I guess this is the first month that I've really taken a hard look at the possibilities for the economy in the coming year or more and wondered what a massive round of job layoffs would do to our little "world." In a deep and lasting recession, even those who might still have jobs will be affected by needing to help family, friends, and church members who don't. So I'm trying to take a look at all our expenditures from two sides: what would we do if we were left unemployed, and how can we leave ourselves in the best position to help others if we're blessed enough that The Papa keeps his job. I'd encourage all of you to do the same and share ideas and even contingencies with each other so that we're not caught off guard.
And on a similar note, I recommend the book The Worst Hard Time. The tragedy of the Dust Bowl was rooted in a long-gone agrarian economy and so it seems pretty far removed from anything that might happen in our high-tech age, but we're not guaranteed that we won't face challenges just as immense, so it's an important read. Read it alone or with your families as a way to understand and appreciate our history and our possible future.
It's nearly too good to be true that the congressman who was caught with $90,000 wrapped in foil in his freezer has finally been ousted. True, the postponement of the election in the wake of Hurricane Gustav probably affected the outcome, eliminating the Obama coattails that would have helped him, but at least the poor guy can now be free to concentrate on his defense and not have to worry about incoming bribes from Nigeria. (And it's similarly delightful that the man who ousted him is our first Vietnamese-American in congress, arriving here after the fall of Saigon in 1975.) By the way, anyone know what's the safest way to thaw $90,000? And if it's once thawed accidentally, can it be refrozen?
Bravo (can you believe I'm saying this??) to the president-elect for choosing Eric Shinseki to head up the VA. Shortly after Shinseki's forced retirement as a result of his very prescient warnings about the need for hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq, he was vindicated...and many military men and observers grudgingly agreed that he'd been not only right but courageous. Despite the vindication, he was never really rewarded for telling the hard truth. Let's hope this 2-time Purple Heart recipient will bring the same kind of sanity to the VA that he tried unsuccessfully to inject into the war effort.
Our "little" homeschool co-op experiment this semester will wrap up this week. I don't think any of us suspected that it would be so successful and so well-received as it's been, and despite the weekly Thursday night rush around Granny's House to get everything ready, it's not been near as difficult as I feared. Most of the 50+ kids we began with ended up seeing the whole semester through, and I think almost all of them enjoyed it as much as the moms who got a chance to visit for a few hours every week!
What a nice surprise to see gas in the $1.50's this week. Even if you're in a higher cost of living area, you're no doubt seeing a reduction, a welcome relief for all of us!
I was disappointed to see that a movie I've been looking forward to for months, The Soloist, has been shelved until sometime next year. Never mind that it's all ready to go...it's become a hostage to some new policy of the studio to release only 20 movies a year. So now we have to wait until at least April. In the meantime, you can read more about the true story on which the film is based here.
This will be our last week of school around here before the Christmas break. I'd like to stop now (and my students concur) but we got such a late start this year that I really don't feel good about too long a vacation. Besides, you can't take a break a week before Rome falls, can you?
A few weeks ago I mentioned a switch in our math curriculum and said I'd give you an update. Well, after three weeks the reviews are GREAT for all three of our math students (Pre-algebra, Algebra 1, and Geometry). Of course, liking a curriculum and getting good results long term are two different things, so we'll reserve complete judgment. But what I can tell you now is that we are all, including me, enjoying the format, the instruction, and the understanding we're getting from Teaching Textbooks.
The only Christmas shopping I've got left is stocking stuffers and my kids' ornaments, which I usually have done long before this. But these two categories of things are the hardest for me to do online, hence this year's delay. So as soon as my two femurs calm down from physical therapy, I'll have to hit Target and a couple other places to finish up. And this week, the wrapping marathon begins!
Speaking of Christmas, put Kristen's blog on your Bloglines or Google Reader for an almost daily short reflection on the wondrous season of Advent. She's pulling together some great material...
May this second week of Advent bless and quiet your heart as you prepare for the coming celebration of our Savior's birth...