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 I have been meaning to send this correction to everyone, so hopefully people who were interested in my caucus experience can read it.  I think it is important, and I’m glad my “friend 1” corrected me.  I knew she would, and she is the one who kept me going through this process.  She’s been at it for a while. 🙂
 
 
Me:  My hope is that more people will want to participate if they know what it might be like instead of going into it completely blind.

Friend 1: AM, you were actually one of 11 PAUL delegates from our district.  Santorum had 6.  So the Paul/Santourm combo was actually 17.  3 Romney, 3 Gingrich.
  • Friend 1: And 2 of the 3 Romney delegates from our district were no-shows at state.
  • Me: Thanks for the correction.  I figured you would find any if I messed up.  I shall adjust it. 🙂
  • Friend 1: Also, it wasn’t until the 4th ballot that any Paul supporters were elected in our LD.  In fact, NOBODY was elected on the second ballot due to about 4 spoiled ballots.
  • Me: See, I said my mind is like a sieve.  I meant it! 🙂
  • Friend 1: OK, and one more correction.  Romney still doesn’t have the 1,144 he needs.  That’s media spin.
  • Me: Can you provide some proof I can pass on?
  • thereal2012delegatecount.com

    The real 2012 delegate count, delegate count, ron paul delegates, how many deleg…ates does ron paul have, mitt romney delegates, maine delegates, nevada delegates, delegate count, real delegate count, See More
    Me:  Thanks!!
  • Friend 2: That whole “slate” system they introduced seems like an example of politicians doing what they do best: find something that’s fairly simple, and complicate it.
  • Friend 1: Actually, without slates, it would be much more complicated.  When you have 100 or more people running to fill only 10 positions, you need something to streamline the efforts or you will be there for a few days.
  • Friend 3: Just be done with it and make me dictator for life :p

 

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Here is an interesting tangent my reading takes me on once in a while.  This is what my husband gets for giving me a whole afternoon to myself on Mother’s Day.  I get to go to the library and look at the “boring” bookshelves completely and utterly uinterrupted!  Oh Hooray, I say!  I shall walk up the aisle and down the aisle, and pick up 10 completely unrelated books and then sit down and thumb through them!  And I did!  This is one of them.

Since it is a library book, I also have to blog about it sooner than usual, so it now takes the top priority, though I have many others in mind.

The book?  Ok, Ok…

The reason this piqued my interest is because I’m generally interested in psychology anyway, and this year I have learned more about psychology than I wanted to know in real life because of various family members and even my own self.  That is probably worth a book, but since it’s private, you won’t be reading it.  See, that’s the main problem with psychology.  Most of the really interesting stuff is private.  The experiences you want to tell people about are things you can’t share because they are confidential.  Someday I’ll write down at least what I have learned from this year, but I won’t be able to tell people my reasoning very well.  Oh, so very complicated.

I paged through this book because I was wondering about different diagnoses and how accurate they might be.  The problem with a somewhat morbid interest in psychology is that you tend to want to diagnose everyone.  I know as a special ed teacher I used to do this, too.  It’s a real danger in certain fields and I was warned about it.  It’s worth keeping that warning in mind repeatedly, especially when reading a book like this:  Try not to diagnose everyone.

The personality disorders described in the book are:  Paranoid Personality, Schizoid, Schizotypal, Conduct, Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Avoidant, Dependent, Obsessive-Compulsive, and then some further chapters on combinations of the above. 

There is a person in our extended family who has always been difficult, and we didn’t know what was wrong, but said person isn’t about to go to counseling to find out.  Actually, we have more than one of those.  Maybe that’s where my interest comes from.  I thought this person must be a classic narcissist, but I was wrong!  That was an eye-opener.  As far as I can tell, the very first one, Paranoid Personality Disorder, is the one I was looking for.  It is not the same as Paranoid Schizophrenia, mostly because there is no hearing of voices and the like.  The saddest part of the whole chapter is this last sentence: 

Unfortunately, persons diagnosed with Paranoid Personality Disorder, are poor candidates for therapeutic intervention.  This logically flows from their chronic state of distrusting others. (p.15)

Here are the symptoms, and I’m writing them down in case they might help others realize that they can not and should not try to “fix” this type of person, or even try to live with them.  It’s not healthy, and I’m not sure at what distance one can help them without hurting one’s self.  Sometimes you have to realize you cannot do what you think is the right thing, and let God handle it.

