52 in 52

December 28, 2011 by Rieshy

I'm joining a book challenge this year.  52 books in 52 weeks.  Even though I'm a reader it sounds insane to me. However, I never claimed to be entirely sane.

With the exception of Kafka and Nietzsche, I never read German literature in school, so I thought that my particular spin on the 52 would be to do a survey of German lit. through the ages.

I've melded a variety of book lists together to come up with my particular list and added some oddball choices. I like the Cornelia Funke series- and I thought it would be a nice break from heavier reading.

I've talked one daughter into reading along and my father said (rather vaguely and probably not intentionally) that he'd like to do it too.

I reserve the right to read only the easy choices in German and the rest in English, because, well- have you looked at Hesse's, The Glass Bead Game!?!  The English translation makes my brain hurt, the original German, assuming I could manage it- which I couldn't, would make my eyebrows get red hot.
  1. D'Aulaire's Norse Mythology
  2. Hildebrandslied 
  3. Cornelia Funke, Tintenherz
  4. Hartman von Aue, Der arme Heinrich (1195) 
  5. Nibelungenlied (1200) 
  6. Wolfram von Eschenback, Parzival (1200/10) 
  7. Johan van Saaz, Ackermann aus Böhmen (1400) 
  8. Poetry of Walther von der Vogelweide 
  9. H.J. Chrisotffe von Grimmelshausen, Simplixius Simplicissimus or Die Landstörzerin Courasche (1670)  
  10. Andreas Gryphius, Squentz (1658) 
  11. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Emilia Gaolotti (1772) or Nathan der Weise (1779) 
  12. Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, Die Soldaten (1776) 
  13. Immanuel Kant, Beantwortung der Frage: Was is Aufklären? (1784) 
  14. Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Die Leiden des jungen Werther (1774/1787) or Die Wahlverwandtschaften (1809)
  15. Friedrich Schiller, Die Räuber (1781) 
  16. Friedrich Schiller, Wilhelm Tell (1804) 
  17. Cornelia Funke, Tintenblut
  18. Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist, Das Edbeben in Chili (1806) 
  19. Ludwig Tieck, Der blonde Eckbert (1796) 
  20. Clemens Brentano, Die Geschichte vom braven Kasperi und dem schönen Anneri (1817) 
  21. Joseph von Eichendorff, Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (1826) 
  22. Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, Undine (1811) 
  23. Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, Die Elixiere des Teufels (1815)
  24. Heinrich Heine, Deutschland.  Ein Wintermärchen (1844) 
  25. Georg Büchner, Junges Deutschland or Woyzeck (1836) 
  26. Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Die Judenbuche (1842) 
  27. Friedrich Hebbel, Maria Magdalene (1843) 
  28. Gottfried Keller , Der grüne Heinrich (1854-55) or Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe (1856) or Kleider machen Leute (1874) 
  29. Theodor Storm, Der Schimmelreiter (1888) 
  30. Theodor Fontane, Frau Jenny Triebel (1893) or Effi Briest (1895) 
  31. Gerhard Hauptmann, Sonnenaufgang (1889) 
  32. Arthur Schnitzler, Leutnant Gusti (1901) 
  33. Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks (1901) 
  34. Cornelia Funke, Tintentod
  35. Thomas Mann, Der Zauberberg (1924) 
  36. Robert Musil, Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß (1906) 
  37. Heinrich Mann, Der Untertan (1918) or Professor Unrat 
  38. Hermann Hesse, Das Glasperlenspiel (1943)
  39. Bertolt Brecht , Neue Sachlichkeit or Mutter Courage (1941) 
  40. Franz Kafka, Die Verwandlung (1912) 
  41. Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929) 
  42. Joseph Roth, Radetzkymarsch (1932) 
  43. Elias Canetti, Die Blendung (1936) 
  44. Wolfgang Borchert, Draussen vor der Tür (1947) 
  45. Wolfgang Koeppen, Tauben im Gras (1951) 
  46. Stefan Zwieg, Die Welt von Gestern (1943) 
  47. Anna Seghers, Das siebte Kreuz (1942) 
  48. Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet On the Western Front
  49. Heimito von Dodener , Die Strudhofstiege (1951) 
  50. Max Frisch, Montauk (1975) 
  51. Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Die Physiker (1962) 
  52. Heinrich Böll, Ansichten eines Clowns (1963) 
  53. Günter Grass, Die Blechtrommel (1959) 
  54. Christa Wolf, Nachdenken über Christa T. (1968)
  55. Ulrich Plenzdorf, Die neuen Leiden des jungen Werther (1972) 
  56. Thomas Bernhard, Holzfällen (1984) 
  57. Patrick Süskind, Das Parfüm (1985)
  58. Imre Kertész, Roman eines Schicksallosen
That's more than 52 because life is too short to read a book that one despises, so I gave myself options.    On Sundays I'll post snippets about the week's readings- my daughter is going to give her opinions as well, for any other insane people out there who happen to be interested in German literature.

