~rainbow mondays~

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i’ve got a fun new app that makes it easy to partially colorize a black and white version of a photo. i played around with the heart bokeh in the last days of having our christmas tree up. rainbow hearts!

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red: anna’s hummingbird; apparently the females get a fuschia color around their heads, while the males stay more red-orange. froze my fingertips off to get this photo

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orange: quinn is wild about exploring the arctic right now, and thoroughly enjoyed putting together the arctic base camp lego set his grammy and grampy got him for christmas.


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rich and i took a visit to middle earth before the final hobbit movie viewing.

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lichens i’ve liked


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spent an hour or so on the last day of 2014 looking for whales. didn’t see any, but i quite enjoyed the sunny hour on the rocks.

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a steller’s jay enjoying the sun at the top of a hemlock tree in our yard.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ so much to celebrate


quinn and i spent a lovely, lazy saturday decorating the beautiful tree rich brought home friday night. quinn’s sense of tradition is blossoming, and he is both inventing new ones, as well as recalling ones that he finds meaningful.

lots of other celebrating going on as well. my parents celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary on saturday, rich’s parents are celebrating their 50th today (!!!) and my brother and sister in law have been together for 10 years now as of today. oh, yeah, and this other couple i know are also celebrating a happy, and that is understating it, 3 years together….

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red: so i don’t know how many of you remember way way back when i invoked salmon medicine over a certain guy i had a crush on in my yoga class, but it seems like maybe it’s working for us. can’t help but rub off on us since we live right in their habitat. all i know is i am crazy about the guy, and grow crazier about him all the time.

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red: this winter holdover is living in our tree most mornings and feeding at our feeder. a nice bright red flash to start each day.

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orange: quinn always loves hearing me tell about my third trimester pregnancy craving for clementines around this time of year.

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orange: silly old bear.

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yellow: some of the last of the clinging leaves still need convincing to let go into winter. me too.


green: more of our beautiful tree, with laughing boy.

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blue: while the lighting generally sucketh at this time of year for photography, i did manage to have a fun time playing around with the tree lights reflecting on the ornaments.

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purple: yeah. like that.

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brown and black: that’s squeaky and ms. b, quinn’s new guinea pig friends who thankfully live at his dad’s house, out of reach of our predator kitty cats. he is having a wonderful time being a guinea pig caretaker.


~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~

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red: woodpecker that rich spotted from our back door.

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red: hummingbird aglow

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yellow: making a quick transition this year from green to brown with the sudden onset of hard frosts, the yellow moments are fleeting.

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green: hummingbird shimmer

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blue: hummingbird ruffling its feathers against a bright blue sky

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purple: the houseplants are coming inside from the greenhouse now that it is starting to get cold. i think this one likes its spot in the window!


~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:


“mama, what was that word you were saying, priorganize?”


“Yeah, prioritize. What does it mean again?”

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Quinn and I have talked about prioritizing each of the many things he *needs to buy. I have been explaining about budgeting and how if I need to buy food, a new hairbrush, and a CD, but if I only have money for one of those three things, I have to decide which is most important and buy that one first. Then I have to save up for the others. If the food is the most important thing to buy, then it is of the highest priority, while the others are lower priority items.

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We also talked about prioritizing people over things. this came up over a theoretical question brought up at morning meeting one day: “who do you like better, cortez or clash of clans?” and some of the kids felt it was tough to decide between their good friend and a video game. once, when i swerved to avoid hitting a chipmunk with the car, quinn was annoyed that his pokemon cards had slid off his lap, but we discussed that while the pokemon cards could be reorganized, the chipmunks guts could not. we decided the chipmunk received higher priority.

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Quinn has begun working on Dungeons and Dragons, and like Pokemon, I find that the game provides endless opportunities to work on reading, writing and math skills. the math in d and d is more advanced than adding and subtracting by 10s, as in pokemon, and it seems there are fairly unlimited possibilities for increasing complexity. Quinn’s writing has taken off, as he makes lists of powers and attributes that his characters have, and makes up clever names for them. It’s impossible to refuse a request from my child for another piece of graph paper. i have priorganized it pretty highly on the shopping list this week.

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This kid has just finally learned what a punch bug is, but is much farther down several less mainstream paths in american culture.

we have returned to the season of waking up at 4 am to start our day, as there are more boats to weld than time in the day for rich to weld them. so i will be having more time to write in the mornings, if i can keep from nodding off. also, i know i said i was taking a hiatus from reading, but then ender’s game hopped off the library shelf at me, and i figured it was time for a re-read after all these years. my laptop keyboard is acting up, though, so if i suddenly start typing in all caps instead of all lowercase, that’s why, i’m not shouting at you intentionally. i am debating what to do with that. pay someone to repair the keyboard on my laptop which gives me warnings every day about how my operating system is no longer supported? brave black friday sales? hmmm.

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i’m pretty happy to be getting up at 4 am to help this man of mine get out the door to work. having him roll his truck into the creek two weeks ago has really brought it home to me how much i really like having him alive. he came through unscathed (ok his elbow was scraped so i guess he was scathed, but for how bad it could have been, he was very lucky!) he is driving a different truck now, and although we were sad to see the truck in which we shared our first kiss depart, i am deeply grateful that i get to keep kissing the guy. it’s something i enjoy doing. the whole thing also reminds me just how awesome he is. not one to let loose ends dangle, the incident occurred on a wednesday and he was driving the new truck on thursday, commenting on how it must have happened for a reason, and making reference to the other serious car accidents he survived in the past thanks to what he considers to be miracles. in some of our earliest conversations, this was what drew me to him. he gets sh!t done, and he doesn’t dwell on the negative. i am in awe of his unswerving positive outlook on life and it makes me want to be around him as much as possible and strive to be half as efficient and positive myself.

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silly old raccoons, you need to stay off the road.

recent tragedy in our small town has also had me holding my son just a little closer. i don’t even want to put the details into print here, but i also believe the event probably made the national news and many of you can guess at it. i am feeling sad for my friends who are friends of the family involved, and of course sad for the family. oh, mental illness. such a horrible way to go through life, and with such tragic consequences.

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my own struggle with mental illness years ago pales in comparison but i have enough experience to know not to think of this human being as Other. what she did was horrendous but my guess is there were signs and calls for help and plenty of red flags, leading up to the unthinkable happening. while she is ultimately responsible for her choices and actions, there is a level of community responsibility. i say this more in terms of a responsibility to one another as human beings, rather than a responsibility for putting safety fencing on the bridge.  i am thankful that when i called for help, i got help, and that the help i received was truly geared towards my healing so that i could go on and thrive in life, instead of merely surviving. and this was not help from one person telling me one thing i needed to hear, it was a community of support, some of which i sought out, and some of which was sort of imposed on me. if it hadn’t been for the combination of therapy, my friend and neighbor who happened to have a psych degree and helped me separate myself and my identity from my thoughts, my therapist who helped me focus on me instead of my (also mentally ill) partner at the time, al-anon (and my therapist urging me to go there), yoga, and the love and support of my friends and family, i might not be here to tell about it. seriously, without that particular constellation of miracles and providence converging on me at the right time, my story may have been very different.

concerning the tragedy in our community, a friend (one who knows the family) said the other day to her husband, “it makes our problems seem really insignificant, doesn’t it?” i think it offers a great opportunity for us all to do some priorganizing of what is really important in our lives.

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ok time to lighten this up a bit. so, i have been teaching science, and as luck would have it, my class usually falls on a friday. doesn’t sci fri have a nice ring to it? so far this fall we have studied rocks (inspired by my rekindled love for them thanks to oklahoma), which morphed into a study of crystals, which dovetailed nicely with our geometry math unit, which then morphed into a unit on optics, lenses, and anatomy of the eye, which corresponded to having eye screenings at school, and culminated in the dissection of cow eyeballs. then we began an schoolwide theme of study of oregon’s first peoples, and so following up on a visit to the cape perpetua interpretive center and noticing the naturalists misidentifying the stranded sea lion in the intertidal zone as a seal, i wanted to make sure my students wouldn’t make the same mistake. this also worked nicely with the metric system math unit that was going on concurrently, and we converted the lengths of various marine mammals from feet into meters, and then realized we would have a hard time fitting an adult elephant seal into our classroom. after my pinniped class, i followed up with a lesson on the classification of vertebrates (and let the older kids in on the 5 kingdoms of living things and told them how king philip came over for good spaghetti.) i had a particularly validating i-must-be-in-the-right-place moment during the younger class when the kids all had a nice discussion among themselves about mammals feeding their young “mama milk” and how we humans are mammals because we drink mama milk. the 4-6 year olds quickly veered off on a tangent about how yummy mama milk was, and how now we are too big for it, but boy was it good! it made me a little nostalgic for the mama milk period in my life as quinn’s mama, and it also makes me wish for all mamas to be healthy in themselves, enough so that they can experience the delight in their child that i have been fortunate enough to experience.

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also, i will put in another plug for self care, i cannot tell you how much better i feel after a dozen lengthy hot baths, a bunch of supplements, and finally getting back to yoga class. just in time for the holiday season. i encourage you all to consult your self care lists and remember to honor yourself and keep a little reserve during this season of outward giving.




other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~

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red: this halloween week photo shoot appropriately featured lots of spider webs!

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orange: we had a beautiful el dia de los muertos celebration at our living school

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orange/yellow/green/blue: the blueberry leaves are turning brilliant colors.

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green: another web specimen

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blue: quinn’s halloween costume, a pokemon character called spheal (also known as what to do with that old blue tent fabric you’ve been carrying around for years on end).

here is spheal:

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gray: spider web magic!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow monday~

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red: a late season hummingbird came out to play in the sunny sunday fuschia.

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orange: the one lone zinnia that is finally blooming (watercolor filtered in photoshop)

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yellow: one family picnic over from ours, under a glowing yellow tree, last weekend when we celebrated a pancake’s second birthday.

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green: green-eyed lady lisa

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green eyed boy bart

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and cousin bob (presumably also green eyed? didn’t get a close enough look.)

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blue: that thing up there which hasn’t been seen for a few days of rain, but emerged to enable my self care photography session on sunday.

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gray: zipping up my son into the seal costume, including blubber layer, during my science friday lesson on seals and sea lions.

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without rain, you cannot have rainbows!

that analogy fits me right now. i recently felt like i was in a minor funk, one that lasted long enough to move the needle on my concern-o-meter to “time to act”. it’s all good, and the green smoothies and tea i’ve been drinking (in place of the coffee i am reducing my intake of) are hitting the spot. iron and calcium and vitamin d supplements feel like they are helping. also, the return of the rainy season brings the return of the hot bath to my regular self care routine. this has consistently been one of the most potent self-care rituals on my post-it note list of “things that are fun for me” which i was assigned to make by my first therapist, who knew me at my lowest of lows, when i had to struggle hard to remember what it was i liked or what made me feel good. i still have that list, and i still carry a serious wariness of ever going back to that low low place, so i don’t mess around when the feeling of funk surfaces for me. i crank the self care routines into high gear, and already, a few days in, i feel a shift, a softening. it’s not the specifics on the list, i don’t think, it’s the intention.

i hope you are making rainbows out of your rainy season, too.


~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

inbisibibble buttercups and other hiwawity

my family is awesome.

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we have returned home from our week in upstate new york, where the apple crisp and orange-red-yellow trees provided a lovely backdrop for a joyful reunion. luigi (now 6) and mario (now 4) greeted cousin quinn enthusiastically and not 5 minutes later they were in a puppy pile. quinn’s most vivid memories of last may’s trip, in order, were 1) the lego bin, 2) peach pie (grammy hurried to pull another one out of the freezer for him) and 3) battleship, all of which he dove right into and heartily enjoyed again.

