sending the little ones to Dreamland, and the radio dial to “Spooky”

It’s 11 PM on a Thursday, and we Hogabooms are still on vacation, technically. Ralph doesn’t have to go back to work until Monday – even though he has two performances of Rocky Horror this weekend, and those are no-joke – both in time spent and in effort required.

Ralph’s schedule regardless, tonight I’m grateful we still have an unschooling schedule. I’m speaking specifically of my son, at the foot of my bed, fresh out of the bath, with squeaky-clean wet hair and wearing only a pair of wee underwear with scuba-diving skull motif. He’s eating ice cream out of a bowl, lying on his belly at my feet. Now he laughs and says, “Daddy’s biting my toes!”

So I’m speaking of my husband, too. He’s up a little late, and waiting for me to close up shop on the computer so we can watch a B-movie. Typically if Ralph wants to go to bed earlier than the rest of us, he heads into the guest bedroom to sleep. Tonight though, I get both the boys a bit longer; our daughter, a school-kid now, slumbers upstairs. And now, the home is settling into that comforting atmosphere I love, the quiet of night. The dishes are done, the carpets are shampoo’d, the pets are snoring, the little light above my bedroom’s shrine glows.

It’s time to wind down, after a busy day.

Schedule-wise, I’ve been busy enough to be distracted. I’m trucking away with sewing and I have a great deal of work ahead of me. Today another custom costume sold, and I ordered the supplies necessary to create this five-piece bit of awesomeness for a very, very cute child (I saw pictures! He is to-die-for adorable!). I also sewed up most of a baby bunting for the upcoming Fiber Festival in Elma. And this evening a client mailed me measurements of her child, so I can start on another costume – likely the most challenging of this season. My schedule is getting a little crowded and I will soon have to close Halloween orders. I’d love to do some Christmas gift sewing, so I am giving a little thought on what to offer. You bastards reading here know mostly I just want to sew a bunch of little woolen blazer-style coats for kiddos. YES THAT’S RIGHT, you jerks know me and I’m boring AF.

I’m grateful for a busy life; I’m grateful for a healthy and happy family. I am very grateful for being able to earn a little scratch, doing something creative. I’m profoundly grateful for my sobriety, without which I would not be able to be profoundly grateful.

Goodnight, my dear readers. May you rest well, and may you be safe.

Hutch (Photo By John)

take a look at my fucking awesome dog if you can stand the radsauce

Hutch (Photo By John)

(photo by our friend John, and posted here with much gratitude)

We Hogabooms are doing about as well as we can be doing. These last few weeks have been incredibly busy, a pace we are not accustomed to and that I don’t want to become accustomed to. Ralph has worked himself into a wee frazzle with his play practice, full time job, full time daddyhood and husbandness, and some side work (both for fun and for scratch) to boot. I ain’t gonna lie, he hasn’t kept a civil attitude during all this, but we are still getting by pretty good.

The exhausting pace has helped me get over my daughter’s first week in school and get down to the often amusing – and occasionally grim – job of sorting out my Feels about it all. I am mostly a thousand percent proud of her because she is awesome; she has already navigated what seems like a sizeable amount of unpleasantness and she keeps hopping up early in the AM with a smile. It is important for me to support her but I have all these little thoughts, some valuable, some probably not much. I keep thinking I want to write a separate wee tumblog or such thing – supporting other unschooling parents who have a child who elects school. I truly think it would be a fun experience!

In the meantime however I am trying to survive our current pace. This weekend Ralph’s play opens; we are also heading out on vacation in short order after that. It is taking each of the two brain cells I have rattling around up there to not ass-out on commitments I’ve made here or there.

During these weeks, I have had so many kind and wonderful interactions with friends and family it would be impossible to list them all here. Close to my heart is the friendship of another sober alcoholic, a woman who inspires me in a profound way hard to put into words. And on the the heels of this inspiring friendship I consider several other women in my life who have been my confidants and my support during a lot of changes – and some problems that seem to stay the same – and who’ve kept the faith, and kept their kindness coming, and had real wisdom to offer me.