Paranoid Personality Disorder:

1. Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming or decieving him or her.

2.  Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends and associates.

3.  Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her.

4.  Reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events.

5.  Persistently bears grudges, that is, is unforgiving of insults, injuries or slights.

6.  Percieves attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack. 

7.  Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner. 

The chapter goes on to explain what one can expect and how this kind of paranoia reaches across every interaction, not just at work or just at home, or just at certain times.  Each of the seven bullet points has a paragraph of details under it.

“In contrast, persons with paranoid personality disorder are distrustful in many contexts, particularly in competitive environments.  They are apt to blame others for their failure to succeed and claim discrimination and conspiracy.  Their chronic state of distrust for others forces them to be strongly independent. This independence coupled with their chronic distrust of others is frequently manifested  in a state of seething anger and hostility. Frowns rather than smiles dominate their faces and a sense of unhappiness dominates the atmosphere around them.” (pg 14)

This is a short book and an interesting one.  More books soon, I hope. 

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This is not a book post.  It could be a post about homeschooling, home improvement, or small houses.  The Common Room is hosting an online “open house” and the theme is living/dining rooms and kitchen.  I JUST took pictures of those things!  Just recently, when they were clean for three whole minutes.  Yes, they were!  I have just rearranged and painted this year, so let’s see if I can really do this.  Hold on to your hats, I’ve never done this linking thing before.

Here is my kitchen.  We did just redo it.  It looks nothing like its former self.  If I’m not moving, I may as well enjoy it while it lasts.  It will sell better, too.  That is my dry erase board on the left, and I put up a printout of google calendar so my husband and I can both see it all the time.  If we both update it online, we can’t say, “you didn’t write it down”.  When we had one car only, that was seriously important. 

The laundry room and a toilet are at the end of the kitchen.  The fridge is a great homeschooling tool, because it is magnetic and near the dining room table.  We tend to use the table for everything.  I wish we had another table, but we don’t.  No room.  I did put an art desk upstairs, but with all that carpet, they can forget about playdoh or paint up there.  We have to do it down here if we do it at all.  We also put up interesting pictures and articlees, like how to garden in the fall or the World Cup results.  The chore tags are from Managers of Their Chores, www.titus2.com.  That is a great book.  I haven’t implemented all of it, but I’ve started, and the philosophy behind it is inspiring.  It is a book you have to read all the chapters in.  No skipping to the back and then trying the chore tags without reading the book first.  Yes, you know you would do it, so don’t. 🙂

Here is my dining area.  That is our one table.  To the right is the sliding door to the yard.

Here is my living room.  I should have taken a bigger picture. It includes a two part couch we just made into one long line, a large flat tv and a wii and xbox, and my husband’s desk and computer.  And my main bookcase.  I decided this year to put mostly homeschooling materials on it, and move all the others to other rooms.  And also, purge the books.  I know, sacrilege.   If it helps, it’s not easy to purge the books, and I’m not purging very many.  That wicker basket is where we put library books.  I’m only allowed that many.  No more videos from the library.  Instant view netflix is the way to go, because I cannot lose them that way.

My home is a townhome of 967 sq. ft., with a yard.  I find it funny that a friend of mine has a much bigger home, but is jealous that I can see my kids playing in the yard while I work in the kitchen.  There is that, I have to admit.  I sure would like a bigger place, though.

