I am, as usual, fashion-impaired.

I hate clothes shopping. I have a weird body, not easy to fit (in my experience), and I’m gimpy. I can’t do buttons easily. I can’t stand up and flip through clothing on racks for long periods of time. It hurts.

That combination means I need elastic-waisted pants, but can’t find ones that stay up easily, and I can’t spend a lot of time looking. (I love thrift stores, but they really tax my endurance.) And I have no idea what size I wear anymore, as I’ve lost a chunk of weight recently.

So, just …. ~flail~ I don’t know. I dislike trying on clothing. I dislike shopping. Shopping online means I get a lot of clothes that have to go back when they don’t fit. (I have some very nice clothing hanging in my closet that I haven’t bothered to send back yet. *grouch*)

Anyway, the point:

I went to Target today and tried on two skirts and two pairs of pants. I really need four pairs of pants, but I only found two that didn’t make me want to kick the clothes racks over. It turns out that size XL in Target’s Merona brand fits me like clown pants and size L won’t go over my hips. The skirts were pretty reasonable, so I got those.

More of the point:
I still need to finding shirts that go with the skirts. One skirt is kind of a cream and deep sage horizontal stripes, the other black and grey in a chevron, both cotton knit, and long. I just ordered a couple of black tank tops but the available greens were mostly jades and teals and limes. If the black tops fit, I’ll perhaps get brown in the same size, maybe cream, but I spill coffee.

I need two more pairs of pants and different shirts, with more coverage, but that go well with long knit skirts. I have no idea what to get. Henleys? Keep in mind I don’t dress up much, and my lifestyle is very kid-and-dogs.

Just, you know, dress me! Links are good, ideas, brainwaves. If you know me and think any particular pants, skirts, tops, or look would look good on me, please holler.

My taste runs thisaway:

(and otherwise, at https://www.pinterest.com/mactavish/ there are other “style….ish” boards.)

Geocaching: Should we? (we probably will)

I just found this semi-not-wholly awesome page about geocaching, on buzzfeed:
29 things you only understand if you’re a geocacher” (Please note obligatory numbered list and exclusionary language.)

So I said to Owen, showing him a picture, “Check out this game. People hide boxes for each other, with treasure in them. Other people have to go find them in their hiding places. The finders can leave a present behind, and pick out a treasure to take along. What do you think about that?”

He said, “I think that is super, and awesome, AND SNEAKY.”

“Sneaky” is just about the highest praise he can give. And he loves treasure.

Owen and his Nina are pirates, and found treasure!
(Owen loves hunting for treasure.)

So it seems that, on a very junior level, geocaching is right for him.

I’ve tried it a few times and enjoyed it, but now that I’m so gimpy, I can’t walk more than about a mile on a good day, uneven ground is tricky, and my small motor skills are iffy. So I’d love to do this, but for me, it’s not so easy.

But it’s just perfect for Owen.

I think this is just one more reason to be vigilant with PT/OT work, and finding a better rheumatology route, and can’t someone just cure this damn disease?

It would be easier for us if I knew there was a way to filter cache listings easily for ease of terrain and suitability of the find for young children. Do any of you geocachers know how manageable we can make it?

#homeschool – I’m looking at curricula

#homeschool – I’m looking at curricula for K-1 for Owen, and thinking the simplest way will be to ask folks to send me stuff to review. How do I know, before we start, how he will learn best? Do I have to order/try *everything*? I can come up with my own practices … but ultimately, I’d like not to have to go a few months then try something new if it doesn’t work. (Also? testing posting to wordpress from hootsuite)

cooking together

Owen’s been playing with language lately, or rather, since he first started talking. But lately it’s been noticing similarities in dissimilar words, like, “I just heard the furnace go on.” “Furnace, like in fur!” or “We’ll stop at the bank, too.” “Too, like in two feet!”

Today I was mixing up some french vanilla pudding, because we had a chocolate pie crust left over from doing something for Christmas, so I figured dump some pudding in it. He helped me mix it with a whisk, so it wasn’t perfectly blended, and as I poured it into the pie crust, I noticed a few gloppy lumps in the pale yellow proto-pudding. “We can’t eat the pie until it gets firm, right now it’s runny.” “Runny, like runny nose!”

Maybe I’ll be able to eat some once it’s time for dessert.

(Just sharing.)

peas and carrots, carrots and peas

Owen and I have been working with a tiny garden.

peas and carrots

We are growing peas (basic English, in a pod) and carrots (danvers and rainbow, I like nantes but the hardware store didn’t have nantes seeds right then, we’ll add some later) in a big plastic pot in our yard. Historically, I’ve liked real terra cotta, but we’re making a concerted effort to save water, and terra cotta helps dirt evaporate away a lot more of its moisture than plastic does. And we’ll save and reuse these for a long time. (Also, we move a lot, and terra cotta is heavy and I tend to break it when we move.)

Owen loves peas and carrots, as well as some other vegetables, but this batch is easy, he can pick whenever he likes, and every couple of weeks we can sprinkle carrot seeds into bare patches. We have to plant it well into our front yard rather than back because it needs to be in a sunny spot and convenient to water, as well as away from the carrot-loving dogs, who would dig up their own snacks. We’ll irrigate it with a sprinkle can, I think, with both fresh and occasional water left over from household use.

