People Peeking in...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 6, 8th

Wednesday (see, only 2 days late)

WOW, what a great time we had with my mom here. We didn't do real touristy things but there was a lot of chicken watching, egg gathering (five of the six now lay consistently) and puppy wrangling. We also took in a guest pug to watch for a week and the chaos was palpable. I don't like guest dog sitting when I'm trying to train a puppy. At all. I really like the dog but not this week, when I've had my mother here and the chickens and home school and trying to keep a puppy organized with a dog (even a cute one) that is in the way and doesn't "do" our rules, messes it up just a bit. It didn't help that husband told me the dog was coming 2 days before then he went to pick it up and came home with it 2 days early from the original time he told me. I think the dog goes home Sunday and I can get into actually seriously training Alice without the distraction of an oversexed old pug or a mother I want to play with instead of paying attention to poop schedules.

School, oh that pesky thing; we did it fine. The Banker was on his regular schedule, more or less, and managed to get through it while we futzed here, played out and were generally distracting in either our presence or not.

Mum left yesterday, as did husband for a quickie business trip. My plans for 2 free days went out the window but it looks like I might get a portion of one today. I just want a day I don't have to go anywhere or cook or clean something, I just want to relax. I don't think that's in my cards but I will continue to strive for it in my head.

Back to school, I do digress, I think it's going well. Banker is managing to keep up with the 2 biggest subjects, history and literature. I have an expectation he complete a week's worth of work in one day on those subjects and he's producing beautifully. I think math is going well, he's mastering the subjects and we are ready to order the Algebra package. I think he's figured out how to learn from the dvd as opposed to watch it and then complete the problems using tools he'd gotten in school. I didn't realize that is why he was struggling through a couple of the lessons. I don't think the Banker thought he'd be learning actual new processes and formulas and got frustrated when the methods he'd learned in 6th grade no longer worked through the entire problems he was being given. Successes, like he's been getting now, breed success and joy and he's back to humming and singing while he does his math and that is always a good thing.

Physics is going well, he is working through the Khan Academy videos then doing followup activities on 2 websites and then he has an iPad book with activities and quizzes that he is working through. Good stuff.

Science continues to frustrate me. At the moment he's working through the Khan Academy astronomy and cosmology videos, taking fabulous notes and discussing the theories with me in reasonable detail. I still feel it's lacking somewhere and is the source of my fretting and worry that I am sending him down a path of becoming a terribly annoying (with just enough knowledge to drive people crazy) drive thru MacDonalds professional. *sigh* *this is a good place to throw in a "you're not breaking him" comment.

He has started to read Divergent, my mum brought it for him with high praise from my niece who is the same age as the Banker. I hope he learns to enjoy books again, he used to and has lost the love of it's a mission of mine to get him back into the sheer joy of books. I would happily let him use a book as a course, read 2001 and get back to me in 2 months... Here's your next subject, honey, and hand him a book.

HEY, wait a minute. That's a GREAT idea. And yes, that just came to me from my fingertips as I type this. Why don't I give him 2001 A Space Odyssey and have him review and research the details as he reads it AS his science class for the rest of this "semester". HEY, I'm going to think about that with a reasonable amount of seriousness today.

The Banker is doing well with his photography, he takes 20 pics on one subject matter. He edits then logs them and puts them in a cyber album. We review them and discuss the voice and feeling of the pictures. I'd like to get him a more sophisticated photo editing program, I'll look for something online I think initially.

He loves the CoOp and is working hard at it. He loves his Volunteering class where he assists the teacher in a 3-4 yr old class. He loves his Art Class and can't wait to show us what he's produced. He has a stronger affinity for the Art than I thought he would, excellent. He loves his Spanish Class and works hard in it. He has a lot of home work, considering it's a CoOp and takes it seriously to complete and complete well. I'm proud of him.
I am doing my CoOp volunteering weekly. I think there are 9 weeks left. I can't even describe my own experience and out of respect to the people who work so hard to make it happen, I am not going to describe it here. There are 9 weeks left. I can do anything 9 times. I can do anything 9 times that results in the Banker, my sweet boy, being so happy and enjoying it so much. This, by the way is why I intend on being a burden to him when I'm older, not that I begrudge any happiness he may experience as a result of this but my unhappiness is the reason I'll show up on his door step with bags in my hand and a drool bucket over my arm..."I'm here, dear...remember CoOp". HAHAHAHAH

I think I'll grade some of the Banker's work from last week (ooops) and de-"my mom is coming!" my house. After that, I think I'll take the damned day off.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 5, 8th

Well, this is just ridiculous.