Altogether there are about 500 sq ft down here, including the entryway and the laundry room/toilet at the end of the kitchen which is housing an AC unit now and you can barely squeeze in to do the necessary.  But this weekend, I’m going to have AC.  So there.  I melt when temperatures exceed 85 degrees F.  Seriously.  That’s why I live somewhat near the coast and north of the 45th parallel.

I’m so proud I cleaned it enough for you to see!  I’m enjoying other people’s organization, too!

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Hello Any Readers I May Have After Being Severely Neglected,

I went on a long road trip.  Me, five kids, and a minivan.  That’s it.  Yup.  It was great!  You know how sometimes you want to scream, “Stop the world, I want to get off”?  Well, we did!  We got off by going away to parts completely far away and out of the way, to see relatives and friends and boy, did we have a blast.  Yes, you really can have a blast under those conditions.  I had tv’s in the car, but believe it or not, I did not use them til the last three hours of our whole month-long trip.  Instead, we had listened to The Secret Garden, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Silver Chair.  That’s a lot of good books on CD/iPhone.  We got The Secret Garden off www.librivox.org for free.  I had never read it!  It was great for all of us.  I can’t believe I’d never read it.

I have SO MANY BOOKS to share with you.  I am going to plan to just post one per day, because if I posted them all at once, you’d never stick with me.  So let me start with the most recent in my next post, and from there, I will tell you what I ran across on my my parents’ bookshelves at our old family house in CA.  I read A LOT.  It was loverly.  Not my normal reading material, but not way out there from my norm, either.

The first book shall be…

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You really don’t have any idea what you are doing a lot of the time. 

Not that I know anything about that.  But it’s a lot like having kids.  You go “aha!” and you are sure you have it all figured out.  And tomorrow, it changes.  Again.  And again.  And again.  Sigh.

I read this at my favorite blog, The Common Room.  www.heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com.  I know I was sticking to books, but I hope someday they make a book out of their blog, the way The Pioneer Woman did.

The Equuschick got married to Shasta (a play on words from the Narnia series, and noting that she’s nuts about horses) not that long ago, and they have a baby about two months older than my youngest.  It’s been a delight to read about such a smart person becoming a wife and mother.  This really does sum up some of the more interesting things about marriage, things we just overlook.  All the time.

Enjoy!

The Things You Learn in Marriage Class

The congregation Shasta and Equuschick are a part of has been doing a class for young married couples. It hasn’t been going on for very long, but the thing about marriage is that anytime you put anything in it you’re bound to get something out. Sometimes, you get surprises.

The other day Shasta and The EC were going through the questions and they were each supposed to tell each-other one or two things that we defined as “most important” or “most crucial” or something.

Ok, ok. The EC forgets the question, but you were supposed to answer with things that were important to you. She chose security and something else which she’s also forgotten, which shows it wasn’t that important. Heh. And SHasta chose…Peace.

That’s it, just Peace. The EC found the Peace concept a little vague so she asked for more details. Less controversy? Silence? Security?

“Yeah,” he said “all of that, I guess. You know, just to be able to come home to a happy family and the house picked up…”

And The EC must admit, that last one bowled her over and offended her dignity somewhat in a “Good grief, why can’t the man find internal peace whether or not he’s tripping over the baby toys and falling into the dog hair? Piffle” sort of way.

But this clearly violated the spirit of the marriage study, so she decided simply to recognize that this sense of external peace was very necessary to a man who grew up in a household that never knew a spirit of internal peace at all, especially when you consider that any sense of internal calm Shasta was ever able to achieve on his own was irretrievably shattered in Iraq.

In other words, considering all the above The EC accepted his perspective and decided to renew her efforts at some form of the art known as house-keeping.

And she discovered something that she;d sensed before but had never quite been able to grasp.

Picking up the house for Shasta’s peace of mind is alot easier than serious house-cleaning. Just the day before The Equuschick had tried to catch up on all the laundry, all the dirty dishes, and all the good ol’ bathroom scrubbing stuff, because as far as she was concerned, that’s what is called “Cleaning the House.”

