The Scoop on Granny


Dreaming of the mountains...

Who is Granny?

I'm the incredibly blessed mother of 9, "Granny" to 16, and wife of "The Papa," the knight-in-shining-armor whose loving support has made it possible for me to stay home and give my life to mothering, homemaking, and 26 years of homeschooling. Life at Granny's House is full of laughter, friendship, books, music, lively debate, writing, and good things to eat. My days are made even more meaningful by coming alongside other moms, giving them the support and encouragement that I lacked as a young mother and helping them to network with each other in ways that strengthen homes and families. A few times a year I board a plane to visit my "away" kids, to attend the birth of a grandchild, or to enjoy some lazy days with my best friend, but I always love coming back to...Granny's House.

My Complete Profile

On Granny's Calendar
  • August 15 - SAC Day begins
  • August 16 - Sam is 7!
  • August 20 - Kristen's birthday
  • August 30 - THE WELTYS ARRIVE!
  • Sept 3 - Chris' birthday
  • Sept 5 - Henry is 9!
  • Sept 7 - Isaac is 10!
  • Sept 17 - The Papa's birthday
  • Sept 23-30 - Granny and Papa go to Hawaii
  • Sept 26 - PawPop is 88!
  • Sept 29 - Tim is 15!
  • Oct 2 - Cheyenne's birthday
  • Oct 4 - Liam is 5!
  • Oct 7 - John Caleb is 17!
  • Oct 18 - Tony's birthday

  • Email Granny!

    Get your own calendar

    Granny Cares
  • Care Calendar
  • Agape Pregnancy Help Center San Antonio
  • World Vision

  • Granny Cooks (and Eats)!

  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks
  • Once a Month Mom
  • $5 Dinners
  • Full Bellies, Happy Kids
  • A Year of Crockpotting

  • Granny's House (and yours!)

  • Simple Mom
  • The Nesting Place
  • Between Naps on the Porch
  • The Inspired Room

  • Granny gets around...
  • A Holy Experience
  • MommyLife
  • Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
  • Preschoolers and Peace
  • Breathing Grace
  • theMangoTimes

  • Granny stays informed...
  • Real Clear Politics
  • Fox News
  • Drudge Report

  • Granny Thinks...
  • Al Mohler
  • Between Two Worlds
  • Blog and Mablog
  • First Importance
  • Equipping the Saints
  • Desiring God

  • Granny says you may go to...
  • PowerLine Blog
  • Michelle Malkin
  • SteynOnline
  • WSJ Opinion Journal Best of the Web
  • GetHuman
  • Home School Legal Defense Association

  • Granny goes to the movies...
  • Netflix
  • Rotten Tomatoes

  • Granny is watching!
  • Blue Pencil Editing
  • Mighty Red Pen
  • Conjugate Visits

  • Granny smiles at...
  • Purgatorio
  • ScrappleFace
  • LarkNews
  • Sacred Sandwich

  • Friday, November 30, 2007

    If you're looking for a terrific musical treat, check for when The Ten Tenors are going to make it to your city.

    The experience of hearing this group last night surely ranks up there as one of the gems of my year. These guys, in addition to being excellent voices, know how to put on a fabulous show and astounded me with the breadth of their selections. I wasn't surprised to hear opera, since they met while pursuing opera studies in Australia in the 90's. What did surprise me was the BeeGees Stayin' Alive/How Deep is Your Love/Night Fever medley, a delightful rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (yes, one of Granny's guilty pleasures), and a stunningly moving and reverent "O Holy Night", one of many Christmas selections during the evening. The whole thing was pure pleasure and I would gladly sit through it again tonight if I had a ticket...

    So...five stars in Granny's book for The Ten Tenors. GO!

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    has spoken at 10:24 AM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    For those of you still experiencing angst because you have toys left to buy and nothing seems safe, let me pass on a great place to shop: Back to Basics Toys. This is a great company that I've used since WAY before internet days, and one of their tag lines is, "They DO make them like they used to!". And they have LOTS of things made in the U.S. Give 'em a look...I never bought a thing from BBT that we weren't delighted with. (Although since they were bought out by Scholastic, you never know...)

    [Totally unsolicited and uncompensated post LOL]

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    has spoken at 10:04 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007
    I rode in on the leading edge of what's now derisively known as the "New Math" in 1965. Most of the country was still blissfully ignorant that math as they knew it was about to undergo a fundamental "dumbing down" in the guise of "helping students learn to think", but my San Diego school was definitely "out in front".

    In the three decades, then, that my own children have been counting, multiplying, averaging, graphing, and finding "x" (which the Papa claims should have been accomplished long ago, since they were already looking for it when he was in school), I have developed a keen interest in the fads and foibles of math educrats. In the past few years we've seen some of the same dumbing down in popular homeschool curricula, where an excessive reliance on manipulatives and "process thinking" has rendered 8th graders unable to multiply 8 x 7 without toothpicks or jelly beans.

    Sometimes I'm tempted to think that no amount of dissent will change the trend. And then I look at how many school districts and bureaucrats and reading specialists have dumped sight reading, "whole language" and other excuses to keep children from reading (many times paying lip service to "phonetics") and replaced them with pure phonics and an emphasis on the basics that have been proven to produce readers and dramatically reduce reading failure. Maybe there is a road back.

    So perhaps Michelle Malkin's decision to give the math topic a high profile will not be useless. Perhaps the drumbeat for re-reform will reach some kind of critical mass and we'll see a return to common sense math instruction.

