Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ernst August (1845-1923) , Thyra (1853-1933) and their children Marie Louise, George Wilhelm, Alexandra, Olga, Christian and Ernst August.

Alexandra Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bibles, Students, Goat Sex, Books

Well … I’m supposed to be working on a school project, but I found that someone else had failed to do their part. I can’t do mine until they finish theirs. So I wrote an email full of gentle proddings and just a hint of panic. No reply yet.

I also have a likeable but troubled student. I can’t give details, even without naming her, but she’s made it to 8th grade without knowing how to read. Oh she can read … more or less like a second grader. Now we have to find ways to bring her up to an appropriate reading level.

She told me I was her favorite teacher, but she didn’t like my teaching methods. I gave her my Pixie look and said, “What you don’t like is work. I make you work.”

“That’s true,” she said.

There is a hugely complex background to all of this, and while it would make an interesting post, I can’t tell you about most of it. I can say that she won’t live past 25 without having gone to jail, been killed and stomped on, or finding herself on the street selling herself for food and incense sticks if someone doesn’t step up and do something.

I’m trying. The returns have been very small. I’m a teacher. I’m not her parent and (sorry if you are one) not a social worker, one of a breed of parasites who often do more harm than good.


A well known tract society through its governing body denied my writing partner access to a document. But … while we can’t see it all, we now have part of it. The problem with these people is they don’t all speak with the same voice. We’ve had this experience before. Bruce wrote (sending them as a bribe a photocopy of something they couldn’t possibly have had) and asked for a copy of a tract. He got a polite “we don’t have it and if we did we probably wouldn’t let you see it” answer. This is a usual first response from them.

A month later a photo copy came in the mail. From the same people, different person, and privately. So now we have some pages from this document. There is nothing startling in what we have, but there is important detail. It will alter the story some. I’ll do a rough re-write of one paragraph and add a footnote. Then I’ll dump what my WP sent into a pot with my rewrite and let it simmer, producing a final draft when it’s all mush.


My daughters ate all the cookies we baked yesterday. I got one. I feel cheated.


Another person who researches the same material is reluctant to share resources. We don’t share all our research for several reasons, not the least of which is that it may be wrong. We’ve made that mistake enough times to make us cautious. But with the exception of things we use to pry stuff out of the reluctant-to-share’s hands, we share what we can. We can’t make extensive or expensive photocopies either.

Much of the very early material is available on CD from various sources. Most of the CDs are searchable. If you’re really interested, buy one of those. The more people who research, the better it is for everyone. Avoid the controversial sites. Almost everything on them is wrong. Wickedpedia is notoriously wrong. About a third of what is said is made up. As an example, Wiki claims that Stetson and Storrs regularly attended a small study group’s meetings in Pittsburgh. This is the invention of a stupid mind.

That “encyclopedia’s” relevant articles are written by controversialists on both sides, some of whom present themselves as authorities. If they are an authority on anything it is in regard to making things up, parroting un-verified information, or just lying. If you want to be mislead, use wikipedia.

The technician that installed our new Internet service is graduating soon with his BA. He wants to be a profiler. He was impressed with my nice chrome and gold tone badge, but more impressed by my workroom. He said, ignoring the perpetual mess, “I want a personal space just like this!”

At least someone appreciates my mess.


I got an email from someone who bought some of our goats. They asked a question about reproduction but phrased it in a way that conveyed a message I know they did not intend. I’ve debated quoting them here and decided against that. They may see it and be offended. … or they may laugh. My answer was, “Yes, goat sex is all it’s cracked up to be. But I think you meant ….” I haven’t heard back yet. … I may have lost a client. Or not.


In OR’s interview thingie he says he has about 200 different bible translations. I don’t have that many, just about 125 or so. I don’t really collect. I’m more of an “Oh this is interesting” kinda person. If I see it and like it, I’ll buy it. For a brief period I taught New Testament Theology. I much prefer teaching second-graders than a bunch of opinionated, dirty-minded, clueless, under-educated adults.


I’m peeved at our mailman. I think he’s a pervert too.

Oldest Daughter’s college application stuff is all done. She also has a job interview.