Needless to say, she wasn’t able to accomplish all she’d planned on and when Shasta came home, he was quite literally having to step his way gingerly through the maze of baby toys I’d been trying to distract The Pirate with.

But after this conversation, she attempted a paradigm shift. Instead of cleaning house to achieve, well, what she would call a clean house, she put herself in Shasta’s shoes as he walked through the front door looking for Peace and she started from there. Literally. She started from the front hallway and worked her way out picking things up and putting them away so that when Shasta came home, the house looked “picked up.” He liked it.

Good grief, that was so much easier than she thought it would be. And the end result also (don’t laugh, you natural cleanies) looked alot more like a clean house than the house had when she’d been trying to clean it.

But The Equuschick’s discoveries (and lessons) were only just beginning. Today they were each supposed to pick one unselfish thing they would do for the other this week, and tell each-other about the times or activities when they felt most close to each-other.

Taking walks was The Equuschick’s, and going for long drives. Shasta seconded the long drives.

Then he said “Oh, and taking naps.”

Shasta and The Equuschick have had this conversation before, but she truly had no idea he felt it deeply enough to bring it up in a serious study.

“SERIOUSLY?” she demanded. “We’re ASLEEP!” (You see that The Equuschick has been violating the spirit of this study left and right.)

“But we’re snuggling,” he said.

The Equuschick does apologize to anyone who gets the “taking naps together is such a close and bonding thing to do” idea, but sorry, she still feels like that is the dumbest thing.

YOU ARE NOT CONSCIOUS. There is no conversation, no communication. Just this vague sense of snuggling, but since you’re asleep how do you even know you’re snuggling?

The Equuschick’s brain just can’t handle this equation.

However! We are not called to understand every aspect of our spouse, only to accept and respect their position. The Equuschick tried to remember that.

They wrapped up their study and went on a long walk. When they got back Shasta sat down to read and The Pirate was asleep in his stroller, and like any self-respecting mother of an 8 mos. old The Equuschick left The Pirate asleep in his stroller so she could get ahead on the day. She started a load of laundry, did the dishes, and got some chicken cooking.

It was about the time she started the chicken that she looked over and saw that Shasta had put down his book and was…

taking a nap.

*groan*

Immediately, the Voice of Conscience started interfering where The Equuschick felt it had no business. “You should go sit down next to him”, something whispered in her head. “No!” she said indignantly. “I’m busy! I’m making chicken salad for his work lunches.”

“You can finish later,” her conscience persisted. “Shasta would like it if you just went and sat down next to him.”

“I just have to finish this chicken.”

“The chicken can cool off while you’re sitting next to him.”

It so happened that The Equuschick hadn’t yet settled on a truly unselfish thing she would do for Shasta this week, and something told her if I missed this, well, it would be a sad commentary on her attitude and that was all there was to it.

So she did it. She wasn’t tired enough for a nap, but she put her kitchen shears down and went and sat down next to Shasta and did absolutely nothing. For ten minutes.

It was weird.

Shasta loved it.

Sometimes we’re called to sacrifice in strange and surprising ways. This post linked at Spiritual Sundays

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This book is a MUST READ.  Seriously.  If “Rikki-san” and I ever give it back to the local library, you can borrow it if you live near us.  If not, get your library to get it.  OR BUY IT.  I will be.  I just need to do a book binge soon anyway, so I will wait til then and do it all at once, right about the time I buy a bunch of homeschool supplies.   Here is the link to the author’s website:

http://www.bringingupgeeks.com/Home.aspx

This book is a very good, over-arching book about what it means to depart slightly from the mainstream and expect excellence from your kids.  I know I just committed a major faux pas there, but have you been to the mall lately?  I’m sorry, but as far as I can tell, if you are in middle or high school (and often elementary), to be cool you need to imitate adults.  And we’re not talking intelligent adults.  I mean the kind on MTV.  The kind who get to be in the paper for reasons we all hope our kids never will.  The “popular” kids get to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy, as Miss Frizzle would say on the Magic Schoolbus, but I don’t mean science and school.  I mean sex, drugs, and other risque’ behavior.  It is very sad, but I can remember a few close calls as a kid I don’t think my parents know about.  And that was 20 years ago. 

I know there are a lot of fabulous kids out there, too, but they tend not to be popular except in really awesome schools.  This book addresses that and how to make family life a priority, even if your kids do all those normal things public schooled kids do.  This book is seriously awesome and well balanced.  If you are ever, ever in contact with ANY children, you gotta read it!

Soapbox dismount commence.

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My Family Foundations magazine came in the mail this week.  It used to have quite the reputation for being really one sided, along the lines of “the only truly Catholic family is a big family”.  I knew that wasn’t their motto, but it sometimes felt like that because a lot of people who choose to practice NFP do have larger families, because they want them.  Cause and effect can become cloudy on that point.  Lots of people like to make assumptions.

I should back up and say that this magazine is sent to members of the Couple to Couple League, which teaches the sympt0-thermal method of NFP.  We’ve tried Creighton, too.  They recently upgraded the rules and such for acheiving and avoiding pregnancy, and it’s much easier to understand than it used to be.  MUCH.  May God’s blessings be on them just for that!

In this month’s magazine, famed Catholic author and psychologist Gregory Popcak discussed what “Responsible Parenthood” means.  There are many ideas on that topic, of course.  They range from “people are a blight on the earth and we should make like lemmings and leap”, vs. “have as many kids as humanly possible, because that’s being a good person and following God’s plan.”  Most of us, obviously, fall somewhere in between.  Happily, believe it or not, the Pope does not tell us exactly what to do as Catholics.  That’s because there are as many definitions as there are families.  Families are dynamic.  They change.  This five years will be different than those five years.  That’s why we don’t have firm guidelines.  We need to pray and think and do our best. 

Here is a quote from Dr. Popcak, on page 17:

But even when considering the issues listed under the second point, a couple should never place themselves in a position of saying, “That’s it.  We’re done.”  rather, the couple should prayerfully ask, “If we don’t have them now, what do we need to do to get the additional emotional, relational or temporal resources we believe are necessary to raise another saint for the Kingdom.”  By asking this question, the couple is able to approach objections to the possibility of another child both realistically and generously.  For instance, it may be that parents decide that an older child’s behavior problems- or the couple’s marital problems- require too much of their attention to be able to properly attend to a new baby at this time.  But this should not be an excuse for never having more children.  Rather, parents should say, “What can we do to overcome this child’s behavior problems (or our marital struggles) so that we can free up the resources we need to raise another saint?”  In this way,  parents respect the call to both unity/intimacy and procreativity.”

It is important to note that his main point is that we need to have our priorities in order.  We don’t have much business adding another child if we haven’t addressed really serious issues in our family, especially in a misplaced call to holiness or out of guilt.  If that happens anyway, that can also be a part of God’s plan, but really, there are serious reasons to postpone, and it was wonderful to see most of this issue addressed to realistically addressing them in a faithful way. 

On page 4 is a very, very honest letter by editor Ann Gundlach.  She speaks of her own struggle between the voices that say what a good Catholic should do.  She realized that she was letting the devil in by listening to everyone but her husband about their needs.  She says, “We talk about contraception being wrong because it allows us to “use” our spouse as an object.  Well, I was trying to “use” my spouse to get more babies.  And I grew to resent him because he wasn’t giving me what I wanted.”

Her final message is good, too.  “When I finally learned to turn it over, we gained a peace that wasn’t there before — which has allowed us to grow in love.  Responsible parenthood is a personal decision for each married couple and God.  Speaking for myself only, I listened too much to the messages of other people and not enough to the opinions of my own husband and the Holy Spirit’s guidance in my own heart.”

Food for thought.   At least it spoke to me.

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