Friday, May 30, 2008

Kirby, Hannah Montana and the last Friday in May 2008

The first photo is Kirby in his kitchen in late April. There is a story behind the fact that there is a Hannah Montana poster inside their pantry door.

In Holly-Land it has become a pantry-door slide show!

Last Friday I didn't know it was Friday. It seemed like Saturday for four days in a row.

1. For me death is the opposite of creativity.

2. Harry Potter #7 whatever it was called was the last excellent book I read. (I have read parts of interesting non-fiction since then, but they don't earn "excellent," just "made me think," and sometimes what I thought wasn't what the author hoped I would think...)

3. I like fill-ins because it's like international parallel play, and I like to read what other people wrote.

4. In nature I like looking at trees that grew oddly, or clouds, or nests and burrows, or prairie dogs, or tree bark, or rocks, or lizards, or arroyos or how the snow sits piled up on things when it falls dry and still, though that last one is best seen from inside a warm house, and you're not going to see the lizards or prairie dogs the same day you see snow.

5. David Cook should win the US elections. OH!! You mean for president? The person with the most actual votes should win the US elections. (Bummer we don't have the technology to actually count votes and do away with the goofy electoral college. Oh wait! We do!)

6. The last time I laughed with all my belly was probably at something Holly said, because she makes me happy.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to (thinking....) ... I have no plans this weekend!, tomorrow my plans include admiring all my plants being bigger—I put the moonflower seedlings out in three places, and Sunday, I want to continue plan-free, as a huge luxury!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Marty at work, and some food!

There are larger images under these if you click.

This is within sight of where Kirby worked before he moved to Austin.

Here's the food Keith and I had:

The building has a kind of building within the other building. The floor seating is around a fountain in this room with a cloth canopy ceiling, and the there's a regular open-girder ceiling over all, painted black, up above that.
And here's Marty doing his job. He used to make leather boots and pouches, and then for a long time he worked at the grocery store near our house, then he had a year for traveling and running around, and now he's working at a beautiful Persian restaurant. In the second one, you can see Keith in the distance, at the table by the window (if you click it, maybe).

Sadie works there too, and is the one who let Marty know there was an opening. I tried to get a photo of her, but I was going flashless, and she moved FAST. She's in these two, always near Marty's spray bottle, by coincidence. (Not by it physically, but in the photo...)

The food was VERY good. Here's the restaurant's website. (I should get a discount for this glowing review!) (I can't get there tonight, but have in the past...)

Monday, May 26, 2008

The long weekend is ending

Keith is home, the trailer is unpacked and parked. Marty has cleaned up and gone to dinner with friends. I finished almost everything on my weekend to-do list, even though it rained for two days.

Friday night I went to dinner with Helene McNeill, a longtime friend, and with her new cellphone she took the photos. (Well I took the one of her.) I think when she messes with it a while she'll figure out ways to make higher resolution. These are in a cool booth/enclave at The Range Cafe on Wyoming. We had SO much fun we didn't notice when we were the only ones there, and it had been so crowded we had waited for a table.

The food portrait was the spinach artichoke dip. It had cheese bread to dip. It was art. It looked better in real life, so use your color-correcting imagination.

I've been excavating my side yard. Really, I'm taking out rock and sifting out glass and nails and slaggish old pieces of concrete and stucco. And when I've gotten that far, I go down to the native gravel, because it was once an arroyo, and then the decent clean gravel is becoming a kind of ramp on a curb for turning around... and the big rocks are filling up a hole in a vacant lot. And the trash is going incrementally to the dump.

I found some shells. I'll put a photo of them someday. I think I'll find more. They're teensy. I've seen them in fossil-rocks, so when I have a photo I'm sure someone will recognize them. I've found various this'n'that, but nothing that's not recognizeable fairly new stuff that's been dumped there since the 1970's. Nothing archeological.

BUT... Helene's an archeologist so she got SO excited that I was able to tell where the arroyo had run and that I was finding things, that she has brought some *real* archeologist's tools for me to use. A screen with a frame, and a special trowel and a shovel/scoop. THAT is wonderful. It says made in England and it holds a lot of stuff ("loose" is what it picks up, but as I live in a desert and not a peat bog, pretty much everything here is loose).

Keith stepped on some of my corn plants and so I didn't like him at ALL for a little while, and I considered divorce, but we have a bunch of seed corn and when my adrenaline was gone and I had cried a bit, and he had apologized (a bit), and I remembered what a long weekend (five day campout) he'd had and that his leg was hurt and I had planted the corn where he keeps his poles and rebar anyway... then I decided to cheer up and stay married.

The end.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Today's clouds

The clouds are filling in valleys so that little peaks and promontories that usually seem to be part of a flat surface showed very clearly this afternoon. The crest of the mountain is totally covered in clouds, so what looks like the top is some distance down the face of the Sandias.

My neighbor's house sure gets a lot of photos on my blog. I just look at the mountains, and the view out our window isn't marred for me by houses or poles, because I'm looking at the essence of the mountain and the sky.

Love the mountains; love the window; love the house. LOVE rainy days.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Keith has left already, so "weekend" started on Wednesday. He's off to Grand Outlandish, which he's only missed once for eye surgery. Marty's there too, helping put up tents, but he works tonight, so I have several more hours to make three more ham and cheese bread puddings for breakfasts (medievalesque, and doesn't need any preparation or cleanup)—one more cooler can go with Marty in the morning.

Last year I went and we had a big-deal camp with full kitchen, and Kate Holford (in green at the end of the table) our head cook (me, lovely assistant).

That was then, this is now. Kate couldn't come this year, so a couple of months ago we dismantled our plan for another big fancy camp, and Keith, Marty and Brett (in black at the left of the table) will camp with other friends. They'll eat out of coolers. Not shabby stuff at all, but not hot meals served on pewter, either. Poor guys.

They'll be home Monday, early to mid afternoon. Keith wants guacamole when he gets home. He already bought the avocados. And I'll clean the hot tub and have it hot for Monday night.

While they're out camping in the dusty hill near scenic (not very scenic; really) Edgewood, New Mexico, Holly and I will be home, where she will go to parties (and a concert was in the plan, but it was cancelled),feed Sadie's and Brett's dogs (that's Sadie, tall and blonde, upper right of the photo) while they're camping, talk to her boyfriend on the phone, listen to the Beatles and commune with her fellow wizards on the internet.

Me, I will feed my own dog and cats in a leisurely fashion, work on webpages, do laundry, work in the yard, watch anime (Fruits Basket was recommended on one of the discussion lists, so I put it at the top of netflix, for the "weekend"), and otherwise lounge about.

My paternal grandmother's family is having a reunion, in Roby, Texas this weekend. I"m not going, but I sent a packet of updates and photos for them to read and put out on a table somewhere. One of the photos is Marty and Holly at my dad's grave, at the national cemetery in Santa Fe.

So that is my real Memorial Day moment; sharing a memory of my dad. His name was Kirby Lynn Adams. I hope any of you with cause to be reminded of losses are comforted, and that all of you with opportunities to party out and celebrate life do it extra much. Peace and love to all o'ya'll.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Questions I could use help answering

I've had two emails just today that could use more input than just mine. I can't put them on the unschooling discussion list, because neither mom is unschooling. Please help! (And those who come here but aren't unschoolers can see what kind of writing I do just about every day of every week of every month since... well, since Kirby was seven or so.

I'll put one here, and a link to the other one.

I stumbled upon your site googling how to get along with a spoiled child. :) I'm fascinated by everything I'm reading and it's starting to make a lot of sense. However, I'm not sure how to practically apply some of the ideas. I was reading about how letting a child watch tv, play video games, set their own sleep schedule helps kids realize their own limits but what happens when he stays up late and he has to get up in the morning and go to public school and follow their rules? I'm just not in a position to home school him. How do I say "Okay, if you'd like to hang out with me until you get tired or stay up and play until you get tired that's fine"...when I know that when seven o'clock in the morning rolls around he will be miserable and I will have to "make" him go to school because I can't give him a choice on whether or not he wants to get up and go. I'm confused. I really do want to start living by principles rather than rules but unfortunately we are just bound by some things that we have to do. I have to go to work (or you can say I choose to go to work so we can have a house and car and food) and therefore he has to go to school. Right now he hates school and all the rules. I thought that by having similar rules at home we'd be consistent and he'd get the hang of following them but it isn't working. It seems silly for me to say that I'm concerned that taking away the rules at home is going to make it worse at school since having the same set of rules isn't making it better but how is it helpful to him to say he doesn't have to wait his turn if he wants to talk if indeed that is the rule in his classroom?

My response (the non-marked-off parts are me):

-=-. I have to go to work (or you can say I choose to go to work so we can have a house and car and food) and therefore he has to go to school. -=-

That's not necessarily a "therefore" situation. You didn't say how old he was.

-=-Right now he hates school and all the rules. I thought that by having similar rules at home we'd be consistent and he'd get the hang of following them but it isn't working.-=-

Yikes! If he's smart to hate school, and you have a bunch of rules just like school, where's his safe place? Where does he go to escape?

-=-but how is it helpful to him to say he doesn't have to wait his turn if he wants to talk if indeed that is the rule in his classroom?-=-

Because the rules in the classroom are there for classroom management. There are other rules other places.

I had kids take karate and dance, and they acted the way they were expected to there--they took turns, they lined up, they bowed or did exercises by count or whatever, because that's what everyone there was doing. In their case, they chose to be there, but you can still look at it that way. They're SCHOOl rules, not rules for your child to abide by everywhere all the time.

I'm going to answer this in more detail here, and if you come by every few days for a while there might be other input in the comments.

I won't use your name. If you want to comment you don't need to admit they were your questions if you don't want to. You can jump in on it without saying "That's me."


There are ways to use school as babysitting, aren't there? It wouldn't be easy, but it would be doable.

But if school's babysitting, what about REAL babysitting? What about finding someone to stay at your house, or a place for the child to stay? School is 36 to 40 hours a week. But a week has 168 hours. So subtract 56 for sleeping. 112 left, I think. Subtract 40 for the hours the mom works. 72 hours to be together for fun learning opportunities!

-=- I was reading about how letting a child watch tv, play video games, set their own sleep schedule helps kids realize their own limits but what happens when he stays up late and he has to get up in the morning and go to public school and follow their rules? -=-

These are many questions thrown into one hopper.
I'll write assuming he's going to stay in school. I don't know how old he is. Maybe he's not a kid who really requires eight hours of sleep to function well. Maybe six or seven would do. Maybe he needs nine or ten. Whatever you think he needs now, that will probably change anyway.

So let's say it's the night before school. Count back from the best time to wake up, and help him get to sleep by that time. But on the other two nights when he doesn't have school, can't he stay up longer? Right on the front page of Joyce's site she talks about not letting go of everything at once. Just find lots of times to say yes:

The communications between the parent and child don't have to be "because you have to" or "because of school" or "because I'm the mom." They can be the real, thought-out, honest answers you would give if you were talking with a friend your age, or a houseguest, or a college roommate. Why? Really consider that question and answer as truly and as helpfully as possible. That right there will make a big difference.

When a child is in school, it's possible for the parents to get in trouble. If he goes to school sleepy and tells the school that you don't care if he sleeps or not, hello child protective services!

I care very much whether my children sleep. I just don't tell them when to do it. If they're sleeping late, I try to be very quiet and let them sleep, and they do the same when I'm asleep. Yesterday Holly was saying her neck and back were hurting. I talked about a new mattress; she doesn't want one. She has our old queen-sized bed that she was conceived on. That's too old for a 16 year old. It wasn't a fancy mattress then. I wash her sheets so that they'll smell really nice, and I have found pillow cases (used, but nice) that fit all her pillows and kind of go to better. Those things are WAY more important to sleep than a mean mom saying "GO TO BED, turn off the light, if I hear another noise I'm coming in there and buulah blah blah..." (Not saying the e-mail mom did, but MY mom did, and she was not the only one.)


-=-I'm confused. I really do want to start living by principles rather than rules but unfortunately we are just bound by some things that we have to do. -=-

Within principles, there are still reasons to follow rules. BETTER reasons, if you're living by principles than if you're not.

Okay, anyone who's read this far. Please help! Thanks.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Friday adventures of Sandra

Photo links are gratuitous pictures so the post won't be all words. They are not illustrative of the topics at hand.

I've been thrown off a blog. Excommunicated and banished. It didn't hurt my feelings at all. There are interesting aspects, though. The parting shot was
You are no longer welcome here, Sandra Dodd, advocate of mutual-respect parenting. Your comments will no longer appear without first being moderated, and I will no longer read them when I see your name.
Interestingly, the blog owner kept using my name, and in the closing my FULL name. It was like advertising. And it's one of those "no publicity is bad publicity" moments, I think.

I had suggested that derisive criticism of parents giving kids freedom was fear-based. Maybe that scared her?

I was accused of not knowing what the blogger believed, but I read the sidebar. Christian, Well-Trained Mind, cynical, snarky (based on the names of some of the posts). That was enough for me to ask other unschoolers to be very polite if they were to go there. And I did that, on the AlwaysLearning list.
I thought if anyone here was in a CALM, collected, polite but analytical mood, it might be a topic to look at. I'm not asking for "support." I'm holding my own, and am not worried about the effect on unschoolers at all. I still thought some of you might find it interesting, or maybe be able to bridge the gap between her beliefs and mine. Interpreters, perhaps. . . . The blog author's mind won't be changed, but some of her readers' might. Go gently, if you go, please.
I also read the profile of the blogger (after I had posted twice, not before), so I knew some good stuff about her birthing and parenting practices, and that being a Texan is very important to her (and her birth practices ), which was interesting. I probably knew more about her than she knew about me at that point, although God knows there's plenty about me out there.

1. There is absolutely NO way you can get me to lie!

2. The swamp cooler reminds me that summer is almost here!

3. I cannot live without my .... I can't think of a fill in, though there are many things I DO love, like flush toilets, running water, my house with its great roof, my family, running automobiles, telephones, books, my computer, the internet, my friends...

So I could live without them, but not as contentedly.

4. Time travel and invisibility are two things I'd like to try.

5. When life hands you lemons, be grateful you're still in a position for life to hand you anything at all.

6. Music is my favorite childhood memory. My mom singing, me learning piano, playing my Mamaw's piano when I visited; singing with my cousin Nada under the workbench in the yard, learning to harmonize on You Are My Sunshine, when we were nine or so; singing in the children's AND adult choirs at church; Miss Lopez teaching us lots of songs at school; singing in Girl Scouts; staging a little home version of "Hansel and Gretel" with Nada and Irene from a school music book my dad found at the dump; learning to play clarinet when I was ten... Buying NEW Beatles albums for $5 at J.W. Owens department store (a couple of quanset huts on Indian land by the Rio Grande), then it moves to teenaged music memories, and adult...

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Keith and the hot tub, tomorrow my plans include helping equip Keith and Marty for an upcoming SCA campout and Sunday, I want to maybe go see miniature horses!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Perspective, and Friday

I'm in contact with some progressive/radical moms in India, and one forwarded an e-mail containing this series of images. Click each one to go to the next. There's a note that went with it, that will appear at the end. If anyone knows of the artist or the original, I'd love to know. It seems to have been scanned from a book. There's a video online of it, but the images aren't as clear and there's distracting music. I'd rather go at my own pace.

If it's a book, I hope I can get a copy!
Marcia found it! Zoom, by Istvan Banjai
and Schluyler found this: (other videos).

And it's Friday! (Late Friday, and I keep forgetting to do this earlier, but here:)

1. The brownies had an extra secret ingredient; it was illegal!
2. I feel a nice breeze through my window.
3. Right now, I need nothing more than I have.
4. To watch Lost with Holly is where I went Thursday night; it was not so far to go!
5. Why does toe-stubbing hurt so much?
6. All I can think of is the connectedness of everything.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to the hot tub, tomorrow my plans include sewing and Sunday, I want to cook!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Words: Six, and Mine, and Robbery

Yesterday I took pens with me to meet my friend Jeff who was going to teach me electricity for a test I'm taking Monday to possibly work at the post office. That doesn't happen every day. And I was thinking about when I have pens with me and what pens are good for, and I was going into the pharmacy thinking about pens, and saw on the door the sign that said no weapons were permitted in the building.

"Some rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen," came to mind, from "Pretty Boy Floyd," by Woody Guthrie. Pretty Boy Floyd was a robber with a big reputation for helping poor people with stolen money. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't, but in the song he did. My granny (my mom's mom, Annie Mae Hathcock) used to get current newspaper clippings from her cousin in Oklahoma, as it was being reported, back in the ancient days. I'm not sure if her cousin was Pretty Boy Floyd's aunt or something, but there was some distant connection. The fountain-pen reference was to people losing their property during the Depression.

So straight from my six-gun thoughts, I've been tagged with a six-word meme, about memoirs, by Deanne. Interesting, and freaky, as today I was thinking, in the shower, before taking Holly to get a full driver's license, that I haven't and should maybe document my years teaching, and what all led up to that, and what all that led up to over the ensuing years. I was thinking timeline, more than memoir, but maybe documentation of why I know some of the things I know about people and learning and crowd management.

So... I will do 3/4 of this:

1. Write the title to your own memoir using 6 words.
2. Post it on your blog.
3. Link to the person that tagged you.
4. Tag five more blogs.

To make up for not doing #4, I'll do #1 twice. One is already done and it actually exists:
The Chronicles of Ælflæd of Duckford
I'm SUCH a multi-tasker, I'm living two lives at once. There's the in-progress documentation of the medievalist side of me.

So... creating one for my regular self. In light of the thoughts of the last two days...
How I learned myself to be a teacher or How I taught myself to be a learner....
Too many words, and neither philosophically nor grammatically sound.

Helping others learn to learn. Not enough words.

Sandra, one of six billion cockroaches? Philosophically sound, but depressing. Also, I think when I was born I was one of fewer than three billion, and about the time I"m a grandmother I'll be one of seven billion. Unstable, for a title.

Seeing the World from Inside Me. That works.
Changing the World a Little Bit. Better.
The Adventures of Sandra Lynn Dodd. Even better.

And look at my words made into art!! Click it to see who and where.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happiness, Freedom and Peace of Mind

Joyce Fetteroll posted this on Always Learning. She got it from Word-a-Day e-mail or somewhere like that. It's worth putting where I can find it easily again and others can see it.
There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained by giving them to someone else.
—General Peyton C. March (1864-1955)

Yesterday on MySpace, Holly wrote in a public bulletin:
What do you want to be when you grow up?
As happy as I am right now.

People write and ask how they can make sure their children grow up to be respected. I say the parents can start respecting them now.
"An abundance of love, of confidence, of self and of freedom will create a flow of respect from and toward a person." (Respect)
(That article has been translated into Spanish recently, and the link is there.)

Another article encouraging giving joy away is here:
"Have all the joy you want, and help your children, neighbors and relatives find some too. Joy doesn't cost anything but some reuseable thought and awareness. Tell your kids it's recyclable. They'll love that!" (Joy)

Freedom/Choices/Empowerment/Respect, a short page but powerful. Freedom and respect were touched on above. "Choices" seems to be about the main theme of unschooling. How about "empowerment"? You have to have some to give it. Empowering our children can show us how much power we really had. Power to protect them from others who would shame and limit them. Power to present them with choices, and freedom, and respect. Power to create a happy nest for them.

If anyone comes by here who's not already familiar with my unschooling site, I hope you'll poke around a bit. You don't have to have children to consider the effects of happiness, freedom, peace of mind, respect, joy and choices. Empower yourself!

Happiness as a goal
"Expecting Happiness"
Creating a peaceful nest for children
Certificate of Empowerment

Image: Holly in France, in May 2005.
The photo is by Leon or Helene McNeill.
More of that trip is here:

Friday, May 02, 2008

Twinkies, Texans and Tortoises

The name of this post is the best part. I have made four of the most boring videos possible, but each has a good moment or two.

I had hoped to do a video of Twinkies near Moon Pies, but...

And then I thought other things are distinctly American, not just Texas, and started to show the sodas in ice, and noticed later the ice sign up behind.

Then we stopped in Alamogordo at Keith's parents' house. In this video you'll see most of Keith's brother Gerry. You'll see and hear Holly. Near the end Keith and I are talking. That's Keith in the "Team Holly" t-shirt on the patio.

Holly had wanted to get two small tortoises. The only two that have come out of hibernation were BIG ones. They came out, mated, and were put in that cardboard box. They're too big for what Holly wanted, which was to watch a tortoise or two for a few months and then take them back to grandma's back yard where there are twenty or so, thanks to two highway-rescued tortoises from several years ago.

There is some commentary having nothing to do with tortoises, having more to do with relatives.

Here's Holly dancing in the rain in Austin last Sunday. Gratuitous Holly-photo.

And here are my Friday Fill-Ins:

1. Two of my favorite ingredients in a drink are chocolate and milk!

2. Marty often amazes me.

3. You can keep doing that forever, the dog is not bilingual.

4. Food, friends and games, mix it all together and voila! You have a party!.

5. If I had a yard with a garden, I would love to grow tomatoes. (I do have a yard and I do grow things, but if I lived where there was plenty of rain and space, I would like to grow tomatoes.)

6.Taking a shower is best au naturel.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleeping, tomorrow my plans include not leaving the house and Sunday, I want to work in the yard! (Maybe that sounds boring, but last weekend was four days of non-stop travel and eating out and movies and meeting people and seeing Kirby, and that was great, and I was tired, and then I didn't feel well and the next day I had a big bad dentist's appointment and now it's Friday again! I want to do nothing that involves leaving this house for a while.