Monday, January 31, 2011

A Poem For the Season

Where I live,
winter is drab, and gray, and bare.
it’s not exactly frozen tundra,
            cross-country skiing,
                        snowman-making country.
no—it’s cold, and it’s damp, and it chills the soul
            right down to the bones.
in New England (says Kim), Fall is Fall, Winter is real,
Spring is late, Summer is a pleasant notion.

in Virginia, Fall is the only real gentleman season.
and Summer has no boundaries.
she begins her descent in poor spring’s term,
like a Democrat during a Republican administration.
she is hot, and humid, and relentlessly inhumane
            on the misery index.
people complain and sweat, and sit indoors,
peering outside, cursing mosquitoes
            and dreaming of California,
                        or New England,
                                    or Antarctica.
she comes in nicely, just early enough to relieve
            the blahs of winter,
but her true colors show when she begins
to fry the pansies too soon.
she promises a nice, long growing season,
only to turn and mock and withhold the rain
            for two years out of three so you can never really
            predict if it’s worth planting or not.
            supposedly, it’s an agricultural state.
            you know, Thomas Jefferson, Monticello…
                        we’ll see this year if it decides to be or not.
she far outstays her welcome,
pressing her flesh into Fall’s term as well,
like a Democrat loath to leave office. 
but like a gentleman, Fall quietly waits for her to leave,
and may even bid Winter a late entry, to offset her rudeness.
even then, Summer will still raise her head
and attempt to get the last word.
but once she is gone, oh the glory!
the colors! the clearest of clear blue skies!
playing outside is the greatest indulgence,
and the anticipation of Winter’s onset
            prompts even the air conditioned cave-dwellers
            to become outdoors-men.
eventually, Sir Autumn must give way to the Old Man.
Christmas is his redemption, but after that,
the only entertainment to be had
is to watch the writhings of weathermen and traffic reporters
            as they attempt to make news of wet and soiled roads,
            filthy cars piled up on the freeways,
            salt trucks with nothing much to do,
            and teenagers who have no school,
                        wreaking havoc in the neighborhood.
the presidential snowball thrown for the press corps is big news.
tomorrow it will be slush and grime
and our sad snowman will be deformed,
and we will peer outside, cursing the mush,
            and dreaming of California,
                        or New England,
                                    or Antarctica.

(c) copyright 2011
Kelly Mine

Saturday, January 29, 2011

On Being Distracted, or Why I Haven't Posted Updates for Weeks 16, 17, and 18

I'm not sure how I got three weeks behind in my weekly updates. Perhaps I didn't want to admit that I was behind, but alas, here I am, wondering where the three weeks went and what exactly we did. They probably went something like this, except for the toddler parts, but the same idea. Let's just say that "If you Give a Mom a Muffin..." is a line that is often repeated in our house when I'm walking around wondering what I was meaning to do...

 If You Give a Mom a Muffin

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
So she'll pour herself some.
The coffee will get spilled by her three year old.
She'll wipe it up.

Wiping the floor, she will find some dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do some laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over some snow boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper for tonight.

She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With a Pound of
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
She will look for the checkbook.

The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two year old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old.
While she is changing the two year old the phone will ring. (Of course!)
Her five year old will answer it and hang up.

She remembers that she wants to phone a friend to come over for coffee on
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.
And chances are,
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Written by Kathy Fictorie

Based on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

At any point in any given day, I could write a new version of this scenario. For instance, just now I went upstairs to find a book that I wanted to quote in today's blog post, and when I went upstairs I found the package of new sweaters that I had ordered earlier in the week.  So I took the sweaters out and tried them on.  Then I changed my outfit to suit one of the new sweaters. Then I came down to finish the blog post and had forgotten the book that I originally went upstairs to retrieve. I think this must be a permanent state of mind because at the moment, there is NO ONE HOME to say "Mom!  Mom!  Mom!" and distract me from my original purpose. I suppose I am so accustomed to being interrupted, that I've actually now built it into my psyche.

Now...If only I could remember what I was originally planning to write.

So don't're not the only one who does this. There is at least one other person who does and is willing to admit it. Now, if YOU would admit that you are this easily distracted, it would make me feel  a lot better.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thoughts on Art

Today I had an almost irresistible urge to go buy oil paints and make a painting.  It seems to be everywhere I look these days.

I find myself in a place longing for stretches of time without anything to do, no one to talk to, and no agenda.  That is not to say I would be a loaf during that time.  I would be very busy and unavailable.  But to others' minds I would probably be loafing.

I miss painting.  I miss art.  Sometimes I think of all the art I could make during the day if the kids were in school. This post by a fellow blogger at the Well-Trained Mind forums only intensified the feeling.  I am constantly reminding myself that the days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be, and I have made the choices I have because I'm answering a call, not because it's the easy path.  Even so, I feel this longing sometimes. 

Meanwhile, my son is growing in his abilities with art.  He brought home this painting today from art class, and I'm really pleased with how he persisted and finished so well.  Good job, Matty!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Week 15 in Review

So we were supposed to roll back into things, get back to work, be productive, and we were--to a certain extent.  I found that the kids would likely have cooperated with anything I put before them, if only I could get them out of bed!  The Christmas vacation had us on a late-to-bed, late-to-rise routine.  All of us seemed to want to keep that this week, and we were all very sluggish in the mornings, until finally I just started waking them up on Thursday and Friday.  I don't regret our holiday.  It was full of restful play, reading, play, reading, sleeping, and more play and more reading.  But the downside is that it is such a pleasant state, it is difficult to break out of that routine...or should we?  Yes, I suppose we should.  I was the one reading...the kids played a LOT of Wii. 

The main goal of the week was to get us thinking about school stuff again...math, reading, CC memory work--mainly greasing the axles and getting them going.  Both did great with all that was required of them, even if we weren't exactly efficient or timely in getting it done.  Matty finished The Hobbit over break and decided he really wants to try reading Lord of the Rings.  I obliged and got him the books, but made him promise that he would not feel discouraged if he couldn't tackle it all right now.  He promised.  We'll see how it goes. 

So far, so good. We have completed week one of our second term in the deep midwinter.

I Don't Care Which Way You Lean, This is Funny...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Fear--or, Why Didn't I Realize this Before?

There have been so many times in the past five years of homeschooling that I have been gripped by fears about the decision.  Not just passing concerns, but true fear--the kind of fear that makes my stomach seize up and makes me feel like I want to be sick, go to bed, and just commit my kids to the big yellow bus to take them where it may.  The fears have ranged from everything from not knowing how to teach my kids what they need to know, not knowing how to teach a kid to read, not knowing how to plan a schedule and stick to it, not knowing how to fit everything in to a 24-hour period and still feed the family, not knowing how all this is going to turn out in the end, to the ultimate I ruining them?  What if I'm totally screwing them up?  I look at this list and see all the times I haven't known how

There's an old hymn that we used to sing when I was a kid that says:
"But I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able
To keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day..."
(I realize this is pretty much straight from scripture, but I always think of the tune) The thing is that God has called me to this.  Of that I am sure.  I have committed this venture and the lives of my children to him.  How can I doubt that he will faithfully care for me in the process?  He didn't call me to know how, he just asks for my obedience.  He knows how to get this done, and he knows the future of my children.  Since he is the One who knows, I need only ask him what they need for each day, and he will provide for the education of my children.  I have to believe that he has asked me to do what is best for them, and that means that I am not ruining them.

As I talked to a friend today about these fears it occurred to me, "what fear is there in having your children with you, learning and growing?"  On the contrary, it should be more fear-inducing to send them out into the world as young as we do.  Fear is not of God, so it can only come from one place.  And all this time I thought it was my problem--feelings of inadequacy and what-not.  Humph.  Not so much.  Why didn't I realize this before?