Friday, August 30, 2013

7 boring quick takes: first week of school edition

It's possible that our first week of school has been a success. I remain cautiously optimistic about even getting through today in a moderately industrious manner. This morning Elphine came down to breakfast carrying her school bin and announced that she had already done a bunch of stuff. She named what it was but I couldn't really hear what she was saying due to me not being fully awake.
I'm pretty sure I enjoy homeschooling but its hard for me to know right at this moment due to not being fully awake.
Pretty sure I'm not fully awake because I dreamt much of the night I was being prank called as I was having to repaint my living room an 80s like burgundy. So exhausted from all the talking and painting all night and then nothing to show for it.
The first day of school (Tuesday) I was harangued into making for breakfast what I made last Christmas--some sort of Egg in Ramikan Tapas. 
You sauté green pepper and bacon and corn and some other stuff, I don't know what, and put it in the Ramikan with a little cream and then you crack an egg in, put a sprinkle of cheese on, and bake it. Pretty good. Relatively low on the Complain O Meter.
I think I've fallen into a tick of complaining all the time about how the children complain all the time. They don't actually complain and whine that much because they're not allowed to and my tolerance for it is at an all time low. I would count just not eating the whole egg as complaining about it, or, asking if you have to do the whole page of copy work counts as complaining, even if you ask with a smile. Obviously those kinds of things happen all the time, but I've categorized them in my own mind as a whine and the offender is met with one of those little Dr. Evil 'Zptf, sounds.
It's so nice and serene in my school room when there's no one in there doing school. Me and Elphine's Cat, Frances, we just so enjoy the quiet and the clean.
And I'm really enjoying that Elphine has made breakfast two mornings in a row and that Alouicious made lunch yesterday. This year is going to be different because of the overall greater age and competence of the children. For instance, I was finally able to put up the nice calendar low on the wall knowing that Marigold and Fatty Lumpkin could be rationally persuaded to leave it alone. And I can say things like, 'sweep the floor' and it might be basically swept, maybe. It's sort of amazing. I haven't experienced anything like it in ages. And then, of course, the substance of the work is more interesting to me this year. After so many years of this
it's so interesting to be working with a child who has this
Bin full of interesting things to read and write and learn. And now, strangely, it's 8:46 and everyone is working busily away, dressed and in their right minds, and I am sitting on the couch in a heavy sweater with a vat of tea Still Trying To Wake Up. For the love of all that is good and holy, somebody get me a coffee bean to chew on or something!

Monday, August 26, 2013

there it went, whoosh

After celebrating my birthday for nearly a whole month
(Best Birthday Present Ever from a wonderful friend who has so devoted herself to reading this blog that she can quote it on a meme!)
and throwing myself a little party
I finally let go of the dream and started school yesterday.
Boy, too bad everything was out of focus. Stupid me with my smudgy fingers.
Day One was charming. 
So now on to Day Two. Also, I still have quite a stack ahead of me to get ready for the start of regular Sunday School. So it's possible that blogging will continue light and fairly non existent until I actually Finish That Task, sob.
But I'll be back. Certainly there's a whole lot of food I meant to write about before it disappeared into the dark shadow that is my terrible memory. Cheerio!

Monday, August 19, 2013

camping on hunting island

After exhausting ourselves with so much resting in the Shenandoah we pressed south for something like ten hours to Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina. I've always believed in the back edges of my soul that the south is a place of fascination and romance, what with the lichen covered trees and the heat and the butter laden food. Certainly, the longer we drove, the more desirous I was of acquiring for myself a peach--well, more than one--and adding to it butter and brown sugar along with heat, lots and lots of heat. Spending three nights did nothing to cast a shadow over my previous hopes and impressions. Probably if I lived there reality would ruin everything.

It was a very long drive--very very long, especially since when I initially plotted out the trip, I thought it would only be 8 hours. The difference between 8 and 10 for a car full of children turned out to be significant. Of course, stupidly, I promised over and over, with tears even, that No Other Drive would be longer than this one and then it turned out that almost every other drive was. What a failure I am, on so many occasions, to my children.

Fortunately, they recovered almost immediately after escaping from their prison of luxury (the car continues to be so comfortable) and despair (clearly we would never get to leave it).
Our tent takes a total of 4 1/2 minutes to assemble and anchor to the ground. We notched it in between these wonderfully exotic trees and cast about for a loo, which again, was Much Much Too Far Away.
The Peaches
The Water Spigot
The Baby In a Tub of Water
The Sitting Down for a Few Minutes and checking Facebook for the First Time in Days
The Feast
The Much Needed Vat of Vegetables After Accidentally Neglecting to Eat Them in Virginia
The Cessation of Whining For a Few Blessed Minutes
The Incredibly Beautiful and Vast Ocean

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

camping in the shenendoah

I've always wanted to go to the shenendoah valley ever since I heard that wonderful song which unfortunately I have totally forgotten. We spent three days in the Shenendoah State Park, looking down over the immense valley, our high up camp accessed only by a very winding road over which every child was constantly threatening to be sick. 

Our particular site was steps away from the actual, for real, Appaichan Trail. As we "hiked" it (that is walked liesurly and gently along, stopping every few seconds to shout at the woodland creatures and the view, and also to collect acorns along the way) the first day I felt strongly that if every governor would really Hike The Appalchan Trail the country would be in possibly more tolerable shape. It's so beautiful, the views so stunning, not to mention the forest itself arrayed in green and light and shadow. Matt has lots of pictures on his phone and someday maybe I'll get them off.
Fatty Lumpkin always wanted to stir the pot. When a person said no to her she would leap back, shake her head vigorously and stuff both her fat dirty paws in her wide mouth.
Not surprisingly, I quickly wearied of the endless roasting of marshmallow and the sticky wads of chocolate and everything in everyone's hair, of Fatty Lumpkin's siren wail when she got dirty at all. But I basically kept a brave and happy face until the last night of the week when tragically all the sticks were too burnt and the marshmallows too stuck together and we had to make chocolate pudding instead.
More interesting to me was this "stew" which I reworked into various forms over the three days in Virginia. I think by the third night it tasted pretty delicious, especially with a thick pork chop underneath.
Oh Shenendoah, how I loved thee and hope someday to return but with a little domed wooden camper with a perfectly arranged spice rack in the back and my own source of water and positioned much much much closer to the loo.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

catch up

Binghamton is welcoming us back whole heartedly with a torrential down pour this morning. Actually, we've been here through the weekend which was beautiful and sunny and cool. But as we drove over the Susquehanna we noticed how high and brown and rushing it was. Clearly it has been raining and so it is no surprise that it is raining now. Though 'raining' is to light and domestic a word. My dog, Ash(erbanapal) just considered the quality of the outdoors with a sardonic eye and reconfigured himself back under the blankets of my bed. I guess an actual walk with me dragging him along on the leash in the rain is in our immediate future. Still, he is a kindred soul with good and right feelings about the weather. I will eventually forgive him.

The rain is providential, unhappily. Were it not for the wet I would have a hard time not being out in the garden for the whole day, when really, I have to go out and face down the six suitcases strewn over the garage floor and start putting the school room together against next Tuesday, which is the day circled in wide red marker as the beginning of school. 'The beginning of school!' you say, 'when all around you are eking out the last of the beautiful summer weather?' 
'Exactly,' say I, 'stop thinking its going to be summer this year and just go back to work.'

It is my fervent desire and intention to blog lightly about the last month, particularly the food, and also to take pictures of the beautifully gorgeous new floor in my kitchen and school room, and also to take pictures of Gladys' new hair cut and relate the tragic events which led to its sheering (three packs of gum, three 9 hour drives, one sad and angry mother), and perhaps, if time stretches itself to be longer than it really is, to write about the saving character of God who preserved and protected us along the way. But also, don't hold me to this ideal list. The fact is that the pile of work ahead of me is not in proportion to my energy nor the number of my days and if you find that I  am blogging it is because I am failing at the works God has prepared for me to walk in.

All that said, I'm so happy to be home and so happy that we got to go away and so happy that God is so constantly nice to me, though I deserve his wrath. And now I will gather my will together and go see how much cereal has been lathered over the beautiful floor.