Sunday, June 28, 2009

Two New Cats

These cats have been here a month, but they were nervous and unhappy at first, so they lived in the library and the other pets wondered what was up.

Today for the first time I carried Mina, the Siamese-looking-one (she's a Birman) down the stairs from the library into the yard. The other one, Nuee (re-tagged "New Age" and then "Sketchy" by Holly), has been going outside for a couple of weeks, but Mina ("Mina Felina") has only been as far as the main upstairs, to sleep under Holly's bed a few rooms away, a few times. Here they are this morning, outside.

These two had their first intro to human houses with Kim's sister Nova, who is moving to Hawaii to study psychology, and can't take them with her.

I told Broc and Gail the other day that since my kids were getting grown, I was gearing up for my Crazy Cat Lady phase. But more pressing than that is that I've been the cats' protector and buddy, and I'm going to be in the U.K. for three weeks, so I'm creating a new, neutral cat food station in hopes of keeping the cats from being so territorial about their two feeding spots, and am heading off any clashes I see or hear starting and talking reason and peace (as well as I can, not speaking "cat"), so that when I'm gone Keith and Holly and Marty can continue to feed them without so much work as knowing who likes what and where. I'll let those other dishes go empty more often, and wean them down to the new place by the back door and keep that one happily full. I'm also not using any of their familiar dishes there.

If any cat behavioralists (any experienced cat owners) have other ideas for me, I'm willing to read short notes but not books beause I only have a couple of weeks before I journey afar without cats.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Broc Higgins on video

There's part of a longer interview with Broc here:
Lee also interviewed Brenna McBroom here yesterday.

It would have been nice if they could have had their beautiful home as a backdrop rather than my own cluttered house, but use your imagination. All their rooms are beautiful.

We shared Father's Day dinner in a window corner of Fuddrucker's, and though I double checked to make sure I had a camera when we left, I forgot to take a photo of Keith and Broc sitting together, which they did without even a photographer's suggestion. Bummer. Sorry.

Brenna McBroom (short bit of her longer talk)
and from the other day, me, on saying yes

Monday, June 22, 2009

New, out the back gate


I was wrong about the hopeful news of it being a Pizza Hut subsidiary and having an inexpensive menu. Bummer.

It took a LONG time for the place to be finished and opened. The notes below show why I thought what I thought, and how concerned others are to clarify. That's fine. It just is what it just is.

Earlier today:

After years of vacant lot, they built a Popeye's Chicken behind us, but it didn't even last a year, I don't think. It closed a few months ago. There've been construction guys there for a week or so, and today The News:

"Fastino's. Never heard of it. Looking...

Holly had said "I hope it's drive through Italian!" I said it would probably be Mexican, but Holly's right. It's a Pizza Hut subsidiary. COOL!

I don't know where this one is, but as I can find very little about it, I've lifted this from a business article:
The new Fastino's menu includes Italian specialty pastas, such as fettuccine alfredo, $2.99; cheese tortellini, $3.49; pasta primavera, $3.49; and lasagna, $3.79. They are served with a free garlic bread stick. Spaghetti, with a choice of four sources, is available in servings for one to four people and starts at $2.59.

And choice of four pizzas -- pepperoni, beef and pepperoni, deluxe and plain -- is offered by the slice, starting at 70 cents, or $4.59 for single and $7.99 for two pies. The menu also includes a 99-cent side salad and two desserts -- Italian ices, 99 cents, and "cheesecakes on a stick,"$1.29.

Because it says "pies" I'm guessing it was written by someone in New Jersey or New York. :-)

Well anyway... it should smell better than a chicken-frying place. So those who come to visit me can now walk over to very inexpensive and very fast pasta or pizza!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Hippie Wedding

Holly and I went to Steve and Beau's wedding yesterday, a nearly two-hour drive into what seemed the middle of nowhere, but I do know vaguely where we were, in the southern Manzano Mountains. We were calling it a hippie wedding, but the groom referred to it as "a Pagan, Native-American, Buddhist, Jewish ceremony conducted by a heretic Catholic priest." Keith had been out there all of Saturday a week ago, half of Friday, and is still up there to break down all the tents and bring back the tables and chairs and tents that were ours. Keith was brushing his hair to tie it back, and Holly and I had just arrived. Here's the place where the ceremony was.

Trying to get that panoramic shot, I accidentally made a little video, and would've thrown it away but you can see the ribbons fluttering, and hear some wind and birds. The ribbons were tied on those poles with blessings, at the bridal shower. Some have words, and bells.

(clickable link)
The bride was my bride's maid when I married Keith 25 years ago. Beau Tappan. We've sung together for many years, and she and Keith still sing together regularly, with a group. I'm their music researcher and librarian, but I'm not singing this season.

Steve and Beau have lived together for 35 years already. Holly said an interesting thing. It was jolting at first, but when I tried to see it from her point of view, I could. She said she thought it was nice, the reason they were getting married. She said most people get married for life, to make a life together, and Steve and Beau were getting married about death.

At first it sounds awful, but I see her point. They don't need to hope and plan for life together. They've already had that, and are continuing to do so. They want to have the benefits of marriage in the case of illness and those other late-life things.

Beau would've been happy to have had a justice-of-the-peace wedding, in a judge's office. Steve wanted a party, and I'm glad he did. I saw lots of old friends and got to see their cabin on ten acres in the aforementioned middle of nowhere. The food was great! It wasn't an alcohol party; no toasts while I was there. Probably there were later, but Holly and I came home after we ate, just after the cake cutting, because Holly was watering the yard and garden of the newlyweds while they stayed out to party another day.

I was afraid to do too many videos and run down my battery. Here's one from the outside of the party tents, near the kitchen corner. The yellow tent was for smokers. You can hear Holly's voice. She's inside the tent with Keith and some other people, but the shade keeps them from showing much. She asked me if that tent would really keep the smoke in, but the purpose of the tent was to prevent fire. The ground was covered in dry pine needles and there was a fire in the area last year. So IF a cigarette starts a fire, it will be right there, near water, near people. Easy.

Holly had a zoom and so her photos will be better than mine, and she's a better photographer, but here are some images I happened to have, in the meantime.

This is a 90 degree view made flat. There were tents all the way around a central square, for the reception.

In 2009 when this post was new, I didn't have the ability to share a folder, but now in 2022, I do. Here are Holly's photos of the day (click this one to open the gallery):

And here you can see mine. The first few are from the bridal shower at Judith's house. Sorry for a few duplicates.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm a subject and a reference.

Lee Stranahan wrote:
"Here's a short excerpt from one of my recent interviews with Sandra Dodd, talking about 'Saying Yes'. Remember : contributors who give $50 or more will be receiving the entire raw interview with Sandra on DVD in the next few weeks. Edited segments will be in the completed film."

My tumbleweed page is listed at top of the list at the bottom of an article on an interesting page. Here's the e-mail I received:

I included your your link about tumbleweeds to our site here at the El Fornio Historical Society. Henry Peabody wrote a short piece about the myth of the tumbleweed and at the end of the piece there are a series of links. Your link was included. Hope you don't mind. It's a good one.
John G.

John Graham
Senior Editor, Illustrator
The El Fornio Historical Society
Home of Junipero Serra's Heart in a Jar

I think if there was a mission church it might've been The Church of the SubGenius or something; still, even if the tumbleweeds are the most authentic thing about it, it's more wordfame for tumbleweeds (and my site, even though it's the weedy-seediest corner of it).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday AGAIN!??

Here is why it's hard for me to work on a book:
  • My house is fun.
  • I have company sometimes on short notice.
  • Holly likes to talk to me.
  • People need to eat.
  • There are live chats (one tomorrow, in fact...).
  • I'm invited to showers and performances and such.
  • People order copies of the other book, and I have to print and file papers and pack books and go to the post office and read a book while I stand in line. (HAVE to. )
  • When I go to a webpage to find what I want to quote or summarize for the new book (which is a summary of the web page), I follow links and read, or I find something to tweak in the formatting.
  • I receive fascinating e-mail, and sometimes the e-mail of lunatics (which can also be fascinating).
  • Furniture and televisions keep being rearranged.
  • We have accepted custody of two cats who are still very spooked about the greater house and yard, and our already-cats are wondering what is up. I am, of late, a social worker and counsellor for felines.
  • I'm going to a wedding this weekend. The friend who was my bridesmaid is getting married, to the guy she was living with before I met Keith. Keith and I have been together 31 years (married for 25).
  • My yard needs water, and my flowers keep being beautiful: Day lilies, lilies of the Nile, morning glories, mimosa, various things whose names I don't know, and I have a tomato blossoming, and a potato about to bloom/blossom/whatever potato plants do when they make those beautiful flowers.
  • Always Learning is a great list—interesting every single day, and I can't stop reading it because... because it's my list? No, because I don't want to get behind.
  • I need to blog about these things sometimes.
  • I want to eat chocolate.