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going to the home of one’s family of origin lends itself to analysis of the nature/nurture teeter totter of science. it’s totally obvious which ones shared both nature and nurture when the 5 original family members are laughing at some ridiculous inside joke involving a handheld electronic baseball game from the 80’s, or memories of lining up and “milking” our stuffed animals, and the other 6 people at the table are staring blankly, politely smiling along. but then there are the cousins, only having spent a cumulative 2 weeks in one anothers’ presence, who share a great deal in common more than average children one might pluck off the street.

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they share a very similar (large) capacity for imagination. luigi had us laughing when the boys were all running around making ghost sounds and spooking us, when he stopped suddenly and realized he was a ghost because, “oh no, i forgot to take my extra keep alive this morning!” featuring in the playtime imagination-scape this week were kings, queens, shamans, pokemon, ghosts, harry potter, and lots of death and healing/resurrection, with many spells and pokemon powers tossed in. “i found a ‘specto patronum rainbow power! it puts one hundred moons up in the sky!” mario told my brother and i, one night as we were chaperoning them running around outside after dark.

they also share precociously large vocabularies for people their size. it’s no wonder, with grammy around, who is modeling lifelong learning with her current passion for honing her skills of identifying the heirloom apple varieties growing in the ancient orchards on the farm. when my son starts dropping terminology about the conspicuous lenticels on the apple i pack for his lunch, i will know where he got the lingo. quinn asked me as we were getting settled on board the first plane, “when will the plane start taxiing?” he also mentioned something about a squadron, which made perfect sense at the time, though i can’t remember his usage. now that he is 7, he retains very few cute-isms in his vocabulary, but he did explain how he was gripping a ball at one point this week by naming which fingers were where, including “thumb, index finger, middle finger, rain finger, and pinky.” it’s so nice to get a dose of mario, who speaks cute-ese still at 4. he calls suction cups “buttercups” and things that you can’t see are “inbisibibble” to him. i loved listening to him muse about ghosts being inbisibibble (that’s why daddy can drink them instead of eat them like he has to do with monsters) and the sky being inbisibibble, too.

mario theorized at length one dinner time that a car would make a good candidate for pulling a truck out of a ditch, because “cars are faster than twactors.” he also got into a lengthy discussion with me one night about cauliflower, with which he had been unfamiliar. he guessed it might be like broccoli, only white, and i said yes, that it was broccoli’s cousin named cauliflower. he thought it was wonderful to be eating a cousin vegetable.

my favorite cute-ism of the week. mario stating that something quinn did was “just hiwawious.”

speaking of how these kids think; overheard at grammy and grampy’s house:

luigi: “wow cousin quinn, it’s amazing, all the stuff you can do! they don’t teach you that at cortland schools!”

c.q.: “yeah, they just teach you what they want you to think!”

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grammy and grampy were awed by quinn’s reading level compared to last may, when he was slogging through bob books one painstaking word at a time. this time he was reading a pokemon junior chapter book (squirtle’s rescue) fluently.

the two older cousins got to have home school together with grammy one morning, and did a project with her that my sister-in-law and i are not allowed to know about until christmas eve. lots of schooling/homeschooling/lifelong learning discussions were had among the educator types. we also got to tag along on a homeschool day hike at a local nature center, during which quinn became engaged in the nature once i handed him my camera; he was taking “stadium” shots for his pokemon “trainer” cards that he plans to make, while i was secretly encouraging his scientific observation skills. he didn’t become interested in locating ambush bugs among the purple asters until he began to think of their potential as pokemon characters.

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Picture 403my sistah-in-law is pretty handy with my camera

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the kids spontaneously began a demolition project on one of grampy’s old hay wagons early in the week, and then grampy harnessed their exuberant energy into actually completing the project, since it was something that was on his agenda anyway. grampy is no slouch in the emergent curriculum department.

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those cousins undoubtedly get some of their awesomeness from their dad. because sharing is caring, i submit exhibit a:


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for those of you who know me, i am not a small person. until i’m next to this guy.

i think a photo montage is in order, so without further ado i will conclude this post by overwhelming you with my favorite shots from the trip…

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(that’s our house and barn in the background)

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rich gets some photo credit!

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already looking forward to next year!

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~

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fall rainbow courtesy of upstate new york

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red: sumac leaves

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red: guitar pick bokeh shot; from punched out amazon gift card i found on the floor of the rehearsal studio where i got to hear my brother’s awesome band, sanjuro fields, rehearse.

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orange: or at least that is what i’m calling this rainbow foliage.

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more orange!

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yellow: lit up by the autumn sun.

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yellow: sunflower grown by my new york family.

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green: fallen walnuts

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blue: tractor work with grampy

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blue: my sister-in-law-to-be has amazing interior decorating skills. love her style!

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purple: asters everywhere, providing a crazy contrast to all the red-orange-yellow foliage. what a beautiful week, in so many ways! (more to come on that in the next few days!)

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~this moment~



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last may

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last week

~a friday ritual~

a photo capturing a moment from the week.

a simple, special moment.

a moment i want to pause, savor and remember

other posts you may enjoy:

oklahoma was ok ~ a rambling update

it’s the autumnal equinox, a sunny, breezy sunday, and i am lazily canning my way past the 200 pound mark in tomatoes for this season. rich walks in as i sit with the laptop in my lap (that’s how lazily i am canning), and asks whether i am reading or writing. in fact, i have just been sitting here determined to stop reading and start writing again, dammit! and it occurs to me that it’s time to balance things out, which seems appropriate for an equinox.

i haven’t exactly been spending all of my time reading, but i did get to enjoy a few novels over the summer, in between all the curriculum-related reading i was doing in preparing for my summer program at ols. my favorite was probably the brothers k, by david james duncan, and i also enjoyed some sherman alexie books. we had a grand summer, all told, with lots of camping on the built-in long weekends (summer program was monday through thursday) and gathering fruit from our old familiar haunts as well as a few new ones. i did not garden in earnest, but a garden grew anyway in spite of intermittent bouts of neglect. i likewise felt as though i was going minimal on the fruit preservation, but rich kept on prompting me with, “when are we picking ____? (fill in the name of fruit)” and then driving me around and helping me pick strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and peaches. so all in all, we have a freezer full of berries, plus 42 quarts of peaches on the shelves. fruit wealth!

after a couple of our trips into the valley for fruit, we stopped at a pub that had chalkboard tables and yummy sandwiches and microbrews. we played hangman and i used the yoda phrase, “do or do not, there is no try” for one of the phrases rich had to guess. the very next day at ols, i got a tea bag that had the same quote on the label. lots of magic moments like that this summer. synchronicities, indicating, to my mind at least, things in alignment. it sure feels that way, anyway.

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for example, i know that i have finally arrived as a human being in the world, because i am now being paid in both cash and veggies to help run my favorite farm booth at the farmer’s market on certain saturdays. what. a. sweet. gig.



some of my recent saturday work

i am emerging from the tomato marathon just in time to throw a box of pears into jars and then we are off to new york for the annual rew family extravaganza, highly anticipated by all invoived! summer went by so quickly that i haven’t even had time to mourn its demise, and i don’t think that i will have time for that in the giant multi-task of life this year. i hope there are still a handful of fireflies left among the fall color we hope to see while we are there, but the main thing is hugging all my rew peeps again finally!

this year feels so much improved over the hectic pace of last school year, and even though i don’t feel less busy, i do feel a lot more sane and happy. my job satisfaction has gone way up, and i get up every day for school at ols looking forward to my day. the last thing i had to finish reading before i started writing this was an alfie kohn article about progressive schools, spot on as usual, which you can find here.

quinn went from emerging reader to what i, in my untrained, unprofessional opinion, consider a borderline proficient reader, in his secretive quinn way, sometime over the summer. i’d find him perusing his pokemon cards (an ongoing passion) and hear him muttering to himself, “…to reveal your opponent’s weakness…” and then he’d be looking at his paleontology cards, “…forces your opponent to discard one bone card…” and shake my head, wondering how he went from needing books with big short words to read, to reading microscopic three- and four-syllable words fluently. he also skates through the arithmetic with multiples of ten, and i’ll hear him calculating out loud, “so if my pokemon’s h.p. is 140 and your attack just did 60 damage on me, that means i have 80 left!”

