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

  • Sunday, May 31, 2009
    Sunday snippets...
    This morning I stayed home with my sick son. Yes, he's almost 13 and can probably stay alone even when he's sick. But late last night, when it was apparent he wasn't going anywhere today, it struck me with great force that this could be the last time I ever stay home with a sick child. Tim is my "baby" although I wouldn't put it that way if he were a reader of my blog. And each stage I go through with him is therefore my last...each grade, each size of clothes, each time I stay with him and give him cold meds. This season is passing faster than I want to admit, and this morning was, in some way, a salute to an era nearly gone...

    The Teaching Company course I'm currently going through (listed on my left sidebar with books I'm reading) has totally captivated me. Linguistics has always been an intense interest of mine, despite my frighteningly surface understanding. This course and its engaging professor (John McWhorter) might have opened up a new lifelong obsession, as well as a slight shift in my outlook from the "prescriptivist" side of language to the "descriptivist." Someday I may do a whole blog post on that...

    I have a new fast-food love. Yes, dear readers, I can say without hesitation that Long John Silver's crab cakes are some of the best fast food I've ever put in my mouth. (Notice I didn't say that they were the best crab cakes I've ever put in my mouth...that honor would have to be reserved for a little waterside diner at Good Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. But that's another story....) I discovered them by accident on this week's trip to north Texas and I don't think I'll ever get tired of them. 'Course with my luck they're probably a "For a Limited Time Only" promo and I'll be left longing the rest of my life.

    For those of you who've been taking bets, no, we don't have a second piano. Yet. Although for most of the week we had a facsimile.

    You may remember that early in the year I bought a new Bible, an ESV Study Bible that I returned within 24 hours after deciding I did not want to have to buy a wheel barrow to transport it in. The thing was humongous. I still haven't replaced it, but have since decided to stick with my beloved NASB and forego the study Bible versions in favor of a wide-margin edition. I love taking long notes and outlines in the margins and I have plenty of study helps in other places. So right now this is the one I'm considering, even though size-wise it's not too much different than the big one. It's slightly thinner (1.7 vs. a full 2 inches) but much more supple and supposedly easier to handle, with the benefit of nice wide margins to make lists, outlines, and observations.

    Many of you have asked about my mother...all I can say is that each time I visit I think I won't be shocked any more at how quickly she is sliding, and each time I'm still shocked. There is so little left of the woman we knew. She still knows us and can converse, sometimes quite deeply, but she doesn't move except to go to the bathroom and that process takes half an hour. At times she seems to have accepted her condition with grace; other times it's apparent that she has a clear streak of bitterness because of what's happening to her and even toward those who are trying so hard to help her. Needless to say, that causes me great sorrow and frustration.

    Tomorrow begins the last month of the first half of '09. Why does that seem so unbelievable to me?

    Next on my list of changes/upgrades to Granny's House: a gas range. It's something I've wanted for years and years, and we're just now getting around to really doing something about it. First up is getting a plumber to estimate what it will cost us to bring the gas into the house...that will let me know if the job is feasible. One of my dad's favorite sayings was always, "Now you're cookin' with gas!" I hope to make that a reality shortly :-)

    Two weekends ago all of our family piano and voice students had their spring recitals. This weekend we were treated to the last recital of the season, grandson David. David is learning to play the violin, taught by our sweet friend Julie (seated at right in the photo). Julie hosted a lovely recital in her home, and we were so proud of David as he participated in what we hope is just the first of many such events!

    We're all missin' The Papa this week...good thing I've got lots of strong young men to take care of me in his absence. It's very comforting to have wonderful sons-in-law and grown sons around!

    And speaking of grown--on Tuesday, Nathan, our eldest son, will turn 21. The chubby little guy with the round face, big smile, and drool all down his front has somehow turned into a handsome, charming, capable man with a great voice and an even bigger smile. And he can reach the high stuff in the pantry! Happy Birthday, Nate!

    Snip, snip, that's all folks!

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    has spoken at 3:40 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, May 30, 2009
    This week I made a rather unexpected trip to see my mother and my mother-in-law, returning yesterday. Didn't have reliable (or fast) internet service where I was staying, hence my absence again for a few days. But I'm back and ready for a busy week of work, housework, school planning, and all the little projects that seem to wait until summer. Okay, late spring once we're finished with schoolwork, recitals and end-of-year events.

    I had planned to have a lot to say during the week about the president's nominee for the Supreme Court, but all I have time to say right now is that this is the main reason I spent so much energy encouraging people to get out and vote. We can, though I don't think we will, oust the president in four years. This woman will leave her "empathetic" mark and her "Latina wisdom" (her words) on the shape of our nation for perhaps ten times longer.