One reason we’re doing this, aside from, oh …

  • I think it’s good for people in general to grow food
  • I think it’s good for kids to see where food comes from
  • It’s science
  • It’s fun
  • It involves dirt
  • I’d like Owen to increase his variety in vegetable-nomming, and I think growing them is a good way to do that

  …is that I’d like to find ways to help Owen learn about water conservation, and giving him ways to practice it in daily life is a good way to do that. We can turn off water while brushing teeth, and not refill the tub immediately after a long soak, and turn off the hose when we’re done playing outside, but I think actually using water to make food grow, watching the process every day, is a solid, practical water experience. I love that he’s old enough not to want instant gratification with the seedlings sprouting, and the carrots and peas ripening.

I’m just not sure I am!

Owen grows peas and carrots

making dinner

I’m cooking dinner, which is a bigger deal than it seems. I’m making rigatoni (boiling it, not making it), on which I’ll put freshly grated parmesan, and I’m braising kale that had been sitting in some olive oil in a ziploc for 24 hours, after yesterday’s failed kale chips experiment*. With Owen’s rigatoni (he’ll say “not the round noodles, real noodles, long waaaaavy noodles,” by which he means ramen, but that’ll just mean more rigatoni for me) I’ll put chunks of Trader Joe’s chicken apple maple sausage, which he prefers cold. Owen won’t touch the kale. Casey can do what he pleases with what he pleases.

Anyway: I’m cooking dinner. This is a big deal because the nature of the limitations RA has placed on me this time around means I can’t lift heavy pans (e.g. drain rigatoni of its boiling water) and it hurts to stand for long periods of time. So lately, I’ve been “cooking” things like Trader Joe’s fried rice, which I can nuke for 4 minutes and has honest-to-goodness vegetables, and Owen likes it.

But though a fair bit of my current disability comes from RA’s inflammation and what that does to pain levels and the way my joints and connective tissues function, some happens because I’m weak and lazy because when things hurt, I sit on my butt. There’s a fuzzy area between too much and not enough activity when flaring, and I’m way over into not enough.

So I took a walk today, with Owen and the dogs, just a tiny bit too far, then came home and took extra ibuprofen and lay down for a rest. And now, while dinner cooks itself for a few minutes (I should go check that pasta), I’m blogging for a few minutes. Then I shall go get myself some food and eat it.

In a very nice world, I’d clear off the dining room table and eat with Casey and Owen. (Audrey gets home from work very late.) There’s a small chance that will happen, but small. Casey’s not feeling well, and we’re not in the habit of family meals. But at least I’m making dinner.

*I read a few different recipes, and there’s a lot of variation among the 300-degrees-will-burn-it and just-keep-an-eye-on-it and 250-then-rotate-pan-then-300-for-3-minutes-then-remove-and-let-rest and other schools of kale chip thought, so I did 250 for 10, then rotated, then 250 for … checks, still nice and tasty crisp on the outside but chewy-raw on the middle for about a freaking hour, then I turned it up to 300 and suddenly scorch it was overcooked and bitter. So screw kale chips.

finding the boy a posse

We have, more or less, decided to homeschool Owen at least for the early school years, unless we stumble on an awesome alternative, our local public school turns out to be perfect, or any number of other options.

If Owen were an introvert, it would be an easier decision, but he’s an extravert. Locals who homeschool point out that I have to “not be afraid to drive,” and that we have lots of park days available (yeah, more or less) but still, keeping him out with other kids is going to be a lot of work. The teaching, or facilitating learning, will be easy. I mentioned today in an online discussion that he has a hard time at park days where most of the children are 8+, as he feels left out (understandably, and I don’t expect olders to include him) and someone told me that kids his age are better off forming warm relationships with adults.

We’ve done that. He’s got his adult peeps. But I know my kid. I’ve seen him with welcoming kids of his own age (ideally, for him, 4-6ish), and with his bestest friends he glows, he thrives. And I’ve taught kids his age in group settings. Some kids are probably best off with mostly adults, but some seem to need at least a few hours a week in community with kids near their own age.

The problem with modern public school is that’s a false community, artificial socialization, 25 kids and one harried teacher with little time to just kick back and know each other. There’s always the next directed activity, or sit and listen, or rush through lunch to get any time at all running around at all. Yes, kids need socialization, but not *that*. They need time, and just hanging out.


When I was a kid, we had kindergarten 3 1/2 hours a day, and that involved a lot of recess and play dough, hanging out with friends, even a nap period. Those are the olden days, and that classroom experience is gone.

So: I’ve got this bright, extraverted, “spirited” child, and all the Exploratorium memberships and random playground visits in the world won’t get him a posse. A very good, unschooly nursery school might, and I’d love to send him part time to one, but the two that first come to mind are on the peninsula, and up in Berkeley/Oakland, and then we come back to how much I’m willing to drive. Preschool schedules involve rush hour driving at one end or the other, and carschooling has its place, I really can’t physically manage that much driving. I don’t like it, it’s bad for the environment, it hurts my body.

Currently my workable ideas are:

  • If we can find someone local who’s free on weekdays, gets along great with O, and would love our quantity of materials and kid-friendly space, I can host a playdate.
  • Join the most likely of our local park-day organizing groups and go to the park days that work out for us. (I don’t like having enforced schedules unnecessarily, so we join lots of park day and similar groups and go as often as works for us.)
  • Getting involved with a UU congregation — there are four within a reasonable distance, two of those have strong children’s programs — and letting a couple of hours of his week be part of that community, which could last him for years.

Those seem good, all of them. Also, they make me tired to think of. But it’s what I’m signing up for, and I prefer it, for O, to having him in what modern public elementary school has become in California.

And then there’s moving to Baltimore, which has a homeschool community center that I truly covet. But that might be the least likely option, short of having him join a four-square church youth group.