Maple sap is running.  Went out for a walk Friday afternoon, surprised at how warm it was after a chilly morning.  Noted the yellow-bellied sapsucker, and remembered that I had meant to blog about the return of the woodpeckers in December or maybe as early as November, don’t think I did so.  And then looked again at the Syrup Maple and saw the lower part of the trunk was black — wet — when dry it is a pale grey color.  So far no one has made a move to put in the tap, so it may be that birds and ants get all the sap this year. 

    Pansies are surviving. I’m sure many were worried.   So far we’ve had two freezes, and they’ve come through fine.  They are, again, starving, just like last year’s.   Will nobody deliver the Pansy Food?  Birds are foraging on their own, too.  Lots of neglected species this year.

    No snow, but lots of ice.  Not ice-storm ice, but rather, ice collections growing in my kitchen freezer.  Our couple of cold snaps have come on the heels of wet weather, turning the assortment of abandoned containers strewn about the yard into a veritable ice farm.   What with naturally-occurring ice being such a rarity here, children have been going out and collecting specimens for further study.   Handy for treating bruises, too.


    School is going pretty well.  I finally got draconian – well, as draconian as I ever get, which is about two and half days a week of draconian-ness, and children are responding well.  A certain boy shows signs of Learning How to Spell.  All very hopeful.

     What we’ve stumbled on is doing more or less school-at-home on the days when the kids don’t have outside activities, which is a pretty long day for homeschoolers at this age — I used my neighborhood informants to find out the corner school’s schedule, and copied it.  Except our recess is a little longer. 

    Knowing he is going to be "in school" regardless of how fast he works, and that he’ll have homework like his neighborhood friends if he drags out his work, has really helped Mr. Boy be able to relax and just do his work.  Knowing that I can assign Silent Reading just like the corner-school teachers do, has really helped me relax and be able to keep the boy occupied with educational activities without feeling like I have to be over his shoulder doing intensive tutoring the whole time.

    Next challenge, though, is the three-year-old.  I know plenty of people who agree it’s the Tranquil Two’s and the Threatening Three’s.  Three is the age when children "traditionally" start preschool, for good reason.  It’s the age, in my experience, when simply being around the house, absorbing all that is going on, is no longer a challenge.   Three seems to be the age when planning-to-homeschool-ers become actually-homeschooling-ers; not out of eagerness, but out of desperation.  

    SB is most definitely at this age.  So I had to re-work my new school plan to fit her in.  Her first memory verse is Proverbs 27:14, which she sorely needs.  If I were the kind of person who chose a "Life Verse", I would be very tempted to choose this particular one.


   Opened the last can . . . didn’t find any worms.  Mystery Ailment is appearing to be an assortment of otherwise unremarkable (though annoying) bits of this and that, who have just chosen to gather together all at once.  Like boisterous siblings, they seem to enjoy aggravating each other, frankly. 

    There’s a mild but persistent back ache that responds best to aggressively avoiding all the helpful exercises recommended for back aches.  A mild but cantankerous and stubborn case of pubic osteitis, that just wants to be left in peace for a very long time, and then it will probably go away.  At which time we can do something about the wayward femur, probably innocent, but which ought to get on the straight narrow just to make sure.  (All the exercises designed to tighten up a hip joint?  They pull on that pelvis, the one who observes she’s had quite enough pulling already, thank you, these last couple years.)  And the miscellaneous numb extremities seem to be garden-variety compression neuropathy. 

    That last one is less certain; there’s always a chance there’s an underlying problem of a more nefarious origin.  But odds are way in the favor of targeted-R&R as the treatment of choice, and with that hopefully it will ease up and go away.  (If it doesn’t go away, we learn that it is not garden-variety.  But of the choices left, they are all rare and relatively untreatable, except, you know, with targeted R&R, so no sense worrying about it.)

    At least, that’s where I think we are.  You never know when a medical professional is going to come up with some great New Idea to investigate.  Did manage to talk the neurologist out an MRI to rule-out MS.  Because, um, I don’t have the symptoms of MS.   (Yes, MS causes numbness in the extremities.  But in a completely different pattern than compression neuropathy.  Kind of like the difference between a migraine and a hangover.)

    Speaking of Fybromyalgia . . .  Oh, wait, we weren’t speaking of it.  But other people do . . .

     We discovered something very entertaining about this particular disorder, an otherwise very un-fun ailment per my several friends who suffer from it.  Apparently, there are two types of medical professionals:  Those who don’t believe in fibromyalgia, and those who suspect it any time they don’t know what is wrong.  I think I’ve had this conversation a half-dozen times now:

    Concerned Medical Professional:  "Has anyone mentioned fibromyalgia?"
    Me:  "Yes.  I don’t have the symptoms of fibromyalgia."
    CMP: "Oh."