Mega Post

Well, homeschool has officially started. Here is our first field trip to help Soren learn some of the Principles and Elements of Design (the building blocks of aesthetics and creative endeavors). We went to the faculty exhibit at my Alma Mater and he was asked to take pics of examples of any principles and elements of design that he had learned so far.

Example of Balance (symmetrical):Example of Repitition (of Line and Texture)
Example of geometric Line:

Example of Organic Line:

Summer vacation is done but not before I spent some one on one with my fave preschooler. It's like having Becky as a friend in a smaller body. We made sponge boats and floated them in my tub. Claire had me turn on the orange LED lights. We had fun.

This is also how I know summer is about to end:

There are these few bulbs amidst my boston ferns by the garage that come out at the end of summer. Can anyone tell me what they are? I want to get more.
Honestly, I am overwhelmed with the broadness of material I have/want to teach Soren. Soren is really patient with me and says he likes it so far. He just wishes I were more available at night for homework help. He was worried I was sick of him--I need to figure how to remedy that this week. Here is our weekly schedule:
Music Theory
PE (he goes to the gym with me)
Language Arts
PE (Tues.)
Friday--any combo of the below as we see fit.
PE (he takes riding lessons)
Presentations (Powerpoint etc)
Field Trips
Lifeskills (he is now comparing the price and nutritional info of a McDonald's quarter pounder with a home-made one. His poster presentation is due this Thurs during Math.)
Oral Recitations (last week he recited some D&C 89 WofW and a history quote, "To not know one's past is to forever remain a child." This week will be some Genesis verses and Maslow's hierarchy of needs.)
We can get done in about 4 hours not including gym time. I am sure it will be different when we travel (a travel journal will replace some lessons), but when we are home, the above seems doable. He loved learning how Hitler made the same mistake as Napoleon by taking on the Russians in winter. This week we are recreating a dragon-shaped ceramic tea set he saw at the art exhibit. We will use modeling clay and keep in mind some more principles and elements of design. He's learning how to take notes, summarize, and memorize. As he gets more info, we will start learning the best -ize in my opinion, synthesize. Putting info together to draw comparisons and contrast, that's when the learning kicks in!
PS. I have thought about why I have the need to package my life in this blog-fashion. It is such a highly edited, choreographed way of journaling. It makes my life look exciting and rich. I am concerned it's phony. But I need to include that I struggle--with self-confidence to do what I have planned this year, with what to put faith in, with the limits of my physical and mental abilities, with my weaknesses, with why my ass is, in terms of biological necessity, too big . Everyone's blog has a certain culture. I have chosen to highlight the exciting, fun things. It helps me get through the absurdity, the quiet failings of the rest of my life. Thank you for indulging me. . .


Galveston--the last Hoorah

We love Galveston--people bag on the dirty beaches and water. But we are cool with it--we know a good spot that's not crowded, the water is warm and we get used to the smell of seaweed.

We didn't catch anything this time. Last year it was all about the blue crab! It was too windy maybe?
Seagulls making a meal of Ellery's Doritos. Better they eat it than she.

We ate at this place called "The Spot." I had oysters on the 1/2 shell and Mom, you'd be proud--Soren tried one and liked it. (Good No. European boy) He noticed the above menu offering of a hamburger meal costing $200 and was a bit verklempt. I had to explain what a bottle of Dom was.

The above is the chapel of the Sacred Heart. Spanish catholic influence. Many of the other homes are great examples of Victorian architecture with a Carribean influence. We toured Moody mansion--35,000sq ft built in the 1870's. The house was fitted with speaking tubes connecting the kitchen with the main rooms like a rudimentary intercom system. So cool. Beautiful goldenrod ceramic tiles in the bathrooms! They didn't allow pics to be taken though. :(

The Strand is the historical district and has this cool old time icecream/candy parlor.

Well, summer vacation is coming to a close. I bought Soren's textbooks yesterday and I am SO excited. I am building the syllabi for September. Some of the literature we will read is as follows as it pertains to the places we will go:
Ghana (not going there, yet. But I need to start with Africa since the human race began there as far as recent scholarship can tell):
Am asking housekeeper goddess, Rose, to recommend something.
Gulliver's Travels (abridged)
British Poetry--("Beware the Jabberwock my son!")
The Brehon Laws
Children's Homer (abridged version of the Odyssey)
The Egypt Game
So. America:
The Black Pearl
Does anyone have other suggestions for me?
Panchatantra and Hitopadesha (moral stories)
Excerpts from Rudyard Kipling ("If" you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you. . .)
and Ghandi's Satyagraha (non-violent resistence)
Hong Kong:
A Single Shard
Writings of Confucius
Tao Te Ching
Huang Zunxian's expression of what's it's like to be a Chinese immigrant to America c. 1884.


Some poems

Blast Plato

You say art is farce,
mere reflection of my real spot,
which, in turning, is sad reflection again.
But can't you see me here breathing in
both light and dark for good? Forget you Plato.

You imagine a better way, a sphere more complete
than what is in my spotted cave. Where there is change, celebration, process, seasons, chance, creativity and fallible men.
Go play with your world that isn't.
The Spring that never springs. The Fall that never falls. Go crazy Plato.

I love the crooked path I walk
with my mottled feet.
Where there is a spot of beauty in pain, and pain in the sweet.
Life is art made by my mottled feet.

Fun with You

all Fun is floating
above what's known

seeing the unexpected
to share with another

committing to memory
what i see myself do

with you, Fun.

but can the eyes focus?
will the shot be true?
Can I stand it a little longer?

don't say "enough."
don't lie down.
let it continue.


