Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Global Gathering

Today we gathered for our first Global Gathering. We were focusing on India this month.  My friend had lived in India for two years when her son was an infant (was actually born there) and she brought a lot of cool books, statues, diyas, rituals and food from India.

She actually had the kids do part of the cooking.

Ginger showed us a lighting of a diya.  These would be lit, with prayers being said, on Dawali (pronounced Dah-vah-lee). "The Festival of Lights" is a Hindu holiday.

The kids all brought a piece of Indian trivia (Joey talked about snakes in India -- the most venomous, of course) and we ate Indian food, listened to Indian music and dressed in Indian clothes.

It was fun, educational and interesting.  Now, if only Joey will actually participate more next time.  (We'll be doing Russia next month.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Food Confrontation

Just had a short confrontation with my housemate.  He was making sandwiches this morning for a lunch he was taking out and discovered that the pastrami that he bought a couple days ago was missing.

Neither Paul nor I used it.  I know that Aubrey made dinner last night and used some ham, but no pastrami.  I thought.

"Does anyone know what happened to the pastrami that was in here?"

"I don't," I said, but I knew that Aubrey had used some meat.

"Aubrey, last night did you use the pastrami to cook with?"

She turned from the computer.

"No." She looked off, thinking. "But Maggie used it to make Joey a sandwich yesterday."

Ah.  The babysitter.  

Steve raised his voice.

"Well, we need to do something about this."  He waved the remaining bag of deli meat in front of him. "I just bought this using my last $10, expecting that their would be some when I needed it and now it's gone!"

"Steve," I shook my head.  This is number three on the food confrontations. "We've asked you to put your name on it. If you don't want us using it, put your name on it."

He rubbed his face vigorously with his hands.

"Sorry." But I sort-of wasn't.

"Ok. I'll just start doing that," he said.

We turned away. Him to finish sandwich-making and me to make the coffee.

While he was upstairs I emptied the dishwasher, re-filled it, started it and wiped down the counters, throwing away trash as I went around the kitchen.

Later he asks about a paper cup he'd set on the counter.

I close my eyes and drop my shoulders forward with exasperation. I look him in the eye.

"I thought it was trash."

He fished it out and mumbled and chuckled (though not jovially, more like hysterically) about "weird energy" in the kitchen this morning.

"It's just that there's stuff all over the counters for days and I set one thing down and it gets thrown away."

Later again, Paul asks him what kind of pastrami it was. He wants to replace it. (I don't think we should have to, personally.) 

"Oh. Just Winco stuff.  You don't have to. It was just a couple dollars."

"I don't mind. My kid ate it. I'll replace it. But I do think you should put your name on it."

"Well, I was thinking maybe I could have a drawer in the fridge that was just mine." (Brilliant idea. One I thought of last month and offered to him -- which he turned down.)

"Great," Paul said.

Then Steve hugged us good-bye.


I'm a little irritated.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



Aubrey's home from school today. We're at Bounce. She had an emotional morning, born also from lack of sleep last night. She stayed up too late.

I want Paul to be a part of this discussion. I'm not sure what to do with Aubrey's school situation. She's particulary upset about not having time with family.

  • stay at MK until end of term and work hard at home to have alone time and one-on-one time with her (really nurturing her)
  • start home-schooling her next week
  • start tomorrow :)

My conundrum is: having her stick to something that she agreed to do (can't just quit when the going gets tough) and meeting her needs. I'm definitely not sold on traditional schooling so I hate the idea of forcing her to 'go to school' -- but, if she gets bored or lonely at home, will she want to ubruptly go back to public school? She's only been doing it for one month.

Missing Paul.

I'd like to pick on of their interests and focus on it for the week. Not exclusively, still following their lead, but to find resources to cater to those interests.

Making potions? Go to chemistry labs, Science Factory.

Snakes? Alvord Farm, Herpetological Society 'tours'.

Filled out Montessori application for Aubrey, she's number two on the waiting list. She can go to school with Celeste.

Whirlwind Days


Joey helped me clean the downstairs bathrooms.

We watched a Bill Nye the Science Guy dvd on Reptiles and an Eye Witness dvd on Volcanos. I read a picture book about a little boy that was a vegetarian.

We were running a bit late to meet up with some other homeschoolers and Joey hurried me up, telling me that we needed to get there on time so we didn't let the other people down. :) My words sink in.

We hiked at Ridgeline Trail with Ginger and Zeal. Afterwards Zeal and Joey sat and looked at Joey's new books: "Venom" and "Mythical Monsters."

Went grocery shopping (and Joey was such a good helper), picked up Evan and Celeste and brought them to our house.

Aubrey had a playdate with Olivia after school and Lisa (Olivia's mom) dropped Aubrey off and then Celeste and Aubrey played upstairs in their clubhouse (closet) while Evan and Joey played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles xbox 360 game.

I wrote an essay for my writer's group and started picking up my office.

Dropped the all the kids at Alyse's (Evan and Celeste's mom) while I went to group, and got the kids in bed by 9:30p.m.


  • Zoned: xbox, reading "Venom" to Joey
  • Bounce Gymnastics with Joey / Aubrey went to Unity School
  • Allergy shot for me
  • picked up Evan and Celeste from school and dropped them home
  • dropped off Joey at Unity School
  • went to my counseling appointment
  • picked up the kiddos
  • Taco Bell for dinner (blech)
  • went to Deanna and Troy's to help them move
  • crashed in bed

Fern's Edge Goat Dairy Farm and "What Excitable Means"

10-6-2008 --

Went to Fern's Edge Goat Dairy Farm today. Thirsty. Too hot, too long, irritated. Didn't eat beforehand.

Joey was *excitable* when we got home. Maggie babysat and she told me horror stories. He bit her. Among other things. But that was the worse.

*Excitable* means: He chased the dog through the house and had to be sent outside so the girls could do their homework in some peace. He played with water, broke my birdbath and hurriedly came in bereft that he'd broken it. Sigh. Tomorrow will be better.

Aubrey's going over to Olivia's house after school tomorrow; Joey and I are going on a hike. I also need him home to clean with me.

Pictures of the farm soon: check back!

Philip Foster Farm

10-3-2008 --

Went to Philip foster Farm today in Estacada, Oregon. Four hours of driving -- blah. Joey did very well though. We listened to the end of a Trixie Belden book on tape and he watched a couple Eye Witness videos on "Life" and "Pond and River" and "Amphibians."

He like most of the activities. Log cabin building, sharpening stone wheel, washing laundry, riding a hay bale, sawing a slice of wood, etc. Anything hands on. he didn't care for looking through the house (though I couldn't tell during the walk (run) through -- he told me afterwards) and he didn't like the spinner. The spinster wouldn't let Joey touch anything -- which he disliked.

We played checkers in the country store next to the fire (we stayed warm all day 'cuz of the constant fires that were lit around the farm), he held a rabbit and saw how traps worked.

He really had a good time. It would've been more fun for him if he had a buddy with him, I think. He saw lots of kids everywhere and even engaged with some of them. We saw Zeal (a friend) but Joey didn't stand around jabbering to him. I guess there was exploring to do and activities to be done.

It rained most of the time we were there but we were prepared with umbrellas and boots.
Fishy Joey didn't mind it at all! I mostly don't like getting my head wet. If I have a hat on, most times I don't even mind the raindrops on my glasses.

Good day. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A gentle thanksgiving

I'm seriously considering going vegan.

Eugene Vegetarian Education Network (www.eugeneveg.org/) holds monthly meetings on the first Monday of the month. I went to October’s EVEN meeting where Wayne Geiger talked about Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary (www.lighthousefarmsanctuary.org/) and since then I’ve been doing some of my own research, yielding pretty unsettling results.

I’ve always prided myself on eating organic foods and no red meat, by which I mean cows. Unfortunately, I recently discovered that pork is considered ‘red’, too. (I do love my sausage.) And the poultry I buy is organic and free-range only; the fish wild, not farm-raised. But pride goeth before the fall, they say.

You see, I reminded myself at the EVEN meeting that when I eat out , the meat is not organic or free-range. My chicken tikka masala at Evergreen’s Indian Restaurant comes from chickens housed in battery cages only a half a square foot large. Some of them die from extreme temperatures or succumb to severe hunger and thirst during transport. They are debeaked and put through pain and misery just so I can eat a chicken ceasar salad or a chicken and black bean burrito from Laughing Planet.

When we prepare for our annual Thanksgiving dinner, we never buy a turkey because my husband's boss buys them for everyone in the company. Giant Butterballs. And I eat it. The dark meat. I cut up the gizzards to make delicious stuffing with pork sausage for added flavor.

But the pigs I eat can’t turn around in their breeding pens, or even sit down. They go through massive mental trauma, as evidenced by their gnawing at the metal bars they are imprisoned in. And the turkeys. Well, that’s just horrific.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, www.peta.org) did an undercover investigation of the Butterball company and this is what they reported:

Butterball turkeys are killed using a process that involves hanging live birds by their legs, shocking them in an electrified bath of water so that they become paralyzed (though they still feel pain), slitting their throats, and then running them through a tank of scalding-hot water for defeathering. (www.goveg.com/feat/butterball/butterball.asp)

This week I listened to a talk by Will Tuttle, author of “World Peace Diet”, which said that within three weeks your taste buds could completely change. I've had experiences where my own tastes have changed and I’ve not liked things I previously had eaten. You know, like, Snickers bars and Kool-aid. The sugar content now is revoltingly high and I can't stomach it.

Though, I have to say that sugar continues to be an embarrassing vice. I can eat whole vegan dark chocolate bars in one sitting and handfuls of vegetarian candy at a time. Nothing I'm proud of and proof that if I do make the switch, my junk food slip-ups can (who am I kidding? will) continue. But maybe I can train my taste buds to do without sausage and bacon. Wouldn’t that help create a more peaceful planet? Wouldn’t I be contributing to the solution of global warming rather than the cause of it? After all, animals (especially cows) raised in factory farms are one of the main causes of greenhouse gasses.

I'm going to talk with my husband about my idea of our family pledging veganism for three weeks, and then seeing what happens. Maybe after three weeks and a complete taste bud overhaul, we will be able to shift to a more gentle diet.

And even if none of the rest of my family do it, I may very well continue on my own quest for the end of animal cruelty. I can at least do my part by not eating them myself. One can make a difference.

Be gentle (www.gentlethanksgiving.org) this Thanksgiving, my friends.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October Busyz

Ok.  So October is going to have the 'busyz'.  Last Monday we went to Bounce Gymnastics for their home-school open gym. Joey got to ride the harness, swinging like Superman! He didn't want to get on it at first -- (snort) But THEN we couldn't get him out of it.

Tuesday we went to the library and cleaned out their selection of Garfield comic books and several Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD's.  Among other things.

Wednesday was Mad Dash Day to run last minute errands before Paul and Aubrey took off for Las Vegas. And today is Thursday in which I: made a submissions book
and finished up a bunch of long-put-off phone calls and schedule adjustments.  (I still haven't quite finished that task. Sigh.) 

We ran errands after that for about three hours, culminating in me hurriedly dropping off Joey with Steve (my housemate) and running to the Willamette Writers meeting with a bowl of chicken and mug of soup balanced in my van ... for slurping at stop lights, of course.

And now I need to charge my phone (bought new charger today because Paul took mine to Vegas) and read up on how to work my new camera (bought new camera today because Paul took mine to Vegas) so I can use it tomorrow on our field trip to Philip Foster Farm. But more on that later.  Joey has crawled out of bed once again and I need to go put him back.

Coming soon:  field trip entry from Philip Foster Farm, a goat dairy farm planned for Monday, a couple hiking trips, more garden days and gymnastics and swimming days and also our first "Global Gathering" event, featuring India.