    But I'm not holding my breath.

    Fuzzy math: A nationwide epidemic

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    has spoken at 6:56 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, November 27, 2007
    This today from HSLDA:

    Superintendent Terminates Home Education Program Without Authority

    On November 5, 2007, the superintendent of General McLane School District notified a Home School Legal Defense Association member family that he had terminated their home education program because they had failed to submit quarterly reports to his office. According to the superintendent’s letter to the family, he had approved their program at the beginning of the school year on the condition that the quarterly reports be submitted “to insure sufficient work had been completed and that you are on track in your instruction.” Knowing that state law did not require the quarterly reports, the mother serving as the supervisor of the home education program did not submit the documentation to the superintendent. The superintendent’s letter stated that the mother was required to enroll her son in the public elementary school within three days. It also threatened the mother with truancy charges should she not enroll her son in public school by the deadline established by the superintendent.

    HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black immediately faxed a letter to the superintendent informing him that state law did not permit local school districts to require submission of quarterly reports in a home education program. He explained that the family in question was in full compliance with Pennsylvania’s homeschool law and did not intend to submit the quarterly reports, stop homeschooling their son, or enroll him in public school.

    To date, the superintendent has made no further attempts to enforce submission of the unauthorized quarterly reports and has brought no truancy charges against the family.

    Don't you love how these two-bit school "authorities" love to set their own rules and then just start enforcing them to see if anyone will scream? Has nothing to do with the law, only with how far they think they can push the envelope and get unsuspecting families to comply. Kind of reminds me of how little kids act, choosing their own boundaries and then chafing when they're brought back to the real ones. But vigilant parents are the true enforcers here and will cause school districts to back down on the extra-legal red tape and requirements.

    Remember: these folks lose money for every day you're homeschooling your child. If they can force even a couple of families to enroll their kids in public school by bullying them, they could be several thousand dollars better off for the year.


    Pennsylvania Pushes the Envelope


    has spoken at 7:00 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Pols debate ban on spanking

    Parents who spank their kids - even in their own homes - would be slapped by the long arm of the law under an Arlington nurse’s proposal to make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to outlaw corporal punishment.

    Kathleen Wolf’s proposed legislation will be debated at a State House hearing tomorrow morning.

    If signed into law, parents would be prohibited from forcefully laying a hand on any child under age 18 unless it was to wrest them from danger, lest they be charged with abuse or neglect.

    Question from the obviously unenlightened: Don't those of us who spank our children do it in order to "wrest them from danger"?

    Read, then tell me what you think.

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    has spoken at 5:34 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Stephanie asked a question a few posts back in the comments, and today I started to answer, but it got to be so long I decided to just make it into a post.

    She asked:

    Which brings me to a question I've been meaning to ask you, as well as mothers of other large families: how do you go about your gift-shopping with such a large family? Does each child get a certain number of gifts? A certain dollar amount? Or are there no rules, so to speak?

    I'm curious how others do it, especially as our family grows...

    Stephanie, unlike my more structured friends (and daughters LOL) we tend to do it a little differently every year. I start buying early as well (though I usually cover the grandchildren first), but I don't do it according to any plan. I take into account the available funds, my energy level, the children's needs, their desires, their natural "bents", etc. and then I begin looking for gifts. The Papa and I talk about what we'd like to be a main gift for each one and then I fill in with books, clothes, toys, whatever. The definition of "fill in" varies widely year to year and I kind of like it that way. I have thought about gift-giving by some sort of formula and then I've realized that it just doesn't fit who we are. I have to do enough in my life according to a grid...don't want to give gifts this way.

    That said, I DO make accurate lists. I use a Word document and list everyone I want to give a gift to, and then I list several ideas, followed by question marks. If/when I buy that item, I take the question mark off. (Some years, when I'm more energetic and have a higher tolerance for detail, I code it with a certain color when it's been ordered and yet another color when it actually arrives.) If I decide against a certain gift, I delete it, and if I find something unexpectedly perfect that wasn't on the list, I add it. Near the end I just remove everything with a question mark, make sure that I'm happy with the proportion / distribution, and save the document for next year. Sometimes I include what I've spent, sometimes not. I also keep track of ornaments I've bought for each child, a calendar for each one, and any "name drawings" I need to purchase.

    So while I don't start with a big plan for number of gifts, amount of money, etc., I do keep good records and that always helps me the next year.

    One thing I've done, not every year, but often: I choose a certain kind of wrapping paper for each child and wrap all their gifts in it. None of them are supposed to know which paper I've assigned to them, though there's always a lot of speculation whispered behind my my back: "Oh, come on, she'd never choose rocking horse paper for me." Hee hee. Anyway, this helps eliminate some of the guess by shaking or by the shape of the item and makes it more fun once everything is under the tree.

    Last year I was dealing with lots of leftover paper and didn't seem to have enough paper to do one per child, so I used whatever paper I had and then just labeled them according to one of the reindeer's names. One was Prancer, one was Vixen, etc. and I didn't reveal the "code" until Christmas morning. Again they tried to guess based on what names "fit" them...Nathan was just 100% certain that he wouldn't have been Vixen. ;-) It's fun to see lights go on in the kids' heads after the big reveal..."Oh, maybe that big one with the pointy thing sticking out IS for me!"

