Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pulling at loose threads


Joey wants me to lay in bed with him until he falls asleep. I'd love to and am not adverse to the family bed (in fact Aubrey slept with Paul and I last night because she was lonely) -- except I don't want to go to sleep when they do. Or rather, I don't want them to stay up with me. After they are down for the night, I have a chance to talk to Paul; or watch a rated 'R' movie; or soak in a hot bath; or write.



Today the results of the enrollment lottery happened for Ridgeline Montessori school. Currently there are no opening in the 3rd grade class for September. Names were drawn and Robert's name came up #2. So if a spot shows up, like someone moves, and the #1 kid doesn't want the slot, it could/would be offered to Robert.

I'm almost relieved. I really want to unschool both my kids and now that RobertJoey will be home with me again, (unless he's offered a spot within the next few months) Aubrey will be given the option to stay home with us again.

On some days she seems to enjoy going to Ridgeline and likes to interact with the kids. But there are so many things that she would benefit from if she stayed home. The biggest detriment to staying home, is if it didn't work out -- she wouldn't be able to go back to Ridgeline. And Meadowlark really isn't an option in my book. She'd have to go back on a waiting list and go through the lottery process the following year and quite possibly not get in. (Just like Robert.)

So it would be a big decision to stay home.

Any suggestions or words of wisdom?

Making decisions really freaks Aubrey out. She agonizes over them, over making the wrong decision. And she almost always regrets whatever decision she does make. :( It's a little disheartening to me.

Ultimately, I believe that having her home with me will allow me to encourage her spirit so much more. To reassure her that she's fantastic and will always have my unconditional love, no matter what. And for us to stay connected when the going gets tough in the next few years.

My thoughts quagmire. I am restless.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Trees and Gratitude


There is something hypnotically beautiful about trees. Gazing into their green shady depths, witnessing age old truths being whispered to the sky, feeling the breeze fluttering the leaves and caressing your cheeks.

One can only see movement as it affects something else. A silk scarf as a child plays with it, the breeze billows under and around it, beckoning it , invites you to share the wonderment of flight. To feel yourself rise and flutter and whoosh about.

You can see movement in a river, the water swiftly swirling about, traveling this way or that.
Sometimes movement is fast and furious. A hurricane; a sweaty dance on a slick disco floor. Other times movement is slow: a turtle trudging to the food source; or lazy: the grass dipping and swaying in sun-dappled forests; branches dancing and leaves fluttering. The grass waves and ripples, soft with the wind.

Movement is sensual, too: A lover's dance of lips on a moonlit beach. So can sound: a flute mournfully exploring the waves of an ocean following it until it crashes on glistening rocks at the ocean's edge. You can hear movement: soft shoes scuffling across a wood floor or the sound of love being defined in a rumpled bedroom.


You can hear movement, but can you hear tradition? Can you hear it when you are in a forest?

The sound of elven children laughing with sparkling eyes. Hear the solemn wisdom of the nobles, breathe in the hush that settles around the trees.

Forests and trees never cease to cause great rushes of wonderment and awe for me. A reverence falls and bewitches my spiritual core. Letting the spirits in these trees envelope me creates a knowledge of beauty that sometimes I forget. But in the presence of this divinity I awaken to the beauty and wonderment of the forgotten.

A bird soaring and swooping just to feel the wind dance beneath him. A duck floating on the river, not swimming, just floating -- letting the water carry him to his next place. Watching my son sleep, breathing his baby breaths, his little chest rising and falling through his dreams.

Listening to my lover describe a happy moment at work, watching a stranger sit at the water's edge and stare into the beauty of a moving river. Hearing thunder rumble in the distance while staring into the flames of a fireplace. The coziness of tea and candles lulling me into a meditative calmness.

The beauty here borders on the indescribable. There is such happiness and beauty in my life right now that my inadequate human parameters almost can't bear it. Tears threaten to spill over and do sometimes.

Isn't it amazing that there are so many facets of human emotion, yet when these emotions rise to their fullest peak within, there is but one option lest you choke upon them. To cry. It seems a strange way to share great happiness, or to describe the awe at nature's beauty that exudes out of you. What a funny way to honor beauty -- to cry.

I suppose I shouldn't feel ashamed at the literal out-pouring of emotion and passion in the form of tears. It is merely another way of expressing passion felt.

When there are no words, at least there are tears.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's ok to find art everywhere


I used to go to a pottery class (I have a wheel in my garage that I haven't used in years) and what I really loved about pottery is that it enabled me to understand things about myself that I didn't know or understand completely before. Many things actually.

I'm reminded that there is art everywhere I look. From the frozen dew drops on a tree branch to the way a line crackled through the sidewalk. The color of Joey's eyes, the way Aubrey runs when she is happy. The sound of a lover's breath in my ear when he got excited. ... Now that's art!

Pottery has also shown me that it doesn't matter what people think of you, your actions or your values. It only matters what you think, whether you are showing integrity to your true self. This epiphany paralleled (strangely enough) my discovery that my favorite pots, mugs or bowls weren't the prettiest.

My favorites were the ones that felt good to my hands when I closed my eyes. If the piece told my hands a story then it held value to me. And I realized that society wouldn't have agreed with me on that.

Society would hold value in the pieces that weren't lopsided or have fingerprints in them. It used to be, once upon a time, (and sad to say I still fall off the wagon here sometimes ...) that I would agree with society on this point (or on any point) in order to avoid confrontation, being singled out or fear of being judged unworthy.

