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Location: Fairbanks, Alaska, United States

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

For the love of owl vomit

Yesterday T and I went to Glow Putt, a nifty little indoor mini golf place that is lit up with blacklights. We had the entire place to ourselves! A few weeks back went mini golfing with the grandparents when they came to visit for Christmas. What a stressful ordeal that was! T was upset and even cried for nearly the entire game! Yesterday was so nice and laidback. We didn't keep score, we gave each other extra tries, cheered each other on, etc. Once we finished, we talked to the gentleman that was working the counter. He happens to co-own the business with one of our local weathermen. Both of them are incredibly friendly and really nice guys. The man working yesterday mentioned that he had just received their brand new commercial, which hadn't yet aired. We watched it on his computer, and T gave him some very positive feedback.

T has always had a variety of interests that his friends (and former schoolmates) just don't share. One of these is owl pellets. Few things excite T more than owl vomit. Yes you read that right. On several different occasions he has had the opportunity to dissect owl pellets (regurgitated undigested remains of animals that the owls prey upon). He has always been fascinated -- or more accurately obsessed -- with bones. Human bones, fish bones, mammal bones. With owl pellets T can carefully pick through the pellet for the bones. Last night I came across "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel, and what happened to be one of the featured jobs? Owl Vomit Collector!!! I thought it was hilarious; T thought it was terrific.

"Dirty Jobs" ended up keeping us glued to the Discovery Channel for the rest of the evening. We then watched "Mythbusters" (T said we must now watch every "Mythbusters" episode since it was so cool). After that we watched a show on tight-rope walking, which made our palms sweaty for a straight hour!

My lack of confidence when it comes to electronics has had me procrastinating hooking up our new camcorder to the TV. T made several small movies with his friend the other evening and was thrilled to learn they would be able to watch them on the "big screen" instead of the tiny LCD camcorder monitor....that is, if Mom could figure out the technicalities!

Surprisingly, T and I got it figured out very quickly, and soon T was rolling on the floor and howling with laughter as we watched his first endeavor into film making. It was incredibly funny and looked quite a lot like an extremely blurry "Blair Witch Project." As I was messing with the camera, I happened to flip a switch and found us "live" on TV. T thought this was extremely cool and was immediately coming up with ideas, including me setting up the camcorder and acting as a newscaster, while he caused a number of disasters to occur. With it already being after midnight, I asked him if we could postpone that until the next morning. That way I would be able to dig out my tripod in order to secure the camera.

We stayed up very late again last night, talking into the wee hours of the morning about his former school and unschooling. Several folks have asked him if he misses school, what he misses about school, doesn't he miss his friends, etc.. I know people can easily plant little seeds of thought into my mind, which will often make me second guess decisions. I was a bit worried about this with T so I asked him what he thought of people's questions, and if he had doubts about staying home (yeah, asking questions about people asking questions....seems like an oxymoron, but....). He was very adamant about wanting to stay home and went on a bit of a tirade about all the things he didn't like about school. He did mention he missed a few people (namely the librarian!) but quickly said that she said he was welcome to visit any time he liked. "I'd like to visit, Mom, but I don't want to stay!!" He told me about some of the punishments he received in school, like having to copy essays with such topics as "I should consider myself lucky that I get to attend school"! I wish I would have known about that when T was still in school. Some heads would have rolled over that one!

I also gently broached the subject of kids asking him what he learned at homeschool lately. In the past, I have heard him say "nothing." I was a bit concerned that he would begin to think he was lagging behind his peers. He got this incredulous look on his face and said that he has been learning so much....about Egypt, DaVinci, strategies (from his computer games), and a number of other things. That got us on the subject of what different things I had learned on my own outside of school.

T did feel guilty about one thing. He said it wasn't fair that he was able to stay home, play, and learn about whatever he wanted to learn about, while all the other kids were forced to go to school. For a boy whose last teacher said he "shows no empathy for others," T sure has a big heart.


Anonymous eviemom2000 said...

I stumbled upon your blog and had to write. I was born in Anchorage and lived there until I was 4, I met my husband on an archaological dig in the Shumagins (Chernabura to be exact) in college and we are now an unschooling family of three with our daughter (age 5.75) in Madison, WI. My daughter is also an owl pellet afficianado and counted the mandibles of 8 mice in her last dissection foray. We have good, good friends in Unalakleet, she is a fromer teacher, he is a teacher and administrator, oddly they are both very pro-unschooling! I love your posts and will check back often, T sounds like an amazing treasure of a human being!

Happy living!

2:50 PM  
Blogger KatheAnde said...

Oh I agree. T sounds like a guy with a big heart. :)

I don't know if it's true but there was mention in a fiction novel I don't remember the name or author of the contents (bones) of owl pellets being used for purposes of charms or spells. I remember it was rather eerie. Something to do with a love being one's true love or the like.


11:33 AM  

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