Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Continuing debate...

My first video, that started the whole thing, is here.

The post about the first part of our discussion, along with the four videos we made going back and forth between our opinions is here.

Annnd, he made several more response videos, the first of which I responded to in written format. We've both agreed to end the back and forth videos things, because it was taking A LOT OF TIME (I believe the current amount of video time, including my original video, is around 60 minutes... Yikes!). I'm not sure whether the discussion will continue in written form, so for now I'll simply post his one video that I responded to, and just give you a link to his channel if you with to see his other videos.

Hunter's channel

My response:

"Yup, I know about percentage of brain use (I think you might be a bit low (I thought it was around 10%) but other than that, yeah). I agree, your brain can be tricked. But, and this s important WE AS HUMANS HAVE NOTHING BUT OUR BRAINS TO RELY ON FOR INFORMATION. Yup, I have a strong interest in education, and I'm aware of the main learning styles as well. Here's what you're missing: people, if let too, will learn what style suits them best. Not because they've done research, but because they are living and learning. You don't need to know the names for different learning styles to know what you enjoy doing most, and what things you retain the most information from.

Yup, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on that point, because nothing will convince me that people are not born with an innate desire to learn. And, if you do your research, youll see that that is true. We, as a species, would die out if we did not learn. Learning is innate, absolutely and completely.

Okay, what you're saying is "way back in history". What I'm saying, is pre-history, as in pre-civilization, as in tribal peoples. And you've just hit one of my biggest pet peeves. "Didn't have the desire to be anything more than they were"?? What does that mean? They were human. Were they supposed to desire to be more than human? Different than human? What our culture does is say that we are the pinnacle of existence. We, in this culture, in this day and age, are what everything was moving towards. From the first bit of slime that crawled out of the ocean, everything, all of creation, was simply to produce Us, modern civilized humans. You could call it Manifest Destiny, I suppose, as so many high ranking murderers have in the past. And look at us! The single species that regards our lives, human lives, to be above all else, that have destroyed vast parts of the world, made whole places uninhabitable. Look at us. What a great job we've done, as we sit waiting for it all to come tumbling down around our ears. And that's not even to mention how god damned HAPPY we all are. Monumental rates of depression, high suicide rates, drug addiction, messed up families wherever you turn. And that's not to mention how it's only a tiny percentage of the overall human population that is NOT living in poverty, dying young from disease and famine and drought and war. Yet you have the guts to say that the people who came before, and still survive unharmed in a couple of tiny pockets, the rest having been annihilated, shut away on reserves, or assimilated, and you say that they never tried to be more than what they were. They stopped when they "reached a certain plateau of happiness". What the fuck is wrong with being happy, and deciding to stay like that, happy, instead of destroying the environment surrounding you, the environment that sustains you, for some imaginary future world, future gain, future I have no fucking clue what? Really, none of us in this culture have ANY right to look down upon the people in our species who knew, and know, how to live in equilibrium with the world.

You have a strange view of happiness, although I get what you're saying, but you're mistaken about tribal peoples, once again. As you may have noticed, that's one of my main passions. From anthropological research, tribal peoples had the most egalitarian societies of any culture in our species' history. They had the most leisure time of any culture, EVER, spending only about 5 hours of "work" a day
(the exact time for different tribes and different parts of the world vary, and anthropologists argue over what constitutes "work", but everyone seems to agree that it was somewhere between 3 and 7 hours a day). The rest was complete leisure time, spent socializing, playing games, and similar things. They lived (and live) in small bands/tribes, so it's a real community, and a real support network. Also, anthropologists studying the San !Kung people of the Sahara desert found that they're happier on a whole than civilized folk, regularly laughing with abandon, joking around, smiling. Their children are not expected to do any work until they're in their late teens or early twenties. People over fifty are not expected to work, either, and in one of the harshest climates in the world, excluding infant mortality, they can be expected to live, on average, to nearly 70 years of age. Wow, that was a major rant. Sorry about that! Like I said, its a subject close to my heart lol.

Why should people have anything other than happiness? Honestly, life is short. I don't see any point to life BUT happiness! Why go further than you want to go? I honestly don't understand that at all. If you're happy, and love life, that's all anyone could ask for. If you're not happy, then you make changes in your life until you are. People should be pushed to "do better"? Depends on your definition of better. It sounds to me like you feel that you need to prove something to the world, and not simply that you want to be happy in life. So every time you're happy, you have to leave that happy place? And what's contributing to society, in your books? Most people, and I do mean most, want to do good. Doing good things (I'm defining good as things that preserve or enhance quality of life for either human or other animals, or increases the happiness/health/wellbeing of others) makes people happy. Helping fellow humans or fellow creatures makes people happy. Just being generally good makes most people happy! I mean, I look at what I want to do in life. I want to learn a ton about herbal healing, natural health and wellness, and be able to help people learn how to take care of themselves. I want to be a strong advocate of unschooling, and help and support families and students who decide to leave the school system. I also want to be a part of a green community, to held build truly sustainable communities. All of these things are deep passions of mine, things that I see as being helpful to others, while also being things I truly care about and enjoy doing.

Welfare works differently here. As does the whole health care system (public health care). And, do you think its right that, where you live, the government controls people to such an extent? I certainly don't.

I originally sent this to Hunter unproofread, so I fixed it up a bit here for clarity and reading pleasure.


Unschooling and freedom debate

Someone responded with multiple comments, and two response videos, to my last YouTube video. If you're interested in seeing the whole, long, discussion, see below!

Hunter part 1

Hnter part 2

My response part 1

My response part 2

The extra points I wanted to add, but forgot to in the video, and then couldn't add to the description box because it was too long!

"1. "The choices you make now will affect you for the rest of your life"
Well, as human beings, as ever growing and changing creatures, EVERYTHING we do affects us, changes us. That's the process of living. However, you're entirely wrong if you think you can't get into university just as easily later in life, or learn things you need to in the future, when you actually need to know them. I, personally, never plan on going full time to university. I don't like the institutionalized classroom setting, and the thought of spending four+ years of my life in such a setting makes me shudder. Also, the life's work I wish to do does not require a university education. And honestly, for many, many, jobs people may wish to work at, they don't need that piece of paper. For some, yes, it's necessary. You wish to become a doctor, so you need university. I understand that. However, there's a huge amount of people now who are graduating college ad university with honors, and yet are struggling to find a job in their chosen profession, struggling to make ends meet. A university degree does not IN ANY WAY guarantee a job, let alone a job you like. With all that money I would have spent on university, I could instead learn far more about life, get far more education that actually helps me in the real world, by traveling the world. Or, without even spending all that money at all, I could apprentice instead, or take specific classes that interest me, or start my own business, or one of a myriad of other options. ALSO, you seem to think the SAT's are the only way to get into university, which isn't true either. Most (and I do mean most) colleges and universities (and not just your often looked down upon "community colleges", really most colleges and universities), will accept portfolio assessments, or offer to conduct their own tests for a small fee. I know of this happening both in the US and Canada, and I even know from personal experience having contacted a university I once considered attending.

2. Just to add to your whole "No one is capable of decision making until 25" thing, tell me, if that's so impossible, how people under 25 travel the world on their own, live on their own, raise children, starts businesses, work, make great art, start their own communities, and the million other things that young people do! Pretty impressive for people incapable of making decisions, eh?

3. In terms of parents liability, I think we can assume that most parents would request that their children or teens pay for whatever they did. By saying this, I'm working on the assumption that in virtually all cases the offense would be relatively minor (i.e. marijuana possession). Yes, the parents are ultimately responsible. However, I've heard of a hell of a lot of cases of traditionally schooled, traditionally parented kids getting into serious shit, and all I've ever heard of unschoolers getting in trouble for is very minor.

4. I love organic food as well! My family, especially my mother and I, are working at finding good places for buying reasonably priced organic foods (there are actually co-op type places that work to sell organic food at prices the non-wealthy can actually afford!). It's hard to do, but most likely possibly in many places if you do enough searching and are careful not to let food go to waste. But yes, it's still a fairly expensive and difficult task. I highly suggest that you dig around in the food related section of this unschooling site: http://sandradodd.com/food, where you'll find lots of first person accounts. Perhaps then you can actually believe me when I say not controlling food is better!

