Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm adding this to Sunday's post

Today in the Visual Thesaurus Magazine:

I Want my MTV (Mood, Tense, Voice)!
Gen-Xers like me remember MTV as the 24-hour-a-day source of music videos in the 1980s, when it stood for "Music Television." Many people today would be surprised to learn that MTV ever had anything to do with music. These days, MTV is better known as the source of reality shows like "The Jersey Shore." And now, here's something else that has nothing to do with music that you can think of when you think MTV: Conjugating verbs! When you think MTV, think "mood, tense, and voice."

Click here to read the whole article...

Nice that someone else explained my fridge-magnet's problem!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dated humor

When humor gets more questions than laughs, it's time to take it off the refrigerator, I guess!

To the right of the towels. It's not there anymore. It will be on a filing cabinet in the office...

It used to be pretty funny, but MTV isn't what it used to be.


Two days after I posted the photos and notes above, this came in the e-mail (Tuesday, August 31):
Today in the Visual Thesaurus Magazine:

I Want my MTV (Mood, Tense, Voice)!
Gen-Xers like me remember MTV as the 24-hour-a-day source of music videos in the 1980s, when it stood for "Music Television." Many people today would be surprised to learn that MTV ever had anything to do with music. These days, MTV is better known as the source of reality shows like "The Jersey Shore." And now, here's something else that has nothing to do with music that you can think of when you think MTV: Conjugating verbs! When you think MTV, think "mood, tense, and voice."

Click here to read the whole article...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New desk, new duck

Keith is creating a desktop to conjoin my old college desk, which I've used ever since as desk, or sewing, or desk, or sewing... and a $6 filing cabinet, wooden, sold cheap because it had been outside for a year or more and black widow spiders had lived up under it. Yucko! I have a vacuum and strong spider-courage. The moms were all gone, but the webs and eggs were still up in there. No more!!

And while I'm sitting here using the unfinished table because it rained, and some glue is drying, and it won't be finished for a day or two, keith brought in the mail. Nice long letter from my longtime friend Kate Holford (Marie Heuser) with news about her life & Rob's, and an early Christmas gift. I hung it up where I can admire it for a while!

It's a Holly-wreathed duck. Very sweet.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Life moves quickly and isn't fair

I was at the dentist, a place I don't like to be. I had taken the teeny iPod that a friend of my kids' had given me because it was old and he wasn't using it. Old. And so I was bored in the dentist's office and didn't want to start a magazine article, so I examined the iPod. Not much writing on that, and it didn't take long to read it.

It shows better if you can tilt it in person, than it shows in a scan. It says Geneva, March 2007. Okay. For electronics I guess three years and some can be obsolete.

Having read the whole iPod, I looked at the art on the walls. Art nouveau toothpaste ads, and one nicely-framed diploma. I don't read Latin, so pretty much it was blah blah blah (or in Latin, blabus blabus blabus), but I do read Roman numerals fluently. 2008.

My dentist graduated from Harvard in 2008. The 372nd graduating class, I think it was saying (probably not of the dental school). A year after my iPod was proudly date-stamped, with its month of manufacture.

I was grateful to have music, a charge card to pay for the dentist visit, and a car to drive home in.

So today Marty and I drove around. For mysterious reasons never to be explained, we didn't get the mail saying the jeep registration needed to be renewed by mail. My name is on it, Keith's isn't. Marty's is but he's broke this month. Marty and I went to the emissions-check station. Passed all but gas cap. $10 to retest there; free re-test blah-de-blah Broadway NE. Old Jeep place closed on them without notice; now Mazda, have some old Jeep parts still, not that one. So far we're still not five miles from the house. Go to Coors Road. Far. Friday afternoon congestion. Parts store slightly moved, quarter mile up the strip of auto sales places. One Wrangler gas cap in stock; got it.

Broadway emissions headquarters closed at 4:30 and not open until Monday. (It's 4:47.)

Back far across town to our house, $10 to approve new gas cap and get forms. Motor vehicles might be open to 5:30 or 6:00?? NO. Closed at 4:00. Not open until Monday.

Stayed fairly happy. Marty's girlfriend has a car; he can use my van; he can get it finished up Monday.

We are unaccustomed to these things. Keith mails the fees for registrations right after they arrive. Also unaccustomed to a recessions closing parts stores that way. Glad I enjoyed being with Marty, and glad we live in town and not far from those places, offices, checkpoints.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Today I made a chocolate cake, from scratch, three layers. And I made a frosting recipe I hadn't made before, that involved cooking the cocoa powder and butter "until it thickens." I wasn't too sure about how thick was thick, but it worked. Tomorrow, Holly will take some of it with her to work, at Clare's house, because that's where the duck eggs came from that inspired the cake-making.

Also, as a bonus, candid photos of my kitchen today. Obverse and reverse of the scene of the cake.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday night, HSC, tired

"Tired" is too light a term.

The same gamer group as last night is here again, playing. I'm mostly packed. My suitcase is "only" 42 lbs; yay!

This morning in the young-adults panel Anselm, the guy on the far end, said: "Weird kids make interesting adults."

Kirby, Rose, Hannah and Aselm

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Yesterday morning early, I saw this all set up and not used yet.

I saw it later with slippery, happy little kids all over the place, too. I had many happy memories of Kirby's pollywog party, when he was little, and other happy backyard waterplay times.

I think he was four. Maybe five. I remember the verse on the invitation:
Kirby's birthday's in July
Not many days are hotter
And so like little pollywogs
We'll be playing in the water
But those were twenty-year-old mom-memories; Kirby's grown.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lights, trees, electricity, paper... unrelated

"Lights, trees, electricity, paper... " sounds a little Christmasy, but it's not that.

Holly is refurbishing her room, mostly from things from around the house and in the shed. She claimed two '70's swag lamps. One had been in the closet in the library (only used when looking for a record), and the other had been on a shelf in the garage for over a dozen years, getting dusty.

The dusty one (now cleaner) is showns. The other is punched copper, from Mexico.

I wanted to show the plugs, though. Holly thinks they're wonderful. They scare me. But when I was her age, plugs like that seemed safe and modern because the wire was rubber or vinyl covered, rather than copper wires in woven cloth, and the plug had a way to hold onto it, rather than being round and domed. Those were "old plugs" in my youth—stuff from the 1930's and '40's.

You can enlarge those for details.

Those are three trees in my front yard—a mimosa that came up voluntarily from seed blown over from a neighbor's tree, something big I don't know the name of on the left, and a beautiful Arizona Cypress on the right. Our yard is very shady in the summer, and that's a huge luxury in New Mexico.

So I was wrapping up a bunch of books, in tissue paper and cardboard, as I do sometimes, because I'll be gone quite a bit this fall and others might need to mail out book orders.

One of them turned out exceptionally beautiful, as there was some green cardboard box I cut up, and it came up in the pile at the same time as some beautiful green tissue paper. It's on the top there. It will be in the pile and will probably just go out randomly. So if someone gets a beautifully wrapped book, don't think they're all that good! Some are plain cardboard and plain solid-colored paper.

And this is just a picture I should've shared sooner. It's Keith, Kirby and Marty Dodd, nine days ago. I was in that game of Trans America too, but I got up to take a picture, from the stairs near that table.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Synchronicity: Diwali and Data

This afternoon after several changes of plans and rearrangements, my visa arrived, meaning my passport was returned from the Indian embassy in San Francisco with an all shiny visa stuck in there. That's the good news. The bad news was that my hosts had asked me to come in late January through February instead, but I had already ordered the visa, which expires in early February.

I smudged it some, by pouring digital ocean water onto the secret bits with a clone tool.

But anyway, that's not the synchronous thing. Because I'm going earlier, I'll be there for Diwali, in early November. So I had been looking at photos this morning. Then the visa came. Then I made reservations and sent notes with arrival and departure to people in India saying I was looking forward to experiencing Diwali!

And then, while sitting here printing and saving and messing with my itinerary and receipt, I'm also watching Star Trek TNG as I've been doing on and off for several weeks. I'm in Season 4. Data's Day. Data says... "a celebration of the Hindu festival of lights..."

Well sure he would! Why not? (And don't give my any statistics or heebie-juju.) It's just one of the merry entertainments available to the easily amused.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Sign of Fall, and something about Holly

All alone, this object, outside a grocery store.

By the time I got my camera out, something else was arriving.

Those who have lived in New Mexico might know the answer. One more clue, by clicking the image at left.

Beginning Friday, I heard them say. The Albertson's near our house.

Holly and I were shopping today for oddments. We parked near a car and Holly pointed out that their dashboard was very decorated. I have two bad images, which is unfortunate. I should've taken my time but it was VERY hot, and people don't generally like other people messing with their cars in northern New Mexico (not that there are places where they DO, but... )

In the first photo the danglies from the mirror show, and the fangs of the snake. In the video you can see some other things, but not the snake so much. I don't know whether it was just sculpture or whether it was preserved posed plasticized rattle snake, I noticed when we passed the other side that in the cup of the snake's coil were two big crystals. Some combination of scary desert and new age dashboard tableau.

I figure someone with that much dangerous-looking stuff on display might be mean. So I told Holly she should get her purse of that [potentially mean person's] car.

And speaking of Holly, she's all grown up. Starting next week, she'll be working full time staying with a young unschooled girl whose mom died recently. Most nights, Holly goes to music performances, small sites, local or touring groups. She's busy.

Yesterday as she left for two different meet-ups and music-doings, she said she might not be back until mid-day the next day. Okay with us, thanks, have fun...

This morning she was home in bed. Not only in bed, but...

At the foot of her bed is the flat-screen TV she bought with her own money this week. It all rolls together to remind me of questions people ask about unschooled kids, about them being "more mature." I think with a different kind of parenting, and in the absence of school, something happens that transcends the idea of "maturity" itself. Many of the behaviors associated with "maturity" and "immaturity" and "acting like a teen" and all of that have to do with the strictures and manipulation traditional in mainstream families and school. "Act your age," or "You can do that when you're older," or "That's for babies," or "Why are you hanging out with little kids?" or "He's much too old for you." All that framework of judgmental noise from parents and friends and neighbors serves to remove a person's preferences and choices, in favor of doing just what will produce the least clucking and finger-wagging from others (or worse than noise, in the case of young boys).

Because we gave our children real opportunities to be responsible when they were young, they're trustworthy young adults. Because we didn't discourage childlike curiosity and play, Holly is willing to put her little pop-up play tent on top of her new twin bed and crawl in there to sleep on a night when she had the car and the possible intention of staying out all night with party friends.

It's not maturity or immaturity. It's a confident life full of choices.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A gamer wedding

I started to say this was the first gamer wedding I'd been to, but Rob and Ellie's wedding, years ago, qualifies.

So Ryan and Beth got married. That's why Kirby came to town this weekend. The wedding itself had no gamer-geek indicators, but a big batch of not-in-the-wedding-party folk went to our house in the time between ceremony and dinner/reception.

It was interesting seeing them so dressed up, playing the same old stuff. There was a writey-drawey table after a while, as others arrived, but I didn't take a picture because I was playing. It was (as usual) a loud, fun time. It was played (NOT as usual) by men in suits and women in little dresses (or Holly's slinky long dress).

At the hotel, the banquet tables' centerpieces were real game boards, with a cylindrical vase with a rose in the water. All different game boards. Our table had Uncle Wiggly. Not the most manly and impressive one. There was Risk, and chess, and some Japanese strategy map thing. Holly and I walked around and looked, but [doh] didn't take pictures.

I took some camera-phone photos of the edges, but none of them are very good. I'll show a couple of Holly and Kirby, and leave a link to the set. Others will have better images for sure, eventually. Except for some dress-detail of Beth fixin' to hug Drew, I have no bride or groom photos. They'll be around, soon, scads of them.

That's a big group of really nice friends, and I'm glad I get to hang out with them sometimes.

Click here to see more photos.

I was on standby to pick people up if they couldn't drive, but Marty and Ashlee found a driver, and Kirby's going to a party from there. I delivered Holly to other doings before it was dark. So I can go to bed now. Big long day.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Kirby's short visit

Kirby is here for a couple of days, to go to Beth and Ryan's wedding. He's asleep now, but even having him asleep in the house is sweet and comforting.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Where learning happens

I wrote something new that got commentary and feedback, so I figured I should put it where I can find it again. The "this list" referenced is the Always Learning list, the most serious ongoing discussion of unschooling ever, I'm pretty sure.

It's not that they are "allowed" to make their own connections. It's that ONLY they can make the connections, in their own minds. Nothing on paper is learning. Nothing recited is learning. Nothing in a conversation is learning. Nothing written on this list is learning.

Learning is putting information together in one's own head so that it makes new and different sense. It always and only happens inside the learner.

Anyone seeing that as a new idea might want to read here:
Actual photos of my actual children actually learning. For real:

They're grown now, but still learning.