“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.




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