I’ve sorted a few more books out for donation. I’ll take them to the school librarian today. She can keep what she wants and put the rest in the “needs a good home” pile.

I write notes to myself and then forget what they mean. I found this on my desk this morning: 1882-1888. Silas. P 746. I should be more specific, huh?


Cute toes and a cute butt are sure-fire ways to distract a knobby kneed Scot.

 Goin' Dancin'



OR and adventures with Pixies

An interview with An Occasional Reader 

P. I know that you have long links with the religion whose history we research on the more serious blogs. How did you get involved in that?

OR. My mother was contacted by the religion in question in 1950. A lady (and subsequent lifelong friend) called on her home and left her four booklets. My mother bought them to get rid of her, promptly stuck them in the fire, and thought no more about it – BUT the lady called back. (This experience has been recycled numerous times since then to encourage others to be similarly conscientious.) My mother was baptised in 1951. There are pictures extant of a huge baptism, but I can’t pick her out in the crowd. I followed her into baptism in 1953. However, I was very young at the time – it wouldn’t happen in this group today. But it was my choice then, as has been my choice to stay with them.

P. So how old are you then?

OR. Almost the same age as my teeth.

P. When did you become a collector of the history we research?

OR. Around 1954 there was a notice in a newsletter called Informant asking if anyone wanted old literature that they were trying to clear out of their headquarters? As a little lad I wrote in, and subsequently received a large parcel of stuff from the 20s and 30s. When you count your age in single figures this stuff is heavy going to read, but I tried. But from that first parcel, I became a COLLECTOR. 

My father was Grand Master in his Masonic Lodge, and the religion my mother embraced freaked him out. He did a runner when I was 10, but until he married wife number three he used to take me out every couple of months. Where did I want to go? No - it wasn’t the zoo or the swimming baths, but second hand bookshops. I dragged him into nearly all the second hand bookshops in London and embarrassed him considerably as I loudly asked around to complete my set of Rutherford’s Rainbow.

I built up a good collection of history materials in the 1960s, advertising in trade publications, and when people knew you collected, they were only too pleased to pass on things to a good home. Later in life when I just couldn’t find many more history materials, I extended it to Bible collecting. I have over 200 translations – (I bet you didn’t even know there were that many!) – and wrote articles for specialist magazines, at least one of which articles is online to this day.  When ill-informed people say “You only use your own Bible” – I really have to bite my tongue.

P. You seem to like writing – how long have you been doing that?                  

Most of my life. Over the years I’ve had a good number of articles published on obscure subjects, a couple of small books on medical matters, even some verse – for which at a more mature age I now cringe to think about. A lot is scattered about the internet, but you’d need to know my real name to find it.

P. So do you write much on history?

OR. I have been known to contribute to the two history blogs associated with this.

P. What name have you used on the two history blogs then?

OR. That would be telling – but my usual fractured syntax probably gives the game away.

P. Where did the name Occasional Reader come from?

OR. I corresponded with Bruce on earlier boards, and through him learned of the pixie blog. I might find something about the way the research was going if I had a look at that. So I did. And then Sha’el suddenly has a loud toot about the religion in question and their attitude to women! I believed she was wrong and that some unfriendly person had given her something out of context, and so I wrote to Bruce in some detail. I left it to his discretion as to whether she ever saw what I had written, but since I was known on the history blog by one handle I just signed off as “an occasional reader”. Lo and behold, my letter turned up on the pixie blog – with a response from an unmollified but not exactly ranting pixie. I rattled off a response, but then decided not to send it. Sometimes things are better discussed face to face – and Rachael has an uncle more than better equipped to do that – also I didn’t want to debate these subjects on a public forum. So I let it slide. But later I was asked if I could do a guest post – so stuck with Occasional Reader, even if Frequent Reader is now more apt.

 P. So apart from writing and winding up pixies, what kind of hobbies do you have?

OR. It used to be long distance cycling and marathon running, but time (plus unforeseen occurrence) caught up with me, so as well as scribbling, it is reading, writing, collecting and watching creaky old films, and in more recent years – singing at folk clubs. I have shared this story more than once already on this blog.

However, being able to sing (or more accurately, lacking the shame to try) has had its advantages. I had to take a funeral recently for a farmer, where nearly all the crowd were not of his religion but from farming community. The family, although not sharing the man’s faith insisted (and I mean INSISTED) that we use songs from his religion’s songbook – not one, but two of them!  Apart from Mrs Occasional and very few others nobody knew them. So I did the service, said the prayer, and sang two solos. No doubt badly – but hey – needs must.

P. Finally, what are your feelings about the characters we research?

OR. I have strong religious beliefs and nothing I learned from the past has changed them, in fact the history has strengthened them. All the characters have their imperfections, but as we sometimes say, perfection is only guaranteed at the end of “the thousand years”. Crucially, it is good to examine the context of the times. Occasionally the words of 1 Corinthians 6 v.12 flit into mind – “all things are lawful...but not all things are (necessarily) advantageous.” But I am happy to share and receive historical materials. I draw the line at helping people who actively oppose what I hold dear, and would have a theological problem associating with any who have been excommunicated from the group, but outside that, I am a great believer in sharing information. Although – before the pixie leaps in (I can already hear an agitated flapping of wings) – I can understand a large institution being very chary about sharing stuff from their archives because they have been burned in the past and are in the sights of so many unfriendly people with an agenda.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Click on it ...

Click to Mix and Solve

Mystery Photo - Germany, maybe about 1917

In with a bunch of photos of wounded soldiers, nurses and such. No clues as to what this photo is about.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Pixie is Back!

My internet is back. New ISP. Better, faster, bionic!

The cause of the trouble according to Harry:

Thursday, February 21, 2013


February 20, 2013

There’s nothing quite like working on something for days – weeks! – and finding out you’re on the wrong track. I frowned. Worlds have been known to crack, to explode! to my frown. This time my computer screen just stared back at me unblinking and uncaring. This, dear hearts, is a blow to Pixie pride.

I’m supposed to understand what I read. … Yes, yes, I know we all make mistakes, but I’m one of the few who in the history of the test ever received a perfect score in the reading comprehension part of the Washington State pre-college exam. I’m not supposed to mess up this badly. …

All is not lost. I have to make some changes. My pride really isn’t hurt that badly. I can still use most of what I wrote, though I’ll move it to another chapter.

I’ve used my time off the internet to catch up on all sorts of things. My unsorted, unfilled piles of paper are down to one pile, and it’s only about a foot high. That means I’ve discarded two large garbage sacks full of things and filled three large binders with reference material I’ll keep. It also means I can see the top of my desk.

I raked out (all by my lonesome) the straw from the barn. That’s a nasty chore. Think about it. Goats make a “hot bed” by peeing on straw. It umm ferments. You can’t leave that too long or it stinks indescribably. No sane person can stand it – except the goats and the mice. So I raked it out, making a huge pile of it and leaving a note on Knobby Knees’ “to do” list. This stuff gets spread on the pasture. It makes rich soil.

I won’t have internet back until next week sometime. That’s my fault. Daughter One is sick again, and I cancelled the installation appointment to take her to the doctor. I haven’t made a new one yet. I’ll call them sometime today to reschedule.

Did I mention that I’m overwhelmed with laundry? Even without the Internet to distract me? That’s not exactly a new problem. At least my daughters help with that. In a second (as soon as I finish this sentence) I’m going to fold basket three.

Okay … so I was super ambitious. I folded laundry baskets three through six. Now everyone has to put their own stuff away. I’m sippin’ coffee, thinking about sin and chocolate. They must be related, right? On second thought, I’m certain God invented chocolate. He didn’t invent sin. So, while chocolate may seem sinful, it’s not.

We get lots of help with out research. (I’m not namin’ names, but some of our best helpers show up on this blog too.) I appreciate the help more than I can express. I don’t appreciate being told how to write our book. I don’t mean editorial comments; I mean those comments that presume things others can’t possibly judge. My writing partner and I are experienced writers. We know when research no longer adds significant detail. We haven’t reached that point, and whether we have or not is no one’s business but ours.

I posted an interview over on our public history blog. I cornered my writing partner, nagged him into submission and made him answer some questions. One of our blog readers said he should turn the tables on me. I’m not being interviewed by someone who changed my diapers when I was little. You can just forget that one!

