Thursday, December 12, 2013


Sarah and I are talking about doing school 3 days a week, next session (so, a 6 or 7 week commitment, starting the week after we get back from winter break). In order to make that work, the whole household needs to get serious about sticking to our routines. Especially the Sunday cooking and the bedtime routines. I also need to get serious about sticking to my anti-inflammatory eating style -- the hip/back is continuing to get better, but I'm just not feeling great and I think it's mostly about how I'm eating and how I'm (not) sleeping.

I've been using Remember The Milk for my GTD task list, and it's going really well. I'm using High Score House to give myself gold stars for finishing my regular daily tasks, and that's going really, really well. I love giving myself gold stars. :)

Trying to stick to our evening routines and the healthy eating plan, however...

Tonight we had a nice family time, setting up our character sheets for the next RPG we're going to be playing together, but I had neither the supplies nor the gumption to set up our 5:30 snack, we started our family time late, dinner prep took longer than it should have because of... reasons... and everything I made was just a little wrong -- the rice was undercooked (no idea why -- I did the exact same thing I always do), the lentils were a little undercooked (ditto), the stringbeans were a little unevenly cooked... Seriously, I have no idea. The rice gods did not smile on me tonight. So dinner was... eh. Makes it hard to stick to healthy eating when it's not satisfying. And now it's almost ten, and we're going to have to choose between my retreat time and our post-dinner tidying & our GTD time. Well, or getting to bed on time. Still, I exercised today (still quite rare, since I hurt my hip/back, so getting it done is a big deal), and got a lot of stuff done for work (made a scary phone call and did some research I've been putting off), and remembered to set my mindfulness bell to stand up and move around a bit every 20 minutes. Overall, not a bad day.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I have not been indulging in much of anything, this past week.  It was the first week of the school, and while I'm very proud of the work we've done to bring things together, I'm so focused on analyzing what I could have done better, figuring out what we could have done differently as a team, and planning what to do next, that I've done very little else.  My body and spirit are making it very clear that that will have to change, and quickly.  This weekend I figured out what sort of weekly rhythm makes sense, and now it's just a question of training myself to stick to it.  No more editing work in the middle of the night, or checking work email every 15 minutes throughout the day.

Last weekend we worked to get the school space ready, and I did immense amounts of data entry and administrative work.  But then Sunday I carved out fully half the day to go down to a young friend's birthday party.  That carving out time to be with friends was an indulgence in itself, but what I'm most pleased about is that, when the conversation got stressful and triggery, I was able to take the practice I've done with mindfulness and with indulgence, and let myself sink into the simple pleasures of sitting on a sunny porch with friends, feeling the wall against my back, the floor beneath me, and the breezes on my skin.  And then, later, I indulged in a moment of connection with a friend.  We're both, I think, a little bashful about our sentimentality, and we just took a moment of mutual appreciation, just sort of blushing and glowing at each other, delighting in our friendship.  What deeply lovely pleasure. 

Oh!  And one more, small indulgence, this week.  On Friday Sarah and I went to meet Joe after work, and walked down to Ben and Jerry's, where I indulged in my one ice cream of the season (I'd had a little bit earlier this summer, savoring a spoonful of vanilla ice cream to go with the brandied cherries we'd made, but this was my one real summer ice cream indulgence, half a dozen spoonfuls or so of a kids' sized cup of chocolate ice cream).   I was nervous to try for more, because it'd already been such a sneezy sort of week, with whatever plant matter's been in the air, but I utterly indulged in those spoonfuls!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The days are running together, as we get closer and closer to the first day of school. Yesterday I had a brief lunch with dear friends celebrating S's birthday, and the rest of the day was spent kicking ass on work stuff.

Lunch was the definition of indulgence. Carving out an hour or two to sit in a cozy room made even cozier by the time and effort our gracious hostess had put into laying out a beautiful, nourishing feast. Her home has such an intentional, harmonious energy to it, and is such a pleasure to visit, and every single guest brought something wonderful to the table (literally and figuratively). I had to consciously lay aside all the things I brought with me into the space (the Getting $@%# Done mindset I've been cultivating for work, and the kind of rowdy, mischievous, smartass energy I'd been carrying around with me in my downtime, this week), and settle into the conversation and community, but once I did it made for such a delightfully warm and relaxed interlude in the day.

