Monday, October 28, 2013

a busy weekend

Loosing my voice and my mind. Have to go find ninja swords today. And do school. And run around after shepherds bowl. I know, whine whine whine. What a miserable existence I lead, what with this
{Lamb and pomegranate and mint}
And these babies
And the big stack of crepes
And the cream with rose water, quintreau and pistachio...obviously what the parents of every little girl turning four need
While she, the birthday girl, lathers herself with the wegmans ultimate chocolate cake
And basks in the glow of it finally finally being her 'Earthday'.
And everyone else gets almost sick from all the eating of fancy pancakes.
And the good time with the mother and the great aunt wandering around wegmans buying the ultimate chocolate cake and flowers and rose water, which, it may shock you, are not in my normal day to day grocery budget. 
As my dad kept saying, "we don't have any problems that couldn't be solved with money." 
{the pomegranates}
{the orchid, so beautiful, so in peril of death now that it lives with me}
Wondered all weekend, is that true? Am I so rich in my life, so untroubled in my family, so blessed spiritually, so ordered in all my day to day doings, that all my remaining problems could be solved with money? I think so. Not being the rich, whose problems are all beyond money, I don't have their vast troubles and anxieties. I just count my pennies out and keep my troubles small. 
I lay in bed yesterday and pleaded with my maker, because of not being able to breath super well, 'Oh, Jesus, I don't have enough energy today, I don't think I can do it all,' and then pushed play to listen to the bible and it just so happened (cough) that Elijah was fleeing to Zeraphath and there he met a woman who really just had problems that money could solve. But there was no money, there was only God and his prophet, which, in that case, were better. 
On that note, I will arise and do some things that need to be done.

Friday, October 25, 2013

seven hurried takes

Big cold in the head. 
Dreamt my phone broke into pieces but still worked, but could only talk on it if I carefully held all the pieces together, which of course was impossible. Woke anxious and with a sore throat. Felt surely that death would come. Didn't so got up and made breakfast.
My dad, the Reverend Doctor Robert Carlson of Nairobi and West Africa, will be preaching at Good Shepherd on Sunday. Here he is, reading to his grand children who wouldn't stop wiggling even for one tiny second.

Hope everyone within a hundred miles will come and hear him!
My 90 year old Great Aunt will be making the journey so there should be no excuse for anyone else. My mom and dad are going to pick her up in Pennsylvania today and bring her up for the whole weekend. Don't worry, I will stay well away from her with my cold. I will wave cheerily from other rooms and send disinfected notes and cause Matt to make all the food for the whole time. Looks like she might be bringing snow with her.
I will not speak of impending snow lest I lapse into profanity which, so far, whatever the name of this blog might suggest to you, would not be in keeping with nearly everything that I've written so far over the last seven or eight years or whatever. My deep animosity and hostility towards the snow and cold will just have to be believed. Feel the force behind these measured words and pray for my salvation.
Got to have lunch with my dad yesterday and came away feeling that perhaps I had not drawn breath the whole time, so chattery was I. Asked maybe one question and then lept into answer it myself. Have heard from Matt that this is what it's like to go out to lunch with Elphine (for him to go to lunch)--quick intakes of breath on the part of the child who has so much to say that breathing is a big waste of time. If God is a good Father, it may be that sometimes he feels like I am out to lunch.
{cough...sorry...just a little joke there..}
Reading a really good about how to celebrate the church year. Going to review it just the second I finish it, which will hopefully be today. Feel that I will need to have a stout stack of these books to hand out to the average Good Shepherdian who doesn't know what on earth we're doing with the colors and the insanity. 'Read this', I'd be able to say, 'and do what it says, and eventually you'll want to be an Anglican.'
Had to shave the bottom of Moses' staff off so as to fit him onto the Mountain of The Lord. Then broke the staff and had to glue it. Now have to go buy some sand and something to put it in for the desert. And after that have to write out and laminate some helpful cards. Otherwise, how will the children learn about the near sacrifice of Isaac? How? I ask myself as I sling glue around, there must be some other way!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

that the body thou hast broken may rejoice

Romans 12
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

All summer, rattling round in my dim distracted mind, there had been a jangling feeling of distress and alienation about my own physical body. For those of you who have had any number of babies you might know what I'm talking about without my even saying it. But I'm going to try to say it anyway.

