May 2008


My son is learning things
without me.

For a homeschool mom, this
can be an emotionally challenging idea to cope with.  For 20 years, we’ve been together and
advanced together, but now he’s doing the life-changers on his own.  And I cannot go there. 

Surely homeschool mothers
have so many more milestones of letting go than those who send their children
off to public school.  I am so grateful
that these happen one by one, to help ease the pain.

Meanwhile, I’ll become an
armchair tourist, which is the best I can do.

Identifying marble from various parts of the world, to learn how far away the ancients traded.


Walking the streets of Sidi Bou Said, in Tunis

The evening place for tea


A Muslim cemetery with the Mediterranean beyond

Perhaps some learning experiences I won’t miss



I used to call my brother Burnhead.  Burnt
for short.  Or I did till he got married,
and for some reason, his wife didn’t appreciate it very much.

I don’t remember how that
nickname came about, although since his real name is Brent, it’s possible that
Burnt came from a morphing of that name.

It could also be because he
once rubbed the head of my brand-new Ken doll against the rough wall of the
living room.  It took off all of Ken’s
nice hair.  We had to use a magic marker to
help repair the damage, but the head always looked burned after that.

Isn’t it odd about
nicknames?  These are really called
“hypocoristics” or “pet names” (according to Wikipedia) because they’re used
between people with a close emotional bond.

The Old Days seemed to have
more nicknames than nowadays.  When I was
growing up, there was a man everyone called Skinny.  There was a Red, a CJ, a JC (CJ’s cousin, of course), a Stretch, and Hap—everybody liked him.

In the third grade, I was
called Scabman.  That was due to my severe and serious run-in
with poison ivy when my parents were clearing out a fencerow and I “loved-up”
the dog a bit too much.

In the sixth grade and
beyond, I was called Porky.  My nose seemed to flare out in a certain way
that caught the attention of some of the boys. 
It WAS done affectionately….

Two of my high school
friends still sometimes call me by the nicknames we had back then.  My friend Chester
calls me Spike, and my friend Johann calls me Alice, which comes from the major role I had in the musical Bye Bye Birdie:  I had 2 whole lines (unless you count the 3rd
 line I spoke when Karen forgot to
get us started on Act 5).

In my own house today, we
have a Bob.  That’s because two-year-old Ben always
answered “Bah-bee” when you asked him what his name was.  When I went to the homeschool convention, I
bought him a shirt with Veggie Tales’ BOB THE TOMATO on it, with words that
said, “Hi, my name is Bob.”

We sent him off to VBS at a
sister church with that shirt, and his teacher, who had never heard of Veggie
Tales (you’re right, they have no television) thought that was his name.  It took years to get THAT straightened out!

The rest of us in this house
decided we needed nicknames too.  So we sat
down and came up with names for ourselves. 
But when you do it that way, it never really sticks.  These names only really get used online or
for computer documents.  I’m afraid
you’ll have to come to my house and rummage through my computer to find out
what THAT one is for me!