Sunday, August 30, 2009

Holly is leaving home

This is only coming to me in little phases, which is probably the only way I can process or handle it. I will not always have Holly with me.

I'm excited about the Good Vibrations conference in San Diego, and I'm looking forward to seeing Kirby, and the Sorooshians, and lots of other friends from all over the place, and to the talent show and the passion baskets (I'm taking a "basket basket" and a "trash basket"), and to singing, and seeing people see my new book, which is VERY exciting. I've gotten sick and I'm getting well (check!) and I'm well on schedule to have everything calmly ready way in advance, and...

And that same countdown to something big and bright has, for me, a sad and dark side.

For Holly, she's looking forward to lots of those things AND to leaving the conference with the Maier family, going to Diana Jenner's, seeing Hayden, meeting Scotty, getting to know the dog, exploring the town, maybe getting a Christmas job in a mall or something... Her adventure will get bigger and better.

I'm thinking my own excitement curve is going to have a serious drop-off after we get home from that conference—me, and Keith, and Marty.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Confused? Could be worse.

I got up at 4:00; needed juice. Came upstairs, worked on web pages, thought Keith would come through on his way to work. Waited. 5:30 came; I needed to go back to the bedroom to get the one and only real-paper copy of the Big Book of Unschooling so I could put a page count on the description page.

As I went back through the house it was all dark and quiet. Really quiet. Keith wasn't up. Keith is always up. He must have swine flu. I will take care of him!!

It's Saturday. He's sleeping in (which for him means maybe 7:00 a.m.). So I'm thinking I'm all well and can take care of Keith, and I don't even know what day it is.

Yesterday I did walk to Kinko's and get copies of the insert "booklet" (a 14" two-sided set of instructions and notes on Thinking Sticks) for a set of sticks someone had ordered. I came back and discovered I already had a finished set, with the instructions. So I hadn't needed Kinko's; that's okay. I opened doors with a piece of paper, out there, so I wouldn't germ up the place. I keep washing my hands every time I think of it, and then some. "What have I touched?" I coughed on my shoes; no one will touch those. It felt good to be outside in the sunshine and the breeze. I was sweating, but that's good, immunologically speaking.

Holly's four days ahead of me and Marty on the flu, and so she was going to drive me to the post office to mail those sticks and a copy of Moving a Puddle someone ordered. I packed those up and came upstairs to find Holly had fallen asleep. So Keith went to the post office for me.

Friday morning (yesterday, by my slow calculations) Holly came back to check on me, and I said "I'm all better!" She said "You THINK you're better, but you're not." And honestly, I had woken up at 10:20, opened e-mail and seen a "TGIF" subject line which reminded me I was missing a Friday chat. My chat room had disappeared for the second time, so I lifted another set of code and cobbled up a quickie new one. Had an hour-long chat with several people. I must be well if I can make up a chat room so quickly.

Yeah, I'm not well yet. But I'm better every day.

I hear Marty's girlfriend didn't believe it was swine flu, but she got to work that night (at a medical lab) to a batch of swine flu samples and she thought again. She's been helping take care of Marty. Eeep.

Better now than a month ago. Flying with this headache would've been very painful. Better now than in a week and a half! So the good news is that we won't get sick in San Diego.

The photos are gratuitous New Mexico photos from Holly's blog. One of the early symptoms we all have had was loss of appetite, so seeing those signs doesn't make me want a Lotaburger at all. Both Holly and I had a craving for Cheerios. So my advice is buy some Cheerios (for day four or so), maybe some Advil caps if you're into pills, put some clean towels near your bed to put under you or on your pillow if you get sweaty, and extra tissues, water and juice, breathe slowly if you start to imagine scary "what ifs" and sleep it off for a couple of days. A cornbag or heating pad might be nice for the chills between fevers, or when your back hurts. You might not know what day it is when you do feel better; you might not be as "better" as you think you are; but Kirby and Holly in series and Marty and I in tandem have come through the flu.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Book, first peek

The proof copy of the book came. This is it; I need to find as many unidentified typos as I can, and fix those few glitches involving page breaks and the table of contents, and then DO IT—order enough for the conference.

And so, now that I've touched and seen it and my confidence is strong, I would like to announce that I'm taking advance orders for books to be shipped in the last week of September.

Attendees at the Good Vibrations Conference will have a chance to buy the conference edition, and any corrections or mushy reviews will be added to the next pass and the second printing. BigBook Pre-Order

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Thoughts

Frank Oz, singing doo-wop, with his arm in the air:

Over on Facebook, Pati tagged me to list fifteen TV shows and fifteen movies. Having thought those thoughts, I was happy to find this today. I hadn't seen this video for a long time, but I do sing the chorus fairly often.

