Wednesday, April 27, 2016

the way things are going

Ani has announced that we need to change things up around here. Too much routine. (This, from the girl who wants to know the plan at all times.) So as we slip towards less structure for this season, I am engaging more of my observer and recorder skills. My journal has fewer "to do" lists this week and more "we dids".  Brownies, newborns, marbled paper...

E's sketchbook
International Street Fair

We still try to spend a couple of hours of the morning together, usually with some current events over breakfast, and then our read aloud (just finished The Shakespeare Stealer) and more reading of history or science, and a game or two.  This week it was the favorite subject-predicate-clause (really, we have to come up with a more titillating name, but I'm afraid it would be something like The sinister Grandma barfed on your tennis shoes and threatened to explode on the baker's doorstep).

Ani recording her favorites
This morning it looks like reading in bed - for all of us! - and a round of Bananagrams over breakfast - for all of us! - and then some time watching things on the computer with Eliza (Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! and a few outstanding performances from poetry slams) while Ani builds, tells stories and plays with the wee people she made out of sculpey.  Eliza has her last dance performance of the year this evening, and Ani and I have plans to watch a movie about bees.  Plenty to observe and record in this juicy season...

Thursday, April 21, 2016

poems for your pocket

I love poetry. I love small bits of magic. No wonder then that National Poem in your Pocket Day would appeal to me. Of course you can carry a poem in our pocket any old day, but when was the last time you did, just because?  Mmmhmmm. I couldn't think of one either. So, today, a bit of poetry magic.

I had a fantasy about six months ago that we would compile all of our very favorite poems - from Mary Oliver to Shel Silverstein - and host a poem party, preparing little packets to pass out to passersby around town. (Shoo! Did you catch all that alliteration?! Ani would be so proud.) Fast forward to this actual month and the life that happened between then and now, no poems ready to share. We could have just pretended to forget, but I was actually really wanting this, so let's just say we scaled it way back!  We just printed out poems in the public domain, got out the paper cutter, our fancy marbled paper and a glue stick.  We sent some along with Dan to work, and with Eliza to her dress rehearsal for her dance concert.  This evening, Ani and I spent an hour walking around town, surprising people mowing their lawns, students taking a break from studying and a few neighbors, with poems.

I am so glad we did.  Ani is not one to want to talk to strangers. She still practices ordering in restaurants before we go, because she doesn't want to embarrass herself (Yes, this is the amazing narrator, but it's true! She has a shy side for sure), but she wanted to carry a pouch of poems, and she handed almost all of them out, her smile and her confidence growing with the length of her stride. "I think that person was really surprised. Maybe they've never had someone give them something nice like that before! I think this is making people really happy."

Please - a poem for your pocket?

The Moment - by Marie Howe

Oh, the coming-out-of-nowhere moment

when,      nothing


no what-have-I-to-do-today list

maybe half a moment

the rush of traffic stops.

The whir of I should be, I should be, I should be

slows to silence,

the white cotton curtains hanging still.

Monday, April 18, 2016


So it snowed last weekend, apparently. I don't know I was out of town on a date with my husband!!! Yeah, you heard that right. I have zero pictures of us watching five plays of the Humana Fest at the Actor's Theater of Louisville, nor any photos of us eating several amazing meals (tacos, duck cracklings and grits - wait, what is crackling? might just be too late to find out - and really late night sushi), so you'll just have to take my word for it that it was just what we needed. And while we were gone it snowed.

We have had spring, though, so just to prove dad and his wife were here during a couple of gorgeous spring days, and we headed to Ash Cave in the Hocking Hills.

Whenever I see something of this magnitude, I just imagine being the first people here, following the slowly meandering, totally unassuming creek, when suddenly BAM it becomes a huge drop of a waterfall and there is this cave big enough for a small village before you. It was beautiful.

Rock Pigeons. In the rocks.
The fire tower, on the path to Cedar Falls.
We took the path above the cave, towards Cedar Falls, and immediately the crowd thinned and the woods were peaceful.

the family photo - look, everyone is smiling!

Eliza delighted in snapping these photos of me and my dad. We don't have many recent ones, so I'm happy to have them, but what exactly was going on? It looks like we're in a musical. A very funny musical. I love them.

I'm slowly working my way backwards through the spring, playing some catch-up, so a week before this visit we went up to Columbus with some friends.  When we moved here, it had been a long time since I'd not lived in a city-city, and I panicked a little bit, wondering what kind of homeschool resources we'd find, how we could be narrowing our options just as the girls were getting old enough to do things in the community (I'm no longer so worried), and I consoled myself thinking that Columbus was just a hop, skip and a jump away, we'd just zip up there all the time. We've hardly gone at all, so when our friends discovered we'd never been to COSI, the science museum, they scooped us up in their van and we went.

Our gaggle

The favorite activity: the wind tunnel

What thirteen-year-old doesn't love the jukebox?

YESSSSSSS! Such power. And physics.

Dan picked us up at the end of the day - after the girls made me volunteer for the electricity floor show, the one where they make your hair stand straight up and then send a small shock through a chain of linked hands? - and we had Ethiopian food, which is a huge treat. He was headed out of town for a conference, so the next morning we drove home, stopping at Clear Creek Metro Park, which was huge and beautiful and we'd somehow never been there before.

Can you spy the gnome?
I might have squealed when I spotted these plants. I've known that skunk cabbage grows here, but I've never managed to find it early in the spring, and here it was next to Ramona Lake, waiting for me. I haven't seen it since we lived in the Pacific Northwest, and they are just so cool looking.

This seems long ago in the early days of spring; as I write this, the sun is coming in the window, reminding me that the day has heated up to the predicted 80 degrees and early spring is quickly fading into the past.