I promised a photo! Thankfully, I took one because, as they say, a picture will last longer. It was GOOD pie. I confess that I ate almost half of the pie all by myself. So much for the low-carb diet.
The delay in posting of the promised pie photo is the result of my family’s long-awaited trip to Anna Maria Island, which was incredibly beautiful. The sky was this gorgeous azure, and the water was perfectly clear and aquamarine. There was a moment when the beauty of the water was overwhelming and unreal to my eyes, a solid thing, like a delicately colored piece of plexiglass. Absurd, right?
Unexpectedly, I shed tears when I first touched the water. The oil spill is on the mind of every person along the coast, even though they pretend, like our innkeeper did, that everything is wonderful as usual. I said some prayers, and we had a lovely time for the most part. Mr. B ran himself ragged and fell into bed at 9 PM every single night we were there. I wish I could figure out how to exhaust him that way at home.
The sea turtles were nesting at night, which was something I would have dearly loved to witness, but I was too tired. We did go out each night in the early evening and walk in the twilight. Every night, when the sun touched the horizon, an interesting thing happened. Every person on the beach stopped (except Mr. B, who never stops moving unless he is unconscious) and stared at the sun as it appeared to grow smaller and smaller, and then wink out below the horizon line. It occurred so rapidly, and I found this unceasingly amazing. I mean, Florida is flat, but I rarely see the completion of a sunset because we live in a tree city. I was caught up every night in that motion, startled by it each time. It made me feel very small. It’s easy to forget that we live on a enormous ball spinning in space, and then you glimpse it turning.
Blessed be, Gaia. Oshun. Yemaya.
Mr. B had a lucky day, according to reports. I arranged for him and some of his homeschool buds to go to a local blueberry farm, where they loaded up the yummy little gems. I think it’s safe to say Mr. B put more berries in his mouth than in his bucket, but he had a blast.
It was blazing hot, of course, a balmy 90 degrees. When I finally sat down in the shade after an hour or so, I was startled that it took so long (about as long as it took for me to get overheated) for me to consider the contrast between my choice of recreation (blueberry picking) and the misery of farmworker labor (blueberry picking). A woman with four children in tow, one just an infant, was picking berries for the company, albeit in a different area, and I never saw her sit down for a break, especially not after such a short time. Just a thought.
The berries are amazing, though, and it was satisfying to pick them myself. It doesn’t look like much, but there’s more than four pounds in there. I may attempt to bake some sort of pie with them on Friday. There could be pictures!
Sometimes a little shutter clicks in my mind, saving a memory under the filename “What Homeschooling Looks Like.” It would make a great photo essay, if I’d really been taking photos during these moments when I was busy just living: Mr. B watching PBS in his underwear, Mr. B snoring on the floor of a dewy tent in a campground, Mr. B crouched in the hallway completing a math assignment (his favorite spot for doing homework), or Mr. B squatting on the sidewalk examining a dead lizard through a jeweler’s loupe.
Mostly, I trick him into learning stuff while trying hard to listen to a bunch of jabber about his current fixation without going crazy. Lately, it’s Ghostbusters, which is hilarious on some level. He’s constantly talking about ghosts and making up wacky scenarios about hauntings, drawing pictures, playing the videogame, and watching the movie (although that’s tapered off now, thank goodness). He even solicited a special project from my mom, the woman who can make damn near anything out of cardboard, and she constructed a proton pack that fastens to his back with straps she made out of USB lanyards. He wears it everywhere. Can you spot the intrepid heroes on the left, saving NYC?
However, sometimes I do take photos, usually after the fact, to remind myself that the frustration and sacrifice are (mostly) worth the payoff. Today, we made a bird feeding platform from a shelf that I picked up on the side of the road and an old terra cotta flowerpot dish. We installed it outside his window so he can watch birds (one of his Aspie obsessions –could be worse). He can see it from his bunk bed.
A couple of weeks ago, at Florida Pagan Gathering (happy Beltane, BTW), I took a deep breath and let Mr. B off the chain. He romped with his camp buddies and frequently disappeared from my sight, once for over an hour. I even let him participate in the so-called Celtic Games, where men and boys whack each other with boffers shaped like swords and toss big rocks. He took a beating and cheered and hollered himself hoarse, and it was probably the most fun he ever had.