My friends help me stay sane, or at least in that general neighborhood. For that, I am profoundly grateful.

HOMINY HOMINY HOMINY

there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow

It’s 11 PM and it’s not a good neighborhood in Aberdeen but we’re pulled over anyway for a while. Ralph is checking a few bank balances on the phone, and his phone is slooooow. Eventually he figures out that between two accounts, we have $50 – enough to get supplies for Phoenix’s first day of school, and to pick up a few special items for her lunch. While he’s figuring this, though, we’re sitting along a nasty part of town – as in No, Nels, You Can’t Go Outside And Play and while I wait patiently, a raccoon runs in front of our car and into the lights of the convenience store’s frontage. “Heading to Smoke Town,” I say in my raspiest, very-sketchy-raccoon type of voice.

Ralph still has traces of his Rocky Horror makeup on. He’s tired and his hair is spikey and between that and the eyeliner, he looks like a 90’s made-for-TV-movie version of a drug dealer. He’s tired and his temper is short. I guess I’m kind of the same. But I’m not irritated with my husband, or with checking our balance, or with being up late and tired with a sore throat coming on, or with my car at home on “R” and not sure how I’ll get to school to get my daughter tomorrow heck only a little over twelve hours from now.

In fact I’d been thinking of the low gas tank precisely when we set out from our darkened driveway for these late night errands. And I’d felt this total peace come over me and I’d thought of the book of Matthew, Chapter 6: “Don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day’s evil is enough for the day.” I’d thought of this today while talking to a friend and I’d taken the time to look it up in a book and everything (The Unvarnished Gospels). Yeah, I’ve lived long enough and suffered long enough I know the wisdom in setting worry aside. Or like I told my friend today, who wanted advice on a few matters: “If I thought it was a good idea for you to worry, I’d tell you to worry.” Today yeah, I know this practice is a form of self-absorption, and like all self-absorption, it steals my life. I experience that sublime peace when I know I can just Be Here Now. And I’m feeling that serenity now, in the car, tired, cranky husband and all.

After groceries, apples and olives and juice and a special orange candy treat for our daughter’s lunchpail, we hit Walmart for the school supplies. It is surreal and not in a good way. There is a man arguing loudly with his own appearance on a security camera screen. There are two young men about as high as I’ve ever seen anybody, in the video game section. A family loudly argues at the checkout, seemingly oblivious to their own amped-up energies. The school supply section has been so vigorously raided there is no longer any college-ruled paper sheaves (come to think of it, they were even out of wide-ruled – now that is dire!). But – Ralph and I take care to pick the items we think our daughter – home now asleep – will appreciate. I feel at peace and grateful for my husband, for our little family.

Nels trails along with us – the child, tonight, a bit neglected as Ralph and I are focused on the task at hand. And he’s very patient but he’s still a bit that Lost Child and I have that pang when I feel I’m not being Enough. But then I turn away from that pang, I smile at it a bit because I know I still have time with my son, I’m still here.

I’d promised this child a pizza date with just he and I, on Phoenix’s first day of school. Another to-do item for tomorrow like the gas tank – something I know I can figure out when the time comes because I know I’m supported by the Universe.

It’s a good life, Times One Million.

& NOW – impressively large quantities of hominy. Nels asks me what it is. “It’s like corn. But gross.”

HOMINY HOMINY HOMINY

a greater compliment than being loved

Rats!

My daughter has decided she’d like to go to school this year. I am totally cool with this, although several home educators and home/unschoolers I know have expressed their worry, and/or their thoughts I might be worried.

