things I’ve learned…

Okay. It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m getting older, and the payoff to ageing is supposed to be some acquiring of knowledge…with wisdom being the pot at the end of something.

The past two years I’ve learned a lot, possibly too much. I thought it’d be fun (right: my idea of fun is not much like anyone else’s) to attempt to sum…so here, the 10-1 countdown: (and if you’re in a happy place in your life, be thankful, and skip this entry)

10. Ask yourself why you’re unhappy where you are in your life.

9. Ask yourself if there’s anything you can do about it.

8. If the answer is no, change the answer.

7. Make every attempt to recognize happiness; it has a number of disguises. Sometimes it’s like Mr. Dressup.

6. Remember Mr. Dressup.

5. Know that you that you can actually live on one quarter of what you currently make. (It’s true; even if it’s one-quarter of nothing.)

4. When you find something that makes you happy (as in, satisfied), do it every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. It’s the every day part that matters.

3. Ultimately, this happy thing will bring you what you want. Other, less happy, things, won’t.

2. Other, less happy, things, won’t.

1. Read and re-read the picturebook Frank and Zelda, or Pizza for Breakfast. It was never meant for children. It was meant for adults who have given up belief in magic, and who don’t have a plan. Get a plan. Go back to #7 if need be.

Happy New Year!

G-bread (light)house…

I grew up making gingerbread houses every Christmas. Mom would  make her own pattern, and all four of us would decorate it. It would be quite big and square and we would decorate with those “ribbon” candies…what are they called? Whenever I see them, I think “Christmas” and “fifties.”

After my first son was born, I began to make them. But when I made them as big as Mom’s, they’d flop to pieces. The icing glue never worked, and I lacked her patience with supporting the pieces with all manner of kitchen stuff. She was quite elaborate with folded kitchen towels and such…

So I made smaller houses, and as my sons numbered two, then three, I made another and another. Then one year I discovered icing made with only sugar and egg white: glue! And we made a small sleigh and reindeer.

In 2004, we went to the UK. Emmett had just turned five. Six months later, at Christmas, he suggested we make a castle…with a water wheel (he was so impressed by that wheel in the Welsh medieval village)…so we did. And we have until this year.

PC220037When I first suggested we make a lighthouse, he balked. But once we began to put it together, and began to decorate, the castle thoughts began to fly. When I said, “Maybe next year, we should try something else again,” he said a simple “Sure.”

Surely a year to leave routine behind…

What will it be?

ice – a pond of your own

PC140007As good as it gets! We found an untouched pond on Saturday, and returned on Sunday. It had snowed, and we brought  a snow shovel, and zambonied. (That’s a word, right?) There can’t have been a breath of wind as it was freezing. It was the smoothest natural ice I’ve ever been on…

Back twice on Monday before the West Coast rain returned.  The positives of homeschooling: let’s pack up the skates.