Atrocities

June 19, 2018 @ 9:32 pm | Filed under: Current Affairs

What I have to say about it.

What he has to say about it.

LOL

June 8, 2018 @ 7:32 am | Filed under: These People Crack Me Up

Rose: Remember that time in Warcraft when you tried to pickpocket a bear and instead you aggro’d it?

Me: Yeah?

Rose: That’s exactly what it’s like to have a little brother.

 

Sumer Is Icumen In

June 5, 2018 @ 5:23 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry


Helen Holmes, The Hazards of Helen — my inspiration photo this week*

*hahaha, I started this post almost a week ago! Photo still applies, though.

This incredible Portland spring seems to have been going on for at least four months, and yet I find myself absolutely gobsmacked to hear people talking about summer like it’s imminent. Oh sure, I’m aware Wonderboy’s last day of school is around the corner and Jane’s Cal Poly graduation is the week after that. I’m making our SDCC plans and paying June bills and harvesting a strawberry a day from the hanging basket…BUT STILL. Summer? Seriously?

We’ll stay in high tide for most of June because we’re having so much fun with our current slate of studies. So I don’t have that end-of-term winding-down feeling I’m seeing so many of my homeschooling pals express. I’ll probably be firmly settled into summer mode about the time everyone else is gearing up for fall. Being out of sync with the crowd is more or less a way of life for me, though, so no worries. 🙂

It hit me recently that we’ve been here almost a year now and I’m going to have to stop talking about Portland as if I’m newly arrived. It’s been such a fast year, though! And everything is still so new! Every week: a new wave of bloom, a new slant of light. So much we haven’t done yet! Sauvie Island, the Columbia River Gorge, the zoo, the rose garden. (I’ve been to the latter on a previous visit, but not with the family.) And yet…in some ways I’m more rooted than anyplace I’ve ever lived. Or rooted differently, I guess? Because of the advocacy job, I regularly attend the coffee hours and town halls of state legislators. Some of them know me by name now. I drive to Salem at least once a month. I’ve manned tables at community events. Perennials I planted last summer are blooming once again. How is it already JUNE?

A high tide week in May

May 25, 2018 @ 5:36 pm | Filed under: Books, Fun Learning Stuff, Nature Study

Sick kids this week, and lots of IEP stuff going on. But golden hour doesn’t begin until 8pm these days, so I’ve managed plenty of long, rhapsodic evening walks. The light is glorious. I’m completely enchanted.

Huck, Rilla, and I are still reading The Penderwicks and lots of poetry. They finished learning the Willow Cabin speech from Twelfth Night and have begun If music be the food of love. play on. We spent a few weeks immersing in the history of Ancient India, and next week we’re starting an exploration of ancient numbering systems. Rilla helped me prep for it and we’re both pretty excited to dive in. And we’re doing watercolors almost every day, because I’m addicted. Strawberry number two was ripe today. We’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of this lovely book: Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. (Amazon influencer link.) I’m in no hurry at all for the tide to go out.

 

Hair of the dog

May 21, 2018 @ 4:29 pm | Filed under: These People Crack Me Up

Me, singing in a loop: People are people so why should it be etc

Huck: Do you want to be singing that over and over?

Me: Not particularly

Huck, eyes lighting up: “Oh baby pleeeeease, give a little respect to-oo-oo-oo me!” There, does that help?

Wednesday

May 21, 2018 @ 6:23 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

I think this is my favorite photo of the hundreds (thousands? eek) I’ve taken since we moved to Portland. I posted it on Instagram with a riff on the much-beloved William Carlos Williams poem:

so much depends
upon

a red garage
door

glazed with rain
water

beside the pink
dogwood

And while I’ve appreciated “The Red Wheelbarrow” for many years, I feel like I get it in a deeper way now. There’s a feeling I get when I look at gray-blue clouds piled over a blue mountain, or sunlight shining through black tree branches, or the evening sky shot through with light and shadows—a feeling like Emily Starr’s flash, you know?

I started writing this post last week (thus the title) and didn’t have a chance to come back and finish until now. It’s Monday morning, early, kids still in bed, sky like mother-of-pearl. I’ve been awake since before dawn, dunno why. The enthusiastic birds outside my window, probably. I contemplated getting up and taking my walk early—I usually go in the evening, during golden hour if I can possibly manage it—but I opted to lie in bed and watch the walls turn from gray to blue. Got up around six and slipped out to the back yard to smile over our little garden like a proud mother. We have radishes coming up in the garden, and my first strawberry is very-nearly-almost ripe.