I ain’t worried, because I trust my daughter. Trust meaning two things; A. We literally allow her make her own choices (this is known as the action of trust, not the mere lip-service to it), and B. we have the lived experience of knowing she makes choices that really work for her. In fact her choices are often braver, or smarter, or more interesting than the ones I think up for her. She and I have had several talks about the whole business and I am impressed with her acumen and her matter-of-fact courage. Another thing I know: any school, or classroom, is lucky to have her!

My kids are what I’ve heard referred to as “spiritually fit”. By the time I was their age, I wasn’t. They are humbling and beautiful influences in my life.

So yeah, I’ve often wondered what my kids would think of school, should they choose to enroll. I am looking forward to her thoughts. This is an adventure for me as I find myself wondering if she’ll stick to it or think of it as a huge time-suck drag and quit within a few days or weeks. I don’t have to worry about any of it, though (see: preceding paragraph). My job is not to mold her opinions or live her life, but to support her in what she chooses to do.

We are short on finances and I am considering a little fund-drive on this blog so Phoenix can have school clothes. She tells me she’s ready to have more storebought clothes (as opposed to homemade), because, and I quote: “I’m getting that age, mom.” She kills me! I love her. But, we’ll see. I am still navigating under what circumstances I should make an “official” call-out on this blog for funds… So many readers have helped us in the past. Yet, I do not want to strain what is often called “social capital”, either.

Because Yes, I have a strong desire for my daughter to have a start on the wardrobe she’d like to explore (not to mention the backpack and lunch box she wants, et cetera) and her pencils and notebooks and such – to have this lovely little experience going to school. But my mind often falls upon a fair number of things that cost money and could benefit our family, such as not eating squash three times a week, and getting my car out of the shop, stuff like that. Prioritizing these desires isn’t an exact science – I need prayer and meditation, and to take what comes on a daily basis (the good and the bad), and to give things a little thought, and see what the Universe opens up.

It is truly a blessing to minister to and care for children who are so open, loving, and grateful for their lives and for the conditions in their lives. Their graciousness about their requests makes it easier for Ralph and I to make good choices. It’s a good life and the investments we’ve put into our family have paid off.

Still. School! Who would have thought?

helping others – unscripted

In May this year, our family selected a family from sixteen family applicants to send to the Life Is Good Unschooling Conference in Vancouver, Washington. We Hogabooms fully-funded their trip and provided blog readers the opportunity to support us with donations.

Here is the interview of the Taylors’ expectations before the conference, and their experiences as related afterwards. The video provides a portrait of a family during a very specific time in their journey, and I found myself touched to share the Taylor’s lives a bit.

The total scholarship cost was about $700, covering four nights’ lodging, the conference registration fee, and $100 just-for-kicks spending money. Eight other donors/donor families stepped in and covered $375 of our total expense.

Thank you, readers, for your support.

I have a few personal words about our scholarship experiment.

First, I am grateful that despite the potential financial impracticality of such a venture for us Hogabooms, I took the plunge and, with my family’s support, led with my heart. Even though Ralph and I were careful not to require anything in particular for this experiment – that our scholarship family would end up enjoying the conference or that it would steer them in a particular direction – it is lovely to see that this conference helped the Taylors at this time in their life. Although we would have been happy to support an unschooling veteran family and are open to such a venture in the future, the Taylors were ideal applicants because they were on the fence, having just removed their child from the schooling system and having, by their own report at the time, little to no support from family and friends.

The scholarship expense was beyond what is “practical” for we Hogabooms but here we still are, having managed to breathe air and keep ourselves fed. I’m glad we reached out.

Finally, I completely adore my nine year old son’s contributions to the interview. He took over with confidence, he quite adroitly explained “fear” and “excitement” in terms of being an unschooling parent, and even employed “air dick quotes”. I especially found his breakdown of the unschooling commitment and the benefits and detriments quite touching. His contributions were, of course – unscripted.

“how necessary a world of pains and troubles”; or, what I really learned and where I learned it

Published this month in the July/August 2012 issue of Natural Child Magazine; reprinted here. I think I linked to it on the RUN earlier; apologies if my regular readers find it a re-run.