My mother is here and we are playing every day.  With the puppy and the chickens and the dogs and the home school and the cooking and eating and playing and restauranting, there's no time for anything silly like sitting down or blogging.

Just quickly, school is going beautifully.  The schedule is working beautifully and the Banker has mastered those pesky concepts in pre-Algebra that had been kicking his butt.  He breezed through the last chapter and aced the test.  We were both terribly proud.  I think he had been concerned and the success did wonders for his confidence and faith in this home school thing.

We are cooking and shopping and then cooking and cocktailing today.  Well, mum and I, the Banker will be doing Latin, Science and Physics.  Sometimes it's good being the grown up.

I'm loving the time mum is here.  She's digging the chickens, Alouette has decided to lay eggs in my chair on the patio,  Luckily the Banker made a nest from my chartreuse Ikea blanket for such an auspicious occasion. The two of them sat and watched her, in my chair and on my blanket, lay a beautiful brown egg then hop down and wander off, job for the day well done.

It's weird here at the moment, I kind of love it.  I'll be lonely as hell when mum leaves, it's been fantastic and amazing to have a grown up to chat to on demand :)



Every once in a while there is a moment in time that confirms to me the Banker is getting it. "Hey, mom, is it ok if I do another chapter in my Newton iPad book? I'm really enjoying it..." Um, sure dear ;) The temptation to do a fake anger and send him to his room was rather sizable. HAHA I love love love this part of the home school experience. If he digs something, he simply keeps researching/reading/studying it. Wow, what a crazy concept. I think he's finally stopped looking at clocks and doesn't ask me how long he needs to do something any more. He reviews his daily schedule and simply works through it until it's all complete, hands the comp books to me for review and bingo, day done. Sometimes he's working until about 1-2 and sometimes, like yesterday, he works until close to 6 because he's enjoying the experience of learning something and investigating something.

I am having a blast with mum here.  Yesterday we played with coconut rum (she'd not tried it) and make the best cocktail on earth, dangerous cocktail because there isn't the slightest hint of anything alcoholic in it.  Coconut rum (1x) Pineapple juice (2x) 1 banana and loads of ice.  Blend in my Ninja and you've got a smoothie, refreshing, 2 fruits! and it's ab/so/lutely delicious.  I don't think we should have more than 2 in any sitting though, well, unless we have no intention of standing. HAHAHA

The Banker and mum just went for a walk around the neighborhood and now she's getting organized, the Banker is working on his literature work and I've just put millionaire shortbread up to cool and am going to go walk on my treadmill for a few minutes before my shower and then I'll be ready for a Monday Afternoon (which is what we're calling the rum cocktail) and a think about what we should do this afternoon that's almost touristy without being blatantly so.

Alouette and Chicken are still the only ones producing eggs but they're pretty much each giving me one a day.  Alice pug puppy is coming along nicely with her training and is now on a solid 11pm-7am crate schedule and is going in for 2 hour naps without a peep. She has figured out I need her to pee/poop when we go outside THEN she can play and she adores Lola, who has the patience of Job and is the best mother of any species I've ever seen.  Walter Pug may have come to figure out Alice isn't going anywhere and has stopped being so grumpy with her.  She plays, loves on, cuddles (and runs to for support) with Lola  and she sits, stoically beside Walter watching the world go by, she's found her spot in the pack.

For the moment, it's all good :)


Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 4, 8th


Well, it was a very busy weekend. My mother arrives today and I waited until Friday night to start doing anything around my house. You know, silly things like washing bedding and towels so the poor woman can lay down and bathe :)

I'm looking forward to loads of cooking, cocktails and giggling. It's what we do. The Banker is well set with school this time around (we were in chaos when she came down last time in May, I felt like a true failure). He has a much more organized and flowing schedule this time, one of each class, laid out in a relatively cohesive order. He likes the work, completes the work and we seem to have a decent thing going. I hope.

Of course, this morning I started looking online for 8th grade science text/work/project books. I think I found one I might like,

Ready-to-Use Science Proficiency Lessons & Activities: 8th Grade Level

I'll have my resident expert, Ms.Zan check it out for me. I always defer to her experience with such things. I think it looks like a good basic resource that we can use to learn, direct and do some hands on work/projects/problems.

I've added an iPad book, Newton's Physics which the Banker is using as a companion to his Khan Physics lessons, in addition to the student extras on and he's been registered for months with, and gets the problem/s of the day emailed to him from, I think we're covered there :)

I love Ms.Zan's Literature and History lesson plans which I stole, she donated to our cause. The Banker loves those the best, he says they are the most professional of our classes. I like that.

In any event, I think my mother will be impressed with our progress from the anarchy of last year to the more organized this year.

One of my chickens, Alouette, has started to wander the garden to lay her eggs in new and exciting hidden locations. I think it's delightful she's added a playful element to what could be the drudgery of lay an egg in the assigned location, one of us gathering it, then eating it. Really, adding a hunt into the mix is, ok, it's going to be a pain in the a**. The problem is that the girls can jump (!) out of their run and into the yard to wander, forage, eat bugs and generally piss off the blue jays in the area but they can't jump back IN! Husband is moaning and threatening to cover their run with netting but then I can't go in the run, where I actually go and hang out and clean it and rake it. IF he covers it with netting then I have to shrink my bulk down to 3 feet tall and I'm not crawling in ANYwhere for ANYone, seriously.

We have 7 eggs in our little bowl at the moment and plan on having a number of them, lightly fried on homemade bread for dinner tonight when my mother arrives. Nothing says welcome to the farm than, "here, hold the puppy, Hurricane Alice, go hunt for eggs and dinner? oh it's that thing the chicken just squeezed out of her back end, sorry about the sticky butt residue, i'll just go wash that off..."! Hmmm, worth the flight to Texas.

I am not even going to comment on the fact my mother is arriving this afternoon from Ontario, Canada and my husband is flying to Ontario, Canada, tomorrow morning. His company is owned by a company not far from my mother's house. He is going for a week, will be back a week and then both he and my mum fly out the same day, both Canada bound. Different flights/destinations but it'll be weird waving them both off. I told the Banker we are taking the day after that completely and totally off. I said we will do ice cream for breakfast, popcorn for lunch and cookies for dinner that day, in jammies, watching trashy tv. We may even rent a couple of movies and just sit that day.

He's well into his work today, he enjoys Monday. Monday is science, physics, and latin day. He likes the computer and then iPad then computer aspect of the work/information on his first day out of the shoot. Tomorrow is his Literature day so there's more paper and working out of 2 books day, his Nook for his read and then one online exercise. I like the way his schedule is balanced that way.

While he has climbed into his iPad and is reading more about Newton and those laws, I'm off to deal with my final laundry, puppy, chicken coop clean out then dash to the store for limes and yeast and more wine...much much more wine!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 3, 8th

Wow, what a Labor Day weekend!


We had a great 3 days, loads of playing, chickens, puppy time, eggs, friends, cocktails and plans for the future. WOW.

I will be honest, it was hard to get motivated today, I need a day off :)

Alouette is laying 1 egg every 30 hours or so, the other chickens are lollygagging about and resting on her laurels. I'm not above eating them. I think they know it and start to squawk and honk loudly when they see me, in a veiled attempt to lull me into a false sense of thinking they're trying to lay eggs. That's my current theory.

The Banker is working hard today, it's language arts day. I'm trying to ensure we're back on track so we can move into some of the 'elective' things he wants to do. It seemed we were fighting upstream last week and I don't want to feel that way.

I simply removed Mondays classes from our roster this week so there's no trying to make up the classes we didn't do Monday (labor day) sometimes you simply have to play the day away with friends without consequence. I like that.

I am going to download the second Hunger Games book for the Banker to start reading this week, hopefully we'll have a less stressful reading program than we had over the summer. I bought it for his Nook, I hope he enjoys it! I bought the second and third books actually so he can finish the trilogy. My mom told me about some teen book that is all the rage (she's further in the loop than me!), she's bought him the paper book, "Divergent", my niece is a huge fan of that series apparently. We like a little familial pressure to perform ;)

The CoOp starts this Friday and I am dreading it. That's all I'll say about that right now. I don't want to jinx it or send bad vibes to the Banker. I can do anything 12 times, 11 if I catch something and as long as it's not chaos, the Banker will have a great time and that is the whole point there. I may pack a flask. No one need know.

In other news, Pug puppy Alice is a joy, a sheer and utter joy. She hasn't had an accident since she arrived and has rung the bells to go outside a number of times. I can't see an accident happening. She is still very young, 3 mos, so no doubt she could forget or just squat but since the other two are regular bell ringing goer outers, Alice is on their schedule anyway. She does start to charge around the house like mad when she's playing with Lola in the evenings and when I send her outside when she's frantic like that she always produces, like any youngster, having too much fun to want to stop and go to the bathroom. Only a week and I can't remember our house without her in it.

We are supposed to go to a park tomorrow morning but we are blowing that off. I want to get the work this week under our belts. My mother arrives on Monday and that'll give us loads of reasons to divert over the next two weeks so we may as well work while we have the house to ourselves and no diversion to goof off. We can take time when she's here to play.

I haven't made any noises about getting a minecraft play time together, I've been busy playing myself. I have that on my short list of things to do this week, maybe we can do one at the Microsoft store at the Domain in Austin in which case the Banker can cyberplay and my mother and I can shop at my new favorite cooking store there, Sur La Table. We'll see.

I'm cooking a big roast dinner tonight for some reason, 102 degrees isn't going to get me down because sometimes I just feel like roast chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, glazed carrots, gravy and stuffing. Mmmmm. I have a hankering and when the mother has a hankering, everyone eats well ;)



I have a treadmill in my house now.  Hubba surprised me on the weekend with one.  We have an elliptical but I can't use it with my crazy ankle and hip.  When I turned 48, something happened to me and I found myself starting to swell, not unlike a balloon being inflated.  Peri-menopause symptoms, said my Dr.  WTHell? Now, after no change in my lifestyle or intake I'm 2 sizes bigger and rounder and moodier (yes, it was possible apparently) and menopausal and figured a way to help me (enjoyably!) cut a pound or two (other than removing a limb) was to start walking on a treadmill. It's Austin, Texas, it's always too hot for me to walk outside. I walk 1.25 miles in the morning and again in the afternoon. Unfortunately, walking on a treadmill makes me starving hungry and after the walk this morning I walked downstairs and ate half a BLT with cheddar that I made on a half loaf of ciabatta I made, a banana, a glass of milk, a cookie and 14 milk chocolate covered pretzels. Yeah, this is going to work beautifully. *thud*


It's first day of Co-Op today. I'm trying not to fret.  This isn't about me, after all.  It's about The Banker.  He is taking volunteer hours (which everyone should) he's taking high school art (to mess with his academic brain and loosen him up a bit) and then Spanish (which everyone should, any foreign language).  It's his fruits and nuts semester.  I told him he can do 'serious' class/es next semester at One Day or Bronze Door ($$!)  I'm going to spend 3 hours a week with little children.  I planned this badly but am not going to moan about it anymore.  As long as the Banker is happy, I will be happy.

This, by the way is the moment in time I intend to use in later years as part of my 'becoming a burden' to the Banker.  This story, this experience is why he has to take care of me when I'm old and feeble.  I'd thought about it over the years and tried to determine which moment I could pinpoint as the one moment he owes me for.  This is the one.  It's not that I don't like other people's little children it is that I don't like other people's little wild children.  I am not going to prejudge too heavily today though.  I haven't even met those children.  Perhaps they'll be delightful.

Baby Pug Alice is still doing wonderfully, no accidents and doing well in the crate.  She loves the chickens, doesn't chase them anymore and completely and fully believes Lola is her mother.  I have been really consistent with the crate and feeding and schedules which is why there's been no accidents in my house.  She comes to her name, is relatively obedient, for a little girl, and loves to have a good cuddle.

I have been working her up to almost 3 hours in the crate in the morning then 2 in the afternoon after a play and a feed.  She has to do her longest stint yet today, 3 1/2 hours and I fully intend on using her as an excuse to bolt out of there after CoOp today.  Sure it's lame but it's what I am going to do.  I can't remember a time she wasn't here, crazy little dog.  Lola is doing a beautiful job training her and keeping her occupied at my request.  I can't imagine having a puppy without Lola around to do the actual work.

We had a great day yesterday, changing the subject.  FriendE came with her boys, FriendJ and FriendZ.  True to form the children vanished with laptops and we only saw them when their need for food and drink surpassed their need to do whatever it is they were doing.  Mining emeralds apparently.  Minecraft of course.  I made an enormous platter of sandwiches and chips and sent them away upstairs.  Sometimes I really love my gameroom.

FriendE and I chatted about homeschool things, she'd purchased a book we looked through.  It was nice to have the chat with someone in the same boat.  We both feel overwhelmed and underwhelmed by our science options and choices.  We designed the perfect 8th-12th grade science curriculum, now if someone would merely produce it, we'd be set!

An interesting thing happened as well.  FriendE brought her crochet.  I haven't crocheted for a while, choosing to switch to the much faster and more instantly gratifying sewing/serging and embroidering.  I haven't played with my hooks or sticks since the fire in the craft room.  She had seen a pattern online she wanted to do but wasn't prepared to pay $9 for the instructions.  I agreed.  We deconstructed the pattern, we can do that, and wrote our own version and voila, our own pattern and that poor girl who spent all that time and effort writing her .pdf to sell, well, sorry for your luck, dear.

I had a small epiphany about it actually.  I realized I really do enjoy knitting and crochet.  It's infinitely portable and something I can do in addition to the food and the writing while we are in school mode and in the same room as the Banker.  Something I cannot do with the machines. Hmmm, sometimes it takes a simple question, "hey, do you think we can figure out this pattern so we don't have to pay this girl?" to make you rediscover something you thoroughly enjoy doing.

I'm going to play with my sticks and hooks more again and I'm sort of delighted about it.  I am also completely delighted with my treadmill and am continuing to do 1.25 miles, twice a day, with my headphones on, unplugged from everything except the noises in my head.  I love it.  I may not be able to ever go out or ever be on my own but this machine buys me 30 minutes of 'leave me alone' time and that is never ever a bad thing.

I'll report back on how our day progressed, of course.


FRIDAY, part deux

Sometimes, when we fret and worry about something we've never experienced, it becomes bigger than life.  I am a firm believer that most of the time, the fear of the thing is so much worse than the actual thing.  Well, usually.  Not today.  Today it was worse.  Much, much, much worse.

The Banker had a great time, he loved helping out the little kids for his volunteer hour.  He knew one of the little boys in the class which made them both feel a little more special.  He absolutely loved Art class and got kudos for a job well done from the teacher.  He loved his Spanish class and excitedly told me about the homework he has, the similarities between Spanish and Latin and generally bubbled over about the whole experience.  It warms my heart to see him so joyful about this.

I was in hell.  I thought I would hate my experience but had no idea how much I would hate it.  All my nagging little fears were incalculably multiplied.  I have to do it 11 more times, 10 if I can manage to catch something horrible.  I wonder where I can catch something horrible.  Leprosy? Plague?  I'm easy and don't really care which.  Summarizing my experience?  OH,  For fear of anyone involved potentially seeing this, I won't do any detail, it would be disrespectful and I don't want to do that.  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings...a blog or my opinion are never worth it.  All I will say on the matter is the Banker is happy and glowing and excited and for that, I will continue to do anything.  I on the other hand, spent 3 hours of my day today watching to run screaming, I'm not being over dramatic here, I literally wanted to run...screaming...

I think I'll go have a little nervous breakdown now, just a little one, in my room, all alone.  I told the Banker how much I hated it.  He knew by my face and my frantic exit from the facility.  I told him how much I hated it with a smile and a giggle of course, you can't take this too seriously and the level of which I hate this is actually comical.  I hope I made him feel better about me hating it.  He does worry.  He was concerned I'd quit and then he would have to.  I assured him I would never quit something he enjoyed so much.  I can do 11 more.  Or 10, there's always the potential for Scabies? Rabies?  Lice?

When I go to my room for my little breakdown, I may actually shed a tear or two, stress tears of course.  Then I'll be over it and will suck it up.

Besides the fear I had/have of breaking the Banker and ruining the rest of his life, this moment in time is the worst home school moment (so far).