Friday, February 8, 2013

Part of the educational journey

My children currently attend a performing arts public charter school.  Prior to them attending this school, they home schooled for a few years.  What I mostly taught was how to learn and an enjoyment for learning.  When each of them went back to school they were ahead of other 7th graders in some areas and behind in others.  Since then, they have caught up where they were behind.  My son likes it there, well enough.  He has friends, passes his classes, and enjoys the arts.  This story, is not about him.

My daughter has felt unhappy, academically, since she went back to school.   Many, many things have happened that have caused this and I don't feel the need to detail these, because the bottom line is, she feels like she is being held back.  Not so much from the teachers as from the other students. She learns something, but has to wait days for everyone else to learn it before she can move on to the next thing. Another issue with the other students is that most of them don't really want to learn.  They try to sidetrack the teachers and often succeed.  My daughter would rather be doing something else than sit in the classroom with people who don't even want to be there.  She would rather be learning.  I do not blame her.  I also understand where the other kids are coming from, because I was one of them.  I hated school and would have done anything not to work.  So, I can see everyone's side and no one is to blame.  It just happens that this child of mine is precocious and needs to be in a very different academic setting than most of us. 

She has taken her life and her education into her own hands.  We have been talking about alternative options for a long time. Last year when we began this discussion, I asked her to try one more year, her freshman year, at her school.  People told us high school would be better.  Unfortunately, that was not the case for her, so we have moved onto the next plan.

When she was home schooling, about age 10 or 11 she started learning about Japan. She began learning the language using different computer programs and books. She would pour over books and websites about the country, its history and culture.  3 years ago she started researching study abroad programs and reading blogs of students abroad.

This past fall she applied for a yearlong study abroad in Japan program, but it was a last minute thing and she didn't get in. We did learn a little about the application process.  This was useful because we ended up applying to many programs.

Since September 2012 we (and I say we because parents have a lot of work to do too) visited 4 private high schools and 1 early admission college. She is applying to 2 of those schools. Simon's Rock College and the Stoneleigh-Burnham School, which is a private all-girls school. She is also applying to a study abroad program in Germany for a full school year and from a different organization she is applying to study abroad this summer in Japan.

Each and every school/program has its own application process, including its own essays to write, interviews to be had, its own test to take (in one case) and its own scholarship to apply for. She can not go to any of these places if she does not get a full or almost full scholarship. That is why I encouraged her to apply to so many different options. I do believe she will be accepted into at least one program, but I don't know if we'll get the money for it.

Had I fully known how much work and pressure it would be on her, when we began the process, I don't think I would have encouraged her to apply to so many places.  I had no idea what we were getting into (even after the first Japan study abroad application).  Somehow, she has managed to keep up her grades, continue with her extracurricular activities, and get the applications done.  We still have one more to finish, but after Feb. 23, all we will have left to do is wait.

My personal hope is that she gets to go to Japan for the summer and then comes home and begins her college education.  That is my dream for her. We do have a backup plan if none of the options for the next school year pan out...home school.   At least for a year and begin the Simon's Rock process all over again.  Whatever happens, I'm sure she will be happy.  She is beautiful and smart and amazing.  I am honored to be witness to her life.  

I started this by talking about both of my children and I'd like to end it that way.  I have always thought of them as two very different, very unique people and we (my husband and I) have always treated them that way. They each have a different course their lives will take.  I am blessed to have them in my life.  I know they will be successful in whatever they choose to do.  I am happy to help them accomplish their dreams.  

