Friday, December 28, 2007

When other women love your husband

Oh dear l-rd, I am one of those women whose husband is adored by every other woman. Here's why:

We run a wellness-focused chiropractic clinic that is very well established in our area. My dh is a GOOD chiropractor, and his patients think he is the best thing since sliced bread. Even now that I don't work in the office, I am okay with this trend because, hey, I agree with those patients.

The only problem presents itself at Christmas time....

You seeeeee, during one week in December, all those lovely ladies (most of whom are over 50) bring my husband fancy confectioneries and baked goods. Alas, he then brings said treats me...And I eat them.

Just days after Christmas (which translates into "Holiday for Fat White Folks" in Swahili....oooh, I just went politically incorrect) I look pregnant, my poor belly is so big!

I think I may have to pay my assistants extra next year just to take those durned brownies home with them!!!

I must now adjourn to the kitchen, as there are some truffles calling my name....

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

I spoke with my sister today…she is eight years older than I and our similarities and differences are always remarkable. She can make me angrier than any other living person, and yet I love her and understand her better than anyone else, as well.

She knows that if she asks me the same question enough times, she’ll finally get the real answer – not that I am a liar, mind you, but because we live so far from one another and speak so infrequently, I tend to give the happy, happy answer to most questions. Today, the question was, “So how’s homeschooling going?” My response, “It’s wonderful.” “It’s great.” “We’re really happy.” “Well, honestly, my friendships are really taking a beating.” Eeeeerrrrt.

I don’t know what direction our lives would have gone had we stayed in America, but since leaving the States, my wonderful husband and I have become weirder and weirder, compared to the Middle America. (This is one of my favorite topics, much illustrated in earlier passages, so I’ll refrain from re-iterating all the hows and whys.) Homeschooling just happens to be a more apparent example of our weirdness and therefore one that comes up frequently in discussion. But in reality, I know that it is our lifestyle that distinguishes us and, on my side if not theirs, has a gross impact on my friendships. Now, if only I can figure out how to explain it…

To sum it up, we live mindfully. I know that we tend to think things through far more than the average person, and I don’t expect everyone to overthink as we do. Moreover, we are in the alternative health care profession (we run a chiropractic wellness clinic and we actually live the way that we preach to our patients), so we end up seeing an awful lot of research that the normal world just doesn’t encounter, so I try not to expect people to make decisions based on those lesser-publicised “discoveries.”

However, being the judgemental cow that I really am (deep down inside) I do expect people to THINK about their choices and not be herded like cattle. And the long and short of my friendship problem is that I am having a harder time maintaining friendships with people who live like veal (my sister will laugh at the tolerance displayed by that rant!!). As my dear, equally magnanimous Mom would say, “God gave you that brain for a reason….”

And now, having exhausted my supply of livestock analogies, and before I offend anyone by my display of Libra-bitchiness, I shall end this entry and go meditate on the virtues of tolerance and love.

My favourite poem

This is the poem I copied for Biggie as a Christmas gift. Just wanted to share:

Look to this day,
For it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence,
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendour of achievement
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.
Such is the salutation to the dawn.
~from the Sanskrit

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Still here, just busy

Haven't had a spare second to blog....I'm doing the same thing as everyone else in the Western world: trying to avoid the mall.

But I found a quote I have to share:

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."
~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991
Yep, I'm a nerd.
Happy holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And back to our regularly scheduled programming

I have been off my schedule this past week: holidays, stuffy nose, crappy weather, etc.

But now I feel like I can return to my virtual world and, seeing as how this is my homeschooling blog, I tho't I would comment on how homeschooling is actually goin'. I finished our first Main Lesson Block just over a week ago, and it was the alphabet; this was totally remedial for Biggie, who has taught herself to read by now, but I felt some dogmatic need to do this block to ensure correct form, etc. Basically, she was bored to tears and bitched daily. We took a week off, to do Christmas stuff, and I resumed yesterday with Math. At this point, I would like to thank Elizabeth, whose Gnomes and Gnumbers tale was far more enchanting than other various math stories I have encountered. I have changed some names to reflect our cultural needs (for instance, her Dismas is our Tane Mahuta), but otherwise, I'm stickin' to her words. Biggie LOVED it! For the first time, she asked for me to continue the lesson past one day's work.

I think this story works for us because it does not have to be slow or stilted. As a Libra who eats books, I have invested in four different curricula to find the right one for us. I use Donna Simmons' books, predominantly; however, I find that her system doesn't speed up very well. And for a child like Biggie, who will simply teach herself if I'm not going fast enough, I am forever riding the fine line between giving too much academic work and allowing her to teach herself with incorrect methods (does that make sense??? It's late!)

Anyway, Elizabeth Foss has provided this lovely tale which can move along at the pace of the child; she incorporates the learning of numbers (we know those: thanks Montessori preschool!) with the tale and it ISN'T remedial. As we create our main lesson books, not only do we learn the processes, but the Quality of Numbers is an "art" lesson in the eyes of my girlies. To that end, I am adding in some memorization -- in this case, number poems found in Path of Discovery, by Eric Fairman. For instance, in creating our Number One page, we will write and learn the following poem:

"I am the Sun and I bear with my might
The Earth by day and the Earth by night.
I hold her fast, and my gifts I bestow
That everything on her may live and grow."

I know that I am still trying to find the right combination for Biggie, and I am hoping that by making each lesson more well-rounded, she find the stimulus she needs without the multi-lesson format that many of my fellow HSers use.

As always, it is my inner work that plagues me. I want to be one of those peaceful, mindful Buddhist parents (you know, the ones you read about but never actually meet). I want to invoke a ho-hum attitude when the kids annoy the crap out of me. I want to see the world through their eyes and not think that Mom is a major killjoy. But I can't. I know that it is also my job to teach them to eat with their mouths closed, and keep their knees together in skirt season, and put their dirty clothes in the laundry pile. And I don't have a song for each of these tasks (but why does, "I'm just a girl who can't say no" come to mind when I think about those skirts???). Biggie asked me today if I just wanted to be comfortable and not pretty (knife in the heart) and all I could do was turn around and comment, "You girls won't even let me go to the loo by myself. When would I have time to put on makeup?" And G-d love Melisa for her advice on waking at 4-5am, but I just can't go there right now. If you succeed, please let me know how!

Last but not least, I hate the mall. I have to say this because it's Christmastime and we aren't major shoppers, but the Post Office resides in the mall, and we have been FOUR times in the past week. Aaargh. I think I really just dislike NZ malls, because there is no place better than South Coast Plaza (think, valet parking, ohhhh yeah) two weeks before Christmas. Errr, plus there is this whole matter that I would be Jewish if only my daughters didn't have to be Jewish too (long story, suffice to say that I refuse to make my children's religious decision for them). I did make the effort of going to the nursery and buying a living tree of the same specimen that my Mom had when I was growing up (we're not Pine people)...the only problem is, it can only live inside for ONE WEEK, which, coupled with the fact that the Piano now lives in the corner formerly assigned to the Hannukah bush, allows for very little Christmas spirit. BUT, my Nature Table Rocks! Living poinsetta, Mother Earth is holding a mini-present (how very secular, but cute) and my tree has been converted into a wee Pine, decorated by beaded strand made by the girls. Now if only, I could find a place for the real tree......hmmmm.

Before I close, I would like to say farewell to Melody, whose blog had been beautiful and soul-lifting. I shall look forward to the day that she recommences. I can only hope that the sealant does a fine job in their new home.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Mommy Clause is coming to town....

This year, not only am I Santa, but the Elves as well! I am in the midst of Christmas creating, finishing those projects that must be sent to the States, and beginning my work on a few odds and ends for the girls. The problem is that I keep finding such inspiration on the 'net! First, I was just going to knit some slippers, but DH said that he has never enjoyed walking in knitted slippers and then I stumbled onto Allsorts' Elf Clogs.....add two pairs of slippers and a hunt for 100% wool felt to my list.

Then I decided that I wanted to give Biggie a sewing case....

Oh, and since Littlie is receiving Pico the Gnome, why not sew a little Pico to go with it? But Biggie loves Tiptoes, and surely she would like a set with Tiptoes, Pine Cone, Pepper Pot, and Jeremy Mouse (Thanks, patience! You're mouse was the inspiration for this one!).

On the one hand, I love being able to create the things myself. One the other hand, I wonder, unresentfully, if my kids will ever understand the amount of quality, work, money, time,.....that has gone into their possessions. Biggie's sewing case, for instance, is made of hand-dyed, 100% wool felt, and some crazy-expensive wool flannel for the needles, plus a real set of embroidery scissors, not just junky kid versions. All of this stuff was slightly problematic to source, cost way more than the common versions of same, and then sewn by me, for her. In truth, I don't begrudge the time spent, nor the money, but since my children are growing up with quality materials, will they ever actually see the easy/cheap versions of things and one day appreciate the efforts made by us, their parents. I know that this question is very much my ego speaking, and that I really should want no recognition, but it is nice to think that the time will come when my girls understand that we chose to provide fewer gifts, and make those gifts something that will last.

This transitions into an oft-discussed topic in our home: what kind of parents will our children be? Will they rebel, or will they be hippie like us? When Littlie is 23, will she call me and say that she is moving 6000km away, and will I be okay with it? I only hope she takes her sewing case with her.....