Nine things, in honor of Mom.

1. I am legally blind in my left eye. That means I can’t see 3D movies. So far my life has not been tragic because of this.

2. I know how to juggle. But the first thing everyone says is “Can you do four?” If you want to please a juggler, say “Wow!” and leave it at that.

3. My favorite color is blue.

4. I have six children and I have been pregnant for four and a half years. In related news, I have been breastfeeding for ten years, seven months, and counting.

5. My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip.

6. I secretly love Doctor Who fanfic. I ship Doctor/Rose. Some of it would scorch your eyes.

7. I’ve always wanted a border collie. I haven’t gotten one because I figured it would be like having another child. I’m weakening, however.

8. I’m mildly autistic, and fall somewhere around the Asperger range. I often wonder how my school years would have been different if I would have had support.

9. I’m nearly always barefoot.

gleeson is denied

What follows is some long navelgazing about my inability to regulate my internet usage.

I changed my Facebook password a while back. I used a different password schema than I usually use and I traded some letters for numbers, and then I didn’t use it for a month.

I’ve since forgotten it.

I tried to log in last night and I couldn’t. Now, I know I could request it – and I might – but I don’t think I will. I had been checking in on a few folks and looking at my wall, to see if anyone Liked my most recent blog entries. I’m notified by email if anyone actually comments, and I don’t have to log in to read it. So the story is now, if you Like me I won’t know it unless you also comment. Just so you know.

Facebook eats my time. I tried to go back a little bit but the neophilla takes over. I don’t know if that’s actually a word, but what I mean by it is the way Facebook rewards my brain with new drips of information. No good. I am unable to regulate it. I’m also getting rid of friends-only blogs and subbing to everyone in Google Reader. I used GTweet to put Twitter into Google Reader as well. Maybe with only one site to visit I’ll be less likely to get distracted.

I’m interested in so much outside the Internet. I’m attempting to sew (Gloria the Guinea Pig’s leine is almost finished, pictures to follow,) and the fall knitting season is upon me, and we’re high-tide homeschooling daily, and I have so many books to read.

There’s so many wonderful things I don’t want to waste a moment.

Random Shoes, or It Begins

How exciting! I got the first piece of Official SCA Garb today – shoes!

Not authentic in the least! But they Look Okay, and they’re cheap.


Kung Fu shoes. Got a pair for me, for Faith and for Abby. I bought them from Natasha’s Cafe, in hypocritical fashion because we try* not to buy from China. As soon as I know we’re in this for a long haul I’ll make our own shoes or purchase some made domestically. Ahem.

Getting this first burst of garb is an expensive endeavor. The great thing about medieval clothing, however, is that it was made to utilize fabric as efficiently as possible. I’ve found several schematics (not quite patterns) that describe a T tunic by the numbers approach. I have a pretty extensive background in knitting clothing from body measurements, so I’m not afraid to do the same thing with sewn clothes.

I am a little afraid of my sewing machine, which I have never used. It’s a Janome Sew Mini, which I’m told is a nice machine to start with. I hope so! I like how tiny and easy to store it is. I’ll have to put it away every time I’m done sewing, as leaving it out with the kids around is not an option. Insert mental image of Bede sewing Warner Brothers logos into our clothing.

*for certain values of ‘try’, apparently.

Natasha’s Cafe

T-tunic the period way

Janome Sew Mini

getting carried away

I’m getting back into the SCA. That’s the Society for Creative Anachronism,
>*…an international living history group with the aim of studying and recreating mainly Medieval European cultures and their histories before the 17th century.*


Those guys.

I used to be in the SCA as a teen. I have thought about it for a few years but decided against it because the kids were too young. They keep growing up, these kids, so I’m going to take the plunge.

The two things that tipped me over the edge were S.M. Stirling’s novels of The Change – most particularly the first three, Dies the Fire, The Protector’s War and A Meeting at Corvallis – and the plan of study for the Gleeschool this year: the Middle Ages.

So I want things like this (hold the rayon, please)

Linen Fabrics at Dharma Trading Co.

and perhaps a pair of these, with decidedly non-period soles, thanks.

Soft Star Shoes for Grown-Ups

Of course we’ll need some outerwear from this

Denver Fabrics 100% wool

or this

Wool Blankets

The plan is for me, Faith and Abby to get set up first. Then, we can see whether we like it before going all-in as a family. Bede, while very appropriately named for a historical reenactor, is maybe not so much the fan. We’ll see.

I’m glad that the period I’m interested in has nice, simple clothing. I’m leaning toward ninth century Ireland. And at this point that means everyone gets ninth century Ireland.

This is completely insane.

it’s hot, have you noticed?

Another hot one. I hung four loads of laundry. Halfway through I soaked my head in the pool. Here’s what I looked like when I came in.


LOVELY! It made me think of


Bede took my picture. I then spent quite a long time flat on my stomach on the nice cool livingroom floor like a basset hound. They don’t call ’em the dog days for nothing.

Bede also wanted me to take *his* picture, so here it is.


He’s missing three teeth on top. Poor guy! All he wants for Labor Day is his two, er, three front teeth. And a cold front.

still here, still plotting – er, PLANNING

Still gently planning the homeschool year. In fact, I nodded to Luke Holtzmann on Twitter about it: I can see why buying a year’s worth of scheduled readings, with open-ended discussion questions included, all for great, REAL books that are a joy to read… is a heck of a lot easier than doing it all yourself, from scratch.

I didn’t go with Sonlight again for several reasons.

1. *Sonlight is Christian but not Catholic*. Sonlight’s religious materials are Evangelical Protestant in tone and mission, which can be fine – or intolerable. This year, I am focusing on teaching Roman Catholicism to our kids, and I need the materials to support that. In our last Core I used Sonlight’s books and stressed the commonalities that all Trinitarian Christians share. This year, I need more than that. I could have gotten a Core but not the Bible, but the EP overtones are present in many of the other subjects too, notably History, Literature and Science.

2. *Sonlight doesn’t have a Middle Ages Core*. The Middle Ages are covered in Sonlight’s World History Cores, but we wanted more detail. Winter Promise makes a full-year Middle Ages program but they also have the same trouble as reason 1 above.

3. *Sonlight is 36 weeks, and we wanted 45*. We’ll be doing four days a week for 45 weeks. Sonlight has a great four-day option that’s included with every Core but it’s still only 36 weeks.

4. *Sonlight is slightly more expensive*. Honestly, this isn’t much of a reason. I doubt I’ve saved much money. I’ve been able to buy a few things used, and I don’t have the expense of the Instructor’s Guide. Sonlight isn’t raking in the dough. Their Cores are expensive but you get real value for your money.

That’s about it. We will likely return to Sonlight in the future. Their High School Cores are very intriguing, and having everything just In A Box and DONE is worth a lot, let me tell you.

I’ll publish our schedule and booklist when I finish. I’m doing the first 15 weeks, so if we just hate it I won’t have wasted as much time.

this and that

The miserly Internet usage is going well. I have yet to hit the barrier. Idislike the EZ Timer though – the interface is poorly designed, it’s a real pain to configure and worst of all, it intermittently fails to load. I won’t be purchasing it.

I installed TimeTracker on the kids’ machine instead. It requires me to go over and look at the time and then say “Almost out for the day!” versus relying on a program to do that for me, and I guess there’s nothing stopping the kid from flat-out disobeying me and using the computer when I’m asleep or something, but I hope that won’t be a problem. If it is, I guess I’ll deal with it then. By and large my kids do what I ask them to do, you know?

Sean built that fort for the kids in the backyard, wanna see it? Well, you can’t. Because it’s not quite done and he won’t let me take a picture. But soon!

I’m shrinking! I’ve lost five pounds in three weeks! Go, me! I’m using this great plan called “Eating Less Crap You Don’t Really Want Anyway, Tubby” diet. Woo! My BMI was on the verge of overweight, and (more importantly) my waist-hip ratio was over 0.8, putting me at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. I don’t want that. I hear it really sucks. So, less of me! Yay!

Homeschool planning continues apace.

going to eleven

I just downloaded EZ Internet Timer, or something like that. It’s shareware that will lock the internet on a computer after one’s time is up for the day. I set it to two hours. I’m going to use it for a week and see how I do. Then I’m going to put it on the kids’ computer too. Faith, Abaigeal, Gilbert and I will all be on the two-hour (each) internet plan.

I’m writing this blog post in Notepad because I don’t want to use up my browser time with blogging. That means I can’t look stuff up, like the name of the program, or link to its website. That’s different. Also, earlier I was at my folks’ house and I was reluctant to use my time to find a photo that I was going to use for gossip fodder. So that was a plus, I think, right?

It also means that I won’t be idly visiting sites through the day as much. I hope it causes me to avoid sites like Boing Boing and Drudge. They just end up blasting my mind with shiny but cause me stress in the long run, when I realize I have spent the last 30 minutes reading comment threads.

