Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yoga Girls Camping Trip

Had a blast with the yoga girls, this last two days, camping! My first camping trip of the summer because of the stinky weather. We decided to do it rain or shine; we had shine the first day, rain the second but still had a blast.

Sat around by the fire the first day, shooting the breeze (literally) and playing that crazy "bang,bang" game. One of those games that you have to "figure out" as those that already have it figured out play. It was driving me insane! BUT I did figure it out!! One of those great games to play with a big group of people so you can drive them insane trying to figure it out:) When the sun was setting it was sending a reflection on the lake that was stunning and the clouds were following the silouhette of the trees. We took a bunch of pictures of us doing yoga in front of the lake.

On Sunday we spent the first part of the day doing palm reading from a book that Joanne got. I find it all very fascinating and, for the most part, right on. I loved that the book she had was able to separate the "superstitious" part of palm reading from that which is actually real - well, I suppose that is all open for interpretation like everything else.

Sunday night we sat around by the fire, drinking wine and playing truth (haven't played that since what? 16 years old, lol). For some reason the wine didn't sit well with me and I ended up very sick last night and wasn't a whole lot of fun. We went skinny dipping in Nancy Lake (again, haven't done that since, hmmmm, 6 years old?). So refreshing and liberating!

Packed up this morning and headed home. Fun, fun, fun! It was a great weekend!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back to Work

Well, I just took my first "real" job in 16 years.

I started teaching yoga last fall, and I guess that classifies as a job but for me it is more about sharing yoga with others and it is really only a handful of hours during the week. I guess it was a good transition though. What started out as half a joke, kinda, turned into a job.

It's been a rough year financially, with real estate being pretty flat and we have struggled through it like troopers. Martin took another job, that will start on Aug.3, a good job that allows us to breath and not have to worry about money anymore. The problem is that he will probably only be getting paid once a month, which means that technically we are about 7 weeks without any income. So I thought that maybe I should take a job part-time, to at least give us groceries every week. Some good friends of ours just opened an uber cool coffee shop in town, called Pandemonium. In passing, a couple weeks ago ,I told them that I might be looking for a job and then was in the other night when one of their employees had asked for the night off; he turned to me and asked me if I would like to work and I said, "sure!".

I had a hard time sleeping that night thinking, "what in the hell did I just get myself into", but it is all good. I will mostly be working early morning or late night shifts so my kids shouldn't notice too much that I'm working. I worked a 71/2 hr shift last night, since they are opened until 11:00. It is really fun and doesn't really seem like work. I was pulling shots all night, talking with people, listening to live music, I mean how much better can a job get? And the great thing about it is when money starts rolling in from Martin's job I am going to have a wallet full of cash from my job that allows the kids and I to just play with! And shop with:) And maybe put away some for retirement, haha.

The great thing about last night also was that all my good friends, my husband and kids all hang out there for a few hours, listening to the live music. It's not like I could sit and visit or anything but just having them there was awesome!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kev's Blog

So, everyone seems to enjoy Kev's writing as much as I do so I thought I would post a link to his blog. He was laughing because he really didn't think the following essay was that great; he said he didn't edit or spend much time on it, but it did a good job of expressing his feelings about his experience. Warning to meat eaters: He is a STRONG advocate for animals! Just so you know ahead of time:) He does post some great stuff though so enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Unschool v. School

I've been asking Kev, for a few weeks now, if he would write a blog about his experience with school, after being unschooled his entire life. This last year was his first year in the public school system, as a freshman in highschool. So the following is his perspective on the matter. I regret that he felt that I talked about public school as a "bad thing" because I really didn't mean to portray it as "bad". I often countered (or defended) my stance to unschool and often mentioned some of the negatives about public school and he took that as my thinking it was ALL bad. But, in the end he made his own decision anyway, which is exactly how we expect him to live. We honor and support our children and know that they are capable human beings and can make their own decisions.


Education From the Free Eye
Written by Kevin Snavley

All my life I have unschooled. The only thing that could be remotely considered school that I attended was pre-school, and of course, that was all fun and games. That was just life, how things were. I always wondered in the back of my head what it was like to be there, in a school building all day. How horrible it was to sit there for hours on end being lectured by crazy teachers and doing hours of homework. And then somewhere in between most of my friends going to school and me wondering, I got caught up in "catching up" to everyone else. For a while, around age 12, I always wanted to be on-track with the kids at school. It was probably because I felt stupid or less intelligent than them, which really wasn't the case. They just knew more meaningless facts than I did. It took me until last year to finally realize that, and to truly understand the reasons and joys of unschooling. Why it really is so much better than public school.

For as long as I can remember I have had friends that have gone to public school. Always. I've never actually had true unschooling friends aside from my cousins. So in a way, I sort of grew up with slightly hybrid thinking. One defending or longing to be in public school, and one completely against it all with pro-unschooling opinions. My parents always told us why public school is bad, but of course as a kid I'm not really going to understand. I never had the experience to. So I just kind of accepted that it was a bad place that I shouldn't be until I was about 14. Because I didn't go to school I always thought I had horrible writing abilities, and a bus load of other things. I finally made the decision to go to my freshman year of high school so I could figure it all out. Why is public school widely considered better? Why do my parents and unschooling parents everywhere preach it's a bad place to be? Why is unschooling so much better? I got all of my answers.

