Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The following is copy/paste from the online textbook. I thought this reading was pretty funny. The (square root) sign doesn't copy and paste, so I had to fill that in. Apparently blogger (Word does the same) thinks THAT is imaginary!

The form a + bi is called the standard form of a complex number. The real number a is called the real part of the complex number, and b is called the imaginary part. (Note that b is a real number even though it is called the imaginary part.) The following list exemplifies this terminology.

* 1. The number 7 + 5i is a complex number that has a real part of 7 and an imaginary part of 5.
* 2. The number 2/3 + i(Square root)2 is a complex number that has a real part of and an imaginary part of . (It is easy to mistake (square root) 2i for (square root) 2i . Thus it is customary to write i(square root) 2 instead of (square root) 2i to avoid any difficulties with the radical sign.)
* 3. The number −4 − 3i can be written in the standard form −4 + (−3i) and therefore is a complex number that has a real part of −4 and an imaginary part of −3. (The form −4 − 3i is often used, but we know that it means −4 + (−3i).)
* 4. The number −9i can be written as 0 + (−9i); thus it is a complex number that has a real part of 0 and an imaginary part of −9. (Complex numbers, such as −9i, for which a = 0 and b fi 0 are called pure imaginary numbers.)
* 5. The real number 4 can be written as 4 + 0i and is thus a complex number that has a real part of 4 and an imaginary part of 0.


Sorry for not writing. I have things I want to talk about, but don't seem to have the time lately. Bob's school has become intrusive.

Anyway, I posted this in Facebook today:
Today we took the dog to be spayed. We dropped her off at 7:30am and picked her up at 5:30 pm, so decided to just stay in town all day. Did some Christmas shopping, birthday shopping, grocery shopping... Went to the Shiloh Museum in Springdale. It was a good but tiring day.

Serenity (the dog) is doing fine. When we picked her up, the folks at the clinic showed real affection towards her.

Bob bought his birthday present today - a new guitar case.

We went to Walmart and split up into two groups, so that each child could buy a present for one other child. They had fun with that.

The museum was nice, too, but Elijah was getting very tired there.

Anyway, we're still here. Talk to you soon.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

It's officially Fall

We had a few cold fronts, but I think it's really Fall to stay now. The leaves are mostly gone, and I've given up on the garden.

I knew the tomatoes didn't stand a chance, so picked all the green ones that weren't rotten yet.

We weighed a few of the big ones; one was 11.7 ounces.

Today I made Salsa Verde with a few of them. I found a nice-sounding pickle recipe, but I'm kinda tired of making pickles.

Anybody want some? :-D

This Sunday is our church's Thanksgiving lunch. Then Thursday is Thanksgiving at MIL's. Tuesday after that we have Serenity scheduled to be spayed. Then next Saturday is my Mom's family's Christmas party. The following Saturday we go caroling with the church; the next Sunday is the Christmas program at church, and Sunday after that is Christmas! Then a week til New Year's, and a few more days after that is Cedwryck's birthday. Then Taryn and StepSon. I think we get to relax in February.
Anyone care to share your favorite tips on taking time to be kind amidst all the hustle and bustle? I do allow anonymous comments; not even the secret word puzzle thingy.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Veteran's Day

Yesterday almost amounted to an adventure.

It was Veteran's Day, and MIL had sent Bob an email with a long list of companies offering freebies to Vets/military, and Bob wanted to take advantage of some of it.

He had a couple of assignments due for college, so we finished those before we left the house, which made our departure about 11:30. Of course that made our first stop lunch.

We looked over the list and decided on Applebees (a chain restaurant) in Springdale. They offered free entree to vets, and we hadn't been there in a while. Bob got chicken & cheese penne, and I got unlimited soup, salad, and bread sticks. The bread wasn't great, but the tomato basil soup was very nice, and the Asian grilled chicken salad was great. The service was good, and everybody got full.

Next stop was a furniture store, where Bob and I tried on some chairs. Our 10 year old couch is going flat. We didn't find anything we wanted at that store, so we went on to Sam's in Fayetteville, where Bob got a free walking cane and we did some shopping and made two trips to the bathroom.

By then Cedwryck's feet hurt and we remembered that his shoes were too small, so we drove up to Rogers to Academy sport store. Ced tried on every shoe in his size under $25, and finally settled on some boots. He assured us that they were comfortable, not just neat. Then we looked for dress shoes for Riah; they only had one pair in his size, and he didn't like them. THEN we looked for shoes for Naysha, as hers are also too small. She tried on every pair in her size under $25, and found two that she liked, but they weren't quite the right size. So after another trip to the bathroom I got some insoles for my shoes, and we looked for bow string (they don't carry that), and then left.

Now it was nearly time for dinner. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper. I had my heart set on the free doughnut from Krispy Kreme, so we headed in that direction, thinking to stop first at KFC or Taco Bell for some protein. Well, we missed our exit so we had to go up to the next exit, turn around, and come back. Krispy Kreme was to the right, but we went left because we thought Taco Bell was that way. We drove a couple of blocks, passed a KFC, and didn't see Taco Bell. So we decided to turn around at the next light, and come back to KFC. We finally landed at KFC, where, with a name that includes the word "chicken," we expected to get some chicken.

After careful examination of the menu we discovered the "Value Menu" - with one item listed. I don't remember what they called it, but it came with 1 pc dark meat, potato wedges, and a biscuit, for $1.99. Sounded good, so we ordered 9 of them. Oh, he said, did you want thighs or legs? We tried to keep it simple by getting all thighs, Original Recipe. Um... he didn't know if they had that many thighs. He called somebody on his headset and asked. He reported to us that they only had 4 thighs. Okay, we said, trying to keep things simple, we'll take those 4 thighs, and the rest legs. So he called back, and said they only had 3 legs in Original Recipe. That's fine, we'll take the rest in Extra Crispy. So he called back to tell them to drop a large wedges. Then the manager walked up and asked what he was doing. He explained it all, and she said she already had an order in for dark meat. So we waited for that to get sorted, and finally got it all straight: 3 thighs & 3 legs in Original, and 3 thighs in Crispy. Then he looked up and said, "It'll be at least 10 minutes." Really? We told him to never mind, gathered the children, and went back to the van. Sigh. At least we have choices here.

Back to the bumper-to-bumper to look for Taco Bell, or something. We went back west across the interstate, and no Taco Bell there, but we saw Krispy Kreme coming up. I suggested we go ahead and get the doughnuts now, and then go on to eat. So Bob tried to change lanes, but a car pulled up beside him and wouldn't let him in. So when the light changed Bob tried again, a little harder this time. ;-) The other driver *should* have realized that he was being rude, but instead thought that Bob was rude. Oh, well. We made it into KK, got a mixed dozen plus our free one, and made it back onto the road. Still bumper-to-bumper, dark now, and past dinner time. We decided to leave Rogers, and were almost as glad to get out of there as we were glad to get out of Colchester 2 years ago.

Down to Lowell, and we exited there to finally stop at Taco Bell and eat. Just as I suspected, they had plenty of ground beef for as many tacos as we wanted. :-) Everything was fine there, and we started to shake off the stress of driving in Rogers on Friday night. By the time we finished dinner, Cedwryck decided he wanted insoles for his boots!

We stopped by MIL's house and shared the doughnuts with her and visited a while, before finally heading home and to bed. Phew.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Food part 6 and 7

Yesterday was Elijah's birthday, so we had a few special touches. We flavored our breakfast oatmeal with chocolate chips. $4.

We went out for lunch to Granny's Kitchen (a local "home cooking" place) and it came out to $40.

For supper, we met MIL at her house. She provided all the dinner, and we bought an ice cream cake at Cold Stone Creamery for $33.

Total for the day $77.

We also bought new tires for the van, as the old ones were getting old.

Today we had eggs with our oatmeal - $7.50
Lunch was spaghetti with meat sauce - $9
Supper was Chinese chicken with brown rice, fruit salad, and peas. - $11.50

Total for today - $28

If I've done my math correctly, that puts us at an average of $40 per day for the week. That's pretty close to the national average for food stamp benefits; it's actually over the max for Arkansas. Of course, you couldn't eat out on food stamps, or buy a $30 ice cream cake (you'd have to settle for the $12 one at the grocery store).