    "Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see."

    "I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage."

    "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

    ~~Sonia Sotomayor

    Sound like your idea of an acceptable Supreme Court justice, one who could be on the bench during most of your children's lives?

    God, help us.


    has spoken at 9:57 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009
    Sometimes, I can't help but be amused by my own quirks. This is our first week of no school (except for today's biology finals and some ongoing work that a couple of the kids will have in math), and as much as I've looked forward to the break, today my thoughts are almost 100% on next year! What subjects, what venues, what curricula, what schedule. Yes, a lot of it has already been planned, but today I seem to be obsessed with getting the last pieces in place, even though this is supposed to be what I set my summers aside for!

    I often wonder what I will do with my time after our final five years of homeschooling are all in the rear-view mirror. Not in the sense of, "Oh, whatever will I do with myself?" but simple curiosity at what my days and my summers will look like. I have more interests and more to learn and more places I want to travel than I can possibly cram into my remaining 50 years (Hey--it could happen!), so I don't fear boredom as much as I fear being overwhelmed with possibilities. There comes a time when you greet the awareness that every activity you choose means something else you don't. Economists refer to this as "opportunity cost" and it's a concept that we don't seem to assimilate experientially until halfway through life, when we realize that we likely have less life in front of us than behind.

    The truth is that my life could be over tomorrow, and I could have already given up the opportunities that I hope still await me. Every hour I've idled away might have stolen the last chance I had to serve my children or read a great book or write down my life story for those who come behind me. I hope those opportunities are still ahead, but I have no guarantee.

    The nice thing about being past fifty, at least for me, is that I am tending to live each day more intentionally. Oh, I still waste time...but I'm much more aware of it, and much more determined to make the hours count. Today I had an hour-long conversation with a hurting mom, a call I took from a hot car. I don't know if anything I said will make any difference for this family, but I do know that I will never regret how I spent that 1/24th of my day. My prayer tonight is that I can be increasingly sure in the next year that I won't regret any hour I spend, whether in learning or in service or in creating or just observing something beautiful.

    May I come to the end of my life with no more regrets than I have today.

    So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

    ~~Psalm 90:12

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    has spoken at 9:58 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, May 24, 2009
    Sunday snippets...

    We have just come to the end of our 24th year of homeschooling. I'm glad for a good, if CRAZY, year. Our kids have accomplished so much, and it's years like this that make me feel successful, even when the successes aren't mine. I've been resisting doing much planning for next year...I'm sort of in denial that it will be Shelley's last year and then I'll have only a small school of two high school boys left. Where have the years gone?

    My absence lately is partly explained by a week of the flu. I've been asked several times if it was the swine flu, and I'm not sure but have decided we'll go with Piglet Flu. Is there a vaccine for that?

    Six weeks until vacation. We continue the planning and looking forward to being all together in the mountains of New Mexico and celebrating the 30th anniversary and renewal of vows of John's older brother and his wife. How cool will it be to do that after riding the ski lift to the top of the mountain?!

    I never tire of Chopin. Never.

    Tomorrow we will get the fleeting pleasure of a quick visit with my nephew and his family. Chris is returning from another stint overseas and he and the family will be here for a few hours before parting again. Yep, we'll get to spend Memorial Day with a real, live service member, as well as honoring the service of The Papa and others. And I can taste the bratwurst now...

    It's very hard to explain "indigo" to a 6 year old granddaughter sitting beside you in church trying to draw an anatomically correct rainbow :-)

    Some things this spring give us heavy hearts. Neither of our mothers are doing well, and we see each growing more fragile. John's mother, always vigorous and strong until November of last year, has been experiencing excruciating back and leg pain and has spent most of the past months in bed. She had surgery last week and now it appears that it was unsuccessful. My mother, still frail from Parkinsons, had a knee replacement a couple of months ago, after which she fractured the bone above the replacement. That was repaired surgically and she finally came home last week and 24 hours later she fell and may have refractured her leg. She will have to wait until Tuesday for an xray but in the meantime is in a lot of pain and is unable to get in and out of a chair by herself. Both women know the Lord and rely on Him for what they need to get through the day, but it's a sad reminder to us of how short our time with them may be...

    Okay, one more time, remind me WHY we would want Nancy Pelosi to resign?

    I finished up a Teaching Company course on the history of mathematics last week and started a new one on linguistics, taught by John McWhorter. I reviewed one of his books a while back (The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language) and am thoroughly enjoying watching him teach this course on DVD. I've just ordered another one of their courses on the Dutch masters of painting. So much to learn...

