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...