Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sorooshians, Dodds and friends, last month

Holly just sent this to me with a note: "I wasn't sure if you had already seen this, but it's a neat picture. Kirby took it." I had not seen it, and it's very happy.

That's Holly with the red in her hair. Then Rosie and Roxana Sorooshian, me, Bo King (who did the tree art below), Marty, and his girlfriend Ashlee. Pam and Kirby were in the other room.

This was the second week of January, this year, at my house.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Strawberry Holly

Another self portrait by Holly. She's messing with it on the other computer, but this is the original image.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Various Oddities of the Week

Keith puts his hair up in a little bun, but here's what it looked like a couple of mornings ago when he was getting ready for work. He was sitting to comb it out because his back's been hurting. I was up early because he hadn't slept well, and I got up to check on him and do things, but couldn't go back to sleep.

Any of these photos can be seen larger with a click.

One day Holly had a rainbow on her shoulder. It came from a crystal that hangs in the kitchen window. Keith and I got it as a wedding gift, so we've had it nearly 25 years. She was sitting across the kitchen table from me and I looked up and saw her rainbowness, and the shadow of her Valentine's Day flowers on the rainbow.

Holly and Brett went to dinner at a French restaurant for the one year anniversary of their being a couple. One photo is dark, but I liked their expressions.

Then I was in the bathroom and thought it was an interesting bathroom day—the stuff on the counter and the wall.

Kirby and three friends signed a lease on a house and they move in March.

My biggest excitement happened today. I found out I'll be a speaker at the London Unschooling Conference on July 25. That's the day after Learn Nothing Day. Cool.

"Cool" is an understatement. I'm giddy.

Also, about the Good Vibrations conference in San Diego—maybe Keith will drive out with one or two of the other kids. Kirby and I will fly, if he can go.

AND it's nearly time for the HENA conference, Kirby has reservations, Brett will drive me and Holly out there, and I'm excited!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

La la la, my website is down...

It's kind of a creepy feeling. SandraDodd.com isn't there. That's where I work.

P.S. a few minutes later:

Never mind. It came back while I was posting the note above. Cute!

I knew it would be down for four hours overnight, but it was still down at 8:45 in the morning at my house.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

don't open e-mail from me

... at least one about grades in colorado and the christian science monitor

I hope nobody else got this but me.
I hope nobody clicked a link.

I deleted mine. It's junk. I hope nobody got one. Sorry; it's an evil zombie-bot mailing.

From: Sandra@SandraDodd.com
Subject: A Colorado school district does away with grade levels | csmonitor.com
Date: February 18, 2009 8:56:34 PM MST
To: Sandra@SandraDodd.com

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The benefit of a big house

One of many benefits of a big house is that Holly and Brett can have a romantic dinner of their own making alone at home while I'm in the back (an attached apartment, but separate roof, separate building, odd kind of hallway-connector). Keith and Marty are in Arizona until Monday. I have this cool new laptop which makes me more portable, and I have lots of e-mail to catch up on and webpages to tweak.

Here are the flowers Holly's Brett had delivered while he was at work today:

And he was going to make her asparagus with sauce, and they were going to make spaghetti. Holly bought heart-shaped candle holders and red candles. I am just not there at all. I'm back here. See?

Kirby has called me twice today, just to talk. What a sweetie. I got to talk to Ramona for a long time, too, and spend a lot of the day with Holly. I brought food back here and was preparing as though I'd truly be limited to just what I'd brought in, but realized while I was talking to Kirby that although I'm planning not to go up to the main part of the house, there's a Popeye's chicken right out the back gate, and a grocery store up the alley. There's a Twister's right across Juan Tabo and... a fridge in the next room. So although I was preparing as though I were going camping alone, it was oddly inappropriate. Still... I've folded laundry and played games and listened to music and read and written.

I really do like my life!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Holly, mountains, circus

Okay, Holly and Brett went to the circus. I'm at home doing important things, like... washing the shot glasses we bought at the thrift store. Feeding the birds. Looking around the yard for places to put hanging tomato planters. Emptying the photos off my camera, which leads to sharing things like this with you. One of the most boring slideshows of all time, *unless* a person is really bored, or has never seen an in-town tumbleweed, or both.