    And after a short break from actual books, I've picked up New Mercies by Sandra Dallas.

    The current dilemma at Granny's House: the girls want a second piano in the house. No, folks, a piano and an organ in one small living room isn't enough...we need another piano so they can play their duets and practice music for church without sitting beside each other on one bench. I've told them that means we'd have to get rid of the couch, and they looked at me like, "So?" Stay tuned.

    Well, I'm off to have coffee with a friend and hoping the thunder I'm hearing in the distance doesn't mean I'll be spending the night at Starbucks. Have a wonderful week, friends and family!

    (Happy Birthday, Julie C.!)

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    has spoken at 3:40 PM
    9 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, May 23, 2009

    Please go read Mark Steyn this morning. He is not only a delightfully creative writer, he's a prescient observer of the creeping tragedy engulfing us. Someday, people will read Steyn as we now read inside observers of the fall of Rome, and they'll wonder why no one listened...

    Statism the only thing being stimulated

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    has spoken at 11:05 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, May 21, 2009

    Each year our homeschool support group sets aside one monthly meeting to do a curriculum review. We share new stuff, what's working and what isn't, ask and answer questions of current and former users, and generally just mix it up in all the different subject areas.

    And each year, it seems, something seems to stand out. One year we had a lot of families switch over to Tapestry of Grace; another year Math U See was the star. This year, an unlikely book took top honors, judging from the traffic on our loop about it and the wild city-wide scamper to collect all extant copies. So I thought I'd do a little review here at Granny's House and share the enthusiasm.

    At our meeting last month, Aubrey shared a book they've been using, The Christian Almanac by George Grant and Gregory Wilbur. We passed it around and once the moms got their hands on it they were hooked and didn't want to let go! This is a pretty hefty softcover volume containing a two-page spread for each day of the year and a comprehensive index, all amounting to over 800 pages. I thought I'd give you a taste of the kinds of things it contains by opening my (new, $2.00 from Half-Price Books, thanks to Hollie C.!) copy to today's date and sharing what I found:

    May 21

    If you're using the Almanac as a guide to reading through the Bible in a year, the appropriate passages are listed. Today it's 1 Chronicles 3-5; John 8:1-20.

    Next on the first of the two-page spread is a five-paragraph article describing some of the evidence for the arrival of Irish monks in the New World less than six hundred years after Christ and hundreds of years before even the first visitors from the Viking world reached North America. The article ends with this note:

    ...on this day in 1818 a coin was found near the Elk River where the town of Fayetteville, Tennessee, now stands. The coin was engraved with the words "Antonius Augustus Pius, Princeps Pontifex Tertio Consule" on one side, and "Aurelius Caesar" on the other. Scholars believe the coin was issued sometime in the middle of the second century from Roman-occupied Wales. It is possible that some later explorers dropped the coin at Elk River--but it is more likely that the world of intiquity has far more mysteries yet to be unraveled than we may be prepared to admit.

    The second page of the spread begins with a quote, today on from Theodore Roosevelt:

    We must diligently strive to make our young men decent, God-fearing, law-abiding, honor-loving, justice-doing, and also fearless and strong, able to hold their own in the burly-burly of the world's work, able to strive mightily that the forces of right may be in the end triumphant. And we must be ever vigilant in so telling them.

    The remainder of the page is devoted to snippets of "today in history" entries. Today's include the 1471 birth of Albrecht Durer, the most famous artist of the German Reformation, along with a note about his understanding of geometry and mathematical proportions and how these contibuted to his art; the conversion of Charles Wesley in 1738; and the organization of the American Red Cross by Clara Barton in 1881.

    The Christian Almanac can be used for personal reading, but I can see it being hugely valuable as a springboard for family discussions on such wide-ranging topics as law, medicine, U.S. and world history, church history, mathematics and science, the arts, theology, government, and literature.

    The Almanac is available on, but before you order it, call up your local Half-Price Books and ask if they have a copy. Our gals found several stores in our city carrying multiple copies, and they bought 'em by the stacks!

    The Christian Almanac: A Book Of Days Celebrating History's Most Significant People & Events

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    has spoken at 7:00 PM
    6 Backtalks to Granny

    I am so tired of hearing Obama & Co. telling us, as recently as this morning, that we can rest easy about bringing the terrorists from Guantanamo onto American soil because "no one has ever escaped from a Supermax facility" in the U. S.

    Since when is the escaping of a few lone criminals our biggest concern? We're not talking about an ax murderer, folks. We're dealing with 240 men who have a sophisticated worldwide network behind them, a network that we will encourage to our shores in the blink of an eye if we "dare" to hold the prisoners here, Supermax or not. They may not be able to break out, but would you feel safe if you lived within bombing distance of the prison, wondering who'd be trying to break IN? And even if Al Qaeda doesn't think their chances of breaking their compatriots loose is all that good, do we really think that they wouldn't be jumping at the chance to punish all those who live in a state where they're imprisoned? If we're concerned about safety, let's focus on the REAL issues.

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    has spoken at 12:54 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Atlas Shrugged watch...

    Ayn Rand saw it coming:

    The wise and powerful wizard Obama, having loaned taxpayer money to Detroit to "bail them out" -- thus avoiding simple bankruptcy, where the firms might have shed their overly costly union contracts and emerged to renewed profitability -- now simply decrees what kind of cars Detroit will make. He might as well just put Howard Waxman, Charlie Rangel and Barney Frank in the executive offices at the Big Three, in fedoras and double-breasted striped zoot suits like Ayn Rand's Wesley Mouch, Cuffy Meigs, and Emma Chalmers, and have done with it.

    Is this the same Barack Obama who said, late last month, with mock humility, "I don't want to run auto companies. ... I don't know how to create an affordable, well-designed plug-in hybrid"?

    The chutzpah here, the arrogance, is astounding. Does this man really believe he has the whole nation hypnotized -- that he can say one thing while doing just the opposite?

    Well, yes, actually he not only believes it, he does have the nation hypnotized. Not all of us, of course, but enough that with a Democrat Senate and House he can bludgeon those who aren't hypnotized.

    Last night The Papa proposed that we buy another family-sized vehicle before they become unavailable. But even that might not be enough to protect us from Obama:

    We might be willing to bet that Americans will start to hold onto their powerful "old" vehicles, spending more to fix them up rather than falling for "tax credit" gimmicks to trade them in for dangerous little golf carts into which Obama and his bi-coastal elite want to see us squeezed.

    Obama and congressional Democrats will fight any such resistance to their schemes by raising fuel taxes to artificially increase the price of gasoline. If that doesn't work, they'll try to outlaw the older, better performing vehicles, outright.

    The takeover of our economy continues at a dizzying pace...and don't think that once accomplished it will be easily undone by a new election. These things are almost never walked back.

    Where is our John Galt?

    Banning the pickup truck: Barack Obama now running the automobile industry

    By the way...who do YOU want to be?

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    has spoken at 9:12 AM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009
    Texas Cake UPDATE
    Slightly less than 24 hours after it came out of the oven, we have two small (non-fattening) slivers left. And that's with no company, and two adult family members out of town. Wow. Next time I'm putting the pecans in.

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    has spoken at 10:06 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Close the blinds!

    This would be funny if it weren't so scary!

    BELLEVUE, Wash. (AP) - Fire officials in Washington state said a sunny day and a dog's glass water bowl combined to cause a blaze that charred the back of a home. Bellevue Fire Department Lt. Eric Keenan said investigators determined the glass bowl of water focused sunlight enough to act like a magnifying glass and start the fire on the home's wood deck Sunday.

    Kind of sounds like a homeschool science experiment gone wrong ;-)


    has spoken at 6:09 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, May 18, 2009
    Hey--you can DO that???

    Man calls 911 over 28-year-old son's messy bedroom

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    has spoken at 11:38 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Texas Cake
    I had a few requests for/questions about the Texas Cake I mentioned last week. This recipe goes under many names and has several variations, but for our money it's the best chocolate cake ever and so that MUST mean it's TEXAS Cake :-) Here's our version:

    Texas Cake


    2 cups sugar
    2 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup butter
    1/2 cup shortening
    1 cup water
    4 tablespoons cocoa
    1/2 cup sour milk* or buttermilk
    2 eggs
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon baking soda


    1/2 cup butter
    4 tablespoon cocoa or 1 1/2 unsweetened chocolate squares
    1/3 cup milk
    1 box (1 lb) powdered sugar
    1 cup pecans, chopped (opt.)
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla

    Cake: In large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, and 1/2 t. salt. Set aside.

    In small saucepan, bring to boil the butter, shortening, water, and cocoa. Pour over flour and sugar mixture. Add sour milk (or buttermilk), eggs, vanilla, and baking soda. Mix well.

    Pour into greased jelly-roll style cookie sheet or 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 400 for 20-25 min. for sheet or approx. 30 min. for 13 x 9.

    Frosting: About 5 minutes before cake is done, bring to boil the butter, cocoa, and milk. Remove from heat and add the powdered sugar, nuts, and vanilla. Beat well.

