Black Eyes and Unschooling Quandaries

Dear Family,

Yes, it's true: Jem got his first black eye, the result of falling down
the stairs and landing "cockadoo" - meaning, "Like a Crocodile." Jeff
aged about four years at that exact moment.

Jem got a few other bruises, and now he even has bug bites on top of the
purple bumps, so he's really a mess. I thought it was a full moon that
day, so I was all set to blame the accident on that, but it turns out
that the moon was new.

So go figure.

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The other morning, Jem kept taking a book, putting it up against the

Super Condensed Summer

Dear Family,

In mid-day in spring and summer, our window placement prevents direct sunlight from entering our living room. But on Friday I saw a sliver of light on the floor, signaling the winding-down of the season.

Jeff is already in mourning.

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It's been such a good week. And it's strangely true that sweetness and fun just don't make for good jokes. If I really do meet my goal this year, of becoming a happy person, I might have to stop writing update letters.

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Teenage Angst, Grown-up Style

Dear Family,

A very quick run-down:

--Took boys for more wagon rides. They love it, and it's a heck of a workout.

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of...

Dear Family,

Would I lie to you?? It is a documented fact that the widespread power outages in Ithaca on Friday were caused by a roll-over accident involving a telephone pole and a tractor trailer loaded with pickled pigs feet.

The spilled diesel fuel did create some problems, but the trotters made the headlines.

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Blueberries, according to the owner of Glenhaven Farms, are having an officially fantastic year. We went picking three times last week, at two different farms, for a total of 60 pounds of berries to date.

But I want more!

If there were 37 waking hours per day, I could fill them all

9:13pm July 26, 2009
Dear Family,

There are a few things I'd like to accomplish, mostly preferably simultaneously, before I go to bed:

--laugh, rather than scream, about how when I was doing the dishes--and scrubbing green scum off the table that _I_ did not apply there, thank you--Jem took the electrical outlet safety plug and inserted it into the toilet, AFTER he'd pooped in it;

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Dear Family,

One week can start to feel like an epic lifetime when it includes a
total of four days of driving, overnight visits at three three separate
motels, a total of the three (3) aforementioned cases of stomach flu
(varying levels of severity), and a regression to night-waking (Jem)
that served to remind his parents exactly why birth control is nearly
crucial to ensure the survival of certain members of the species.

The kind folks on Cape Cod have perfected the art of convincing people
to voluntarily pay out large sums of cash for EVERYTHING--from parking

Fun-Filled Family "Vacation"

Dear Family,

What a week. First: I had a super-fun time dancing/performing at an awesome theatre up at Cornell on Tuesday. http://www.sce.cornell.edu/ss/about/events/index.php?action=event&id=102 Jeff and Ben and Jem came, as well as Ruth and Terry, and it was great fun to be a dancer again for a night (and, to hear Jem saying "Mama!"...when another woman came out on stage! But he also said it when I came out, so that was okay.)

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Full Head Syndrome

Dear Family,

There is nothing quite like taking a big fat sit on your ass while
rethinking some of your oldest, most deeply held beliefs. I've spent the
better part of my waking hours doing that this week. Result: at least a
few cornerstones of my being a Person Who Is Right have been shaken. See
below for details.

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Other news: a skunk ate one of the teenage chicks last week--it got into
their box at 2:00am. A sad day followed--Graham felt like she'd let them
down. But the other ~26 or so are growing rapidly and ate their body

Steam Engines, Friends with Good Judgment, and a Possibly Surprising Conclusion

Dear Family,

My friend Courtney has long skirts and chickpea-quinoa lunches and fat books she always carries with her in case her kids play for five minutes and let her read. She has two girls, the oldest slightly older than Ben, her youngest slightly younger than Jem.

She is also an extremely perceptive and sensible person. I know this because of what she said last week, as our kids climbed on a picnic table. "Be careful, Dalia!" she called to her little one. "I really don't like you climbing up there. Jem's used to it - he climbs all the time since his mom is so laid back..."

Noah's Ark, Ithaca, NY 14850

Dear Family,

It's been a little like the forty day flood here, except it's only been three days. It's kind of nice, introspective weather; if it were up to me, I'd curl up with a book for a couple of hours and then watch a movie. Since it's not up to me, I'm trying to protect furniture and glass items from increasingly energetic boys. Here's hoping the rain will let up tomorrow.

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