***

I was an achiever my entire school career. They put me in a “gifted” program my first year, and the rest of my academic experience more or less followed suit. I’ve since had cause to joke, What is a “gifted” six-year-old anyway? The one who doesn’t wipe boogers under the desk? Because at least from my perspective today, I was a pretty typical child. Unfortunately, I responded to being labeled “gifted” in ways not entirely beneficial to my well-being. If I had some degree of intelligence and perception, even at this early age I had a lot of fears and anxieties. I soothed these anxieties by being a “good girl” and getting good grades. I became increasingly reliant on praise, increasingly self-conscious (just another synonym for “self-absorbed”), and entrenched in risk-averse behaviors. If I didn’t know I could succeed, I wouldn’t try. When I didn’t get it perfect, I was embarrassed. Virtuous and kind in many ways, I was more concerned with myself than with helping others.

Still, up until a few years ago, I would have told you that I liked school. I got straight A’s, teachers seemed to like me, and I them (for the most part). I had plenty of friends – and later, girlfriends and boyfriends. This seemed to work out well enough until high school graduation.

I received a full merit scholarship to go to college. Moving away to the city, my worldview began to crumble. The large university I went to didn’t care much about me in any particular way. I could no longer receive a steady diet of public praise. It seemed like the joy we’re supposed to feel these young years, was not present in my peers. Many drank and drugged to cope. Students around me were anxious, overworked, and many seemed primarily interested in gaining a career so they could earn a lot of money. They often spoke condescendingly and harshly about those not in our socioeconomic strata. These were depressing realizations, considering our narrative was that we were “succeeding” and having a good time.

My first college course was Calculus something-or-other, and there were five hundred students in the lecture hall. Without a high ratio of teacher to student, without being able to be the “best” in the class and get noticed, my motivation abruptly collapsed. I remember going to that particular class far less than a dozen times in the quarter. The rest of my college was lackluster, hanging on by my fingertips and occasionally looking forward to a class after my own heart – the rare times I could take a non-math and non-science course (my major required rigorous coursework in science, chemistry, physics, et cetera).

I graduated with a 3-point-something in engineering, and within four years. Yes, this represents a lot of work and is certainly an accomplishment – especially considering the general ennui and unhappiness I lived with! But see, I simply didn’t know what else to do with my life, and I had to maintain the GPA and the field of study to keep my scholarship. Plain and simple.

I graduated in 1999. Thirteen years have passed since I entered the career field with halfhearted life-plans of working a nine to five in a well-paid position. At first I worked and excelled in the field. To my surprise I did enjoy engineering work – far more than school. But soon after we started our family I quit the field, leaving behind a substantial income and the unforgettable experience of being owned by a corporation. My partner and I had the desire to provide a different life for our children than we’d had, and we set out to try it.

This single-income life involved a lot of hard work, in fact more difficulty than I’d encountered in school, or in engineering. Busy raising babies – and that was a real education! – for some time I thought I would have resources for nothing else. But that was merely the labor-intensive, exhausting, and exhilarating years of parenting small children. Over time this day-in-day-out, twenty-four-seven commitment paid dividends in deeply examining what was important to me, and why. It also taught me, day by day, to be less self-focussed and to give without expectation of return (a wonderful and valuable lesson). It also taught me to enjoy my children, instead of look forward to the day we’d institutionalize them in school. And when I read my writings over the last eight years I’ve journaled, these changes within me are evident.

Life changed. Time flew by. Sooner than I’d have guessed, the boot camp of the early parenting years had softened. And in the ensuing years, besides raising the kids within our means and my partnership, I’ve re-invested my time and efforts in the genuine interests I’d had as a child (namely, writing, art, and sewing), and I’ve succeeded in these exploits. And – perhaps most dear to my heart – I learned the value in any earnest work well-done – yes, dishes, diapers, cooking and cleaning. Meditative, mindful, honest pursuits, as worthwhile as engineering, no better nor worse – honorable and satisfying.

Yes, probably my most dear “accomplishments” are those of the last ten years: learning from the experience of raising children. This is a revelation, especially considering where I came from. Children were loved in my family, but they were also decidedly placed as second-class citizens. Raising them, the day-to-day, was considered beneath a progressive, intelligent person’s prerogative. Kids were rather pedestrian affairs, noisy and messy and best managed and well-mannered.

I’m happy to tell you today that everything, simply everything in my worldview has changed, and for the better. My children and my experiences learning from them gave me my life back, little by little.

And it would be unfair not to mention the many adults and children who came before me, who voiced the passions and the daring I hadn’t found in my home- or school-life growing up. It is due to these mentors I was able to find my own place, take pride in my work (paid, unpaid, vocational and avocational), and my own contributions. Today I live a life hard-working and doing absolutely what I want to do. We are fed and clothed and we love one another well, and I want for nothing else. I don’t, to wit, come home at the end of the day and try to dissolve my stress and anger with a glass of ice and bourbon. I don’t, to wit, compare myself to the next door neighbors or pine for what they have and I don’t. I don’t, to wit, find my kids something to “manage”, mold, or create in my image.

Their dreams are theirs, under their own authorship.

And I am very grateful for all of this.

I was in my thirties when my life began to unfold and I grew brave enough to join the human race, joyful and free. But I see the bloom in my children even now. Perhaps my experiences can benefit my children. I hope so.

But for myself? Being entrusted with nurturing their dear lives afforded me the best education money can’t buy.

 

Off To The Bus, Banana Cake In Hand

You, Monster

This evening I headed out in the snow for an Emergency Baby acquisition. Well… the Emergency wasn’t that I needed a baby exactly, but it sure felt that way by the time I had him strapped in, in the warm car! On my way home I slid about in the snow a bit and listened to Ralph’s new upcoming EP, which is shaping up slowly, but lovely.

At home we fed the baby lots and lots of food and I carried him and got to give him a bath which was kind of excellent. Other kids ran in and out from the snow, endlessly finding it fun even though I found it dismayingly soggy, including hidden slushy puddles a foot deep that challenged the limits of my waterproof boots.

Today Idzie posted a guest post of mine. Please don’t click over unless you want to read about me bitching, just a little bit, promise, but still.

I’m tired today; time to retire a bit early and take some me-time.

when shit gets real

Why Do I Not Have A Subscription To This?!
This post is dedicated to the wonderful & talented Idzie, also Maine Coons magazine.

***

Today I’m lying on a table getting myofascial massage for my  head and neck pain. The bodywork feels amazing and strange and all of a sudden the pain and lack of movement in my neck are drastically reduced. I am not only given incredible massage and manipulated but shown the weirdest fracking exercise I’ve ever come across, like seriously I’m embarassed to have to do it in a room with two people watching my technique, and no I’m fully clothed and mostly lying down, it’s just an incredibly weird series of movements.

The practitioner and her assistant find out I homeschool, because they ask about my “workday”. Four minutes later they’ve forgotten already as they ask in the kid in the lobby is with the Hoquiam school district. “My kids are homeschooled,” I remind them.

What follows is the very typical, OH SO TYPICAL I could write it out verbatim, series of questions and statements (this happens a lot when I’m a “captive” audience, dentist etc). Including, “Homeschooling works, but only if the parents are educated” and horror stories of totally messed-up kids that are a direct result of homeschooling (no totally messed-up kids are ever credited as the direct result of public schooling, just so you know). I know I should be long past this, but I am always surprised when people who did not or do not homeschool and display profound ignorance about those worlds (including not knowing state requirements or legalities of home education nor, even more importantly, having delved into the autodidactic tradition with even one toe), proceed to tell ME with authority tons of Truthy realities, I mean just go on and on. And then, comically, end the often one-sided conversation (one-sided as far as openmindedness, assuredly) with a version of, here’s today’s: “Well, I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other.” Pro-tip, Yes You Do.

Today I have a life lived in gratitude and I can tell you, no matter how cheeky I sound here, I am in full acceptance of these varieties of limitation and I don’t hold a grudge (I mean come on… I have my limitations too, like everyone). Maybe I feel a twinge of sadness. I find it’s pretty easy to have a conversation with consideration to person going on, and with a good deal of kindness. “Yes, reading and math are frequently issues of controversy when it comes to home education.” That is a statement of fact and I can say it. The fact I get queried, very rarely, what I believe or how we do things, lends me to further consider that yes, People Do Have Opinions, and they aren’t availing themselves of mine, and that’s cool. This is made all the more comical given how many parents, adults, and teachers have taken me aside to ask me How Did I Get My Kids To Read So Early or, Wait, Kids Can DO That? It’s like I get the recognition something is working, but a constant stream of opinions as to how it Can’t or Won’t.

Since our family is in quite the minority in America by not only “homeschooling” but also not following school-at-home edicts nor centering our parenting in an authoritarian/authoritative fashion, we’re regularly asked to not only defend our very lives but give a treatise or exposition on how Stuff Works, like college. And the law. And free-range kids. In conversations I try to be kindest to the adult in question while being entirely honest (many people who don’t school stay in the closet, so to speak – and there are many compelling reasons to do so). This keeps me relaxed and enjoying the conversation. No, really. But I really do get the vibe that when my children display epic talents or literacy or math skills or social skills I’m looked at as an exceptionally “good mom” (I’ve already written on this), whereas, in the case of questioning and commentary on the lines I received today (Ignorant to Semi-Hostile, with Socially Polite Overtones), I can feel the beady eye on my kids and any, at all, “backwards” or squirellyness or even unusual sartorial expression is received with an arch eyebrow. Whatever.

Anyway, today my son had kids at the door all day long begging him to come out and run the neighborhood. My daughter (after putting finishing touches on her new blog) in her evening frock attended the hospital with me to visit a newborn and new mom, speaking directly and considerately to mom, friend, and hospital staff. Earlier she and her brother cooked and did dishes and laundry with me entirely peaceably, took care of pets, and socialized and assisted at an evening party of my mother’s. It’s not like I’m writing about Performance, I’m just saying, it’s really weird to be considered default=Batshit by so many for doing things that are Entirely Normal and work out really, really well.

skateboarding

turning it into funky science fiction

I’ve returned with some Friday links. As you’re reading this, I am likely intubated and undergoing a surgical procedure! So you’re having more fun than I, most likely (the good news is the procedure might ALSO involve LASERS).

skateboarding

5 minute timelapse; a roadtrip across America:

 
Film: 5 Old-Timey Prejudices That Still Exist In Every Movie from Cracked.com. Cracked is pretty clever much of the time, and this article showcases its smarts. Considering a likely target audience I’m impressed the author didn’t do the obligatory fawning to a certain television and film writer/producer/director too commonly worshipped for what I consider (like the author does) repeat iterations of pseudofeminist waif-fu tendencies. One note on the article – I’m designating an honorary BOO for calling thin women “unnatural” – even if it’s a good guess many Hollywood actresses likely participate in orthorexic behaviors and/or eating disorders and/or dieting and/or heavy-duty workout regimes – and for not being more cautious in purporting an apparent concept of a so-called objective view of how pretty Michelle Rodriguez is (as opposed to a socially- and culturally-prescribed “pretty”/”beautiful”).

Food, food, glorious food! Here is a recipe for a Moist Chocolate-Beet Cake, from David Lebovitz’s blog, adapted from Tender by Nigel Slater.

Family life: Unschooling: An Introduction by Laura at Authentic Parenting. Most my readers have been around long enough to hear, learn from, and/or tolerate my thoughts on and practices regarding life learning, but this is a pretty good 101 article, and I’m glad she posted it.

In a recent blog post Wendy Priesnitz asks, and answers: why does the contemplation of unschooling, or life learning, result in a backlash from many adults, many who are self-named “progressives” (well, that’s what I paraphrase she’s writing about). She writes, ” […] I understand that rejecting long-held beliefs and admitting you’ve been lied to and taken advantage of can take time. And it can be painful. But if you are moving in that direction, please believe that the way to ensure a happy future for your kids is to ensure they have a happy present.”

And here’s one for the ladies. Oh, and the dudes. Y’all should read it. I know nothing about this project – “No One’s The Bitch”, but I’m really liking the concept! Stepmoms/divorced moms etc. are often culturally encouraged to pit themselves against one another. “The master’s tools”, and all that.

A tutorial: for a fishtail skirt (in this case, demonstrated on a small human). My daughter isn’t likely to wear dresses unless they have a lot of character (see: previous) – this might fit the bill.

Mothers & Our Families: Never Perfect, but Always Great at Birth Without Fear. Some lovely thoughts and images.

Finally: WHO SOMETIMES WISHES IT WAS STILL THE 90s?

riding atop a muscular steed, looking all awesome

Friday links! A little intense, a little child/social wellbeing oriented. But also, some great world leader beefcake!

Criminally Confident In Our Kids at Free Range Kids. Lenore writes succinctly about a problem that needs remedying – and that far too many parents risk having experience with.

Unschoolers / life learners! You can participate in Dr. Peter Gray’s survey study of unschooling families (which has been vetted by people I trust, so feel free as far as I’m concerned). You can download the survey from http://www.patfarenga.com/.

Laurie Couture uses strong language about school and teachers but she also has the experience and passion to back that up. If you have a long comment/rebuttal please comment at the source: her recent piece: “What Parents Really Want to Tell Teachers” – in response to a yucky article on CNN I won’t link to here (but you can find easily enough).

It’s Time To Reclaim The M-Word; so, I think I’m going to be reading the books this woman has written. From the article interview:

“There are books galore on how to “deal” with your children, how to control them, make them fit into a routine. There is even one, which has sold over half a million copies, that tells you how to physically punish your child. But understand them? Comfort them? Dirty words.”

Last Wednesday: the anniversary of John Holt’s death. Some great writings and teachings, there:

“…[John Holt believed that] unschooling and homeschooling are self-selecting and self-correcting activities that do not need central authorities to dictate content and standards… [John Holt’s] goal was not to create an insular education movement for children but rather ‘A life worth living and work worth doing—that is what I want for children (and all people), not just, or not even, something called ‘a better education.’” ~ Pat Farenga, Holt Associates

Make: My Magic Baby Mitts. I did! (pictures soon!)

I’ve had a run of people requesting my crumpets recipe, so here it is again in case you missed it.

A Day In The Life Of An Angry Transsexual at Tranarchism. If you’re unfamiliar witht he concept of Microagressions, here’s a good illustration.

Ladies (and, I guess, gentleman), prepare to get all hot and bothered for VLADIMIR PUTIN, ACTION MAN. Question, does Mr. Putin have a sexy bod, the answer is Yes, he’s sixty and looking great. But I am laughing my ass off at the photos like, he’s kind of just posed doing ALL THIS AWESOME SHIT with only slightly different expressions, adjusted slightly as if by claymation (I wish there was one of him DELIVERING THE HELL OUT OF A BABY!!1!). h/t to Marianne who made the comparison to Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things.

Wanda Wulz, cats / photography at All Things Amazing

Quote of the week: “Forgiveness isn’t something we do for others. We do it so we can get well and move on.”

Video of the week: our favorite MLP, Pinkie Pie, losing it juuuuuust a little: