Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday musing 2

Once again it's Monday, and here I sit freshly brewed decaf cappuccino nearby and an everything bagel with fried egg as my breakfast. My son is eating his similar breakfast, minus the coffee in the other room. We're working up to starting the school day which will begin shortly with him reading a book to me. Then we'll progress along to writing words and sentences, some addition and subtraction, some kitchen alchemy in the form of bread making and then we'll have a lot of playing throughout the afternoon. Later this evening he will go to basketball practice, we'll have family dinner afterward, family storytime in bed followed by song and then off to sleep for him. My husband and I get a few hours of quality of time and then I'm off to bed as well.

This is the basic structure for our schooling. It's flexible and throughout the week it ebbs and flows depending on what comes our way. We go the park with other homeschoolers mid week, we go the library for storytime, sometimes we grocery shop and he is in charge of weighing things and reading the list. One of the great joys of homeschooling is being with my child everyday and guiding him through the world in a gentle manner. For us there is some structure in that but it is combined with the freedom to move around and change it up at any time.

For those people who think homeschooling is weird or absurd or that I'm not qualified, I say "mind your own business." For those who think all homeschoolers are socially inept, backward, or right wing conservative religious folks I say, "Obviously you have never met any of the kids in any of the groups I have been a part of." Those groups include kids from ages birth to 18 and have spanned 4 states.

I didn't sit down with the intention if writing about homeschooling but I guess, that's what was on my mind. I think families need to do what works for them, and this works for us. Until such time as is doesn't anymore we'll continue on this path.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday musing 1

The spiced pumpkin scented candle is burning nearby, it's sweet aroma contributes to my calmness. Peter Gabriel's "In your eyes" is playing on my Pandora radio quickmix, surley to be replaced any moment by some random pick of hte program. I have a decaf coffeelike beverage in a hand thrown ceramic mug and my boy is fast asleep. Today I have made a concsious effort to change the routine I have gotten into, more of a rut in many ways.

The change comes swiftly on the heels of a visit from old friends. Without even knowing it, they brought with them a forward motion, an energy that I am harnessing and hoping to use to continue to propel me forward out of the reluctant space I have been in. The visit with them was so good, no great, it left me wanting to be a better me again. I think there's something about spending time with folks who know you well that offers a chance to shed secrets and inhibitions enough to let go of crutches and stand on one's own. At least I feel it is like that for me.

One of the things we did during their visit was take a hike on the Greenbelt. It's a corridor of land outside of Denton that has trails along the Trinity river and stretches up to Lake Ray Roberts. I think it is the most green I have found in one place that close to Denton. Of course there is more green actually at lake Ray Roberts. Anyway, all 7 of us, headed out and walked. It was a crisp cool day with the sun shing bright and reflecting on the water. We saw a passing flock of Cedar Waxwing, which as of last year, are one of my favorite migrating birds. I just think they are beautiful. We also saw many lovely sycamore, which until last month I had never knowingly seen. You can see in the pic above how the bark changes as the tree grows taller. It changes from brown and textured to white and very smooth. Beautiful. I have been introduced to a number of new trees here including the Blackjack Oak, Bluejack Oak, Post Oak, and Winged Elm with more to still learn.

Tonight I'm posting this pic of our old girl because I am thinking of her a lot lately. Little Deer is approximately 15 years old. She has aged tremendously in the past year having regular seizures, hearing loss and cataract growth, to add to her old ACL injuries. She has been a great dog, hiking partner, fellow traveler, and a member of my family for almost 12 of htose 15 years. We noticed over the past few years that the winters realy take their toll on her and so far this one no different. I know that when she finally leaves us in this life, she will be missed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Road

This past week I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. If you're looking for an intense emotional ride this story will provide it. Well, at least it did for me. It is a post apocalytip tale of a father and son on a journey to find other survivors who are not savages or "bad guys". They take care of each other and count on each other almost as equally. The geographic setting is not completely clear but going by the description I would guess it's somewhere in the eastern us, possibly including Appalachia, going on the plant life described (ginseng, rhododendrons, morels) as well as waterfalls near mountain gaps and then ending on the coast.

While reading this story it was difficult for me not to imagine my husband and son as the characters making even more heartbreaking. I wonder if folks who do not have children are affected the same way. When asked about the ending, I found that I was both sad and hopeful at the same time.

The writing style was at times distracting and yet it was exactly perfect for the point of view.

