Tuesday, January 30, 2007

OOO OOO OOO A new one!

This blog entry is just for ~A~, whose face I immediately imagined, twisting into "WTF?" as I read this page (linked above.)

Seattle's new tagline is metronatural. MWHAHAHAHAHAHA.

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I wish I had thought to call her first just to read it to her. I am surprised she hasn't blogged it yet. Unless the convention bureau is hiding its new slogan from her.

I have a sentence! "The residents of pugetopolis enjoy the metronatural lifestyle it affords....."

I am glad for the first time she fears the bridge, or she might actually cross it to kick my ass over this one! I swear to God, ~A~, I am not making these things up. They're just OUT THERE! (but I promise I won't embrace this one because I too, think it's a little weird.)

Where we're going this morning


Both N and G will be involved in this one, so we'll see how they like it!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Musings on dh

Ever since the storms and some personal house-clearing, I've been focussed on our house. Whatever lazy-blocks have been there are gone now, and it's been cool. The dishes get done, the laundry gets cycled, and it doesn't always feel like such a chore. I know this is how other people live-- just do it!-- but it's new to me.

So anyway, P-Daddy has been out of town a lot because of a special assignment with his job. Even though he comes home at night most of the time, he commutes 2 hours each way when he is in Aberdeen and he's fairly useless when he is home--snappy, fatigued, cranky as hell with me especially. It's put a strain on the family in a pretty noticeable way, as it has been going on now since October. The neighbors are getting divorced, and now our kids have asked us if we are getting divorced too, since Daddy doesn't really live with us anymore. That kind of strain. Beautifully, only D-meister seems oblivious. Friday when P-Daddy came home, D stretched up
pudgy arms and screeched "Daddy!!!!! Happy now!"

This weekend P-Daddy made a concerted effort to be present and with us, in mind as well as body. We started our pilates-together program (I have never worked out with P-daddy before) . We worked together (gasp! together?) to steam clean the carpet in the entire house and did some more clearing out. When we returned the machine we went for a family drive, exploring Fox Island. There's not all that much to explore frankly, but it is lovely, with beautiful, expansive vistas. We saw a new-to-us totem pole and a nice carved troll, blah blah blah. Lots of family joviality and the like.

As we were heading off the island, it happened. The kids were sucking down Smoothies Daddy had just purchased for them, when N decided he wanted to go to the SuperMall. We said "no way Jose!"


"Because you'd have to drop me off home first, " answered P-daddy. This was agreeable to the children, of course.

"I want to spend time with Daddy while he's home," I told them.

"But why?" N answered, "The kids are the nice ones!"


I guffawed at first, as did P-daddy, but then he stopped, his face pinching a bit with hurt. I held his hand for a while, a promise to wait out this unfortunate assignment of his.

That afternoon, he played kickball with the kids for a long time and made them a special supper. Today he's back in Aberdeen and will be gone again for two days.

I hate GWB.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Social Graces

I love having friends with whom I can relax.

Of all the bounties in my life, this is one of the most important. We finally have a circle of friends again, and they are kind and trustworthy and loving. I am so grateful for this blessing.

Danny is coming! Danny is coming!! She's been the one to bridge the arc of old and new.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Compulsory schooling is anathema to the American Way

Speaking of a society mainstreamed together by compulsory schooling and the devices (including press, radio, television) that facilitate the formulaic principles of obedience, blind loyalty and the regimentation of time and emotions that we're taught in those schools, John Taylor Gatto wrote:

We cannot grow or mature, like plants in too little flowerpots. We are addicted to dependency; in the current national crisis of maturity we seem to be waiting for the teacher to tell us what to do, but the teacher never comes to do that. Bridges collapse, men and women sleep on the streets, bankers cheat, good will decays, families betray each other, the government lies as a matter of policy--corruption, shame sickness and sensationalism are everywhere. No school has a curriculum to provide the quick fix.