Besides, what’s to know? I’ve said it all on this blog, haven’t I? Still, it might go something like this:

OR: So … tell us who you really are.

R: I’m a pixie.

OR: That tells us what you are. Tell us what your secret identity is.

[Harry’s ears perk up.]

R: My full name minus my last name by marriage is on this blog. You haven’t been paying attention …

OR: And you’re not telling us what your married surname is?

R: No

OR: So … are you really a princess?

R: And a countess, a duchess, a baroness, and a pixie. I’m four or five thousandth something in line to the British throne. If you have a mass die off of royals, I’ll be your queen. Heads will roll. I’d be a terrible queen of Denmark. Half of Europe’s royals would have to die first, of course.

OR: That’s a random thought. Why would you make a terrible Queen for Denmark?

R: My answer wouldn’t be politically – and socially – correct.

OR: Why the fixation on pixies?

R: Why not? I bet you fixate on books, tea, matching socks or something like that. Besides, I am one. I was born one. Can’t you see the wings?

OR: What’s your husband’s real name.

R: Nosey, aren’t you? If you’ve been really attentive, you already know it.

OR: So his first name isn’t Knobby?

R: [giggles] No.

OR: What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?

R: Not telling.

OR: What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done?

R: Not telling.

OR: What color is your house?

R: Currently yellow. That will change in the spring. We haven’t agreed on a color yet. I’m thinkin’ a pastel blue. Knobby Knees likes a very pale green. It’s the color of goat vomit. I’m fairly certain we won’t paint it that color.

OR: You teach?

R: Yes.

OR: Do you enjoy it?

R: I enjoyed it more when I could throw things at the bad boys and girls. The school district took away my pile of rocks. Yes, I enjoy it.

OR: Do you frighten your students?

R: No. I frighten administrators instead. [Pauses to lick chocolate off fingers.] Am I getting paid for this interview?

OR: No.

R: Damn.

OR: Do you frighten your husband?

R: He laughs at me.

OR: Do you treat him as a sex object?

R: Frequently.

OR: Does he object?

R: Not usually.

OR: There is a size difference, a large one, between you and him?

R: Yes.

OR: And …

R: And what? He’s tall; I’m sort. It’s genetics. All pixies are short.

OR: What is your most closely guarded secret?

R: If I told it wouldn’t be a secret. IHS WBB ILI IDIA is a good clue. (Let’s see what you all make of that one! Oh, and googling that won’t help. Just sayin’. This is a brain exercise.)

OR: Do you have a parting thought?

R: Old guys are nosey and bossy.

I’m supposed to be writing stuff. I mean other than this blog post. Instead I’m listening to Nut Cracker ballet music. However, my laundry is done for the day, my work room is in fair shape, not that it’s ever perfect. It is a work room. Stuff is always off the shelf, papers are always piled. My early Victorian era table is covered with photocopies that came this afternoon. They await a sort. Buried underneath the copies is my Navaho baby blanket, various knickknacks and stuff. I’ll get to that tomorrow.

I have two boxes of books that need shelf space. There really isn’t any. I’ll cull out books I no longer want and donate them somewhere. I’ve been taking things to the school where I teach and letting the librarian have first choice. The things she doesn’t want go in the parent and teachers room with a sign that says, “Free to a Good Home.”

My writing partner teaches a class (he designed the concept and several districts have adopted it) for second and third graders. I teach the same type of class. He suggested reading the Box Car Children to my class. It will take about three weeks to read it all. My TA and I take turns reading. This was an excellent idea. We have an attentive group of young listeners. One of them asked to borrow the book when we’re done reading it. I’ll let her do that. I loan out books all the time.

I started my life as an educator by teaching adults. I was uncertain about educating very young children, but this is total fun. Next year I am going to take some classes that will give me the highest qualification for teaching primary grades in this state. I’m already “very highly qualified” for the secondary grades as a literature teacher and a history teacher.

Our Superintendent talked to me about qualifying as an Administrator. That’s not for me. I don’t want to manage a school. I want to be in the classroom.