but that is textbook quinn learning style. he waits until he is confident, then, boom. he’s already there. it’s how he walked, how he potty trained, how he skipped, how he is reading. now he is on to riding a bike in the same style. he has mostly avoided it for a long time, and although we did obtain a bike for him a year or so ago, he has not put a lot of time or energy into using it. suddenly the other day, he watched his buddy ride away with his mom for a bike ride, and asked me, “can we go to fred meyer after school and buy some training wheels for my bike?” so we did. fred’s didn’t have them but we went to our local bike shop and got them installed, after which he rode around the shop 20 times while i paid. he had put on his helmet before i even drove away from school, and stood next to the bike guy installing his wheels and asked him questions, “so, how do the mechanicals of the bike work?” the next day he rode about a mile on a paved state park trail, and i walked behind, camera in hand and heart up in my throat, praying all of his teeth stayed intact in his mouth. but i trust him. he knows when he is ready, no looking back now.

he meanwhile continues to dazzle me with his vocabulary. he loves to use exactly the right word, never settling for a close approximation. lately i’ve heard him describe how he felt “dumbfounded” and overheard him using the word “infirmary” for a particular zone during an outside game at school. we are almost finished with book 15 in the guardians of ga’hoole series, and i know those books are a source of some of his choice words. but then of course, he picks up the colloquial kid terminology just as readily, and will engage me in a discussion of which stuff “rocks” and which stuff, conversely, “sucks”.

i forgot to introduce our new family members, by the way. rich and i are the proud parents of twins. 5 year old kitty brother and sister. meet bart and lisa.

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we love them. i woke up on the day rich and i were to depart on our trip to oklahoma to quinn climbing into bed and was thus sandwiched in the middle of the entire family. boy, kitty, me, kitty, man. it was a good snuggly way to start off on an adventure. quinn got to go on his own adventure (fishing and camping and digging fossils with his dad). and i took my first ever trip to oklahoma with a wonderful tour guide who knew his way around and is the best traveling partner a girl could have.

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“…and we partied there… and we stole lawn furniture over there… and we dumped trash somewhere around this building and got chased by cops…” a highly amusing tour through a much younger period in rich’s life. we rented a car, but instead of a compact, they gave us a brand new explorer, which we nicknamed the escapade. (it was like no explorer either of us had ever driven, and had a steep learning curve, no actual key, a backup camera, and other crazy modern features we are unaccustomed to in our fully manual vehicles from the turn of the century.) the temperature was 102 degrees when we stepped out of the airport in tulsa, at which point my phone, still reporting the weather in seal rock, oregon, read 63. the climate shock was intense, and i eventually had to insist on keeping the escapade a.c. warmer than 70 so that i didn’t get dizzy every time we stepped out of it.

i saw half a dozen of the former residences of my love, which is funny because he has lived in our house for 18 years now. we drove all around tulsa, and i’d make observations like, “my, there are a lot of churches” to which he’d reply, patiently, “it’s the bible belt, dear.”

we stayed with his mom and dad, and i got to meet both his sisters and a lot of nieces and nephews and some great-nieces and -nephews (i’m a great aunt as well as a grandma, now that i’m a ripe old 36.) the house his parents own was like a little oasis on the outside of tulsa, rural enough for us to sleep well at night (thanks to the ceiling fan) and with lots of wildlife (dragonflies bunnies gophers birds turtle grasshoppers cicadas and, alas, chiggers) and of course, rocks to look at. i may possibly be a bit smitten with rocks as a result of my week long immersion at rock camp.

and of course, i ate fried okra from bob’s garden every day for lunch, and bob-corn every chance i got. so i have to pronounce oklahoma 100% ok in my book.

and here is quinn on his first day of school… which took place not 6 hours after i arrived back home from ok.

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i’ll be going back to fill in details of our summer as i often do with the month of unschool posts… stay tuned and thanks for tuning in!

other posts you may enjoy: