Monday, April 18, 2011

what love looks like

I was a pretty decent homeschooler...all those many years ago. I researched curriculum, wrote curriculum, studied my kids, chose the best programs, worked hard at prep and having a great attitude and co-oped with the best of them. My kids have been to every museum, working farm, factory, brewery, printer, military installation and historical site within a 300 mile radius. I took them to Europe, Mexico and a bunch of places in between. They both were accepted into plenty of colleges and universities and they are smart, accomplished young adults who love learning.

Homeschooling was really amazing and I loved (almost) every minute of it with my kids. But honestly, after 18 years I was glad when Emily went to college full time. For about two years I was glad. 

Then my friend David told me he needed a sub this year for a few classes of high school English comp for a cool group he operates called One Day Academy. 
I pretty much begged him to let me teach. It has been wonderful. 
The curriculum was written by another friend, Debra Pahlow, and is way better than anything on the market and certainly better than anything I've ever written. It's deep, rich, engaging, educational and fun. 
If you have a student in the Austin area you should try to get them in one of Debra's classes.
Besides the awesome curriculum I am absolutely in LOVE with the students. They are surprising and maddening, mind-blowing creative and infuriating, heart-stoppingly insightful and mind-numbingly forgetful - and such a delight. 

The problem? The extrovert in me who loves teaching and taking kids places does not so much much like cooking. By myself. I like cooking with Terry. He is a inspiring and creative cook. Everything we make together, although it takes a while to get to the table, is great. But he is off tutoring college math with Emily in the study, nowhere near the kitchen. And he SHOULD tutor college math...I did grades 1-12, right? 

So what love looks like tonight is me alone in the kitchen making Hamantashen for my students end-of-the-study Book of Esther Purim celebration. I'm just not so good at this kind of thing anymore. The cookies are too fat, the filling is runny and they look NOTHING like the picture Debra sent me. After three crummy batches I am obviously in avoidance mode, writing instead of cooking-problem-solving. 
I am also googling who might make those cookies in town so I can go buy them instead of continuing to majorly fail at tri-cornered, jam-filled, cooking-baking.

I just went to the study to whine and Emily's remark was, "Mom, just go find a Jewish bakery where they make those things."

That's my girl.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

here and there

I like big suitcases and multi-page tickets, those little horse-shoe shaped pillows and airplanes. I like the little screens built in the back of the seats and having my ipod on all night.
I like holding other people's babies and putting them to sleep. (The parents think you are magic but really you were just a fresh pair of un-exhausted arms.) 
I like it when the little ladies bring you warm face clothes and breakfast with plenty of hot tea.
I sort of like that feeling that you are in limbo, time isn't important, and could those little animated maps which show you are flying over Greenland really be true?
I like getting on a plane in one time zone and with one climate and getting off in others.

I like seeing the world through eyes that are used to Texas but open wide.
I like the houses of friends that have familiar furniture, books and pictures but are set in neighborhoods full of voices, scents and sounds that have nothing to do with where I saw them last. I like it that their children have grown taller than me, not to mention beautiful, wise and even more wonderful.
I like watching friends do what they were made to do - to love and teach and learn.
I like hearing languages full of words I don't understand but also smiles that I do.
I like it when someone else does my laundry and irons everything.

I like being just one of two white women on a street full of dark-haired merchants whose curious stares and enticing wares make me wish I had a million dollars.
I like paper money with colored pictures and lots of zeros. 
Koi ponds with lazy fish and trees for which I have no names.
I like it when it rains. Hard and loud.
I like not knowing what that sound is or where it came from.
I like eating unfamiliar things and praying there are no repercussions.
I like volcanoes - from a distance, rice and sugar cane fields, chickens in dirt yards and strange breeds of cows in pastures on steep hillsides. 
I like it when someone else drives so I can watch traffic - with only occasional gasps. And seeing entire families on one motorcycle.

I like living in Austin, closing my eyes and remembering. And knowing I can adventure again. My heart is very full and very thankful.