Funny things happen. I’m thirty-five. I no longer look twelve, though I did into my mid-twenties. Still, I don’t look thirty-five either. I occasionally have a parent or a new student assume I’m a student. That can have funny consequences.

What I like most is seeing a mind awaken. Little minds become aware in small steps. Usually. I brought a Van Gogh print to one of my classes. It was the painting of the out door cafĂ© at night. I took it from student to student and told each that he was one of the people in the painting. “Tell me the story,” I said. Such wild imaginations they have! This was a creative writing class. I used it again in my Classics for Kids class. I always have a prompt for the day’s classes. It settles them and wakes them up. Then we move on to the business of learning.

Annie discovered the old Wild, Wild West TV show. We found two CDs in the Goodwill Store. She’s watched them twice now. She thinks they’re very funny. The improbability, the silly set designs, all the things that might make you groan make her giggle.

February 21, 2013

Okay, the Internet guy is supposed to come Friday – as in tomorrow – and install the cable and the modem and such. We may need a new router. Dunno yet. I hate all this high tech stuff. … Where is my fountain pen??

So far today, I’ve washed the sheets for three beds, sorted through stuff my WP sent me, made coffee, found one of the “lost books.” I’m always losing books, usually in plain sight. The most painful thing today is losing an article written by a J. T. Ongley that I found yesterday, printed out and promptly mislaid. I need it right now. … Now. This second. What will probably happen is that I’ll have to search for it again. That will take days. I’ll find it, print it out and then find the first copy. It’s a plot.

… I’m back. I haven’t found the article yet, but I found another by a John Thomas from 1875. Excellent!

There is a goat out there with your name on it. Everyone needs a good goat.

Okay, so that was random …

Anyway, this article by J. T. Thomas, written in 1875 is about unity in the local church. His ‘local church’ is the very one we’re writing about. Unity was an issue. Here is a first hand comment. Stellar! … and … AND … Dr. Thomas (he was a physician, writer and part-time preacher) writes about a young man who suffers from doctrinal uncertainty and flits from church to church. …. This closely resembles the most important character in this history! Super Stellar! (Is there such a thing?)

If I don’t give the reference, a certain blog reader will email me and beg for it. So … Restitution, October 27, 1875. There. Happy now? (Did I just hear a cow moo?)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

In the middle ....

We're in the middle of changing our ISP. So I have no access to email and such until next week (or maybe tomorrow). Long story. Frontier Communications finally drove me into the arms of the local cable company ... and then managed to shut me off two weeks before they were supposed to do that.

I'll be able to read some mail while at school. Be patient.


Harry, loved the cartoon. I can't post it from the school's computers. I'll put it up when I'm back.

Occasional, Uncle B has computer problems. He's not sure you got his email re the Enterprise and other matters. He says, please do send. I've read all your emails. I can't help with blog 2. I'm going to try to post something to blog 1 today.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Baby sitting goat.

