Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jittery days

I had a call (well, an e-mail summons) from anonymous saying I should come post. Well I can, I could, I shouldn't. I posted here: but not much.

Yesterday morning Kirby came into the bedroom and told me the cars had been broken into. They weren't broken into, but two left unlocked had had their music stolen--a borrowed iPod from one (Kirby was planning to buy it from his friend, and still will, and the music is backed up), and the radio/CD player pulled out of the white van, which usually sits locked, but Marty had driven and forgotten to lock. I reported it to the police, but it won't do anything but become a little bit of a big statistic, I think. And the police report number could have helped our insurance, but our insurance wouldn't cover it anyway.

We've had CD cases and a little CD player (portable plug-in kind) stolen before, from unlocked cars, so in one way of looking at it it's just our fault. There are other ways of looking at it, but what made me feel best was that they didn't get into the house or garage, and the cars were still there. Things could be worse.

They stole our music, though, and everyone here likes music.

Then I came in to make the planned call of the morning, about my printer. Yada yada, on hold, transferred, etc., various frustrations; they'll fix it free, but I have to mail it to them and it will take 4-6 weeks. As it cost me $50 after the rebate and the scanner works wonderfully, and the ink was expensive and evaporated too quickly (a problem of water-based ink in the desert), I'll just need to get another one.

While all that sad activity was going on, our wireless internet wasn't working for the fourth time in five days.

SEE why I wasn't blogging?

But around and above that, we're all healthy, Marty's planning a visit with his friend Madelyn who's coming here to stay for a week in January, Kirby applied for and got a new job as a waiter at Olive Garden and it starts right as the last two weeks are up on his job at Dion's. Holly and I went to eat at Dion's yesterday so we could eat there one more time while Kirby's there. He's the one who said "Holly, your order's ready--Holly," and his voice was strong and lyrical. Holly said he's been really nice to her lately, more than usual.

Keith's having a very rough work week of long hours and frustrations, but the hot tub is clean and he cut lots of wood last week and it's nice in the snow. Oh right! It snowed yesterday, in a miniature fashion. Almost all day, nearly imperceptible small snowflakes that just made the tops of things white, and the ground wet,and stayed on bushes and trees all day without melting. This morning it's lightly on everything, but not at all deep.

My Wednesday night discussion was good overall, we had two visitors of rank (SCA rank), and one of the guys who's only been a couple of times and was there by invitation of a regular got frustrated and was dominating the conversation, and ended up leaving early, but in a civil way, and said he'd be back next week. Maybe he will and maybe he won't. It was uncomfortable but useful, even to him I think (will be, as he analyzes what happened and why, with the help of one or two of the others there who have a stake in his progress and happiness). The environment and purposes and expectations of SCA discussions can be so different from "regular" discussions that it's hard to even write about them to a "mixed audience." The pivotal point of it, for me, was his saying straight across the table to me (with nine other people there, half of whom had already agreed with me) "I challenge you to show me a dictionary definition of 'integrity' that says it has a positive connotation." Dictionary definitions--that's an area of challenge in which I'm confident. I didn't have a dictionary, but I offered a money bet. It wasn't taken.

But yesterday I made a big pot of green chile stew and homemade bread, even though I was going to a restaurant for a discussion. Kirby's Wednesday gaming group ate quite a bit of it. The house smelled good. I made rum balls (using a generic term; didn't use rum)--some with pecans and cocoa powder, and some with grated orange and piƱon, both with Grand Marnier. They need to sit a few days.

Marty has been to several of the discussions. Holly had been to one, a week ago. She went because she was hungry, and the plan had been she could get someone to walk her home if she was bored, but she stayed the two and a half hours. Last night she went again, stayed the whole time, and contributed a couple of times. Each of them said something profound last night. In response to a definition of integrity that involved bike stealing, Marty said "That's consistency, not integrity." And in and around whether there has to be "evil" for good to exist (the discussion was whether the word needed to be "evil," which seems to be personified, or whether it couldn't be "bad" or something less focussed), Holly asked whether there was as much good in Satan/the devil as there was evil in God. (That followed an Old-Testament smiting and genocide story, which gad followed a set of prayers for forgiveness, one of which was Israelil.) When Holly asked that, I started to open my mouth and say "The Chinese say..." but I couldn't remember anything that the Chinese said. I just knew there was something about balance, from China, about that. There stuff about all kinds of balance, from China.

I just looked at her with big eyes and blinked, and others looked at her, and what could they say? She was fifteen and had been going on about her newly-red/pink hair just a bit before that, and about the bag-boy she has a big crush on at the store that's right next to the restaurant. And she asked a question like that.

When we got home, I told her what I had thought, and that after things were still, I realized it wasn't a Chinese saying, but a picture. She said, "The yin-yang?" I was already drawing it. I asked her if she had thought of that during the discussion, but she said no, not until just then, when I said something.

Yesterday was one very busy day.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Quite a Slacker (with candy)

The Candy:
On Wednesday nights I run an SCA philosophy discussion, for some SCA friends--squires and students of others; one new knight. I wasn't feeling well, but toughed it out (barely) and came home and went straight to bed by 9:15. That didn't work out at all, but by 10:30 or so I was asleep. At 2:30 I was awake, read a while, got up, set the hot-tub to drain, and came to check e-mail. Grateful Dead on headphones, 4:15 a.m. reading nice e-mails. I like my life.

My desk drawer was open when I came in, and there are four surprise candy bars. One of my kids brought me four "Island Orange" Mounds bars. I LOVE those! So far I'm just admiring them and enjoying the sweet feeling of having a kid who would have brought me that gift. I don't know which kid, yet.

The Slacking:
To fulfill my solemn agreement with the Unschooling Blog ring, I'm supposed to write something weekly. It's kinda bad, then, that it's been a month. It's not that I haven't written anything, it just hasn't been here. There've been two articles for Danielle Conger's really nice unschooling magazine-site. One was on exactly how much time to spend with a child, and contained the following scientifically-derived chart:

If you read the article, then you'll see how to adjust the chart if you have more than one child.

Danielle's site costs $10 to read,[it used to, but for those who come by in later times, it's free now!] but you get articles by me and lots of others. There's something really nice by Ben Lovejoy in the current issue, and the next issue will have my account of my third child being in driver's ed, as were the other two in their time. No more babies. Driving-people. There is a sample issue here, with a different article by me: Connections

I write on a couple of unschooling lists, but they're been pretty quiet, which is fine.

My writing lately has been serviceable things for SCA purposes. Some of it's private, for the retinue of the new King and Queen of the Outlands. Those who've known me for a long time knew of my SCA involvement. Those who've only known me for five years or less knew I used to play, maybe, but I was inactive for a few years. A few different things happened in August and September that lured me back there, and a project that was languishing has been picked back up. So anyone who's curious or SCAish might look to see what I was doing instead of writing on this blog. It's pretty different from the unschooling stuff, and not beginning/intro stuff, but for the adventurous or the other slackers among you...
Information on the reign of Artan VI and Aziza

For something more familiar, with photos of my kids (when they were little), try this one:
Children's Costumes at SCA events
or about music, written before I had kids:
Period Vocal Music for the Multitudes

And that's what I've been doing, mostly. I've been to three events, one local, one in Denver and one in Roswell, which reminded me that the largescale games I used to dream of are pretty thoroughly covered by SCA involvement. When I remembered that, I started to think about being embarrassed. For some reason, I just didn't think of it as a game involving cars, but just last week there was much talk about who would ride where, which trailer might go (oops... wiring had been cut off Jeff's van... no trailer this time), people came from Kansas, Colorado, Texas... So I guess, medievally-themed as it is, it is a game involving moving around large areas, although we're not hiding from each other or pretending to set the buildings on fire.