The old Congregationalists would have been able to put their finger at once on the reason pyramidical societies, such as the one our monopoly form of schooling sustains, must always end in apathy and disorganization. At the root they are based on the lie that there is "one right way" in human affairs and the experts can be awarded the permanent direction of the enterprise of education. It is a lie because the changing dynamics of time and situation and locality render expertise irrelevant and obsolote shortly after it is anointed.

Monopoly schooling is the major cause of our loss of national and individual identity. Having institutionalized the division of social classes and acted as an agent of caste, it is repugnant to our founding myths and to the reality of our founding period. It's strength arises from many quartes, the antichild, antifamily stream of history being one-- but it draws it's greatest power from being a natural adjunct to the kind of commercial economy we have that requires permanently dissatisfied customers.
--pp 90-91

I had just written my entry on self sufficiency when I finished Dumbing Us Down. This passage really resonates with me because it captures nicely how I perceive modern day-to-day life. Americans in particular are just so confused about what goals they should be pursuing. Now in the greater scheme of things, I realize it is not up to me to determine what goals a human should set for himself, but I can stand honestly and say that those goals should not culminate in how much of the Target fall line resides in his closet. We're all so distracted by the accumulation and the "bling"--whatever bling means for you, be it fast cars, diamonds, wool yarn or artisan cheese-- that we get lost. The energy for true self-expression, not self expression using the latest fashions and toys, is gone or at best, waylaid.

What happens when the lights go out? The teacher is not coming.

I am proud to be among (and from, by the way) people who look past schooling as a means to education. You can obtain both simultaneously, yes; but more often than not school is perceived as something to be endured. Education is a lifelong process to those who truly value knowledge. A card-carrying Libertarian activist, I am out to protect our civil liberties, but as a well-schooled woman, never before recently would I have ever thought school was out to curtail them. Teachers may encourage you to think, but schools certainly don't want you to think too much. I started homeschooling my children for very different reasons than the ones now sustaining this effort. I hope it's enough.

I need to clarify: I don't think schools are evil. I love schools. I am a nerd. It is compulsory, generalized, rank and file public education that makes me want to implode. The children who don't fit into the boring, sit-down-and-regurgitate-what-I-said-to-you schoolrooms are summarily labeled with ADD or autism. If they don't pony up and trot when they "should," they must have a developmental disorder. It's not the child that's broken! Even the testers will tell you that the intelligence is there, apparent in the child. But those children don't fit in...to the school environment. They certainly find their way among their family, with their friends.... but the school is rigid. The assumption is now that the child must be repaired. I think not.

Gatto suggests the complete privatization of the school system. Give the money being funneled into this gargantuan set of industries -- the schools themselves, the textbook companies, the supplies manufacturers-- into schools that actually service the communities in which they exist. Waldorf, Montessori, Sudbury. Technical, Carpenters-- there are enormous varieties in schools that exist now that could have every child thrive. It can be done, but it's a scary process. And not one I have the leisure to wait for with my own children.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Painting Day

I haven't painted images in a loooooong time.
G's favorite activity for girl's day is to go paint pottery with Mom at Java and Clay. She spent her Christmas money from Gramma Rose on the expedition this time, so of course I had to join in the fun.

This is a 45 dollar plate on sale for 15.00... then all pottery sold in January was 30% off. My cheapskates are very happy indeed.

G's horse made me happy. Check out the shading she has going on here. I love watching her think her way through her art. She's so sure of herself.

The colors, once these pieces are fired, will be much darker and a high gloss. I will post pictures when they come back to us.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Another Ice Storm

It was bad here in Washington, but it's been much, much worse in the midwest, where they had so few trees to shelter and protect them. This reminds me of the blizzards in the 1800s where so very many died. A friend of mine in Missouri managed to get to a connection to update us.

Hi everyone, I am just checking in. We still have no power and we were told yesterday that it could be another 10 days. We also have no land line phone, and no internet. We do have a generator, so we aren't suffering too bad. But we have to drive 20 miles for gas.

This has been bad. Very bad. Seven people have died in my little neck of the woods. Out of 4000 people, less than 100 have power here in town. Several thousand in the rural areas are still down. My folks are still out and I have spent most of my time on the farm trying to take care of stock. We can't pump water so we have to break the ice loose from the ponds. Dad and I have lost 17 head of cattle between us, about $34,000.

We have no trees left, none. Those that are still standing have to be cut down. We have roof damage and damage to one of our cars.

This has been so surreal. The National Guard is everywhere. Houses are burning down. People are carrying guns with them, including us. Twice someone has tried to steal our generator, while it was runnning. People are stealing cattle. People are looting. It is just crazy.

We are forecasted 4-6 inches of snow tonight. Joy. I'll post pics when I re-join civilization again.

Preparation is so important. Coming from the hurricane coast, its second nature to me; we understand that Mother Nature is a Bitch who barely tolerates us. The rest of the country is literally being taken by storm and it hurts me to see how many people are just....clueless. I want to belong to a society that knows how privileged it is. We can't rely on the grid and the layers of commercial infrastructure to be there for our families in the face of true national emergency. Even blaming the government with incompetence or ill-judgment doesn't cut it. It doesn't take bad intentions on the part of a municipality for you to be completely self-reliant for quite some time. The government is neither our parent nor our babysitter. It has a role to fulfill, but ours, when it comes to caring for our own, is much more principal.

It's so difficult to tell, for me, whether this is a cyclical event or whether it's the beginning of the BIG cycle. We've had weather like this before in cycles of history, and I comfort myself with that, but those events did not coincide with giant chunks of ice falling into the sea at both poles. I am a true water baby, and I am concerned. The seas have changed. The little creatures that helped a Coastal Carolina child match the seasons have gone.... GONE: the hot autumn glow of lightning bugs, the spring cicada swarms, the deafening chirping of the summer tree frogs, the march of the fiddler crabs right down the street to the other side of the neighborhood. Here in Washington, the salmon are having serious trouble. Even here.

In the large "pro" column of moving to Washington was the greater potential for sustainability in the face of cataclysm. I hope never to have to rely on our sense of self sufficiency. We did better than a lot of our neighbors, but in my mind, we are not nearly as prepared as I would like. The garage, which is untidy-- not an impassable dumping ground, but somewhat chaotic at the moment-- looks different to me. I want the camping and fishing gear easily accessible. Tidiness is no longer an aesthetic for me, but part of taking care of my family in a very real, protective sense. That's a life change.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Thinking of my friends

Susan, Nathan and family.

You are in my heart and prayers.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

~D~ and the flaming sword of justice

I thought I would be hard pressed to ever hear a story that would compare with The Elf and the slaughter of the roses, but today may at least compare. Nay, it wins.

I was chatting on the computer when I heard N come running. So panicked that he was not forming coherent sentences, he gasped "D-baby bad! Oh No! Come Now!"

There are times when you implicitly trust your child. N, who just that morning had also saved us from the overflowing toilet by using towels and coming to get me when D stuffed THAT up, was in a panic. I leapt and ran.

In the living room, my newly two-year-old was brandishing a flaming, plastic sword.

He'd been poking the sword (which belonged to N by the way), into the fire, and waving it in the air, dripping hot plastic onto the carpet. I approached him carefully so as not to startle him into burning himself or anything else, while N cowered in the doorway, and I removed the sword. D was as proud of his new achievement as the first man to bring forth fire, I would imagine. I however, simply sank to the floor in the fatigued realization:

Omg I have two sons. And a brand in my carpet.

Pictures from our Snow Walk

The creek in the back of our property
It dries up in the summer.

the same creek, from the day before


Snow day-- and not just a smatter

The news said "light dusting of snow." This is the most we've gotten this year! We live so close to the water we rarely get anything, so this 4 inches is a lot for us.. This past week when C-family was sledding in 6 inches we barely got two, and it melted quickly. So this was nice to wake up to. Even in the cloud cover, it's so bright inside we don't need lights. It's so tranquil!

My hand wasn't so steady so the stitching is wonky on the last one, but there you have it!
(Click to see)

And I will be adding a Tamera picture too! ETA: I waited too long and now the ledge snow fell off. Darnit! I don't care. I missed the shot because I was making snowmen and sledding with my babies.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Biscuits and Cuteness

When in doubt,
wear them out!

Tadpole's Promise

We own another title from this author, Misery Moo, but we checked out Tadpole's Promise from the library. She's got an interesting sense of humor. I laugh out loud at her books.

This activity is not too sick and twisted, but definitely MILDLY sick and twisted

ages 4-8

the book:

Tadpole's Promise

the materials:

Butterfly Lifecycle Sequencing cards

Frog Lifecycle Sequencing cards

Read the book, and the discuss the sequencing cards. Compare the life cycle of the caterpillar to the tadpole, and contrast where they were during each stage of the story.

Discuss why the book opens vertically instead of horizontally. What is above? What is below?

Do animals and insects experience love the way people do? Is the book funny or sad? Why?

Friday, January 12, 2007

We got snow! And kept power!

How nice was THAT duality!?

My pictures of the event are underwhelming but I like the ones over on Niki's blog!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dude, where's my wand?

I surely want to be able to wave a wand and have all the projects done, the carpets cleaned and the clutter away.

Guess I will have to settle for burning calories.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Memory Lane Drummer Boy

This is N at 3 years old, when we first moved into this house in 2005. He's singing about trucks and dinosaurs in a tunnel.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Our new home!

No good LOTR-named blog would be without reference to this wondermous domicile in Wales:

Their story begins :
Take one baby, a toddler and a building site. Mix well with a generous helping of mud, combine with 6 weeks of solid welsh rain whilst living under canvas. Do this in candle light without a bathroom or electricity for three months. Chuck in living with your father for good measure. Top with an assortment of large slugs. The result a hand crafted home of beauty, warmth and health for about £3,000.

Having children is a major motivation for buying a house. Combine the rigours of looking after young children and meeting demanding mortgage payments in today’s climate and you have a recipe for stress. Then add to this concern about toxic materials that are inherent in most buildings, and exposing your precious babies to them is a cocktail of dismay. This would sum up the options before our family before we decided to take the plunge and go off the beaten track.

Thanks to Tamera for the link.

New spaces, good habits

I have had a hard time with the guilt of not providing my second child with all the benefits the first had. By the time she was three, my firstborn had her own (huge) room with her own private desk, chair, art supplies, shelves, the whole nine. He's never had that. Partly because they shared her space, partly because as a boy / baby / separate person, he never has been much for the care and tending of his belongings, art or otherwise. Lately, we have been on a give ~N~ a shot kick. So far, he's thrilled to have his own space and responsibilities. If it works, I will be very happy to have another work station. If it doesn't, we have another shelving unit for ~D~'s stuff to be put away as he moves into the big boys' room.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Meet me on the Hill

Girlie making friends with her new guitar.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Dinosaur

Thank you Aunt Dalicious!

I took a shower today

Silly me.

The sad thing is, he replaced the camera in the dock. I had no idea.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Twinkle Twinkle

Or, what happens when you forget the words to the song, while you're a crazy-haired, noggin-bumpin, two-year-old boy.

The Total Package

You know those people? Those people who have the right combination of x,y and z to just combine into a really cool person?

This woman has defied social, statistical odds to become a really interesting, strong person with a huge family life. After having lots of kids, not only is she still walking and talking, but she's pregnant and remodelling. And socially conscious, to the point of doing something about it. (In her free time???)

My point is, while I barely know her, she's an inspiration (she started the school bus joke I love so much-- "Wait! You forgot my children!!!!!!!!") and she has more energy than me and my friends combined.

Click the link to see whatI am talking about. I especially like the "I've never painted a dragon" line.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Boom Stand

Beautiful Melissa asked me about the boom stand. It's all P-Daddy wanted for Christmas, so of course it was included in his gifts. Here's some evidence of how it has been put to use already: