Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

august 21: eclipsed

August 22, 2017 @ 7:23 am | Filed under: Family, Photos

Shortly before maximum eclipse (which was 99% for us in Portland):

And moments after:

I was captivated by these shadows during the whole event. Loved watching them change direction.

We had a magical day. A feast prepared by friends (including homemade pecan sticky buns, oh my!), gorgeous weather, music, laughter.

Photo by Larry Deal

Then home for a long nap (well, for me, at least) and late in the day, a visit with a longtime online friend—one of the first people I connected with on AOL homeschooling boards back in the day. We had 22 years of conversations to revisit. So good.

august 1: looking back

August 1, 2017 @ 9:46 pm | Filed under: Family, Photos

Here we are. New city, new house, new life. There’s a lot to tell. For now, tonight, just a few glimpses of our July.


    

 

wednesday

July 5, 2017 @ 9:08 am | Filed under: Family

Eek, it’s all happening so fast. Today the kids have their last piano classes. This will be a hard goodbye. They’ve been students at Wagner’s Music School since shortly after we arrived here. It was Jane and Rose then, each in their own class—small Wednesday-morning group classes with our homeschooling friends. A few years later, it was Beanie’s turn. Jane and Rose grew up. Their classes graduated. New crops of beginners rotated in: Rilla’s class, and this year, Huck’s. Miss Cyndi—calm, cheerful, inspiring—taught them all.

Oh, this one is really a hard goodbye.

And it isn’t just piano—these are my lit-class kids. For three years, while Rilla was upstairs in piano, I’ve taught English lit to Beanie and her friends. At first we met in the coffee shop right below the music school; then, when it closed, we moved to the outdoor tables of the neighboring taco shop, swapping muffins and tea for quesadillas and salsa.

This year I added a second class during Huck’s piano lesson—the younger sisters of my first group. And then we added another class after lunch, this one full of the boys I’ve taught poetry and writing to over the years. Oh, I’m going to miss these kids. The lively discussions, the belly laughs, the sudden insights.

Piano is also when I got to squeeze in some mom time. Mostly in the interstices—a dropoff here, a pickup there—but often we found time for a nice little gabfest during Beanie’s lesson, between my two morning lit classes. As your kids get older and activities ramp up, your leisurely playdates diminish. You learn to make the most of the scattered minutes at the front and back of things.

Afterward, there’s lunch at the park with our homeschooling friends. If I start to write about THOSE hard goodbyes I’ll never get out the door this morning.

Northward, ho!

July 3, 2017 @ 10:45 am | Filed under: Family

Some news now, some news later.

The now news: A week from tomorrow, we are moving to Portland, Oregon.

I just totally freaked myself out with the words “a week from tomorrow.” Jiminy crickets, this is happening fast.

Of course there is lots more to the story, and that’s the news to come later. I don’t mean to be a tease. 🙂

high-tide highlights, week of may 8

May 11, 2017 @ 7:04 pm | Filed under: Books, Family, Fun Learning Stuff, Homeschooling

Geography songs — Scandinavia
Latin vocab chants
Perimeter and area
Earworms German
Poetry — “The Stolen Child,” “The Song of the Happy Shepherd,” Yeats
Tall tale: Pecos Bill
Fairy tale: Rapunzel
Cowboy songs (Home on the Range, Get Along Little Dogies, Ole Dan Tucker, Oh Susanna)
The Raggle-Taggle Gypsy
Witch of Blackbird Pond
Finn Family Moomintroll
Nature study: antlions
Rilla: read Meet Felicity
Huck: read Moomin comics
Huck started a new book in piano; he was very excited about this

With Beanie:
Watched The Great Courses: The Irish Identity parts 1-2

The antlion bit was especially fun. On Tuesday, as I was finishing our Moomintrolls chapter, I noticed that the next chapter was the one with the antlion in it, and I wasn’t sure either Huck or Rilla knew what that was. So without telling them why, I grabbed our Handbook of Nature Study and we read a bit about them. And then of course we needed to see one. We watched a short National Geographic video and then followed the suggested link to this delightful video made by a homesteading dad, accompanied by his four young children. At least, I think I counted four.

The video is embedded below, along with one for The Raggle-Taggle Gypsy—our folk song this week.

2010 flashback

May 2, 2017 @ 7:50 am | Filed under: Family, Photos

Oh my heart.

pink paper pianos

April 28, 2017 @ 8:05 am | Filed under: Bloggity, Family, These People Crack Me Up

Last night I was chatting with Jane on Slack—she had a story for me about her Victorian Lit class—and Sherlock Holmes came up. She asked if I remembered how old she was when she started reading them. I was guessing around age ten or eleven—was it before or after our move to California?—and she remembered that she first encountered Sherlock on a Jim Weiss story tape. So: Virginia probably. Then she pinged a burst of laughter—

lol lol lol i just searched bonny glen + jim weiss

Jim’s Sherlock Holmes stories inspired Jane, at age eight, to tackle the Arthur Conan Doyle originals.

Good old blog comes through again. Our family memory bank.

Of course this made me wince, knowing I’ve dropped the ball on daily posts yet again. I do have a lot of tidbits stashed in drafts, but those aren’t searchable.

We’ve talked so much about how our collective shift to social networks changed our blogging habits, both as blog writers and readers. One of the more subtle shifts, I think, began to happen even before we jumped on Facebook: bit by bit our blogs took on a more formal tone. On Facebook and Twitter, we’re looser, less polished. Personal blogs used to feel spontaneous, immediate, diaristic. A few of them still do, but I think on the broad spectrum of kinds of writing, a blog post is usually closer to essay than tweet. These social conventions fascinate me. These days, more people are likely to read and respond to my writing on Facebook than on Bonny Glen, yet I feel freer about slapdashing an unpolished thought over there.

I used to worry about losing things on Facebook or Twitter. I’d post funny kid quotes there and then, zip, they’d be carried along by the current and disappear. I wanted to archive all those memories here, and I worked out elaborate systems for saving things. I even had a side-blog for a while that was nothing but kid-related tweets I wanted to save. Later, I got savvier and set up IFTTT functions that automatically archive all my Twitter and FB posts in Evernote. This is both handy and dandy, but it’s a clunky substitute for the searchable family chronicle that is this blog.

I’m laughing at myself because I’ve traveled this loop before. There’s such an obvious and simple fix: just post the kid stuff here. Because odds are that one day Rilla will ping me from college—probably via a tooth implant that will trigger my phone-necklace to display her text on the back of my hand—wanting to know when, exactly, was her heavy origami phase. So, for the record: April of 2017, right after you turned eleven, I walked into my bedroom after tucking in the boys, and you pounced on me with a square of pink paper. Which is why I had to write your sister, ten minutes later, to apologize for disappearing in the middle of our Slack conversation.

Lissa: [9:00 PM]
Sorry, Rilla came in with an urgent need to teach me how to make an origami piano

Jane:  [9:00 PM]
that sounds entirely reasonable

day 33: jamestown

February 2, 2017 @ 7:42 am | Filed under: Family, Photos, These People Crack Me Up

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I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that this is a recreation of the Jamestown fort. As my friend Lori said on Instagram, “the Ikea stepstools are a dead giveaway.”

The settlers are getting along all right so far, despite a stagnant water supply and a rather heated dispute about whether the fort should, or should not, have an anachronistic radio tower. I mean, why let a perfectly good tomato cage go unused?

IMG_6109

One young settler expressed consternation over the gap in the walls of the brick storehouse (due to the discovery of a brown widow at the bottom of the old brick pile), but his older compatriot pointed out the storehouse needed a doorway, after all. Crisis averted.

day 25: birthday

January 25, 2017 @ 9:16 pm | Filed under: Family, Photos

It’s 9pm, I’ve just sent off an assignment that was due, and we’re about to celebrate Beanie’s birthday with a viewing of The Fellowship of the Ring. (Well, half of it. It’s long. It’s late.)

This morning I taught my three local literature classes, wrapping up with a close reading of Billy Collin’s “Marginalia” with the four 7th-8th grade boys in my last class. They loved the egg-salad stains. I love them—all these kids in my little seminar-classes. Beanie’s class is developing outlines for King Lear essays, so that was a lively discussion. We sit at the outdoor tables at a taco shop (ever since our cafe closed down) near a culinary school. Today, a few minutes into our session, the lovely server at the taco shop came out with a plate full of gorgeous little tarts and pastries, beglazed, beswirled, bedrizzled. The culinary students are doing desserts this week and their instructor shares the overflow with the taco shop staff, who in turned shared the bounty with us. And ten minutes later, the chef walked past our table with a platter held high—a few dozen more confections. Into the taco shop he went, and out came our server friend with another plate to share. 🙂 Now that’s how to fuel teenage writers.

Sixteen. The child below is sixteen now, many inches taller than her mother. May her days be filled with lemon-cream surprises forevermore.

beanieback