This is the most drastic step I have taken in Internet fasting. I started out with Time Tracker, and it helped but it wasn’t enough. Then i switched to Chrome and let even that minimal reminder go. Gave up message boards (that was such a relief!) Gave up Facebook for Lent, then gave it up entirely. But then replaced it with Twitter. Though Twitter has nothing on Facebook for timesuck, honestly. I think it’s because Twitter, at least through the web interface, is largely my conversations only, whereas Facebook is my conversations and my friends’ conversations.

But all that? Still I was relentlessly clicking refresh. On Livejournal, on Google Reader, on Twitter. And measuring out my life with coffee spoons.

No more, I say!

I have so many things to do in the Real World with Real Things. I want to read more Charlotte Mason – her actual writings, not just what others have written. And I’m falling in love with the Pragmatists again, that uniquely American school of philosophy. Did you guys know I was a philosophy major? Join us and you can make as much as some poets!

So if I want to read those things I have to get the Internets out of my brain. Sustained concentration, I don’t haz it yall. But it will come back!

I am, I can, I ought, I will!

getting medieval

I’m trying to plan the year for our homeschool. We school pretty much year round, which lends us great flexibility. Legally I am required to have 180 days of attendance for all of my children between the ages of five and 18 years, equivalent to about 1000 attended hours in a year. Going all year means we do four hours a day, five days a week. These are not like hour-hours, but are attendance hours, and are better thought of as “lessons.” (In other words, I don’t teach them all for four hours every day. That counts the time they read to themselves or work alone and the time they discuss what they have read or worked on with me.)

It is MUCH easier for me to take attendance with Charlotte Mason than it was when we were unschooling. It always felt like unschooling took so much explaining, especially to the governmental types. For such a simple concept it can be remarkably difficult to understand, if you think children only learn when they are taught.. When we were investigated by DHS, Faith was the only child of school age, and she was five – it’s not difficult to demonstrate unschooled learning in a five-year old. But with older kids, it’s trickier, or it can be.

Since we’re studying the Middle Ages, we’ll be covering about a thousand years, approximately 500 to 1500 AD. Conveniently, Our Island Story and A Child’s History of the World both finish up the Middle Ages at chapter 61! This would be even more convenient if they both started at the same chapter. But… no. A Child’s History of the World starts the Dark Ages at chapter 40, and Our Island Story starts them around chapter 8.

(That’s if you consider the Dark Ages to have started at a different time on the continent than in Britain, which I do. If you don’t think that, then OIS starts it at chapter 12. But I digress.)

259 pages for OIS, 93 for CHOW. So what we’ll do is read two or three chapters of OIS for every one of CHOW. There’s several read-alouds in there too. I think they’ll be for another post, as will our math plan…

Tomorrow, bring a spatula

That’s what Faith just misheard me say. The poor child must be addle-pated.

I’ve been reading The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains. It’s not good. I mean, the book is good – quick read, informative, engaging – but the Internet is not good. Reading it has cemented my feelings that we are changing from mostly-unschoolers to mostly-not. I knew we were moving that way but I was filled with self-doubt because I didn’t want to take away any choices from the children as far as how they wished to spend time. Now that I’m convinced that the Internet is rewiring their brains to suit it I’m convinced that I need to give them a better framework. I’d say we’ve moved fully into Charlotte Mason territory where we had heretofore been only dipping our toes, to mix a metaphor.

Just now, Bede said “Look. Mom. Come and See! Tell it to me on your computer!” and dragged me to his computer, where I was to read what he had typed. (it was a SpongeBob script) and then say “Oooh, cool.” The language was Dalek stilted but, some appropriate pronouns! Shared attention! He’s so awesome.

i have a post planned with the full list of medieval books we’re going to use. But now Gloria is crying! Dearie me.

the clean(er) Internets

I’m sharing my computer with the kids, like I was considering a few weeks ago. That means I have the Procon Latte content filter on here now – it blocks pages with the word “f*ck”.

So some of you guys who be the cussin’ sort might not see me cause I won’t see you unless I go to the trouble to turn it off. Which is, like, 30 seconds of work, man. *Quelle drag*, you know?

Feed, by M.T. Anderson

Just read it – it was mentioned by James Sturm in Offline, his column about giving up the Internet. Or maybe it was Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows. I can’t remember.

The ‘feed’ of the title is the internet feed reader everyone has implanted in their brains in the future. This is relevant to my interests of late in this our Digital Age.

I am favorably impressed and recommend it to anyone who likes speculative fiction in general, YA scifi and dystopia fiction specifically.

I’ll post some of my reactions in the comments so as not to spoil the book.

Feed, by M.T. Anderson

addiction, habit, what-have-you

In my ongoing attempts to scale back my Internet habit I have switched back to Firefox from Google Chrome so I can use the Time Tracker add-on for Firefox. My goal is less than two hours of Internet time a day, which sounds simultaneously decadent and difficult. Decadent because, come on. Two *hours*? When there are people who walk miles a day to get water and wood to cook with? Poor widdle me, wif my two widdle hours! Difficult because, ack! Only two hours!

Time Tracker doesn’t track while you’re idle (mine considers ‘idle’ to be 30 seconds without mouse movement, the default is 60) and can be set to not track particular sites at all (I don’t track Pandora or this blog server, for instance.)

If I can’t do this the next alternative for me is to not have an exclusive computer, and put this one into communal use. I don’t kick the kids off the computer unless I have to look something up like a recipe or a phone number, and I give it right back. The interesting thing about that scenario is the lack of stress involved. I’m much more likely to be jonesing for my computer when it’s MY computer, and not in use unless I’m using it. When I shared a computer with the kids before I got this one I didn’t resent it at all, even though there were days when I didn’t get on. Maybe I should just do that.

Is this all part of the bargaining addicts do rather than quit for real? Probably. But maybe I’m not addicted so much as a heavy user. If I can control my habit, then I’ll know. If I can’t then I’ll deal with it then. Gulp.

Here’s a guy who has asked himself the same questions: Slate columnist James Sturm is halfway through his four-month Internet hiatus. After the first shock it seems to be largely a non-event. Could it be that easy? [Offline: What happened when I gave up the Internet](

is there a doctor in the house

There’s not, you know. Today I called ten doctors and none of them could take us, either because they flat-out don’t take Medicaid or because they aren’t accepting new Medicaid patients. The latter is what really bothers me. The office staff was all pleased to talk to me (and said they were admitting new patients) and then they heard “Medicaid” and BOOM down came the Gates of Discrimination.

The only places we can get in are Resident-O-Matic clinics, where we never see the same doctor twice, the staff is rude and the wait times are thirty to forty-five minutes in the waiting room and as much again in the examining room. If you do luck out and get a doctor you like, she’s gone in a year because she’s done with her residency.

It really makes me mad.

I haven’t checked recently, but a few years ago over half the children born ithat year n Oklahoma were SoonerCare clients. There’s a huge disconnect here, do you see it?

I had an idea for health care. What if all children under 18 got free health care, regardless of income? Just like all children get free education through 12th grade. And just like all adults over 65 get free health care, regardless of income.

Huh? Equalize the playing field a little? Could it work?

My name is feebeeglee and I’m a Facebook addict.

I’ve given up Facebook. When I gave it up for Lent I got so much more done during the day. Coming back to it the last few weeks has shown me that I really can’t moderate it, so I’m cutting it out entirely. I read an article a while back about the addictive nature of Facebook and how each new update primes your brain to seek more, like a hit off a pipe. Yeah, that’s me. So, no more!

But that means I’ll be blogging more! Yay! I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been waffling about photo storage and haven’t wanted to upload pictures. And I feel like endless text is boring. But I’m going to soldier through that and just blog, pictureless, until I decide what to do.

We’re building a new playset with some of our tax refund. Well, by “we” I mean “Sean”. It’s the biggest carpentry project Sean’s ever attempted. It will look a lot like this:

Only with different kids playing on it, you know. I assume. Need to ask Sean.

update of randomness

Last November, I committed to baking all our bread and cookies. Since then, we have saved at least 25% of our former food budget each month! Go, me!

We’re in the other house now. I’ll get pictures sometime.

I’ve downloaded a few books to this netbook, with Kindle for PC. I like it very much with one problem… can’t lend the book! Going to be paper for me from now on. Didn’t Amazon have some deal where you could buy the digital rights for a few bucks extra after buying a paper copy? I might do that sometimes if I Just Couldn’t Wait.

Going to go check on dinner now. Venison, carrots, potatoes and fresh whole wheat bread. NOM.

my best birthday present

was the O’Melays, who were the visiting friends! I didn’t want to out them until they got back to their lovely farm. It was such a delight to finally meet Tabitha who I have known for almost seven years. The kids all got along swimmingly. Tabitha’s children are generally between my kids in age: Tristan is one year younger than Abby, Kassi is nine months older than Gilbert, Toly is nine months younger than Trixie, and Rome is nine months younger than Gloria. This meant that there were multiple playmates for each O’Melay. Tristan flitted between the older girls and Gilbert and Kassi played with Gloria and Faith. Toly and Bede wrestled with each other like puppies, and Rome floated around the edges.

Everyone got a mild cold and stuffy nose but the only one really sidelined by it was Tristan, who spiked a fever too. Poor dude!

Overall the visit was wonderful. They came down so Karl could build a wall in our new garage to partition it off for Sean’s office, and that was accomplished. Karl is amazing. Tabitha and I made food, as previously noted.

I also got other gifts: Sean got me The Complete Sherlock Holmes and Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, both of which are great.

So all told, a Very Happy Birthday!

WLH++, feeding the horde, computer upgrade

Today is Wirt L. Harris’s birthday! Happy birthday, Dad!

My friends are here and have been here since Saturday morning. The house has ten kids and four adults and it is loud and happy! We eat a lot. On Saturday we cooked three dozen eggs, two pounds of sausage, a pound of bacon, two pints of beans and about eight pounds of venison. (Saturday was to feed sixteen people since Sophia nd Josh came too.) Sunday we ate some of the Saturday leftovers and also cooked eighteen eggs, a couple pounds of ham, two five pound chickens and two pounds of broccoli, along with three loaves of bread and twelve dozen cookies. Today we made an enormous pot of venison chili, ate it all, (again, with Sophia and Josh’s help) and finished off three-fourths of the cookies and another thirteen eggs.

I have to make bread tonight so I can bake it in the morning. Yum!

In other news, my birthday is tomorrow and I have my birthday present to myself: hardware and software upgrades for my beloved Dell Mini 9. He (his name is Aristotle) got a new hard drive, new RAM and a new OS! I’ve been accruing these bits and bobs for months and got the last piece of hardware today, an external DVD drive. It was all I was waiting on and now I’m installing Windows 7. I’m very excited!

upcoming visit, a birthday

We have guests coming this weekend. It’s a perfect time to visit because for the next month we have two houses, see, so there’s room! We’re going to build an interior wall to partition off part of the garage and get an idea of what new flooring will be needed.

I’m thrilled to see the folks who are coming. I plan to cook a lot today and tomorrow. I hope my friends don’t mind the mess. It’s a pity they know me so well, I can’t blame it on moving.

In other news, Beatrice Anna snuck in and turned four when nobody was looking. I’ve turned my birthday photographer hat over to my eldest, and she has yet to post the pictures, but when she does I’ll link a few. In the meantime, [you might like to read her birth story]( It was very exciting, in retrospect. The day it happened, it was like a moment caught out of time, and absolutely the most divine of all my births.

Indoctrinating anglophilia

When I was in fifth grade, I switched schools. Someone there asked if I had been born in the UK, because I had a trace of the Queen’s English in my speech. I assure you it was not affected by me, but a natural byproduct of being raised in a home where the only thing on television was PBS, then recycled British children’s shows via 1985 Nickelodeon. The Third Eye, anyone? How about The Tomorrow People? The strongest, quickest and best, Dangermouse. And of course Doctor Who!

Thanks to the wonder of the internet I can continue this tradition with my kids. They are Whovians through and through, and Gilbert and Bede currently love Alphablocks, a CBeebies programme. Enjoy!

By the way

You can sign in with your Facebook ID here. I mean, I don’t see it or anything, it uses Facebook Connect, which is made by Facebook. Anyway. Just sayin. And it should keep you signed in here if you do that.

So all of you who comment on Facebook and not here (Traci Foust, I’m looking at you!) have *no excuse*.

Gilbert Gleeson, Sam Wiggle.

Gilbert’s favorite Wiggle is Sam Wiggle. (He is also partial to Greg.)

So I knit him this Sam Wiggle Sweater, which is to say, a taxicab yellow sweater.


He likes it very much!


Better shot of the actual sweater, vs. the boy in the sweater.


Our eyes are the same color, me and Gil.


Look, two little sisters as well!


Sweater pattern is the raglan from The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, which is just an awesome book to have. The yarn is America’s own Peaches & Crème in Number 10, Yellow.

House pictures

Another day! I’ve been sick the past few days and today I finally felt near human again. I had the worst sore throat ever. It hurt so much to swallow that I whimpered. Ugh! But I am Much Improved.

I have house pictures.

The front:

The hearth:

Side door – you get a sense of the height of the ceiling, here:

The kitchen:

The master bedroom, also with the high ceiling:

Peak Oil!

I’ve been reading these Peak Oil bloggers lately and getting nervous. Tabitha tells me not to read them because I’m already doing everything I should be so why make myself fret, and Sean just mocks them, but I can’t stop! Sigh.

Reading about [Cuba’s Special Period](