Nomadic Dreamers
...our unschooling journey

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Location: Fairbanks, Alaska, United States

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween

Yesterday Tristan and I spent the day corpsing a skeleton. Nothing is more satisfying than turning a cheap plastic skeleton into a gnarly, oozing mass of decaying flesh and bone. ;o) It was messy, it was time consuming, and now the house has a lingering odor of wood stain -- but we are very happy with the results! If all goes as planned, he'll be hanging by a rough hemp noose on our front porch. LOL

In the beginning he was the basic discount store skeleton...

Then a bit of cheesecloth and latex was applied....

And then he was doused liberally with stain...

And the finished product is a corpse any mummy would be proud of! ;o)

Try finding this in your garden variety school art class...if the school district hasn't already canceled the art program in lieu of more test preparation!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

After a long leave of absence....

Well, I never have been diligent about keeping a journal, but after a year we're back to blogging! I wish I could say the lengthy absence was due to being so busy that I just didn't have time to log all our activities, but, well, that just wouldn't be true. We've been busy, to be sure, but much of our time has been spent in readjustment -- to our new home/neighborhood, to Jody returning from Iraq after 16 months (getting all of us adjusted, especially since Jody was new to RUing, was a bit harder than I think we all realized), and now the reality that we will be leaving the military in 5 months (HUZZAH!!!). We are all really excited to be finally rid of the military life, but it brings up all sorts of new concerns and uncertainties -- starting out on a new career path, moving, etc.

Speaking of moving, one of the biggest issues I'm looking at are the state homeschooling laws, and it's dauting to say the least. It is so incredibly easy to homeschool here in Alaska. There are no hoops to jump through, no required testing, no evaluations, etc. Heck, we don't even have to notify the school district! Now we're looking at the very real possibility of having to do all those things I've dreaded. Although for a while I kept a log of what Tristan did during our days of unschooling, I've never translated it into "educationese." And while I'm very comfortable with our unschooling lifestyle, I'm not so good at explaining what we do under pressure - say if a superintendent or evaluator questioned me or Tristan. I'm really hoping that, depending on where we move, I'll have the option to enroll under an umbrella school or find an incredibly unschooler-friendly evaluator.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

We're moving....again....

Oh the timing couldn't be worse....with Jody in Iraq and Tristan and I heading out next week to San Antonio and then the L&L Conference. Less than a week after we get home, the movers will be here. Thankfully we are only having to move to another location on post. I couldn't fathom moving back down to the Lower 48 by myself...driving the AlCan with Tristan and two dogs?? Uh no...not gonna happen!

Right now I feel like I'm running on empty and am beyond exhausted. I'm trying to get as much done as possible before we leave next week...tearing down our fence, working in the yard, conducting minor repairs in the house, and the list goes on and on and keeps growing by the minute. Of course, this being military housing, we have to do all sorts of things...attend briefings, have the house undergo several inspections, etc etc etc... Gawd, I can't wait to be finished with all the military BS once and for all.

I officially signed for our new house (aka "quarters" in military lingo) on Monday and was so depressed when we drove by our new place. It is old and institutional-looking from the outside, and butts right up with a number of other units. Our current place is so homey, and we have an awesome little backyard that backs up into a grove of trees. Not a tree in sight at our new place. Just writing that depresses me. I really need that connection to nature. Thankfully, I think I spotted a bikepath not far from our place that leads to some meadows...hopefully a forested area isn't too far off.... Ah well, we'll make the best of the situation. There are a few huge parks right by our new place, which immediately sold Tristan on the idea of moving. As far as the house, we'll do what we can to make the place "ours" and Jody will be home in a few more months. That is what is most important right now.

To add insult to injury I found out that we won the Denali Lottery, where we would have been able to drive the entire road in Denali National Park (usually only the park buses are allowed on the road). Without Jody here...and our designated day falling right between when we return from our trip and when we move...we don't plan on going. I gave our ticket to someone I know who had entered but didn't win; I'm glad it won't go to waste.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

So appropriate for our times...

“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.”
-- Martin Luther King

Friday, August 11, 2006

Preparing for Albuquerque

My parents have conspired for the last year to get Tristan and I out of least temporarily....while Jody was gone. I fought and fought but finally relented when we found out Jody wouldn't be coming home as planned. My mom envisioned herself, Tristan, and I taking a trip to somewhere like Disneyland, but I really wanted to include Jody in something that I brought up the possibility of attending the Live and Learn Unschool Conference in September. Surprisingly she was receptive of the idea. Of course, the trip doesn't come without a few strings attached. We'll be staying a few days (which has now been extended to 10....ggrrrr....) in San Antonio with my parents before flying out to Albuquerque.

I'm really looking forward to the conference but am more than a little hesitant. There will be so many people, and I do terribly in crowds, especially when I don't know anyone. I also don't know how my mom will take to the whole conference atmosphere. She knows it's a homeschooling conference (she hasn't really been exposed to the entire idea of unschooling, except for the People mag article a few months back), but I don't think she realizes topics include the riches of video gaming, Harry Potter, geocaching, Yu-Gi-Oh!, or anime. LOL

Tristan hasn't talked about the trip much but is very excited about the manga/anime funshop, where he plans to dress up as
Captain Kuro from One Piece. He figured out his costume to the smallest detail, and yesterday we went out to the local thrift store to hunt down the items. We were very lucky and came out finding everything we needed, except for a key item tracked down at WalMart. Now, looking at Kuro you wouldn't think the costume could be that difficult....until you arrive at his infamous "cat claws," black gloves with long knives attached to each finger. Picture me late at night fighting with duct tape, two sets of gloves (the duct tape tore apart the first set), and plastic samurai swords. Not a pretty picture. LOL Although they look a bit rough, Tristan is happy with the outcome and has been perfecting his Kuro moves throughout the house.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

First signs of autumn

Autumn has already begun to show its face in Fairbanks --- the crimson red of the rose hips, the changing colors of the leaves, the return of the sandhill cranes.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Eureka! Finally able to post pics once again

Finally! I've been fighting with Blogger for over a month now trying to get this pic posted on our blog for Jody. This is Tristan taking a break at Savage River at Denali National Park back in June. I think it's got to be one of my favorite pictures of him. :o)

Picking up the pieces

It's nearing on two weeks since we found out that Jody would not be coming home from Iraq. The initial shock has finally worn off, and T and I are gradually getting back into our daily routine. It's been difficult, though. The summer has always been the most active time for our family. It was a rare day when someone would find us at home, as we were always out kayaking, hiking, geocaching, or just driving to explore new places. This summer has been different. T and I haven't gotten out much at all. The most audacious thing we might do is stop by Mickey D's for fries and drinks and then take a drive just outside of town. I think it's hard for me to get out and really enjoy the same things I so closely associate with Jody. I've had a few folks tell me to discover and develop new interests, but I just haven't found anything yet. I feel like I've been in a holding pattern for the past 12 months, ever since Jody left. I've got to break out of this, since Jody will not be coming home until December or possibly even later.

Tristan has been doing remarkably well, considering the circumstances. Recently, he found a slime recipe I pulled from our paper (well, technically it was some colloidal science experiment...but for T? SLIME!!), and proceeded to make batch after batch of the stuff in all sorts of colors and quickly developed a plan to sell it to the neighborhood kids. LOL

He's also been saving his money up for an XBox, as he has become a huge fan of Halo. A few days ago we headed to GameStop to buy a used system and Halo2. Well, Tristan finished that game in about 2 1/2 days. LOL He's had a lot of fun with it, however, and I think it has helped keep his mind off Jody for the time being.

This month is going to prove to be a rough one for Tristan, however, in more ways than one. His remaining three friends are all moving within 5 days of one another. :o(