Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Only Two Beauty Secrets

I don't wear makeup or style my hair. But I do have two beauty secrets. One is actually a spa basic. The other is as quirky as I am. But if you are busy, they might help. They are basics that anyone can easily do.

I'll start with the spa secret. I wash my face with the clean and clear deep action cleanser pictured below. Then I use the Freeman's Avocado and Oatmeal face mask also pictured below. I like how the mask makes me feel after. It's one of my secrets to stress relief. I put on that mask and crochet while watching TV. When it's completely hard, I wipe it off with a face cloth.  I tried other face masks but like this one best.  That includes their cucumber peel off mask. My issue with that being that it was hard to get all of it peeled off. You can do a lot while wearing this mask. I'm writing this blog post with one on. But make sure to put your hair up first.


My other beauty secret is pigtails. I don't like wet hair on my neck. But if I use a clip to hold my hair up it dries ugly. Strait on the sides to my ears and wavy on the bottom. So to be silly one night I put my hair in pigtails. As a young kid I wore them all of the time. What I discovered that night is only a little bit of my hair was flat. The rest was wavy. It looked a lot better. Letting it dry wet helps naturally wavy or curly hair.

I know these aren't going to turn the beauty world upside down. I doubt we'll find the Paparazzi taking pictures of a big celebrity fresh from the shower wearing pigtails. But if you're busy, they don't stop you from doing what needs to get done. The only exception being you can't kiss anyone with the face mask on. They are simple and basic. But sometimes with beauty, that's all you need.

Still Lost MH370

One thing about General Anxiety Disorder is you live in almost a constant state of worry. For me, that's always been about people and things missing for so long they are gone forever. Sometimes I'll read about a person or thing that just went missing within the past 48 hours and just know it or they will take a very long time to find. If ever!

One example of that is Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. It disappeared on March 8, 2014. Below is the blog post I did back then on this airplane disappearing.

In it, I had some interesting theories. The first two were two versions of the same idea. On board were two men from Iran seeking asylum. One in Denmark one in Germany. The plane was heading to Beijing, China. But it was later discovered heading in the same direction as Iran. I doubt these two hijacked the plan. But it's possible it was hijacked by another passenger or a hacker with a computer.

I mentioned a Hawaii 5-0 episode with Nick Jonas. He talks about how when the military made GPS available to civilians, they didn't protect it the same way. That makes it possible to hijack a plane without the pilot's knowledge. The pilots never sounded like anything was out of place.

While it was from a TV show, it's an idea that made a lot of sense. It sounds like something that could really be true. That was a popular blog post for a while. Suddenly, I found four articles addressing the hacker hijacker idea. I hadn't seen that in any article before that. I had been reading any article I could find on MH370. It was, and still is, an obsession.

Why was it so important to address a hacker hijacker option? I suspect a government cover-up. They don't want it known it's not only a real thing. But that it was a possibility in this case. It would mean lawsuits, public pressure to spend the massive amount of money to bring GPS to full level military protection, and let hackers know this was a possibility.

Either way, that plane has been missing for too long without any clues. Until yesterday when debris was found on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. It's not fully confirmed as being from flight MH370. But due to ocean currents, it most likely is. Article below:

They can track it's path through ocean currents but that will take a very long time. That plane, and the loved people on it, very well could be gone forever. But, I hope they can track it's path to a landing spot.

Even if the plane is found, we might never know what really happened. That bothers me. I hate not having answers. I'm sure there are many loved ones feeling the same way. It's frustrating not knowing what exactly happened. I feel that way with missing people too.

In this case, there is something the governments involved aren't telling us. I can sense it. I'm okay with that. Intelligence is only valuable if the other side doesn't know you have it. I have said before in other posts that I don't mind not knowing everything the government knows. Because it's not just made public to the good people. It can be used as a weapon by the bad. At minimum, it could make it a lot harder to catch the bad guys. They can't know what we know.

If the plane was hijacked, then there is probably a search for who did it. By not publicizing that theory, they can collect intelligence on it that the hacker and/or hijacker won't be suspicious of. If it was hijacked by a passenger they are probably dead. But they could have jumped out while the plane was going down. That is a possibility that can't be ignored.

They can't tell us everything they have learned. It's for the best. But, that doesn't make it less frustrating. I wish them luck in finding answers and catching who did it. Assuming he or she is still alive.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Asthma In The Summer

I've talked before about Zach's asthma. Here's a refresher. In September of 2012 Zach was sitting on my lap and struggling to breathe. His doctor sent him to a fantastic hospital.