Did I learn anything from all this? Well, I learned that eating is expensive, even at home. I learned I'd rather win an argument than have a conversation - it was hard to stick to the facts and not be trying to make some statement. :-)

Monday, 7 November 2011

Elijah becomes fashion police

Elijah (who turned 2 today) has appointed himself the fashion police.

I was going to take a shower. I had already taken off all my clothes when the phone rang. It was MIL, calling to tell Bob that her dog who had cancer had been put down. I had a thought, so popped my skirt (with elastic waist) over my head, to come out to tell Bob my idea (that we could bring the dog out here to bury in our pet cemetery). I was covered from my neck down past my knees.

As soon as Elijah noticed me standing there (which was longer than I planned, since as soon as I got out of the bathroom Riah hopped in), he started pointing at my legs. I said, "Leg," trying to teach him the word. He walked around me, pointing and fussing at my legs. Then he pointed at my neck, then at my waist, as if to say "THAT belongs THERE." THEN he began tugging at my skirt hem, to pull it down where it belonged! So I squatted down, letting my skirt cover my legs and feet.

He relaxed and began to play again.

Then, when Riah finally got out of the bathroom and I started back, Elijah chased me down the hall yelling "Leg! Leg!" until I closed the door in his face. He was serious about me being decently dressed!

Food part 5

Yesterday (Sunday) we had cold cereal for breakfast, as a special treat. $6.
Lunch at McDonald's - $23.
Supper at home was eggs & toast or peanut butter sandwiches, with leftover tortilla roll-ups. $6.

Total for the day - $35.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

food part 4

I'm going to try to do a whole week.

Today was oatmeal and milk (again!) for breakfast. I really wanted something else, but we slept in, and this is the quickest thing. $3

Lunch was at Mazzio's Pizza. We got the meal deal with 2 pizzas and dessert, then added cheese sticks and a soda for Bob. $27. (No service, so no tip.)

Supper was a pot luck at church, following a singing group. We took the cookies from Thursday plus brownies, chips & salsa, and tortilla roll-ups. $10 (that may be a little high, but better safe than sorry).

Total for today: $40.

Friday, 4 November 2011

food part 3

Are you tired of my menus yet? too bad. :-D

Today we were out of bananas, so for breakfast we just had oatmeal and milk. $3.
(That's $1 for a half-canister of generic oats, and $2 for a half-gallon of milk. (In England, I could get a canister of oats at Tesco for less than $1US.)

Lunch - some had peanut butter sandwiches, some had leftover pizza and qusadillas, Bob and I split a can of soup (bought on sale, with a coupon). Then the children each had a boiled egg (our own eggs, but for the sake of argument I'm figuring them in at $3 per dozen, the going rate for organic eggs) and a cup of canned fruit at $.50 each (Tesco sold it for less than half that!). Then some had chips. I'm totaling this meal at $9.

The girls made a big batch of sugar cookies, which I'm estimating at $4. The frosting will be another $1.

For dinner we are having homemade BBQ meatballs, which cost about $8 to make. (Ground beef was $3 per pound at Sam's; I used 2 lbs, plus oats, egg, onion, and spices; then ketchup, sugar, and spices in the sauce.) If you count the full price of everything (a whole bottle of garlic powder for the 1 tsp I used), it would be $16. We will have corncakes (never had before, sounded good) at $2.50. I usually make macaroni & cheese with BBQ meatballs, but I'm out of Velveeta and we don't like sauce from straight cheddar. hmm. Maybe a salad? Green beans? I'll haul out the leftover veg from Wednesday. So, grand total for dinner is $14.

That's $31 for the day. We just might have ice cream later, at $3 per (3 qt) tub.

Now, if I was "broke" and we were trying to get by on very little, we could eat oatmeal more frequently. Protein would be limited to chicken ($2 per pound for boneless breasts) and eggs, and fruit and veg would be hard to come by. Maybe the occasional Iceburg and carrot salad; those are still cheap, but have little value.

So even with eating comfortably, we'd be $6 under for the day on food stamps, and would be tempted to spend that on some indulgence like Hawaiian bread.

Now, I acknowledge that it would be harder to meat the challenge with only 1 or 2 in the family, because smaller size packages cost more per serving, and it would be harder to have a variety of foods. We are truly blessed to be able to live as comfortably as we do.

More on the "food stamps" program, esp for Ganeida. This program is strictly for food. Other expenses are covered (or not) by other programs. I can see where it would be a good idea to set limits - this prevents people from buying cigarettes (for instance) on taxpayer money. But it also encourages a lifestyle of splurges and poverty; as you have a set amount of money, you may as well spend it; in addition, if you have any money in savings you are disqualified. Again, I see the reasoning behind that, but it is unkind to the recipients. If you just gave them the cash, they could choose to eat cheaply and save up for other needed items (or blow it all on beer!).

So, again, no solutions here, just thinking out loud.

Food stamp pt 2

Just keeping tally of our eating expenses here, not trying to make a statement.

Yesterday we ate:
breakfast: oatmeal, bananas, milk - $4.50
lunch: chicken and cheese quesadillas, chips, leftover pineapple - $10.50
dinner: McDonald's - $22

Total - $37.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Food Stamp Challenge

"The DHM" over at has been posting about the so called "Food stamp challenge". She blogs about a lot of other stuff, too, so you'll have to look around.

The point of the Challenge, as I understand it, is for Congresspeople to make a point of how difficult it is to eat of the average food stamp allowance of $1.50 per person, per meal. The point of "The DHM", as I understand it, is that the food stamp program as it exists is unkind because it doesn't teach people to make do/get by/be frugal, and when they get off the program they are lost as to how to eat on a budget.

So today as I was cooking dinner, I did a little math. Our family would get (assuming the average above) $40.50 every day to "supplement" our food budget (as the proper name for the program is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Hmm; that's about one meal out at Chick-Fil-A, or Golden Corral on the kid's night special. I then went on to add up what we spent on food for eating today, all 3 meals at home. I'm assuming you don't want the itemized list of ingredients.

For breakfast we had oatmeal, bananas, and milk.
For lunch we had cheese toast, fried organic eggs, and fresh pineapple.
For dinner we will have (it's on the table now) homemade pizza (with beef) and fresh veges with French Onion dip.

Not extravagant, maybe, but plenty of everything. Grand total for the day? $32.50.

So what do you think? Should Congress get a clue? Should we re-vamp SNAP to include some education? Cut benefits? Increase them? Throw out the whole program?

Book review: The Grace Effect

I recently signed up for a program whereby I receive free books (of my choosing, from a limited selection) in exchange for the writing of a review. So I choose The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton.

My first impression was that the cover feels dirty. The red box on the front and the back cover are nice and slick, but the B&W photo has a gritty texture that I kept wanting to wipe off. But of course we mustn’t judge a book by its cover.
It is a good read. The book goes back and forth between an adoption story and musings on the effect of Christianity on civilization. I found both points interesting, but what kept me coming back to the book was the story; I wanted to know what happened next. (Yes, Ganieda, that’s how I read a book – deal with it!)
Is it well written? Well, I’m being super-picky here, but parts of it weren’t. I was looking for a quote to illustrate, but now I can’t find it. It is revealed at the end of the book that it is based on real-time blog posts, and was written quickly to get the thoughts on paper while they were still fresh. I understand the reasoning behind that, and it explains a lot of the tone of the book, as well as grammatical errors.
What’s the point of the book? Well, without giving any spoilers, it addresses the question “Is Christianity a good thing for society?” And it gives us affirmative evidence in the form of a first-hand account of a Ukrainian adoption. I agree with the author’s thesis, and as much as I enjoyed the narrative, I don’t think he made his point quite as strongly as he felt he did. I do plan to look for more books by this author to learn more of his apologetics.
Extras include a nice study guide at the back of the book as well as a thorough bibliography and a few family pictures.