Added February, 2009 to the tumbleweed post on some other blog I have.
"A tumbleweed by the road on Indian School near Pennsylvania. Not tumbling. Just being. On the right near the car ahead, in the first of the three photos:"

And I saved some mountain photos from the past few days, to illustrate a Donovan song, and what's been going on outside. Possibly as boring as the tubleweed, but I like it.

First there is a mountain...

then there is no mountain

...then there is.

The first one I saved because of the two big lines of clouds, all symmetrical and all. On flatland it's hard to get scale on clouds, but these clouds are up higher than a mountain that's a mile high and four or five miles long (high I know; length I'm guessing). Strongbad is on the window as a scarecrow to birds who might fly into it.

Then there were me and Holly earlier today:

And the other day on Facebook people were writing what smelled good to them, and I was inspired to make bread, and thence cheese sandwiches for me and Brett. The bread is "spaghetti bread"—Italian seasonings and parmesan cheese. The toppings are tomato, scallion, sauteed mushrooms and avocado with Swiss cheese. THAT is what Facebook has done for me lately.

And then my computer. I have a laptop now, after never having had one. And here is the setup I was using the other day to edit the WoW chat with Kirby—the file open on the desktop and the editor open on the laptop. In case anyone pictures me very organized and living in a pristine environment cleaned by my administrative assistant and file clerk, you share my fantasy, and now I will share my reality.

But here's some more reality: That chat is readable, as are the ones with Pam and with Ren (still being tweaked, but available). WoW, Pam and Ren. Maybe a little messy, but not as messy as my office is.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Unschooling Needs...

Sometimes things come back around. Years back there was a spate of "in my pants" being added to movie titles (or song titles, or anything). Then we did a "Poop" movies phase (replace one word in any movie title with "Poop" like... "Star Poop" or "Poop Wars"; "Night of the Living Poop" or "Poop of the Living Dead."

But that's not what I've come here to report. On Facebook a google game is back around. The play this time is to put your name and "needs" in quotation marks like "Sandra needs" and then list the first ten your favorite search engine comes up with. That was fun, but I thought... I should do one for Unschooling and see what Unschooling needs!

There is the phrase "unschooling needs" in which "needs" is the noun and unschooling is the adjective. I'm skipping those and going for Unschooling-the-thing needs (the verb) something-the-object. Good. Here goes what I found. The first ten decent usable samples, and a star means it's on my site!

1) Unschooling needs to be challenged, tested and applied for its fresh unique approach and for its unritual, unpublic, attitude and contention...
(I'm going to go back and read that one when I'm done here.)

2) unschooling needs no formulated curricula or ridgid schedules.

3) Unschooling needs activity and motion!

4) unschooling needs to include the *whole life*, not just academics.

5) unschooling needs teachers too! ...

6) Unschooling needs to become the standard.

7) (and yes even unschooling needs to be done diligently). ...

8) unschooling needs no requirements and no testing state or federal does it?

9) Unschooling needs to be 24/7 or it's not really unschooling so I don't really get your reservation about it not being a good thing. ...

10) Unschooling needs more support than they have right now

What what what!? Only ONE in the first two pages was on my site!? One was about strewing, but not on my site. Perhaps I don't consider unschooling to be needy. None of the samples I found said "Unschooling needs to stop" or "unschooling needs to lead to imprisonment or death," so overall it was a very positive peek into a kinda random sample.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Holly and Marty

2020 note—that was a gif from MySpace, and I don't know anymore what it was. The wayback machine has the same gray holding image.

The artistry and weirdness of my wonderful children who are hardly children in any way anymore.

It's overcast and the world is jittery, Marty's at his girlfriend's house helping her put up a new tent for the first time, so when she goes to the Estrella War she can put it up for the second time. Holly's in the shower getting ready for work. Kirby's at work in Austin. Holly's Brett is at work at the mall. Keith is in the garage doing last minute stuff for his trip to Estrella (they leave before dawn tomorrow).