    As an aside here, I am now approximately 90% finished with my shopping and still haven't set foot in a store. I'm very happy to be pushing my cart (or my bathtub, if you've followed these posts) around the World Wide Web and getting to know my UPS man. Okay, it does make it harder to stop for a latte, but as long as someone brings me one once in a while through the holidays, I can deal with that (Starbucks Eggnog, Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread or Peppermint Mocha, please).

    Some of you will be disappointed that we don't have some spiritual grand plan for Christmas gift-giving or that I'd dare let Vixen be a part of our celebration, but there you have it. My children grow up understanding Who the real Gift is and this is given plenty of space and celebration in our home all through Advent and the actual holidays. But Granny's House also strives to be a place of fun and variety and even hilarity...I've always seen it as part of my role to foster making this a delightful place to live, so even in the recent years when I've done most everything from a chair, my brain is alive!

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    has spoken at 4:38 PM
    8 Backtalks to Granny

    Uh, no....
    FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — It used to be so final: flush the toilet, and waste be gone.

    But on Nov. 30, for millions of people here in Orange County, pulling the lever will be the start of a long, intense process to purify the sewage into drinking water — after a hard scrubbing with filters, screens, chemicals and ultraviolet light and the passage of time underground.

    On that Friday, the Orange County Water District will turn on what industry experts say is the world’s largest plant devoted to purifying sewer water to increase drinking water supplies. They and others hope it serves as a model for authorities worldwide facing persistent drought, predicted water shortages and projected growth.

    I knew there was a good reason that I rely mainly on Diet Coke for hydration. Wonder where they get their water??

    Toilet to tap

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    has spoken at 1:34 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    But does she put away the leftovers??
    Robot with soft hands chats, serves meal

    «»1 of 4Full Size

    TOKYO (Reuters) - A pearly white robot that looks a little like E.T. boosted a man out of bed, chatted and helped prepare his breakfast with its deft hands in Tokyo Tuesday, in a further sign robots are becoming more like their human inventors.

    Twendy-One, named as a 21st century edition of a previous robot, Wendy, has soft hands and fingers that gently grip, enough strength to support humans as they sit up and stand, and supple movements that respond to human touch.

    It can pick up a loaf of bread without crushing it, serve toast and help lift people out of bed.

    Okay, well you could you send her right over? I have quite a long list....


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    has spoken at 1:18 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, November 26, 2007

    Retailers Buoyed by Strong Holiday Start
    Sunday November 25, 9:37 pm ET
    By Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Business Writer

    Retailers Have a Strong Start to the Holiday Shopping Season, but Shoppers Need to Keep Buying

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's shoppers set aside worries about higher gas prices and a slumping housing market and proved their resilience over the Thanksgiving weekend, giving what the nation's merchants wished for -- a strong start to the holiday shopping season.

    Stores and malls opened the season as early as midnight, drawing bigger-than-expected crowds Friday for discounted flat-panel TVs, digital cameras and toys such as all things related to Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana." Strong sales continued through Saturday, according to one research group that tracks total sales at retail outlets across the country.

    I'm puzzled by something. I know my buying habits don't necessarily mirror the average, but I've heard a lot of people expressing the same thought. I think that so far I've probably spent about as much as I had by this time last year, but I think I've bought twice as much stuff for the money.

    Like I mentioned the other day, part of this is because I've had the time to do a lot of comparison shopping, but the "deals" haven't been that hard to find. So I'm wondering how factors like this will affect the year's bottom line for retailers. I'm guessing that they're going to be able to end the year claiming it was one of the best ever based on gross revenue, but will their profit sheets show it?

    Don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining! With a gift list like mine, I'm cheering for all the great Amazon deals and all the sites that are offering 20% off plus free shipping. My dollars are going a lot farther! I'm just wondering if all the hype about such a strong holiday for the economy will hold when the effects of the "desperation sales" are factored in....

    Strong start


    has spoken at 12:14 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    Here's an interesting perspective on how the HillBill phenom is playing in "flyover country," made all the more interesting by the fact that it was written for a British newspaper...

    America Hates Hillary Clinton and Co

    (photo not approved by the Hillary for Pres '08 campaign)


    has spoken at 8:35 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday snippets...
    It was wonderful to go to church again this morning. I didn't make it through the whole service, but I got through the whole sermon, anyway! It's very hard for me to stay comfortable right now, and in straight-backed chairs it was a challenge. Next week I'll take my recliner ;-)

    I actually wore my fur coat this's CO-O-OLD here!

    Bethany returns tomorrow! I know that the girls have enjoyed having her with them, but we miss her around here!

    Our Thanksgiving was so nice. I did hardly anything, but you'd never have known it. The help we got was fantastic and made it seem like our normal feast, even if we did eat on plastic plates this year. I'm so grateful for the way all our kids pitched in to shop, cook, clean, and organize, and also for the scrumptious dishes brought by our guests...

    Leftover Squash Casserole might as well be dessert.

    Christmas shopping is nearly done! And I haven't been inside a store yet! This year I've had time to scour for the best online deals and it's really paid off. The bathtub is piled high with boxes waiting to be next task is getting the ones going to Virginia ready for mailing. By Christmas time, our family there will amount to a dozen people!

    I can always tell when it's getting close to time for piano recital: Shelley is at the piano every thirty minutes or so. I love it!

    This week I finished The Thirteenth Tale and Night on audio, made some more progress on Uncle Tungsten in hard copy, and started listening to Breathing Lessons. While the latter has some touching and funny moments, it's nowhere near as good as the other Anne Tyler books I've read. But then I don't suppose an author, or anyone for that matter, can be at the top of her game all the time...and then again it might surprise me and finish at the top of my list!