Doctors don't usually diagnose asthma that quickly. But, Zach's attack was pretty big. So he got the diagnosis. Now, we have to go to the Pediatric Pulmonologist every three months. Sometimes that includes very expensive testing on very big machines. He has a very expensive twice daily medication (Qvar) and a less expensive emergency medication (Albuterol). The Albuterol has to be with him always. As well as his puffer chamber. To learn more, read my previous blog post:

But things get better in the summer. From Memorial Day until Labor Day he's never needed the Qvar. He hasn't had many attacks since that day. We give him his albuterol before physical activities like sports class. We also give him his Albuterol before camp each day. That's because of the activities and the humidity. It's just a precaution. But the heat and humidity can get to him.

That does effect things. In the winter I am more likely to keep him home if he's got a stuffy nose. I need to be able to keep an eye on him. The teacher will send him to the nurse if they notice the signs. But the signs aren't always obvious.

In the summer it means there are some days he can't go out. Here's an example. It's supposed to be 94 degrees here on Wednesday afternoon. There is an air conditioned room at camp. But he's mostly in the gym with just a fan. We'll pick him up after lunch then keep him in air conditioning the rest of the day. Once it cools off we might go to the pool later.

We used to give him his Albuterol before swim class. We haven't been giving him his albuterol when swimming but we need to. He's a confident swimmer now and can play in the water for a long stretch of time. I have noticed times when he does struggle to breathe after swimming for a long time.

Towards the end of summer I'll need to refill the Albuterol so the school nurse has an updated prescription. I'll need a new chamber too. The asthma gets better each year. He might grow out of it. But for now, we have to watch the humidity and heat!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Shark's Home

I don't live anywhere near North Carolina. But apparently sharks have decided it makes a great place for a summer vacation. We have sharks at the Jersey shore too. The ocean is a shark's home. It's in the water. It might be far away from the swimmers, but it's still in the water.

Even as a child I had a large fear of sharks. We go to the same place at the Jersey shore now that my family went to when my brother and I were kids. We used to spend the morning at the beach. My Mom and brother love the beach. We built sand boats and looked for seashells. But, I rarely went in the water. I was too scared. My parents got me a boogie board when I was about ten. But my brother used it more then me.

My Dad and I have always been pool people. We would get lunch after the beach. Then head back to the hotel for pool time. It's never been a mystery to me why I prefer the pool. It's safer. No animals call it home. I can see the bottom and am not likely to be grossed out when I touch the bottom.

When researching this post I am only now learning about the 1916 Jersey Shore shark attacks that killed four people and injured one more. Before then, there wasn't much known about sharks. These attacks led to more research. They occurred in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, Spring Lake, Matawan Creek and a half mile from Wyckoff Dock. The accused sharks are suspected to be Bull Sharks and Great White Sharks.

New Smyrna Beach just south of Daytona, Florida is the most likely place to encounter a shark. The highest rate of dangerous shark attacks is in the Gulf of Mexico. Bull sharks are the most threatening to people. Great White sharks and Tiger sharks are the second and third most threatening species for people.

Not all sharks are dangerous. I did find a list of harmless and dangerous sharks. But I don't know about the website's credibility. Here's the bottom line. A lot of people could spend the day at the beach and swim in the ocean. A lot of people find a lot of inner peace surfing. It's important to remember that many animals call the ocean their home. Assume a shark is dangerous unless you know otherwise. Respect that the ocean is wilderness. Enjoy it, but look out for sharks. Just like you would be on the lookout for a bear in the woods.

Shark attacks will never actually go away. From what I can tell, most shark attacks are minor. The number of attacks increase as the number of people in the water increase. They apparently are becoming less afraid of humans as well.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Crochet Success!!!

I started teaching myself how to crochet this past winter. I used books and the internet to help. I even started a coaster project with patterns for each season and solid colors for the months. When I did enough of those to come out pretty, I knew I was ready for a project with actual instructions.

I tried to think about what kinds of things we would use. The only thing I can think of is winter hats. We don't wear scarves. Josh and Zach don't like sweaters. Zach got excited at the thought of wearing a hat all winter made by his mom.

