Monday, May 31, 2010

life is good

wanting to get this down before the spell bursts and i move out onto the patio to smell the roses and clip guinea pig nails. right off the cuff. spent the last four-ish days at the life is good unschooling conference with some amazing people who are also choosing this unschooling life for themselves, for their kids. always interesting in this environment to see where everyone is and how they came to be there. helps remind me so much of the process that is this life.

each life. a process in itself.

i took exactly one picture the entire time we were at the conference. there is a chance eva took some pictures of her experience there and i am eager to find the camera to check them out. there might even be video!

both kids really branched out this year as far as moving off in their own direction without me, which is new and exciting and exhilarating and thrilling and amazing all at the same time. by last night, our last night in the hotel, eva was racing through the halls with her friend rose, back to our room and checking out the vending machines with samuel. samuel made his way repeatedly to the game room to spend time with other gamers- again, without me. it is *always* enjoyable to see my kids making their own way in the world with others, being who each of them is without my interpretation. watching them branch out in this way, for me, is a testament to trusting that they will do what they need to do when they are ready. each in her or his own time.

with this in mind, i have to say {too} that while i do specifically enjoy watching the process unfold, i also love a little product thrown in {every once in a while} to remind me {sometimes} of why i make the choices that i do. (obviously, i make them because i believe in them. it is nice, however, to see things working out- at least some of the time- in ways i trusted they would. at least in part. sometimes... no guarantees and all that. still, trusting and following your heart seems to lead to goodness of one kind or another more often than not.) seeing my kids branch out in this way, seeing them own their experience when they are ready for it, is a lovely confirmation of my personal belief that we will all get where we need to get when we are ready to get there. and all that.

i was able to watch bits and pieces of a few presentations here and there. 10 minutes in one, 15 in another. i watched a little less than half of the teen panel. some of the dad's. and over half of a talk at the very end by clint stonebraker. i loved what he had to say about choosing to plug into your network of support when you need it rather than believing fear-based thoughts that can lead to feeling isolated. yep. easier said than done, often, i agree, but so nice to be reminded of this bit of wisdom once again.

my mind is still whirling from the fun and intensity of the weekend. it's looking like the sun-filled patio and cat-on-my lap is winning out over any more life-is-good blogging for the time being. i'm off to clip guinea pig nails and smell roses. i'll leave the unpacking and camera-searching for later.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5 amazing things

{my} list of things to do to feel good about life-
sit with a cat on your lap
go out {into the garden} and smell the flowers
look- really pay attention- to guinea pigs
take a walk {in the woods}
notice good things around you

there are others, to be sure, but this morning i took note of five amazing things in my bathroom while i brushed my teeth. it was a lot. it was enough. to put a smile on my mind. sometimes a mind really really needs a smile. even when it just won't budge. five amazing things did the trick- or enough of the trick- to get me over here to the computer to write, which should help to finish off the trick just enough to get my whole self outside to the garden to not only smell the flowers, but to plant some as well. double whammy of goodness this morning. and all before the kids have woken up.

so 5 amazing things i noticed in my bathroom while brushing my teeth this morning. five things i love.

there is a spider in the far left corner as you walk in who has a second egg sac that is about to hatch. her first egg sac hatched about a month ago and those spiderlings have since dispersed. we are looking forward to watching these babies hatch and disperse as well.

sitting on a frame hanging on the wall, there is a wooden block on which eva drew a picture of two green stick figures- me and eva- holding hands. i smile at the goodness in that drawing. where it came from within her to imagine holding my hand. being with me. so much love to notice in a drawing like that.

hanging on that same frame is my yin/yang necklace. some days there is nothing better than yin and yang to really sum it all up. the truth of it. the simplicity. the cliche. the cynic and the poet in me can both have a really good laugh. and a sigh. and a smile.

in the soap dish in the shower is a small plastic frog who i hope will always be there to remind me of the time when eva put her there.

standing on the top of the shower's sliding glass door are two playmobil unicorns. eva put them there during one of her baths and i keep them there. if ever they fall, i put them back up. if you look at the wall behind the door, you can see the unicorns' shadows. there is something about seeing unicorn shadows on the wall to remind you of how magical life is. how sweet. how not everything has to be put away.

with all of this gratitude skipping around in my head, smiles lingering in my mind, cleaning out the guinea pig cage seems like an amazing gift. those little guys are going to love the fresh fleece under their toes. leave it to guinea pigs. hey, that's almost my whole list. imagine that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

maxwell love

Maxwell, me, Albert, Eva. {My eyes are all red because I had been crying.} This was taken shortly after we found out about Maxwell's health. He's doing about the same but is at least eating a little. He particularly likes the different kitten foods I have found for him. We are going to try him on a steroid in a few days to see if that helps his breathing any. He is still loving his catnip and sits on my lap any chance he gets. Eva got him to eat the other day when he wouldn't even eat for me!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

real time writing

or, how to make time for this writing thing even with everything else that goes on around here. or because of it.