    Spread frosting on cake while still warm.

    In true Warren style we prefer to eat this cake cold, so we refrigerate it as soon as we can. And we often double this recipe and bake it in our giant Wilton sheet cake pan.

    *To sour milk, add 1 t. lemon juice to 1/2 cup milk and let sit at room temperature for 20 min.


    has spoken at 3:09 PM
    19 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009
    Atlas Shrugged watch...

    The rule of law, not of men -- an ideal tracing back to the ancient Greeks and well-known to our Founding Fathers -- is the animating principle of the American experiment. While the rest of the world in 1787 was governed by the whims of kings and dukes, the U.S. Constitution was established to circumscribe arbitrary government power. It would do so by establishing clear rules, equally applied to the powerful and the weak.

    Fleecing lenders to pay off politically powerful interests, or governmental threats to reputation and business from a failure to toe a political line? We might expect this behavior from a Hugo Chávez. But it would never happen here, right?

    Wait...can you spell C-H-R-Y-S-L-E-R?

    Chrysler and the Rule of Law

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    has spoken at 11:36 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    I'm still here...busy week with the end of school and recitals and company, etc. Things are buzzing at Granny's as we prepare for a summer of activity and changes, all while gritting our teeth through the already oppressive heat. Nevertheless, we've been cooking up a lot of favorites: Texas Cake, homemade cinnamon bread, apple crisp to die for, bread pudding (which is definitely better made with homemade cinnamon bread!)...and last night The Papa treated us all to a comfort supper of blueberry pancakes and bacon. Mmmm...

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    has spoken at 11:24 AM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, May 09, 2009
    If the president says it, that makes it true, right?
    Last month The Papa and I refinanced our mortgage for the second time in 18 months, taking advantage of the lowest interest rates in years to shave a few dollars a month from our house payment. Well, okay, around $250 a month, although with the commensurate rise in our real estate taxes we're only enjoying about half that savings.

    But NOW--we find out that what we really got when we THOUGHT we were just refinancing was a TAX CUT, courtesy of Barack Obama!

    Obama said at his third press conference last month that the housing plan his administration has launched has "already contributed to a spike in the number of homeowners who are refinancing their mortgages, which is the equivalent of another tax cut." [emphasis mine]

    Who knew??

    Analysts, however, don't agree. The overall tax burden goes UP, even as interest costs go down, so any savings we get certainly can't be attributed to Mr. Obama's generosity or economic prowess:

    Mark Steber, vice president of tax resources at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service said, "While generally there is no tax advantage to refinancing at a lower rate, an individual can save on the total out of pocket costs each year over the life of the loan.

    "Though a tax bill will actually increase after refinancing, the increase in taxes may be less than half of the total difference in interest paid, so the taxpayer may save more money than their taxes increase, therefore resulting in net savings." [emphasis mine]

    I guess we didn't reap the full advantage, though, as we could have:

    Obama urged families to refinance at a photo-op in early April.

    We missed the memo and didn't have a camera crew cover our signing.

    (Misplaced modifier smile for you grammar junkies.)

    Obama Equates Mortgage Refinancing With Tax Cut

    (Oh, and for those of you in my area thinking about refinancing, please give Dan at Legacy Mutual a call and tell him we sent you. He is THE best.)

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    has spoken at 11:18 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, May 08, 2009
    I've had a vision...

    ...and it includes my complete refusal to pay utterly insane prices for eyeglasses and frames ever again.

    Why did this take me so long? I'm embarrassed about how long I've willingly subsidized the scammers who take my insurance company's money and then my money on top of that to give me the same product I can have for a fraction of the cost by buying online.

    Does that shock you?

    Hey, it shocked me, too, the first time my son mentioned the possibility. Because yes, I've been brainwashed by the same demons that had my mom believing during the 50's and 60's that if you didn't buy your kids' shoes at the place that takes 22 measurements and an xray before fitting, you'd be deforming their little feet for life. Now we don't think twice about buying kids' shoes at Wal-mart. Well, until they get old enough to care what their friends think.

    So now it's high time to smash the sacred cow (read: scam) of glasses.

    Background: Our eye insurance plan pays $105 toward frames. One pair a year. Normally the frames I or the kids would choose run right around $200 in the optometrist's office, or even at Target or Pearle Vision. So our portion is around $100. By the time we pay for the lenses and the bifocals and all the extras they say I HAVE to have to avoid the likelihood of getting eye cancer or having my glasses run over by a speeding locomotive, I'm writing a check for $225. And that's on top of what they're getting from my insurance company.