My lists of TV shows and movies, given "don't think very long" directions:
Gilligan's Island
Mork & Mindy
Star Trek TNG
Boston Legal

The Cosby Show
Black Adder
Eli Stone

Monty Python's Flying Circus
Behind the Scenes, Penn & Teller
Dharma and Greg
Sesame Street
Kung Fu
El Cid
Guarding Tess
The Wizard of Oz
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Ben Hur

Crimson Tide (wtf? these are GUY movies!)
West Side Story
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Stand By Me
Enemy Mine
Return of the Jedi
When Harry Met Sally

Here's a follow-up, with Jim Henson and Frank Oz:

Cathyn & Laina, Holly, Marty

We had some people over last night to see Cathyn and his new wife, Laina. They stayed here a couple of days on their way through to California, and from there they're going to Europe for several weeks.

Holly did the moving gif to put two photos into one (the sign changing). She'll be back tomorrow from her trip to Iowa and Texas.

Marty has been really helpful. I had missed him. He played rock band with the two Jr. J. Cunicos while the adults talked the boring talk. Foot ball. Ray's old print shop, where most of us had worked at one time or another. Mo Palmer, who had been the next door neighbor of the majority of people in the room. I got to hold Liliana Ibarra for the first time. That was wonderful.

It's been really fun getting to know Laina, and catching up with Cathyn, and going to see some things around town. Odd corners of Old Town, Masks y Mas, SW Gem and Mineral shop. Mac's Steak in the rough. :-) (the last one that's open, at Menaul and Jefferson)... Very nice couple of days.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kelly Lovejoy's Birthday and related thoughts

Today is Kelly Lovejoy's birthday. For those who don't know Kelly, I'll tell you some cool stuff.

Kelly lives in South Carolina where she grew up; she married Ben, who also grew up there. They have a happy house and two sons—Cameron and Duncan.

The Live and Learn conferences were Kelly's idea and design, and several other conferences were spawned from that project, and generally follow her format and lovingly use L&L terminology ("funshop," "passion basket" and others).

Kelly's writing isn't constant but it's solid and she's my favorite kind of writer, which means (in my case) that she writes kinda like I do—straight and heartfelt.

If you want to read some of what Kelly has written and see some more images of her (taken by various others, as are those here; sorry for no photo credits but the Grand Canyon was Kelli Traaseth, I think), go to

If you want to wish her happy birthday and you're not a facebook friend of hers, you could leave a comment below and I'll send her the link.

Have a very merry birthday, Kelly,
and many happy birthdays to come!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

about Holly, where I am not

From "The Unzone" (zamunzo.blogspot):

Sunday, August 16, 2009
Teenage Daughter

I've been so fortunate to try on a teenage daughter for the past week. It's been fun and interesting and surprising and... well, lovely really. Sandra Dodd was so kind to lend me her daughter, Holly, and I will be forever grateful to her for that. Holly was awesome to agree to come and visit us and hang out with us so graciously -- adding her special Holly-spark to our lives.

Chris Sanders (a.k.a. Zamozo) wrote about Holly's visit to Des Moines, Iowa to stay with her family. There's more there, and it's sweet, and I'm glad to know they're all having a good time. I hope Holly will write about it too, because the stories she's told me have been very sweet and postive, and the family has been generous with their resources and attention. She seems to be having a great time.

Holly flies from Des Moines to Austin in a couple of days, and then will be home on Friday, but not for long. When we all go to the Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference, Holly will continue on from there with Frank and Ronnie Maier's family, to Diana Jenner's house in Corvallis, Oregon. In the blog post above, Chris mentions Canada. Holly's also planning to stay a while with Bea Mantovani's family (two very young girls; that will be fun for Holly). They've moving out of Montreal to a house an hour or so away, I think, so I'm not clear on the place, but still Qu├ębec. And Holly will also probably be in Ashford, near London, for a while sometime next year too.

I didn't know she would leave home before she was 18. As leaving goes, though, her explorations are pretty awesome. I think in some cases it's because the parents felt trust in her because of my stories over the years, or maybe in a case or two they felt indebted to me and wanted to do me a favor, but mostly I think it's because Holly is Holly.

I'm sorry she won't be here for the Monkey Platter Festival, but she'll be in Santa Fe for the Unschooling Symposium, and I don't know when I'll see her after that. Hooray for blogs and cellphones in our lives, for MySpace and Photobucket!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I've been carrying this around and putting it in safe places for five or six weeks. Now I can spend it.

I liked that someone had artisfied it a bit, and then written what read like "mosquitos." So the repair went from muskeeters to musketeers, and I thought all the versions were cool. So I kinda hoped that one of the musketeers would find this and know that the dollar bill went on its way. I think I got it at the Lota Burger in Socorro, or maybe that's the first place I decided not to spend it. If that's not where I got it, it came for somewhere in Albuquerque.

Holly got to be involved in some photography in Des Moines today and tonight she's at a movie with Chris (or that was the plan). I'm on a four-day-or-so break from the book. I've ordered a proof copy, and a few secret elves are doing a proofing read. My best choices at the moment are housework or reading myself to sleep. I'm leaning toward that soft bed, but Keith's watching wrestling back there.

I'm listening to Ferry Cross the Mersey, and the washing machine.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Learn Nothing Day was celebrated in Germany!

Looking for something else, I found this:

Very cool! And there were responses and links. (One had the news-item video below.)

Here's Google's roughly-into-English version:

I'm sorry I missed that; I'm glad I was in England, though; I'm glad I found that, and I'm glad I have a way to share with others.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Me, blah blah Rules, blah blah Yes

and another one that used to be less accessible but has been on YouTube for a week or so. I just forgot to mention it, as I was in London or on an airplane the day he put it up, and then I saw Holly and Keith and Marty and got all distracted for a few days!

Joyce Fetteroll on Logic (and unschooling)

There are some links to go with that one (which I chose to put on this blog, and if you want some links for the first video above, in the interest of balance and symmetry and all that, here:


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Holly; I love Holly

Holly is in Iowa with Chris Sander's family for a week and a half. Then she'll be at Kirby's house for a few days, and then home.

I wasn't able to upload her back cover art when I was in the U.K., but now it's there. Very nice. Robin Bentley is reading through the manuscript for me. Keith and Holly have found a fair number of typos; it's a good time to find them.

It's a fun project. Going to England and breaking the computer weren't steps toward book completion, but they were steps toward knowing more, so it might not have a more efficient author, but it has a wiser and more knowledgeable author with a better computer case and more in-person unschooling-family experience than a month ago! I got to stay with three unschooling families, all different and all happy.

I hope someday to get back to those England notes and photos, but for now the book needs to be top priority.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Windsor, changing of the guard

Some of these are just buildings or something I liked. The Starbucks, Pizza Hut and McDonald's are all RIGHT across the road from Windsor Castle, but at least near the back, not near the entrance. Still, it seems with the UK being so strict about the maintenance of historic buildings they'd be concerned with what tourists see at such an iconic site. There were no charity shops; most towns seemed to have five or six. Windsor had souvenir shops with Union Jack everything, rather than charity shops. But it seems the American companies could have moved back another street or two.

This map is tile. It's inside that passageway that shows inside a couple of the photos.

I'm writing this post from DFW. I'm nearly home. That was one great time I had in England and Wales, and I'm deeply grateful to Schuyler, Carolyn, Joy and Julie. I miss my family now, though, so it was just long enough and not too long.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I am Sandra Ringwraith

Adam Daniel says he is the baby Ringwraith, his dad is the daddy Ringwraith, I'm the Sandra Ringwraith and his mom is the mommy Ringwraith. We have given up on finding the ring, because it's been ruined, anyway. And Sauron doesn't mind if we don't want to look for it anymore.

Good deal! There are five other Ring-Wraiths somewhere else, but four are here.

We went to Virginia Wood where was saw a swan, a moorhen, several ducks, some seagulls, and on the way back to the car, in the woods across the main road (outside the park) I saw a deer. I didn't know it was unusual; turns out it was. We watched it for a while. It was so small I had thought it was a dog, at first.

Bobby McFerrin, me being behind, but still happy

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Wendy sent this. Bobby McFerrin is a genius and has the courage to be different. He could "do the right thing" and be a classical musician. He's doing the weird thing and helping people laugh and learn, to sing and think. There are hundreds of thousands of classical musicians. No one has ever done what Bobby McFerrin does. I'm glad he did it in the days of video recording and easy sharing.

The lyrics game has no pictures. I meant to do that last night but I fell asleep at the computer. I have less than an hour before train time, and I really came in here to deposit the notes from the pile of papers I have here for blog entries. I'm just going to dump them here so I can put the photos on the right days.

Llanharan service:
Church times, Michael Jackson, Peter Pan, fans would wish to freeze him in Neverland forever, like the fans of Elvis Presley, a land where there is no death. Jesus wants us to live at the intersection of earth and heaven. Jesus used potent symbols to go from time to eternity, to go from death to life. Bread from Tesco (dates on foods, mold). The new Poet Laureat, ?Carol Dufrey? (if someone could look that up I'd appreciate it), recent poem called Prayer.

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New (not the hymnal they used in Carleton Rode); tell about kids, communion, went to sit with parents, showed us their art.

Rhymes for "eucharist":

The chances we have missed
The graces we resist
Lord in thy Eucharist, take and redeem

Sunday afternoon: St Fagans National History Museum, the row houses, the stations of the cross.

Monday, August 3: Llantrisant Parish Church, dedicated to Saints Illtyd, Gwynno and Dyfodwg. Write about the luck of getting in, "Look at that Jesus; what do you think?" the Great War window, the immersion baptismal font under the bell tower, the door, the bell, eight bells, the really old tile floor in the chancel, the floor of tombstones, the Roman road, the castle, the view.

Okay, good. Now I can come back to this when I bring other photos so I'll know where I was.

Monday, August 03, 2009

More of Wales, before I get confused

The Church of Saints Julius and Aaron, in Llanharan. Another beautiful Victorian church made to look medieval. VERY nice people, and lots of them. A great deal of singing. I sat between Joy and a man with a rich Welsh voice. He was easy to follow. The hymnal didn't have music, just lyrics.

In the floral arrangement, all the flowers were from the garden of one of the ladies in the church. Look at all the occurrences of three in it. Very much a trinity situation.

That door was HEAVY, and had a big key in it. The latch worked well and the hinges were awesome, and so it could be opened to leave during the service to go to the toilet in the other building without disturbing people, we learned (or we hope).

The pews were especially interesting—interesting angle, and each pew end had three pegged joints. (If Keith or Wendy or someone can tell me the name for a pegged... tenon? I'll replace this with better information.)

That's where I went to church on Sunday, August 2. Joy went with me. I have other photos. We went to a museum that afternoon. We went to another town the next morning (Monday, today, but it seems days ago) and saw another, older church. I have photos. It might take a while to get those all uploaded, uprighted, and described. I'm happy but exhausted.


Photos of the faggot I ate, as representative Welsh food, and the shops it came from. Thanks again, Joy!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

LLanharan and Cardiff

The view, with mist, out the window where I'm staying. The big building in the foreground is a school that's being converted into apartments

Some oddments and details from Llanharan Saturday morning before we took the train to Cardiff. Click to enlarge that gate if you want—I liked the ironwork. It led into someone's back garden. The second image below was right along the road, behind a house, and over the door at the left it says "Laurels." Through the window I could see all kinds of thing I would have loved to be able to look through and ask about. The building was straight, not rounded; my camera's panorama feature distorted it. (It can also be clicked for enlargement.)

Cardiff looks like this:

A Mardi Gras Parade in Cardiff looks like... It seems that they were having a Mardis Gras parade. In a thrift store where we'd been a while before, the employees were wearing cowboy hats and they were playing country music. That was part of the day's celebration. It was a Saturday in August, and perhaps I misunderstood the Mardis Gras part a little, but I did bring images for you all to see, especially Frank Maier. Much about dragons. Some about New Orleans. One Dixieland band, and other things, mostly drums (including a big steel drum band). Some of these are noisy, so don't open them in a quiet house where people are sleeping.

The dragon with people holding the wings and tail up, if you see that, the guy was juggling trash—empty bottles and stuff from the gutter or somewhere. He juggled before and after I was trying to capture the pictures. It wasn't because of me; just coincidence.

We went into "The Parish Church of St. John the Baptist," and there were too many beautiful things to see for me to take enough photos. The vertical one is the back, entry and choir loft. The horizontal is the altar. The altar in the slide show is in a side chapel.

I mentioned in the Bishops Stortford post on Thursday that they have churches across from pubs. Joy and I ate in a pub and this has the view from the upper level, where we ate. One is looking down over a railing. The other is out the nearest window. I didn't want to put the flash on in a dark room. One photo is Joy sitting at our table. One is my food: chicken and ham pie, mashed potatoes, peas and gravy. And there's one of the ladies' room vending machines. One had condoms; nothing notable. The other was breath mints and inebriation tests. If they have those in the U.S. I haven't seen them.

Sunday morning, proof of being in the UK

Here I am with a Little Britain mug and a chocolate muffin from Greggs.

That could not be faked in the U.S. Honest. (Well, not by me anyway...)

I'm working on a bigger, better post about what we saw and did yesterday, but it's involved and I still left out many things. I'm going to church soon. Three times in three weeks. Pretty good for an atheist/agnostic. (I don't know the word for "don't care if god exists, "so I'm a cross between "doesn't" and "can't prove it.")