Friday, March 27, 2009

Black Holes

I've always known there was a portal in the back of my dryer where socks can escape into another dimension. Turns out there are several other black holes, worm holes and portals in the house.

Obviously, there's got to be a warp in the time/space continuum. So many things go missing. I hunt and hunt for them. Then when I finally give up, the missing items show up right where they should have been in the first place.

The camera charger that went missing for 3 months. (ditto, the bluetooth charger)
The power cord that showed up in the same drawer I'd looked in 57 times.
The mapquest directions I printed off, then couldn't find. When I got home, they were the only thing sitting on my bed.

How do I switch these mysterious portals on and off? I'm missing a CD that I need to give to someone. And one of the kids' DSes. Are we sharing these items with an equally disorganized family in a parallel universe?

If so, I wish they'd go ahead and lost the stuff so we can get it back.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mother Birds

I took the kids on a field trip to the Water Resource Center yesterday for a class on where we get our drinking water. About a dozen other homeschool families attended, none of whom we'd ever met before.

The kids gathered in a semi circle in front of a row of tables. The mothers gathered behind. As the class started, I was able to witness an interesting dynamic at work.

The teacher would ask a question. The kids would stare at her. The teacher would rephrase the question. The kids would stare at her. Behind the kids, the mothers grew fidgety. At first, they swayed from foot to foot or crossed their arms. Pretty soon, though, the bolder moms were reaching out and poking their kids. Or if they couldn't reach them, they were waving to get their attention and mouthing the answers to them. The mom next to me wanted her son to answer every question.

My kids weren't answering questions either, which was a little discouraging since we recently finished a science chapter on the water cycle and they should have known all the answers. Nevertheless, I tried to restrain myself from prodding them during the class.

As I watched the other moms I wondered... were they so visibly flustered because they wanted their kids to participate, or to be the smartest, or to succeed? I can't say for sure, since I don't know them, but I got the feeling it was more about Mom wanting to feel like she had succeeded in producing brilliant, articulate, confident children.

Like a mother bird pushing her young out of the nest, not to let them fly, but to show the world... Look what I made!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 9

... and counting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eh, Sonny?

I'm on day 6 of my ear infection, day five of treatment. Yesterday the doc prescribed a stronger antibiotic with the good news... "Really antibiotics only knock about 16 hours off your symptoms."

The screaming pain is gone, but nothing is in stereo any more, I list to the right when I walk, and I'm sure the rest of the family is mumbling on purpose, just to trick me into agreeing with what they say.

And I definitely need a nap every afternoon.

The same day I started antibiotics, an acquaintance was starting her first round of chemo. As much as I'm annoyed about my little treatable sickness, it's really nothing.

Would you say a prayer for Diana today?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where are the Chickens?

We're having fufu for dinner. I found a hairy taro root that, though it's purply on the inside, tastes remarkably similar to the yams of West Africa.

Problem is, when I peeled off the hairy skin, I realized that there are no chickens wandering around underfoot in my kitchen. Nary a one.

I never thought about chickens when I bought the taro. Or when I set it on the shelf. Or when I sliced it in chunks. But when I peeled off that first piece of skin, my automatic reaction was to toss the peelings on the floor. For the imaginary birds.

Old habits die hard. Even dormant habits.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

3 Steps Back

Yesterday, I traveled back through time to my childhood. Not exactly, but I did see, do and experience some things from my distant past.

1. The whole day was about the wedding. I traveled with my parents to Astoria to be at the wedding of a childhood friend whose parents are still close friends of my family. The parents recognized me, but all three of their kids (including the bride) had a blank "I wonder why that short middle aged woman is smiling at me" kind of greeting. Then the recognition... it's funny seeing people you haven't seen in over twenty years. We all change, you know. Lovely wedding, lovely bride, and lovely being introduced to the groom as "the other girl in the Little House on the Prairie outfit" in our childhood photos.

2. I started the day with doughnuts for breakfast. Yummy doughnuts. I haven't had doughnuts for breakfast since I used to go to the bakery in the Foodland parking lot. I also had the requisite nap in the backseat of the car on the way home. Probably because I had doughnuts for breakfast.

3. The worst blast from the past was last night. I got an earache. An all out screaming pain, can't relieve the pressure with drugs or hot water kind of earache. I knew it wouldn't kill me, but I kind of wished it would. Eardrops finally did the trick enough for me to get to sleep. Of all the nostalgic memories from my childhood, earaches are the ones I rather not revisit.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

signs of spring

At some point in my house's history, a previous owner laid a layer of black plastic in the area I use for my garden. Every time we till the garden (by we, I mean my loving husband), it stirs up crumpled pieces of visqueen. You'd think after 4 planting seasons we'd have it all picked up, but I think there's more plastic out there now than there was when we started.

I still have to scrape my windows every morning, there are other signs of spring beside the beautiful black dirt and not so beautiful black plastic. It looks like my daffodils might actually flower this year. The squirrels are drooling over what is sure to be a tasty first course to a season full of wonderful things to eat out of my yard.

My youngest didn't come in from playing outside until after 7 last night. She smelled like fresh air and happiness.

The rose bushes, still in their plastic bags waiting to be planted, are growing like gangbusters, an inch or more a day.

Any signs of spring at your place?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tools of the Trade

When you home school, you never know where you might end up. Today, it was to the Leatherman factory where they make the best multi-use tools in the world.

From spooled stainless steel to finished product, we got to watch the whole process.  I'm sure we'll extrapolate lessons about the industrial revolution, labor and safety standards, robotics and immigration.

Really, though, the coolest thing I took away from the tour was the handy little gizmo pictured here, the Juice Cs4.

Thanks, Dad!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Warm and Cozy

As I watch the snow drifting gently down into my fallow, frozen garden, I'm thankful that even while winter continues outside, friendships make life warm and cozy.

At a recent dig (Goodwill, not archaeological), I found a tiny scrap of yellow fabric with teacups on it. My friend who was digging with me got a gleam in her eyes and- pretty much- snatched the scrap from my hands. No loss for me. It didn't exactly look like a treasure. But then, treasure is in the eyes of the beholder.

The next time I saw my friend, she presented me with a kitchen towel, created from the scrap of fabric by her mother. A fabric scrap redeemed.

A warm fuzzy for my kitchen.

This past weekend, said friend wanted to have a girls' weekend. Big girls. 8 of us. No kids. (Did you just hear the hallelujah chorus in your head?) Dinner and movies, and snacks, snacks, snacks... And lots of visiting. It was like a slumber party without the slumber. And it was fabulous!

Another warm fuzzy, this one for my heart.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Read Aloud

One of the coolest things about my kids is that they love to be read to. Out loud. Every day. Even the teenagers.

Of course, their tastes have changed and they beg their dad to read fantasy fiction to them at night while they draw pictures of dragons. But mornings are my time to read aloud and I get to choose the books.

We recently started reading THE TREES by Conrad Richter. This classic first book in THE AWAKENING LAND trilogy was first published in 1940, but reads like a much older story. It's one of those books that, if you were assigned to read it in English class, you would have complained and skimmed through it for answers, not because it's not a terrific book, but because you were assigned to read it in English class.

Don't tell my kids that it's classic American literature. Don't tell them they're learning from it. Because they love it. They're engaged in the story. They're learning the vocabulary. They care about Sayward and Sulie and Genny. Just like earlier this year they grew to love Scout and Jem and Atticus Finch.

What do you think we should read next?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Weebles Wobble

I came home from a writing workshop this weekend pumped up and ready to write. Sunday and Monday I tapped away at the keyboard and banged out some decent chapters. Then, last night, I went to my critique group.

I don't feel like writing any more.

They didn't slam me... in fact, they were very gentle. But listening to the words I'd put on paper, I wondered who cares?

I'm coming to terms with the fact that I have a growing desire for my work to be read. And if I want people to read what I've written, I'd better write something worth reading.

I'll bounce back and, with God's grace, eventually hit on a story worth telling, a truth worth sharing.

In fact, I'm sitting down to write right now.