODELS. It’s not difficult. If you can’t find a grandparent, teacher, coach, volunteer, or other excellent role model in your day to day life, there are MILLIONS of them in the US alone.


There are 4,495 Title IV eligible degree granting institutions of higher education in the US and 14.6 MILLION full time college students. Fourteen point six million people pursuing higher education and you’re focused on a music awards show. YOU ARE AN IDIOT. Regardless of your “margin of error” 2 people vs 14.6 MILLION isn’t statistically significant.


Ok, degree granting institutions are too intimidating for you or too far away? There are one hundred nineteen THOUSAND nine hundred eighty-seven (yes, 119,987) LIBRARIES in the united states.


You say you don’t want to read a book, look at a magazine, thumb through the paper, borrow a movie, listen to an audio book to absorb the single most wonderful miracle in the entirety of humanity: human & the pursuit of knowledge? Fine. Go to a museum & absorb it there.

There are 17,500 museums in the United States.

The US is composed of about 3.794 million square miles.

And the average licensed driver in the US drives 13,476 miles per year.

So every year with your car, you’re covering enough distance to encompass 15,858 full time college students, 15 degree-granting institutions, 426 libraries and 62 museums. And you’re focused on 2 idiots on an awards show as representing our “culture rot”?

I’m willing to bet the people who are sharing the 2 idiots – whether positive or negative – on Facebook haven’t spent as much time at museums, libraries, or universities COMBINED in the past year as they’ve spent complaining about those 2 idiots.

It’s marketing … and not only is it working … it’s making you its slave. Who’s the idiot? You or them?

P.S. if you can find 5 people who posted a photo of or the names of those 2 examples of “culture rot” in the past 4 days AND have also been to a Library, Museum AND University (for the pursuit of new knowledge, not for alcohol, drugs, standardized tests, or athletic events) in the past year – I will read a piece of Victorian Era literature or one of its American contemporaries (which I loathe as much as the whigners loathe the 2 examples of culture rot). So bring it on – prove to me you’re not a bunch of uncultured whigners and I’ll be lady enough to read Brontë or Austen or Tennyson. One piece of Victorian literature per five “found” exhortants of culture rot who’ve been to a museum, library AND University in the pursuit of knowledge in the past year (yes, online universities count)

Things You Need to be Told – August 2013 Edition

The web is rife with articles about things teachers wish parents knew and over 240 people echoed a kvetch about other people having the audacity to interfere with bedtime and naptime when Lisa-Jo Baker posted about it the other night.

Back in 2001, this gem Things You Need to be Told was a gift to the literary and etiquette world – I think the Etiquette Grrls had the right idea … so here’s mine 😉

032513 002

7 Things I Wish Teachers Knew

1) We’re not idiots – the vast majority of the parents whose children you’re teaching have the same quantity & quality of education that teachers do; please stop addressing us as though we’re technologically illiterate monkeys with a kindergarten education. The parents you’re trying to reach are the exception, not the rule. (and no, those “Exception” parents aren’t reading WSJ.com or its print counterpart … let’s be serious here, you’re condescending to an entire generation of parents in paper that we’re reading for business news not parenting advice LOL)


1a) We’re not technologically illiterate – at least not all of us – and some of us are more technologically savvy than you are; so save your sermon on social media for your grandma. (meaning: The tech savvy parents saw your diatribe not only in the daily WSJ delivered to their inbox, but on Twitter and FB as well …)

2) When you tell us “we love kids” we don’t believe you – at least not wholesale. We know you love the idea of fostering a love of learning in healthy hale kids who come to school from solid homelives with a healthy nutritious breakfast ready and eager to learn. We know that your hearts get broken by the kids whose parents do not provide that. The parents whose education is on par with yours know at least 2 if not 6 or 10 former classmates who became teachers for reasons other than loving children.

2a) When you tell us you didn’t go into the profession for the money or the glory, we do believe you. We didn’t become parents for fortune & glory either 😉  teaching, as anything else, is a calling. But we also know plenty of people who teach because they need the same work schedule as their kids (because childcare is expensive) or people who went into teaching to help put their spouse through grad school or to pay off student loans from an undergrad major that didn’t manifest into a career.


3) The things that we (as parents) teach our children are important, too – and a lot of those things aren’t things that you can teach our children nor should you. So when you overstep that line and try to impart morality in the classroom or try to brain wash our kids into following your lifestyle choice, we react. You raise your own children & let us raise ours; please.

4) We choose our battles and we do expect our children to learn from their mistakes, so stand by the consequences you attached to poor decision making at the beginning of the year. It’s part of the team that we’re all on.

5) If you work for an administrator who values children by the $$ attached to them from programs, no amount of classroom excellence will overcome that.


6) If you believe that a child’s only need for math in the future will be for money, you need to get out of teaching and go work in any other field. Pick rice for all I care, but stop perpetuating the soft bigotry of low expectations. It might be ok at your house, but it’s not ok at mine and I will get my child out of your sexist bassackwards classroom asap.

7) When a parent asks you a question, they expect a professional well-thought-out response – in complete sentences. Otherwise you’re proving that your pedagogy is the nonsense that it sounds like when you preach it.


7 Things I Wish my Fellow Moms Knew

1) We’re not mowing the lawn at your kids’ naptime intentionally – we’re mowing the lawn because it needs to get done. If you want to change our schedule, feel free to pony up for a landscaping company to come do it for us.

2) Motherhood is not a competition. Nobody wins. Being alive is being alive. Whatever happens after that is up for religious & philosophical debate – presumably it has nothing to do with whether a parent SAH or WOH.

3) It’s not about you – the things that WOHM do or say are NOT about SAHM – we’re not out to “get” you or out to “undermine” you by not adopting traditional gender roles.

4) It’s not about us either – the things that we all do are what’s best for OUR family; if you’re doing whatever you’re doing as a political or gender role “stance” you should probably enroll in a philosophy course at the local community college & explore your cave a little better.

5) If you’re peddling guilt – particularly if you’re dragging the Bible into it  – you might need a new hobby. No, taking it to Pinterest doesn’t count.


6) If you homeschool and your social media is regularly afflicted with spelling, grammar, or usage errors you’re passing that on to your children – both in how you’re homeschooling them because you clearly can’t correct your own work, nevermind theirs – and in so far as you’re teaching them that adults can be sloppy & lazy about their writing and it doesn’t matter.  it DOES matter. resumes with misspellings go to file 13. colleagues with poor communication skills are ignored.

So true

7) Your friends will be there for you regardless of how many times you’ve had to eat crow or how many times they’ve passed you the ketchup to make your own crow more palatable – but it’s ok to have an “out” – a safe word or some other “cue” for your friends to give you or you to give your friends to indicate “ok, enough about little Johnny’s green snot” or that you can give your friends to say “excuse me, you’re starting to sound like Super Nanny not my bff, and I need you to let me kvetch, not try to fix it for me”