    I'm already putting together my reading wish list for '08. It seems as if there are always about twenty times as many books catching my interest as I will ever be able to read. But at least I'm never bored. When I think about having been born BEFORE Gutenberg, I shudder.

    To those of you who will be checking your mailbox for my usually early Christmas card, don't. I made the decision back in October not to do the Christmas card and letter thing this year...I know myself well enough to know that with surgery falling when it did, it would be one more project than I could handle and stay sane. It was not a mistake. These days between Thanksgiving and the first of December, usually filled with cards and copiers and envelopes and labels and stamps, are much quieter and more relaxed this year and it's been good for me. I'll miss it, and I'm sure that by next year I'll be chomping at the bit to buy my cards in August, but for this week, I'm enjoying the break.

    Some of you have asked whether the procedure on my leg seems to have been successful. At this point I'd have to say that I'm still experiencing too much pain from the surgery itself to sort it all out, but I can also say that on balance I think it's looking good.

    I look forward to the beginning of Advent next week. I dearly love the slow, steady approach of Christmas and the building anticipation of the season...don't you? I'm going to put on some Christmas music and then work on the week's lesson plans. Hope all of you are having a nice Sunday...

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    has spoken at 3:30 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, November 23, 2007

    It appears that green is in the eye of the beholder (or the flyer, in this case)...

    It is one of Emory University's most environmentally friendly buildings, a hallmark of the institution's efforts to "go green." To hear John Wegner describe it, it's also a slaughterhouse.

    The soaring glass windows in Emory's Mathematics and Science Center reflect the woodsy view, confusing hapless birds who smash into it at full speed.

    Turns out, environmentally friendly buildings are often bird killers.

    The sad details here.

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    has spoken at 6:43 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    While all of you are out there giving thanks for your wonderful children, please pause for a moment to remember those unfortunate souls who are struggling with their own selfishness:

    Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

    But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

    Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

    Yes, friends, lest you think that your devotion to your children has taught you selflessness and the meaning of sacrifice at times, you have totally missed the point. Having children is totally selfish, something in which no "enlightened" woman would indulge:

    While some might think it strange to celebrate the reversal of nature and denial of motherhood, Toni relishes her decision with an almost religious zeal.

    "Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35.

    "Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."

    The whole idea is so important that not only should you avoid conceiving, you should eliminate the possibility altogether. And should there be any "disasters", you must kill the's the unselfish thing to do.

    Toni was happy, at last, with fellow environmentalists who shared her philosophy. But when she was 25, disaster struck.

    "I discovered that despite taking the Pill, I'd accidentally fallen pregnant by my boyfriend.

    "I was horrified. I knew straight away there was no option of having the baby.

    "I went to my doctor about having a termination, and asked if I could be sterilised at the same time.

    "This time it was a male doctor. I remember saying to him: 'I want to make sure this never happens again.' "

    Now I'm the one shuddering in horror. Of course I'm no stranger to the hysteria about overpopulation...the ZPG movement had its heyday in my generation. But the thought of killing a baby to save the planet is something I can't get my head around...for whom are we saving it?

    And how completely do you have to suspend reality and reason to say that murdering a child is the most unselfish thing you can do?

    I couldn't help but be reminded of the warning in the book of Isaiah...

    Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
    who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
    who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

    Isaiah 5:20 (NIV)

    How sad it is that man's reasoning gives a higher priority to an imaginary "carbon footprint" than to the precious footprint of a newborn on a birth certificate...

    And now if you'll excuse me, I must get up from here and go work on lesson plans and a grocery list for the multiple evidences of my unenlightened selfishness. You can go read more about your own SQ (Selfishness Quotient) here.

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    has spoken at 12:04 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, November 22, 2007

    I hope everyone is having a lovely Thanksgiving, surrounded by the people you love, the food you look forward to, and the awareness of the Father's blessings. I'm mainly sitting this year and will be watching a lot of hustle and bustle go on around me...but I'm no less blessed than when I'm cooking the whole dinner or setting out china and cloth napkins for our guests. God has blessed me this year with doctors who are making an attempt to alleviate my pain as well as family and friends who enjoy our Thanksgiving traditions enough to carry them on despite my non-ambulatory status. Granny's House will be a happy place today!

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    has spoken at 9:45 AM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, November 19, 2007
    Having Lots of Kids Helps Dads Live to 100

    We see a lot of articles and statistics about how the number of children a woman bears and nurses affects her health and lifespan, but it's rare to see anything published about how children factor into a man's lifespan. Enter this new study, and a fascinating one it is.

    MONDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A young, trim farmer with four or more children: According to a new study, that's the ideal profile for American men hoping to reach 100 years of age.

    One of the most interesting things about the study is how the data were collected...I'll let you go see for yourself.

    But I'm left with one question: Does tomato gardening count?

    hat tip: Dina

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    has spoken at 2:57 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    There was a time, whether all you X'ers and Y'ers out there believe me or not, when the term "Baby Boomer" had a certain cachet to it. Technology, marketing, even church growth was "targeted" toward Boomers, probably the first time in history that there had been such an emphasis on defining, capturing and selling to a particular demographic.

    Boomers are defined, roughly, as those born between 1946 and 1964, and we're the ones that cause the hyperventilation when Congress and think tanks try to determine the load on Social Security when we Boomers are retired. Never fear, though, eventually we'll die, as proven HERE. Hey, over 7% of us are already dead!

    Boomer Death Counter

    More Facts and Stats on Boomers

    hat tip: The Papa


    has spoken at 2:05 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Just in case you thought you only had to worry about lead in the toys from China, small pieces that are choking hazards, and the computer games that turn your kids into couch potatoes, you'd better think again:

    A leading children's author was told to drop a fire-breathing dragon shown in a new book - because the publishers feared they could be sued under health and safety regulations.

    It is just one of the politically correct cuts Lindsey Gardiner says she has been told to make in case youngsters act out the stories.

    As well as the scene showing her dragon toasting marshmallows with his breath, illustrations of an electric cooker with one element glowing red and of a boy on a ladder have had to go.

    They're kidding, right? A boy on a ladder? I'm shaking just thinking about it.

    Good thing kids can see past such nonsense:

    "Then I had to change the element on a cooker from glowing red to green.

    "It is crazy. When I go to book signings, I sometimes take with me some colouring pictures, and the kids draw the elements as red because the cooker is on and it's hot. They are not stupid."

    Fortunately, though, help may be on the way. The industry is going to "talk about it":

    "I've had books published in Japan, France, Spain and Holland and they don't ask for the same changes.

    "It seems to be in Britain and the U.S. that there are problems."

    Nobody from Orchard Books was available for comment but a spokesman for the Publishers Association said: "We are aware of some concerns by authors and it is something we can talk about in the industry."

    Did you ever wonder how any of us ever grew up and lived past 12? And just think of all the children's literature that's going to have to be banned before our kids are really, truly safe! Ah well, there's always the ever-so-exciting Good Night, Moon.

    Fire-Breathing Dragons Publishers

    hat tip: trish

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    has spoken at 10:38 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, November 18, 2007
    Sunday snippets...

    Today, finally, I finished the audio version of Atlas Shrugged . All 52 hours of it. I don't have it in me to do a real review (and they're a dime a dozen anyway!) but suffice it to say that it was engrossing and well worth the time, literarily speaking. I certainly wish every Democrat would read it for an idea of just how dangerous the whole concept of redistribution of wealth will be. The end of the book gets somewhat tedious with a 3 1/2 hour MONOLOGUE from the book's hero, filled with, in my opinion, what gets to be a rather irritating statement and restatement and re-restatement of the same philosophy. Ironically, one of the books main premises is defeated by the assertion that truth cannot coexist with faith. Clearly Ayn Rand was not a believer; nevertheless she stumbled on a portion of God's truth and then tried to divorce that truth from its Creator. relevant to the 21st century as well as her own...

    Now I'll concentrate on The Thirteenth Tale, one I'm already a couple of hours into.

    Eleven days out from surgery, I am continuing to recover well. Walking still isn't terribly comfortable, but it's doable and for that I'm grateful. Tuesday I'll have a post-op visit and get these very annoying staples out of my leg!

    Bethany has flown to Virginia to spend the holiday week with Annie and Kristen and their families. Sporting a new, metal-less smile, she is looking forward to spoiling her nieces and nephew and getting a short break from her college studies.

    Thanksgiving here will be an intimate little affair of 45 or so. No, I'm not crazy...I just have a family who doesn't want to give up our tradition just because of an incision in my leg, so they are pretty much taking care of everything. My goal is to make ONE dish on Wednesday afternoon, and our guests and the family here will make everything else. The best part will be the company and the actual giving of thanks for our incredible blessings.

    My recovery has been spent working on the Christmas shopping from my laptop. I'd say I'm about 75% finished, having gotten caught in the trap of wanting to wait to make sure some of my list isn't just about to go on sale! I have found some amazing deals this year, but that's mainly on toys...and nothing else on my list seems to be attracting the attention of the price-slashers!

    This week, I finally had to admit that my 3 week old Dell Inspiron 1520 is a lemon. Ever since turning it on the first time I've had my suspicions that things weren't just right, and three more weeks only confirmed that. So after several hours on the phone this week and with the patient help of my brother, who just happens to WORK for Dell in the tech support arena (how lucky is THAT?), I've arranged for an exchange. I'm not's a lot of work to transfer and reformat everything onto a new computer, not to mention getting used to the "touch" and quirks of a new machine. But this was a no-brainer: too many things wrong to take the chance of waiting. So the weekend after Thanksgiving I'll be back at my desk fumbling with transfer cables :-(

    Oh, and does anyone else hate Windows Vista as much as I do?? I'd been warned, and believe me, all the warnings were correct. Can I just have my XP back, please? Oh, I know, some of you will think that it's just an old woman who doesn't like new stuff. Come on, those of you who know me know that I'm not afraid of technology and innovation. I just happen to think it should work FOR you and not against you!

    No surprise, school has rather taken a back seat the past three weeks. We'll do our best to work in two solid weeks after Thanksgiving before taking our Christmas break. I'm happy that our first quarter and the beginning of the second went well so that I don't feel too bad about the interruptions. We fell behind a bit on Tapestry of Grace, so we're just beginning quarter two, but the books are in and I'm almost ready to dive back in there. The kids have been great about keeping up in math, grammar, etc. so nothing's been a total loss.

    Friday, The Papa and the boys will go pick out our Christmas trees. This is a tradition for the day after Thanksgiving...we choose and pay for our trees at the Pipe Creek Christmas Tree Farm in the Hill Country and then leave them growing and soaking up the sunshine and water until time to cut and bring them home. Ah...I can smell it now!

    And to celebrate this Lord's Day, I share the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns...

    O Love that wilt not let me go,
    I rest my weary soul in thee;
    I give thee back the life I owe,
    that in thine ocean depths its flow
    may richer, fuller be.

    O Light that followest all my way,
    I yield my flickering torch to thee;
    my heart restores its borrowed ray,
    that in thy sunshine's blaze its day
    may brighter, fairer be.

    O Joy that seekest me through pain,
    I cannot close my heart to thee;
    I trace the rainbow through the rain,
    and feel the promise is not vain,
    that morn shall tearless be.

    O Cross that liftest up my head,
    I dare not ask to fly from thee;
    I lay in dust life's glory dead,
    and from the ground there blossoms red
    life that shall endless be.

    Words: George Matheson, 1882

    Music: St. Margaret, Consecration, Wyke

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    has spoken at 4:25 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    God and I had a very long talk the other day.

    Well, okay, I did most of the talking.

    I will not be explaining the issues involved, but I thought it was worth sharing the larger theme of loosening our hold on things we've thought we couldn't live without.

    There are times when God asks us to give up certain things in our lives. Sometimes it's a sin of which He's convicted us...a habit we need to leave attitude we've developed that is counterproductive...a grudge we've held for too long.

    But other times, He asks us to give up, to loosen our hands and let go of, good things. Things that have given us pleasure, success, satisfaction...dreams we've held onto because we believed they were part of His will for us...activities that have given us meaning and fulfillment...desires that have been part of us for as long as we can remember. Sometimes, He asks us to just let go.


    There are times when I believe He wants to let go of the good so He can give us the best. It may be something we've considered of great value, even spiritually...something that has brought sweetness or robustness to life and something that has come to give us an identity now important to us...and yet He says, "It's time to let it go."

    Other times, I think He wants us to get to the point where we are willing to let go, only to see Him turn around and restore it. It's an Isaac-on-the-altar thing, designed to give us a glimpse of how much we really trust Him. He's not the one who needs the glimpse: We do.

    Remember I said that I did most of the talking? Well, it turns out that was only the first half of the conversation.

    The next day, due to a set of circumstances which evidently had little to do with His real purpose, He moved me way out of my comfort zone and put me in a place where my ears were "perked up" and my heart was in a mode to listen. I sat in a worship service where the pastor was obviously notified in advance that I was coming, and he quite flagrantly addressed the entire message to me. I think it was pretty sneaky of God to allow him to do that, but then perhaps He had already exhausted other means and knew what it would take to get me to listen.

    It wasn't even the kind of service that I would necessarily be comfortable being a part of on a regular wasn't one that "meshes" with my preferred worship style.

    But on this day, it was not a mistake. In fact, it was a divine appointment.

    My heart was shaken to its core. Like it hasn't been in a long time. I left literally trembling. I sat in my car alone for five minutes, stunned. And I knew in that five minutes my inner life was changed forever.

    Five minutes was just the beginning. That was too easy.

    Last night I lay awake almost all night, listening, taking inventory, letting Him bring all the things to mind that needed letting go. And of course, the more I listened, the longer the list grew.

    Wow, Lord, that too?

    Then, the list became more and more fine-tuned. Expectations I have for people in my life. Things about myself I want changed. "Needs" I have that may never be met. One of the things I began learning about myself is that, sometimes, letting go of what seems like the little things is just as hard or harder than letting go of the big ones. And that can be pretty humiliating.

    The sun peeked over the horizon before enough space appeared between items in my growing list that I finally drifted off to sleep. But in some ways, my night of deconstruction has only just begun.

    The issues on which God is confronting me didn't get installed in my life overnight and won't be gone overnight, but I'm clear on this: He has begun a process that has left me changed. Things in my internal world will never be the same...

    I'm letting go.


    has spoken at 2:52 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, November 15, 2007
    Scrappleface absolutely cracks me up!

    Democrat Debate to Allow Hillary Self-Rebuttal Time


    has spoken at 2:44 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    And the fast get faster....

    TEXT in your pizza order
    and pick it up on the way home from the mall. What a country :-)

    Oh, Papa!

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    has spoken at 2:36 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Here's a fascinating site for researching and comparing the demographics of your zip code with any other in the nation or with the state or nation as a whole....stats on education, income, population density, racial/ethnic diversity, age, and many more interesting facts.


    hat tip: Tom H.


    has spoken at 2:00 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Yes, friends, the "religion of peace" strikes again.

    A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

    The 19-year-old woman -- whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms -- was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for "being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape," the Arab News reported.

    But in a new verdict issued after Saudi Arabia's Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial, the court in the eastern town of Al-Qatif more than doubled the number of lashes to 200.

    A court source told the English-language Arab News that the judges had decided to punish the woman further for "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."

    You did catch the fact that it was the VICTIM that has been punished with 200 lashes and a jail sentence?

    If I were a betting woman, I'd put money on the rapists being out of jail before the wounds from the victim's lashing have healed.

    Full story here.

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 12:09 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007
    My recovery is continuing has its ups and downs but two steps forward for every step back. Swelling is down. Pain is decreasing, which helps me sleep a little better. Finding a comfortable position is the biggest challenge at night!

    Our church family has been helping out with some fabulous meals and other kinds of help. And having CJ at home couldn't have been timed any better...she's an invaluable addition to the team of home execs around here.

    My gradually lessening need for drugs has made it possible for me to get back into some holiday planning, Christmas shopping, work projects, and school resumption. Hopefully another week and things will be back to normal recognizable at our house!

    Okay, well it's back to the hugely exciting preliminary hearing for O. J. Simpson's robbery trial.

    Or not.

    Happy birthday, Debby :-)


    has spoken at 12:03 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, November 11, 2007
    Sunday snippets...

    Ouch. Just writing the word "snippets" hurts.

    Okay, well things I've learned this week:

    Morphine does not like me. I like it okay, but it has no respect for me.

    Just because the hospital food was edible two years ago doesn't mean it's edible now. And it's not. And a bite of chicken left in your mouth for fifteen minutes doesn't get any better while you're sleeping.

    A hospital that doesn't have FOX News channel should have more self-respect than to present you with a bill when you leave.

    I should have made sure my new computer's mobile wireless access was up and running. Morphine doesn't help you figure it out.

    Surgical tape gets better all the time. That's a good thing on the front end. When it's time to take it off, not so much.

    It's a problem when one of the machines in your room buzzes like the sound your cell phone makes on vibrate. Every 90 seconds or so, all night long.

    Surgical ward techs who aren't much older than my grandson and who persist in calling me "Sweetie" and then say "Let me know if that don't help" really creep me out.

    There should be a vetting process for roommates.

    Knowing I have someone else's bone inside me doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. It would be nice to know something about him, though....eye color, SAT scores, arrest know.

    My kids love it when I'm on drugs. It restocks their stash of "What Mom Said in the Hospital" stories. It also gets them out of assignments that I supposedly never told them about.

    Physical therapists who say "Okay, our goal for today is 350 feet" are working with a very elastic ruler. Trust me on this one.

    An iPod is a very nice thing to have in prison the hospital. For some reason, though, they frown on letting you take it in the O.R. with you.

    I tend to tighten up when anyone who was actually IN the O.R. with me starts a sentence with, "Do you remember....?"

    The "fun" part of my "business/fun trip" that ended the day before surgery is something I'd definitely recommend. Thank you, Lyric.

    No one should attempt an experience like this without a wonderful family. Thanks to each one of you.

    For a different take on the week, don't miss CJ's thoughts. And no, she NEVER exaggerates.

    And my Knight-in-Shining-Armor, who has nothing left to prove, goes on proving that no one has ever cared for a wife more tenderly and more vigorously than he. Am I lucky, or what?? Thank you, John.

    I still don't know what the long-term effects of this operation will be. But I'm very thankful for a surgeon, just returned from working on combat wounds in the desert, who's done his best to help a Granny like me. Thanks, Dr. K.

    Have a great week, and savor every pain-free step :-)

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    has spoken at 6:41 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, November 09, 2007
    I'm home, resting in my bed. Surgery went well and I'm hopeful that soon I'll have some idea of whether it was truly successful. The pain is excruciating, but I expected that it would be. I 'm hoping that soon it will be not just better but will leave me feeling much better than the past few years :-)

    Thank you for praying!


    has spoken at 8:13 PM
    10 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007
    I'm reporting to the hospital this morning at 6:15 and after that only God knows what the schedule holds. Maybe I'll be posting from under the morphine this evening; maybe you won't see me again for a few days. If all goes well I should be back home by Friday, finishing my recovery in my own wonderful bed...

    Check back :-)


    has spoken at 4:41 AM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    And is it just part of the universe that's missing, or have we lost our minds??

    hat tip: Dutch, Reformed

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    has spoken at 12:33 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    I just HATE
    it when this happens.


    has spoken at 12:23 AM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, November 05, 2007

    Got a call from my surgeon's resident this morning and he said they'd like to change the plan...would I be available to go into surgery Wednesday morning? Well, considering that I am still in California and won't arrive home until tomorrow afternoon, that cuts it pretty close for getting pre-ops done and making other arrangements, but I told them if they can get it all scheduled I'll try to be ready. It means that tomorrow afternoon when I get off the plane in San Antonio I will go straight to the hospital for the rest of the paperwork and tests that haven't been done yet, and then I'll be admitted Wednesday morning.

    Currently it looks as though I'll only have to spend 2-3 days in the hospital, and this time there'll be no long rehab stint as with my original hip replacements. And this makes it more likely that I might be back on my feet by Thanksgiving, which is good news. Right now I'm scrambling to rearrange a few other commitments...but it's nice to know that within 72 hours it will all be over. I'll appreciate your prayers...


    has spoken at 6:01 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Got Panera?
    (Because if you don't, I won't be considering moving to your city any time in my second half-century...)

    Lyric and I are sitting and blogging from the new Panera Bread location in Pasadena. Have you done Panera Bread yet? Oh my...I first became enamored with this franchise while visiting Kristen and Annie in Virginia, and I've been faithfully watching their website ever since to see WHEN, not IF, they would be expanding into south Texas. In the meantime, I'm enjoying a new one here in California.

    Did I mention that all Paneras are hot spots? So of course we're finishing up our lunch and going over calendars, business details, and emails over drink refills and two laptops. Yeah, pretty cool.

    And in my last visit to the website, I discovered that at LAST there is a store open in San Antonio. Yes, it's on the opposite side of town from me (The Quarry, for you locals)...but I'm willing to drive a bit farther for Panera than I am for, say, Krispy Kreme. Oh, okay, there's a KK on the way back. We'll see about that. But for now, just take my word for it...for the best sandwiches, breads, bagels, etc. that you've ever sunk your teeth into, make sure you buy your new property and build your house within just a few feet of Panera.

    Oh, and buy stock :-)

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 4:11 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, November 04, 2007
    Sunday snippets...
    Last night we watched the movie "A Mighty Heart," the story of the kidnapping and murder of the journalist Daniel Pearl. Well, really the story was more about the incredible ordeal from the eyes of his wife, played by Angelina Jolie. In addition to the fact that the movie was compelling and well acted and about as authentic as any "based on a true story" movie ever gets, the events of yesterday in Pakistan, where much of the movie is set, made it eerily "present" for me. Don't know any other way to explain it.

    Earlier in the day we went to the theater to see "Martian Child." Let me assure you that you can take your kids to see this one and you'll all love it. Yes, it's way too sappy for the reviewers to give a thumbs up, but then if you've been noticing the ones that DO get a thumbs up, you'll know why I don't really care. Go see it.

    Every time I get on Amazon I'm glad I bought so many kid presents early in the fall. True, my bathtub is totally unusable, but prices have gone way up on most of the good stuff and so I'm just sitting here being...well...smug.

    It's a very good thing that Starbucks' Eggnog Lattes are a seasonal item. And that they don't freeze well.

    My niece and nephew are still on life support, both requiring multiple surgeries and other interventions to keep them alive. Please, pray for Meredith and Matthew.

    Happy Birthday to grandson Jonathan, the young man who made me a Granny :-)

    Snip, snip, the weekend's over. (Oh, except for those of us on mini-vacations!)

    Labels: , , , , ,

    has spoken at 9:55 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, November 03, 2007

    Some stories sound too good to be true...and then again there are some that are just too good not to be true. Prepare to be blessed, and to give thanks to the Father of life...



    has spoken at 1:03 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, November 02, 2007
    I am away from Granny's House for a few days...enjoying a few days with Lyric in California. It's both work and play...last night we went to Joel's football game, today we went in to her office and organized upcoming work projects, tonight we had Mexican food and brought home several DVD's. We're now in our lounging clothes with candles lit and getting ready to pop some popcorn. Very relaxing :-)

    I'll head home on Tuesday and then have just a few days to prepare for upcoming surgery. I will have plenty to do during recovery as I continue to shop online for the holidays, organize our Thanksgiving dinner (even though I won't be doing much of the cooking this year!) and finish up several work projects due in November.

    The biggest concern this week is the condition of my niece and nephew, both in their early 20's and involved in a terrible car accident. They are both on life support, and had nearly every bone in their bodies broken. If God brings them to your mind, please pray for Meredith and Matthew. We know God can heal and we pray for both His will and His comfort for the family...

    Labels: , , ,

    has spoken at 8:54 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, November 01, 2007
    I can't believe that I had to be somewhere else and had to miss the World Toilet Summit this week. Boy, could I have told them a thing or two...


    has spoken at 8:23 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Granny's Mission Statement
    "...Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done....that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children."
    ~Psalm 78:4-6

    My Focal Passage for 2011...
    Philippians 2:5-11

    5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

    6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

    7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

    8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

    9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,

    10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

    11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    ~Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)


    "The vanity of being known to be trusted with a secret is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it."

    ~Samuel Johnson

    [Oxymoronica, n., A compilation of self-contradictory terms, phrases, or quotations; examples of oxymoronica appear illogical or nonsensical at first, but upon reflection, make a good deal of sense and are often profoundly true.]

    Books on the iPhone, the Kindle, or on the nightstand...

  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Alexander Mccall Smith
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Arthur G. Bennett, editor

  • Books finished in 2011...

  • Oxymoronica, Mardy Grothe
  • Some Sing, Some Cry, Ntozake Shange, Ifa Bayeza
  • English Society in the Eighteenth Century, Roy Porter
  • One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann Voskamp
  • His Word in My Heart, Janet Pope
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
  • Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, John Piper
  • Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness, Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Red Queen, Philippa Gregory
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas
  • The Confessions of Saint Augustine, St. Augustine
  • Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats, John Keats
  • Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell
  • Words That Work, Frank Luntz
  • NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
  • Poke the Box, Seth Godin
  • Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, Gary Taubes
  • A Patriot's History of the United States, Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen
  • Song of Saigon: One Woman's Journey to Freedom, Anh Vu Sawyer
  • The Artistic Mother: A Practical Guide for Fitting Creativity into Your Life, Shona Cole
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature, Elizabeth Kantor
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, David McCullough

  • Oh, the thinks you
    can think...
  • Tapestry of Grace
  • Anatomical Charts
  • America's Library
  • George Washington's Mount Vernon - Virtual Mansion Tour
  • Thomas Jefferson's Monticello - Virtual Mansion Tour
  • Hurricane Demo

  • Oh, the places we'll go...
  • The Alamo
  • Majestic Theater
  • The MAiZE
  • Magik Theatre
  • Sheldon Vexler Children's Theatre

  • Granny always says...
    Saying goodbye...
    Sunday snippets...
    Sunday snippets...
    Coming soon to a country near you...
    Making (a) room...
    Just in case this might make an impact on your spe...
    Midweek snippets...
    What's up?
    She said YES!

    Granny used to say...
    October 2005
    November 2005
    December 2005
    January 2006
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    March 2006
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    June 2006
    July 2006
    August 2006
    September 2006
    October 2006
    November 2006
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    January 2008
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    January 2011
    February 2011
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    July 2011
    August 2011

    Grace Notes

    "Were the whole realm of nature mine
    That were a present far too small...
    Love so amazing, so divine
    Demands my soul, my life,
    my all!"