obligatory drama quotient

Pre-Teen Girl Eats Crepe #LiG2012
Phee enjoys a crepe, and one last park playdate.

We are still debating why things went wrong this morning. My son Nels is convinced it’s because he expressed a desire to give up life in Hoquiam and live in Vancouver – and yes we told him downtown Vancouver is usually NOT full of awesome unschooling kiddos and 100% fun, but he still said, “I have a better life here, and I’m staying.” When things went tits-up a little bit later he really really did believe it was his wish that queered the deal. Poor little guy.

But I thought maybe it was my own hubris. I had taken pride in holding my shit together in a most active and action-packed vacation, the most intense six days I’ve had in some time. I had spent five days eating and resting and doing yoga and Recovery. I’d breathed-deep as much as possible and thought I was behaving like a pretty good wife and mother and human being (MOST of the time). And this morning I prayed for God’s will to be done in my life as I do every morning I remember, even though I was very tired and starting to get sick (some virus from some body). And I thought as the luggage cart nicely packed all our stuff into the car by a courteous and friendly hotel staffer (all the staff were wonderful), and our loving children happily said goodbye to the wonderful time they’d had, with no tears and only good cheer, so anyway I thought: “Wow, things worked out so well. I’m proud of myself and of my family.”

SO less than one half hour after I had this thought we ended up stranded in BFE Sad-Sack Vancouver with a broken-down Prius and a trunk stuffed full of six days worth of our life and, for me, by this time, the largest desire EVER to get home for a variety of reasons (and some anxiety about my friend’s car, as she’s not in a position to have drama either). After a few conversations with our friend and weighing a few options, we elected to tow the vehicle back to Grays Harbor and ride along. If you haven’t read my Twitterfeed (spoiler alert!), go ahead and estimate how much this cost, which was as practical as any alternative, but not cheap. Our friend wants to pay the bill for the car-towing but I think we should split it, given our family is the reason the car was so far afield and she’s gonna have to have it repaired anyway and that just suuuuucks.  I probably shouldn’t think about it too much until I’ve rested and healed.

I am very glad to be home. And I’m grateful to our friend who loaned us the car to save on gas, and have a vacation-car. And you know what, we didn’t save money but in a way the intent came true. The Prius got great gas milage on the back of that big tow truck, and the ride home was fun, even though I was so so tired by then, have I mentioned?

Speaking of. Friendship, that is. The conference is over and we are now home. The conference was for me and my children, a life-changer (perhaps for Ralph too – you’ll have to ask). Now as far as I know, I have thanked each friend who has helped us in getting to this event. My thanks is deep and sincere and I am still swimming in gratitude. But I want to tell you: if you have any affection for my children, know that you did a wonderful, wonderful thing by helping us. This morning Phoenix said, “I can’t thank you enough for getting us to this conference.”

So, thank you. Truly once-in-a-lifetime and truly fabulous.

And now? A hot bath and an attempt at rest, before this throat-tickle turns into something ghastly.


rise and shine, sleepyheads!

Our last full day at the conference. Morning:

Another Morning At #LiG2012!


Tigress #LiG2012

Having just listened to Ronnie Maier’s talk, “Leveling Up: Advancing Your Unschooling”, and then Mary Gold’s closing remarks, Ralph and I picked up coffee right across the street at the (semi-)new Torque (small world, our housesitter knows one of the employees). Now Ralph’s off to do a last bit of laundry and grab a movie for this evening, and I’m about to go to a meeting. Tonight my brother and his girlfriend are coming up to visit and we’re going out to dinner. It’s our last night in the hotel, and tomorrow we have a picnic with the Life is Good attendees remaining.

You know I haven’t taken any pictures that indicate the volume of people, and the level of energy at this thing. A picture couldn’t encompass it anyway. But I’m guessing others have made a few films and those will pop up online and I can link to them later. A few minutes ago I cornered Mary Gold, the conference organizer, and thanked her for a wonderful time. Then we told her we’d tell all our friends about it. I have this wee dream of getting a schooling family to go and check it out. I have another dream to do a double-hustle and raise funds for next year so our family could go, and we could also send another family, preferably one who couldn’t afford to attend otherwise and/or a family of color.

But these plans and shenanigans can wait. For now, it’s time to rest and take care of myself a bit on the last leg of our journey. We’re still having a wonderful time.


From VooDoo.

THAT JUST HAPPENED, @cidlough Brings Me A Bacon-Topped Doughnut From VooDoo

Brought to me by a be-Twittered mama here at Life is Good. How awesome is that?!

Just finished teaching people how to sew on a button. I had three and a half students, plus several adorable kids wanting to snatch buttons for this or that. We all had a great time. Now, off to find a Recovery meeting. Then: helping the photographer at the Better-Than-Prom Extravaganza!

Peace out.

the room is spinning, because of all the radsauce

#Awesomesauce At #LiG2012

 One of the many mamas here, being awesome.

Listen. It is SO WEIRD to be in a public space with public kids, where the kids are free to do their thing. I’ts like free-range Hogakids but, EVERYWHERE and LOTS of them. I hardly have words. It’s like a different planet from the one I’ve been used to. Kids go where they need to go and even in a big hotel with tons of rooms, the children, even rather tiny ones, don’t get lost. Everyone is smiling and helping one another and I haven’t seen a fight. Today Ralph overheard a five, fourteen, and sixteen year old talking about whether the term “midget” was offensive (the five year old initiated the discussion because he said it was, and although he could barely pronounce the word “offensive” the conversation proceeded with civility and aplomb). People of all ages getting along doing exactly what they want to do.

I mean I’ve seen some crabby parents speak rudely – one rather terrifyingly so – and I’ve seen some kid meltdowns but, things are entirely different. Just one example. You’ve heard me complain about the #HQX YMCA and the weird pool rules? The hotel pool rules here are not regarded but it’s still a respectful, fun place. More fun than the Y, even though the Y has a larger pool. Kids are doing cannonball jumps and flips and tiny kids get in the hot tub and no one dies. Heck, our family can see the pool across the roof from our room (and our kids average swimming twice a day), and all is smiles until late into the evening.

It’s busy and the normal chaos happens. Some kids (and adults) lose track of their items, but other people find these items and leave them at the Lost & Found Table. Some kids don’t clean up after themselves and don’t have an adult with them to assist, after (Phoenix taught a class today, but she and Ralph and I made sure to clean up – still, not everyone is able or willing to do so, so volunteers do their part). Some parents/carers have small children and are clearly a bit overwhelmed at times, but this is about the most tolerant and loving place for something like that to happen. The sheer amount of NON-GLARING at children for being kids, is incredible!   Babies are breastfed and worn and allowed to toddler around. People are courteous to one another, to a degree I’ve not seen in a public space. It’s really incredible.

It’s not a utopia. People are people, and some are crabby and/or are having a bad day. I know there are shennanigans and I know there’s drama. Besides the meltdowns (which are, again, a lot less than you typically see in a large crowd) there’s the same ol’ darkness that plagues the human race. Today I heard a few moms talk about how much they drank the night before; one of them said her son complained about it. (And speaking of which, yeah I’m finding a Recovery meeting daily while I’m here, kthx!)

But really, it’s incredible. My kids have been swimming and playing and swimming and eating and cleaning up and doing art and teaching classes – all day.

#LiG2012 Various Art Projects

A note for Phee from her “Fairy Godparent”, plus a vajazzled tampon 


Lunch today, Greek. All four of us had a wonderful time.

Phoenix ate a lentil soup and Nels pwned a large chicken gyro.

Good times. Now? Time for bed!

“I’m starting to get the hang of this” – Phoenix Fire Hogaboom

#LiG2012 Parking Garage

Yeah, you shouldn’t go to an Unschooling conference. Unless you want your kids to have a wonderful time. You know to the point where my two are getting ready for bed and telling me they’re worried they’ll wake up tomorrow and find this was all a dream.

Phoenix and Nels are owning it LIKE A BOSS. Minecraft, Legos, swimming, playing outside, tag, board games (including made-up rules as the game literature was all in Spanish).  This is all in a few hours. I even got a (small) Recovery meeting. Good stuff!

It's ON at #LiG2012

Phoenix is part of a Fairy Godparent program, in other words she gets. She came up a bit ago sporting the Best Chocolate Bar I’ve ever tasted. We were all peeing our pants a little over it. It was a pretty sweet way to end our evening.

Best Candybar Ever?

And now, some high-quality kid-snuggling and rinsing out the chlorine from my hair. A big day tomorrow!

on the road

Until Monday, I will be tweeting and blogging about the Life Is Good Unschooling Conference in Vancouver, WA. After all, many of you readers supported me (financially, emotionally, and spiritually) so that we could be here! You can read more tweetage at this hashtag.

Longview Pres, Nicely Done On Signage #LiG2012

People. Y’all. This conference… whoo. Lots of people. More than I’d imagined. Tons of events. Elevators full of all ages. Wee kids running around in the lobby barefoot and talking on phones.  Teenagers in dreds and hoodies and little geeky t-shirts and shy smiles holding hands and getting to do what they want. Lots of smiles. Amazing positive energy.

Watching my kids swim and one mom I never met before wiggles her ass at me through the glass. Another does an excellent cannonball into the pool with her kids.


Off to an event here, but I will be writing more soon!

Nels, Pool