Happy Belated Bday Melissa!

When you were born I thought the tiny heart-shaped birthmark on your scalp proved that you were my sister. You were so cute!!!! Look at those doe eyes. The red shag carpet is fun to remember too.

Smart AND good. Something I struggled to be. And you rock in this bi-level do as few people can! And we had fun!! Remember when we put ketchup on my head and had me lay down by the mongo big screen fold-out with a wicked corner? David thought I was hurt. Dirty trick-probably my idea. Sorry for whatever else I made you do that was wrong--and for anything else I did to hurt you. Except we had fun too--crazy house, Monopoly interrupted by sprints to the pool, Christmas Eve Risk marathons. Your age allowed me to play Barbies well beyond what is probably considered normal.

Big hair days. This was a rough time for me and yours was coming soon. Growing up and facing our respective weaknesses, learning how to make decisions. And now we're old married ladies with kids. Hope you had a good birthday day with people and stuff to do that made you happy. Sorry this is late--it's not that I don't care, it's that I'm scattered.
Love to you always Melissa!!


2 posts in a day--Is It Allowed?

I sent this to my specials--(Becky and Melissa). Thought I would share it with all ya'll (considered correct grammar where I live).

Ha ha ha! Fran Leibowitz quote-- one of my new favorite people.

· Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra. In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.
If you can stay in love for more than two years, you're on something.
Remember that as a teenager you are at the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you.
I must take issue with the term 'a mere child,' for it has been my invariable experience that the company of a mere child is infinitely preferable to that of a mere adult.
I never took hallucinogenic drugs because I never wanted my consciousness expanded one unnecessary iota.
Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat.
Life is something to do when you can't get to sleep.
Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying.
All God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.

Post for Post's sake and lots of lists

We had a great time in Houston. We were going to go to Galveston first but Hurricane Dolly decided it wasn't the right time for us. We stayed at our favorite family resort in the Woodlands and here's the list of what we did: NASA's Johnson Space Center, Swimming, bike ride, dive-in movie, movie, mall, swimming, live music, s’mores, tattoos (temporary for the kids' kind), Spa day and golf for the parents, had Cyler with us all day/everyday, good food (hibachi and mediterranean), fun company (Bauman's came yay!)-I will get picks from her and post.
So now is the time to take one more quick trip to Galveston before school starts and gear up for homeschooling Soren while we traipse around the globe. I have mixed the curriculum up a bit--there are a few websites I will be using often (efantasmic for one) and textbooks used by a classical Christian private school here called Coram Deo. I will really be working on Soren's handwriting, public speaking and writing skills and showing him how to place events/ideas on a theoretical spectrum. At least for the time being, the extra room upstairs will be the classroom. Our first trip starts Sept. 9 and does he know that his mind is about to be blown wide open?

9 Sep-Depart USA
10 Sep--Arrive London
14 Sep-fly to Edinburgh
17 Sep-Fly to Dublin (The Holy Land as far as I'm concerned.)

23 Sep-Fly to Amsterdam (I was debating this one because of the reported nudity and drug use readily visible in the streets but Anne Frank's house is there and I can teach Soren about the corruption of the diamond industry, and how socialism is working in Europe--yeah I know, not great. We will definitely not be visiting the Red Light District.)
26 Sep-Train to Paris
30 Sep--fly home from Paris

We have our passports and will be getting some good walking shoes/raincoats soon. Soren got his braces off and has a retainer so he's good with the teeth appts for a while. I will be using the time in Europe to grow out this strange mass on my head called a haircut. Never, I repeat, never texturize fine, wavy hair. I embody the nickname girls had for me in 8th grade PE (Q-tip with eyes). Except this Q-tip has more junk in the trunk than she did in junior high.

My mind is pregnant with plans for our subsequent trips. The one I dream about the most is India in March, in time for the Holi festival--I can't wait to get splashed with colorful paint and cry with abandon at Varanasi. Cyler is bracing himself for the possibility that I will come home from India with either a tattoo, a nose-piercing or a child.

Last night my friend's husband turned 40 so we did Karaoke (again!!). Twice in 3 weeks--I want to do it again right now. Here's the list of songs I sang:
Come to my Window by Melissa Etheridge (my first and best attempt of the night. Becca sniffed my virgin margarita just to be sure, then asked if I sing like that at church. Uh, not even close. Does she know how stagnant our hymnbook is? They all have mosquitoes swarming around them.)
Love will Keep Us Together by Captn and Tenille (I missed the key change (damn!) but the rest was good.)
Mountain Music by Alabama (they cheered when I kicked up my heels and danced a sloppy jig)
I Dreamed a Dream from Les Mis (a downer but we were winding up anyway)
Some of my friends can siiing.

Here's another list (recipe I guess) of what Cyler is made of:
1 Pint Scottish rough-edged, let's-get-dirty attitude (When he called Colby "little Mac" and when he says arse and shite, I swoon.)
1/2 Cup Protestant German work ethic and need to have a great house/yard
Swirled scoop of BlueCollar know how and WhiteCollar tech nerd
Essence of Brooding Lone Mountain Man
2 Tbsp Texan Git'r'Done grit frosted with temptation to flip the bird to anything threatening to corral the rugged individualist.
1/4 Tsp Passion that bleeds over reason
1 Heart of Zen Warrior
3 Drops Stone-Cold-Loyal-Generosity to wife and kids
Hefty dash of addictive personality
Sprinkle with Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" (this is a new one--he keeps talking about willing the Universe to manifest the highest good for him)

Can you tell I need to wean myself off my summer Romance novels? I will only allow myself to read trash during summer. That restriction makes it all the more sweeter.