One thing that stopped me from trying a pattern sooner was the lack of basic patterns. Everything has accents to add on or something about it making it too hard to make a basic. I'm still looking for a pattern book that teaches how to make things like a wrap without fancy stitching or accents. What's the basics for making a sweater? No pockets or flowers please! How about a basic Afghan? I just want to know the steps. How do you make a sleeve?

But I found the pattern at the end of this post on the following website.

When I measured Zach's head I discovered it's only slightly smaller then my head. Great news!!! Because OCD kicked in and I planned to make five for me. I get tired of looking the same all winter so I decided to make one for each month in winter. Then I needed one for fall and one for spring. But I started with Zach's!!!

I got this at first:

Luckily, it's summer! So I was about to see someone I know that has crocheted for 25 years that I only see in the summer. It turns out I was doing a couple of small things wrong.

1. To make the next row bigger you need to make an increase stitch. I was making two where I only needed one.

2. The stitches were too small. I was generally doing the mechanics right. But, I was using my fingers to move the loops over the hook. She taught me how to loop the yarn over my left pointer finger and slide the hook without using my hands. Suddenly, I got this:

Much better, huh! Remember, it's July. He will be dressed appropriately when he wears it in the cold weather! There was only one modification from the basic pattern. The math for the below pattern for his 22" head would mean the flat part is 7" and the sides measure 8.8". This is 8". The extra 0.8" is probably supposed to be the part that folds up. He always hates that part.

The good news is if I ever want to add knitting to my arsenal I can ask Josh's mom :)! For now, I am happy with the planned projects and the other projects I've done.

Hot Pad I made for Josh's Mom

Hot Pad I made for MY Mom
Coasters I made for the holiday Shop at Zach's school.

Coasters for the Dad/Grandpa/Uncle table for the Holiday Shop at Zach's School.

Hat pattern I used:
*** The link above gives things you can add to it to make it with accents like a visor, side flops, or baby waves. There is more too.

Step 1. Measure the head circumference.

To ensure the proper fit of the hat we use head circumference. It is a measurement of a child’s (adults') head around its largest area -- it measures the distance from above the eyebrows and ears and around the back of the head.
If you can't obtain the exact measurement, here is the approximate measurements (head circumferences) for the ages:
Preemie baby: 11" -12" or 28 cm - 30.5 cm
Newborn baby: 13 " or 33 cm
Baby 2 weeks - 3 months: 14 " or 35.5 cm
Baby 3-6 months: 15" or 38 cm
Baby 6-9 months: 16" or 40.5 cm
Baby 9-12 months: 16 1/2 " or 42 cn
Baby 12-18 months: 17 " or 43.5 cm
Baby 18-24 months: 18 " or 46 cm
Toddler 2 years - 5 years: 18" - 19 " or 46 cm - 48.5 cm
Child 19"- 20" or 48.5cm - 51 cm
teenager 20-21" or 51 cm - 53.5 cm
Adult woman 22" or 56 cm
Adult man 23" or 59 cm

Step 2. How to Crochet a Flat Circle Top of the Hat

How to crochet a hat? Every crochet hat pattern starts from the top of the hat. The top of the hat is a flat round circle. The diameter of this flat round circle is your needed head circumference divided by 3.14. The diameter is a measurement of a circle in the thicker part (through the center). For example, you are making a hat for a newborn baby and the head circumference is 13" or 33 cm. The diameter of the flat circle bottom of the hat for this baby should be: 13" / 3.14 = 4.14" (10.5 cm)
Note: To crochet a flat round circle you'll need to add (increase) only 6 stitches in every row if you use SC (singlestitches) or 12 stitches if you use DC (double stitches),(not more, not less - that's a rule of a flat circle). Those 6 or 12 stitches in each row should be spaced evenly. In this tutorial we will use SC (single crochets).
If you crochet a hat in solid color (no stripes), there is no need to finish each row with a slip stitch and no need to begin each row with a CH 1. Work in spiral and attach a stitch marker to the last stitch of the row and move it up as you work progresses.