Happy New Years and happy reading!


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What Home School Moms Do Over The Holidays*

by Rieshy

I am Woman, hear me roar.  
Well, not roar, but see the (mostly) sanitized version of me butchering my first deer.  Yes I am girly enough to be wearing a glove.

Angie, my teacher and friend, is waiting patiently for me to get that skin off.

As any self-respecting home-educating mother I packed up the kids to watch/help.  It was a blast.  A gross and educational blast. 

 The first venison dish I cooked was awesome. 
Thanks to the hunters- Phil and William!

 Thanks to Angie and Jeff for lending us the use of their tree and for only laughing at me a little.

*I never thought about how much red-necks and home schoolers have in common...

I'm Dreaming Of A Brown Christmas?

December 22, 2011 by Rieshy

Who needs snow for snowballs?


Efficiency Experts

December 21, 2011 by Rieshy

"Dad took moving pictures of us children washing dishes, so that he could 
figure out how we could reduce our motions and thus hurry through the task." 
Dr Frank Gilbreth, Cheaper By the Dozen

Once as a child, wandering through the legs of coffee drinking and chatting ladies my mother was entertaining, I was asked if I had any chores.  I beamed and proudly proclaimed that I had many, including cleaning my own bathroom.  

I was eager to share my new bathtub cleaning discover with my apparently eager audience.  It was quite a while later before I understood just why the watching faces began to grimace when I explained that my short arms made tub-scrubbing difficult but that by scrubbing the toilet first, and thereby getting the toilet brush nice and wet, I could use the toilet brush to scrub the far corners of the tub, thus entirely circumventing my short-arm problem.

Brilliant, no?

Brilliance runs in my family.

"Find the laziest worker and study his approach."
also by Dr Frank Gilbreth

My 5 year old is responsible for drying and putting away the silverware.  Let's just say that the shine has worn off the responsibility.  He often dawdles.  So the other morning, as I doing paperwork in the kitchen, a part of my brain registered that said 5 year old was working on his huge stack of silverware with unusual uniform motion and efficiency.  

He would grab a utensil standing tall,

and in ballet terms he'd demi-plié ,

do something I couldn't see,

return to first position and pop the utensil in the drawer.

Hmmmm, I investigated.  

He was sticking each utensil between his pliéd legs, closing his legs and then pulling out the now jean-dried silverware and popping it away.

Who needs those pesky, annoying dishtowels?


Traveling With a Chronic Condition

December 16, 2011 by Rieshy

Or: The Never Ending Search For The Right Purse

Over Thanksgiving my entire family drove to Grandma's house which is 11 hours away. Packing for a family trip with a van load of children is always involved but when you add chronically ill children to the mix there are extra steps one learns to do.

My extra steps:

  1. Ensure that both my sons' letters of medical protocol are up-to-date and not stained with too many coffee cup rings or sticky with gum from the bottom of my purse.
  2. Pack a folder with abreviated medical records, just in case.
  3. Pack extra meds. in case I do something stupid, like trip in the night and spill the entire contents of a bottle. Not that I've ever done that... oh, wait, I have.
  4. In fact. on meds.- since one son is still on mostly liquid medication I have the pharmacist fill 4 small bottles instead of one large one. They are easier to handle, plus if he gets a virus and I've accidentally double dipped with an oral syringe I haven't contaminated his entire supply.
  5. Pack extra syringes.
  6. Pack all of the above meds. and supplies in two separate locations, just in case.
  7. Call ahead and find out where the nearest E.R. is located and do some research to try and discover whether it is staffed with monkeys or caring professionals.  I do this online at FOD Family Support Group because they are they go-to support group for my sons' particular condition.
  8. Call ahead and get the name and location of the closest hospital staffed with a metabolic specialist.
  9. Pack the car with enough food for the trip, because road-side fast food is not an option.
  10. Look at the itinerary and figure the furthest we will be from medical care and decide if that is acceptable. We have family in an area of the country that I cannot take my 5 year old to see, they are just too far from a children's hospital for me to take the risk.
  11. Find a purse that all of the above will fit into.
Then I count my blessings.  My sons can travel.  I don't have to pack large medical equipment.  

Btw, we had a great time at Grandma's.



December 7, 2011 by Rieshy

I spent time driving the kid's car yesterday. Besides being a sticky experience an overly helpful security guard blew out the electical system jump-starting the car for my son last week. We got everything fixed but the radio.

No music means lots more talking.

Talking 5 year olds involves a lot of grammar. I have to admit to zoning out, only to zone back in on language usage problems. My brain was somewhere in Tahiti when I heard, "So do wolf-feses really like to fight?"

"They're wolves."

"Were-wolves like to fight, but mom, do wolf-feses like to fight?"

"No sweetie. One is a wolf but more than one- they're wolves."

"Hmmmm, so when there is more than one they're were-wolves, and they like to fight?"

Later on the way to our first ever karate class....

"Is the teacher going to be a man or a woman?"

"I think it's a man."

"Do only mans teach karate?"

"No, honey and we say men not mans. One is a man but 2 makes men."

Short silence from the back seat followed by, "So man plus men equals 3."


Worried Racoons

December 5, 2011 by Rieshy

Define Righteousness: Why?

Let's backtrack. Sunday I listened to a lesson on worry by Craig Evans. He got me to thinking... drat that man...

So Righteousness-
James 2:23 "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend."

On Worry, righteousness pops up again-
Christ says in Matthew 6:25, 33-34 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink nor about your body, what you will put on... But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Webster defines righteousness as 1. acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin.

I like Abraham's route to righteousness. Faith ought to be easier than Webster, right?

Buuuuut, faith in the Creator requires a submission of the spirit. I Peter 5:6, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him for he cares for you."

Cares for me, wow. But just doing what the day requires and letting go of my invisible and completely imaginary hold over the possible happenings of the future? That's a different matter.

The funny thing is that even if I am unable to trust God to care for me; as Christ says in Matthew 6:27, "Which of you by worry can add one cubit to his stature?"

Evidently, I'm not quite as smart as the racoon in Where the Red Fern Grows. -The one that was trapped by the butter churn because it wouldn't let go of its handful of butter. At least it was smart enough to try holding onto something yummy...

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December 3, 2011 by Rieshy

What's better than tucking two freshly scrubbed and shampooed little boys into bed while older children string Christmas lights and blast Drumming Song by Florence and the Machine?

Or, what's better than sitting over a post-parade spaghetti dinner listening to your children discuss what sort of dog they want. Not that getting a dog is an option.

10 year old, "I want a black lab."

12 year old, "But purebreds are usually stupid."

5 year old, "I want an Irish Wolf Hound."

Not that dogs are an option. Especially dogs with digestive systems the size of San Francisco.

4 year old, "I want to go to the store and get a dinosaur, a nice one."

5 year old, "You can't buy a dinosaur, and it would be too big anyway."

"I CAN TOO! And I'll build a metal house for it and teach it to fight the robots."

Or, what's better than going to a small town parade with people you love and watching your little's eyes sparkle at EVERYTHING and watching your older kids meet up with friends and help give out candy.

What's better? Maybe it's doing it all in one evening, a small town evening, topped with a pot of hot tea.

Smallville rocks.