October 30, 2009
Ah well. There's nothing I can do about it now. Anyway, my real birthday present from Warren and Jerry is very exciting. They're buying me a table saw! It's the gift that keeps on giving. See, what I really want is a potting bench. But if I buy a potting bench all I get out of it is, well, a potting bench. But if I get a saw and make it myself (using one of the many old doors we have lying around our yard) then I get a potting bench and whatever else I decide to make. So, any recommendations on what to look for in a table saw would be appreciated.
The other thing I'm pretty sure we're getting is a semi-permanent houseguest. My husband's friend is having a hard time (divorce, disability, that kind of thing) and he needs a place to stay so he's probably going to stay with us for a while. In addition to that, a friend of mine from college might be getting a job in L.A. and he may end up crashing on our couch a few nights a week so he doesn't have to drive all the way back to Orange County. We may have a very full house in the next few months.
So, there you are. That's what's happening. I'm getting old and our house is getting crowded, but it's all good.
October 27, 2009
October 26, 2009
On the way home we stopped at a pumpkin patch where Jerry and Warren made their way through a maze.
Sunday we didn't have any plans. I got out of bed early to stop our cats from killing each other. Since I was up, I took my book and a blanket out on the deck with a cup of tea and read for a while. It was heavenly. Later in the day my sister-in-law called to see if she could drop her kids off for a couple hours so we had some surprise guests and it turned into an all day affair with pumpkin carving and dinner.
At the end of the day Warren, Jerry and I each did our own thing. I watch the 4th installment of the Python documentary, Warren did some laundry and Jerry watched a One Piece movie on his PC. Before I went to bed Jerry and I had a nice long talk (we've had quite a few late night chats in the last few weeks) and then I went to bed while Jerry went back upstairs to watch some late night television. All in all it was a fabulous weekend!
October 23, 2009
One thing that had been happening the last few months was that Jerry was staying up until about 2 a.m. and getting up around 11. I didn't say anything about it. But when he had a few bad days I suggested that coming to bed when Warren and I go to bed (around 11 or 12) might help. I did a little cajoling but not much. Besides, since he was staying up later than me, we couldn't read together and we've always liked to read aloud before bed. So I suggested starting a new book. He went for it and for a few weeks was going to bed at the same time as his dad and me (but sleeping much later) and then a couple nights ago he was up until 2 again. And last night he told me that he doesn't feel good when he stays up that late. It makes him feel negative and grouchy (I'm paraphrasing but that was the gist). So he came to the conclusion himself. Which is the whole point of radical unschooling, really.
Anyway, I know I'm not being very clear or concise. I just wanted to get that out of my head and into the blogosphere but I don't have time to write a really great post about it. I have to pick up Warren's car at the mechanics, we need to get to Jerry's dog walking job, and then we're going to see Astro Boy with one of the girls from the Santa Monica unschooler park day and her mom and then we're going to park day, and then we have the long traffic-jammed ride home from Santa Monica, which I'm actually looking forward to because we'll be listening to Leviathan the whole way!
Can someone just smack me next time I say we don't do enough?
October 20, 2009
One thing that has been helpful as I ponder my strategy for getting out of this slump of mine is something I discovered online called "Recordkeeping for Unschoolers." I got it a while back so I don't recall the website that posted it. But the idea is that pretty much everything is worthwhile. I've added to the list and I plan to keep adding to it. I'm going to print it and post it in my kitchen. I figure it will give me ideas when I need them and it will also remind me that we really are doing something--even when it feels like nothing.
Record-keeping for Unschoolers
Books, magazines, newspapers, websites, fiction, biography, nonfiction, poetry, drama, manga, video game guides, travel guides, essays, articles …
Cooking, swimming, dog walking, babysitting, volunteering, working, singing, acting, playing music, calculating, gardening, helping, sports ...
Arts & crafts, building, sewing, weaving, beadwork, legos, computer graphics, game design, electronics, movie making, photography …
Journaling, stories, poetry, letters, website, e-mail, articles …
TV, movies, documentaries, cartoons, YouTube, live theater, demonstrations, wildlife …
Audiobooks, podcasts, radio, music, stories, lectures ...
Speech, discussion, explaining, instructing, debating …
Museums, zoos, field trips, people, park day…
Planning, analyzing, imagining, plotting, wondering …
So that should help. My other plan is to become more active. I need to stop doing so much planning and searching and just take the few ideas that are more within my control and build on those. I've been thinking of doing some electronics stuff with a group of kids at our house and I guess I just need to stop thinking and do it.
And maybe I'll post on Unschooling Basics to find out what other people do when they aren't sure they're doing enough. Do more would be the obvious answer, but at a certain point I think you just have to let things be, right? I mean, I can only do so much. Jerry is going to do what he likes to do and as long as I'm watching for clues as to what those things are and offering suggestions I'm doing the right thing....right? Is that all I'm supposed to do?
I just feel like there are untapped resources out there and I'm not finding them and it's driving me crazy. But Jerry has to want to tap into those resources, too. And his reaction to the ideas I share is definitely not within my control. Sorry, I'm rambling.
So, what do you guys think? As an unschooling parent how do you know if you're doing enough?
October 19, 2009
In other news, Jerry has met another 14-year-old unschooler who also loves Bleach! I know no one will replace Yulia (his friend who just moved to Texas) but this comes at a very good time since he's still really missing her. He likes the unschooler park day in Santa Monica on Fridays (which is where he met this boy). It's much smaller than our usual park day (he never goes to that one anymore) and not quite as overwhelming. The thing that has kept us from going to Santa Monica more frequently this past year is that it's on the other side of town and Friday afternoon is a notoriously bad time to drive across town. Since most people don't arrive at the park until later, our drive out there takes at least and hour and the ride home (if we don't have dinner or see a movie after we leave) can take almost two hours! (Without traffic it takes 30 minutes.) Still, it's worth the drive since Jerry enjoys it. Last week we were going to see a movie afterward but missed it so we ended up driving home at 5:30, which is how I know it can take up to 2 hours to get home. Anyway, that's what audiobooks were made for, right?
Oh, the Monty Python documentary started on IFC this week! We watched the first episode last night. It's really good. I recommend that, too. Hmmm, we were thinking of having a movie marathon today. Maybe it should start with The Life of Brian....
October 15, 2009
October 13, 2009
October 8, 2009
Leviathan is set in an alternate steampunk past, in which the powers of the world are divided into "Clankers" who favour huge, steam-powered walking war-machines; and "Darwinists," whose hybrid "beasties" can stand in for airships, steam-trains, war-ships, and subs (they even have a giant squid/octopus hybrid called the kraken that can seize whole warships and drag them to their watery graves).Awesome, eh!?
In other news, we're keeping up our busy schedule. My niece will be spending Wednesdays with us from now on. I'll be taking her to circus class each week. Yesterday after class (and after dog walking and completely forgetting about Jerry's Japanese class) I took her to see September Issue at the movie theater. We both liked it, but it felt a bit long. Still, it's an interesting look into the world of fashion and Summer thinks she'd like to have a career in fashion (or she did until she saw the movie!).
I've got a fabulous birthday dinner planned for Jerry on Sunday. I'm gathering up all of Jerry's favorite people in one place at one time. It will be pretty amazing for him, I think. The guest list includes: Mai and Willem, Jerry's Japanese teacher and her husband; Xiquan, our former boarder and Caltech student from China; Poliana, Jerry's beloved former babysitter; and the icing on the cake, coming all the way from San Francisco, Lyssa, the very first college student to live with us and someone very near and dear to Jerry's heart (this one will be a surprise for Jerry!). We're only missing a few favorite people, and one of them (who lives in Kansas, another former boarder of ours) did stop by for a visit earlier in the week, so that was lucky. She just happened to be in town for a wedding. Warren will be off work so he'll be there, too. And Jerry's best friend is coming as well. I'm looking forward to a very special celebration of Jerry's 14th birthday.
And now I need to get ready to go to my weekly gig helping out a 94-year-old friend and adopted grandfather, Sol.
October 5, 2009
Warren will never work on another James Cameron movie. Ever.Yes, I said it many times in the last 13 years, after his six months on Titanic nearly broke our marriage. That's right, six months of working seven days a week, 16 to 20 hours a day just about did us in. (It turns out I'm one of those people that likes to see my husband on a regular basis. Go figure!) I'm sure you can see where this is going.
At this very moment Warren is driving to work. On Avatar. Directed by James Cameron.
But, it's only going to last for two months. And, at the time of Titanic Jerry was only a baby and I was overwhelmed by new motherhood and far from my family and none of my friends had kids and Warren was gone. All. The. Time. So this should be different. Plus, they say it's only six days a week (not seven). And the hours are only 12 to 14 a day (not 20). So that's a bonus. And the movie comes out December 17 or 18, so it can't go any longer that that. Phew. We should be OK.
The good thing about this job is the fact that Warren will be earning over time. Lots of it. Which means that if we save, save, save, and if we're sure we have enough in savings to pay our bills and put food on the table through March (because November through February are notoriously slow in the film business) and if we can find a suitable swap, we can go to New York!!
Which leads me to the second thing:
It's time for me to accept the fact that I'm always either traveling or planning to travel. And I like it that way.I keep saying "Now that we're home I'm not going anywhere." As soon as we return from a trip, I'm convinced that I don't want to leave our house for another year, at least. And then, after about two months, I suddenly find I must go visit my friend in Mexico. Or there's an opportunity to go to Boston for Jerry to take some classes at MIT and suddenly I'm checking airfare, looking up house swaps, setting dates, and figuring out which blogging friends I might actually get to meet in the flesh. Or I start looking through the Homelink database at houses in South Africa, Iceland, Japan, anywhere, really. It's like a sickness. Only it's not a sickness. It's just me. (No smart remarks from the peanut gallery, please!)
It's such a relief when you recognize a trait that you'd always thought you needed to change, as something that's just a part of you--for better or for worse. Take procrastination. I am a huge procrastinator. I've beaten myself up over it. I've tried to change. I've made check lists with completion dates so I could spread tasks out over time and yet, I consistently wait until the very last second before (and occasionally the second after) something needs to be done to start working on it. It's like a sickness, right? I mean that's what I told myself for years.
Until I realized I must like doing things at the last minute. Why else would I keep doing it? I like the adrenaline rush. I like the big push to accomplish something all at once, rather than bit by bit, over time. It's not as if I don't finish the tasks I've set out for myself. I do. All in one fell swoop. At the last possible second. In a blaze of glory! Perhaps I exaggerate. But still, what a relief to know that's how I operate and just accept it!
So, I'm no longer going to say, "I'm so glad we're home--now we're not going anywhere!" I'm just going to say, "I'm so glad we're home." And when the travel bug bites again, I'll invite him in.
Boy do I feel better. Not that I was feeling bad. I just feel like I don't have to roll my eyes at myself (yes, I sometimes roll my eyes at myself) when I start checking airfare or perusing the world map. I'm free to be me! Yippee!
So, like I started saying before, it looks like we might be going to New York!! We're still trying to figure out when, but it will probably be December or January. Warren would rather go in December, just in case a job comes up in January. But I'm afraid he'll still be working. Anyway, I'm looking for possible house swaps and hoping that we can use some points we've got saved on a credit card for airfare, so it really shouldn't cost much at all. I'm so excited!
We're also going to start an official savings account for a trip to Japan! It may take a few years to save up enough money, but at least the wheels are rolling. Jerry's aiming to be fluent in Japanese by the time we go. So that gives him something to work towards, too.
Jerry officially starts his dog walking job today, by the way. And we're meeting with my friend at the museum about that internship. Oh, and if you're anywhere near Boston and you have a 7th-12th grader you should check out MIT's Splash! I was thinking Jerry might go this year, but he decided to pass. It sounds awesome, though.
And now I'm going to make a nice hot cup of coffee because Fall has finally arrived in Los Angeles! At last the weather is cool and crisp and the sky is (mostly) clear and we can look forward to warm soup and fresh bread and all the things that make owning a stove (and actually being able to use it without causing heatstroke) so wonderful.