Saturday, June 30, 2007

Great Essay on Productivity

My LIFE is Good friend Karen shared a link to this essay today and I absolutely love it.

In it, author Aaron Swartz shares his views on how to be productive.

There are so many things he says in the essay that I just love, but one, very subtile comment is, "Most people's time is eaten up by things like school and work. Obviously if you attend one of these, you should stop. But what else can you do?" YES! I would so love to talk with him about more of his views.

Aaron is a big Alfie Kohn fan, who, coincidentally is speaking in Portland on the 24th of July. Unfortunately, I won't be there, as I have a family commitment that night.

Makes me wonder if Aaron speaks - could be a great addition to the LIFE is Good lineup (Mary, I know you're reading!).

So, please go read the essay and let me know what you think.
8 things about me meme.

~~~Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.~~~

1. I’m average. I often wonder if you create a composite of all American women you wouldn’t get me! My hair is that non-descript medium brown, my eyes are hazel (which just means they are all colors), I’m 5’6”, I’m a size 10 in clothing, and I wear a size 7.5 shoe (which means I can never find shoes on sale, ‘cause so many people share my shoe size). When I was a kid, the average age at which girls started their periods was 13 and a half – mine started on that exact day!

2. I have this disgusting habit of chewing my cheek/lip and I can’t stop! Ugh!

3. Even though I’m totally into my kids, being a radical unschooling momma and all, I could have just as easily not had kids. I would never have gone through any kind of infertility treatments. Given my life as it is now, this factoid just seems really odd to me.

4. I’m not good at keeping in touch with people. I would love to have really close relationships with friends, but never want to bother them. My journey is teaching me to be better at communicating with others, maybe I’ll be able to get over this.

5. I love to stay up late, and I’m not too bad in the morning either. But 2:00 in the afternoon – forget it!

6. I’ve been a Girl Scout for 36 years.

7. I am a total “Princess and the Pea” kind of gal, especially when it comes to my feet! I absolutely can’t stand having anything stuck in my shoe, and socks are even worse – the tiniest grain of sand will bug me to no end.

8. I really hate doing these kinds of things, and it has taken me a good long while to do it – I was good until about #6, then got totally stuck (or totally tired, since it was after midnight one night when I started) and then forgot about finishing it. The only reason I’m doing it is because my very dear friend, Mary tagged me. (She has a lot of influence on me – good and bad :-P!)

So, I may or may not successfully tag others, but at least I did some not too serious writing!

I'll tag... okay, I have absolutely no idea who to tag. All chains eventually end with me!

LIFE is Good Tribe Member

Today I got an email from the Zenmomma herself, inviting me to join the LIFE is Good blog ring.

What fun! I love reading the blogs of other radical (whole-life) unschoolers, and some of my favorite people are connected with this incredible conference.

I hope that readers of my blog click around a little and explore the writings and/or musings of others who are choosing to live their life authentically in all respects.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


We have one female cat and two males. Our female, Serafina hates other cats and loves people. Her whole name is Serafina Pekala from Philip Pullman’s trilogy, “His Dark Materials”. She is named after the queen of the witch clan introduced in book 1, “The Golden Compass”, and her birthday is Oct. 31 (which is why we had to find a cool witch to name her after).

The thing that’s funny about Serafina is that she likes to have us wash her face. She will jump up on my lap (only when there are no other cats anywhere close), lick my fingers and then rub her face on my wet fingers.

Now, I normally hate when cats lick people, especially ME! But Serafina has a history that caused me to not mind so much. We got her from the humane society about a year and a half ago when we were getting kittens for the girls for Christmas. She was a bit over a year old and was so beautiful (she’s a blue), soft and loving.

Turns out that she was found on the street, half starved at 8 months old with a litter of kittens. She went into foster care with her kittens, who were all adopted out once they were weaned. Shortly before she was supposed to go to the humane society, an abandoned litter of kittens came in. One was so sick they didn’t think it would make it, but Serafina nursed it until it was strong enough to be adopted (wouldn’t nurse any of the others, just the sick one).

So Serafina went to the humane society and was adopted out really quickly to an older woman. Serafina is prone to eye infections, sneezing and stuff and the woman who adopted her was afraid that she would catch Serafina’s eye infection in the only good eye she had (impossible, but that was her fear), so she returned Serafina (living in fear is such a sad way to live!). Serafina had been there for so long when we met her, her former foster mom was worried she wasn’t going to get adopted and actually put together a stocking of goodies to go home with her.

She has always hated the two kittens and has been pretty uncomfortable in our home. It took her six months to purr for us at home, or even to sit in our laps. I’m sure it was partly the pesky kittens, and partly her traumatic beginnings of being homeless, having a home, and being returned. I can’t help but wonder if she thought she would be returned yet again – she had had so many homes. So I’m thrilled that she finds pleasure in interacting with us, and I’m willing to be a little grossed out to help her find her pleasure.

Another really weird thing about her is that she loves going to the vet – I think mostly because she gets us all to herself and she gets to sit in a lovely window seat and watch the birds come and go from the bird feeders that our vet has placed right outside each of her three exam rooms. She purrs and purrs when we are there. She is so relaxed and happy at the vet – makes it really easy for our vet to examine her.

This makes me wonder what people’s stories are and how I can find compassion in view of things people do that I find weird. What is their story, and how do I find out without being nosy?


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What a Trip!

My friend Alicia and I recently got back from taking some of our Girl Scouts to Washington DC and Williamsburg/Historic Triangle. It turned out to be two adults and four girls (Alicia’s two daughters, Steffi and a girl we borrowed from our old troop, ‘cause we like her so much!).

We were gone for 12 days and truly had a fabulous time! I swear the only things we didn’t see were the Library of Congress and Ford’s Theater! It feels like a really successful trip, which is really satisfying after all the time and effort I put into it on the front end planning every last detail. (The girls are still a little young to plan their own trips – it was all they could stand to pick out what they wanted to do and see!)

We loved where we stayed in Washington – the Doubletree Suites in Foggy Bottom. It was a smallish hotel in a very, very quiet neighborhood (no sirens, no traffic…), 1 1/2 blocks from the Metro, 2 blocks from the Safeway at the Watergate (really, NOT impressive!!), 4 blocks from Trader Joes and within walking distance of the Lincoln Memorial.

Soaked! On our first full day in Washington we went to the zoo. This ended up being a highlight for everyone, as we were stuck in the zoo during a particularly fierce thunderstorm that made us all scream out loud. (Not all highlights are positive!) We were totally drenched and ended up skipping down the street to the Metro singing all the weather songs we could remember.

On Memorial Day we decided to go to the Arlington Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony, where we ended up sitting in the third row of the White House guests reserved section and seeing President Bush deliver his address. We’re guessing it had something to do with the fact that we were wearing our Girl Scout uniforms.

We happened upon the Supreme Court Justices reading an opinion on Tuesday! We had no idea that that would be happening, or even that you could see it, but it was and we were some of just a few of the public who were let in to observe (after being stripped of everything we owned!).

Steffi’s 11th birthday was on Thursday, and we celebrated by getting dressed up in Colonial dresses and going to dinner at Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria. What an experience! The food was great and the entertainment was even better. It was a treat to imagine George and Martha Washington entertaining guests in the very room we were dining in.

After spending a full week in Washington, we rented a car and drove to Williamsburg, where the girls had a great time parading around in their Colonial dresses. They attracted a lot of attention with the dresses, making it totally worth packing them all the way across the country. We went on a ghost tour, hauled water from a well, smooshed clay with our feet in the brickyard, and taught other tourists “the courtesies”.

12 days of traveling and the girls were just such good companions! I would definitely travel with this group of fabulous young women again!