From Mr. Occasional

Musical memories and girls of yesteryear
In 1967 the late Andy Williams had a mega-hit with the song “Music to Watch the Girls Go By.”
Having always been into music with extremely eclectic tastes, I have an iPod bulging at the seams. But there are certain songs that bring back memories of yesteryear, and - harrumph - particularly certain young ladies of yesteryear who I – er – watched go by, and on occasion attempted to detain. I kept a diary for many years, and to help a friend with a writing project recently checked out some dates for him. It was over forty years since my thoughts had been put to paper, and boy - was some of it embarrassing. But it reminded me of some of the very nice young ladies I had taken out in what was an innocent but fun-time youth. And all that music, which can still trigger memories today.
Perhaps the first was Buddy Holly singing “Learning the Game.” Found on his tape-recorder in his New York apartment after his untimely demise in a plane crash, the studios dubbed in a backing and it became a minor hit in Britain. I remember sitting in a coffee bar in Hythe, gazing into the calf-eyes of G, putting coins in the juke box to play it again and again. Aaaah. It is amazing what counts for folk music nowadays – probably any music sung by folk! I have been known to do an acoustic “Learning the Game” on singers’ night in folk clubs. Lovely little song – so simple – within Occasional’s limited range - and only three chords as well.
Then there was P. My memory of her comes from Gene Vincent trying to copy Buddy Holly hiccupping his way through the song “My Heart” (written by Johnny Burnette). I will draw a veil over why that song is a reminder, but I did take P to see Gene Vincent once. As noted in an earlier post, and to quote from a Vincent recording from the 1960s this was “The Beginning of the End.”
Then there was S. A really good friend – far more like a sister, which is why I happily attended her wedding to someone else. But the song that always brings back memories of S is Holly again – “Umm Oh Yeah.” It came from the same acoustic recordings on Holly’s tape recorder that included “Learning the Game.” It came out as the flip side of a Holly single in the UK in the mid-60s, credited to Holly. The title came from Holly’s slurred Tex-Mex enunciation mid-verse. I thought it was great, and S bought it for me.
Then someone noticed that Holly’s home tapes included a version of “Love is Strange” – written and recorded by Mickey and Sylvia. On checking their recording output, “Umm Oh Yeah” turned up – but under its correct title, “Dearest.” It actually had three writers credited – including Ellas McDaniel (alias Bob Diddley) and Mickey Baker, one half of Mickey and Sylvia. Ooops.
I was at a folk club last year, and believe it or not, this song also turned up again presented as a folk song. It is probably the three chord aspect, and again Holly’s limited range that make most of his songs such a joy for amateurs to sing. Yes – memories of S again.
Then of course there was L. Now this could have been serious. She really liked the Herb Alpert version of “This Guy’s in Love with You”. So I bought her the single. It seemed really appropriate. She thanked me profusely. Then she dumped me. So I wrote a comedy rock’n’roll song about the experience. As you do. And sang it at parties. It used to go down a storm. For some reason she was not amused.
The strange thing of course is that when I grew up I eventually married Mrs Occasional – a very good choice, looking back on over 38 years of marriage. And I’m not just writing that because she may read this – unlike my daughter she rarely reads my posts. Did we have a special song? Well, I do remember sending her John Stewart’s “Mother Country” on tape when she was working abroad. I mean, a nostalgic hymn to Americana is just the thing to woo a Welsh girl by an English guy isn’t it..? In spite of that we have lived happily ever after.
Perhaps the song that most joins us now is one we sing together. We have practiced, practiced, practiced. We pinched the arrangement from the original recording, helped by our daughter who teaches music. “No Telling (What a Love Song Will Do).” There are times, when tired and well watered, that it can still bring a tear to these rheumy eyes. It was written and first recorded by husband and wife, Richard and Linda Thompson. It didn’t keep them together – but that’s another story. It is our party piece. If we go to a new folk club on holiday – where the audience is not already sick to death of our repertoire – then “No Telling” it has to be.
And no – before you look – you will not find our version on YouTube!

Odds, Ends, The Green Man, cute Goat tails and such.

Odds and Ends of Things:

I think I’m growing a tail.

The dragon that flies over the Columbia River in the late summer showed up unexpectedly.

I’m not happy with our research. What’s new!?

I think my writing partner’s letter to a well-known tract society is ready to go, but we’ll let it rest for a week or so and take a fresh look them.

I’m exploring the Green Man and Green Children myths.

The average body temperature for a goat is between 101 and 103 degrees F … roughly. If the goat’s temperature is 104 you have a sick goat.

Blasting a rural stop sign with a shotgun is a very bad idea. You may get caught and that’s bad for your complexion and pocket book. A jail-house pallor will make you attractive to the crack whores on Fifth Avenue. Maybe.

The Green Man is supposed to have started life as a fertility god. Images of him are found on medieval era churches. His counterpart is a “mother goddess” of questionable morals. She is depicted as naked and spreading her legs to display her vagina to all comers, usually over the lintel to medieval era churches in England. Our English ancestors were pretty much perverts.

I’m not certain that he was a fertility God. Not every spirit is a god, and I believe modern researchers are missing something.

The post office is ending Saturday deliveries to save money.

We need to see an entire class of booklets and papers that no one seems to have collected. The problem is bibliographical and lack of money and time. We’ll have to let that go for now.

