We have been using essential oils as a part of our health care regimen for about a year now. I compare essential oils to really good coffee: once you try it, you will never settle for the crappy stuff again. It obviously is just a part of our family apothecary, but I think it’s our favorite part. We go through lavender like nobodies business. Alas, all that time, my oils have lived in their delivery box. I know, I know, it’s pretty and all, and somewhat practical, but unwieldy. You can buy a divided box from one of the companies for about fifteen dollars, but I knew I could do better. I found the box at Michael’s for about $3, and it was pretty on its own, but I’m in a “washi all the things!” mood lately! And when I get bored, swap it out. Simple, pretty, beautiful, practical. I’ll take that any day of the week.
As the weather cools, I find myself picking up my knitting again. I am still working on the cowl I began towards the end of winter last year. I don’t think it’ll take very long to finish, and then I’ll have a lovely accompaniment just about the time the weather gets frigid!
There was an interesting thread running through the books I’ve been reading this week. I finished This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone first, then Ender’s Game, and I’ve barely begun to get through Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World.
This Life is In Your Hands is the memoir of a girl who was born into a homesteading/back to the land family in Maine. Her parents’ marriage shatters after the drowning death of her younger sister. Through out it all she takes a very nuanced look at where idealism and reality collide, and what it does to a family and a community. What struck me while reading her story was that it wasn’t so much the idea of homesteading that was the issue, it was unflinching idealism that refused to accept the world as it was- and it called to mind the homeschooling community to me. I’ve watched families self-destruct in very similar fashion over homeschooling ideals. It is troubling and the whole book gave me much to think about. It is beautifully written, lovely book, for all the hard things that must be faced throughout. She is a gentle companion in those tough questions.
Enders Game was a huge departure for me. It’s not that I’m against science fiction, exactly, but most of it is so badly written that I never get past the first few chapters. I have been spoiled by Peter David and David Mack in that regard. I caught the movie a few weeks back while either Josiah or Ellianna was in the hospital (I’m not sure which). The hospital has a few movies on loop, so I caught the movie middle first, beginning second, and end last, over a period of about two days. The movie was really well done and intriguing, and I told myself I had to go read the book and find out the rest of the story. It is very very good. Very well done. I hate to say that it is good because it is truly and utterly dystopian, which is super-unbelievably depressing and ain’t no body got time for that. (I kid.) Enders takes idealism to a level few of us would ever fathom on our own, and the wreckage it causes is utterly profound. Reading it so immediately after This Life, the connections came quickly- what happens if we so obsess over being right that we lose our moral center? What then? I did not like the places Orson Scott Wells took me, but I needed to go there all the same.
What that means, however, is that I’m approaching Home Grown from the completely opposite direction than I normally would. I don’t need to be sold on the idea of homeschooling. I know it works, I know what amazing things can happen when we let children fly free. What I desire to see is a more nuanced conversation about what a homeschooling life can and should be, that openly faces the challenges and pitfalls that homeschooling parents might run into. As I’ve not read very far, I can’t say anything one way or the other, but I’ve heard so many rave reviews about this one that I am truly curious to hear what he has to say. I really don’t want more idealism. I want realism.
Sharing with Ginny.
I needed just a touch of fall color. I don’t normally pull out my autumn decorations until around the first of October, but with the increadibly beautiful days we’ve had recently, I wanted some way to bring that beautiful into the house. The burlap leaves caught my eye a few weeks ago at Cost Plus World Market. I knew I loved them but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them. The other things have been laying around my scrap room. I was washing dishes the other day when it hit me exactly what I’d like to do, and this fun garland was born. The possibilities are really endless!
This is my current work-in-progress. These abstract collages seem to happen when I am very troubled and need to get out of my head for a while. (Which reminds me, Ginny shared a way to help Sarah’s family.) The same sort of thing seems to happen while I’m knitting. My brain tends to spin over things I can’t change or control, and there is something about the rhythm of knitting and the rhythm of painting that helps me center. Yesterday was just such a day in the no man’s land of waiting for Ellianna’s test results again. I needed to find some breathing room. I was surprised at the bright colors that popped up in this one. I usually don’t go for bright yellow and pink, but it really works. I don’t think this one is done yet. It doesn’t feel ‘finished’ in my head…I’d really really like to try an encaustic process, I think. We’ll see.
Earlier this summer I was able to find some time to organize and purge fourteen years worth of paperwork, art supplies, and well, junk- something I’d wanted to do for quite a while. We’ve moved so often the last few years that the ‘office’ continued to get packed up and trundled along, mess and all, never really getting straightened out. The next project is to do the same thing with my computer files. I have such a backlog…ewww…anyways. A re-arranged bedroom meant that this whole nook opened up, and with it, so many possibilities. What is in here now earns keep…and…it’s already messy. I think I just have to accept it. I usually clean up after a big creating session, if only to be able to find what I need the next go round, but yea, it pretty much stays this way. And I’m digging it. I love the light here too- I love that I have both high workspace and desk-level work space-I always was a standing scrapper but a sit-down painter but I never oriented my space for both possibilities until now. I haven’t gotten to slip in here as much as I would like, but I can honestly say this is the first space that has really worked for me, start to finish- that I can just walk into and get going on whatever I’m interested in. It is still a work in progress, but overall, I am very happy.