    Who knew you could submit your prescription, choose your frames and options and get them shipped straight to your house from an online eyeglass lab? And for just a sliver of the cost? Certainly not me, the Stride-Rite girl! But when my son came in and told me about an online company that his friends have been using and are very happy with, I did a little investigating and found that thousands of customers have been happy with this company (and several other similar companies). So I overcame my squeamishness and ordered myself a pair, using the prescription from my latest eye exam. I figured that if mine turned out okay, I'd then place a mass order for all my kids who also need glasses. But I wasn't expecting much.

    After all...really I just wasn't paying enough. My order, for the frames I really wanted, the lenses, bifocals (which was a 17.95 charge by itself), a little clip-on sunshade, a case, AND shipping, came to.....are you ready?.......$35.85. TOTAL. Do you realize, then, that without the bifocals it would have been just half that?

    Well, I've resisted the urge to get on here and brag about my discovery until today, just in case I put them on and thought I was underwater or something. But today, my glasses arrived. And they are great! They are just what I would have expected for $225 or more, and both the distance and the reading portions are perfect!

    The downside is that you have to wait about three weeks from the day your order until they hit your mailbox. Now, someone from the optometrist lobby will probably hop on here and claim that there's something dangerous about this, or whine about who will I get to adjust the earpieces and let me look in the mirror to make sure they're just right. But they'll die out as surely as the children's shoe charlatans did once people realize they don't want to pay $200 for fast service or for someone to bend the earpieces!

    Hey, if you have one ear that's an inch higher than another or if you have an eye disease, you might want to stick with the eyeglass racket shop. But otherwise, do yourself a favor and at least TRY the online option. Let's strike a blow for sanity and put these places out of business if they can't do without a 10,000% markup.

    Just make sure that when you get your eye exam you get a copy of your prescription. They'd really rather keep it with them so you'll have to come back and get your glasses there, so you might need to ask. But you've paid for that prescription, and they have to give you a copy. If you've left without it, as we did, call and tell them you're coming in to pick it up so you can have a copy for your records or whatever. It's yours.

    Even though they haven't asked me to, I'm going to put in a plug for the company I used, Zenni Optical, but I have no evidence that they're any better than their competitors online. I'll just say I was very happy with my experience and plan to order several more pairs. Maybe one in every color. Give it a look. You'll be amazed at the thousands of choices in frames and options. Most of all, you'll love the price.

    Now if I can just manage to find my root canals online.

    hat tip: Nathan :-)


    has spoken at 8:34 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Atlas Shrugged watch...

    Washington always has been a thermonuclear cliché generator. But the Obama administration, with all its super-smarts, has taken the exploitation of the euphemism to spectacular new heights.

    A brief listing here:

    The Obama Lexicon

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    has spoken at 6:42 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Thursday, May 07, 2009
    And underscoring Hanson's point....
    Free cars for the poor

    Rats. We live in the wrong state.

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    has spoken at 9:28 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    "Let me 'splain...

    No. There is too much. Let me sum up."

    Rather, let Victor Davis Hanson sum up:

    Today's Americans inherited the wealthiest nation in history - but only because earlier generations learned how to feed, fuel, finance and defend themselves in ways unrivaled elsewhere.

    Lately we have forgotten that and instead seem to expect others to do for us what we used to do ourselves.

    Take our plentiful, cheap and safe food supply. Long ago, Americans struggled to create farmland out of swamp, forests and deserts, and built dams and canals for irrigation to make possible the world's most diverse and inexpensive agriculture.

    Now in California - the nation's richest farm state - the population is skyrocketing toward 40 million. Yet hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland this year are going out of production, and with them thousands of jobs.

    Why? In times of chronic water shortages, environmentalists have sued to stop irrigation deliveries in order to save threatened two-inch-long delta fish that need infusions of fresh water diverted from agricultural use. And for both environmental and financial reasons, we long ago stopped building canals and dams in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to find sources of replacement irrigation water.

    So farmers are asked to produce more food for more people in a desert climate with less water - while environmentalists dream of returning to a pristine 19th-century sparsely populated California of smelt and salmon in their inland rivers. But the end result will be more imported food from less environmentally sound farms abroad.

    And there's more--the outsourcing of our energy supply by the squeamish. Read the rest of Hanson's "summing up."

    Our Have-It-Both-Ways Generation

    quote courtesy of Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride


    has spoken at 7:49 AM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, May 06, 2009
    Here She Comes...

    ...Miss Beautiful Morals!

    Yes, foks, coming to a city near you, the pageant for the rest of us. Well, at least for those of us who wear a veil and want to compete in how well we obey our parents!