Here are links to some of the places and programs I talked about.  If the link doesn't work, copy and paste:
Bard College at Simon's Rock:
Stoneleigh-Burnham School:
AFS study abroad:
YFU study abroad:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sexy - My Latest Vehicle

I love Sexy.  Well, I love the idea of Sexy.  She is actually quite annoying, as I am approximately 1 inch too short to drive her.  I have blind spots, big ones.  But this is all ok.  Why?  Because that just makes sense for Sexy.  She is, "bigger on the inside".  This is how she got her name.  And I think of her all the time, in the color blue, not the black that currently envelopes her.  Of course there is the "skirt" that would be going out instead of under, though I worry that would make her loose some mpg.  But no worry.  It's only a day dream.  She would have a stencil on the door.   She would have a light on top.  Inside she would have golden lights on the floors and walls and ceiling. I'd even have a bumper sticker that said "It's bigger on the Inside".  Oh yes.  This is how I envision my 2006 Scion Xb.  Just today I realized she needed a compass.  But first I needed to consult pictures of Numbers 9 and 10's consul to see if she had one.  I feel like she did, for irony's sake.  I've also spent hours perusing items that don't exist.  Like a TARDIS magnet...does not exist.  But a TARDIS bobble head does.  It can go on top of thin computer monitors.  So, I thought I'd get one for my car.  But I haven't yet. I really am going to get the lights.  Just you wait.  
If I think about my new to me car as Sexy and see her through my mind's eye, I love her!  I just don't want to let go of this daydream, or I might find her flaws and see her for what she is, a car.  I couldn't bear that.  To me, she's the TARDIS in disguise.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicken Varieties

This post is for the chicken loving nerd in me.  Did you think I could just leave the last post as is, without even telling you what kind of hens are on their way?  So, if all goes well, our flock will consist of:

3 Red Stars
2 Rhode Island Reds
3 Barred Plymouth Rocks (or just Barred Rock as most people call them)
3 Australorps
2 Speckled Sussex 
2 Easter Eggers

Some of these we have lived with before and know how wonderful they are and others will be new for us.  I tried to make it so that all the birds are hearty and good layers and then the next important thing was to have a colorful flock.  I love that they all look different.  This will be fun!!!!

If you are interested in seeing what they look like is a great place to see and learn about the different varieties. 

Spring is Just Around the Corner

I just ordered 15 day old layers to arrive on April 16.  That will give me till the middle of May to take down the old coop and put up a new one.  I am so excited.  Living in the country is beautiful, but I could be living anywhere and live the way we have been.  Only, there would be a lot less driving if we lived closer to things.  So, to make living in the country "worth it" to me, I had to get the hens.  I know I could have a few if we lived in a more populated area, but I like having a flock.  Next, I'm going to figure out if we could have sheep.  Of course there are other people living here, so I guess I need to find out if they would care.  

Another exciting thing we are doing is, brewing beer with some friends.  We have two batches going and we'll make a third next week.  Since we all love drinking beer, we thought we should make it ourselves.  In the long run it saves money and it'll be one more thing we do for ourselves.  

I've been wanting to grow hops, so I think the next thing I'll do is start researching how.  My current garden was, as my kids might say, an epic fail last year.  I'm hoping it will go better this year.  If I could just get it planted, I think it will be fantastic.  I made the design myself and I really want to see if it works.  Its a companion garden, everything in it supports the growth of everything else.  This time of year, when its cold, and still dark, I have discovered, as so many others have, planning for the spring is a great way to get through it. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I wrote this about a year ago.  I'm choosing to share it now.  I still feel this
but now, I can be honest.   I can tell you.  This is more a spoken work than
a poem, but I need to share here and now. 


My heart hurts.

It bangs so hard in my chest –
Every day –
 just about all day, the only time I don’t notice is when I’m doing something very physical,  
  like…moving rocks.

I can’t believe I’m not in the hospital.

My heart hurts and bangs so hard it’s as if the whole world can hear and see it pounding there. 

I look sometimes –
but I can’t see it with my seeing eyes. 

But sometimes I can see –
 with those other eyes –
my mind’s eyes –
 pushing my skin, my breasts, my ribs up just a bit –
 I can see it –
 I can hear it –
 beating –
 so loud.

Sometimes I’m surprised I’m heard when I speak.

Sometimes I’m surprised to hear words at all for my heart and my stomach seem to migrate to my throat –
often –
making breathing and speaking a rather labored affair. 

All that banging and constricting takes up so much room.

Will it ever stop? 

Will it lessen?

Or will I just become accustomed to this unusual bodily arrangement of parts?

An alien to my body. 

This body of heartache and grief –
 I am forced to dwell in –
part of,  yet separate.

A loved one said “Perhaps the pain is keeping you here.  Without it you would just float away.”

Perhaps that is right.

Perhaps pain is a friend, waking me up –
 to life. 

For surely, alive is what I feel –
or present at the least –
here and now –
 the colors so loud –
 the scent of everything sweet and foul upon the air –
 and the pain so always present,  keeping me
tethered to now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

This is huge.  I cannot sit quietly by.  I am the 99%.  I am out in the streets.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I recently received a petition to ask the congress or the president or someone in power to forgive student loan debt.  I think that is utterly ridiculous.  As long as the system stays the same, those loans need to be paid back so other young people can get them as well.  If no one pays, where will the loans for the new freshman come from?  How will next year’s seniors finish school?  Unless the system goes to one like England has, where anyone who is a citizen can go to school for free.  Then I would agree that we should forgive all the loans.  Until then, there are some things that ought to be left alone. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jerry my Phone Gnome

So the other day, my phone stopped working properly. By that, I mean, I could no longer hear the person on the other end of the line, but he could still hear me. I found this out, when I finally got the speaker phone to turn on and I was told how annoying this was getting. This is spoken by my very patient husband. It only took 3 or 4 calls to him before I realized something was amiss and another 2 to figure out how to get the speaker on before he hung up again.

The reason things like this happen to my phone is Jerry. Jerry is my phone gnome. Jerry wreaks all kinds of havoc with my phones. Yes, that’s plural. Jerry seems to travel from phone to phone enjoying my company and watching my frustrated antics as each subsequent phone ceases to operate properly. Of course Jerry isn’t actually a gnome, but he hates it when I call him that. Since this is the only way I have found to get back at Jerry and cause him some annoyance, I find myself taking the opportunity every chance I can get. Jerry seems to want to play at least once a week and sometimes every day. Jerry is quite unpredictable. But I have grown to love Jerry over the years and I can’t imagine a life on the cell phone without Jerry there to cause static, dropped words and calls, screwed up speakers and of course the wrong dial.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Agnes Under the Big Top: A review

We saw Agnes Under the Big Top last night at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, CT. My favorite part, was the set. This design was truly amazing and the show is worth seeing just for that reason. It seemed so simple and yet did so much. There were so many moving parts it fun to watch. They did a great job of creating the subway station. I loved the platform signs that showed the scene titles. The subway station feel was great. From what I read, this set was very elaborate and required a bit of machinery. I wish I knew better how to talk about set design because this was very cool and I know I am not doing it justice.

I liked the lighting too. Again, it felt like being in the subway station, waiting on the platform, seeing the trains go by. The way the stage was lit between scenes, really worked as well. I liked being about to see what was going on and the set would change. The way the crew moved with the rhythms as they changed scenes was awesome. It all flowed to rhythm of the was brilliant.

The acting was fine. There were a couple of outstanding performances, but mainly outstanding moments. I loved the human music machine.

I'm not sure why but the show, overall, was just ok. I'm unable to pinpoint what it was that prevented it from being anything other than good. I always knew I was watching a show. There were moments that really stood out and I would forget for a moment where I was and enter the scene with the characters, but for the most part that didn't happen.

We should have stayed for the "talk-back" afterward, maybe it would have helped make sense of it, but I do think art should be able to stand on its own. I do love the theater though and a good (not great, not bad) show is way better than no show. There was much to admire and be in awe of so for me it was still a win.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good chance I lost it again.
What is "it"?
"It" is me.
Me on paper.
Me on the screen, pretending to be paper.
That is where I lost it again.

The first time,
It was stolen by man.
This time stupidity took it.
The screen is not paper.
If you want it to last,
it ought to be backed up.

I didn't do that.
I lost it again.
My words.

Oh lamentable day.

The day the computer refused to boot.