seeking the wild of the everyday

Monday, January 30, 2012

life on earth..

 or: the fertility of the bright blue dot.

this is where i'm at: reality. not commuting, or spacious concrete malls, or what color my eyeshadow is, or even training my child about santa...but, rather, WHOA, i'm on a tiny blue dot that's spinning in darkness around a flaming star!! growing a baby! simply put, there is nothing cooler than reality. going out at night with a cheap thrift store telescope and seeing the rings of saturn from your lawn...

 i think if every one was aware of this majesty, of how mind-blowingly amazing earth is, there would be a lot more gardens (among other wonderful things that consciousness can bring..)

my very first, and perhaps last, trip to disneyland..and what a strange trip it was.

it also makes being a societal drop-out a lot easier...especially when you're not too concerned about what movies you haven't gone to see lately. (but this might be a misrepresentation/poor example....i happily admit to watching tv and using the internet...obviously.)

(diana 35mm) my niece and teddy romping in the warm summer sun.

a seed is planted, and then harvested. i feel like a giant radish, growing life. truly this is the deepest sense of feeling alive, feeling life within you. the connection with the earth is clearer, and stronger:
the foods we eat
the water we drink
the sun that warms up our skin
iris, bursting proper lady purple each spring
the continuance of life

admiring the great ponderosa pines, pinecones, massive root systems...

(nikon 35mm..sorry i'm not more photography technical) teddy at the gate of a wild and healing garden. also, my inability to rotate photos is astounding.

 this is what being pregnant feels like...i am the earth and the earth is me. i am a part of the cycle of life. (and do forgive the crude and simple articulation of my thoughts on such a grandiose's hard to get past the "bloggyness" that can block otherwise lovely ideas.)
winter is usually a dreary time for me. not this year; this is spring perpetual. ..and my typical "brrr...cold" temperature is anything below 60 degrees...maybe it's been unseasonably warm (it has) but frankly winter is a wonderful time to be big and pregnant.
filling cord overalls out like a champion. there is even a graciousness toward people who say, "when are you due? because you're huge!" "why yes, yes  i am.  thank you." i have softer, warmer feelings for people. all i want to do is rock-a-bye my big, squirming 4 year old and be next to tyler, like a great, snuggling cat.

while posting this blog it has occurred to me that there are too few pictures of tyler, the belly, and i.
...and without him there is no belly...

and i am beyond thrilled to have him as my partner for this earthy, fertile journey.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

the briefest of flashbacks...

once upon a time i was a single mom... better understand the present.

(all of my teen pregnancy/parenting pictures are on a computer up the hill at my parent's house -trust me, they're good- as well teddy's baby pics... most of the photos seen here have been remotely scavenged from my old blog and fb.)

can anyone guess what happens when word gets out that there's a pregnant teen considering adoption?

answer: she gets courted. called. begged. bribed. and she meets everyone who has tried starting a family but who has yet to be successful. don't think me callous...being on one end of the adoption rope has filled me with great compassion for those folks on the other. i think being a scared pregnant teenager sums up the painful irony of two loving, stable people who can't get pregnant. we all reek of desperation.

life fact # 29: i have survived a teen pregnancy. i do not recommend it.

the weight of stereotypes and instant judgments crash down upon you with deep ocean force, and while the crippling is temporary the hobbling is forever, albeit a strong sort of hobbling. "wutsamatta wich'u?!" kind of awesome new toughness chip on your shoulder. frankly, i'm extremely proud of my self.

i know i sound flippant. there just isn't any real way to describe the hurt and disappointment i felt. i am content simply calling teen pregnancy a night-mare come true.

the fam trekking down sentinel dome..teddy up front on carl...i'm in the back striking an unforgettable pose.
 (i would be remiss if i did not mention my family's total support of teddy and i. how many other single moms do you know take modern dance classes, get full access to a lot of gorgeous land, and eat for free? love you mom and dad. xoxoxoxo.)

this sums it up: there was me, and that means teddy was there too. we were the number one duo.

and we lived in the woods.
two babies!

 with much pain and confusion i choose not to be a single mom. i wanted the baby to have two ready-made parents and i wanted to go on, get over it, and go crazy on this world and start back where the pregnancy began: in school, with a lot of goals and expectations.
man....if there was ever a family to be a single parent in. these are my siblings, their children, and my parents. can you even spot ted and i?
i think there's a reason i can hardly remember this. i was trying to survive and not bond with teddy. breaking the laws of nature.


 i was so young (still young now, but happily growing in maturity with experience..). and what's crazier than planning to survive this sort of life-long-pain of adoption is the birth father legally coming in (from a lengthy distance) and reversing the adoption. teddy came back to my trembling arms just a few days after i had signed the "dissolving of parental rights" papers and watched the tail lights disappear into the night with my baby.

all of a sudden i was the mother to the baby that my body had grown unwillingly (well, the body willingly, the mind not so much..)