something about reading henry miller a few months back that inspired me. something about the concept of writing things exactly as they are, as they came to him. i wonder at the truthfulness of this in his actual work. i wonder about reading a bit more about him and by him to get to the bottom of it all or if i will cease and desist, letting what i think about what he means linger in my mind rather than trying to prove it's truthfulness. whatever that is.

i did get the idea to read something {more} by sartre while reading and thinking about authenticity today. this in particular caught my attention-
authenticity is connected with creativity: the impetus to action must arise from the person in question, and not be externally imposed.
from there, and even more to the point, for me at least, was this quote about erich fromm-
Thus a Frommean authentic may behave consistently in a manner that accords with cultural norms, but for the reason that those norms appear on consideration to be appropriate, rather than blindly, simply because they happen to be the current norms. Fromm thus considers authenticity to be a positive outcome of enlightened and informed motivation rather than a negative outcome of rejection of the expectations of others. He described the latter condition - the drive to primarily escape external restraints typified by the "absolute freedom" of Sartre - as "the illusion of individuality", as opposed to the genuine individuality that results from authentic living.
oh ah. obviously i will be searching out some more information about authenticity with that in mind. believing i do not exist in a bubble as well as wanting to listen as closely to my own heart as possible, and all that.

...with the caveat that i don't believe the words of others can necessarily explain our own experience for us, although sometimes they may very well point us in the right direction. or sometimes not. sometimes the direction we hadn't thought of is the one where we finally hear our own voice, listen to our own heart and trust that this- wherever we are right now- is simply where we are. and that this is true for each. of. us. and that this- this trust in ourselves- is where we all started out and where we are all headed, regardless of the how-of-it or even the why.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


So Monday I took Maxwell into the vet because he had lost quite a bit of weight (turns out it was nearly 3 1/2 pounds) and he was having trouble breathing. My vet sent us over to the animal hospital for chest x-rays and oxygen. Maxwell also ended up having an ultrasound (Echo) of his heart to determine whether his heart or his lungs were the primary cause of his breathing difficulties. While it turned out that he has an arrhythmia and his heart is enlarged, he also has a lot of fluid and extra tissue in his lungs. The doctor that we saw thinks that he most likely has advanced lung cancer and sent us home with ideas about how to make Maxwell's last days more comfortable for him. He is currently taking antibiotics to help reduce any bacterial infection he may also have in his lungs and to help rule out pneumonia, as well as a bronchodilator to help open up his airways so that he doesn't have to work so hard to breathe. I brought home some fancy foods to try and tempt him into eating and am so far very encouraged that he is enjoying his new food choices very much. He scampered off down the hall after eating for the first time in what seems like days. And I got out the catnip, which he is also enjoying. I frequently find him just sitting contently on the catnip piles on the floor. While his breathing is still labored, he seems to be enjoying himself immensely. Nothing like a little catnip to help balance things out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

tulip love

I am stunned each time I go outside- or gosh, even look outside for that matter- to see a new flower to gaze upon. I think this is the first year that I have ever truly appreciated tulips. I have always loved daffodils and I think I just {gasp} lumped tulips into the category of nice-bulbs-that-weren't-quite-as-nice-as-daffodils. Go figure. I mean, I still love daffodils but apparently tulips are amazing in their own right as well. And here- maybe everywhere?- they seem to have their own season too. (Amazing the realizations when appreciation sets in for real.) I realized this today when I walked outside and saw the largest tulip I think I have ever seen growing in our back yard. And the other day when I was marveling at the magical quality of a few of the tulips {out back} who start out white and gradually turn light pink and finally end in a deep fuchsia until their end...

Can't wait for the irises.

Maybe this is the upside to literally being home for about a month now with one sick child, then another sick child and myself feeling sick here and there and in between.

Eva showed me several large green strawberries in our strawberry patch today. I am really looking forward to the upick berry season starting. I can't wait to get outside for a little berry therapy. The berry patch. A place where you can find blissful oneness with the berries. Where there is little else to think about save the next perfect berry. How the berries lead you one after another toward more berries. And when you listen to the birds you can almost hear how they are singing about berries. It's a celebration out there to be sure.

The knitting is progressing. I found that fingerless gloves make an inspired mother's day gift- a holiday that I am embarrassed to say completely snuck up on me this year. There is also a shawl in the process made of this summer cotton/silk tweed blend by Rowan. It's wildly impractical of me and I am already trying to figure out what I will do with it. But the knitting is satisfying and flowing and I know I will go ahead and finish it even if I can't justify it. Enough with the justifying. Bunches of tulips and berries and lovely knit shawls for all. When I think about flies spending at least 40% of their time just flying around for the fun of it, I blush thinking of all of the justifying that goes on in my mind. And when I go ahead and notice the justifying, label it for what it is, it actually starts to melt away. Silly trick of the mind, that's what justifying is.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I finished Eva's second leg warmer with the second skein of that yummy Noro taiyo yarn. Now whatever will I do with the rest of it? There is a good 3/4 of a skein left. Decisions, decisions.