I have since learned that in order to live authentically, to truly enjoy yourself as a person, you must ignore society's values and create your own. And to truly believe that it is ok to believe differently than someone else. It's ok to like the logsided pots better than the straight ones. It's ok to believe in reincarnation. It's ok to sing in the rain, it's ok to cry at a movie that nudges your soul awake. And it's ok to be afraid.

Even though society doesn't agree.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NN

I have a surprise night alone with my husband. The kids are at a sleep over with friends, and roommate and his daughter are at the coast overnight. This means: naked night.

Yippee!

We are, well never mind.
Good-night!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Random

We had book club tonight. Well, I did. Paul dropped out. He wasn't having any fun. He enjoyed the conversations, but he wouldn't read any of the books. :)

Aubrey went skating with a friend and ended up going to their house afterwards and staying for dinner.

Joey hung out with Dad on the computer all day. (I REAALLLY hope this isn't too scarring for him. It sounds so terribly bad for him.)

I ran errands: bank and shopping at two different stores to get the most bags of groceries for my dollars. Also to Bed, Bath and Beyond (yes, I went into a chain store -- it was icky) to get a memory foam mattress pad for Paul. The hard bed we bought him for his sciatica is too hard for him. :) He says it feels like sleeping on the floor.

To bed now. Sleepy after two glasses of wine. The strawberries, organic goat cheese and rice crackers were yummy and the conversation was delightful.

We have six more books picked out for the next six months of book club meetings.

See ya all around!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Help me decide on a template


(My new hair cut.)

I've switched my page elements around and went back to the old template. The blues and greens were pretty, but I was thinking more snazz. Orange does it for me.

But what do you think? Back to the blues and greens?

A Cozier Home Redux

I just posted my last post of my Writing Practice blog. I've decided to merge that one with this one. It was just getting too much to do with all the other projects I have taken on. Plus, a really nice reader gave me permission to do it. :) Thanks Individual Surrender!


Merging?

I've been writing. Today I finished an essay (maybe it could use another editing though) about the first time I looked at the pictures of the crashed car Rob died in. I took it to my critique group tonight and then edited it again once I got home -- which is why the date on this post reads Tuesday. 'Cuz I posted it at 12:22 a.m., which is still really Monday night because I haven't gone to bed yet.

I'd like to post it on my grief blog, but here's the thing. Eventually I want to publish a book of essays about my time after Rob died. But if I put all these essays on my blog, why would anyone want to buy the book? They could get it free on the blog.

I'm also thinking of merging my writing blog with this one, so I don't have to keep up on three. I thought about merging all three, because really my life encompasses all three and they all bleed onto each other's canvasses.

Like when my sister ousted me. That was grief and also affected my kids, but I only put it on my grief blog. Or when I write about depression of any kind. I sometimes think that should be in the grief blog even though it doesn't directly relate to Rob.

But I've been urged not to get rid of the grief blog with the reasoning that if I want to become an "expert" in grieving and want to publish articles in journals and magazines that talk about it, I should have the grief blog separate from the parenting stuff.

What do you think?

And should I put this latest essay on Grief Shadows? Or save it for the book?

Oh yeah, and I cut all my hair off. Pictures to come. (We all got hair cuts.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Switching Gears

There are so many other things I'd like to do right now. I mean, in addition to writing my daily post. :D

My intention was cleaning kids' bedrooms this morning:


But my son woke up sick and barfed 3x in that stainless steel bowl.



This has also been on my to-do list for WEEKS --




-- but it was actually hailing this morning (as opposed to the sunny sun right now) and I ditched the thought of attempting it. Again.

When things have been on my to-do list for a long time, especially if I've had the oomph to set a date to tackle some of those things and actually put it on the calendar and told people I was going to do it, and then something happens to put me off it again -- like a sick kid -- I kinda go a little funky.

Not a lot. It just sorta ... derails me.

So I was walking around, sorta restless, around noon without the motivation to go upstairs and tackle Aubrey's room when I landed at the computer. Big stretch, I know. And I discovered a beautiful thing. A thing that has taken all burden away; and all guilt, too -- which is a mean feat, lemme tell ya.

Today is International Goof-Off Day.

Ahhhhh.

What are you doing today?
Or not doing? ;)


Saturday, March 21, 2009

So there


I regret to inform you that I will not be writing a post tonight because I am going on a date with my husband.

A much needed one.

So there.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's turning around -- A Good Day Today

Had a great day today.

Cleaned and ran errands this morning. Bought some flowers for the front porch that I'm hoping to plant tomorrow, and hosted a crafting circle.

We painted, talked and knitted, and sculpted, too. It was fun and yummy with snacks.

The power went out (someone hit a power poll in our neighborhood) for about an hour, so we ate cold chicken from the fridge and I took the kids to an open gymnastics gym for a couple of hours (and to go somewhere where there was electricity). I went to a coffee shop and ate a gluten filled treat (!!!) and a couple of cups of decaf; read my book, relaxed and listened to some good live fiddle music.

Home now and the kids are having a sleep-over together and watching a video on Robert's player (a special treat only for weekends).

Paul is home now -- no, I'm not going to run out on you, Reader, --  ;)  -- and my plan is to keep reading in bed or on the couch. I'm tempted to watch a movie with Paul, but I'm not drawn to anything and I'd really like to get this bookclub book over so I can start reading some of the stacks I've got lying around.

Some of my newest are:








A visiting homeschooler from Austin, TX showed me how to cast on and how to do the knit stitch today. Let me tell you:  it was awkward and ugly.  (heehee) But I'll keep working on it and maybe someday I will have beautiful projects to gift away like the ones on here and here

Another unschooling mama asked me today if it was difficult having one child 'schooled' at home and one in a more traditional setting. (Aubrey's in a public charter Montessori school.)

"Yes," is my answer to that. And the truthful answers to that are: I don't like getting up in the morning and getting HER up in the morning to get her ready for school. And neither does she. And the truth is, I want her home with me. I want her to want to be with me. And she does. Right now. But I'm not stupid; in eighteen months she avoid me like a left-over scab in the bathtub.

But Paul, rightly so, says that that feeling (of wanting her home with me) comes out of my pores and I breathe it on her. She knows, he says. And because of that, there is no point in keeping her in a public school, he says. He believes that if she knows I want her home, and she runs into challenges at school that she won't struggle through them and grow, she'll give up and say, "Oh well. I don't have to do/learn/be assertive here. I can just go home."

Well. What's so wrong with that? I ask you. Don't the rest of you do that, too? I do. If I run against something that doesn't do it for me, I find something else that does. Why waste the time and energy?

The real tragedy is that I almost don't feel comfortable, open or free around Aubrey anymore because of it. I feel like Paul expects me to "lie" about my opinions in this matter so that I don't end up unconsciously manipulating or leading her in any particular direction.

And I DO want whatever Aubrey needs and wants. If she prefers public school, Dude -- I'm there. And I would support her in going if that is what she really wants. But I don't think it is.

But what if I don't believe she wants to continue to go to public school because I want her to not want it?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Day in the Life of ...

For a couple of days now, I have wanted to make a blog post with pictures describing a day-in-the-life-of.

But I keep getting pictures up until noon or one and forgetting the rest of the day!

Maybe tomorrow I'll post a morning-in-the-life-of.

(insert cheesy smile)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I feel like a prat.

I've got some thinking to do. And some journaling.

I have been feeling disconnected and bitchy for two days and I'm not sure why.

My only insight is that I suspect my soul is finally revolting against my needs not being met. I keep not meeting my own needs, in an attempt to meet someone else's. Everybody else's actually.

Case in point: I've been jonesing for a hot bath and a book for days now, and everytime I think I can squeeze it in something goes wrong. A kid's temper tantrum, a crying fit that needs lots of love and reassuring hugs, a little boy who THINKS he can't read wants to read me a story and I jump at the chance, a husband who says he wants to connect and snuggle with a movie in bed and then promptly falls asleep -- leaving me sucked into the movie but no closer to the tub, or today ... the piece de la resistance! I sink into the gorgeously hot water with coffee, water glass and book beside me. Read two lines. And am notified that my daughter has slipped in the mud and needs me to bring her clean clothes. Fuck.

I am so disappointed I am almost in tears. And why doesn't Paul go in my stead? Because he wants to take a shower before he would go, and he can't use our shower because it is in mid-tiling project, and he doesn't want to use the upstairs shower because our roommate is up there and -- I don't know, maybe he thinks Steve would not notice the closed door or hear the water running and accidentally walk in on him? Bottom line, I'd have to get out of the tub anyway, if I wanted Paul to go.

I really wanted to call him a rotten name.

After dropping off Aubrey's clothes (which the teacher's aide took from me saying, "She's in the class room, working. I'll take these to her. I think it is just her pants got a little dirty.") and realizing she possibly didn't need them as much as I was led to believe and possibly I could've finished the bath! I went ahead and weighed in at Weight Watchers but ditched the meeting and got a blackberry creme latte instead. And bought $73 worth of craft and sewing books.

Therapy.

I came back home fairly refreshed, but still in a funk. And here I am. Still funky.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wretch of a Mother




I'm having one of those no-matter-how-hard-I-try-I'm-coming-out-the-bad-mom days.

I could hear myself snark and lecture and I couldn't seem to stop myself. Aubrey came home with a headache, but we didn't discover that until three crying episodes and about four lectures on being mean later. Sigh.

I think I discovered a pattern today.

I droop at around 3pm. Unfortunately that is at the same time I'm picking up the carpool from Ridgeline Montessori. So, knowing I'm going into terminal fried state, I try and extricate myself from Mom role and hide out reading blogs or "answering emails."

This is purely for their protection. I know if provoked, or even if not, I will most certainly blow my top and send a zinger straight at their tiny unsuspecting heart. Right when they most need me.

So I hide from them.

But today I didn't. I hadn't felt overly productive today (I only took an AM carpool shift, went to Home Depot to learn about what to do with a moldy shower stall and buy a toilet seat and lid, took Robert to his Egypt class, fixed us lunch and then wasted my writing time reading blog posts with the idea I was inspiring myself to write my own.)

So after returning from the PM carpool shift, I didn't crash in front of the computer to read, thereby disallowing my children the same time to crash and renew from the day, instead I insisted everyone help fold laundry.

Paul volunteered to cook dinner, which I took in a heartbeat. I hate to cook for whining, ungrateful people (sigh, that was judgmental) and Paul hates to fold laundry. He doesn't know whose clothes are whose. Robert (7) and Aubrey (10) and I (34) all get our laundry mixed up in each other's piles when Paul folds. I truly do not understand this.


Robert has asked me several times today to come and play with him, and I (every time) have had excuses not to.

"I'm in the middle of a project right now."
"Work first, then play."
"It's house cleaning day."
"Come help me fold and then I'll play a game with you." (Which I promptly forgot about until just now.)
"It's dinner time right now."

So I call him in from outside where he is talking to our neighbors' kids over the fence.

"It's time for dinner."
"But I just found my friends. They just got back from a trip."
"I'm glad they are back. (I smile.) And I'm glad you are having fun talking to them, but it is time to eat now."
"Can I come outside after I eat?"
"Of course you can, Sweetie." (He sounded so hopeful and sad at the same time.)

We eat.
He goes outside.
They are gone.
He bellows for them on top of the playstructure, waiting and waiting for them to emerge. They don't.

"I don't think they are outside, Honey. Yelling won't help."
"Can you help me down?"
"Sure."


As I head back inside in the sprinkling drizzle, I say: "Do you want a sweatshirt or something?"
"Yeah."
I bring him one.

As I head back inside the second time, I hear: "Will you play with me?"
I sigh.

"I still have to pee. And then I promised Aubrey I'd go upstairs and read to her after I finished my blog post. Which I still haven't written."

"Aww." He turned with his little hands in fists (but not the mad kind) and his shoulders drooped down to his belly button, and walked alone to the swing set.

I felt like an asshole.

A cruel, mean, hard, unfeeling, wretch of a mother.

I want to cry.

And the worst thing is: I hear Paul talk to our son the same way. He wouldn't let Robert in the bathroom to see what we were scraping at (Robert's allergic to mold and we wanted him far away but neither of us took the time to explain it, we just excluded him from our project); he absolutely didn't even notice Robert talking to him and showing him a necklace he'd made in his Egypt class -- I had to get Paul's attention to get him to pay attention to Robert. It was so sad.

Robert wanted help making a salad and I was folding laundry (remember my tirade about the laundry earlier?) and Paul was starting beans and rice. No one would take the time to help this little boy just try to connect.

We both suck.


And even now:

Robert comes in here and wants to play a game.

"PLEASE!?"

"I'm still writing and I promised Aubrey I'd read to her. Do you want to come listen?"

"No. I wanna play."

"Ok. Go pick out a game, but it'll take awhile because I need to read to Aubrey first."

Four minutes later.

"Mom, I'm lonely upstairs by myself." Aubrey tries to climb on my lap while I'm typing.
"Robert's really bored, too. Why don't you play a game with him?"
"I want to read."
"Then read downstairs on the couch next to Daddy."
"I want to be upstairs though."
"Then you'll have to wait. I told Robert I'd play a game with him after I read to you. I didn't forget. I just haven't finished this yet."

So, I'm always wanted, but never enough.



Maybe I can somehow take comfort in that? Like, maybe no matter how awful I am, they will still love me and want to be around me? Still need me?

So, Aubrey's standing over my shoulder now. :) ("Hi, Aubrey.") I guess I should go read that chapter and then play a game with Robert and then .... MAYBE I'll get time for that book and bath I want.

I hope so. 'Cuz I need it today.

Monday, March 16, 2009

All we are is Dust in the Wind

Once again I have trapped myself in an hourglass of time, grains of sand falling over my head, like they did for Jasmine in Walt Disney's Alladin.

It is Monday night, Anna is here and I am not visiting with her. I am quickly writing a token post (I am so sorry, Dear Reader!) and then to write a new installment in my "Amelia" novel for critique group tonight. Which, uh, meets in a little over an hour.

*&%()! I do this every week. Every Monday I am back here at the computer, frantically trying to type out something brilliant that I should've written last week.

Drat.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fuckin' Family Movie Night


I had a crapola evening.

Sunday nights are Family Movie Nights. A night to all gather together and do something together as a family. (Monday nights I have Writer's Critique Group so Paul has Game Night with the kids before bed; and Tuesday night is Video Game Night. Friday night we usually go to an open gym at Bounce Gymnastics; and W,Th and Sa are usually freebies.)

So, I prepared for Family Movie Night tonight. I spent a considerable amount of time changing our video players and dvd players around (long story) and finally got them all set up. Aubrey, Kaya (roommate's daughter) and I made dinner early and I let Aubrey pick out the movie.

Instead, she pulled out almost all the movies and laid them on the newly cleaned off coffee table (did I mention I also spent time straightening the living room?).

"Oh, are you laying these out so we can all pick something out together?"

"Yes. I'd be willing to watch any of these," she says.

"Hmmm." I looked through the titles. "I haven't seen Cars in a long time."

"Yes! I wanna watch Cars," yells Kaya from the dining room table.

"Aww. I don't wanna see that," Aubrey says. Her shoulders droop.

"I thought you just said that you'd be willing to watch anything on this table." (Did I miss something?)

"Well, not that one."

"I don't want to see Cars!" yelled Joey from the table.

"OK, look!" My top was already blowing (due to previous mishaps earlier in the day involving Joey and the orthodontist -- maybe more about that later; I'm actually still pretty mad with Joey about that). "We aren't going to do this anymore. This is the way it will be. We will draw names from the hat. Whose-ever name gets drawn gets to pick out the movie. And from then on we will rotate according to age. No more of this STUPID fighting!"

I think my nostrils might have been flaring.

So my name gets drawn from the hat. I pick Cars.

Kaya does a little dance in her chair and Joey diplomatically says,
"Oh well. At least it's better than a grown up movie." Aubrey whines.

I start the movie. Twenty minutes in Aubrey is crawling around the floor. (She's ten, remember?) I ask her to join me so we can snuggle on the couch. She doesn't want to. The movie is boring.

"Oh, so you're going to do this every single time the movie we watch isn't YOURS?"

"No."

She disappears. I go looking for her. She's coming downstairs with a bean bag chair and a novel.

"Please just watch the movie with us. This is supposed to be a family thing."

"I want to read."

I cave because, remembering Aniela fights and alienation, at least Aubrey's in the same room with us.

A little bit later, she's gone again.
I sigh.

And then Joey gets up to play on the computer.

Fuck it.

I went to do the dishes.

Kaya watched it to the end.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

The First Egg Hunt



At our annual Spiralscouts Spring Equinox Ritual and Gathering, I read a story found by friend Karen Rainsong of Rainsong Design.

The first Ostara egg hunt!

Once upon a time, long long ago, there lived an ancient Teutonic race of people who celebrated spring equinox (March 20) and the coming of the new year during the last week's of Esturmonath (Ostara's Month) named for Eostra, their Goddess of the Dawn.

Ostara, whose name meant the East or dawn's light, came to entertain the children today before the spring equinoxes celebrations, because the parents were busy cleaning, cooking, and decorating up a storm for the coming of New Year celebration.

For it was common knowledge everywhere in the world at that time, that the new year begins with the coming of spring, and not in the middle of winter as is commonly celebrated today.

Every year at this time, Ostara and her magical shape-shifting bird, Ostro would keep the children distracted with fun new games, Lucky Scavenger's Hunt, and merry songs and dance to pleasantly tire them out.

The tradition had developed that each year, each child would receive a special, magically decorated egg from Ostro. The children spent the afternoon before spring equinox day weaving and then decorating a little basket for Ostro to lay their egg in.

But trouble was afoot this spring equinox eve, the children would not settle down to their basket weaving tasks, and could not be entertained with either song or dance. Ostara tried everything, including telling them a new tale she had prepared for the children for tomorrow. At her wit's end, she consulted with Ostro, who agreed that some emergency shape shifting magic was in order!

Ostro's body began to change in front of the children's very eyes... her brilliant blue feathers began to turn into the softest fluffiest fur you can imagine. Her sharp little black beak shortened into a cute pink nose, and she was growing soft floppy ears out of the side of her head, where none had been before!

Suddenly, Ostara had at their rapt attention. They gasped in shock as Ostro's tail feathers fell off and transformed into a round, puffy tail. By the time she was finished changing, no one could recognize her as a bird. She had completely shape-shifted into a brand new creature. Ostara immediately nicknamed her Peirs Cottontail, and a new tradition was born!

The children delighted while chasing the bunny here and there all afternoon, and the adults were very grateful that they could get all the party preparations completed in time.

Ostara thought this was the perfect ending to a lovely afternoon, until the children came to report to her that Peirs the rabbit was missing! They looked high and low for her, but to no avail. She was probably just resting in her burrow from all the day's activities, but now Ostara wondered, how were the magical eggs going to be delivered in time for tomorrow morning?

The morning dawned beautifully, but when the children came out of their houses, their little Ostara baskets were empty. Where were the eggs? Ostara gathered the children together, and explained a brand new game. Since the bunny did not have proper claws to grasp the eggs, when she had tried to bring them from her nest, she accidentally "lost" one! It had rolled down a hill, and nestled into a colorful flower patch. The next egg she tried to deliver to a basket had rolled into a gopher hole and was half hidden.

This had given Peirs an idea, and she quickly dashed about, hiding in the eggs in the garden surrounding the village. The children immediately grasped the idea and went scampering about hunting for their very own Ostara Egg!



Friday, March 13, 2009

Two field trips in one day!



One was rock climbing ...

And the other a tour of a glass blowing studio.

I have company that I'm ignoring shamefully right now.
I'll post about this tomorrow.

Hopefully.

We have a big SpiralScouts ritual and gathering and potluck and egg hunt tomorrow for Spring Equinox.

!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Whoops.

Drat. I did it again.
I forgot to post yesterday.

I guess I need not buy any books for the rest of the month. HOWEVER, knowing myself as I do, I fear that now that I have "lost" my bet with myself, I will stop writing these daily posts. For, if you remember, the bet was I write a post every day or I can't buy any books for the month.

Therefore, I may decide at some point -- sheesh! even later today perhaps -- to double up a post and "make good", giving me the opportunity to buy a book -- If I feel like I'm going to cave on the book buying issue.

I've discovered that morning time is the time to blog for me. Usually after Aubrey leaves for school but before Robert wakes up. Yesterday Robert woke up with a nightmare just as I was waking Aubrey up. I tried putting him in my bed but he never went back to sleep -- thereby disrupting my schedule enough that I forgot about writing.

And we had a full day yesterday.

It was bath day for Robert. (Yes, I have to schedule them in or he doesn't take them.)
Then I had a Weight Watchers meeting (lost 2.6 pounds -- but it doesn't count really, because I was trying to go down from the 4+ lbs. I gained the two weeks before, putting me at a higher weight than when I started).

We picked up Cafe Yumm lunch after that and brought it home where a friend of mine met us. We munched and talked, then took Robert to his roller skating class.

Then we went to the University of Oregon's bookstore and went downstairs. To the art supplies. pant pant.

I spent too much money on stuff we "needed."
I put it on the credit card. (small eek inserted here.)

But now I am off to ready Aubrey for school. I apologize for the inane-ness of this post. I wanted to get something down, though, in case I didn't remember later. Another full day is planned with cleaning the house today. Several projects have been calling me and I REALLY want to get them accomplished.

Perhaps I'll take before and after pictures to show you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bah Humbug

I'm not feeling well today, nor is Paul.

Whenever I don't feel well, I tend to get a wee bit depressed and feel bad about all the things I have not done, or that need badly to be done.

Office cleaning,
filing papers,
washing dishes,
folding and putting away laundry,
cleaning the pink stuff out of the bathrooms ...

... making dinner.

Bah Humbug.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Craziness. Ain't it cool?


(I'm embarrassed to say that while editing some photos of my family and myself, I forgot to "duplicate" before cropping. Whups. Now, I'm horrified that a large quantity of our family photos are only of me.) 8( [For instance, the one above is of me, Aniela and Paul in New York on the subway!)



This day is getting away from me. It's 3:45pm and I've been taking pictures as a sort of photo essay to use tomorrow on a day of life of us un-schooling.

I just picked up my daughter and her friends (The Carpool) from the public charter Montessori school they go to. It took about a half an hour to do (at the school and then driving time added onto that) because the school was doing a Parent Directed Response Pick-Up Drill. We had to park our vehicles, stand in line, show ID and sign out our kids who were then brought to us down the hall.

Then I took our little friends to their Tae Kwon Do class (which they both didn't want to do but Mom had said 'yes') before coming home. The boy practically looked in tears, he was so tired from his day. I felt so thankful for the opportunity to be flexible in my kids' schedules. And disappointed that not everyone can.

I'm trying to coordinate a knitting group/playdate for myself and my son during the day with the home(un)schoolers I know in my area. There was some flurry of interest on the boards (about six in all, which is nice) but it seems to be leaning towards a girls craft group now.

This is not what I had in mind, though my daughter loves the idea. I'm keen to get her involved, but what about my son. I dislike the segregation of genders.

And what about my knitting? :)



It was my intention to write something more interesting (about my recent blog research on gardening, living frugally and such -- I found some cool new blogs to add to my blog roll list) but I still have quite a bit planned for the rest of the afternoon and evening and I didn't want the day to get away without a post.

I still need to order Spiralscouts badges for our awards ceremonial coming up next month, print out at least one chapter of the novel I'm working on and edit it for my critique group tonight, make dinner, encourage my daughter who is struggling with a re-write she needs to do for her class, visit with Anna - who is over right now playing with Robert, eat dinner and get to group on time (have to wait for Paul to get home from work first).

Craziness. :) Ain't it cool?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saturday: Spiral Scouts and Iran


Our hearth, the Firehawks, went on a tour of a local restaurant yesterday for part of our cooking badge requirements. We first went through and learned how the servers worked their tables (how they worked in sections and how the orders went through the computer to the back kitchen, etc) and how to set a table and the scouts set their own place setting and folded napkins in a little swan boaty looking thing.

Then we went in the back kitchen and talked with the executive dinner chef and she explained how dinner worked and fun trivia like: how many pans they went through in the dinner hour(s) and had the scouts practice "sauteing" raw beans in their skillet.

They saw how the sanitizing dishwasher works.

"And this, kids, is the dishwashing area. This is one of the hardest jobs in the whole place," said Chris, our tour guide.

"The hardest?" Josh, my co-leader, said. "Then that means it must pay the most."

The dishwasher laughed.


***


In the evening, our family sans Paul, still at work, went to Robin's house to hear her brother in law talk about his native country Iran. It was a great potluck of Persian dishes and the presentation was very well done.


I feel relieved and happy and blessed that Robert found a friend to play with there and a playdate is in the making as we speak! I hope it sticks. Finn's parents seem real cool, too. (It's so nice when your kid makes friends with kids with parents you actually want to hang out with.)



I brought the stew in the pot. It was gone at the end of the night, so I guess it was a big hit.




All in all, a very nice day. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Christmas Party Hugs and Violence

I panic when I think of having to entertain people. I am not witty. I breathe too fast at those hideous parties where you must mingle with people you don’t know. Or in the case of my husband’s company’s annual Christmas party – I only see these minglers once a year. Which is even worse, because now I must not only smile with big teeth and pretend I care where she bought her dress, but I also need to remember his name and who he's married to and if he works under my husband or at a different department.

And Paul’s boss is there. He’s so jovial it’s painful. One year I called Paul at work for some now unremembered incidental and later complained to him about the receptionist that answered.

“What’s wrong with her?” he asked me.

“She’s like a cheerleader on speed. Hello! It’s a GREAT day at Company Name I Won’t Divulge! Where can I direct your call?! You could positively hear her head tilting.”

Paul laughed, “That’s because my boss is a cheerleader on speed. He told her to say all that.”

So when I see Paul’s boss at the Christmas party I silently and simultaneously laugh and cringe to myself when he offers his hug. He’s a good man – don’t get me wrong – he’s well loved by his employees and has excellent taste in who he hires … but he’s so … hyper.

He reminds me a little of my son.

Robert’s so much better in his hyperactivity this year. And the unschooling is really helping our relationship. I’m a strong advocate for his, and all children’s, downtime. I think unscheduled free time is where creativity is birthed and in the abyss before your mind and soul create this previously unknown thing of beauty … you play Xbox 360. Or at least my son does.

Yesterday he played four hours on a new video game we rented, and another four today. I hesitate greatly at this, waffling and wobbling all over like those Weeble Wobble toys from the Seventies. Is he damaging brain cells and forever cutting off neuro-pathways that could have allowed him to memorize sonnets or play the cello? Will he ever learn a second language now? Will he become like the sociopathic killer with the air pressure canister in “No Country For Old Men” because he likes to play World of Warcraft with the sound of crunching bodies being destroyed with Fantasy Violence.

And this I don’t understand. Why is Violence rated T for Teen on these games, or even M for Mature – the equivalent to a rated R movie – but Fantasy Violence is only E or E10? Is it not supposed to be as threatening to your psyche or your child’s sensitive emotional well-being if the spear is being thrown by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or a Death Knight? Because, you know, it’s just a cartoon really.

Unschooling gives me and my son time to explore what’s important to us. I see more and more of this interesting little person every day and I feel charmed. I’m so happy he chose me as a parent; I’m so happy we can learn with each other every day.

Today, we had a rough afternoon at the grocery store – a part I will honestly take a greater fault in than him. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the bickering with his sister over cookies that drove me to leave the store and our cart full of food in the middle of the aisle, it was most likely the damn LOST dvds we were given for our seventh anniversary gift a couple of weeks ago. Eight episodes in two nights doesn’t lend to early bedtimes or extra patience with your children.

So, in the van on the way home from the grocery store sans groceries, I address Robert:

“Close your eyes, take a deep breath and tell me what your body needs right now. What would feel good to you right now?”

My little old soul of a boy closed his eyes, inhaled and exhaled from his intestines.

“I need some alone time in your bed watching a movie. By myself.”

I rejoiced, without letting him see my smile in the rear view mirror. Robert has NEVER asked for alone time in his life. I think we may be turning a … oh no, I mustn’t say “leaf”. That’s too cliché. And Robert doesn’t like leaves nearly as much as sharks, snakes or bugs. How about we are turning over a awesomely cool rock to find equally awesomely cool bugs and worms wriggling about. How very interesting.

He could never have learned to breathe deeply nor receive the time to check inside and feel what his needs were at a traditional school. Not that I am taking all the credit here. I could never have learned to take that time with my son and to rejoice in his simple, yet astonishing all the same, accomplishments if I was not able to stay home with him. And in that I am blessed.

I swim in gratitude, and let the rightness of it squish up between my toes, knowing that Paul’s income allows me to stay home with our son. And for that, I’ll hug Paul’s boss any day.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gardening




"Spring is here, said the bumblebee.
How do you know, said the old oak tree.
I saw yellow daffodills dancin' with the fairies
on the windy hill, dancin' with the fairies
on the windy hill, dancin' with the fairies
on the windy hill."

I've got the gardening bug and just finished a garden plot plan with layout of veggies and flowers and plans of what to still get and what to trim or tear out. Fun!

We are getting dirt for the front garden Monday or Tuesday.

And right now I am going to trim the dang Japanese Maple tree that scrapes the roof of my van as I drive under it. Every time.

By the way, it's supposed to snow tomorrow night. Snort.
That's March for ya.

I was going to plant my peas, leeks and spinach today .... but maybe not.



I'm trying to get Robert involved, but he'd rather watch Avator, the Water-Bender, he says. Though he did volunteer to cut off branches. (Hee Hee ... boys.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Master Project List

It's rainy and cold and I'm still in my pajamas and robe (fuzzy slippers, too). Despite this, though, Robert and I are taking Kiya to the dog park after lunch.

We're also out of toilet paper and are using kleenex as a replacement. So a trip to Trader Joe's would not be amiss.

I'd also like to plant some peas and spinach today. I'm not sure if that will happen. But my indoor starts are growing!!!! I'm excited about this because I generally don't keep many things alive. I've been in Eugene six and a half years now and am slowly being acclimated to the growing season, sustainability, permaculture and the like. I'm thinking that being more aware of the green species on our planet is helping me keep things alive longer.


This is my baby kale! (The red peppers at the other end of the box are not growing yet ... )


And these are the beginnings of marigolds. On closer inspection, the calendula are also sprouting, but not the verbana. Hmm.



So, I've been working on my revised list (as per Anna's suggestions) and have come up with a Master Project List. It looks something like this:


Writing Projects

a) Novel
1-new chapters
2-editing
3-research
b) Critique group -- writing pieces to share
c) No Shame Theater group -- think of skits
d) Blogging
1-every day in Parenting blog
2-every other in Writing and Grief blogs
e) Query Letters
1-research mags
2-write one! (pretend I'm writing to Anna)


Gardening Projects

a) plant early seeds
1-make swimming pool bed
2-set up bamboo stakes
b) have dirt delivered for front yard
c) plan garden plot
d) plant starters in April
e) plant later seeds in April

Planning Time

a) Farm Sanctuary trip with SpiralScouts
b) Farm Sanctuary trip with homeschoolers
c) my birthday potluck -- invitations and order cakes
d) Create! Day -- invitations and buy book-making materials
e) Joey's birthday party and gift
f) Kaya's gift
g) Spring Equinox ritual (Spiralscouts)
h) " " activity with Mariamma and kids
i) Faerieworlds volunteering and attendance
j) "Focusing for Parents" workshop with Anna


Household Projects

a) quotes for van repair -- seatbelt, trim, kets, glove box
b) organize garage
c) re-tile shower stall
d) toilet seat replacement
e) clean out van -- vacuum, cleaner, put in garbage bag
f) fax medical chart to Ananda
g) cds imported to computer and put discs in case logics (cases boxed up in garage)
h) decorate eggs for egg hunt

Household Maintenance

a) clean office and keep it that way
b) fold and put away laundry
c) keep dishes up
d) detailed cleaning


Art/Playtime/Natural Learning Projects

a) get book making supplies
b) set up playdates
c) get George P. book from library and read for bookclub
d) get Aubrey's bookclub book and write date on calendar
e) connect with knitters (join circle? to learn how)
f) read more about unschooling
g) talk to kids about Iran and help cook a meal for Saturday's Persian Potluck




So far that is my list. Now I just need to find time to do any of it.

I'm also working on a "Next Step Chart". Having the original list itemized and put into categories is fine, but really, I'm just going to skip "Organize Garage" a gazillion times until I have a outline of what to do. For instance: drag all stuff out into the driveway, separate out Aniela's things and have her come over to pick them up or at least sort through them. Stuff like that.








Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I think my doggie's sad.



A trip to the dog park may cheer her up, but frankly, I can't get up the umphf to go out in the rain. I'm sorry, Kiya.

Sigh. I feel I've failed her.

I Freakin' Missed a Day Already!

Can you believe it?! I already forgot to post one day! Ah!

Yesterday I was exhausted most of the day and wandered around in a fog. My mother-in-law came over Monday afternoon (up from Roseburg) because we both go to a writer's critique group on Monday nights, and then she stays the night. Well, AFTER we got home Monday night after group (around 10 p.m.) we proceeded to watch to FOUR "Lost" episodes. This put me to bed at 1:30 a.m. -- causing the exhaustion and fog yesterday.

We spent most of the day playing "Bananagrams," a super-fabulous-awesome crosswords game that my friend Ginger turned me on to.

I also took Robert to his computer class. He hurt himself just before we left and so we ended up being an hour late for class. (eek) But he did manage to finish drawing the hieroglyphics on his beads for the Egyptian necklace he is making for the class' Egyptian theme.

Time to make oatmeal for Aubrey before she goes off to school....

I will write another post TODAY as an offering to the blog goddesses in the hopes that I may be permitted to buy myself another book this month. I say 'another' because I bought one on the 2nd (Monday) that has been recommended to me by a fellow blogger of inspiration. ("Handmade Homeschool") She knits. And I don't. But I want to. Thus the book.

"Stitch and Bitch."


Monday, March 2, 2009

I think the whale vertebrae was his favorite.


At the Museum of Natural History, our guide -- Gary -- let the group have free reign in this room. The kids were finally allowed to touch something and explore the room at their own pace. We looked at fossilized rocks, crystals, a giant extinct shark tooth (and all the serrations on the edges) and this blue whale vertebrae. Now, Robert could probably tell you, but my memory for facts is not as impressive as his, but I believe this giant whale is either extinct, or was the largest mammal in the sea, or the largest thing that washed up on the Oregon shore ... something impressive about it though.


Here's that tooth again. I had never noticed serations on shark teeth before. I just thought they were sharp, as in spear. Not spear-like AND saw-like.



In this part of the tour, you had to figure out what a certain item was and what the Native Americans used it for. This animal skin was obvious, but other items were tricky (I just can't show you the pics, 'cuz other people's kids are in them and I don't have their permission to publish them.)

It was a good trip and I think Robert had fun seeing other home-schoolers. I need to be more diligent about setting up playdates for him. He really craves them.



And here is a completely random picture I am throwing in because I like it. The kiddos were playing dress-up and decided to include face painting as part of it this time.



See you tomorrow!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"Nurture by Nature"

Right now I am reading (among others) this book to "Understand Your Child's Personality Type -- And Become a Better Parent."

Well, crap. How can you pass that up? Paul thinks I'm too easily swayed by what I read, but I think there is just so much information out there that I haven't given any thought to, that I add it to my already bulging files of values, belief structures, and relationships. It's just information. And I helps me determine the kind of person I want to be. What kind of parent I want to be. What kind of artist I want to be.

You get the picture.

Based on what I've read so far ... my son is an "ESTP", Thinking Experiencer with a Sensing Lead. Yeah. Not sure where they are going with that. And my daughter is an "INFP", Feeling Idealist.

More later on what that actually means. :)

Once camera is uploaded, you'll see pictures of our two field trips this past week. The Museum of Natural History and the Downtown Fire Station.

This Saturday we are attending a presentation and slideshow of Iran. And there's a sleepover in the works, too. Busy, Busy!

And if I can figure out how to import video, I'll post a funny one of a hamster up my son's sleeve. Quite the dinner party adventure.