it took a while to get used to people asking me if i was in fact the mother of this child, for instance at the grocery store. well-meaning elderly women went away shaking their heads. i tried my best to keep up appearances in public, so they wouldn't have to feel sorry for teddy. i got over the hype, and teddy and i just...were.

for now it sufficeth me to post at this surface level of feelings. it's a complex, beautiful, and strange story.. .like the traumatic, unnatural way teddy was born, or how it took me months to tell friends at school that i had a baby, and other sensitivities. teddy and i need each other. every single transition has been so hard and yet so easy. accepting my new role that was chosen for me by an old high school boyfriend has been... interesting, and without a doubt am i grateful for his reckless decision that concluded with teddy and i together, growing for life.

if i could change one thing cliche: 
if i could go back i'd try to relax during the pregnancy, and at least attempt to marvel at what my body was participating in; to appreciate the growth and take some of that stress off of a growing baby.

this blog segues me (hopefully) into another one.....pregnancy! pregnancy on purpose! a thoughtful, happy, present pregnancy! sharing this trip with my tyler! and the easy, bittersweet comparison between the two experiences.

 it's interesting that being in such a happy, pregnant place now with my soul mate can dredge up so much unreconciled grief. i am happy to report that i've faced the majority of it, and a part of me always knew that i'd feel the past so fresh once i was again pregnant.

and now onward. forward!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

my teddy: the curiosity

 .......and the case for home spun schools...
not a total water baby (too cautious), but loves to be outside.
 (picture captions documenting the happy, interesting teddy.)

while perusing a thrift store some days ago i happened upon a retro-looking book titled, "home spun schools," and bought it just because it sounded perfect. maybe it would describe the "education process" i was already enjoying with my four year old. when i settled down with it at home i realized it wasn't really the book for me, as it detailed different stories of families who home school because of devout religious reasons, and where to order your bible-based learning work books. oh, well. and thanks, but no thanks. maybe in some other life.
teddy spent the first three years of his life wandering upon 13 lovely acres.
he also happened to be happy and alive for my wedding.

is ever so interested in photography
 regardless of what the book was preaching i was already well down the path of this new idea....this "home school." but when traveling down a new path there are invariably the same questions/comments (from concerned acquaintances or even oneself...): is the parent qualified to teach math? reading? what about socialization? home schooled kids are weird.... etc etc. yes, it does take a while to unwind oneself from the beliefs coming from society's whole; that public school is the ONE way. but it only takes a few moments of asking "why," and "why not," to start deconstructing in order to rebuild.

a tribute to his slight ocd: the collector. &in turn the mini-hoarder.
makes jelly fish friends out of spaghetti squash

has anyone ever met a little boy who didn't love trains/planes/automobiles? i had nothing to do with this, trust me. but we explore all of his interests.

i also had nothing to do with this costume....all his invention. go teddy.
                                                                         enter roseville (or any town USA): i see preschools advertising longer days for "kindergarten readiness!" talk about the pressure to "achieve and perform" at the same level, every one learning at the exact same level and the exact same way....not to mention the exact same things. once i watched a TED conference on creativity. and how public schools literally stifled it. how our education system was going to defunct on itself, and depreciate, like the dollar. i remember school, monday through friday, 9-3, for 9 1/2 months out of the year, from ages 5 to 18. it felt like a government mandated holding pen for american youth. there's a great many reasons for scrutinizing public school.                              

he prefers cleanliness, and genuinely likes looking sharp. he probably gets frustrated with his hobo mother.
insisted on sleeping with this baby pumpkin for a week.
now this might be one of the many branches growing from my tree of non-conformity fanaticism (it makes for an active life and an over-reading of thoreau) but i am determined to raise children who are confident in their abilities, thoughtful, and true to who they are, and i am excited to be along for the journey. truly i am not swayed by convenience.

so, what are the alternatives? a child's brain is nothing but curiosity about the world, so ready to learn. and the ideal setting is a place that teaches the love of learning (not just facts) and encourages this natural curiosity. ever since i've known teddy he's wanted to know more. his second hand field guides to birds, airplanes, trees, wild flowers, and mushrooms illustrates just a few of his interests and learning adventures we've already shared in the last four short years. i want that curiosity intact, and not beaten out by the drudgery of hours of school followed by hours of homework. we've been living life and taking advantage of every opportunity to learn. now, private schools (whether Waldorf or Montessori etc), as abundant as they are, are basically out of the question. even if there was excessive extra income i don't think tuition for a small child should exceed the mortgage on our home.
despite my efforts for sportsmanship he despises losing.
  we're far too simple for that.
there are also a handful of local charter schools, which to me sound like amazing plan b's. there's even a charter Montessori with a student run garden/ "outdoor classroom," and ultimately teddy will make the choice, whether charter, public, or home.  over the years we'll try all three, i'm sure. right now, at this happy little "pre-school" age we're trying our hand at what we've always been doing: learning at our own pace and following our interests. i've never pressured teddy to "learn his letters," or to even try to read, but since we read together so much he all of a sudden wants to learn. awesome. "mom, what does 's-o-o-b-s-r-t-a-s-o' spell?" i think it's only a matter of time before he's reading, and that will be fun. i've always appreciated the Waldorf approach to reading: age seven is a good time to start learning based on mental maturity.  my heart breaks for brilliant children who have their own time frame for learning and get labled or held back because their minds worked differently, as most of ours do. this isn't a rant on the people who run public schools, for they are just stuck in the same bureaucratic conveyor belt that the, ahem, "system," is comprised of.

he asks me to google pictures for him, like tornadoes and mushroom clouds. it inevitably sparks curious conversations.
can anyone imagine a better school than the earth? than trips to the ocean and museums and not being stuck in a classroom? even now we're a part of a meet-up group for home school: traditionalists, unschoolers, and other non-denominational active learners. there nature hikes are organized and members form co-op science classes etc etc. every one finds what works for them, and i was interested in meeting other like-minded parents.
he sees much more than i do, and is always pointing things out to me.

wendell berry (modern naturalist, agro-economist, farmer) said that (and clearly i am paraphrasing to an extreme) when it was all boiled down the main thing taught in school, especially as the child grows older and is groomed for success in some field of commerce, is commercial gain or industry training, rather than the nurturing of future, thoughtful citizens. there is so much to life.
teddy loves the harvest

has so much natural compassion for life.
he was hot, and wanted to cut his hair.
he received a basic trimmer lesson...

and went gung-ho
and decided he'd be happier when it grew back out.

so, this isn't going to become my "home school/ unschool" blog, but i wanted to put all of this out there some how, and i am trying so hard to avoid my favorite "return to the land" and the "lost practical arts" themes (another blog, another day..) as i write this, as well as tone down whatever radical attitudes i might have about .......   (...escaping the machine...)

let's let wendell berry wrap this up for me:

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

let's be a little more thoughtful with the future.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ring out wild bells!

life is worth noticing. if anything i'll try to blog more to keep this life an "examined" one...even if it is just pictures. Christmas came and went... now that's an american cultural experience. i think it's just a celebration of winter and each my culture there is a strong emphasis to try to tie in ribbons and bows and lights with the nativity...wasn't Christ born in april? i'd be more inclined to celebrate then (or everyday) and try out Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or just enjoy the advent season. surely this isn't blasphemous. either way we followed the program in a simple, minimalist manner and enjoyed the festivities.

teddy's new grandma tami sent us a boku fun box full of amazing gifts, like this boss fleecy outer space blanket.

wishes come true: our very own beatific family chess board. (another treasure from tami casper.)
what teddy never knew he always wanted. ;) we're reading charlotte's web now. he really likes fern's big brother avery, who carries sling shots and frogs around.
if you were a family member you were blessed indeed by me and ty's diy vinyl bowl gifts.

dec 26th: the crocker museum held a kwanzaa festival. there were so many beautiful people there  with a strong message, and i finally learned about kwanzaa from people who were celebrating. each of the seven days represents a belief or principle, and we were celebrating unity that day. what an awesome way to celebrate heritage.
and then we enjoyed the rest of the museum. 

new years eve: teddy and i ventured into ol' sac and visited our favorite train museum. gettin' our self-timer on.

sunset on the river.
and a fancy old sac dinner at a locally sourced restaurant. 
we then headed over to sac international, where tyler works as an air traffic controller.   tall tower! it's a great arrangement because teddy loves airplanes and tyler equally.
getting an *exclusive* tour of the new terminal. it's a party y'all!

up in the tower.
at first teddy was scared, but then i swayed his opinions and reassured him that sparklers were very, very cool. he then went to bed not too long after the usual bedtime. why keep him up? we can party any night of the year, and sleep is as effective as any other celebration. 
the picture says it all.

resolutions anyone? sometimes the calender can be a little aribtrary. a new year? every day is new. evaluate every day. celebrate everyday. make goals even in the spring. this year i want to find a big spreading tree branch, make a base for it, and put it on my dresser. among other things. if anything the new year is fun to track. what was i doing last new year's, or the years before? it's a good little memory test. this year midnight found me hanging out with tyler at home. and we were sleepy. probably the best new year's ever.

nothing like another session of "earth preschool," we've been saving cans to make this tape-dispenser-eyed tin man.
teddy loves to help....even if these buttermilk steelcut oat scones were nasty.
teddy the photographer. trying to finish a blanket before the baby comes.
and now teddy is learning how to play chess. i cant call it a fair match quite yet but he's competent enough to play  if we're looking for something to do.
little cultivator. some more winter plantings.
pine mountain, tallest hill in cameron park. 
ain't no party like the csa box party. (bananas not from box. )