Wednesday, October 21, 2009

that unschooling thing

On the knitting front, things are slow moving, but that was sort of the point, wasn't it? Three days of migraines and on the fourth slicing my finger. Seems like as good of a time as any to slow down. And here I thought I had slowed down. More. Slow down more.

So my finger hurts but not as much as yesterday and I can knit, albeit slowly. I am so relieved because I am in the middle of knitting mittens for the kids. Both kids outgrew their mittens from last year. Samuel chose red again and Eva chose white with a black snowflake design in the center. We shall see.

On the video game front, Samuel has not played any of the video game from yesterday all day. Not once. All on his own. Yep- he decided he felt grumpy from playing it all day and took a break. I love it when this trust and unschooling stuff works out in real life. Things sometimes look great in theory and when they turn out, well it can be a thrill in itself. (Although I have to say here that I am parenting the way I do because it feels right, not for any sort of end-product triumph in my kids. My wish for them is that they are able to live the life they choose.) It is that whole trust thing that is really important to live by. Trust yourself. Trust your choices. Trust that all is well. Trust that everything will turn out. Trust.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Today was interesting in a couple of different respects. I sliced my finger while cutting up onions for what will probably be the last tomato sauce of the year. I am planning to freeze it. I went round and round in my head a few times about cutting my finger this badly and realized maybe I needed to slow down a bit. I thought about how I had been irritated by Samuel's whining. I thought about how I had been thinking irritated thoughts about him not taking a break soon enough from his video game, getting some food, taking care of himself. I thought about all of this and how while thinking about it I had cut my finger. Time to slow down. Take a break. Make Samuel some food. Put some of the food back in the refrigerator and work on it tomorrow. Maybe next time, stop chopping onions while my child whines at me. Take it all as a signal to stop, switch gears, connect- with myself, with my son, with right now.

Honestly, what would come of letting the onion go a little longer. Even just tossing the whole thing into the spaghetti and blending it up? or throwing it all into the compost? or putting it back into the produce drawer and simply freezing the tomatoes? Make sauce another day. So many options. So many ideas. Thanks to my sliced finger. But wow it hurts. I tell you this- I won't be doing a lot of chopping onions- or anything- for the next couple of days. It's a good thing I sliced my finger at the very end of the onion. I have enough chopped onion to last me for days!

Oh but gasp I just realized it may get in the way of knitting. Hmmm. I am thinking of cutting this blog entry short to go try out my knitting. There were a couple of more things that happened today, though, one that was particularly related to my cut finger, that I wanted to cover before I stop and go check on my finger's knit-ability.

After I had bandaged the finger, I went back into the kitchen to put some other food projects away. Obviously I had learned they could wait at this point. I put some of the onions in the pan to make the sauce and the rest in the refrigerator. I made Samuel some food. (Sliced a pear. Yep.) And then Samuel came into the kitchen and said- totally unprompted, that when he sits in front of a video game and plays all day he feels really grumpy. Imagine that. I love that he has figured this out and that now he is actually taking a break from playing all on his own. I agreed with him in a matter-of-fact tone, asked if he was still hungry, spent some time smiling at him and connecting before he wandered into the next room again.

And now off I go, wandering into the next room to check on the status of my knitting...

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I spent quite a bit of time outside a few days ago doing a little fall clean-up, checking on the new plants in the garden, cutting down so many blackberry vines. Our landlord is coming over tomorrow to sign a new lease and I was hoping to take care of a few things before he comes over for his yearly inspection and it was also a good opportunity to get the yard cleaned up and ready for the leaves to falllll, for the annual raking. This year I am definitely raking the back yard as well as the front and now I can say it is ready. Maple, oak, apple, birch, let the leaves fall where they may.

While outside, Eva and I took some photos of the transitioning yard. I love this time of year for all of the amazing colors, the fall beauty just because, and the contrast between some of the summer flowers still in full bloom and the fall foliage found on the next tree over. It is simply stunning to behold and I am ga ga for Nature's show.

kale and sweet peas thriving, onions sprouting, all evidence that spring will come again, next year...

iceskate guy

I've been a lot on the grumpy side the past couple of days and I thought I could use some help shifting my perspective a bit so I tried out a meditation this morning that I hadn't done in a long while. I do the lovingkindness meditation fairly regularly and I can attest to how well this works for shifting your focus and perspective. This morning, however, I chose to do a meditation focused on compassion.

You can begin by repeating the phrase "May I be free of suffering and pain, may I be filled with peace." After you have warmed up to yourself, feel the compassion opening your heart, you can switch to someone you care about- a good friend or family member- and offer the phrase to them, "May my good friend be free of suffering and pain, may she be filled with peace." You continue with that person until you feel your heart open more and move the phrase back to yourself. You imagine your heart opening further for yourself, offering yourself an open and compassionate heart, a genuine hope that you will be free of suffering, that you will be filled with peace. From there you can continue if you choose to offer compassion to others in your life, moving out to all beings, continuing with the phrase, "May all beings be free from suffering and pain, may all beings be filled with peace."

Later on today when I took Eva to her ice skating lessons, I was having a lapse in my being-filled-with-peace-ness from my meditation earlier. I was irritated with the ice skate guy, the one who gave us our skates and helped me sign in for our lessons. My fuse has been a little shorter lately and it had already been shortened considerably on the way to the lessons.

While I was putting on my skates and feeling irritated with ice skate guy, I decided to try directing a little abbreviated compassion his way to see if I could shift my own irritation a little. So, while I laced up my skates, I thought to myself, "May ice skate guy be free of suffering and pain, may he be filled with peace." After a couple of rounds the kids were ready to go upstairs and Eva was ready to skate.

A little while later, I had to go in and talk with ice skate guy again. There was no one else around in the office and I needed his help with my guest passes. Imagine my surprise to find that he was not nearly as irritating as before. And I don't think he found me to be quite as befuddling as he had earlier either. In fact, he smiled. He gave me new guest passes after I had messed up my other ones. He offered them! The transaction with the guest passes turned out to be a breeze, dare I say pleasant? Well, maybe not pleasant, but surely far from irritating. Amazing really, particularly after my interaction with him earlier and frankly, after all of my other interactions with him over the last three weeks at the ice skating rink.

I am hooked. Convinced. A little compassion definitely goes a long way.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Eva's ugly dolls hooked up to the disc swing today.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Albert celebrating apples season.

Eva-bee loving Albert...

And that concludes a week of Albert photos. I have to say for a while I was loving the form requirements of posting a photo of Albert each day. I am not sure I would have gone a full week without deciding on it formally. And then at some point- on Thursday, I think, I started lagging behind. And in walks freedom. You have to have both- form and freedom. Structure and spontaneity. Each and every. Day.

Friday, October 9, 2009


After this photo Eva put on her baby sling and carried Albert around in that for a while. He was still nonplussed.

And obviously Jack is concerned about this photo. He does not like the guinea pig leaning on him. I don't think Albert was too keen on the set up either. And Eva? She designed it, of course.

We got the Guinea Pigs magazine at Petco today while picking up some food for Jack. It is a hit!


Albert snuggling up on a sweater. Guinea pigs love knits.

Let's see- Thursday was a busy day. First, there were ice skating lessons for me and Eva. Our friends Dawn and Rose and Ben came to watch our lessons and join us to skate afterward. Samuel loved hanging out with them while Eva and I skated. Then the kids had clay class. This may prove to be too much for us on a single day. We shall see. I am not sure what I was thinking scheduling both of them on one day except that both of them were on the same day. Oh well. Perhaps a little Burgerville in between will be just the thing to see us through. I also have to remember to let the kids know what they can expect when we get to clay class because the last clay class was a little on the chaotic side and this definitely added to the tension.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Eva takes most of the photos of Albert around here, except for the ones she asks me to take while she is holding him. She posted several Albert-photos on her own blog today. We were excited to see old photos of our much loved rat Charlie there as well. Eva was so happy to see his picture that she brought Albert over to share. We wondered about what Charlie and Albert would make of one another. For the most part, I think they would be friendly with each other. Their food preferences wouldn't conflict and I think with those guys, that counts for a lot.

The kids and I took a walk at Smith and Bybee Lakes today (without Jack, I am sad to say, though I am hoping to take him out later to make it up to him). While we were there they talked A LOT about what wild guinea pigs must be like. We all had fun imagining herds of guinea pigs running wild together, head butting one another to move out of the way, purring together, munching. In point of fact, guinea pigs like Albert most likely do not exist in the wild. They are probably domesticated descendants from other cavies like this one. I have mentioned this to the kids once or twice but it doesn't seem to stick. It is far too much fun thinking about Albert and his family roaming and blipping through the Andes mountains, wild and free.

Here he is all shmooped up (as Eva says- well, I guess now as I say too). She wanted a side and front view taken.

We saw a few herons on the water today and so many Woolly Bear Caterpillars running across the path. We took several photos, of course, and then we took a video (actually two, but I will just post one for now). I will have to remember this the next time we run across a nutria!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I'm at it early today. Guinea pig pictures abound!

Early morning snuggle with Eva.

Albert is currently making quite a ruckus behind me. His idea of how to spend time and Eva's idea of how to spend time are at odds. I think he may need a vacation. He enjoyed puttering around the living room/computer area last night. Sitting under the trampoline. Bouncing out, chutting, blipping, scavenging, sitting some more. Good times for Albert.

I must say this following your heart business, if you pay attention before, during and after, really does lead the way to some kind of goodness. But you have to pay attention! to right now. To catch it. Otherwise you might stay in the story you have already left behind by following your heart.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Albert and his carrot. Every time Eva tried to move the carrot, Albert complained mightily.

And today?

Today there was time spent at a friend's house with banjo playing, song singing, costume dressing, game playing, macaroni eating, chocolate munching fun.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


About this photo- um yeah, Albert tolerated this dress up time as long as there were apple skins and cucumber slices to nibble on, otherwise there was A LOT of guinea pig complaining. All I can say is that our cats have been off the hook ever since Albert came to live with us.

Here is Eva dressed up as a dragon giving Albert lots of dragon love. He didn't fuss quite as much during this as he did during dress up. He really likes to sit and eat. Mostly. Quite a bit.

Around the day, here and there, were bits and pieces of this-

pumpkins and squash and apples on the counter
lots of dissecting talk about The Office and the hilarious characters therein
a trip to Powells to pick up a copy of Saltwater Buddha because the library wants theirs back
lolly pops at Powells
rainbow sherbet
Sunday dog walk at the Arboretum for Jack
prettiest little purply-pink flowers still blooming in the woods

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I was inspired to go through our summer pictures (most of which were of Albert) and found a few to recap the passing season. We are solidly in fall now. Here's to what fall brings...