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Camping Out May 29, 2011

Filed under: Brain Chatter,Children & Insanity,Culinary Creativity,Uncategorized — gleefulbarbarians @ 5:29 am

Dear AL,

Right now, Ainsley is outside in our backyard in our enormous 6+2 person tent for her first night “camping.” I’m not sure why they call it 6+2 instead of 8, but this tent is certainly large enough for a family of 6 to go camping and happily pick up a couple of strays along the way to sleep in the other room (yes, our tent has TWO rooms. We are a long way from backpacking.) But I digress. Ainsley is comfy in her new sleeping bag, in our new tent beside David. I call him David and not Daddy because that’s what she calls him. I’ll say, “Ainsley, call Daddy.” She’ll yell “DAVID!!!” I’ve also heard “Hon.” She’s been doing this for years and it still makes me laugh each time. I would love for it to be a Mommy & Ainsley camping night, but then it would become a Mommy & Ainsley & Brenna camping night. Though I do love to be sandwiched in between my two little girls, I need some sleep, so I will admire them from inside.

It must be lovely to knit. You must love the sense of accomplishment it gives you. It’s time-consuming and difficult enough so that you gain satisfaction from completing something you created, but not so involved that it takes all your time, money and sanity for years. I love that.

Let’s get to your questions:

What am I reading: I am obsessed with reading by flashlight. And my 2011 version of this activity is reading my ipad “kindle.” I’d love to tell you I’m reading something like Mark Twain or another intellectual challenge (though I love myself some Jane Austen. Hello, Mr. Darcy!) I’m obsessed with reading cheap books at the moment–mostly escapist chick lit about finding a man and a job that are worthy of some women whose fictional parents evidently found it necessary to name their made-up child after colors or some other absurdity. In one book I read, the main character was named Mandalay Florentino. My last book, our “heroine” was Bluebell Byrne. That alone should stop me from reading them. It’s mindless, has nothing to do with my life, and I like to see how many typos I can find. I do have The Power of Now queued up. Our pediatrician recommended it after I told her I was struggling with the question “what if something bad happens?” after Inja’s brain aneurysm. I could use the inspiration.

What am I making: Hopefully a mess. I am working on a project with a group of educators and others who were inspired by David Hawkins–a professor, scientist, philosopher, educator and father who coined the phrase “Messing about in Science.” He took the idea from The Wind in the Willows, which I have never read, but there’s a line “”There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” His belief was that children learned best when they had ample time and “space” (as in we adults should just stand back and let children figure it out) to Mess About. The project has led to some introspection about my ability to embrace the messes and dirt my daughters create and our society’s shunning of working with our hands (political side note: immigrants work on farms for a reason and we should value this). My job description in all of this: I make things happen. I’m trying to raise money for and excite people about an exhibit to captivate the natural scientist in every child–with a explorative, play-based approach inspired and influenced by David Hawkins. I’ve got a lot of people jumping on board–it’s how to take those people to a train made of cash that is keeping me up at night. There’s a line from a movie about train tracks in the alps that were built before a train existed that could make it there. If they made those tracks, they knew a train would come. That’s what I feel like I’m making.

What I am doing: entirely too much (see above). I keep “attempting” to get rid of things in my life to create some space, but other things just fill that space in. I’m beginning to see that I am just that person and that is just my life.

What I am eating: eggs. Seriously, I eat them every day. If I try to eat cereal in the morning instead of eggs, by 10 am, my stomach is like, “ha, ha. Nice try. Go get yourself something with a yolk.” And I endlessly drink Bhakti Chai, the best chai in the whole world that brings other chais to their knees. I’m also trying to get a lot of greens. They make me feel good about myself. I’m aiming for a summer of salad. I want to make really amazing and fantastic salad this summer. The kind that could challenge one of those salads you get at a fancy restaurant where there are like 3 ingredients on the plate, but they are delightful and evoke joy. yum.

I love that you signed peacefully. I sometimes think there is almost nothing peaceful about me. But I’ve got a sleeping baby next to me and I created that, so I’m feeling pretty serene at the moment.

Most go take a gander at the tent. If you could write two books–one fiction, one non-fiction–what would they be about?



Jumping in May 27, 2011

Filed under: Children & Insanity,she's crafty — gleefulbarbarians @ 6:13 am

Dear iGEL,

I had mentally started a note to you Tuesday night because we’d had two relatively smooth days.  YAY!  And then Wednesday broke with “Thing 1 elbowed me in the head” and a steady bout of mid-level skirmishes.  Why is it that children lull you into that false sense of “well alright!  things are moving along nicely” only to broadside you into “why did we think that ‘childfree’ was a bad option?”  It’s really been going on since Day 1.  Nursing going well?  Time to go on strike, or nurse every 3 minutes for 24 hours.   3 days of toddler eating new foods?  Time to live on nothing but 2 cheerios and carpet lint for a while.  Preschooler sharing toys?  Time to start biting anyone who comes in the room.  Ugh.

We’ve been schooling slackers this week for various reasons.  Monday was okay.  Tuesday we had a meeting in the morning and normally we’d go to the Homeschool Park Day in the afternoon, but Thing 1 ended up with an upset stomach, so we came home.  Of course he was cured by the time we got home, but I’d already planned an abbreviated day of stuff they could get done during the meeting (because we were scheduled to be out of the house from 10-6), so instead it was play hockey and go swimming for the bulk of the day.  Wednesday morning was rough (what with the elbowing and continued skirmishes) and then the afternoon was spent at art class, the library and the grocery store.  Today is Thursday and I was hoping to get back on schedule, and then a friend called.  She had just picked up her daughters from their last day of school.  Could they come over and play?  We’ve missed seeing them, so sure.   Tomorrow will either be a busy day, or we’ll end up moving things to next week.  Sigh.

Normally I wouldn’t care too much, but it’s the end.of.May and I kind of want to be done.   So, bleh.

On the plus side, tonight was stitch and bitch.  I had a lovely evening.  I’ve been working on making this sweater for myself: – mine will be blue and (shh!)  100% acrylic.  Yeah, I know.  We could talk about how artificial it is, and yet how wonderfully machine washable and dryable, but at the end of the day, I think acrylic comes from oil which comes from dinosaurs or something, so really, it’s all good.  Maybe not vegan (what with being from dinosaurs), but as someone who had turkey AND bacon on my sandwich tonight, this is clearly not a problem for me.

Holy cow.  Oil doesn’t come from dinosaurs!

I neglected to mention – that sweater from a couple of paragraphs back?  I have a goal (it’s a geeky thing and I can explain if you’re interested, but it involves a message board and a popular children’s book series) of finishing it by the end of July.  I’m not done with the sleeves yet, and I still have the back, the fronts, the hood and all the sewing up.  I started earlier this month.  Guess who’s behind?  This guy.    At the same time, I want to knit these next month: and have them done in time for the season premiere of True Blood.   At the beginning of the month I said that I wanted to have them done in time for the release of the newest Sookie Stackhouse book, but that was the 8th or something so that goal was quickly abandoned.   I don’t remember being this geeky in high school or college.   I’ve never played Dungeons and Dragons.  I swear.

Just because I’m feeling rambly and this post is all about me (and because I’m always interested in what other people are reading), my currently active books are:

  • The Land of Painted Caves by Jane Auel – i started this out of a sense of obligation.  i’ve read the rest of the series, so i’m reading this too.
  • The Gift by James Patterson – this is young adult fiction about a witch and wizard sibling pair and the New Order regime that’s hunting them down.  James Patterson and his 2 page chapters make for very quick reading.
  • Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich – an audiobook that’s nearly finished.   I’ve read it as a paper book, but I like audiobooks for background “noise” sometimes.   My “on deck” audiobook is A Game of Thrones: Song of Fire and Ice by RR Martin (I think).  We’ve started watching the series on HBO, so I downloaded the book.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to follow it as an audiobook, but we’ll see.
  • I’m considering read The Warlizard Chronicles.  The author is a friend, and we have the Kindle version of the book to read on the computer or my ipod, but I’m not sure I want to know that much about him.

What are you reading, making, doing, eating?