I would be lying if I said I went 100% percent for personal reasons. I had one friend in particular who was pro-school completely and thought I was wasting my life. In a way, I wanted to prove to her that I could do it, and if/if not it was better than unschooling. I guess up until I started writing this I had forgotten about that completely. I kind of kept the fact that this whole thing was an experiment in the back of my mind. I mean, it did feel nice to be "normal". But is it best? For the sake of writing this I'm going to skip through the school year and spare you the details of explaining the entire 9 months. School was exactly as I expected. Well, the whole face of it was anyway. It wasn't as close to as horrible as my parents said it was. The days went by pretty fast, it wasn't horribly boring, and I got to see my friends. The one thing I noticed the first day though, was how little "socialization" time there is. That's one thing all the kids say, "I get to hang out with my friends!". Definitely not the kind of "hanging out" I was used to. At that point it seemed like a stupid reason to want to be there.

After being there a few weeks, I started to realize the being I truly am. I wasn't stupid, not even close. If anyone was stupid it was the other 90% of the kids that were there. Everyone raved about my writing, my honors English teacher included. I did good in all my classes despite NEVER having a formal lesson in anything. That's when I realized that me, an unschooler, never been "taught" anything that these kids have, is doing better at the game than they are. Pretty ironic, no? Some of my favorite classes were Honors English 1, Japanese 1, and Jazz Choir. Those were the best.

Something I really began to hate about the school days was waking up at 6:30 am, staying there for six hours, then swimming for another 2, before going home to do meaningless homework. The first semester I got pretty lazy, and ended with a 3.3 GPA. Still, better than most kids, but not my best. Second semester I ended with a 3.8. I couldn't stand the fact that I was surrounded by unmotivated, stupid (not the academic way, the general manner they acted) people. Another trend I noticed was "can't". EVERYBODY used that one. The whole 9 months all in all were good for me. Negatives and positives. I learned that what I was doing before was BETTER than what kids at school get, I learned that what my parents told me wasn't completely heresy, I experienced something that I had never done before, the mystery was gone, and best of all, I can now defend the unschooling philosophy without any doubt in my mind and be credible at the same time. I also understood why public school kids act like they do. It's called loss of motivation.

I quickly realized that if I had to endure that shit for 9 years, I probably wouldn't be the person I am today. Friends have told me "you would have been a complete honors student!". I say no, I would've have been a lazy ass bum that wanted nothing more than a couch in life. (Which, I might add I learned a lot from TV. But you get my point. ;P) The thing that made me responsible, smart, and motivated was my unschooling life. And as stupid, annoying, unmotivated, whatever most of the public school kids are, you really can't blame them. While the other public school kids that can relate to me somewhat complain about them as well; they don't understand either. You never really can unless you have lived a free life. (Something else that I realized were the people that I was already friends with, were some of the most intelligent people in the building. How's that for coincidental?) Some personalities are different and can endure 12 years of school plus college, most cannot. Between teachers telling them they're not good enough, and wasting years of their life on something that doesn't really matter, they get fried. Most of the time it goes unnoticed too, you just kind of evaporate. I started to feel the same thing happening to me just in those nine months. Every thought you have, dream you want to fulfill, inspiration that strikes you, it all goes on the back burner, and eventually you just forget how to live any other way altogether.

Would I recommend sending a kid to school? Absolutely not. It's much too easy to lose your way. One thing I would advise though is to find unschooling friends. Would I recommend any other unschoolers go to school? If it's going to do them good like me, sure. If they want to see what it's like, sure. Otherwise, it's going to be a shit hole. Plain and simple. It would be beneficial for everyone to see what it's like, but not everyone can go through it with the same view point. So like everything else in our lives, it's up to us to make that decision. But now here I am, the year I thought would never end completed, and I have to decide what I want to do for the remaining 3. Over the last few days I've really been reflecting about what I truly want. Is it to finish high school, deal with everything I don't like, and benefit from the things I do? Or stop and go straight to college, and focus on what I want with life? That's something I'll be thinking about for a while.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wow, I just don't seem to be inspired to blog for the last six months or so. It seems like I just blogged and I look to see that it is always 2-3 weeks or more in between blogs.

Everyone seems to have adjusted to Socky being gone. It seemed very ghostly downstairs for the first week. He used to pop off the couch and meow at anyone that came downstairs and now when you go downstairs there is just a hush.

Our weather continues to be cloudy and gray. We had a few days around 70 degrees but that is it! It's tough when you wait all winter for this beautiful summer and then you don't get one. It still feels like spring around here. We've hardly done any hiking although, it's not because the weather, because this is great hiking weather (besides the mosquitoes coming out when it is cool). We are talking about maybe hiking up a few miles up Pioneer Peak today with the dogs.

So, I am on day four without coffee. I've done this before for up to a week and just couldn't stand it because I really enjoy the ritual of coffee drinking. I've decided that I have a "jacked up" personality without coffee and I'm just getting tired of the constant ups and downs throughout the day. I feel "jacked up" all the time and just felt the need to be a little more even keeled. I do feel a lot better, a lot more centered and mellow. I'm trying to replace my coffee ritual with a tea ritual and so far I feel fine without the coffee. I had a terrific headache up until yesterday but today I am headache free. It actually really scares me when I experience a headache like I did on Tuesday because you realize how addicted you are to it and how toxic it really is.

So, not a whole lot of excitement around the Snavley house. We had a 4th of July party and bonfire. Debbie bought a bunch of fireworks that we lit off - fun, fun! It's always fun to hang out with friends and the teens always come to hang out too. They like hanging out because we are "chillax", according to them. One thing that was really enjoyable for me this summer was when Randall, a friend of Kev's, came over and gave us a fire poi show. I didn't know anyone here did that. I just happened to have a pair, that I got as a gift a few months ago, and gave them to him so at least someone is using them. I don't know when I would ever use them! The following is the video of him doing fire poi. It would have been really fun if it was dark. We don't get dark here in the summer though so it definitely puts a crimp on things like fireworks too. This video was taken around 11:30 pm, just to give you an idea of Alaskan summers.