When will I finish a book? Sooner if I go back to it right now.

Holly's going to do the cover for me. We have a plan but it can't really be seen yet. Too raw. Mostly sketchy and wordy.
Check back as time goes by, maybe...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Practice Learning Nothing

Perhaps some warm-up exercises for Learn Nothing Day would be useful. Or at least strategy planning and list making. Melissa Wiley has found something like a textbook for Learn Nothing Day! Click that beginning part of her blog post to read the whole thing.

If anyone has suggestions of ways to avoid learning for just the waking portion of one day, please leave notes here! Thanks.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The value of opinions

Make your opinions valuable by not expressing worthless opinions.

I just posted that as part of something I wrote to Always Learning, and I thought I might want to put it where I could find it again. This place will do.

Once in a discussion where someone who knew little to nothing about unschooling was assuring me I was rude and thought I knew everything, I pointed out that the way to be right all the time was to never say anything you weren't sure of. Since before I had kids, I was in positions at work and in hobbies to be scrutinized and quoted, so I figured out way early on that if you don't say things you're not willing to defend or to have quoted back, you're pretty safe as scrutiny and questioning go. I saw friends who lied or bullshitted, and I saw them have to try to remember who received which version of what story and it seemed exhausting. I knew they were lying, and gradually others came to know, and soon they were reliable liars.

Some people speak without thinking, and write without pausing, and respond with emotion without considering what will happen after that. We all know some, and some of us have been some (I've certainly learned from my own experiences directly and sometimes painfully). So now what? It depends on the person.

Some people don't have any idea how good it would feel for others to respect their opinions. Some people long for it but don't have a clue where it comes from.

Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences suggest not everyone is equally capable of pulling this off easily. It would take intrapersonal skills (self knowledge), and interpersonal, verbal and logical. So someone who's a great singer, dancer and who sees and can paint the details of various trees and birds might not even know what I'm writing about here. That's okay.

For those who do see it, it might help you explain to someone else in your life what it takes to be confident and reliable. If you don't know, don't say. If you're quoting someone else's ideas and they're not your own, say so. At least say "I heard" or "I read," because then if that information was wrong it's only your faith in other people's ideas that's called into question. If you're pretty sure you do know, you could STILL qualify your statement with an explanation of why you think you know the thing.

When, in an unschooling discussion, I say "That won't help," there's an assumption that I'm basing it on years of experience with my unschooled kids and other people's situations and problems and solutions.

in an SCA discussion, if I say "That's not why that was done," I'm probably about to go on to say why I said that, and those who know me will assume I can pull a piece of paper out of a filing cabinet to back up my claim, or a photo, or a letter. And I probably can, or else I would have said "I can't prove it anymore, but that's not why that was done."

and then this happened:

I took a break from writing the post above, and came upon this post on Renee Cabatic's blog: I quoted the first Schuyler writing on my page about gratitude, but this also was in Renee's blog post, in Schuyler's words:
It means a lot to me to get to write it. It makes it feel more concrete, more directed, more future making of the now, if you know what I mean in my lack of clarity. Let's try again, if I write it, somehow, it becomes a truth that I want to maintain.
When people write and say what they mean and then stand by those words, it makes them reliable. This isn't to say that people should stand by rash statements. It says people should not make rash statements.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Creepy Homeschool Thingie

I delete most requests for me to determine what kind of cat I am or which superhero I should have wild sex with or whatever all those are, but once in a while I do pick up a meme and turn it over and hold it up to the light. Some others have picked this up and done it too, so if you're on facebook, you can get to some others by following the bread crumbs and laughter from If you're not already on facebook, it's not worth joining it for that.

I brought it here because Frank did his on his blog instead of on facebook and he credited/blamed/indicted me.

Homeschool Thingie!
Yesterday at 10:30pm

I'm not tagging people other than Rebekah who tagged me, but if anyone wants to do it for fun, I'll come and read it if you tag me on yours.

1. What time do you get up?
When I'm through sleeping, unless I need to be somewhere. This ranges from 4:00 a.m. to 9:00; usually closer to 7:00

2. What do your children wear to school?
They've never been to school

3. What curriculum have you tried and hated? What have you tried and loved?
I love the fact that i never tried a curriculum, so I didn't have to "hate" one.

4. Who is your most inspirational homeschooling role model?
Pam Sorooshian

5. Abeka, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, or Classical?

6. Favorite response to “What about socialization?”
I say "What do you mean?"
Usually the question is asked by rote, the same way adults ask stranger-children "Where do you go to school?" Most people just blink and stammer, because they don't even know what they meant when they asked it.

7. Favorite subject?

8. Favorite field trip ever?
I collected traditional songs from people I met in England. But with my kids? "Field trip" is a very schooly word, but we did go to Washington DC to see the fireworks one 4th of July.

9. Best thing about homeschooling?
Family cohesion (at our house, anyway; some families screw that up by doing school at home)

10. Sports, music, or art?
For me? Music. For others, other things.

11. Beautiful script handwriting, or lightning fast accurate typing?
I can do calligraphy but that's slow. i can type like the wind. So can my kids and my husband, though he's the only one of them who's a touch typist.

12. Best one stop shopping for school books?
"School books"? It's not "a stop," but for non-fiction books I used to really like Chinaberry Books, Usborne and Dorling-Kindersley. They're not "school books," they're real books for normal people.

13. One subject you didn’t get to this week:
At this point in our unschooling this question doesn't make sense.

14. What will you do when you run out of kids to teach?
I never did "teach" my kids. I helped them learn. They're 22, 20 and 17; have I "run out of kids"?

15. Ever give school books as holiday or Birthday gifts?
If anyone has ever done that I hope they got a stocking full of report cards.

16. Better late or early (delay formal education at home, or start as young as possible?)
Better where they are every day.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Blake's, and a day with grownish kids

It's been a busy day, with someone determined to show radical unschoolers that we are (in her own words)
... Mattel toy worshiping, Big Media swallowing, psuedo radical ...
I'm over it.

Clearly she wasn't over it, because she was posting fast and furiously earlier today. There wasn't time for her to even have opened and tagged the links people were sending.

Because I suggested she should stop writing and be with her children (who are both very young), I thought I should share what I did with my children today.

Kirby, 23: I picked up some of his belongings that had been knocked around by cats we've lately taken in who still aren't happy being here. I found a piece of artwork his cousin, Gina Trujillo, did years ago that he's considering having made into a tattoo. I didn't talk to him; he's at work, in Austin. I talked to Marty about him for a while.

Marty didn't sleep here, but I did some of his laundry last night, and when he came home he helped me with his height and strength to put some plastic netting up in a tree and over the back of the basketball goal for morning glories to climb on. It will be beautiful by August and fantastic in September! We talked about some of his friends, his girlfriend, Holly's plans for the afternoon, and his. Holly's going to Madrid, New Mexico, to a gypsy festival with Ashlee, Marty's girlfriend (also Marty's ex-girlfriend Liz, and another friend of Ashlee's who is performing at the festival). Marty was going to hang around with other friends. He wasn't here long, but most of the time he was here we were together, working and talking.

Holly woke up before I did. We were both up late, talking and doing things together last night, but she was on call to go work at the flower shop on base if the lady there needed to go help her sister have a baby. Apparently the sister didn't go into labor today! I showed Holly some things about doing webpages in straight html, and making her own templates for a website she's making for a gallery. She showed me something on Photoshop I hadn't known. I showed her some html sites and tools, and how to edit blogger pages (also for that gallery job). She said it's quite a bit like MySpace, in which she's fluent. We worked on art and code for a couple of hours together.

She helped me in the yard a bit and then we checked on the cats who are living in the library until such time as they can be introduced to the larger house.

Later I helped her choose clothes to look gypsiesh, and reminded her to take a camera, sunscreen and an umbrella, which she did happily.

Then I worked on my book (I'm more and more excited about it as it's coming together), cleaning the hot tub in stages, and I went to LotaBurger for a while. I took the laptop and worked on rearranging pages in which order to make the book flow more logically.

Holly will be home around 11:00. Marty might or might not be home after work.

Even on a "nothing" day, we had learning and love.

Keith's off camping near Silver City (an SCA event at City of the Rocks). He'll be home tomorrow, and then on Monday Holly drives to Silver City to stay five nights to work with/on/around the gallery. One of those days will be shopping in Palomas, Mexico. I created an international travel permission letter Friday and we had it notarized, as she's not yet 18.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday now, and 32 years ago, another Friday

Can you tell which one's me? One is my sister, and one is a friend from 1960 and forward who was in school with me, in girl scouts, 4-H, Sunday School, band.... One is my ex-boyfriend. One is my ex-husband (now deceased). One of those was the friend's husband at the time of the photo. Small town! Oh! And my ex-husband's younger sister later married the younger brother of that childhood friend, and their kids are grown and nearly so!

Another blog in another universe not too far away —That one has some names and details. I'm leaving this as is here.

That Friday was more exciting than this Friday, but here goes:

1. I love my home.

2. My favorite thing for dinner lately has been salmon.

3. Someone's at the door and we hear "bark! bark! bark!"

4. A nice long walk is awaiting me in Wales! Beginning of August...

5. Geri's Good News Network is some good news. (see the blog post just below this one)

6. When all is said and done, I hear ABBA in my head.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to rearranging my stuff, and trying to suck up to our new cats so they'll trust us, tomorrow my plans include rearranging some more stuff, working on a book and Sunday, I want to clean the hot tub and put that 400 gallons of water on some of my flowers!!

The sister of a longtime friend is moving to Hawaii to go to college and can't take her two cats, so I volunteered to take them. They're living in the library, still very skittish (and one was a barn cat to begin with), one is recovering from surgery, and I'm going to wait until Monday to try to introduce them to the house at large. One doesn't like our dog (has never been around dogs), and one of our other cats is pretty territorial, so next week might be difficult for me, but not as difficult as it might be for the cats. :-/

I wish I had a way to really communicate with them and our resident cats, who were themselves captured as feral kittens from a barn is Las Lunas when they were already five or six months old, but that was ten or eleven years ago, and who knows what cats remember.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Congratulations, Geri!

Geri Weis-Corbley, an unschooling mom of three and the happy owner of "The Good News Network just published this note:
Good News Network on 2009 Rolling Stone HOT List!

Now we know we're HOT. . . The Good News Network made Rolling Stone magazine's Hot List for 2009!

Listing their HOT INTERNET picks on page 89, only two websites are mentioned, with the Good News Network headlined as HOT WISHFUL THINKING...

Check out some other outside acknowledgement of Geri's work:

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thinking Caps for Learn Nothing Day!

It's time to start thinking about Learn Nothing Day, July 24. It might be fun to think about the idea of a thinking cap... Hmmm... and caps display more easily between July 24ths than t-shirts do.

Caps to wear while learning nothing!
So I guess not "thinking caps," but "non-thinking caps"... or something.

Clicking either cap will take you to a page where you could buy one for $14.99 plus shipping, which is the base price with no markup at Cafe Press.

I myself will have a very difficult time of not learning this year, as I'll be traveling by train from Norwich or Thetford to London with the Waynforth family and checking into a hotel in London to be safely near the Saturday conference. I need to know all that *before* that day. I need to ask all my questions on Thursday or save them until Saturday, maybe. It won't be easy, but for the good of all unschoolerkind, I'll do my best.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My New Year's Resolution

I made it five months, on that resolution, without a failure. My resolution to do fifteen minutes a day extra to help unschoolers flagged on Saturday. We were in Alamogordo and on the road for fifteen hours, and when I got home I was just too tired to be useful.

I tried to make up for it yesterday and today, but it's been so long since I had a New Year's Resolution, I don't remember the rules. Is it like AA? I need to start my year over now?

Something I put up today, after editing an ancient word file, is this:

It's the transcript of a chat from 1995 or so. Kirby was nine. I remember someone saying, when Kirby was nine, online to other homeschoolers that my oldest was only nine, so they could disregard what I wrote. My oldest will be 23 next month, and people can still disregard what I write, but I feel big and good. I have three very happy kids. Marty got big new tires on his jeep yesterday. Kirby's being trained for a more particular job. Holly went and untangled a social situation among high school kids today, friends of hers and friends of theirs, and got a stolen iPod back to the mother from whom it had been stolen by her daughter's friend's friend. That's kind of heroic and brave of her. She wasn't even involved, except knowing two of the people and figuring helping them was better than listening to them complain forevermore.

So I'll take a bereavement exemption on Saturday, I guess, and try to finish out the rest of 2009 with fifteen minutes more every day than I would've done anyway.