Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cup less than half full

I was looking through some ten-year-old discussions, and this surfaced. It's an old story about someone I called "Joe," whose real name I have forgotten, so it's best if my kids (if they remember) don't tell me who it was. Mostly it's a story about my kids and my house, with "Joe" as the "light" that shone on it once so I could see it more clearly.

After the italics, it's me, in April 2002:

In a message dated 4/15/02 8:12:55 AM, rumpleteasermom@..... writes:

The one that confuses me is Wyndham. His taste is so . . . varied,
for lack of a better word. He can go from Cinderella to Die Hard to
Into the Woods to Operation Petticoat. There is no pattern I can see.

That's the way my kids are, for definite sure.

Holly usually doesn't like violence, and usually avoids it (I tend to wander out when the fistfights start) but she really liked Fight Club, for the personality stuff and the mystery of it. Marty and Kirby can join any tough guy discussion about John Wayne movies or Mad Max, but can also be heard singing to themselves from the Rogers and Hammerstein Cinderella OR the Disney. They were as glad to go to the theatre to see Mulan as they were to see The Matrix.

I think it's healthy and a GREAT way to "see the world" and connect all kinds of things, places, times, actors, literary forms, composers, dialects... Little Shop of Horrors (the musical, which they all know) is written by (and similar to in many aspects) the guys who did The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (and in part, Aladdin, I think). They're conversant in a lot of comparison/contrast ways on those subjects.

One of my favorite things about my kids, and what makes unschooling easy with them, is that they're not cynical or critical about the interests of others in the family, or of the neighbors, or of their friends. They assume that everything has the potential to be interesting and good.

There is one mystery kid, though. Kirby has complained that except during D&D games, he seems to have nothing to say. He was here this weekend. He's sixteen and he does go to school. I'll call him Joe (because that's not his name). He was up waiting for several other houseguests or my boys to wake up. I offered him cereal if he didn't want to wait for waffles; he fixed some. He wandered downstairs. Holly was in the den, where maybe 100 bought videos are visible, and two gaming systems. We have a dog and a yard. We have books, games, and toys. He told Holly "This house is really boring in the morning."

If we hadn't been being quiet for sleeping people, I probably would have had music on, but we were being quiet.

I was amused, and repeated it to Kirby as I drove him to work. Kirby said "OH, Joe--Nobody even invited him! He just showed up. He's ALWAYS bored."

So Joe showed up again the next afternoon (having gone home a while), and I said "Hey, Joe--I heard you said our house is boring."

"Well, it was ten o'clock in the morning and nobody was up."

"We have all [description kinda like above] to do here."

[the back pedalling starts]: "Well I really like your house."

"Apparently a LOT of people do." (there were two other visitors in the room) "So don't be telling Holly her house is boring."

"Okay. Well, I didn't mean anything by it."

[And without even getting to the philosophical ideas of meaning and utterance and whether words spoken can be retracted or covered Kings-X style...]

I said (which made sense to him and the others more than it can here, but the statement was:) "When I had the former owner of Starbase 10 in full medieval costume with a hurdy gurdy, you didn't want to see THAT. I don't know WHAT will entertain you." There was enough polite laughter and facial/eye acknowledgement that indeed it probably WAS him, and touche.

Starbase 10 was the fantasy/gaming shop specializing in Star Trek which occupied the building before the previous owners and Active Imagination, where all these guys met and still hang out. The owner of Starbase 10, the first to establish that as a gaming store many years ago, was my husband's squire in the SCA before he was knighted, and one morning he was here in a GREAT full costume, having stopped on his way somewhere else to show me his new Romanian hurdy-gurdy, when Joe and his brother came downstairs. "Do you want to see a hurdy gurdy??" I asked enthusiastically.

They didn't even look at it, though they were in the same room! One of them mumbled, "Uh, we have to go."

My kids would have just been a little late and said "We're late, because there was this guy in a costume with a hurdy gurdy," and I would have said "I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND!"

So varied interests make life rich, and Joe's boredom is making him just... boring.

When I made grilled cheese sandwiches on home-made bread with some really good cheddar cheese, the other kids were saying "Oooh, good!" but Joe said, "If you had some tomato soup, these would be perfect."

His glass is more than half empty.


Back to now.
Sometimes it's hard to see what we have or what we know or are doing without an occasional contrasting reminder. In the time since April 2002 I have seen my kids continue to be open to and fascinated by the world around them.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Today in Albuquerque

For my part, a quiet day. A cloud looked kind of like the reflection of the building to me, when I took the picture, but looking at it later, it looks like flying Hanuman, a bit. If it had a tail it would, totally.

Sample other images (only my cloud Hanuman is facing the other direction):


Holly being very Hollyesque, holding a quarter, wearing an ALL Unschooling t-shirt, and I was glad to be with her:

Something you don't see in India, or the UK, just homely plain local things. We were waiting for a table at the Range Cafe, and I was taking pictures of things I could see without getting up:

Pine needles peeking out over the edge of the roof. Looked cool.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A car wash with singing

Checking on babies in the middle of the night, 20 years later

This morning I was responding to a late-night note from an unschooling dad, and wrote some things I thought sounded quite bloggish, so I lifted these parts, knowing I had photos to go with them. (No photo for the first paragraph, which is best for us all.)

I'm up too early because my husband fell asleep two hours early, which means his "I don't need an alarm clock" self was up in the bathroom two hours earlier than usual, and I woke up too awake to go back to sleep. Nice to have the options, and a quiet house.

Holly has joined a music group (a capella) and they're having a car wash this morning. On short notice she's supposed to lean toward 1940's pinup, rather than 2011 girls. She has the lipstick, shorts and a polka-dotted scarf. I helped her with cardboard signs and a bucket of old towels. She's asleep.

Marty and his girlfriend were out at an armored-combat practice. They're asleep. I like this kind of very-busy, very peaceful life with young adult offspring.

Kirby is at work in Austin for another three hours, inspiring his overnight team at Blizzard. I think I'll lift some of this to my blog, because I have a couple of photos I could match to it.
end of the quote

Holly and I will get to see Kirby at the Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference in San Diego September 8 and thereabout, and we just got to see him for his birthday the end of July!

I have a warm feeling of contentment knowing that they're all grown enough to take care of themselves if I weren't around, and yet glad for me to know where they are.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This amused me (about truth's relationship to me)

On Facebook there's been a fair amount of jackoff nonsense on a couple of unschooling discussion pages, with people stirring up 100+ response topics and then deleting all or some of the discussion. So I'm bringing this here before it goes down someone's drain. The guy I quote and was responding to already pulled all of his stuff after being a butt to many nice unschoolers who were voluntarily offering years of experience.

a guy wrote: ‎-=@Sandra. Just because you say it does not make it true. -=-

Sandra Dodd: You're right. If something is true, it isn't true *just* because I say it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A dusty slice of the west

Today Marty and I drove out of town specifically for the purpose of my taking some pictures for possible use in Just Add Light and Stir. Some of them are no good, and there were two dust devils (miniature whirlwinds) that I didn't even try to photograph. But because I was snap-snappety-snap-snap while I was in the UK, I thought I would try to take pictures of things I might have taken pictures of if I was a tourist here. I don't think it works quite the same way, but some of these are fun, and as a group they might be interesting for people who don't live in desert places.

There's a road I hadn't seen, off of Coors Road, and I took a photo for Ravi, Hema, and anyone else who might appreciate it:

That's Marty sitting in the jeep in the shade waiting for me to cross the road again.

There were some little tumbleweeds in the median there. They don't have time to get very big before it's too cold for them. So they will end up stunted and ratty like the one below that (leftover from last year, and miles from there). That's okay. Really, it's better than fat, healthy tumbleweeds that plant a thousand babies.

None of those were any good for Just Add Light. And pretty much there was PLENTY of light, and 95 degrees or so. Marty's jeep has excellent air conditioning.

There's one place where a car had been doing donuts, and some close-ups of junk, but the worst ugly thing is something Georgia O'Keefe would NOT have wanted to paint, that would NOT be put into a western movie. It's a cow skeleton, some of one, but cut with a bandsaw, or something, down the spine, so maybe was in a butcher's shop, and then... I don't know. It's by the side of old Rt. 66 now, with yucky tendons and all. So that's nasty. Welcome to the west on a normal day. Maybe it was the by-product of a beef ribs bar-be-cue. DOH! Sorry, Hema and Ravi. Namaste.

Maybe some of the photos will show up in Just Add Light and Stir sometime. Or not. :-)

Chris in Iowa send me a note, and because it has a photo, I'm just going to add it in here (with her permission):

Your blogpost with photos of the desert reminded me of something Holly said when she was visiting us two summers ago. We had picked her up from the airport and we were driving home. We exited our freeway and in Iowa we have pretty long exit ramps. As we approached the end of the exit ramp, on the right side of the road was a grassy corner with trees. Holly looked at it and asked, "Is that a park?" It struck me as funny because to my eyes it was just a small area of grass and trees which are plentiful on hundreds of corners around here, but to her it looked like a park. I told her, "No, it's just a corner."

The photo below is the area that she thought looked like a park. It's not a very good photo (google maps) and it was definitely greener the day Holly saw it. The pavement you can see on the other side of the trees is a road leading back to a residential neighborhood.

Seeing it through a desert-dweller's eyes, I could definitely see why she might've thought it was a park. It is a fond memory I have of Holly's visit. -- Chris

Monday, August 08, 2011

Kirby, Kirby, Kirby

Kirby sent a note:
 While I was in ABQ, my desk was filled with pink "kirby" balloons. It took my team three days to fill the cubicle. =)
He sent a little video. That can't go here because of company policy, but his cubicle was filled with round pink (to look like Nintendo's Kirby character) balloons, in a corral made of tape, with tape over the top so they couldn't get out. Kirby ducked in and popped up, and was wearing a "Got Kirby?" t-shirt.

The shirt was a birthday gift from a friend in Albuquerque, and it was the perfect outfit to be wearing  back to work to receive that very cool "gift."

I don't know how he popped them all, but the sword from his birthday party might've helped.  (There's an abiding story that fixed blades over 5.5 inches are illegal in Texas unless accompanied by a fishing license, though...  Some wild west is taming down.)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Holly in the Tent

Because Keith might go to an SCA campout in a car that won't hold a big tent, he dug out a smaller tent we made years ago. We figured out how many years ago, we think: 26 years.

We left it up hoping for rain so we can see how badly it's misting in there. We think that's why we stopped using it. It hasn't been used for six or eight years or more.

Holly hadn't been in it for a long, long time. I took the first two photos, but after those it's Holly's photography.

Nobody had *ever* taken a computer into it, that's for sure. There has been food, and now there was food again:

That bench was made by Wendy (a copy of a bench I bought at a Catholic charity shop in EspaƱola in the 1970's), and has been in that tent before. Just today I put up some photos of a recent woodworking project of Wendy's: Maud's Toy Horse

Here's kind of a timelapse of Holly's disappearing lunch:

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Music, flowers and an arrow

Irene Adams, my sister, singing a song she wrote that made Holly cry a little. (Me too, nearly.)

Ashlee made her first arrow. The photos are fuzzy, but still I'll remember seeing it. Very nice fletching.

Holly arranged and distributed flowers this week:

Keith and I went to a concert with Holly and Will. They were seeing OnQ for the second time.

Holly and I went to a funeral where they played video game music and Beatles, but I didn't take a photo. It was standing-room only, even though they opened a side room. Kieran Archuleta, 16. I've known his mom for 30 years.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Kirby's birthday, part 2

I just finally finished uploading the photos. There were movies and meals and people between then and now. And clean-up. :-)

The cake said "Kirby is the Bomb" because we had candles that were shaped like bombs and dynamite. Just so happens the Tynkers (three of them were here) had a prop cartoonish bomb in the car, and put it out as a decoration, but I don't think I have a photo of it.

It was a very nice (and huge) group (57 people, Kirby listed the next day) and clean-up was pretty easy considering all that went on. As Bo described it on Facebook, "Swords and friends and shots and naked people, haha." The nakidity was a race between Brett M. and Josh A. from the back gate to a nearby (closed) business and back. Brett warned me, so I didn't go down to watch. It wasn't a main party activity, and it had a history, and there are no photos. Good.

Ben in Action:

Will and Ryan at rest: