Wednesday, September 28, 2011

trying to figure some stuff out

When life gets weird for me, I retreat. And I don’t mean weird in that things around me are weird, but weird inside my head. Weirder than usual, I mean.

Sometimes it’s just random, no trigger, nothing out of the ordinary; my brain just decides to regurgitate things from the deep and I’m forced to deal with it. Other times I can feel that something is coming, some THING, and I have to anticipate it. And then sometimes life around me gets harder, and my brain wants to go into lock down and I want to retreat behind the pages of my books, in the world of my Sims, kill some zombies… anything except interact with actual real humans. Except I have four kids and a husband and needy little doggie and retreating is not always an option. Mostly not an option, anyway.

Luckily my family is pretty understanding and they let me be when I get weird. Well, the girls do. The boy child, who is eleven, not so much; not because he isn’t a sweetheart (he so is) but because he’s… an eleven year old boy. He doesn’t, you know, GET IT. The husband is pretty great at running interception for me, and thank the gods for that man, because he understands me so well. He can even sense when things are about to get weird, like some kind of emotional weather-man. Sometimes he’ll bring it to my attention before I’m even aware of it, pointing out in his gentle (but only with me) way, and in some rare instances, I can head it off before it even starts.

The last thing I want to do is go and be social. I want to hide, and pretend that the outside world doesn’t exist, that this right here is the beginning and the end of the known universe. I could happily stay inside all week, all weekend, and only venture out so far to get the mail.

Alas, it’s really the last thing I need to be doing. Before this weird set in, I made plans for the weekend. Hanging out with my friend, having an old fashioned sleepover, having guests over for dinner, interacting with other adult shaped humans I’m not related to for the entire weekend. I can’t let the weird settle in too deep or cling too hard because I have things to DO.

I guess I’ll just have to get over it. I hope it’s as easy as it sounds.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

it’s bloody hot out there

I’ll be the first to admit that we here in San Diego, CA are big wimps and giant man-babies when it comes to the weather. When other parts of the country are buried in snow, we’re whining about the lack of sunshine on a 63* day, and that we *have* to “wear a jacket” outside. My friends in the South will be literally deluged with water from three week long rainstorms, and we’re up in arms about how “unseasonably” humid it is out here. We probably have the most cheerful weather reporters in the world, and yet we’re ready to string them up if they predict a less than perfect day in the forecast.

I’ve heard it said that those who have rarely, if ever, been here think that it’s always sunny, beautiful, and a balmy 75*. Mostly they’re right; I like to call this the land of two seasons, summer, and not-summer. We ARE lucky when it comes to the weather, and it’s probably the main reason we pay the big bucks to live here.

That being said, and considering that I AM a self-proclaimed weather wuss… today it got hot. Yesterday it was, too, but today was hotter. Hot enough to be hot anywhere, I think, at 102*. Hot like you go outside and the air sucks all the moisture from you, and you’re hurrying to get from one air-conditioned place to the next. Water in bottles, in glasses, from the faucet, even straight from the hose, if you have to, tastes like the manna of life. Hot like you cross the pavement and you can feel your shoes almost melting, and the radiant heat crawling through your soles and up your calves. Hot that even that breeze that just sprang up feels more like a blast from the furnace, and the only redeeming thing about being in the shade is that the glare of the sun isn’t in your eyes anymore. Hot like that.

That was what today was.

I took my kids to the library and as we stepped from the back porch into the heat of the driveway, we almost decided to go back inside. Still, we went, and I was glad that we have a carport and that our van hadn’t been baking in the sun all day; no way would we have gone then, no matter that my requested book was there and waiting for me.

Walking from the car and into the library made me wish I had brought some water from home, for all that it’s fifty feet from the lot to the door. Stepping into that library was like jumping into a pool of cool water; all silent, cold air washing over you and cooling you from head to foot in one moment from the next. It almost shocks you, making you want to stand completely still and absorb that cold air into your body, storing it up because you know that sooner or later, you have to go back outside.

Hot like that, today was.

Later, we’ll take the dog for a walk because right now, she’d probably fall over from the heat and that wouldn’t be good. She’s small and low to the ground and the heat hits her harder and faster than it does us. After her walks on days like this, even if we wait til evening, she comes in and lays on her side and pants, her little body radiating heat until she finally regulates, and then she just sleeps and sleeps.

Hot that I don’t really care how high the bill gets for our using the air conditioning today; I don’t know what we’d do if were still in our old house, without it. Sweating into puddles, if we’d had any moisture left, probably. I’m really glad we live in this house now.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring cooler weather. Until then, stay frosty.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

my kids are insane.

Day Two of Project Homeschool started out much more smoothly than I expected. We got right to it; discussion, then journals, then moved onto math.

And this is where things get weird…

After a certain amount of time passed, I said it was time to move onto the next thing. Instead of the glee *I* would have expressed at being able to shove math to the side (so not a math fan, despite that it CAN BE useful… from time to time…) I was greeted with groans and moans. “Do we HAVE to?” and “This was just getting good!”

No, really.