I would reccomend this book and now I am looking to watch the film. Interestingly, the film version has actress Molly Parker in it who just finished up on the set of the Playroom, the film my son is currently working on.
I am going to try and post book reviews more regularly so stay tuned to see what my opinions are.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

reflection on 2010

*disclaimer* by reading this post you will learn a lot about me, if you're interested, please keep reading.

Tonight I sit at the counter in my kitchen. There is a pile of unwashed dishes next to the sink, a painting in progress drying on the easel and a cup of warm tea by my side. It is the first time in a while that I have taken to reflect on the past year. It was an intense, challenging, joyful, adjusting, exploring kind of year.

In Georgia, my husband was a slave to his dissertation writing. I'm thankful for his work ethic. Although throughout his time as a grad student at UGA there were many tense and stressful moments, he set his mind to getting in and out as quickly as possible. He succeded in this endeaver graduating in May 2010 after only 5 years in the program including a year of fieldwork and one of dissertation writing. His PhD in environmental Anthropolgy landed him a job and us a chance to find some financial stability as well as a real opportunity to look ahead to future goals.

Of course the said job required that we move away from the Eastern US and into north Texas. I was up for the new adventure, with reservations. We moved in early summer and quickly took an amazing cross country road trip (see pics and itinerary on this blog in posts from July and Aug). We had a blast taking time to reinvigorate our small family and deepen the ties the three of us have to each other.

Upon arrival back in Texas, a heatwave took us by storm producing tons of sweat, causing the old AC unit to poop out in the rental leading to 2 nights in a hotel, and inducing thoughts resembling, "What the hell are we doing here?"

Eventually the stifling heat moved on and the temperatures became enjoyable as we moved into fall. Although to be honest, after so many years in western North Carolina and northeast Georgia, I was sorely missing the falls I have grown to love. Texas did its best to entice me with moderate temperatures, amazing sunsets, tall waving grasses and eventually there were some colorful leaves blowing around in the wind. I started feel as though I could live here and feel happy and even be able to focus my energies on all of the positive things about here.

As fall turned into early winter, I took to beading up a storm, participating in the local Etsy group, going to some craft shows, becoming invloved with a group of similar minded homeschoolers and immersing myself (and my son) into being here. We were having a good time.

In a turn of events my son was given the opportunity to audition for a role in a movie being made in Dallas. He was great and they cast him and since then, which was around Thanksgiving, we have been fully immersed in the making of the film. I have been experiencing many mixed emotions about the process.

I think it is a great homeschool lesson to be on a set and be involved in actually making a film. He is having a great time with the other actors and is getting an amazing first hand look behind the scenes as it were. For me, I have been struggling with the commute and the time away from home. Although I am a social person, I enjoy being at home and I really value our family time. It has definitely been harder on me than him. I am appreciative that he has been given the opportunity to work on this film. A film that is deeply personal to the director and producer and their other family members who have been involved in its production. I know it will be really great but I can't say for sure how I feel about encouraging him to continue on this path.

Anyway, I'm looking for to this new year. I have begun painting again and incorporating my beadwork into my paintings. I feel creative light blossoming within and I am bursting to let it out. I'm looking forward to a possible visit from good dear freinds and a visit to the South Toe Valley in summer. I'm excited to ride my new bike, hike on new trails, learn new birds and plants and to become more familiar with this new landscape. I'm going to keep on cooking up a storm, trying new recipes, and keep my fermentation crock full.

So, to you out there whoever you may be, warmest Texas wishes for the year ahead. May your creative light shine, may your family be warm and healthy and may heart beat steadily.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Well, I'm a little slow on the uptake here but I have a delicious recipe to share. It's a Veteto family New Year's Day tradition and I am just about to sit down and eat it up.

A number of years ago when I started spending New Year's Eve with my in-laws, I tased these yummy black eye peas for the first time and have looked forward to them every year since. Sorry I didn't remember to post this earlier so you could enjoy it today, but I will try my best to remember for next time around.

1c canola oil
1 clove garlic sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4c white vinegar
1 small onion sliced into rings
1 small red bell pepper sliced
2 cans of black eye peas (often I cook 1-2c dried black eyes and use those, this year I bought eden brand)

I also add a picnch of black pepper and this year I dropped a dried chile into the mix.

Mix all the ingredients together in a dish and let sit, ideally for a few days to soak in all the flavors. Heat before serving and eat with fresh collards.