After being pregnant with Elphine I felt like I better understood the new knowledge of a baby discovering the presence of a hand or a foot for the first time. You're born, you take your body for granted because, well, there it is, and then you start to wake up and discover things, one of the first being a strange waving hand or foot. Being pregnant for the first time is maybe not exactly the same but similarly sort of wondrous and strange. Your body, that you're so used to, becomes a swollen and pain delivering alien, and then after you are delivered of the thing you so long to have, your body is given back to you broken and different. Of course, you don't have time to think about it because your body is still totally required for the life of the other. But after the nursing is done, and the house is cleaned a few million times, and supper is made over and over, and you start figuring out how to teach children to read, then finally the fattest baby of all is delivered and starts running around shouting at you and flinging blocks around the room forcing you start seriously exercising so that you can out pace that baby when she makes a mad dash across the church parking lot. She doesn't have a prayer, of course, because you met the challenge, chugging up the hill for a year and a half. You can take a whole breath, or swim for twenty minutes without becoming winded, or rearrange all the furniture in your school room without even thinking about it. Then arrives another moment of strangeness where you feel like your body might be your own again, but it's seriously not the body you knew before.

I had the shadow of Jesus' broken body, there on the cross, hanging over me as we drove from place to place all summer, as I fit into clothes I'd been long wishing I could wear, as I applied layers of eye shadow and lipstick (because we were in the south). The fact is, I'm a broken person, my body a broken container for my broken and sinful soul. My broken body properly reflects my broken soul. I try really hard to make sure no one can see how broken I am both outside and inside, which is not always a good thing. I've noticed lately that when I say, 'I'm a bad person and I'm really struggling to let go of such and such....' I'm met with cries of horror. 'No,' people say, 'don't say that! You're not bad!' But I am full of evil and if others think that's not true than I must be lying to myself and them.

Jesus' perfect body was horrifically broken. His perfect and sinless soul made his broken flesh the perfect injustice. But his broken flesh was one of the means by which he gave life to me. The destruction of his body was a perfect gift. He was a perfect sacrifice, in life and in death and in resurrected life. 

My body has broken in a smaller, much less devastating way as I've given life to So Many (oh my word, there are just so many of them, twirling and shouting at me right this minute) others. And it's not the same thing, of course, but it's such a helpful picture for me, a helpful, life giving shadow, hovering over me. That I could give my body, that I could let it be broken, to give another life, to serve, to build up, is good and right, even as most of the brokenness is not the result of giving life but of sin. The strangest thing of all is God being able to eradicate the sin through suffering and to make whole the broken heart through the breaking body.

Nevertheless, the world presses in, lying to me, telling me that I ought not break, that I ought to be physically perfect, but not giving a fig for my soul. So the text above, which came up for me this morning in the regular course of reading, suddenly made the shadow into a clear form.

And with that clear form in view I am going to post this because it turns out if I sit blogging all day I'll actually be sinning. We'll see if I ever get to complete this thought. Maybe tomorrow, maybe when I'm eighty.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a quiet, grayish afternoon

Everybody wishes for excitement here and there, but sometimes a quiet productive afternoon is the best thing, especially if it's very gray and cold out.
There's no excuse for the dog. He ought to be pulling a cart or something.
But everyone else has worked hard all day, some wrapped in blankets.
Me, I should get up and do a bunch of laundry, after I drink this.

Monday, October 21, 2013

two americas

Been running back and forth across town all morning making little unpleasant and impossible visits to the department of motor vehicles, the dentist, and the person who can surgically remove whole teeth and their roots. None of the teeth parts have been about me. Elphine is in for a filling and my mother is here so that her poor dead front teeth can finally go the way of all flesh and she can have something different in their place. 

The department of motor vehicles, well, why do any of is ever have to go there? And if you want to know why I'm deeply and whole heartedly against single payer government enforced medical care, it's because both the post and the department of motor vehicle can't seem to discover where I live, even though I keep trying to share this special and important information with them. When I want to have some part of my broken flesh mended, how will they possibly be able to assist me when they can't keep track of my address? When you can prove to me that all the people currently in the government's employ in the domains of The Mail and Motorized Vehicles won't be able to apply for and get jobs in any capacity related to the Affordable Care Act I'll reevaluate my current deep feelings of anxiety and revulsion about the great gift were all about to receive in the form of free (hee hee hee) or more affordable (hardy har har) health care.

Contrast the department of motorized vehicles and the post with the coffee shop, never mind the dentist, and you get a bright picture of The Two Americas everyone is always fussing about. (Maybe it's not everyone, maybe it was just that one sleazy presidential candidate with the hair...what was his name...) The two Americas are not the rich and the poor, nor the 99 and the 1. No, the Two Americas are the One that is trying to help you get things you want and need (like coffee, food, clothes, or a root canal, the one that is able to take your money without coming to bits) and the One that has figured out the best ways to make everything as difficult and frustrating as possible. This America doesn't just take your money but more tragically wrests away your time and your energy, your glowing sense of well being.

Friday, October 18, 2013

7 quick takes

One reason I like a few quick takes on a Friday is that it buys me 20 minutes to think of food for the children for breakfast. And at the end of writing, I always discover that they'll just be eating toast because that's the way it is.
Solomon, in my bible reading just now, consecrated his new and majestic temple, and as you know, he prayed that when the people sin and are expelled out of the land, God should have mercy on them for the sake of his name. From which passage I flipped over to Romans 7 and the cycle of sin and death and frustration that is at least some part of the Christian life. As usual, I would never have read these two back to back except that that's the way they came up and I'm surprised, as I am every morning because I'm stupid, by how much it's always the same thing. I think, in the course of praying of working or whatever, that maybe I'm advancing into a wonderment of glorious spiritual depth and enlightenment, but then I beat my way through the day and discover that I sinned all the same sins I did before and that a lot of the Christian Life is trying to get rid of the same sin over and over and over again. For example, I quickly, almost every day in fact, spiral down in a cycle of fake guilt that I create for myself by comparing my house to the houses of other people. I read some beautiful blogs where the house and homeschool room looks gorgeous and clean and pristine and clearly the blogger is going from strength to strength and beauty to beauty, and then I go read good sensible blogs where the rooms and the writing are comfortable and real. And then I look around at my life and feel Guilty for not cleaning the house AND Guilty for cleaning it.
"That's definitely the Holy Spirit," said Matt yesterday when I described my cycle of death to him.
"Really?" I said woefully and gullibly.
"No, you fool," he said, "what kind of God are you trying to serve."
Well, clearly the god who will congratulate me on all my doings. But that god really hates me and so I should stop doing that and serve the God who gives a way out of the cycle of death, as Paul so helpfully articulated in his letter.
Please don't worry about my mental health based on take number two and send me emails about what I ought to do to make it better. If you're worried about my sanity start a blog where you take pictures of how awful your house looks at the end of a real day and then I'll link you on the side.
Gladys finished her big book of letters and gets to start reading Little Bear today. So Exciting! 
Also, for the first time in her life, Elphine found a book that she couldn't put down, read it all the way through, has to go back to the library This Second for the next one. PRAISE THE LORD. All this time she's been reading books like I clean the house--dutifully, happy for the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, but not for love. Color me relieved.
My mom and dad get back this evening from their Visit to the West. I'm so happy the mum in the back bloomed yesterday so they can have flowers all over their room. May all their flights be safe and swift. May that be the case for anyone traveling today for any reason.
The children have decided they're all going to be ninjas for Halloween. I managed to find six ninja-like costumes for about 40$ which I count as an extraordinary triumph. The two little girls look really funny dressed up all in black with their heads and mouths all tied up in the mask part. Elphine fussed with hers for what seemed like hours trying to make herself truly into a ninja. Now I want them to practice ninja like moves so I can play that Adele song with the ninja in it. I long to fill a room with glasses of water and then throw bits of flaming paper around. Srsly, rather than cleaning the house again today it sounds like a dream and a joy. But impractical, I totally get that it's impractical, so I guess we won't do it. Sob.
Arguing with Fatty Lumpkin this very minute about who this is. She believes strongly that it must be Marigold and cannot possibly be "my E", her words not mine. It occurred to me yesterday that all I do is talk about Fatty Lumpkin and take pictures of her but we spend So Much Time Together. You know, you write about what there is, and that's what there is, almost every second of the day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Gladys drew this last night in abut a minute and a half. It's so unusual and interesting to me. The lips on these faces are always so wonderful, but it really like the hard edge in the eyes.

I rushed around on Tueaday and made little cucumber sandwiches, flat weird oatmeal 'scones', and cupcakes for Gladys' little birthday tea. 
Fatty Lumpkin came bellowing down in her regular way this morning and got in my bed. She always screams angrily 'I need pillow!' and 'I need blanket' but this morning she added 'Please pinch cheek!'
Really? I've never wanted anyone to do that to me, let alone my mother.
I faced down the Christmas Pageant yesterday and opened my folder, made some adjustments to the script, and worked out a Practice Shedule. I love the Christmas Pageant of course, but there is that great sorrow that once the Pageant gets into full swing, there isn't moment for a breath until after Easter. It's possible that I'm compressing time just a teensy bit...
No, I don't think so. I think it is usually that busy. And this year the Bishop is coming around about when I usually kick things off. And on that subject, what do you think we should feed the Bishop? Gosh, so much to think about and plan. I guess I'll leave that for now and go make the children learn some stuff. I can hear them shouting and arguing so it's possible I have over extended this blog moment.
Pip pip! Go check out Like Mother Like Daughter!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

the picture up above

As I'm considering what might be fun for Christmas, as in what on earth shall I give anyone, I've been arguing with Matt over whether or not we should get another family picture taken. The answer that we have for ourselves, of course, is a resounding NO. Why subject ourselves to the trauma and unhappiness of even one hour of trying to appear to be a pleasant and loving family when I could just knit another pile of dubious scarves and hats. In my mind there is no contest.

But others, i.e. Grandparents and so on and so forth, like the fancy picture in a frame, as indeed I probably shall when I don't have to be in it. And, truth be told, I protest too loudly and too much because I am always trying to get clever blog headliner pictures. Which leads me to the picture above. So many of you have complimented me so much on it, both here and randomly on the street, and I've been meaning for sometime to give credit where credit is due. 

While at the wedding of our beloved youth minister and his gorgeously stunning wife, I manipulated a clever, talented and long suffering friend to point my tablet at us and shoot. 
She, I could tell, was wounded in her soul to use such a device because she has a real camera and takes real pictures and earns real money and yet she deigned to use what was there, arranging us and knowing all about angles and light and everything. 
AND, more also, she magically captured our soul. Go check her out!
It's hard for me to consider getting another picture taken ever. I'd sort of like to get this one blown up and pasted on the wall at church except that that would be weird and wrong. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

the party never ends

Gladys is six today.
She seems far too complicated a person to be only six. 
There will be a little surprise Tea for her today to which her "best" friend (this friend is significantly older than her, a person who would likely by you be identified as a Young Lady and who, possibly, has other closer friends nearer her age although Gladys will not countenance this possibility) and other very favorite friend and, sob, all her sisters, have been invited.
Then later we will all eat Salad 
[On Thursday we attended a lavish and abundant Farewell Party in the middle of which was a table laden and groaning with Salad and All that in there Dwell--I know the technical name for a table of this kind is Salad Bar, but that does not indicate the Majesty and Beauty of this Table. Gladys arranged for herself a Salad of such Beauty that she could not, then, eat it. She danced around it. She chattered and laughed about it. She showed it to everyone. But she could not eat it. Instead she gathered it to herself to take home, in the back of the van, necessarily letting it fall face down to the floor.
"Why," I cried out to Matt over the sound of Gladys weeping inconsolably, "on Earth did you let her hold it in her lap in the back?" 
"She asked me if she could," he said, as if granting such a request is perfectly normal and right, as if he hadn't made thirty or forty speeches about the children never being allowed to eat in the car ever.
"Life is a veil of tears, a well of loss, but if you would like such a kind of Salad for your birthday, we could probably do that," I said to her later that night when she was crying again.
"Why is she still crying?" Matt wanted to know.
"Because her soul was in the salad," I said, "just like the unpainted wall at church is an outward and visible picture of the state of my own life, this salad represents all of her."]
for supper 
and cut into a large cake the shape of a Lamb for dessert.
I know. A Lamb? Really? Not the Heart or the Holly Hobby or the Star or the Flower?
No, a Snow White Lamb with Snow White Icing.
Happy Birthday Gladys! May the Lamb make you his own lamb and may you follow Him wherever he leads you.