Some days, it’s lots of fun being me.
As they say in Jersey, see you(s) around. The term is over! I always feel a flood of relief when classes conclude. I no longer have all these groups of people depending on me to be energetic and helpful. Of course, I still have permanent people fixtures, known and loved, who require those qualities of me, but at least I don’t have to pour it out to strangers, for now.
This has been one of my best terms, honestly. I stayed on top of the workload, most of my students were engaged and hard-working (there are always a few who aggravate, wheedle and cheat), and I enjoyed my time with them. However, it’s incredibly draining for me, and a distraction from what I want to be doing. I’m glad to be done.
The truly excellent part of the fun is I have no plans to teach for the rest of the year. Summer is Clarion West, and fall is the time when I use all that knowledge I’ve hopefully gathered to make some magic happen. I also have a homeschooling responsibility that needs ramping up. Mr. B finally starting reading and writing independently this year, and he’s primed for big advances now that those building blocks are in place. Double excitement.
Not been much going on here lately, huh? I’ve been keeping super-busy with end-of-term preparations, homeschooling, Clarion fixations (such as ever-expanding reading and packing lists), and gardening.
I do love digging in the dirt. My black thumb syndrome has dramatically improved this past year, but I was beginning to think the spring window was going to zoom right by, and I wasn’t going to get enough new planting done.
However, last weekend I cleared out a lot of old growth and this weekend, I have been working to replant. One exciting aspect of this is the opportunity to eat up remaining foodstuffs that were grown by the earth in my front yard and cultivated by my own hands. It’s a thrill, if you’ve never done it.
Here, three heads of cabbage that came straight from the garden into the pot. It was peppery and delicious. I have a couple more to go before that particular bed can be replanted, but I put out a bunch of bell pepper seedlings and I’ll probably put in the hot pepper ones tomorrow. Yum!
Of course, I should be writing.
At least, the Clarion West “radio silence” is over. I can officially announce my acceptance, not that I’ve been as quiet as I should have been (it’s really difficult). Shout it from the rooftops! Except I still can’t talk above a whisper without strain. Argh! Oh, wait. I can’t even say “argh.”
When I applied last year to the Clarion West Writers Workshop, I took two “bathroom mirror” photos of myself, one with the Acceptance Face that can be seen here, and the Rejection Face, which I was too deflated to use in my 2009 rejection post
. Don’t ask why. If you’ve played the Clarion waiting game, you probably know that it has serious side effects on your sanity. The photo’s a little myspace-ish, but what the heck.
The stupified expression I’m sporting in the photo is appropriate, as it turns out. When I got the call, my brain turned to mush and made me incoherent. I’d gone for a walk and left my phone at home, and there was a voicemail waiting from Seattle when I returned. I called back immediately without collecting my thoughts, which may not have helped matters anyway. Enter the gibbering idiot. I probably said “wow” and “thank you” about ten times each and failed to process much of what was being said on the other end, except the part about acceptance. Yikes! I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this instant moron reaction, as a few of my future classmates have expressed the same
While waiting to share the news, I have to say that my overall response to this turn of events has not been quite what I expected. Instead of triumph and elation, I think the word for what I’m feeling comes somewhere between anticipation and terror. Kinda like I felt right before walking down the aisle at my wedding. Attending the workshop involves sacrifice, not just a financial one and not just on my part; plus, it’s an opportunity that, I think, comes with a certain kinda price tag, an obligation to live up to the faith being placed in me, both during and after. Most importantly after. I hope I can, more than anything.
Needless to say, I’m already planning what to pack.
EDIT: Oops. I didn’t apply to Clarion West in 2009. Rather, I applied to Clarion (San Diego), which is a whole different workshop. Maybe I am a little giddy after all.
Back from FPG, and as usual, humming with extraordinary amounts of energy to DO something, almost to the point of being pained by it. I attended some amazing workshops and went to sleep at decent times, foregoing the crazy all-night pleasures of drum circle, at least for this festival. I enjoyed lots of intelligent conversation around the campfire, and I let my cellphone die (even while others were using theirs to obssess over Facebook and incessently check email). We roasted marshmallows (a lot), I unplugged! Except for the little bit (wah) of writing I did on the laptop, I didn’t miss being plugged in.
I didn’t take any pictures because attendees are really not allowed to, but you can see the photos the camp photographer took in Spring at the website; the ones for this past weekend should be up soon. Click the left scroll to see my ugly mug. That picture in the slide show is not the worst ever taken of me, but it ranks up there for my menfolk. That’s the joy of dancing all night, sleeping on the ground and walking around with bedhead (uh, sleeping-bag-head) because you left your hairbrush at home.
Part of the reason I enjoy this festival so much is the escape it provides from daily responsibilities. I can think better, more clearly, I can just BE, for hours on end. This always leads to some change in my thinking and my life, which can probably be seen in the posts related to the Spring festival. This time, I came back with a strange desire to attend seminary (really!), a more grounded sense of what it means to be a parent, and more insight into how I can better serve the pagan community. Makes me wonder what insanity/brilliance I could get up to if I had more opportunity for solitude/reflection.
Anyhow, I wrote something like 240 words the entire weekend; in spite of all the personal progress and relaxation I experienced, this sucks. I knew it would be tough to miss that many days during NanNoWriMo, but I thought I’d write more at camp. Wednesday through Sunday night was shot as far as NaNoWriMo goes. Strangely, I don’t feel too freaked by that, though. I spent some time working on the book last night and easily wrote over 400 words in about 45 minutes. It’s a passage I feel good about, so it’s not completely an issue of quantity over quality. For me, some words are better than no words.
At least I rounded the 3K mark! 47, 000 more to go. I’m doubling up this week to catch up.
This post is not about writing, and really, it’s a rant about my inner life. But it could make my writing life better, so maybe it is about writing.
With me, it takes a crisis point to realize something’s wrong. Or better stated, “nature has a way of restoring balance.” Usually, I stress so hard that I make myself sick and have to spend a week in bed with a cold or something worse. Then, I realize that the world doesn’t stop turning if I take a break from all my responsibilities.
Well, I got a big shove in that direction on Sunday. I was nearly frantic trying to fulfill all my obligations, and I just broke. I know my life is out of balance: the things I most want to devote my time to (writing, spirituality, family) are the ones I give the least to, in favor of activities that satisfy the least and best serve others. SO, I’m done!
A little prayer, to the Goddess: “Mother, help me. Mother, heal me. Please release me from all things worldly that do not serve me.”
I know what needs to be cut. I need to be at peace in myself to do the work I most desire.
So mote it be!
I’ve spent the better part of the week trying to hold onto the sense of peace and purpose I gained from attending Florida Pagan Gathering this past weekend. It’s a twice-annual festival which always inspires me to better my life and take action.
I attended great workshops with cool presenters. I learned some absolutely beautiful songs for groups from Margot Adler (yes, the journalist from NPR). With my family, I learned about incorporating spiritual practice into daily life as a “family coven” with Lydia Crabtree. I gathered a good amount of perspective on the future of paganism as a growing world-wide religious movement, with folks like Gavin and Yvonne Frost (who are, BTW, very anti-Christian while I am not) and T. Thorn Coyle. Best of all, I watched my husband and child jump the Beltane fires and dance around at the fire/drum circle. Amazing levels of joy.
It’s hard to come home after that, although finding ticks in your clothes and scorpions in your campsite are enough encouragement to leave! I have a refreshed appreciation for creature comforts and a renewed spiritual bond with both family and friends who attended with us.
I am occupied by other thoughts, and I am not, not, not freaking out! I am taking stupid pictures of myself (which I will have to add later because Blogger is acting stupid and won’t let me upload).
I am harvesting collards that I grew with my own two black-thumbed hands, and cooking them for my pagan group’s potluck (photo).
I am making out with my husband in the driveway in full view of my neighbors (no photo).
I am thankful to other people for their support and good wishes. I am not complaining.
Edit: Sorry the pics are sloppy, I really don’t get what is going on with Blogger right now. But there they are, anyhow.