Saturday, June 09, 2007

Laundry List

I have a stack of things I've been meaning to blog about for some time now. But instead of devoting an entire post to each topic, I think I'll condense everything into this post. It's all part of my Big Plan to declutter and reorganize my life.

To that end, the first thing I'd like to share is that I've recently discovered The Not So Big House series of books by Sarah Susanka, an architect from Minnesota. Susanka strongly believes that a house should be lived in, designed to accommodate the lifestyle of its inhabitants, and that a bigger house is not necessarily the best way to achieve a comfortable, functional living space. Reading a couple of these books has got me reconsidering some redesign of the rooms in our house--rearranging furniture, creative storage--in ways I've never considered before. I realize now that we only LIVE in about 1/3-1/2 of our available square footage. No wonder I feel cramped at times! So my intent is to focus on the function(s) of each room, and redesign them according to what we really need. To a certain degree, we have done that--our formal dining room is our "library," with the kids' computer, some bookshelves, a big comfy chair and side table. But this needs to extend to the entire house. Badly. Or my brains will leak out of my head. That would be unfortunate, as I am already lacking in several critical brain functions, due to age, children, craziness, children....

Let's see, what else? There's going to be a Browncoat Ball in Philadelphia in September! There have been a few already. Doesn't that sound lovely? I think it would be fun to go one of these years.

In the tradition of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, a theater in Chicago is hosting a midnight showing of "Once More With Feeling," the musical episode from Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Usually, I do my very best to avoid the greater Chicagoland area and would avoid it entirely were it not for my wonderful inlaws. But now here is something else to recommend the city to me. How fun!

I had a very appalling experience yesterday, reading a paper written by a professor of law at Northwestern about why the author believes states have a constitutional mandate to regulate homeschoolers, lest some crazy Christians or some such choose not to teach their daughters to read. Among the more disgusting ideas, the author writes:
States delegate power of children's basic education to parents, and the delegation itself is necessarily subject to constitutional constraints.
Thus, homeschooling parents are essentially government contractors, to whom the government has outsourced the educational tasks for specific children, you know, their own children, the ones they conceived and birthed and paid for and wiped the butts of and dried the tears of and snuggled up to. OMG--and this is not a tangent but it sort of is: I HATE that the average American has NO CLUE how our government educational system came into being. Only 150 years or so ago--oh my, how in the WORLD did human beings get educated before about 1850? Really, you'd think the Dark Ages ended with Horace Mann. Argh! How did we survive without government oversight?

There's much more I'd like to say about this "scholarly" paper, but I'm still so shocked and dismayed enough as to be unable to form a coherent critique beyond, aaaaggggghhhh! You can read two detailed analyses (with links to the paper) here and here. I'd love to write more but really, if I contemplate this too much, it rather depresses me, truly understanding that a professor of The Law does not even begin to recognize the true nature of individual rights. Plus, her logic is so awful I'm certain that my 5 year old could spot the holes. And, and, and.....really, I can't go on just now.

In happier news, scientists are getting close making a vaccine against Type 1 diabetes. If they could get this up and going, then my kids could benefit (if they carry the gene marker, still hoping the test for that will be soon mass-marketed). Yay!

Have you ever bought a book that you desperately wanted to read and then refused to read it? I bought Mugglenet.com's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7?the other night. It looks SO fascinating and I'm positively aching to read it and discover which theories substantiate my own and I'm burning to discover possibilities that have not occurred to me. But I don't want to read it! It's been sitting on the end table for a week, beckoning and tempting me, but when I pick it up, I simply cannot open it up. I want my theories to be mine (and of course, I include those delicious discussions I've had with my sister and friends). So I will save the book until after I've read Book 7 and find out where we were all right and where we were wrong. A small thing to look forward to after I finally finish the last book and truly realize there will be no more (sob).

So those are just some of the things I've been learning about recently. But there's more, so much more...but that will have to wait for another post!

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