Work was more complicated, but just as enjoyable. I have many flaws, and many things with which I struggle, but I am immensely proud of and satisfied with the work I've been doing for the school. Yesterday I absolutely *reveled* in beating and wrangling and kneading and cajoling the administrative structure of the school into a shape that can reliably support the needs of the students and the whole community well into the future. By the end of the day I was snarling and growling and keening with the rush of power and the visceral thrill of victory that came from grappling with work that is challenging, satisfying, and that uses all my favorite skills. I want to curl up on top of the work I produced, yesterday, like a dragon curling up on top of its hoard, or a great cat yowling over a successful kill.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This afternoon I sank deeply into wandering around Nyack with a dear friend.  Wide-ranging conversation with someone who makes me feel seen and known and appreciated; colorful shops and tree-lined streets; delighting in all the ways the warmth of the August sun pressing down on my body combined and contrasted with the feel of the cool breezes on my skin; enjoying the subtly lilting brogue of  the chatty shopkeeper in the very appropriately named Sanctuary, and the bolder, slightly mischievous brogue of the waiter and bartender when we stopped to treat ourselves to soda...  Indulging in a bit of slightly nerve-wracking adventure, following charmingly disreputable-looking signs to an underground bookstore that turns out to only occasionally exist, we found ourselves in an unexpected encounter with a psychic, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of inhabiting my own power -- setting my boundaries (no unsolicited fortune-telling for me), and appreciating the strength and solidity of my body and the confidence in my own ability to judge a situation and to keep myself and my companions safe if need be.  And, oh, the subtle pleasures of picking up the week's CSA bounty and imagining all the things I might do with this gorgeous produce, and the deep and abiding joy of arriving at home after a long-anticipated adventure... 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Yesterday I spent the day in meetings for the school.  Really, it was one long 7 hour meeting, with the same people attending all of them, but for organization's sake we broke it up into the Founders meeting stuff we need to do to start the school, and the Staff meeting stuff we need to do to keep the school working smoothly on a day to day basis.

I'm telling you that because that meeting was what I indulged in, yesterday.  I took unrestrained joy in being (forgive the horn-tooting) super-competent and really good at my job.  I delighted in being part of this wonderful little community of competent, supportive, focused educators and organizers.  I consciously enjoyed it while it was going on, and I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and competence and community that I carried with me for the rest of the day.

Today the sun and breeze and the taste of the air feels like early Fall, and I wish I'd indulged in that more consciously while we were out, this afternoon, trying and failing to pick up the next issues of our favorite comic books.  Instead, though, I was focused on the errand-running aspect of the day.

But this afternoon I made tea for the household, and I enjoyed my favorite tea (I can't tell you the brand, because I don't know -- I just get the loose Irish Breakfast Tea 8 oz at a time from my favorite tea shop)  in my favorite mug.  It is some of the best tea I've ever had, with these sort of floral, fruity notes to it.  The Scottish Breakfast Tea they sell is nearly as good, with this subtle smokiness to it that made me laugh the first time I tasted it.

A little later on, this afternoon, I got my whole family to lie down on the futon with me and take a cozy little nap.  

The sun is still up, and the movement of the leaves suggests that the gentle breezes are still going on.  I'm gonna go see if I can indulge in that for a moment or two before it's time to start dinner...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

We woke, this morning, to the sound of thunder and rain outside our windows.  Normally one of my favorite ways to wake up, but not so much when we're planning to spend the afternoon at the lake with friends.  We went anyway, hoping that was right about the thunderstorms being over by 11 (they weren't), and instead we huddled under trees watching the rain on the lake, and huddled under other trees talking fandom and fanfic and comic con , and huddled under our friends' hatchback, playing Cosmic Wimpout on a plastic storage container.

And now there's soup, and egg creams, and our cozy home, and the knowledge that there's nowhere we need to be until tomorrow...

Indulging myself

I haven't been here in a very long time.  I liked the idea of journaling about our homeschooling experience but, in practice, I couldn't find a balance between the way I would journal for myself and the way I would journal for an audience.   It alternated between feeling like bragging and feeling like making a long, boring, public To-Do list.   It never settled into a rhythm that felt authentic and comfortable.  And so I wandered away and just never seemed to get around to wandering back.

And then today I came across an article on the gender issues of food writing.  It was a well-argued, well-written article, and I can see where the author was coming from -- that so often women's writing and conversation is focused on food restrictions (for health or for weight control)  or on cooking for their families, while men who cook and write about cooking tend to focus on the more glamourous worlds of fine dining and experimental gastronomy, free of any expectation that they should be focused on the domestic or on the tiresome, ubiquitous world of body- and diet-policing.

I was struck, though, by the author's objection to the use of the word "indulging" -- as if indulgence requires that one is enjoying something wicked or unhealthy, or that it's somehow mutually exclusive with responsibility or virtue.

What a small, sad way of looking at indulgence.  "Allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of"; "to take unrestrained pleasure in"; "to yield to desire"...  There's no reason for these moments to involve guilt or shame or negative self-talk.

Our lives should be full of indulgences, of yielding to pleasure and desire.  I indulge all day long -- in a cup of my favorite tea, in a good book, in a conversation with a dear friend, in my favorite breakfast (black beans and rice with avocado, tomatoes, and a squeeze of lime), in a short nap, in a long walk, in a half an hour with my banjo, in a workout that leaves me feeling strong and awesome, in the satisfaction of a job well done (whether that job is my day job at an alternative school or one of my avocations).  

A few months ago I was at a fancy-schmancy party.  The fancy-schmanciest party I have ever attended -- it was a fundraiser for an organization at which I sometimes volunteer.  A fancy-schmancy stranger asked me about myself, and my response was to tell her that I'm a homeschooling mom, and to talk to her about the veggies I've been enjoying from my CSA.  I could have told her about the school I'm helping to co-found, or about my experiences volunteering for the organization, but talking about being home with my daughter and my vegetables felt more true than any other answer.  Telling a friend about it a couple days later, I found myself describing in detail my favorite part of the summer -- that we'd finally figured out an evening routine that makes us all happy, and how much I'm enjoying experimenting with what to put out for our 5:00 snack, before we settle down to do something fun together.  Because, as I told her, I'm a Hobbit at heart, and food and music and my home and my friends and my family...  those are my passions, and my indulgences.  Those are the places my heart lies.

And those passions and indulgences, much more than a list of exactly which books we're reading at any given time, are a much more accurate picture of our homeschooling experience, a much more accurate picture of the Hobbity little life in which we're indulging.

So, perhaps, exploring those passions and indulgences here will get me wandering back in this direction...

Monday, February 11, 2013

There wasn't much to report on, during this morning's homeschool meeting, because we didn't have a meeting last Monday and spent most of the week dealing with under-the-weatherness and getting lots of sleep. But we talked about our priorities in general, and how we've been fitting them into our lives (and where we'd like to do better), and then set intentions for this week.

My intentions are mostly about focusing on my good habits, which totally fell by the wayside, last week. Also about doing a better job with my SMC tasks by officially folding them into my daily habits and my Competence priority.  (I don't think I've posted about my 2013 priorities, here.  The list is: Health and Fitness, Community, Music, Self-Ed, Competence, Adventure, Warm Welcoming Home, Activity Buddies)

Sarah's priorities this week are mostly about getting in more reading and art, and practicing her baking and cooking skills. She's got a lunch planned for half a dozen friends, this week, and she'd like to practice a couple other baked goods before visiting my parents, this weekend.

She'd been working on doing her math and spelling on her own, and setting herself new assignments each Monday, but that wasn't working out well, so she's decided to fold those back into our usual Playing School rhythms. We've also recommitted to making it a priority to get in our morning school time, so that we're not stuck trying to figure out where else to fit our work in during the day, or else going days in a row getting in only minimal book time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wow.  Almost 4 months since I was last here.  I've been experimenting with how much and what sorts of online time work best for me, and a lot of things have fallen by the wayside, but I didn't mean for this to be one of them.

We're having Monday morning meetings again, discussing our plans for the week.  This week Sarah's getting ready for Country Day, which we're hosting tomorrow.  We're visiting Spain together -- Sarah's putting together a version of $10,000 pyramid for the kids to play together at the end of the presentations, and we'll be making Spanish Potatoes, Garlic, and String beans (a dish I learned from Joe's mom, and which she learned from her mother in law, who brought it with her from Spain) and possibly pan tomate (basically, toasted bread rubbed with garlic and tomato) for sopping up the spanish potato and garlic sauce...

She's also planning her valentine's day lunch -- she's working her way through's chef skill, and her next project is going to be making lunch for a group of her friends.  She continues to *adore* her art class, and spends a lot of her time drawing.

We're grappling a little with introversion, right now.  Other people, no matter how much we love them and enjoy their company, can be exhausting.  We keep talking about making plans with people, but when it comes down to it, putting it off again and again, because it's just so much more appealing to stay home, reading and crafting.  It gets lonely, though.