Thursday, July 31, 2008

Socks, socks, socks

I know, I've neglected my blog lately. I guess I'm taking the summer off mostly. We've done a lot of really cool things this summer and been very busy and had lots of fun, but I probably won't even try to catch up on everything. I might try to post some summer pictures to my flickr account.

As you know if you read my blog. . . does anyone read it? I'm not sure. . . I've been knitting lately. I'm in the process now of making hand knit socks for everyone in our family (immediate, that is). It's been a blast. Socks are really a miracle of craftsmanship (or was it craftswomanship?). . . the toe, the gusset, turning the heel, the cuff. Who was the genius that came up with this? It's been amazing to learn how to make these. So, here they are so far.

First, my "monkey" socks. Made from this pattern: Aren't they gorgeous?

Next, we have Jayda's socks, "looking glass girl socks." Made from this pattern:

And then we have Naomi's "frog prince girl socks." I really need to take a picture of these in better light. . . pattern is here: nice girls website

Finally, I'm working on some really cool socks for Bobby that are made from some killer yarn whose color is based on the painter/artist/architect Hundertwasser's work "The Road to Socialism" (or "Die StraBe zum Sozialismus") Here they are, aren't they awesome? I'll post more pictures when I'm done.
And here's the painting the yarn is based on. By the way, Hundertwasser was an interesting dude. You can read a little about him here: wikipedia is one of my favorite sites.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lace Ribbon Scarf

This pattern was FUN. Thanks

This pattern got me through the fun, hard work, hell that was camp. Happy b-day BFF!


Hola! First post in June and it's almost July. Oh well, I'm B.W.O. ! Here's some pictures from camp. Second time for me, third time for the girls. Not so great fun for me, a blast for the girls. Who knows, maybe someday I'll enjoy it more.

More pictures here. .

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How to purl into back of second YO.

Yes, I know that knitting has taken over my blog. Forgive me, unknitty types, I'll try to post more for you in the future. Since I get quite a few visitors from Ravelry, I thought I would try ("try" being the key word) to explain something that I could not for the life of me get when I recently made Kelly Maher's Ribbed Lace Bolero, how to purl into the back of the second YO. I finally had to go to my LYS, (local yarn store for all those not in the know), the Haus of Yarn so they could show me how. Of course, being the autodidact I am (I flatter myself), I tried in vain researching on the web, looking at books, knitting and ripping out, before I finally (after three days, three days, people) admitted that I needed help from a professional. Keep in mind that I am a new knitter, so this is for all the new self-taught knitters who have no freaking clue how to purl into the back of the second yarn over. Let me know if this helps.

Ok, the right side is k2tog, yo, yo, ssk. On the wrong side, you are supposed to purl 1, purl into 1st yo, purl into back of second yo, purl. The part that got me tripped up is purling into back of 2nd yo.

This is me purling into first yo:

Then, I am left with this, the second yo, how the heck do I purl into the back of this thing???:

Well, go up and under kinda like this, see that little stitch going around the back up there right above my thumb nail? Put your right needle in from the back and then. . .

Maneuver your needle (this will get easier with time) so it goes through the loop going around the left needle. In other words, that part of the yarn on the left of my needle on the picture up there should be on the right of the needle like the picture below, you just kind of have to scoot it over to the right a bit to get it through that loop.Now purl, I swear, it works.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Ribbed Lace Bolero

Saw this on Ravelry and knew I must make it. As with everything I've knit so far (not much) it was a learning experience to make. I learned how to rib, ssk, purl into the back of a yo (had to go to yarn store and get them to teach me), mattress stitch. Yeah for knitting and life-long learning! I'm ready for the next challenge.

Oh, here's the pattern in case your not on Ravelry yet: Kelly's pattern

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Midlife Crisis

And because I've always wanted to be an exotic beauty. . .

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

See more pictures here!

Pictures of The Farm, Jayda's birthday, and knitting.

Spring's flickr

I Knit!

I haven't been posting much because I've been busy. . . . knitting. I've knitted before once, a scarf, that is made from really cute yarn, but is a disaster, really. Well, here is my mother's day present to myself that I've been working on for the past 10 days.

Also, the girls have discovered Webkinz, so no more computer time for Mama. Oh well, books on tape and knitting, here I come!

P.S. It's a peace shawl.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This is what an 8-year-old looks like.

Happy Birthday, Jayda!!! Born on April 26th, 2000. Bubbly, vibrant, energetic, lovey. My sweet Jayda.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bill Maher's New Rules

This post is rated "R" because it is Bill Maher and from HBO. We just happened to catch this the other night and we laughed our @$$es off.

For those of you who didn't get that second part, it's worth spelling it out:

"Referring to voters who America has left behind economically as bitter isn't an insult, in fact it's a compliment acknowledging that they're smart enough to understand what's happening to them. The hopeful. . . now those are some idiots. So what separates the bitter (my people) from the idiots? If you think the Democrats are going to take away your Bible, you're an idiot. If you think they're going to take away your gun, you're an armed idiot. And if you think they're going to take away your gun and give it to a Mexican to kill your god, you're Bill O'Reilly.

Now at the end of last week when Barack Obama ignited the "Bittergate Scandal," you would have thought he would have scaled Mt. Rushmore, dick-slapped Jefferson in the face, and spray painted "God Damn America" over Lincoln! But he wasn't lying, the truth is that religion, and guns, and hating gays, and immigrants are crutches that people lean on. So are fast food, crystal meth, child beauty pageants. . . but we don't have time to tackle all of America's addictions in one night.

So let's focus on the big thing, that the people who claim to be the non-elitists, are the people who constantly shift tax burdens to the people who fire you, to YOU. John McCain voted to repeal the estate tax, voted against raising the minimum wage, has no health care plan, and is fine with keeping the working class in Iraq for 100 years. But he's a real man of the people. And the President went to Harvard and Yale and inherited your country from his dad, but he's not an elitist because he can neither read nor write. What does it take to be an elitist these days, anyway? They wear shoes? They don't buy their groceries at the gas station? Their dog as a name and their truck doesn't? You know who's bitter in America? I am. Because shit-kickers voted twice for a retarded guy they wanted to have a beer with and everybody else had to suffer the consequences!" --- Bill Maher and his writers

Oh, and btw, this is supposed to be funny! Laugh!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This week in pictures.

For more pictures, check out: , my new flickr account.

Jayda, skating at Bellevue community center where the girls take painting. Naomi.
Feeding ducks and geese at Shelby Park.

Monday, April 14, 2008

$3 trillion dollar shopping spree!

You can go on a virtual 3 trillion dollar shopping spree! Check it out. It's actually pretty fun and hard to spend $3 trillion.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Speaking of "High Fallutent" !!!!

Living it up in Nashvegas, baby. Ooh la la. P.S. See previous post in order to better understand the meaning of "high fallutent."

Growing Without Schooling and John Holt and Social Change

Yesterday, while browsing at our nearby library branch, I happened upon a bound copy of Growing Without Schooling (GWS), issues #1-12. Probably anyone who unschools, and probably a lot of people who homeschool, know that GWS was a newsletter published by John Holt in the very formative years of the homeschooling movement. I have read many of John Holt's books, I even own several, thanks to local and online used bookstores. I love his work. These copies of his newsletter are like jewels, they include much of his correspondence with people who were homeschooling then (in the 1970's when it was almost unheard of) and their struggles with local government and their own communities. It is nothing to take your kid out of school now in 2008, but then it invited not only criticism from just about everyone, but many parents were jailed and child custody was threatened.

John Holt was not only an early proponent of homeschooling, but most importantly (at least to me), the "unschooly" brand of homeschooling, trusting that children have innate curiosity to learn without coercion. That's right, not just "school at home on your kitchen table" homeschooling. In fact, the name he gave to what he was proposing--taking your kids out of school-- was "unschooling." It wasn't until later that it (taking kids out of school) obtained the name "homeschooling" and "unschooling" became a subcategory of sorts. John Holt was truly a revolutionary in the education movement and I am so thankful for him.

When John first published GWS in August of 1977, he had already written quite a few books on education reform in the context of schools, How Children Fail, How Children Learn, What Do I Do Monday?, among many others. According to HoltGWS. com and as evidenced by the change in subject matter of his writing, Holt eventually decided that schools could not be reformed and spent his remaining years thinking about, supporting, and writing about places where children could learn without conventional schooling (home). The GWS Newsletters were the beginning of the unschooling grassroots movement and his attempt to put his newer ideas into practice.

I'm going to share a bit from issue number one, from the book I checked out from the library. This book is currently out of print, and I looked it up on amazon and abebooks and it currently sells for about $250.00 used. Some of the issues are archived here, but not this one. I don't think John Holt would mind if I shared this with you, and he probably would encourage it, it's pretty inspiring, not only in an unschooling context, but in the context of social change, which to me feels very important in this day and age. In issue No. 1, August, 1977, Holt writes "On Social Change":

"In starting this newsletter, we are putting into practice a nickel and dime theory about social change, which is that important and lasting social change always comes slowly, and only when people change their lives, not just their political beliefs or parties. It is a process that takes place over a period of time. At one moment in history, with respect to a certain matter, 99% of a society think and act one way; 1% think and act very differently. Sometime later, that 1% minority becomes 2%, then 5%, then 10, 20, 30, until someday it becomes the dominant majority, and the social change has taken place. Some may ask, "When did this social change take place?" or "When did it begin?" There is no answer to these questions, except perhaps to say that any social change begins the first time one person thinks of it. "

"I have come to understand, finally, and even to accept, that in almost everything I believe and care about I am a member of a minority in my own country, in most cases a very small minority. This is certainly true of all my ideas about children and education. We who do not believe in compulsory schooling, who believe that children want to learn about the world, are good at it, and can be trusted to do it without much adult coercion or interference, are surely not more than 1% of the population and perhaps much less than that. And we are not likely to become the effective majority for many years, probably not in my lifetime, perhaps not in the lifetime of any reader of GWS."

"This does not trouble me any more, as long as those minorities of which I am a member go on growing. My work is to help them grow. If we can describe the effective majority of our society, with respect to children or schools or any other question, as moving in direction X and ourselves, the small minority, as moving in direction Y, what I want to do is to find ways to help people who want to move in direction Y, to move in that direction, rather than run after the great X-bound army shouting at them, "Hey you guys, stop, turn around, you ought to be heading in direction Y!" In areas they feel are important, people do not change their ideas, much less their lives, because someone comes along with a bunch of arguments to show that they are mistaken, and even wicked, to think or do as they do. Once in a while, we may have to argue with to X-bound majority, to try to stop them from doing a great and immediate wrong. But most of the time, as a way of making real and deep changes in society, this kind of shouting and arguing seems to me a waste of time."

--I feel very lucky to have had John Holt and other revolutionaries go before me. They have made my way much easier and have freed me to question and examine what education, learning, and living mean to me and my family. I have the hope that we are at the beginnings of a revolution, we're at least at a full 1% now, don't you think?!?

What the H E double hockey sticks???

My BFF, Crystal, was in New Orleans this past weekend for a convention, and she took this picture. Yes, that guys shirt actually says, "Ask me why you deserve hell." And yes, that sign does say government recipients, "high fallutent", environmentalists, sports nuts, loud-mouthed women, democrats, and freeloaders are going to hell, among many others. Evidently, these people were serious, she said they were handing out "Jesus Loves You" pamphlets. . . Have people lost their freaking minds??? Do they really think that this message works? This is the saddest and/or funniest thing I have seen in a while. Your thoughts???

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hanging out, enjoying life.

It's been really nice here lately. Very springy, lots of rain, lots of beautiful, mild days. We were hanging out on the porch yesterday and one of the girls found a piece of glass in the grass most likely from a Christmas decoration. We had the old-fashioned, big glass bulbs hanging on the house for Christmas. Anyway, there was some discussion about whether it was a piece of clear plastic or glass, I was leaning toward it being glass and was really glad it got picked up before someone stepped on it barefooted.

Anyway, the following conversation ensued. Naomi said something like, "Well, it looks like glass when you break it, it sounds like glass. . . " and various other reasons were stated as to why it might be glass or plastic. So she said, "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck." And Jayda retorts, "Well, what if it's a platypus????" LOL.

They were laying out on a blanket in the front yard yesterday, looking cute in their new dresses and I asked them what they were doing. "Just talking." Although they might not admit it, they are really good friends. And they will kill me for saying that.

Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Unschooling Geography and the Bicentennial Mall

A little Tennesee state geography, a picnic, some dancing, and just good old-fashioned fun on a beautiful spring day at the bicentennial mall.

Ha! I am a yankee.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Long Live the Dalai Lama!

Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. China, you should be ashamed. Again.
"World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not the absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of human compassion."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy First Day of Spring!!!

Hello all. Hope you had a wonderfully happy first day of Spring. The girls went to Aunt Susan's last night to spend the night since she is on Spring Break and I got the day to myself. I barely got anything done except: I mowed the front yard (couldn't get the mower to restart to do the side or back), and I went to the bank, and got groceries. Woo-hoo. Those are major accomplishments for my lazy azz lately.

I did some reading online today and found this really cool website and managed to request a lot of books from the library. Here it is, a website on my #1 interest, alternative education, with lots of book suggestions: The Education Revolution.

And speaking of a revolution, I was inspired by these words in an interview with Matt Hern, an alternative educator and a revolutionary guy in this interview on Rise Out!

Questioner: "What sort of suggestions do you have for families who want a quality education for their children, but neither have the time nor money? Perhaps the parent or parents are busy working job(s) to make ends meet."

Matt Hern: "Start talking. Read everything. Trust your heart. Don’t take shit. Stay with your kids. Don’t let em be fed Ritalin or any other grim bio-psychiatric crap. Trust your best instincts. Ask ‘what will it take for my kid to thrive’at every turn. Trust your kids. Listen to them carefully: you are capable of far more than you know, we all are. There is nothing more important than raising our kids: do what it takes to do it right. Listen to your kids’ friends. Think up crazy, ridiculous and foolish plans…things you have always dreamed of and do them. Consider how you want to live after the revolution and start living like that now. Quit whatever you’re doing this afternoon and go build a fort, run on the beach, go to the library, play hockey with your kid."

Cool, huh? Might have to change my quote at the top of this page.

I found out about Matt Hern through Jacki, homeschool coordinator for The Farm School, where I am, ahem, faculty (the at-home kind, anyway!). She recommended listening to this webcast from the radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge, entitled "Learning Outside the Box" <--linked here. If you only want to listen to Matt Hern, go to about minute 23:00 or so to hear his interview. Thanks Jacki, loved the interview. I love the idea of democratic schools and am now considering a move to Vancouver or Eugene (you'll understand if you listen!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5 Years in Iraq: The Cost of War

3,991 U.S. troops killed.
29,451 U.S. troops wounded.
1,031 amputees (U.S. troops).
30% of returning troops have symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
20% have full blown Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
*** above info from clip below***

An estimated 1,189,173 Iraqi's killed (reference).

Total Cost to date: Over $500,000,000,000, some estimates are higher.
According to the American Friends Service Committee (Quaker) the Iraq War costs $720,000,000 a day. $720 million equals 84 new elementary schools, or 12,478 elementary school teachers, or 34,904 four year scholarships for university students, or 163,525 people with healthcare, or 423,529 children with healthcare, or 6,482 families with homes, or 1,274,336 homes with renewable energy. Take your pick.

Why are we in Iraq? I'm sorry to say: Oil, and because our leaders see Iraq as a way to make money. See: The Real Reason We're in Iraq.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Barack O'bama wishes you a Happy St. Patty's Day!

Had to pass this on:

How to Make a Bunny Hat, part II

I wish I could go back and count all the hits I've had for my previous post "How to Make a Bunny Hat !" Hello Jamaica, Pakistan, Germany, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Spain, France, Austria, Finland, and Australia! Hope I could be of help! And don't be afraid to leave a comment. I would love to see some pictures of your bunny hats!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Thing of Beauty and Grace

Jayda has been taking ballet at the Centennial Arts Activity Center. She has been very lucky to be able to take dance there. When I signed her up for the class, I had no idea how good the dance training was, I just knew that it was very affordable and sponsored by Metro Parks. Last night was her last class and parents got to come watch. The school is really professional, and it is very classic ballet training (keep in mind this is coming from someone who never took ballet. . . not that I didn't want to!). Jayda has really enjoyed it and wants to continue. She has a dancer's body and is very graceful. Ask anyone who knows her, she has always been very active (from birth) and athletic.

Bar work, evidently very important to the ballerina's training, they spend a lot of time on this. She still has a baby's face.
Oh, so graceful and beautiful.
Courtsey. . .
I'm so proud!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Two Rivers Park

We had a great turnout for our homeschoolers group today. It was a beautiful day, in the 60's. Funny, because over last weekend we had about 4 inches of snow and it was freezing cold. That's March for ya!

Naomi was in heaven cause she had a buddy to read Manga with!
Jayda and her crew worked on filling a tunnel with sand. Wheew, that was hard work!