Friday, March 31, 2006

A Hobo for Holly

Doesn't that sound like a creepy little-kids' book title?

Holly posted this somewhere.

Things to do when I get my braces off:
1. Have corn on the cob like all the time
2. Go to Shoney's and get like a ton of gum from their really cool 25¢ gum machine
3. Eat carrots until my skin turns orange
4. Mess with big Wax lips without getting nasty red on my braces

Who I'd like to meet:
A hobo that's actually jumped at least one train.
And maybe a robot with lavender hair named Simon.

She had the first part, up to the carrots a couple of weeks. Her braces do come off in April. But that's not why I brought it over here. She posted on Tuesday night that she would like to meet a hobo who'd jumped a train. (I believe "hopped a train" is the technical term, the idiomatically proper phrase, but...)

Wednesday night my troublesome younger half-brother, born when I was old enough to use birth control responsibly and my mother was not, called me from Buda, Texas. Last time he called he was either in Alaska or Montana. He changed his story partway through because sometimes it's hard to keep the lie straight. But now he's in Texas, and one of the stories he had to tell was that he was trying to get to New Orleans and was arrested for riding in a box car and put in jail in Del Rio or some such place. I was thinking maybe two days. No, he served 45 days of a 90 day sentence. He sweet-talked and guilted a female judge to let him out early.

So I'm telling Holly what Justin said, and she got big eyes because she had JUST posted less than 24 hours before that she wanted to meet someone who had hobo-fied a train ride. Ta-daaa.

My mom had an uncle who died, during The Depression, jumping out of a boxcar before it quite stopped, as they were wont to do, we understand. My granny said once that he was probably pushed because he had done it too much not to be able to do it right.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I got a job

An job inquiry/offer came casually into my mailbox, on a Mac users group. After looking at the potential employer's website, I responded and said if someone younger and more enthusiastic didn't show up, I'd like to be considered.

So... it seems someone younger and more enthusiastic did show up, but thought it would be insufficiently stimulating.

I HAVE intellectual and artistic stimulation in my normal unschooling life. I wouldn't mind some monotony. But so far (seven hours over two days), no monotony. It's about a mile away, and involves mostly clerical stuff, for a lawyer, performed as contract labor. It's not in a walk-in office, so I don't need to dress up. I'll end up doing most stuff from home anyway, after a while.

But that's not the good part. The work involves something very commendable, which is mediated divorce. The emphasis is on what's best for the kids, with a first pass of trying to avoid the divorce in the first place, and a bottom line of not going to court. Pretty cool.

"[Collaborative Law] encourages the parties to resolve present and future disputes in a manner that will contribute to the future well being of their children."

Marty and Kirby go to work every morning, and Holly sleeps until 1:00 or 2:00, and now I can be support personnel for some right livelihood. Whether the work lasts just a while or for a long time, it's fine with me.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Bad Dreams

I haven't slept well three of the past four nights, which will probably pass on its own, but last night (meaning in the past three hours, because I got up at 5:15) I had three bad dreams. They weren't nightmares, but were scary stories involving not being able to sleep, being separated from my kids, one was losing a little Marty (who was half my half-brother, when he was little, or some made-up kid, because dreams can be that way) and another little boy I didn't even know who was just following me around. We were in Taos. Fantasy, irritating Taos, but still. I came in on a bike and left in a station wagon. Or would have left, but I was separated from these two boys, one who was mine and one whose name I didn't even know. And it was nighttime. And I knew no one.

One involved teenage intruders, three, youngish, female leader, didn't know if they had weapons. They walked right in with me looking at them. Keith's arm is hurt (was in the dream) so I didn't want to go and get him. Kirby was on it, but Marty was reticent (they were both awake too, in the dream).

All dreams ended unresolved, but I would fall asleep only long enough to have an all new disturbing dream of me wandering in the scary dark separated from other people and afraid. Bummer. The emotions weren't fright, but were nervous uncertainty, fear at a manageable level, and guilt.

So I got up, wishing for the days when we all slept in one room, or two adjoining rooms, when checking on kids was just listening, or reaching out, or looking around, and went to check the house. I looked at Marty; he's in his bed. The front door was unlocked, which isn't unusual, but was a factor in the one dream. I went out and made sure all the cars were there (oh... four dreams, one about me parking one car in the neighbor's unused driveway and commenting to Holly that Keith might think it had been stolen, but we could park more in our driveway). All the cars are there. The doors of the rooms where Holly, Kirby and Brett sleep are closed.

Still, though this isn't a "good morning," I'm still aware and grateful that it could be so much worse. I do know where my kids are, and I didn't have heart-pounding nightmares. There are many worse things than losing sleep, and when the kids were babies, I was sleep deprived for many years straight. Maybe it's one of those "exceptions that proves the rule" situations. My nights are usually sleepy and peaceful, and I'm rarely feeling uncertain, afraid or guilty. That's good!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Marty's scheduled maintenance and other trivia

Marty's been sick lately. Just a little sick, but sick. Slow to think, coughing, uncomfortable. He's going to work anyway, and went to fighter practice with Keith Wednesday night, but between things he's tired. Usually he goes to sleep around 8:00, but he told me early on Thursday that he wanted to go to sleep at 5:30, to take Tylenol PM, and put Vicks on himself and sleep all night. He had used that combination of sleep aids Tuesday night and slept well. He asked me to help make sure it happened.

This is a 17 year old boy with a good social life, who doesn't have to have a job but wants to, who was deciding to do, basically, a systems shut-down for an extended period of time.

So while he was at work, I made his bed, put the meds on his dresser with a bottle of water, put clean pajamas on the bed, and told others in the family that we needed to be quiet enough after 5:30 for Marty to sleep.

He slept until 5:30 the next morning, awoke to his alarm, went to work, and said later today that he felt really rested and strong.

I'm impressed.

Tonight we're going to see HMS Pinafore at Rodey Theatre, at UNM. Musical Theatre of the Southwest (once ACLOA, for the former Albuquerqueans who might read this). Holly, Marty and I are going.

The wind is blowing dramatically, Kirby got a phonecall from a friend he hasn't seen for over a year who will have stories of Baghdad (unfortunate she has them, but fortunate she'll be able to tell them).

And the only other news (I love light news weeks, honestly) is that Kirby got a new video game. He became frustrated with World of Warcraft and cancelled his subscripton and deinstalled it. He told me he had gone out with friends last Friday, and had a good time and felt happy, and the following night he stayed home and played WoW, and felt angry. So he pulled its plug, and the next day went to buy a game. He got Guitar Hero, and since it arrived (except Thursday when Marty was sleeping) it's been played quite a bit. Marty's playing at the moment. I'm on medium level and got a new guitar. Kirby has gone out a couple of nights with the guitar/controller in hand, to play two-player mode at someone else's house.

So it's been a week with lots of activity, lots of rock'n'roll gaming, and yet very peaceful.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

First Flower of 2006, and other little news

Originally uploaded by SandraDodd.
Well, it's the first flower in MY yard. It's still working on opening up all the way. The color started to show on the last day of February. On the first day of March, the news said we had set a record for the driest winter in recorded history. The next day it rained—not much, but late afternoon when we were picking Marty up from the airport.

Marty went to Legoland. He paid for his own airfare, and he bought viking Lego with his own debit card. The group outing was organized by Live and Learn Conference attendees and friends of theirs, who formed a mailing list for the western U.S., so there were others there he knew from the conference, and some unschoolers he hadn't met as well.

When Marty was at Legoland, it rained. It rained the next day too. It was hot and dry in Albuquerque. By the time Marty's plane arrived here, it was raining, lightly. He brought photos of Legoland, full of flowers. He said Carlsbad, California, is full of flower-market flowers. We just got the first flower of the season.

When Pam Sorooshian visited in January, I bought some not-quite-opened bulbs from Raley's where Marty works and brought them home so they could open, and later I could plant the bulbs in the yard for next year. Pam didn't know about forced bulbs, because she has always lived where flowers can bloom all year.

I'm tired but content. The past couple of weeks were busy and productive and exhausting. Last night the house had just our family, and all of our family, though Marty and Kirby didn't see each other, and I went to bed early (for me, 10:00). Holly took care of making sure Marty's apron for work went into and came out of the dryer. I will thank her profusely, when she wakes up, this afternoon.

OH! That reminds me. ElleGirl Magazine will have a half-page article (fullpage, but large stock art of a girl none of us knows) on unschooling in its April issue. The writer spent lots of time on the phone with three families, at least, but it doesn't much show. Her editor insisted she talk to college admissions officers. She asked me for contacts. I said that Roxana Sorooshian had just spoken with an advisor at St. John's College in Santa Fe that week, and she might call him. I warned her she was likely to talk to people who knew nothing about unschooling. She did. So along with several wan quotes from the unschoolers she interviewed, she had two more solid (but easily refutable) quotes from a school psychologist and a Harvard admissions person. The unschoolers quoted were Holly, Brenna and Roya. Others named were Kirby, Marty, Sandra and Gail, alll people we know. The other two were add-ons for "balance," but it wasn't balance so much as refutation by the unqualified-to-comment. Bummer. It could have been so much better, so easily.

So how do I feel about Holly being used to help sell advertising for glittery eye make-up and studded handbags? If they hadn't talked to us they would have found other unschoolers. If they hadn't wasted our time it would've been someone else's. If I'd had a fancier camera, they'd've used photos of Holly instead of a stranger lying in a field of flowers. But their magazine is about appearances, and unschooling isn't much about appearances at all. Probably it just wasn't a very good match. Those interested in wearing those clothes and that makeup probably need to "stay on track" so they can get jobs writing fluffy articles for New York fashion magazines. The reporter was nice enough, but in the end she got paid real money, while unschooling was shortchanged.

Still, Holly's life IS peaceful, even though we have only one daffodil and not a field of flowers. Her brothers like her. She sat in the hot tub with both her parents last night ("if it's okay with you," she said, when she said she'd like to go in too). She finished her brother's laundry so he and I could sleep. You can't photograph that with any camera.