May 2005

* Tonight at dinner, I told Jordan that when Mark and I got married, I walked down the isle, not to the traditional processional, but to Darth Vader’s theme music.
I didn’t really.
But it got me thinking. Now I *want* to walk down the isle to the Darth Vader March. I’d get married all over again, just to do that.

* Currently pondering:

No one who has ever had a cat or dog can doubt the animal capacity for happiness. Beholding and sharing their open joy is one of the great pleasures people take in animals. We see them leap or run, hear them bark or chirrup, and put words to their delight: “You’re home!” “You’re going to feed me!” “We’re going for a walk!” Like uninhibited human happiness, the pleasure is contagious, so that pets serve as a conduit to joyful feelings. It is rare to find a person as openly ecstatic as a cat about to be fed, or a dog about to go for a walk. If such joy were a figment of anthropomorphic projection, it would be a remarkable collective dellusion.

* I feel so busy latey, like I hit the floor running every morning and go until I can’t go anymore. The computer has become *gasp* a mere communication tool – and I’m not even doing much of that. I have so much unread email and so many items in my “deal with it asap” folder that I’m beginning to feel oppressed by my email software.
The good news is that all the stuff I’m busy with is happy stuff: yard work, housework (the good kind: throwing stuff away!), school work, and gardening.

* School has only just regained “happy thing” status. The problem wasn’t Jordan. He’s easier to get along with in this regard than he has ever been before. But last week, I had serious – and my first – burnout. I think it was a combination of a brief battle with the flu, end of year scrambling to pull all the loose ends together, and the planning and the hunting and the gathering of curricula for the summer and the fall.
But I seem to have recovered now and I’m not nearly as miserable as I was there for a few days.

* One of the emails I have read recently was notice of a sale at a local book warehouse. I changed my plans for the day and took off (alone!!) to the sale. I made off like a bandit. I got 10 books for $40. A couple are for science (ummm.. a cool book about the senses and another about volcanoes), but most are for Jordan to read: actual chapter books. Hoping to gain his interest, I read the back covers of them to him and he right away wanted to read one of the Third Grade Detectives books. It is a challenge for him, but it doesn’t help when, every four minutes, he flips through all the pages and comments on how long the book is! lol! But, he sat with me and happily ploughed through the first few pages, captivated by the story and thrilled to be reading a chapter book.

* I remember the first chapter books I read. It was a series of books about a forest ranger and his nephew, I think. I don’t remember what the series was called. I do remember that the librarian told me they were “boys’ books”. *snort* I was in grade two and I read every single one those books the library had.

* I broke down and bought Story of the World for history. I had resisted because reviews seem to be really polarized – love it or hate it, no in between – and some of the criticisms gave me pause, so I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But after talking to some real live people who were using it, I decided to give it a try. We’ve only done a couple of chapters, but Jordan really likes it. So that would be a winnah!

* Oy. Bed. *thunk*

just back from the garden
planted 5 30-ft rows of potatoes
that’s 150 feet of potato trench that I dug out, then filled back in
i’ll write more in a few days when i can move my arms again

PS: send A535

I am a Taurus. And the older I get, the more it seems that I fit that particular bull bill.
Except the stubborn part, of course. It isn’t that I’m stubborn, it is just that I have a *lot* of confidence in my own reasoning and decision making abilities.
*cough* shutup

What this means is that when I decide it is time to lay down some curriculum for the next ‘school year’, I am in my glory. Schedules, lesson plans, calendars… I love em. I had decided this last week and a few days ago, I got to work.

“Aim high!” I always say! “Better to fall short of a fantasy than to just settle for whatever comes easy in the first place!”. With this mindset, I dug out The Well Trained Mind set to work scribbling notes and such on paper (the “such” was the stuff I couldn’t decifer when I went back to it later.).

I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing…

ok? Ok… So with my scribbles and my book, I sat down at the computer and opened a fresh new spreadsheet. I divided the school year into weeks and made a column for each subject. Then I set about defining the material to cover each week.

My spreadsheet is a work of ART! It is a sight to behold. It is everything I ever dreamed.
It is, in fact, quite funny.

Now, I *know* that in TWTM it says that no one does ALL of it. In fact, that is one of my favourite parts of the whole book. But… as I said, Taurus, aim high blah blah… so ALL of it is going into this spreadsheet. .ALL.OF.IT. Just, you know, for giggles.

Can I just say, OMG?! lol. I’ve only filled in about half the subjects and .. just.. omg. ROFL. I did less work in high school!

Jordan says he is going to do ALL of it. This from the kid who thinks reading is child abuse. *eyeroll* The lesson in all this for me is that I need to chill. I have to remember that we’re working on elementary level work here, not a doctoral thesis (though I’ve seem some that.. err, nevermind). For example, when I looked at the amount of history to cover each week I had a moment of weakness. Well, to be honest, I was running around the office, bobbing like a chicken, arms flailing and screeching, “THREE HOURS?! THREE HOURS?! HOW CAN WE DO ALL OF THAT IN THREE HOURS?!” When I was considering changing the schedule so that we did 6 or 8 hours of history a week, I finally came to my senses. Three hours it is, and three hours it shall remain. Sheesh.

Now, in a better frame of mind, I have accepted (because knowing and accepting are different things) that we won’t do ALL of it. We won’t even do almost-all of it. But we’ll leap for the stars and still be happy when we land, feet firmly planted on terra firma.

* The movement to “normalize” the English language gives me a rash. Seriously. And don’t think I won’t stoop so low as to use my influence as a parent when it comes to this issue. Jordan is now of the opinion that normalized language is “stupid and lame”. So there.

* Whenever I spend some time talking to one of my “peers” – i.e. someone roughly my age and with kids and blah blah – I am struck with how out of step I am with 99.9% of the population.
Last night, Jordan and I got a ride to his out of town lacrosse game with someone else from his team. The puppies boys sat in the back making jokes about bodily functions and I sat up front with The Dad (he drove, I was lazy). He had asked about homeschooling and I was talking (too much as usual) about why and how and why we like it and what is difficult about it and then he asked me about being vegetarian and I was talking (too much) about that too…. and it really struck me. I said to myself, I said, Dude, … you’re WEIRD!.
Only I don’t feel weird. I feel more normal than I ever felt in my life. But the fact remains: my world view and the position from which I conduct my life on a daily basis are very, very different from those of almost anyone else I know. Also notable is the fact that, even with this rush of realization, I endured not a single moment of regret, second thought, or longing to be “normal”. In fact, I felt relief, not because being weird was ever something I set out to be, but because I think I have finally broken free of some attitudes, assumptions, fears and judgements that made living life deliberately (and hence, closer to my values) a struggle.

* Yesterday, Jordan handled a difficult situation with courage and a level head. To be honest, I was 100% sure he couldn’t handle it at all. I am thrilled to be wrong this time. Thrilled and proud.

* One of the themes that seems to be swirling around me lately is the whole parent-child alienation thing. Andrea posted about it here, it has come up in several conversations with different people and I just seem to be seeing a lot of it around.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to someone who is having a rough time with her child. They fight constantly and she said, “I think he hates me nine days out of ten.” This makes me so sad. God. I can’t imagine. As I listened to her I was thinking that nine days out of ten, I wake to Jordan crawling into bed with me to cuddle, and that when he does that, he tells me he loves me. He tells me he loves me many times a day. He says I am the best mom ever. He talks about how lucky he is and how happy he is. This is not to say that our lives are all skipping and flowers, but this *is* the baseline. This is normal. Any fighting is the exception.
Once again… I’m happy to be me and I wouldn’t trade lives with anyone.

* Jordan’s wee bit of a cold has morphed into the flu, which he seems to have generously shared with me. He has always been a rotten patient, refusing to be still and rest or to drink plenty of liquids. But he’s been better this time. Reasonable even. He didn’t even complain when I wouldn’t let him eat cheese.
What is with him these days? He’d better not be growing up, because if he is he is in BIG trouble!

Jordan is sick… a cold. Nothing huge: a mild fever, but a pretty bad headache. He says his head hurts just lying still. :( I had a busy day planned for us, but I’ve dropped most of it in favour of a more relaxed day for him. He doesn’t have any sports tonight, so he’ll get some good rest.

We’re running out quickly now to the teachers’ store. I want to get a doohickey for his pencil – gonna try and get him to hold his pencil with his index finger on top and directing the pencil, rather than his middle finger.
I’m not sure how important this is the big scheme of things, but my own extensive research and scientific testing* has shown that, while using the middle finger to direct the pencil might give more control in the beginning, eventually, it actually limits the range of motion of the pencil, making writing (especially cursive) more difficult.

When we get home, the plan is rest for J and cleaning for me. *sob* Then, if he feels up to it, we’ll finish off our experiments with recycling. Hopefully, I’ll have time/energy later in the day to pot up my pepper plants. They have outgrown the cells they are in.

ooooooooh.. this weekend is the long weekend! Yay! It is also the last-frost date. I’m so behind in my planting it isnt funny. Otoh, it has been so cold, I doubt it makes any difference. I was late late late getting my stuff in last year, and it didn’t seem to make any difference in the end. So I need to chill. Maybe ;)

* umm.. this research and scientific testing consisted of me, a pencil and paper to doodle on. Up strokes seem especially more difficult using the middle finger than with the index finger. My theory is that while it might take longer to get tight control of the pencil using the index finger, in the end, using the index finger gives more control over a wider range of movements. I got the same results, even more pronounced, using a ballpoint pen, a fountain pen and pen and ink.

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