I am (for once, lately) the calming factor. Hooray for me! (And I'm glad when I need calming factors the rest of them are around so close and helpful.)

I need to go calm-factor that dog puke in the library, and those cobwebs in the sewing-room window now, with my Electro-Hydro-Air-Sucking Anti-Calm Machines.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Help me help my friend help strangers

Stanford Dance Marathon:
On February 14, 2009, my unschooled friend Tamarind King, Ramona King's daughter and a freshman at Stanford, will dance for 24 hours in a fundraiser for treatment of AIDS patients.

Tam does swing dance and hula, and I don't know what all she'll be doing on Saturday. Valentine's day is about love. This is quite an expression of love for mankind these kids are creating, and financial support would be wonderful.

[There wasn't a link when this first went up, but there is now: http://dm.stanford.edu/]

If you donate, please credit Tamarind King in the pulldown menu (unless you know someone else on that list!). Because all my kids have jobs now, they've all put toward the donation our family sent.

Here's a video created from last year's dance marathon, to give you an idea.

Philosophy and Photography

Can't I just sew without playing with the computer?

Apparently not.

Holly and I have been talking about the future of "unretouched photos." What does that mean, even now? This photo is an original. It was a PREtouched photo, though--not a plain photo but a heat-sensitive thing. There was a lamp by the sewing machine. But it is, by itself, as it is, an unretouched photo.

I've been talking with Holly about things to use as examples at the Thinking Sticks blog and so that might be coming in a few days. Please think of photos you have, too, maybe that are not what is traditionally considered "unretouched" and if anyone here knows the current term for just-plain-light no-tricky-filters photography, please let me know.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Me and my hyperactivity

I have nervous energy and yet I need to sit and sew. Yesterday I fixed up a couple of Marty's outfits (wait... Bardolf's tunics) for the Estrella War he's going to with his dad in a few days (big interkingdom SCA event near Phoenix), I cut out a pair of black wool pants for him, fixed the wool pants Keith's had for years, and when I went to buy the right color of grey thread, ended up buying some striped wool for a new pair of pants for Keith (well, for Gunwaldt, his SCA self). Very nice wool.

So I'm sewing and watching Brother Sun, Sister Moon, a movie I will love for life despite that criticism of those who can't appreciate religious-art in the form of a movie. Had it been a painting with discrepancies from the historical record, or a sculpture, or a medal, no one would care. But make it HUGE, with real scenery and real medieval buildings and costumes and music, and people say "the armor is crap" and "Clare wasn't that age," and blah blah. ART. Art.

Oh right. I need to get back to sewing. But I needed to pause the movie anyway and remembered that the computer sits here looking at me. My new DVD player for the sewing room, which is also a camera and a computer. See the wool?

Crazy. Fantasies.

"I was running fantasy, and then I thought 'That's not crazy!'," I said to Holly.

And she said, "That's what crazy people say about their fantasies."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Contentment, Abundance and Joy

I left this comment on a blog and then I thought it's bigger than one blog and one comment:
It's easy to go blog to blog sometimes and find more and more cynicism and hateful criticism of music, art, neighbors, the weather, politics, history, and of hope itself.

But unschoolers blogs!? NO, they're about joy and smiles and peace. I love that.
These were right next to each other when I went to catch up on blogs:

The Bharadwaj Knights
Abundance and what it means to me

AND The Kitchen Sink!

And here's a sweet link to baby Trevor's first attempt at locomotion, in a video with sound:
He Moves

Alex Polikowsky shared images and memories and this:
A Happy Childhood does last forever....make the most of it for your kids!

Crystal Miller told wonderful stories of her relationships with older neighbors, of gates in the fences and walls between their houses, and connections in their lives.
Have you heard the BUZZ......
That is definitely worth the few moments it will take you to read it. It would be worth an hour.

All over the world (real world and internet both) there are noisy folks feeling virtuous and clever about working themselves into a froth and a frenzy about what's stupid and what they hate and what's wrong. Without changing my location, I can look in another direction and see the unschooling network of blogs, e-mail lists, forums and (yes, I'm still excited) my new chat, and all the things those hook into, and the places the people go when they leave there. We're onto something big. We are creating and maintaining an international co-op for helping to see the beauty and the power in everyday, peaceful, happy learning.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Functionality

Good day! I'm having a nice week, though I realized last night that some sewing I've been promising to do isn't finished, so that's what I'm doing tonight and tomorrow, for sure. I hope.

Holly has done another piece of changing-photo-gif art and she's letting me share it with those who come by here, even though it's VERY cool as her MySpace profile picture.

It started with a new photo of our cat, Tiger. The poster is in her room. The tattoos are temps from a little Dover book. The haircut she did herself. The photo manipulation tool was Photoshop Elements 2.0 (an old one). She took all the photos. I think it's just amazing.

1. Please don't tell me that you're smart and wonderful. It cancels itself out.

2. Can you wake up and stand up, walk and talk immediately in the morning? (It has made my life better that that's one of my abilities. I don't need to stretch or wake up slowly or have coffee or anything; I wake up fully functional.)

3. The color green makes me want to sing! And it makes me want to start gathering up yard-working stuff and buy some peat pots and seeds!

4. I have a craving for ... nothing. I'm just happy as things are..

5. If my life had a pause button, I'd pause it occasionally, for a minute, to imprint a memory or take a photo, but there's no one moment I would love more than I love the everydayness of my life.

6. Eyes are the thing that made me cry when I saw Slumdog Millionaire. (NO SPOILERS in the comments here, please. Let people watch their own movies, but that one was rough for me as a mom.)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to seeing Marty's friend Ashlee, tomorrow my plans include sewingand Sunday, I want to watch Desperate Housewives with Holly (and sort and fold lots of laundry)!

Monday, February 02, 2009


Poor little guys. People should leave them alone. It's not like the good old days of free-range groundhog possibly doing local weather charms if they felt like it, no... they have some state-enslaved groundhog and they bid him arise on national TV. Free the groundhogs! Cold, in my office this morning, and warm in the glow of Holly's fiber optics lamp the other day.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday (I don't really care, but...)

So I don't watch football, but a lot of my friends do. Yesterday I was in the grocery store about 5:30, Saturday, to get just a few things. Few carts were available, lines were long, and the aisles were packed, as if it were the the day before Thanksgiving, or July 3 or something. I hadn't thought about "super bowl shopping," but there I was in a sea of same. I wonder if there are similar not-really-holiday shopping days in other places and parts of the world...

I'm getting excited about a conference in Tempe, Arizona on March 7. I started taking notes for my talk and making a list of things to take. Kirby will be there, and Holly, Holly's boyfriend Brett, and possibly but not as for-sure Marty. Pam and Rosie Sorooshian will be there. In the morning, I'm speaking first at 9:00, then Pam, then Kirby in another room right after. Lunch. Keynote (Grace Llewellyn), teen/young adult panel, then me and Pam and our kids after that. VERY full day. It was originally to have been a two-day conference, but scheduling conflicts lost them the Sunday meeting space, so it will be a super-filled one-day marathon.

Brett and Holly
Today I've made a pair of pants for Marty to wear over his leg armor at an SCA war (Estrella) he's going to with his dad in a week and a half. I'm going to make him two or three other things before then too. I cleaned the hot tub; no one's using it tonight, but tomorrow night it will be all sparkly. And I'll clean it again during those days Keith's in Arizona (the kingdom of Atenveldt, I mean) with Marty.

Laundry's running, Holly's watching The Simpsons upstairs and working on Shrinky Dinks, Keith is in the library working a jigsaw puzzle and watching the game. Marty is at Sadie's house, I think; maybe Jeff's. He's somewhere watching the super bowl. Brett is... quiet. Maybe he's playing WoW, or napping. He hasn't had a day off for a long time, and I bet he's very tired.

Tomorrow morning there's a chat on music, 9:00 my time, link in the left column.