Monday, October 14, 2013

fall fretting

This autumn is all about the light.
I was driving along on Saturday, back and forth across town, back and forth, back and forth, relentlessly evaluating the relative intensity and beauty of this season's Fall Foliage, as is my want, and fretting in my regular way. Every year it seems to me that the year before must have been more glorious. Every year I cast my eye back and try to precisely remember the shade of each tree, as if such a thing could be remembered. I cannot remember where my list of things to do is carefully placed. I cannot remember what I intended us to have for dinner most days. I cannot remember why I came into this room. Certainly I cannot remember the color of each tree last year. And yet I can't sot from trying.

And I am completely sure that this year is settling more towards yellow and brown than red and orange. This fact cannot be avoided, certainly not when driving along that bit of parkway by the river. The only red there has been the foreign ivies growing up the trunks of more ordinary looking trees. 

I drove along all afternoon and found this to be uniformly true and shook my internal and rebellious fist at the Weather of Binghamton. Surely God has forsaken us all. Probably the end of the world is nigh. A brown fall surely foretastes a cold, bleak, brown winter. I may as well shut my curtains tight and pray for an early spring which won't come because God isn't provident and doesn't care.

So said I to myself steadily until my final trip across town, this time at 5 o'clock as the sun was settling into a warm golden glow on the edge of the trees. I was struck dumb into repentance and hope by the peculiar color of gold produced by the light. 

Sorry God.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

man is born to trouble

I've just come to the end of David's life in my ordinary way of morning bible reading, which is to listen to it as I wrestle back sleep and try to cope with the reality that morning is truly upon me. This usually occurs with Fatty Lumpkin present, shouting and writhing around. Last week she was lying on top of me and she sat up and then flung her full weight back and landed on my lip causing me to bleed for quite a while and have the strange sensation that my teeth were actually rattling around in my jaw. It still hurts quite a lot actually.
Where was I...
Oh yes, David. 
So this morning David hurriedly made Solomon king because of the threat of Adonija, who, glancing forward to tomorrow, will be struck down for asking to marry the young Shunimmite girl who had the dubious job of keeping David warm. But last week it was that he, David, was running away from Absalom. And shortly before that was all the trouble he brought upon himself with Uriah and 
Bathsheba. And it occurred to me, in all the rushing around to bring Solomon in on David's donkey and anoint him with oil, that man is indeed born to trouble as the sparks fly upward and that that trouble usually goes on until the point of death. 

We don't like this, in our day of glorious and comfortable retirement opportunities. We work hard, but then we're supposed to have a fun rest where we travel, maybe, and do all the stuff we didn't have time for when we were working and shoving kids through to adulthood. But so often it doesn't pan out that way. Some find themselves raising grand children or dealing with catastrophic illness in themselves or others. And many, now a days, carry on working long after they expected to. I, obviously shouldn't be thinking about retirement (although it has replaced My Wedding as my go to day dream) but in my day to day troubles, I seem to get one solution carefully and neatly tucked away only to discover thirty more are jangling their way in to ruin my plans.

And at every moment along the way the precarious cliff of devastation or failure seems if not imminent, than at least on the near horizon. I mean, for heaven's sake, God promised David that he would establish his throne forever but that throne was constantly under temporal threat. Every time David had a few minutes to get comfortable, someone would plot to wreck it all, even at the very last moment when he should have time to just die quietly in peace. 

The idea that God has everything in hand, that all the threats to our lives and success are within his control and will not overwhelm us because he has promised not to let them, doesn't usually suffice to deter total panic when things get hard or appear to go 'wrong'. It's only afterward that you look back and see, Oh! He had already accounted for this and provided a way out. That's why looking back is so important, to build a more and more solid reserve against panic. 

It seems discouraging to me, at first glance, that David was never allowed to rest on his laurels. But knowing what is ahead with Solomon--the great immense complacency and unfaithfulness that Solomon brings into the picture--I have to conclude that all the trouble in David's life was due to God loving him so much and his loving God, so that his first instinct was always to cry out to God for help and mercy and God's gracious will was always to give it. As Marigold so astonishingly prayed on Sunday, 'Thank you Jesus that the sheep got lost so that the Good Shepherd could find him.'

Given that all this is true, and my, and perhaps others, penchant to panic in the face of trouble, I find it irritating and am resentful, even, of the deep wellspring of panic available on Facebook and Twitter. I am by no means addicted to Facebook but when I do log on, at the time of my choosing, I am immediately confronted with fifty million devastating crises around the world and some exclamation points to let me know that I ought to drop everything and devote my life to them, or at least sign the petition. Is it my job to fix all these problems? Is God not God? If I forget to pray can he not act? I panic enough on my own without needing the entire internet to help me. Pacing myself to endure trouble and woe until the day of my death is challenge enough. 

Nevertheless, I will, shockingly, post this on the internet, including Facebook and Twitter and also wish you all a trouble free, if it's God's will, weekend!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

in which i ramble along about how many birthdays i have to celebrate

I always love a birthday where the presents, no matter who is receiving them, are things I really need. Why do things have to break so quickly in this modern and disposable age. We have to buy a new non stick egg frying pan every eighteen months because the handles always fall off them. Always.
And of course, we break wine glasses as though we are drunken college fraternity children. Except, I don't remember drinking wine out of nice glasses in college.
Of more interesting and lasting import was the nice story that the children all wrote altogether while I was out gathering in lamb and wine and a mediocre chocolate cake for The Party. Far be it from me to spend myself on the making of a fancy cake when the person for whom the celebration is being celebrated Won't Eat It. The story even had a plot. Be still my beating and happy heart.
And so now I must swiftly turn my thoughts to Gladys who turns six next week. And then the week after Marigold turns four. With the final extravaganzas of Halloween and Reformation Day I am always grateful to get to the relative calm of November which is a mere wisp with only Thanksgiving and Pageant Preparations. 
"It goes around in a circle," I said to a new little boy in Sunday School as we put together the Liturgical Calender, a circle with little wedges for each Sunday of the year. "There's so many," he complained after counting them. "And too many are green."
No, I thought to myself, Not Enough Green. We need more regular Sundays and weeks where nothing exceptional happens. 
But maybe God knows best.
I mean, yes, absolutely.

Monday, October 07, 2013

monday birthday haze

Our big tree out front is not as glorious as it was last year. It seems to be settling in for yellows and browns with only hints of orange and red.
When I sit at my desk in the sun school room I can look through the open front door at the light filtering through and feel like maybe there is a god (just kidding, I know there's a god. Sorry God.)
But I couldn't get a picture that really reflected the light the way it really and truly is so I gave up and just went outside and took two hundred pictures in the way that one does now, fingers barely registering the fact that a picture is being taken. Sometimes I do miss the old formality of taking a real picture, setting it all up and being so careful, because it used to be, in Africa with actual film, that 'there wasn't more where that came from, so be careful'. But then, when I'm trying to just snap one. single. solitary. stupid. little. stupid. picture of a child, I'm grateful for the insane ease and speed of a cell phone camera. 
And I'm grateful that the little bit of orange on my tree faces the window so that as far as I know, sitting at my desk, the whole tree might as well be this beautiful, even though it isn't this year.
And I'm grateful for Matt whose birthday is today. Every year I'm so grateful that he survived his wild and foolish youth and that he's so sensible and alive now. I've been asking for the last week what he'd like to do, you know, for 'fun'. So far he's agreed to eat a whole second egg for his birthday breakfast. Every other day he limits himself to one egg for breakfast, and a tiny cold piece of chicken for lunch. So I can see that today is going to be a day of riotous and unbridled living. Happy Birthday Sweetums! May this be your best year yet!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

rejoice, o children, you can learn without federal money

Here's me enjoying a little early morning Government Shutdown. 
Ah, the sweet smell of the fall air, the quiet of children clattering in the kitchen, the comforting knowledge that for a few sweet bright minutes our wretched government isn't making our lives any more of a difficult mess. That mess I can provide for myself, beating back the incompetent barbarian children at my gate. 

And on that note, I'm going to go provide these same children with a nice morning of free ungovernment sponsored education during which I will indoctrinate their tender little minds and prepare them for the dark difficult days ahead.