    Pageant hopefuls will also spend a day at a country house with their mothers, where they will be observed by female judges and graded on how they interact with their mothers, al-Mubarak said. Since the pageant is not televised and no men are involved, contestants can take off the veils and black figure-hiding abayas they always wear in public.

    One of the contestants says:

    "I will be proud to show everyone that I competed with the others over my devotion to my parents," the 24-year-old said.

    I'm signin' my girls up.


    has spoken at 5:23 PM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Tuesday, May 05, 2009

    Every year or two,
    nostalgia for our years in Hawaii overtakes us and we close our eyes and pretend. Tonight was one of those occasions...I made our favorite Curried Chicken Salad served in half a papaya, accompanied by croissants and spears of pineapple and mango. Weather in the mid-80s and breezy made it the perfect evening to eat on the deck, listening to the strains of Keali'i Reichel and sipping our iced tea long after the food was gone. Oh, how we wish that a trip to the islands was as inexpensive as papaya...

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    has spoken at 8:54 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, May 04, 2009
    When Dem meets NIMBY

    WASHINGTON (AP) - House Democrats are refusing to pay for President Barack Obama's plan to relocate prisoners from the Guantanamo detention facility where enemy combatants are being held.

    Read here if you can't already guess why DEMS wouldn't want to close Gitmo:

    Democrats drop funds to close Gitmo


    has spoken at 3:21 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Corporal punishment may be on its last legs in public life, but it's not dead yet:

    The wooden paddle on principal David Nixon's desk is two feet long, with a handle wrapped in duct tape that has been worn down by age and use. He found it in a dusty cabinet in his predecessor's office at John C. Calhoun Elementary in Calhoun Hills, S.C., where Nixon has been the principal since 2006. He has no idea if the old principal ever used it, but now it sits in plain view for all visitors to see, including children who have been dismissed to his office. As punishment for a "major offense," such as fighting or stealing, students are told to place both hands on the seat of a leather chair and brace for what Nixon calls "a whippin'." Before he begins, though, he sits the child down for a quiet talk about why he, or she, is in trouble. He tries to determine if a deeper issue, such as a problem at home, might warrant a meeting with a counselor. If the child shows remorse, Nixon will often send him or her back to class without a spanking. Otherwise, he makes sure he is calm, and he makes sure his elbow is still. Then he delivers "three licks" to the child's rear end. If the child is a girl, then a female administrator does it. Some of the kids cry. Some are silent. Some want a hug. And after the child is sent back to class, still stinging, Nixon sits alone in his office and thinks about what the child has done, and what he has done. "If I could burn that paddle in my stove," Nixon says, "I would. This is the worst part of my job."

    But whaddaya know, this approach really is yielding lasting results:

    They're no longer seeing much of it anymore at John C. According to Nixon, the last time he paddled a student was more than a month ago: March 16, after a fourth-grader swore in the cafeteria. Corporal punishment, it would seem, has worked so well at John C that perhaps the need for it no longer exists. Given Nixon's ambivalence toward the practice—indeed, he would not even allow NEWSWEEK to photograph the paddle—could it be that he's already delivered his last whipping? "I hope so," he says. But he quickly adds that there will always be "new kids who need to learn the limits at school." And one way or another, Nixon will make sure they get the message.

    [emphasis mine]

    Of course, liberal educators and psychologists are going to claim that this principal (as well as a parent who uses corporal punishment) is only keeping the kids in line out of fear. They ignore the possibility that while any normal child would be afraid of being paddled, he or she is also building good habits and self-discipline during the time he's actively trying to avoid a spanking, proving to himself and others that he is capable of controlling himself. This is one of the reasons that the need for corporal punishment decreases as the certainty of its application increases--children are learning good habits while they are still in fear of punishment, and this self-discipline extends way beyond the time they're afraid of the principal's office. Some kids never find out that they really are capable of self-control because there's never a good reason to be IN control of themselves.

    Perhaps some parents will read this and decide to follow the example of a public school principal.

    The Principal And The Paddle

    hat tip: Joanna

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    has spoken at 10:00 AM
    7 Backtalks to Granny

    Atlas Shrugged watch...
    Another tactic right out of the novel...suppose Obama & Co. are using Atlas as a playbook?

    The Obama administration threatened to use the White House press corps to besmirch the reputation of one of the financial firms that holds Chrysler debt, according to a prominent New York bankruptcy lawyer.

    If true, the explosive charge shows that the White House was willing to go much further than is widely known to have its way in the attempt to restructure the Detriot automaker.

    "One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight...That was Perella Weinberg," Tom Lauria, the head of the bankrutpcy department for top New York City lawfirm White & Case, told a WJR 760 radio host.

    Perella Weinberg had been one of the firms that was resisting the Obama administration's plans for restructuring, alongside Stairway Capital and Oppenheimer Funds. The group had argued that their position as senior creditors gave them legal rights to be paid in full before junior creditors were paid. They had put forth a counter-offer under which they would have received far less than the face-value of the debt they held, but more than the Obama adminstration had proposed. This compromise deal was rejected by the administration, and the holdouts were characterized by the president himself as unwilling to make sacrifices for the common good. [emphasis mine]

    Here we go....and if you aren't reading Atlas Shrugged, you're missing out on advance knowledge of where we (and our children) are headed.

    White House "Directly Threatened" Perella Weinberg
    Over Chrysler

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    has spoken at 8:15 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, May 03, 2009
    Sunday snippets...

    Human nature is a funny thing. Have you been slightly amused at all the face masks lately? Supposedly, they could help protect you against airborne swine flu, as well as the common cold and the other evils, known and unknown, lurking in your next puff of air. Never mind that your chances of catching H1N1 from the air are miniscule compared to catching it from a public restroom faucet and that frequent handwashing is WAY more effective than wearing a paper mask. When faced with a large scale panic situation, human nature would much rather start doing something it hasn't been doing before (masks) than to just increase the frequency of something it's presumably already been doing (washing hands.)

    At least if we have to worry about swine flu, can we look forward to lower pork prices? (Said while polishing off a bowl of navy bean and ham soup.)

    I am incredibly proud of all the HOPE kids. Our Almost Annual Show and Tell Day on Saturday was our best ever, with contributions of poetry, Latin and Greek recitations; piano, harp, and wind instruments; vocal solos; displays of school work and entrepreneurship; and a costumed, expertly presented rendition of the classic Battle of Wits from Princess Bride, every family's favorite movie. Okay, our family's fave.

    Someone has lost my camera. I feel partially blind when I can't capture the fleeting moments and projects in progress. Hmmm....what to do.

    I'm in the middle of reading Led by Faith by Immaculee Ilibagiza. This book is the sequel to her first Left to Tell, the account of her "skin of her teeth" survival of the Rwandan genocide. Once you've read the first one, there's no doubt in your mind that you'll read the second, painful as it is....

    Ahhhhhh.....Rachmaninoff. Yes.

    I have a HUGE bag of Swiss chard that was graciously given to me by a HOPE friend this week. I am convinced that there must be a fabulous way to prepare this beautiful, nutritious vegetable, and I'm determined to find it. This is one of those foods that I associate with pain, namely the pain of having to eat it fresh from my grandmother's garden, boiled in salt water. I grew up thinking that the folks in Switzerland must be very, very warped. But I will not let this gift go to waste...I am GOING to find a great way to cook it!

    There's a very busy week ahead, but I simply must buckle down and get next year's school planned. This will be Shelley's senior year, and I think I've been putting it off because I can't bear to think about it being her last.'s an important year and I need to do my very best at piecing together the combination of studies that will serve her well as she begins the process of applying to colleges.

    Well...that's all, folks. May our Father grant you a productive, meaningful week with your families...

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    has spoken at 7:41 PM
    5 Backtalks to Granny

    Saturday, May 02, 2009
    Nice reminders from the Desiring God blog:

    7 Ideas for Teaching Toddlers God's Word

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    has spoken at 11:22 PM
    0 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, May 01, 2009
    Quick, where's my copy of the Constitution....

    Okay, got it........Wait, now what page was this on again...?

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The political football that is the Bowl Championship Series lands in Congress this week as lawmakers examine whether the system for awarding a national championship is fair.

    BCS coordinator John Swofford is among the witnesses invited to Friday's hearing.

    Several lawmakers are pushing bills on the BCS. Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, for example, has sponsored legislation that would prevent the NCAA from calling a college football game a "national championship" unless it results from a playoff system.

    Barton is the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee; Friday's hearing will be held in that committee's commerce, trade and consumer protection subcommittee.

    Good thing we live in Texas. Our own (Republican) congressman is on top of this, protecting our freedoms:

    Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas said Friday that efforts to tinker with the BCS are bound to fail. He told a House hearing that the BCS is like communism and can't be fixed.

    He's kidding, right? Please tell me this is all a baaaaaad dreeeeeeeeeam...............

    House subcommittee to hold hearing on BCS

    Labels: ,

    has spoken at 10:56 AM
    4 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
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    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!"