5. I see in my video I misunderstood, and responded as if you'd said that high school kids DO "fuck like bunnies", when instead what you said was that they WOULD fuck like bunnies were they allowed co-ed sleepovers. I have a couple of points to add here. Firstly, what I said in the video still stands. Kids don't need co-ed sleepovers to have sex, and if you look at the statistics, they'll back me up on this one. Secondly, I've certainly heard of same sex sleepovers where there is fucking involved. People still have way too heterosexual a view of the world!

6. I said in my video that one of my main points is that people should be able to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't harm others, and what I ACTUALLY say in my original video is that everyone has a right to do, or not do, whatever they want with their bodies unless doing so infringes on another person's right to do, or not do, whatever they want with their own bodies. I consider driving under the influence to be infringing on other peoples rights to bodily safety. I also consider smoking around other people to be infringing on their right to clean air! Therefor, what I said originally still stands. Do what you want with your own body, don't fuck with other people's bodies. Wow, that sounded dirty. Didn't quite mean it that way. :-P

7. I already responded pretty thoroughly to your "wealthy" comment in my video. However, I forgot to point out that you, as a homeschooler, ALSO need to pay for any tests you take. What's the difference? Should I now believe, as so many ill informed people do, that you must be "wealthy" to homeschool? Interestingly enough, many of the schooled families I know, the public schooled families, pay more in school fees, school supplies, and ridiculously expensive after school activities than my own family, as unschoolers, does or ever has. Secondhand books, reasonably priced and free activities, and similar things are wonderful! I pride myself in my ability to find free and cheap things. It's actually fun, along with being easy on your wallet, and works perfectly with my plan to live a very simple life, living, by choice, on a small amount of money. Oh, and here, tests aren't that expensive. I don't know about other places. I don't plan to take any, unless I find that I genuinely need to to get where I want, in which case I'll study for a few months, take the damn test, and be done with it. I'm not exactly worried. Nope, decisions are not irreversible. At all! I honestly don't understand why you believe them to be... Perhaps because that's what you've always been told?

8. I HAVE HEARD THIS STUPID STATEMENT SO MANY GOD DAMNED TIMES!! Sorry, that's a bit of an over reaction lol. Like I said, I've heard it a lot. "Unschooling is fine, as long as you're motivated". NO. Unschooling works, because those who unschool BECOME motivated, because they are learning about what they want, what interests them and is relevant to them, when they want and need to learn it. In such a learning approach, each individual's journey is different, because each individual is different. Each individual is empowered, excited about life. As an unschooler, you learn. You just do. It's as natural as eating, sleeping, breathing. And I can actually throw "if you'd ever researched..." at you in this case. Schooling methods that look like modern methods are only a couple of hundred years old. The idea of real control at all is only 10,000 years old (and modern humans have been around about 300,000 years... A society that's based on hierarchy and control is a relatively recent development in our species' history). Before the agricultural revolution (10,000 to 12,000 years ago) humans learned from life. There was no lesson plan, no forcing of learning at all. And don't say there wasn't much to learn. Do some research, read about tribal peoples. They had every bit as much as we do to learn, it was simply different things they were learning! Unschooling is THE most natural approach to learning, because humans are hardwired to learn. They don't need forcing or pushing. You'd have to work hard to make someone NOT learn.

9. "Or else"... So you advocate threatening your child? Punishing your child? Does that sound like good parenting to you? Because if it does, that honestly makes me feel sad.

10. I can certainly make blatant statements like that, when everything I've read and learned and seen backs them up entirely. "You need guidance. You need control. That's just the way life is." I've most often heard the "that's the way life is" comment when people have nothing to back up their point. At no point in your video did you make a strong argument that people need control. Because there is no argument, that I've seen, that makes a strong, GOOD argument for control. I have, however, seen plenty of wonderful arguments AGAINST control. Sure, I'm biased in my opinions, but so is each individual, including the scientists who argue for and against control. All I can do is take in what I learn, both from third party sources and from my own life, and decide FOR MYSELF what's true.

Anyway, no apologies from you necessary, I wasn't insulted. Thanks for starting an interesting conversation! If you want to continue it, I'd prefer to do so over YouTube or Facebook messages, because I don't want to bore my subscribers with the same argument!"

I hope this whole exchange isn't utterly boring to those not involved!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Freedom and the absolute right to ones own body

If you want to see all my past vlogs, you can either check out my YouTube channel or click on the tag "vlogging" at the bottom of this post.


Sex and Drugs: An Unschooler's Perspective

I feel a little bit intimidated to be writing about this topic, since I feel it's a fairly big one, and something that many people feel very strongly about, and wonder about how unschoolers handle them. It doesn't really help that it's really late, and I'm not sure I can do the topic justice right now. However, I can always add more, edit things, or write whole new posts later on, so I don't really need to worry if I'm not entirely happy with what I write now!

A while back on Facebook, I was tagged in a note from a mother asking for advice on how to have "The Talk" with her 11 year old daughter. I thought about that a lot, but never answered, because my family never did have that much-talked-about Talk. When I was under two my mother became pregnant with my little sister, so of course I wanted to know how! Her answer was that Papa puts the sperm in her then a baby starts growing. After mulling that over for a while, again, I'd ask "how?" and get a more in depth answer. My mom never glossed over things, but neither did she push unwanted information on me. When I asked a question, she'd simply answer honestly. And so I learned about the very basics of sex at a young age! It also helped that when I was young we had an, erm, very sexually explicit dog, so I got a bit more of an idea from that, as funny and slightly embarrassing as it is to say it! :-P

When I was older, in my preteen years, my mom simply took a huge stack of books on sex ed. out from the library, and I'd surreptitiously flip through them whenever I felt like it. I went through a stage where I found talking about such things incredibly embarrassing, and would have completely flipped out had my mom attempted to "teach" me sex ed. As it was I learned from books, peers (and since I was always smart, I double checked peer learned information with much more reliable sources :-P), the internet (as much as the net is filled with pornography and bad information about sex, there is some good info if you look for it), and my mom (as a last resort!). The only kind of information I remember her kind of trying to force on me was about birth control. At that point, I already knew about everything she was telling me, and was quite peeved at her for embarrassing me by bringing up the subject! Suffice it to say, I learned sex ed naturally, through books and conversations and LIFE, just like an unschooler learns everything else!

In terms of menstruation, that was just normal. We never had closed doors in our house when I was young, and I simply learned about that through living with a grown woman! Again, I was embarrassed about such things, but my mom made it clear I just had to ask for supplies if I needed them, and other the that, I didn't need to talk about it unless I wanted to. I really was a very embarrassed child in many ways, looking back on things!

Nowadays in my family, sex isn't nearly as taboo a subject because, well, neither my sister nor I are really embarrassed anymore! My mother, sister, and I have had multiple really good conversations about various aspects of sexuality, both physical and emotional, and I think that's wonderful! There's absolutely no feeling of my mom "teaching" or "instructing" or the conversation in any way not being equal between us, because, well, it is equal! We're all just discussing something that is relevant and interesting to us, and although the three of us have had vastly different experiences in the matter, that doesn't change how we discuss things. It's a free sharing of ideas, opinions, and experiences, like all of our good conversations, and that's a wonderful thing. Also, my parents have never been advocates of "abstinence". The only thing they've been forceful about is safety. BE SAFE! Is the most my mom has ever said to me in terms of whether or not I "should" have sex. My parents trust that both my sister and I own our own bodies, respect ourselves, and know what we do or do not want to do with our bodies. I won't necessarily be happy (and haven't necessarily been happy) with every decision I make, but it's always MY decision and no one elses.

I actually find it rather amusing, if exasperating, that some people seem to think that un/homeschoolers will have inferior sex ed. knowledge, because my sister and I have actually been in the position of giving accurate info to schooled friends, who have very limited knowledge and a shit load of bad information! Our local high school doesn't even teach anatomy properly, because I know several guys who go to that school and have absolutely no grasp of female anatomy!

Alcohol consumption was never made into a big issue in my household, either. From the time I was young, I was always offered alcohol when my parents would have a glass of wine or similar. Neither of my parents are big drinkers, and I've never seen either of them drunk. Drinking alcohol was, and is, something consumed for the enjoyment of the drink, not to get drunk, in my family. I tried multiple different types of alcohol as they became available at different family functions and similar, decided what I liked and didn't like. And to this date, I have never been drunk. I've been slightly tipsy (emphasis on 'slightly') twice in my entire life. And honestly, I never plan on getting drunk. The thought does not appeal to me in the slightest, probably in large part because I really don't like being around people who are drunk. I have a strong sense of personal space, and one of the first thing people seem to lose when drinking is a sense of personal boundaries and other people's space. That, and I just find it gross!

In terms of drugs, I don't remember any "don't do drugs" type talk. I have a cutesy sticker stuck on my bookshelf in my room that says "Say Neigh to Drugs" with a picture of a horse, but I'm not even sure I knew what they were referring to when I got the sticker, and the main motivation in sticking it to my bookshelf was that I liked horses! :-P So really, my opinions on drugs have been formed by myself. And unsurprisingly if you've read my blog for any length of time, I do not believe that drugs should be illegal. I believe that every person has an absolute right to decide what they do or do not do to their bodies, as long as they don't infringe on another person's absolute right to do or not do whatever they want with their own bodies! It hasn't really been much of an issue so far, since neither my sister nor I have ever done drugs. However, I've made it clear to my mom at least (possibly both parents, but I'm not sure I've made it quite as clear to my dad, since he's more anti-drugs than my mother is) that I will try marijuana at some point. I don't feel it's something I need to keep absolutely secret. The reason I haven't yet, although I've certainly had the opportunity, is because there are several factors affecting my decision. I need to trust that what I'm taking into my body comes from a reliable source, and is not contaminated in any way, and I need to trust the people I'm with, because I want to be surrounded by people who will take care of me when my judgment is impaired. I'm not even that worried about what I'll do in terms of safety, because from what I've seen, marijuana doesn't really affect you to an extant that you're likely to do anything particularly dangerous, unless you're driving or similar. I just don't want to even do lesser things, embarrassing things, or anything I'll regret, really. The main thing is that before I'm willing to tamper with my state of consciousness, I want to feel that I'm in a comfortable and safe environment.

I think that's good for now. I may want to elaborate on some points in later posts, or talk about some points I've forgotten, but this will do for now. Also, I'd LOVE to hear from other unschoolers on how you handle the issues of sex and drugs. You can either leave your answer in the comments below, or write a whole post of your own on it! If you do decide to do a post, please leave the link in the comments, and I'll add them to a list at the bottom of this post. I actually decided to write this post after seeing a comment and her subsequent post on Michele's blog, so I'll start by adding that link!

Links to posts on sex and drugs on other unschooler's blogs:

Drugs...Sex...? by Michele of Natural Attachment

Sex, drugs, but no rock 'n roll....Sorry! by Stella of Not An Ordinary Teen

What's on a Teenager's Mind by Rochelle Blue of Penmanship of a Teenage Writer

The Talk and Other Things by Danya of Made of Carbon

Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll by Kaya of The Important Stuff (plus a few other things)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Birthday time!

In the last month, I've celebrated two Birthday's of those who are close to me. On the 7th of June, my wonderful mommy turned 51! We celebrated with yummy cake. :-)

Then, just a few days ago on the 21, we celebrated one of my best friends, Nick's, Birthday! He turned 17. :-)

Who the hell decided it was a good idea to give Nick a knife?!?

Cutting the very yummy cake, courtesy of Jodie. :-)


Happy Trev

Happy Nick doing something strange. What's new, really?

Dawwwwww, she looks so cute!


Happy people celebrating...

...Did I mention these people are special? I love them so much. :-)

For both my mom's and Nick's Birthday gifts I gave them a Tarot deck and book. My mom got the Sacred Circle set, and Nick got the Celtic Tarot set. Both of them were very pleased with their gifts! My mom had wanted tarot cards specifically for meditation, and she's been happily meditating, and for Nick they were a complete surprise, but he was carrying them around with him for a couple of days, and he's already started the book that came with them. :-) It always feels good when gifts are well appreciated! And speaking of Tarot, this leads me to the topic of my own feelings on Tarot, card reading, and similar things. I want to write a post about that soon. I have an ever growing list of things I want to write a post about, actually. :-P They currently include:
  • Tarot cards, reading
  • My personal spirituality, Animism, Paganism, rituals in daily life
  • Herblore, my favorite home remedies, edible and medicinal plants that grow around my house
  • Recipes
  • Sexual identity, GLBTQ issues
  • Feminism, gender roles
  • How an unschooling family deals with sex and drugs, my personal feelings on those subjects
Annnd that's only what I can think of off of the top of my head! I really do want to get to those subjects soon, and I really hope that I actually do... :-S


Beautiful art

This video is beautiful, moving, and wonderful. That art she's doing? It's all in sand.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Punk, jazz, and good times!

Yesterday was lots of fun! I was a bit worried, because Ty and I were going to see the bands Rise Against and Rancid at an outdoors venue, so although I really wanted to see Rise Against again (they're one of my favorite bands (you may remember me talking about them when I saw them back in December)) it was also rainy, which isn't so much fun when you're standing outside.

Since it was downtown, and my mom also had to pick my sister up and drive her downtown a bit later (Emi's drum teacher, who's a really cool guy, offered to have her sell her handmade stuff between sets at the place where his band plays), she dropped Ty and I off at a Metro (also know in other places as the train/subway) station, and we headed downtown! It was rather funny, by the time we got to the last leg of our commute, it was so obvious that the great majority of people on the train with us were also heading to the same punk concert we were! When we got there, the opening band, The Riverboat Gamblers, were about halfway through their set, so we watched them for a while. They were pretty good! However, it was raining pretty hard at the start, so even though I had a raincoat on, I still got pretty wet. Wet, but not cold, so I was still quite cheerful. :-) Next came Rancid. They're good! I'd only ever heard a few of their songs, so I didn't enjoy them as much as I could have, but I really want to hear more of their music now...

By the time Rancid finished, it was getting pretty dark, it had stopped raining for the most part (yay!), and you could feel the crowd energy rising. The crowd was definitely made up mostly of Rise Against fans! We stood around waiting, feeling the occasional cool rain drops on our face, breathing in the tons of secondhand marijuana smoke (there were seriously TONS of people smoking weed! I was amazed at the joint to cigarette ratio, since there really weren't many people smoking cigarettes at all. We were even offered some for free, though we turned it down of course. ;-) (Seriously, we did turn it down. Unknown dealer=bad idea!)), hearing the intermittent chants of "Rise Against!", and waiting with excitement. We worked our way right up into the front of the crowd, where we'd have a good view. When they finally came on, the crowd went wild! I was very happy to have the earplugs that we'd brought (always a good idea to have at concerts!). We had a great time, jumping up and down, singing along loudly, and getting bumped into nearly constantly by people. I've never really been in "the pit" at a concert before, and it can get pretty rough. You have to be aware of the people around you, keep your arms up to easily protect your head and upper torso, and not mind being squashed against multiple people! Except for one jerk who literally smashed into people with no care for injury, everyone was really cool though. The worst injuries I got were frequently squished toes and a fairly light elbow to the throat (and in the latter case, I instantly had a complete strangers hand on my shoulder and a concerned query if I was alright. As I said, most people were really cool. :-)). It also helped that there was very little real moshing, and when there was we were careful to stay out of it! At the closest, there was only one person between us and the barrier in front of the stage. It was really cool to have the lead singer actually that close, and singing straight to those of us right in front! :-D We ended up moving to a safer location later on in the show, when the aforementioned jerk moved into our area, but it was still a good spot.

After the concert ended, we stumbled into the packed Metro caked in dirt (the rain had made the ground very mushy, to say the least), sweat (ours and others), and beer (one time when someone threw their cup over the crown, I actually got beer in my eye. Ouch+eww) bruised, sore, tired, and smelling strongly of weed. We went to a station (still in town) where we were picked up by my mom and brought to the place where Emi's drum teacher, Nick's (not the Nick I've talked about previously, a different Nick :-P), band was playing (their set only started at 12:00). They are a really fricken' good jazz band! I loved their music. Apparently the previous two bands that had played before were good as well, so although Emi hadn't sold anything, she'd enjoyed the music. My one problem with the evening: a university student ended up hanging out with Emi for a while, and he was TOTALLY hitting on her. My little sister. Getting hit on. By a guy in his early twenties!!! He thought she was older than she was, and she made no move to tell him otherwise. Instead, she gloated at me, since I'd informed her she would never pass for 18, and she did. *Grumbles* But big sister over protectiveness aside, it was a great evening. :-P Frequently, Ty and I would wander out and wander around the street. Ty got something to eat, a slightly drunken guy played us a song on a ukulele, and, considering, he was pretty good! When Ty handed him a couple of dollars, the ukulele player happily informed us that it was enough for another beer. Oh dear. :-P

By the time we headed home, it was about 2:30. We said goodbye, told the band how much we'd enjoyed them, made plans for Emi to attempt to sell her stuff at the bands next gig, and headed to the car. We then proceeded to get lost almost instantly. Since we got lost near one of Montreal's well renowned bagel stores (one that's open 24/7), we picked up a dozen deliciously fresh bagels. "It's okay that we're lost" we giggled in cheerful tiredness. "It's an adventure... WITH BAGELS!!" Said Emi happily. "Every adventure is better with bagels.", I agreed with my mouth full. We also saw a depaneur (corner store) advertising that they were open 25 hours a day... Hmm, someone seems to be unclear on the concept. I also broke my personal record for how late I'd stayed downtown!

When we finally got home at about 3:40, I took a quick shower to get rid of the concert grime, then collapsed in bed. I slept until past 3:00 this afternoon, and I still feel tired! But it was a very good time had by all last night. :-)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My latest poll, asking "Are you a..." has now closed. The results, with 86 votes, were:

15 (17%)
Regular schooler
4 (4%)
10 (?%)
Graduate of regular school
12 (13%)
Graduate of homeschooling
3 (3%)
Grown up unschooler
5 (5%)
Unschooling parent
34 (39%)
Homeschooling parent
3 (3%)
Traditional school parent
0 (0%)

A new poll will be up as soon as I think of a good question to ask (if you have any ideas, please let me know!)!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I love downtown Montreal so damn much, especially in the Summer.

I went downtown yesterday with my mom, Emi, Ty, and Nick (Ty is here visiting again). The Fringe festival is going on right now, so there was plenty of activity. As I think of what to write, the sensory impressions are what come to mind first. The smell of cigarettes, weed, and good food. The sound of cars, music, laughter and voices. The sight of a numerous amount of people. Dyed bright hair, dreadlocks, bright summer dresses, studded everything, cool piercings...

We headed down in the afternoon, and as we walked along the streets, the first thing I noticed were the colours. The bright purple of someones railings; street art splashed on multiple walls, bright colours, faces, abstract scenes. I can't understand why some people don't see the value in such art. To me it's a beautiful art form, and the artists who create it are no less talented than their more traditional counterparts!

We passed a small garage sale on our way, and I bought another pin for my purse. I'll have to post a picture of my small but ever growing pin collection sometime soon.

In the square where the folk music was being played, we hung around briefly. Cigarette smoke hung in the air, and the twang of bluegrass folk sang in my ears. Since it wasn't really our type of music, we left my mom there to listen while the rest of us threaded our way through the band booths, poster plastered temporary walls, and eclectically dressed people. Some sounds we did like were the Fringe fest Cabaret, a motley group of people who wandered through the streets in pirate/gypsy-esque costumes, playing plaintive gypsy tunes. We passed them several times, and always enjoyed their music (and the juggler, in Ty's case). There isn't any feeling quite like wandering down the street with friends, the sun beating down and warming my back, watching the people that pass, taking in the sights, sounds, smells...

When we headed back to meet my mom a little while later, we were all slightly hungry, so after applying a few temporary tattoos supplied by one of the shows, we started on the twenty minute walk that would bring us to a cafe that was selling vegan food by donation. It was a lovely little fair trade, vegetarian cafe, with friendly people. We happily consumed millet pie, ginger cake, and spiked fruit juice with much happiness, at least on my part!

Afterwards, we wandered around for a while, Ty bought a new hand drum, and we headed home, sweaty, tired, and sore-footed. The day ended on a worse note than it had started on, but overall, it was still a good day.

Next Saturday, we're going downtown to see the fireworks (every year Montreal hosts an international fireworks competition, so the shows are truly spectacular), and we'll be there again at least once more this week for an outdoor concert.

I love this city. I really do. And I love long Summer days wandering it's streets, taking in everything, and just enjoying the vibrancy that is all around me. I'm biased, of course, but I truly believe that I live near one of the greatest cities there is!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dark skies

Life by turns continues to be depressing and good. Lately, sadly, depressing is still leading. I wanted to write something, even though the interesting thoughts in my head refuse to be made into a blog post, so I really don't have much interesting to say. So, I figured I'd put this little piece of randomness in a post, minimally edited. The ramblings of my mind as I sat in a car on a grey day in the parking lot of a plant nursery on my mother's Birthday. The sky was opressive, and the car smelled of tomato plants.

The glovebox is full of memories. I never even realized that until today. Depressed, bored, and trying to both distract and amuse myself, I open up the plastic door and start digging around inside. The first thing that catches my eye is Sackboy. He used to hang from a chain on my purse before the chain was broken or lost. I don't even remember which. I'd forgotten that Sackboy even existed. Next, I notice a bright flash of orange - a Kalahari wrist band that's been there since February, when we went to the UWWG. It was the first unschooling gathering we went to as a family (minus my dad). The barcode and phone number are wearing off. Memories keep coming as I pull other things out. The card from Uncle Gene's funeral, and the words on the back that made me cry when I first read them aloud in the car, a few monthes ago, as we drove home. "I have lived - God knows I have lived..." A parking slip from St. Annes. What a memory that is. I don't even emember why we were there. There's also a pile of yellow napkins, and a plastic bag filled with salt and pepper pckets, and plastic knives and forks, stolen from some long forgotten restaurant on the side of the highway. And a bill from an EconoLodge we never even ended up staying at...

I wonder how many words never written are tucked away in my brain, never to be found again... Hidden memories never to be recalled...

That's why I love gloveboxes.

Life is hard smetimes, especially when the way isn't clear, or when your happiness, which it almost always is, is dependant on others. I can't fix everything. I can't even change some things. And figuring out what is changeable and what isn't can be exceedingly difficult. But, I feel bad for complaining, and I really dont want to. I do know that things will get better. It's just hard waiting until it does.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Creations by Emi

My wonderful Manga, Anime, and anything Japanese obsessed sister, really really really wants to go to the Japan. And she's getting the opportunity to do just that, through Eli Gerzon's Worldschool Travel Tours. However, it's a LOT of money. She's therefor doing a bunch of things to raise money, one of which is making and selling bags, pincushions, jewelry, and other lovely things. If you're interested in supporting her, please check out some of her stuff on her deviantART acount. Items will soon be listed in her Etsy shop, CreationsbyEmi. Thanks a bunch, from both of us (I love to see my sis happy)!


Figuring out the problems in life...

More and more lately I've felt that there's a huge gap between where I am, and where I want to be in my life.

I love being around people, and I love being busy (or at least semi-busy), so I don't know how I ended up with such a quiet life. I guess because it happened gradually... Or maybe it's more accurate to say that I was simply happy being not that busy for a while... But that's no longer what I need or want. So then the issue becomes how can I make my life into what I want it to be? Starting new activities where there isn't anyone I know is incredibly difficult for me. It scares me. And not in the fairly normal apprehensive-about new-situations way, but in a terrified-chest-tightening-mild panic-attack-inducing way. New situations are only okay to me if I'm with someone I care about (either family or friend). So that makes things more difficult... But before I even get to that point, I need to figure out what it is I want to be doing. So I compiled a list of my interests the other day, and am going to see what I can do that involves those interests, and whether I can rope any friends or family into doing them with me!

Because of all that, I've been feeling really dissatisfied and frustrated lately. Add emotional stress to that (a breakup (we're still friends, but working on a friendship can still be difficult), someone I'm close too going through chemo (that's a big one)...) and things have been more then a little rough. But I'm okay. And I know that I'll find my way, I'm just not sure how long it's going to take me, or how difficult it's going to be...

I have lots of thoughts and ideas floating around in my head, and hopefully at least a few of them will make it into blog posts in the not too distant future!