Thursday, June 19, 2008

Crossing my arms the other way......

As I sat in a staff meeting several years ago the school principal had all of us try an interesting exercise.  "Cross your arms.  Now, uncross them and cross them the other way."  It was a time of change in our elementary school, school programs, and district.  The point of her exercise?  To address the idea that change is uncomfortable.  I've often reflected on that exercise as life has bumped along with many opportunities to cross my arms the other way.  The metaphor only goes so far, however.  I've found that I eventually uncross my arms and recross them the comfortable way. :-)  Still, she made a good point.  

I don't teach at that school anymore as I opted to go on maternity leave when Ten was born and I never went back.  We home school our kids and it has been a fascinating journey.  As this school year draws to a close, however, I am looking ahead to next year and finding that I am having to cross my arms the other way.  We've participated in various co-ops, home school resource center classes, and private lessons over the years, with the resource center classes being the only constant.  Each year offers new changes and opportunities, but this next year is one in which everything is changing and I am trying to patiently let the dust settle, making suggestions, asking questions, and waiting.  Waiting is hard for me.  I like to problem solve and get it all figured out--now.  All of this change also involves El Professor's position as a public school teacher.  He has a new building assignment for next year which will have him making a daily tour of three schools--lots of driving--our '87 Jeep is never going to make it--we will need to find a 'new' second car.  

So, I'm crossing my arms the other way...and waiting.   

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's All Relative....

My four fabulous nephews.   The college grad, the high school grad, and the two others who have several years to go before they graduate.  They are otherwise known as 'the big boys and the little boys', or 'the two two-packs' as there is an age spread between them.

One sinus headache, a used book sale, a broken washing machine, a 'new' Craig's List washing machine, one house to clean like crazy, 4 days of relatives, lots and lots of meal preps, a big graduation bash, one serious puncture wound, Father's Day, and then....suddenly......nothing.  Nothing on the schedule (except for the trip to the pediatrician to deal with the puncture wound).  No running around to outside home school classes,  no math, no grammar, no history.....  Last week was brimming with all of the busyness of my opening list, and this week the whole picture has changed, at least for the kids at me.  El Professor is in class all week working on his teacher certification/endorsements, but I am suddenly facing a period of relative calm. 

Our culminating event this week was a graduation bash for our nephews.  One has finished his home school education, the other--himself a home schooled student--graduated from the University with a degree in journalism.  Given that we live within reach of the University, we offered to hold a bash here to celebrate both graduates, AND the University graduation of the older nephew's wife!  It was a great time!!  

A toast to the three grads!

To summarize the list....
-I have chronic sinusitis and the week opened with a two day vice on my forehead--Augh!
-I set up a table of my eBay books, my home schooling sister-in-law's books and the books of a friend at a local home school resource center.  It was kind of a bust but was great fun.
-The washing machine has been on the fritz for a few weeks.  As we prepped for overnight guests and the big bash, the machine decided to call it quits--and I was already WAY BEHIND in the laundry department.  After researching the problem and cost of parts online ($125), and considering the $40 and the hassle of taking everything to the laundry mat, I decided to try what Dorcus does and consult Craig's List.   I found/purchased and got a home school friend to  haul a 3 year old Whirlpool washing machine for $100.  It's the newest washing machine I've had yet--I'm in appliance love right now.  The thing works great--including spinning the clothes out much better than mine ever did.  
-The house needed some serious deep cleaning--we got it done.
-The big bash included rounds of soccer juggling,  during which Thirteen had to run into the aster patch to get the ball.  His leg met up with a jagged, bamboo garden stake and he ended up with a nasty wound that bled and bled.  I had my doctor brother in law look at it the next day....instant antibiotics.  Our pediatrician put it on infection watch, and today it is much better.  Thankfully, his tetanus booster was up to date.   
-We had a Father's Day breakfast at our house the morning after the big bash, and then we trekked over to my hilarious twin's to celebrate the fathers over there!   

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summit Summer

The view from a local butte

This winter, February 1st I think it was, I finally hit the 'this is ridiculous' mindset and decided I needed to be serious about exercising.  El Professor and I have been serious walkers on and off, enjoying those times where the kids can stay in the house and we can walk around the block over and over and actually talk...uninterrupted!  This winter, however, I became serious about making some changes in my life.  Afterall, now that dear little Ten is a decade old I think it's about time to take off that baby weight.  I have been walking in earnest, even trying to keep up the motion through the Crazy Days of May--even throwing in some jogs/hills/biking.  

Late in the spring El Professor and I began to ponder our MUCH needed summer off.  He will be taking some classes, working on expanding his teacher certification, and adding an endorsement but we are NOT GOING ANYWHERE until the end of July.  After two family-reunion-travel-crazy summers in a row and major home improvement projects we are looking forward to actually watering the garden and feeding the cat ourselves.   We are looking forward to dipping our toes in local lakes, picking local berries, cleaning out the garage, and taking a break from managing all of the logistics that come with a travel-packed summer.   We also want to work on our fitness.  With that in mind, I proposed 'Summit Summer'.  

Summit Summer started out with the idea of  a vigorous walking regimen and enjoying family hikes up local buttes to marvel at the beautiful views of our part of Oregon.   Once we exhausted the supply of local buttes we would consult our William Sullivan hike books for other regional summits with the ultimate late summer goal of making it to the summit of Black Butte in central Oregon.

Summit Summer is underway, but has morphed into a new kind of challenge.  After sharing the idea of Summit Summer with my hilarious twin (who, by the way, is very fit and thin) the ultimate summit for the summer has moved beyond Black Butte to the South Sister.  My hilarious twin scrambled up this mountain last summer and proposed the challenge to me.  I hear that the last 3,ooo feet involves a lot of scree scrambling and that preparation involves vigorous walking, hill climbing, biking and other cross training methods.   We have been experiencing some continued 'end of the school year schedule craziness', but the kids and I have managed a 9.8 mile bike ride and I have hiked one of the local buttes with Thirteen.  

Summit Summer here we come!

(I have no idea who these people are, but they are on top of the South Sister!)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Incredulous about this......

These two gas stations are among the cheapest I have seen in the area...and, still!  It is an interesting time in our economy.

We bought our current house five years ago.  It was wrapped in dying grass and a lot of red bark-o-mulch.  As excited as I was, I was grieving the lack of anything edible in the yard (save the roses, dandelions and GIGANTIC squirrel corn plant that rose up out of the bark-o-mulch desert).  Before we moved in (the house was an abandoned 'repo') I planted a small lettuce patch.  The following spring we began in earnest to create a vegetable and herb garden like we had enjoyed at our previous house.  Sometimes I get tired of washing muddy lettuce, but I am so thankful that I have so much of it to wash right now.  

In this interesting economy, I am not saving any space in the garden for 'drying flowers'.  I have fiddled in the past few years with larkspur, globe amaranth and straw flowers to dry with all of the lavender we have.   This year, I am thinking 'victory garden' and 'localvore'.

Hopeful about this....