Knobby Knees unexpectedly turned into a shape shifting forest goat. … It was unexpected for him; not for me. Upon whom else can I practice my imagination?
The period from 1871 to 1876 presents problems for us. We have a nearly finished chapter (quite long as it is) that details the main character’s theological development and tells (when we know) who influenced him to believe what. But there are so many trails we cannot follow …. Someone else will do that.

Things you learn as a blogger: Old men are nags. All men are perverts more or less, even if they don’t confess to it. I can’t spell.

I have two very talented writers in my lower grades writing class. Stellar!

All of the Brown fae are in hiding and I don’t know why. This could be bad.

I found a nice group of stamps on ebay for cheap. The seller misidentified them. I now have a stamp I’d never have purchased otherwise because of expense. Nice, huh?

I’m pretty sure the Green Girl lives in the woods near our house. In mythology, Green children show up claiming to be lost. Never believe them.

I have a new character and I have no clue how to identify her. She’s changing as I write. Such drama!

The last chapter (as our outline is now) is slowly taking shape. It’s just a set of odds and ends, rough notes and such. But difficult ideas, motives, feelings … all the things that make a story interesting are slowing revealing themselves. This is good. We’re cautious with this. People lie. Religious people lie constantly. We can’t report what they said or wrote, we cannot always verify the truthfulness of it. But it’s looking good for a rough outline with some stuff filled in.

I’m very happy with my classes. Our principal brought two guests to sit in on my second/third graders’ class. We were examining native art and photographs. We follow the main project with a story or poem. Then they draw pictures illustrating their impression of the art or music or object or what ever it was we examined. It’s a fun class, but it’s all girls this semester. That makes it a bit touchy feely. When we read or at end of class I get hugs and such. Given the state of morals in this country, you have to treat that cautiously. Too bad. They’re adorable, fun, smart. We have engaged parents too.

I always welcome parents in my classes. I like most of the parents.

That’s about it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Bad Boys of all Sorts

I teach three classes today. One is with my second-graders. It’s my favorite class. I have two really obnoxious students this semester. One can’t spell but thinks he’s God’s gift to the Science Fiction world; the other is a fifth grader who plays with “intellectual” toys. She’s overly tall, and saying she’s ‘stout’ would be putting it politely. She’s a provocateur.

Though my classes don’t start until noon, I’m already tired. My lungs are still congested and hurt. This is another day of thick fog along the river. My lungs hurt. I woke up at somewhere near two a.m. for an intense snuggle, again at five a.m. to the pump house alarm. Someone had pried the lock off the door thinking there might be something to steal in there. K.K. will put a new, stronger lock on after work.

While we were out there I made sure the goats had plenty of water and feed. Some of our goats think they need a human touch every day. I don’t have to go looking for them; they come right up for a pat and a rub. They bleat some gossip, which I never understand. I talk back, and they seem satisfied.

KK is off to work. The girls are off to school. Daughter 1 is off with a church group trying to interest an irreligious crowd in salvation. Her health is much improved. Her much delayed college application has gone in. I’m sitting here typing this and thinking about Bad Boy (“Boy” for short). He’s one of our rescued animals, a mixed breed goat. He has gentle eyes, a gentle disposition, and he’s unpredictable. We took him because there was no place from him in the county animal control shelter.

Bad Boy has his own pen. None of my children are allowed in. There is a reason for that. We won’t go there today. As I said, he’s unpredictable.

In the last three years we’ve given temporary shelter to a calf, a llama kid, an abused horse, and an emaciated donkey. They were all returned to their owners or given a new home. Boy was never claimed. We kept him and three other unclaimed, straying goats.

Of these one is female. She’s had various names, none of which seem to suit her. Currently she’s Sally. As is Boy, she’s part Nubian. Someone must miss Sally. She was obviously hand-raised. She’s very much a people-liking goat. If you don’t give her attention quickly, she bleats at you until you do. None of us want Sally’s owners to show up. She’s a favorite. She does not shy at little girls’ attention, follows us around like a puppy, and tries to “talk.” She’s fun.

Sally and Boy have made some babies. We’ve found homes for them readily enough. Their babies are really cute. I don’t sell my goats for meat. The French Alpines are show and milk goats. No one will pay four or five hundred dollars for a goat and then slit its throat. But the mixed breeds made by Boy and Sally can’t be sold for that. I ask seventy-five dollars and will come down if I think I’ve found a good family for them. I don’t sell kids until they’re past that skippie runnie stage. Some do, but I don’t. I think they still need their mothers.

So I’m home now, trying to get warm. I may crawl back into my bed for a few hours of additional sleep. I’m weak from the flu and pneumonia. I’ve lost weight, and I don’t have much to lose. I’ve been eating high calorie stuff trying to get back to a normal (for me) weight.

I keep probing at the motives and the roots of conviction among those who show up in our work in progress. I think I understand some things better. Those who read this blog have mixed opinions about Jesus, but what ever you think about him, he was a very perceptive man. Many clues to human motivation in a religious setting are found in his parable of the sower. You should read it.

It’s now 7:48 am and I’m yawning. …
My boss’s boss’s boss emailed me. It was a mild lightning strike. I’m peeved. But I got my way. It was kinda a mixed letter. The tone was “you’re irritating me.” The subtext was “I try to please you no matter what.”

I am now sippin’ coffee. My disposition may improve soon.

Knobby Knees may be off to Scotland and parts of the EU in April. Dau 1 and Dau 2 are begging to go with him and stay at an aunt’s house in Inverness. I’m waiting to hear back from the aunt. She always says yes. I haven’t been to Inverness since I was umm 12 or 13. My dad took us on this long, travel around Scotland and France thingie trip. He had business in Inverness. It is – or was then – a charming town. He got us lost in France, but we eventually made our way to his aunt’s residence in Strasburg.

It was a fun trip. The only annoying thing (other than having a dad who never asked directions … in any language) was a scraggly Frenchman who wanted to argue about American politics with a 12 or 13 year old who did not speak French and didn’t really care. Somewhere I have a photo of dad and my then youngest sister standing on the sidewalk outside my aunt’s house. S* is drawing on the walk with a huge bit of chalk. I wonder where I put that. …

God invented coffee just for pixies.

I may apply at a private school. The pay is much less, but it would give me more hours and I may be able to quit one of my jobs. … Just thinkin’ about it.

My WP sent me a rough draft of a letter to a well known tract society. He’s worked his way through levels of administrative (insert rude word here). He’s much more patient than I am. He wrote to their always anonymous “department” in charge of their archive. The reply was curt and rude. He emailed two people on their writing staff. One said, “I’ve seen it, but I am in California now and probably couldn’t see it again.” And one said, “I have it, but you can’t.” Then he combined two requests and sent off another letter. The reply was full of uninformed nonsense. He wrote to their highest church authority. The reply was mixed. They promised to send one key document if they can locate it. They told him no to one request without explanation but with the statement that refusal did not mean they questioned his integrity as a Christian. So …

Now he’s writing back thanking them for the promise to send the document and sending photocopies of things they will not have seen. The thing is, he’s not sending complete copies. He’s sending the title page of a song book and a pamphlet we KNOW they’ve never seen. Just the title pages. He’s sending the front page of a key manuscript letter, and two extracts with signature from another letter. This is bait on a hook.

I’ll send him my comments on the letter this evening. I don’t understand one paragraph. Oh, the content is clear. I just don’t understand why he included it. But he knows these people far better than I do.

If I live to my writing partner’s age, I hope I acquire his persistence and patience.

That photo of my work room that’s on this blog somewhere has been posted to Janet Reid’s blog.

Back … didn’t know I was away, did you? More coffee. Instant message from KK. Mail man with letter from Israel for which I had to sign. … Now that’s an interesting story. I met through ebay a stamp dealer from Israel. I buy stamps from him from time to time. He is not a proficient English speaker, but we mange. He sells bulk lots. I always look at his photos carefully because he sometimes includes a scarce stamp in a bulk lot, making the four dollar postage worth while.

I like ebay. I don’t like the new design or new search. Those are trash. But I’ll continue to use the service. I found a post card from France to Germany that I’m watching. It appears to be from and to my Uncle Bruce’s distant grandparents. I can’t prove that yet. But it’s listed for cheap. I’ll buy it if I can.