Friday, August 26, 2016

NOT Back to School - An Option Worth Considering

With everyone posting back to school posts. And all the companies on television with their back to school ads, I just wanted to take a minute to remind everyone that public school is NOT mandatory. Yeah, let that soak in for a minute, empowering isn't it.  And in place of public school you are not REQUIRED to send your child/ren to private school either.  There is another option, HOMESCHOOLING!

A wonderful option worth considering.  Not saying it is the right choice for everyone but you should know your options.  It is legal everywhere in the USA.  Each state has its own regulations, some requirements are greater in some states, but it is legal, doable and I know families homeschooling all across this country.

Speaking only for North Carolina, as that is where I homeschooled my children (they are both beyond compulsory attendance age now), there are over 67,000 families homeschool across this great state. YES that is the number of FAMILIES!  It is estimated that there are over 118,000 students.  How awesome is that.  There are homeschooling support groups in all counties, there are more opportunities than you can imagine, including proms, athletics, events, and many many activities. Homeschooling is not difficult.  For more information on homeschooling in North Carolina Specifically you can go to the Division of Non Public Education web site.  They list the regulations/requirements as well as some suggestions/recommendations.

For other states, just google your state and homeschooling and I am sure a whole range of links will show up.  Or search for a local homeschool group.  Networking with other homeschooling families is a great way to see what homeschooling looks like, and I can tell you, it looks different for every family homeschooling.

Another detail I want to mention that is NC specific, is the compulsory attendance age.  Here in North Carolina it is 7-16.  So if your child is not yet seven they do not have to be enrolled in school anywhere at all.  They are not required to be attending any sort of school until the age of seven.  So when considering pre school and pre-pre school, think about that.  Are you ready for school, is your child ready for school, any sort of school?

I encourage everyone to think about all the options.  I feel we should all put as much time, thought, research and discussion into how/when/where we would like to educate our child/ren as we do in buying a car or house.  I think we all deserve at least that.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer Sweater

This is a great summer sweater pattern.  Took me a couple of weeks to finish and it is just perfect for this time of year.  I wore just a simple black tank under the sweater and it was nice and cool.  You can find the pattern at the Knitty web site.  Just scroll down a bit and you will see the sweater in red as well as the pattern for the Myliu Lino pullover.  I used a lovely yarn made of sugar cane, perfect for this project, as it has a soft, slinky feel and drapes well.  Of course my favorite yarn shop, O Suzannah's Yarn on Union carries this yarn in Morganton, in a few different colors.  So if you are in Morganton stop by and grab some yarn, this pattern took me 4 skeins of the sugar cane yarn.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mom's Purse and Dad's Wallet

I started reading the Stephen King novel Bag of Bones, this week.  Great beach reading and I haven't read Stephen King in years.  In the first chapter the narrator talks about looking through the contents of his wife's purse after her death.  So the last few days I have been thinking about my mother's purse. You know, I can't remember what was in it or looking through it after her death although I know I did.  Her last purse was a tan color although not a yellowish tan, it was more of a gray tan.  I also remember it weighed, what seemed like, a ton.  And there was no going into my mother's purse without direct permission from her.  You know I don't ever remember her ever giving me permission to go in her purse, she always said "bring me my purse" and she would dig through and find whatever it is I needed.  I remember the bottom being filled with change, probably why it was so heavy.  I can vividly see her getting out a handful of change when she needed it, just by reaching in her purse.

I guess the days after her death were so filled with grief and then there are the logistics of dealing with all the legal "stuff" in the two weeks I had here in the states before heading back to Germany. Trying my best to make sure my Dad was set, and had what he needed.  So I don't remember specifically going through her purse.

I do remember going through my Dad's wallet after his death.  It was a black leather wallet, that was well worn beyond real usefulness.  Although he was one that hated to change a well "fitted" wallet in for a new one.  I remember there was no money in the wallet at all, at the time (strange for my dad), but there were photos of all of us. He had an older one of mom in there.  It was black and white, I think it looked like it was a pre marriage shot of her.  Everything in his wallet was well worn, I guess from years of sitting.  He always carried his wallet in his back pocket, as most men seem to do.  I still have his driver's license. And run into it from time to time.

So the last few days I have been thinking about my Dad and his wallet, and wondering why men carry their wallet in their back pocket.  I know Jackson complains when he is driving that it is uncomfortable.  So if you know the reason or the origin, please leave a comment and let me know. And take a minute to tell your Mom and Dad how much you love him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Just an eerie sunrise this morning, with a storm off shore.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bringin' Up Memories

OK so this purging is really bringing up lots of memories, great memories.  The boys enjoy it when this happens.  I have been finishing up purging, organizing and cleaning the storage room.  I think I mentioned a while ago that my husband keeps everything.  Well....we have computers from our time in Germany, that would be 1993-1997 time frame.  With the cleaning, came deleting all personal information from these old computers and recycling them.

Phillip loves taking apart these old computers, he is so knowledgeable, more so than I.  So he was helping me out with this task.  While he was into one computer he found two discs crammed into the disc drive.

Do you all remember these?  My boys loved the Little Critter books, I think we had every one ever printed. We also had a few of the books on disc.  This was Dallen's first introduction to the computer.  He was two at the time, Pre-Phillip.  I remember sitting there with him at the computer and helping him move the mouse around the screen, clicking on different items that would animate and say a little phrase.  Interactive, but not difficult.  He LOVED IT!  And of course he hasn't stopped loving computer games, so much so that he is creating his own.  

"Just Me and My Dad" was his all time favorite, and I can still hear "B I G Tuna" in my sleep.  

Not sure why two were crammed in the disc drive, but Phillip found them, and now it is time to say good bye.  They are old, they are unusable and the memory is in my brain not in the discs.  Great find though. Now onto other things.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

Public Speaking.....(Who me?)

OK yes, I crawled outside my box and actually spoke in public, I survived the ordeal. For me this is a huge milestone and I am here to tell the story.  Most of you know that I do NOT like speaking in front of an audience, and I am really not good at it.  I know that.  What most of you don't know is that I used to do it frequently.

What many of you don't know about me is that as a lactation consultant many, many years ago, I educated the entire maternal-child health department at Womack Army Medical Center on the new breasfeeding policies and procedures, that I wrote, for the section.  Which encompassed several weekend long inservices, as it was mandatory that every employee take the course.  What you don't know is that I was the hospital's Neonatal Advanced Life Support Educator, which means I taught and tested employees in the hospital and outlying clinics in NALS.  I taught infant CPR to parents, I taught breasfeeding classes to parents.  When we moved to Germany I became a Lamaze instructor and taught Lamaze and Breasfeeding classes there, as well as helped moms with breasfeeding problems/concerns.

Not that I ever enjoyed public speaking but I did a lot of it.  So I am not sure where this inability to speak in public comes from.  Since moving here to North Carolina I have loved my roles as homeschooling mom, and wife.  I have enjoyed organizing many types of events and activities.  Being behind the scenes and doing the leg work is fun for me, and rewarding, although generally thankless.

But I really want to try to overcome this hurdle.  So yesterday I attended the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, public hearing in Asheville North Carolina. I wrote about this hearing, and my plan to attend right here on my blog.  A few days ago a thought crossed my mind that I might be able to speak.  OK so it was just a fleeting thought as public speaking terrifies me.  But I put the idea out into the universe and one of the wonderful women at Moms Rising, helped me gather my thoughts into a few paragraphs that sounded nice.  But the terrifying thing is the getting up there and speaking.  I didn't sign up beforehand to speak, I knew for me it would have to be an in the moment kind of thing or I would drive myself crazy.

So I printed off my little speaking blurb and headed up the mountain.  Getting into the hearing area there was a long table and two sign up sheets.  You could sign up as a guest or as someone who wanted to speak.  So I stepped back from the table and let other people pass by as I pondered what, for me, was a HUGE decision, do I commit to speak or back out.  As I was standing there, a lovely lady on the other side of the table, who was explaining the procedure to people, whispered to me "you can do it".  She doesn't know how much that meant to me, in that moment, she has no idea how big a deal this was for me. And so with that I added my name to the impressive list of speakers and took a seat.

To start, the room was like 150 degrees.  They said the A/C in the courthouse turns off automatically at 5 (the hearing started at 6) and the back wall of this room is all WINDOWS facing west or course. So the setting sun was just heating it up like a solar oven.  I was a little intimidated, as they went around the room and every elected official stood up and introduced themselves, so about 1/4 of the 100-150 people are elected officials.  From listening to the other speakers I would guess that another 1/4 were attorneys and most of the rest worked in the court/legal system in some capacity.  I think there were only a few parents or people not employed within the system, there. So everyone was in suits or heels, except maybe 4 people (including me).  They were speaking to the commission about all sorts of topics. Many of the speakers were judges and lawyers.

But I sat there and told myself that I was strong, that I could do this and that I had just as much right to be there and speak as anyone else.  And I did.  I was nervous.  Those of you that know me, know that talking about my boys brings tears to my eyes and I did talk about them and how terrifying it would have been for me, if at 16 or 17 they had done something wrong, they would have been charged, and treated as adults and would have been held with other adults.  How terrifying for me and how scary for them.  I mean they are barely adults now, let alone at 16.  We all know what it is like to be 16 and know everything.

So anyway I spoke, I choked up a little but held it together, and I forged on through and I did it.  I am hoping to build on this experience trusting that it will become easier in time.  Jumping outside that box of mine is difficult.  It would be so much easier to just stay in my comfort zone.  But there are things I want to do, and I really want to get through some of the difficulties of being an introvert.

(of course as any good introvert, as soon as the hearing concluded, I bolted out of the room away from all the step at a time...)

I hope that you are finding ways to look outside your box a little, whatever that box may be.  The view is empowering.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Herbal Conference...Are You Going?

OK it is that time of year again, time to pre register for the Southeast Women Herbal Conference.  I didn't attend last year, I didn't have enough money to do that AS WELL AS visiting family back home in Maine. So last year I chose Maine.  Turns out it was a wise choice as the conference had so much rain, and with several of the sessions being held in huge tents, probably made for a less than stellar event.  Although I bet those women made the best of it and had a great time anyway.

I have been going back and forth about attending this year.  I love Dr Jody Noe, she is an awesome speaker, and I also enjoy listening to Sarah Thomas, both are exceptional speakers and so knowledgeable, I really feel like I learn a lot from them both.  Dr Noe always has one or two sessions that really go in depth, and are more advanced.  I like that, I feel like I have the basics down pat, and enjoy going in depth into a topic.  But the early bird price is $280 and the deadline is August 19.

I heard a week or so ago that Rising Appalachia, will be there.  Love their music, so that swayed my decision and I registered on Sunday.  I will be attending.  I will be the one in the back of the room, hoping that the sessions are NOT interactive.  Or maybe I will just jump outside my box and actually talk to a stranger.  I can do that right?!

Here is a piece by Rising Appalachia, maybe it will sway you as well:

So if you are interested you can find out the schedule, sessions, teachers and all the details of registration and lodging at the Southeast Wise Women web site.  I hope I see you there!

Here is a little video about the conference, background music is by Rising Appalachia. I remember that now, like muscle memory, remembering what it felt like to stretch and learn and be joyful on my own, in my own space, and I remember hearing Rising Appalachia for the very first time there.:

Watching that video, reminds me so much of what I love about that conference, it just makes me want to go back, I remember that feeling now.