Row #1: CH 3, join in the ring with a slip stitch. SC 6 in the ring. Total = 6 stitches after completing this row.
Row #2: 2SC in each stitch (Make 2 SC in every stitch of the previous row). Total = 12 stitches after completing this row.
Row #3: [SC, 2SC] repeat [ ] 6 times. This means: make a SC in the first stitch of the row, make 2 Sc in the second stitch of the row, and repeate this pattern 5 more times.
In other words, you make an increase in every second stitch of this row and the total number of stitches after completing this row is 18.
Row #4: [SC 2, 2 SC] repeat [ ] 6 times. This means: make a SC in the first stitch of the row, make a SC in the second stitch of the row, make 2 SC together in the third stitch of the row. Repeat this pattern 5 more times. Total number of stitches will 24 after completing of this row.
Row #5: [SC 3, 2SC] repeat [ ] 6 times. In other words, make a SC in the first stitch of the row, make a SC in the second stitch of the row, make a SC in the third stitch of the row, make 2 SC together in the 4th stitch of the row. Repeat this pattern 5 more times. Total number of stitches will 30 after completing of this row.
Measure the diameter of your flat circle. If you need more rows, continue rows adding 6 SC stitches for every row spaced evenly.
For example, Row #6 will be: [SC 4, 2 SC] repeat [ ] 6 times, total = 36 stitches, Row #7 will be: [SC 5, 2SC] repeat [ ] 6 times, total = 42 stitches and so on untill you reach the needed diameter.

Here is how to crochet the center of the hat in pictures:
CH 3, join in a ring with a slip stitch
Row #1: SC 6 in the ring (make 6 SC stitches in the center) and attach a stitch marker to the last (6th)SC stitch to indicate the end of the row (it can be a safety pin as well).
Row #2: 2 SC in each stitch
Row #3: [SC, 2 SC] repeat [ ] 6 times
and so on until you reach the needed diameter

Step 3. How to Crochet the Sides of the Hat.

After you made the flat round bottom of the hat, you need to make the sides. In other words, now you need to ensure the proper height of the hat. The formula for the height from top to bottom is:
Head circumference /10 x 4.
For example, if you make a hat for the newborn baby, the head circumference is 13". The height of the hat will be:
13/10 x 4 = 5.2 ''
After you reach needed diameter of the flat circle bottom of the hat, continue to make rows without increase (do not add more stitches), make SC in SC all the way around for as many rows as needed to reach the desired height of the hat.

The basic hat is ready! Finish the last row with a slip stitch. If you are making the beanie, make a row of slip stitches all around the edge of the hat - it will give the beanie the finished look:

Weave in the loose ends and enjoy the hat. You can now crochet some appliques or flowers for the hat. Your beanie is ready!
Now the base of the hat is ready. You can leave it as it is (the beanie version) or you can continue and make an earflap, a cap, a cloche and many other styles. If you want to continue, do not make a row of slip stitches, this is only for the beanie. After you've made the slip stitch at the end of the last row of the hat continue according to your choice of style.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Big Bang

Zach was a month old for his first 4th of July. We didn't take him to see any fireworks. But you can still hear them. In some cases, close and loud. He didn't like it! I think that's one of the reasons he doesn't like anything too loud.

This year we went to two firework displays. The first one, was the one in town. It was last Tuesday and possibly going to rain. I flip flopped on going a bunch of times then called friends. They were going and we could absolutely join them! so Zach and I walked to their house and we walked together to the High School football field.

The kids played until the fireworks started. Zach spent most of the time hidden behind his friend or clinging to me. He liked them, but some were just too loud and too bright for his comfort. The second set was part of a party we go to each year. That display was more toned down then the one from our town. But towards the end he needed to get away from them for a little bit. He was upset to miss the ending.

Around this time, I see a lot of pictures on facebook. They are of war veterans holding signs to remind the rest of us that the fireworks sound like bombs. I always think of those with PTSD and hope they are okay.

You have to be very patriotic to be willing to risk your life for your country. It's the time of year when we celebrate our country. I can understand wanting to be around for the fun. But where do they go when the night falls and the fireworks start? It's almost impossible not to hear it in the background.

I still wonder what they do when the fireworks go off. My guess is try to drown the sounds out by watching something without big bangs with the volume up. Ironically, the Big Bang Theory is a nice choice.

Let freedom ring
Let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today
Is a day of a reckoning
Let the weak be strong
Let the right be wrong
Throw that stone away
Let the guilty pay
It's Independence Day

That's the chorus to the song Independence Day by country singer Martina McBride.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Supreme History and Confederate Down

It's all over the news. The Supreme Court of the United States has made some really big decisions in June. But that's not the only history made in June. In the wake of racist fueled church attacks in South Caroline, confederate flags are coming down. There is a lot of positive going on in the United States lately!

One that made a big difference for us is their decision on the tax subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. Otherwise known as Obamacare. They decided to keep the subsidies in place. If your income is low enough, the state pays for part of your health plan premium if your plan is from the exchange. The part they pay is based on income and you have to report changes in income. The assistance you get is considered income for your taxes for that year. We probably qualify for a larger amount now since Josh is making less then when he was on Unemployment. But I continue to pay the higher amount of the premium to reduce what will go to taxes. We would be in serious financial trouble without that subsidy. There are millions of Americans like us.

That's not even the big "WOW" of historical decisions this month. Same sex marriage is now legal anywhere in the United States. That's like "grande finale of the 4th of July fireworks" big! That's "my team won the championship" big! That's "my baby has just been born" big! That's "NASA having a conversation with a Martian" big! That's "you've been drafted by your favorite team" big! That's "I'm pregnant" big! That's "you won the lottery jackpot" big! That's................well............ a huge deal.

But it shouldn't be. It's bullied couples wanting to be treated equally. Their marriage won't effect strait marriages. Unless you have some gay friends. Then you'll need more wedding gifts. We still need to work on preventing GLBT workplace discrimination. We also need to make it easier for GLBT couples to adopt all those kids created because their state doesn't believe in birth control. But this is a long-fought for victory and I badly want to hug every gay friend I have ever had.

I'm also happy to hear about the recent push to take down the confederate flag from some government buildings. It belongs in history museums. Because it's history. It's a part of our history we shouldn't forget. Because we learned a lot of lessons from the Civil War. But when you fly it today you are trying to keep it in the present. We are not the union and the confederacy anymore. It's been a very long time since we have been divided in that way.

Maybe as the confederate flag comes down, we can stop being against each other simply because of home state. Maybe this can open the doors to real compromise. We are called the United States but we haven't been united since 9/11. We want to be united again. But we haven't found something to actually unite over. As the flags come down, maybe the slow process of uniting can begin again.

"Divide and conquer". We are divided. That makes us easy to conquer. We are stronger when we stand together. Other countries laugh at us because we aren't the super power we claim to be. The super power we used to be. We have become weak. We can't be a super power again until we unite.

Friday, June 26, 2015

When Life Gives You Lemons...........................

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade..................
What happens if you can't afford the glass?

That thought popped into my head this afternoon. That made me think about other proverbs. A lot of proverbs don't make sense to me. I'm just too literal. I hope my observations make you laugh! Just like the one above, the proverb is the top line and my observations are on the bottom. Just some food for thought. But remember, I don't cook with salt.

A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.........
Isn't that called two smaller chains?

Actions speak louder then words...................
How do you yell actions?

Better late then never...............
that depends on who or what is late

Curiosity killed the cat...............
Dude! What'd he SEE?!?!?!

Do as I say, not as I do................
The best teachers practice what they preach.

Do not look a gift horse in the mouth................
But that's what's at my eye level!

Give a man rope enough and he will hang himself...............
OR climb a tree.

Good things come to those who wait..............
Why does this make me feel like I'm in time out right now?

One man's meat is another man's poison.............
Shout out to the Vegetarian and Vegan readers

Out of sight, out of mind....................
not in MY head!

Practice makes perfect................
PERFECT practice makes perfect! You won't get right what you practice wrong!

Put your money where your mouth is.............
Does it taste like Chicken?

The customer is always right....................
Unless they read the sign wrong :)!

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence........................
Only if your neighbor takes better care of their lawn.

I probably make a great drinking game.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Father's Day Delivers

Father's Day Delivers


and other Italian food!

Josh has been trying hard to find something stable since he got laid off at the end of September. He spent six weeks in a commission only job. Too many hours and too little money meant it wasn't a good fit. He was working seven days a week. That ended in early December.

Last week he started delivering pizzas for some income. Unemployment had run out and there isn't an Unemployment extension anymore. So at the start of last week he went to our regular pizza place and got hired. The owner knows us well and knows that he's still job searching. It might not seem like an impressive job, but it provides something big:

Current Employment!!!

A lot of places won't even look at your resume if you are unemployed for more then three months, more then six months, or at all. That means he's applied to a lot of jobs where he would be a good fit, but they weren't looking at his resume. Because he wasn't currently employed. Now that he IS currently employed, his resume will be seen by more people. This might improve his chances of getting a good job.

The hours means he's available to job search and go to interviews. That makes a big difference. It also helps that he has signed up with two recruiters. He's working hard to find a good job. But some of this is out of his control. That's the part that is scary for everyone that in unemployed or underemployed. At least he's working over 30 hours a week with a base pay and tips. It would be nicer if tips weren't $2 or $3 on average, but it's better then nothing.

He did have to work on Father's Day. But they let him out early. They also gave him a Chicken Parmesan Sandwich. The owner knows and likes Zach. He's an awesome guy! Josh did get to spend some time with Zach on Father's Day. This year, Father's Day for us was the Saturday before.

He was very lucky to have this option. He has known the owner for years and the owner was hiring anyway. It bothers me when people don't like that some people need government assistance. Some people will read this and think:

"Good, I'm glad that there isn't an unemployment extension. Just get a job!"

This is my response to them:

"It's not easy to get a job. This truly is one friend helping out another friend. But this isn't as common a situation as most people think. Don't blame the unemployed for needing help, blame the people who aren't creating jobs or don't pay their employees enough. Blame the people not looking at the resumes of the unemployed!"

Josh has been working hard but it's been good for him to have co-workers again. He feels good providing for us again, at least partially. It's been good for him to feel capable. Remember, he broke his hip in January. Because of that, he has two limitations:

1. The job has to be able to do from home in dangerous weather

2. He can handle being on his feet 60% of the work week. He can handle more in a rare week but too much extra can be very bad!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Grade, New Language

Tomorrow is Zach's last day of Kindergarten. Regular readers might remember my obsession with a song called "Graduation (Friends Forever)" by Vitamin C. At the time, I thought that obsession was about his Preschool graduation and the start of Kindergarten. Yeeeeah........................I was wrong. I mentioned before that I have seasonal CDs for my car. The summer CD starts with that song. I STILL can't get through it without crying.

We joined the town pool this year. In the past, I would look around for people I knew in High School. Now, we look for Zach's friends. He loves to swim like I always have. I can still make it pretty far underwater. The secret is to stay as close to the bottom as possible. Once  you are in the middle of the water, you'll be out from underneath it soon. The longer you can stay on the bottom, the farther you'll go!

I talk a lot about how this town is my life and in a lot of ways my sanity. Your life easily gets wrapped in this town. There is so much to do. There are so many nice people to know. Once you start in the public school, your life evolves around this town. That happened for Zach this year.

You are very likely to have a happy childhood here. That's why so many return when they have families. They want to give their kids the happy childhood they had. Last Saturday, at the pool, I was sitting at the table we always took as a kid and was crocheting like my babysitter used to. Like many elementary kids before him, Zach was playing shuffleboard. The pieces look old. They could have been the same ones Josh and I used when we were dating. Literally.

Even my maid of honor is hooked on this town! She hung out here a lot when we were in high school. She grew up in another town. Ironically, the same town my babysitter lived in. We graduated at the same time. Since then, she has taught Spanish in two of the four elementary schools. Unfortunately, not Zach's. He'll be learning Mandarin starting in September. I have met the teacher. She is a very nice woman!

I learned Spanish in middle school, high school and college. I'm not that good at it, but I can sometimes hold a conversation. When I started taking Spanish in school, my parents got me a computer program called "EZ Language". It had Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, and Russian. Each language had a test section so sometimes I went strait to the test section to see how well I did. I liked doing that for all six languages.

What I had:

Before Zach was born, I saw one with a huge amount of languages on it. That was the updated EZ language CD. The link is below. But it was too expensive. At the time, I saw it in Staples. Staples doesn't have it anymore.

Every now and then I search for free software to learn various languages. I'm most interested in:

Sign Language
Morse Code

I don't know why. These are just the languages that draw me to learn. I think Spanish should be required for all 1st - 12th students. However, I think Mandarin should be required for all business and Engineering majors.

I wonder how Zach will do with Mandarin. I hope he likes it! I'll be curious if it makes him want to learn any other language too. I'll continue to search for that free software! I really liked the layout of the EZ language program though.

In the meantime, Zach will enjoy his first summer as a town kid. So far, it looks like it's going to be almost identical to MY town kid summers! GOOD!!! Because I had WONDERFUL summers as a kid!!! If you knew me in high school or are a parent friend, come say "hi" if you see us!