I had to check and double check and then one more time to make sure that these were MY kids and that they WEREN’T kidding and that none of them had been struck on the head or body snatched by aliens. Because… math? REALLY?

It gets worse. The eldest girl says “I love this. I’m having so much fun.” And my second daughter, Alexandra, upon hearing that we could do math for thirty more minutes, punches the air hisses “YESSSSSS!”

What, what, what are they THINKING?

At least the youngest amongst them has not gone insane, or so I thought. When she heard that we going to continue with math, she groaned, moaned, and whined. However, when it came time to REALLY move on this time, she whines that she wants to finish “these last few problems, please, Mom?”

Which proved to me that whatever dread disease they’ve contracted IS catching. I am going to have be very careful and check myself for signs of contagion. If I start exhibiting signs of this malady, please get me some help, posthaste. You have my permission to do what needs be done!

Monday, September 5, 2011

like a big puzzle

… and I only have a few pieces, so far. That was what day one of homeschooling was like.

Day one went pretty well. The kids were eager to get started, and they were ready and willing well before it was time to start. I was excited, and wanted to start early, too, but the husband said that it was probably a better idea if we start when we’re supposed to (9 am), and after I thought about it, yeah. He’s right.

I was kinda nervous. More because I just wasn’t sure, really, how this was going to play out. We started with the general outline of how our days were going to go. I had them write in journals they’re going to keep during the school year, and then we discussed what they wrote. They seemed eager to start doing some work, and even though I hadn’t really PLANNED on doing work today… well, why not?

The room isn’t totally set up yet, I don’t have all the stuff I need for their schooling, I kinda feel clueless about the whole thing… but…

that’s alright. We’ll figure it out; of that, I have no doubt.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

*deep breath*

Tomorrow I start something I’ve been talking about for months. Tomorrow starts a whole new chapter in my and my family’s life. Tomorrow is the first day of…


Am I nervous? Yeah. More because I’m not totally prepared, but me not being totally prepared is part of the grand plan. At first I had this idea that I had to have all things ready, everything in place, this whole schedule made and a course set. And things just didn’t fall out that way, but instead of freaking out…

Okay, I kinda sorta freaked out.

…instead of freaking out overmuch, I looked at how I could make this work. And what I figured out is that it’s better that I don’t have a plan.

No, really, Shanna, stop choking on your coffee and listen, I KNOW what I’m talking about. Really.

It turns out that it’s BETTER that I don’t have a plan because this way, I can do what I said I wanted to do all along- go in the direction that my kids take me. Now, don’t get me wrong; I plan to educate them. They WILL be doing things like math and English and geography and history and all that good stuff… but not quite so rigidly. Instead of having everything in place, we can explore different ways of learning. We can tailor each lesson according to each child’s needs, which was the point originally.

This started because of the budget cuts to our schools and how unhappy with that The Man and I were with it. And then, looking deeper, and seeing how this was really affecting our children’s learning process in the classroom, the idea to homeschool began to take form. At first, it was just an idea thrown out there. As time went on, and I really looked into it, it not only seemed plausible, but like the right thing TO do. Almost like, why weren’t we doing this ALL ALONG?

I mean, it might suck, I’m not saying that it won’t. We might all be unhappy with it in the long run. I don’t think that’ll be the case… but I have to consider it.

That’s a risk I’m willing to take.

I really look forward to tomorrow. I think it’s going to be the start of a really great time in our lives!

In other news, right now, at this moment, my eldest daughter Noel is wearing my hat and has wrapped a quilt around her shoulders and is spinning and swaying around my room in time to Canon in D. She is a strange child, that one.

I wouldn’t have her any other way, I really wouldn’t…

Saturday, September 3, 2011

what to write, what to write…

I used to love writing. I wrote something, somewhere, everyday, practically. In my journal, in notebooks, someplace online… just whatever, whenever.

Then I stopped. I don’t really know what happened. It’s like I lost interest. I haven’t written in my journal for months. I feel like things are passing me by, and by not recording them, I’ve been letting them slip away between my fingers.

Everything just happens so fast now. The kids are growing at alarming rates, the new school year is upon us, The Man and I are about to celebrate our eighth anniversary… I know that isn’t a really long time to be married in the grand scheme of things, but that’s not really my point. My point is that eight years of marriage just went by, and it feels like it was just a few months ago that I was standing next to that man, repeating my vows and saying I will, I do, forever.

I feel like I blink, and time passes.

My two older daughters, Noel and Alex, are both as tall as I am (that isn’t saying a lot, since I’m, like, 5’3”) but still… I remember being able to hoist them onto my hip! It wasn’t that long ago that they were looking up at me! And the younger two, Douglas and Therese, are right there, hot on their heels, growing faster than I think they should be. Douglas is eleven, and I had to buy him new pants recently; just the other day, I was looking through my closet, and found the sleeper I put him in the day we came home from the hospital.

It’s hard to believe, looking at him now, that he was ever that small.

I need to get better at recording things. I want to more than remember, I want to know for sure that my recollection of events are accurate. I want the evidence of my own words that things happened. Even if it’s only me that ever reads any of it. Even if it’s only me that wants to look back and “remember when…”