Anyone remember my big long strawberry-rhapsody post from a million years ago?

Eighteen dollars: less than four times the amount we paid for last night’s gone-in-a-flash berry feast. And now I get a steady stream of berries from June to September. Like the wantons they are, the plants have multiplied with abandon: we must have hundreds of individual strawberry plants now, each fertile and heavy with fruit in its season. I am a neglectful gardener (just ask my neighbors) and I do nothing to baby these plants. I ignore them. I don’t do chemicals and I can’t be bothered with fertilizer or compost. We have terrible soil: thick red Virginia clay that is not at all disposed to encourage root growth. The kids’ caterpillar farm (fennel and rue) springs up right from the middle of the strawberry bed. The strawberries don’t care. They thrive on adversity. They scoff at the miserable growing conditions; they sneer at the crabgrass; they launch themselves over the retaining wall and bloom in mid-air. They send exploratory runners into the lawn, and Scott mows right over them. For this callous treatment, they reward us with a riotous, bountiful harvest. You can’t beat us down, they proclaim. You only encourage us to flaunt our fertility. We will, we must, reproduce! We will fill the world! Let those fat, bland, expensive greenhouse-grown excuses for berries beware! We are sun-warmed and sweet. We will make you weep for joy.

There is no modesty in strawberries.

And there was no brevity in 2005 me, apparently. 😉 Oh for the days of big long text-heavy posts!

Watercolor Florals with Peggy Dean

May 15, 2018 @ 7:05 am | Filed under: Art, Fun Learning Stuff

So here’s a fun thing: I got to take a watercolor class last Saturday. If Peggy Dean offers a workshop in your town, jump at the chance to take it! Three hours passed in a flash as we learned watercolor techniques for leaves and loose florals. Such a blast. And the paints she sent us home with—more swoon. Plus one of her cruelty-free, eco-conscious brushes. We laughed and painted and learned cool stuff (with a brief, blissful interruption to take turns petting the ADORABLE King Charles spaniel puppy who appeared in the tea shop with his very accommodating owner). Peggy’s teaching style is A+++ and I had a wonderful time sharing everything I learned with Rilla at our Saturday Night Art Date afterward.

If you can’t get to a workshop, Peggy’s Skillshare classes are also excellent (Rilla and I have taken several) and you’ve heard me praise her Botanical Line Drawing book many times before. I’m glad I’m a homeschooler because I can decree next week to be take-all-the-rest-of-Peggy’s-classes week if I feel like it. If you’re new to Skillshare, you can get two free months of unlimited classes. (Also highly recommended: Stephanie Kilgast’s Sculpey classes.)

Thank you Peggy for a fabulous workshop! I’m still swooning over that hematite violet. 😍

May 14

May 14, 2018 @ 8:08 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Nature Study

Hello hello hello hello!

Today is my 24th wedding anniversary. You know I gotta post that pic I always post. 🙂

Still crazy about this guy. (Understatement.)

We celebrated Mother’s Day by…cleaning the garage and basement. Yes, I am THAT woman: the one who saves the grungiest jobs for the day her family lives to do her beck and call. 😉

My gift was a really lovely surprise: a couple of weeks ago I posted a pic on Instagram of some perfectly GORGEOUS flowers (Hayley Mills voice there, obvs) I spotted in a neighbor’s yard on one of my walks. I learned that they are called Lewisia (after Lewis of Lewis & Clark) or, commonly, bitterroot. I adore them.

I swooned hard again when I saw them at a nursery the week after—but I was there for garden starts and I Firmly Resisted the Temptation to Indulge. And then the other day after my first post-treatment mammogram (all clear, hurrah!) Scott surprised me with a detour to the garden center. Unbeknownst to me, he showed my Insta photo to an employee…and now I have my ownty-downty little bitterroot plant. Bliss.

Vicarious globetrotting

April 24, 2018 @ 8:26 am | Filed under: Fun Learning Stuff

Nearly five years ago we planted a Trackable in a geocache near our home in San Diego. Since then, we’ve watched it travel back and forth across the United States, with jaunts to Honduras, Belize, and the Cayman Islands. Today we got a notice that it is currently in Ulster, Ireland. New life goal: to travel like my trackable.