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An interesting few days here...for example, the "adult" children removed SO MUCH from the "secret stash" of chocolate that I reserve mostly for husband's lunches (he has few vices; coffee & chocolate & local beer, all in extreme moderation), that I was forced to hide the remaining two bars. (I got enough to last for a couple of months, during last Tuesday's trip to the Big City to pick up husband from his trip to see Zela.)

To backtrack, last Monday I got called in to work at the vet because the receptionist was sick, so the animal care person becomes the receptionist and I become the animal care person. When I got home at noon, there were a couple of muffled phone messages for me, from 8:30ish: the freight guy wanted to deliver the hood, but I had to be home. He was leaving town at 9. So, I frantically called the freight guy and got him on the road, he'd already left town, my next chance for delivery was Thursday. (At this time, I still had hopes that the hood could maybe be installed before I went to pick husband up the next day.) So, I said, where are you? "Halfway between Yourtown and Nexttown" (which means, he'd been back through my town. So I said, do you know where Acme Automotive is? (this is much condensed, of course, in the interest of brevity)...My son works there, he can take the shipment, you can spot him because he has dreadlocks. And he said, I know him, I make deliveries there all the time! And then I called Son, who was astonished at my audacity and told me to NEVER NEVER NEVER do anything like that again (arrange a delivery to his place of work) without contacting HIM first, and I explained that I knew this, but had to think fast because I WANTED THAT HOOD. So that night Son called and said the hood was safely in his truck. We will see this truck again in...

Chapter 2! So, Son showed up on Saturday night to install the hood. So we all had some dinner and chat time before even though it was dark and getting late, but Son said first he needed to run his truck down to the road and back up, to keep the engine warm enough. (This truck is a recently acquired Ford F250 that was new a few decades agao, the kind of truck that "everyone has owned", dark blue with a nice rust patina. So we got in the car and I had to fit my feet around a big toolbox on the passenger side floor, without crushing the hat behind the toolbo, and son got to the business of starting the engine and putting it into gear, which apparently involved fiddling with some cables behind the steering wheel. And then son got out of the truck a couple of times to mess with something outside, and the truck started to roll, and I tried to throw myself at the brake, but being frustrated by the tool box and not seeing the right number of pedals (it's an automatic, all of our vehicles are manual), I OF COURSE pressed the accelerator to the floor, the truck sped down the driveway and fortunately the wheel turned (I don't remember if I had anything to do with this, and instead of running down to the turnaround halfway between the carport and the road and off the embankment and down the hill, hit the curb that separates the drive from the front yard, went over, spun sharply to the right in the gravel bed of the front yard, and ran into the adobe garden wall. And Son had somehow managed to get into the cab, although I had dragged him down the hill and bruised him on the curb on the driver's side. He said, "That's a good wall." (This curb is about a foot high and a foot through, with sharp edges. So after the confusion had cleared, there was the truck, neatly sandwiched between the wall and the curb. I cleaned the mounds of gravel out from under the tires, and we tried to drag the bed of the truck sideways so that he could back the truck out in the opening for the garden walk, but it was dark and we decided to wait for morning. Husband (who is a better Homes and Gardens type of person at heart, and hates the way that my violin has little peck marks from my fingernails all over the varnish) said some dark things about the two black marks on the white wall, and the slight cracking in the plaster on the other side, but he seems to have recovered from the experience better than I thought he would, especially after I pointed out that everyone makes mistakes, like the way he melted down in front of his psycho boss... ;) And THEN...son put the hood on the car, and of course had to take it home for the night, because his truck was obviously going nowhere.

Chapter 3: Son came by the next day and was able to drive the truck out with little trouble. In the process, he managed to step on a ceramic sun/moon disk that I had in the front yard, something Zela and I picked out from one of those roadside establishments that sell imported stuff like mariachis mode out of found materials and talavera frogs and stuff like that. So now part of it is splintered and I'm not sure if it should stay as it is, or if I should try to put it back together. Maybe some things shouldn't be fixed? :) Son has become extremely eager to help fix our cars, likely to atone for his part in this multipart failure (who in his right mind puts a vehicle in gear on a fairly steep driveway, without having SOMEONE in the driver's seat?), so the next job will be tracking down the reason my dad's old work vehicle is losing coolant so efficiently. Son also feels confident enough with his new mechanic skilz to spend a weekend rebuilding the engine before it fails catastrophically.

Chapter 4: So after husband went to work in the newly rehooded car (goldish with black hood, doesn't look bad, may keep it that way, depending on how sturdy the primer is), I found a horrid mess in a corner of the carport. Apparently when Son took husband to town yesterday to recover our car, he had to throw a bunch of stuff out of the passenger seat to make room for his dad: a regular hoarder's next of fast food detritus and cans of beans and other foodstuffs of somewhat questionable quality and Lela's backpack and school lunch box and clothes etc...took me quite a long time to sort and dispose of it. And then to make room for sweeping, I picked up an ice cream bucket half full of some toxic car fluids and spilled quite a bit of it on the floor, had to clean that up as well as I could, will take another pass.

Just another entry in a Journal of My ******* Life.

Deborah

p.s.I tried to attach a short video of Zela's gloves, knitted by hand in one piece on a knitting machine (her school is heavily into the fiber arts) but "mp4 format is not allowed". So I screenshot a grainy frame. I think it is rather cool...
 

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The glove does look cool.

I'm still hobbling around on my sprained ankle, but getting better. My daughter is at school again. She's been a lot of times in the last two weeks, including on an overnight field trip they did to go to the Nutcracker, because she's going to be part of their Christmas Nutcracker program. She's excited and loves it, and doesn't at all mind the random kindergarten busywork they give her when they're not practicing, even though she's far beyond all that stuff at home.

At home, both kids have been binging on bio and biochem YouTube videos. Cell parts, and cell division, and hormones and signaling, and all of it... They seem, especially my son, determined to learn all of high school science before age 9. I wonder about all the passive watching, but it's hard to come up with a good reason for why he shouldn't learn about which plant cells are involved in photosynthesis right now?

They're also both in a phase where they're willing to practice reading some. Both at the same level, which is kind of fun. They were reading Frog and Toad yesterday. I think my daughter (almost 6) will soon be be better than her brother (almost 8). He has more stamina and knows more phonetic rules, but makes far more bizarre errors. Like: "He jumped up and down and screamed." turns into "He jumped up and around the stream." and many of the word endings seem invented on the spot.
 

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Glad the ankle is getting better. My occupational issue is that I keep getting scratched by the boarders at the vet; last week I missed music with a friend because of a split on the top of my left index knuckle (which swelled and made my finger not bend properly or quickly) and today, thanks to a little dog that resisted pilling, I have a 2" scratch across the top of my left hand. Note to self: make someone else pill this dog! ;)

I just heard someone walking around in the house...and then realized from the clicking of toenails that it was the Small Dane, wandered in from the back yard to check out if the bed is free. (Well, sorta, only I and the big fluffy dog are here.) The back door is wide open, the sun room is collecting sun: we have a few days of this before the next icy blast, from 74F to 19F in a couple of days. At least "ice pellets" has disappeared from the forecast, and contrarily to usual, the coldest day will be sunny.

I planned to go "to the mountain" today but decided to take advantage of the warmth to leave the house open and let the pets come and go and get the laundry done, and try to summon the discipline (where ARE you??? ;) ) to work online, which I am starting now, before the second load finishes. I decided (because all of the tools are available and because my workplace has Google mail accounts for all, under the aegis of the institution) to redo an old horrible Excel Spreadsheet program with everything hard coded in with Google Sheets, lotsa fun so far. Except I keep finding NEW and ENTICING stuff, so the project is, as projects do, rapidly outgrowing its initial conception.

Lela's Montessori Christmas program is tonight; they what used to be a theater, stripped of all of its interior, down to the bricks. There's a yoga space upstairs in the front, and an enclosed patio that is also used by the restaurant next door, and an enormous 10 bladed fan on the ceiling that moves very slowly (in the season when fans are needed) and doesn't seem to disrupt music. (Zela's jazz ensemble performed there regularly.) Anyhow, there will be a stage and recitations and refreshments and mingling, and I might get a chance to talk to some parents who have asked me to teach their children, which is nice because I have two students there already not counting Lela; a cohort of 5 & 6 year olds makes a nice base to develop a group from. The first over-the-tailpiece chinrest I got for Lela was perfect except that it was too tall and dug into her neck. So I ordered another, and it's Just As Tall, but without the unpleasant hardware. If this doesn't fit, maybe I'll have to hone my woodworking skills? (Or get a 3D printer, make custom chinrests for all???)

Yana's dogs are spending most days with us now. Yana leaves to visit her sister for 10 or so days soon, it would be nice to have an outside dog shelter for Slim the special needs dog before she goes. (Slim spent two nights out in wet, sub-freezing weather, sleeping in the exposed part of the yard. The first morning his ears and his back were coated with a thin layer of snow. He (or someone) tore up thequilted cotton cot mattress I left out for him.

okay, to work!

Deborah
 

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We are in the full holiday swing here. We went to two parties today. Tomorrow will be another party & Wed yet another party. Then, Hanukkah (1st night) and Christmas eve are the same night. But we are just rolling with it.

L (4) & D (7) rapped the presents today. Yes, they look like children rapped them...but we had a blast.

We are reading the Harry Potter books. I'm enjoying them as much as the kids.

Hope everyone has a great week!
 

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It's so hard to believe we are a few short days away from christmas.
Overall I'd say we had a very good year- all things considered. Kid made excellent progress in school. I even managed to start another grad school program. We have some very loose goals for 2017(I hope to keep up with my program and Kid wants to transfer to the 4 yr uni) We may not renew our lease at the end of 2017 so there could be some pretty big changes in the works. However, right now is a time to celebrate and enjoy the next couple weeks of holiday time.

Christmas still consists of Lego, books, Video games and movies.(and coffee). I def. have a teenager.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
mckittre, that's cool that you have another practice-reading jag going. I also love hearing about the biochem and cellular biology interests... how primary interests get connected to secondary ones and the learning continues, and how siblings get swept up in each others' interests.

We have Noah home now, though he has the inevitable end-of-university-cramming head cold so he's not good for much. ;)

Work on the House-in-Town is now at the interior finishing stage. I'm doing the painting myself which I didn't think would be a big deal, but I've never taken on this much painting under pressure of various contractors' schedules. They are all juggling busy schedules with a variety of jobs and the hope is that I can have things painted before they do the various flooring-related work (installing radiant heat, tile, hardwood, stair treads etc.). Because I'm going to be back home, away from the House-in-Town, for the holidays, I've put in three very long evenings... blisters and backaches ... phew!

The older two girls are scheduled to fly in tomorrow and the next day. Weather forecast doesn't look great; I'll be very surprised if Sophie makes it into our dodgy tertiary local airport tomorrow, and I'm dreading having to drive through all this snow to a further airport to meet a diverted or alternate flight, especially if an alternate flight gets pushed into the next day. That will mean having to pick the two girls up at two airports 5+ hours apart (Spokane WA and Kelowna or Cranbrook BC) on the same day. Not sure how it will work, but I guess we'll figure something out if it comes to that.

Fiona, who has had an ambivalent but mostly positive relationship with the structure high school has imposed on her for the last three and a half months, is finding it hard to be off school, especially without the sibling activity buoying her up as she had expected. (It'll come, once Noah rallies from his cold and the older girls are home.) So she's been making to-do lists full of cleaning and cooking items, and checking them off. She is feeling good about her school experience so far. She feels successful, loves two of her teachers and is fine with the others, finds the material interesting, and her grades are pretty close to 100 so I think we have her slotted in at the right level. Next semester she'll have some Grade 10 courses (this semester has been all Gr11 or 11AP stuff) so she may find it less challenging; we'll see if it's enough for her.

I'm struggling right now with some joint issues. My mom has very resistant rheumatoid arthritis which has left her disabled (she can walk short distances with a walker but it is difficult and painful) and in the back of my mind I'm worried I might have something similar starting. I ran a strong marathon last spring and qualified to run the Boston Marathon in 2017, registered and thought I was good to go. But a mild chronic left ankle swelling has over the past three or four months been compounded by an inflammatory right knee. The inflammation itself isn't all that painful, but the swelling pushes the joint out of alignment and then it hurts to run unless I've doubled up on anti-inflammatory meds. I now have pretty significant muscle wasting in my right quadriceps because I'm just not able to push that leg at all. I'm on the verge of having to give up on my Boston dream. :(

Instead I've been XC skiing a bit, and I just got a new "smart" bike trainer that allows me to do virtual rides with the Zwift app. These activities aggravate my knee after the fact, but they don't hurt, and they're allowing me to keep my general cardiovascular fitness level up. Zwift is super fun -- very immersive and interesting.

It's snowing like crazy here. Time to go repeat the shovelling I just did three hours ago.

Miranda
 

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Miranda: Winter transportation is always a crapshoot here as well. My mom was supposed to get in yesterday, but hopefully is coming today. If it's snowing, or dark (lots of dark in the winter) the small planes can't fly. If the seas are too rough, the boats can't go. Boats and planes neither leave from nor arrive at the same place, so if the road that makes the 45 minute drive between them is bad, that's also a problem. I hope your daughters arrive without too much hassle! And I hope your inflammation isn't anything major -- my aunt has rheumatoid arthritis also, though hers is better controlled, it really doesn't look fun.

I have to share my 5yo's cell bio video she made with you guys:
My son has done a bunch of this kind of thing, but she's always the one who's been a little less outwardly impressive with her learning, so I think it's kind of cool for her to have her own chance to show off. And I love that this interest has wrapped both kids into it so thoroughly. My son goes deeper, but both love talking about and drawing and arguing and discussing about cells.

The reading practice thing is interesting, and I wonder sometimes if I'm sort of skating on the edge of unschooling there. Not for my daughter--she just likes it. My son does not like to read. But he thinks it would be fun/useful if he knew how. Discussing it with him, he thinks practicing every day is a good idea. So I remind him every day (set out our schedule obligations, ask him to pick a time he wants to do it, remind him when it's that time). I wouldn't push him if he fought it, and every time I re-open the discussion, he still thinks practicing every day is a good idea. But still, he's doing something he doesn't inherently enjoy, that he wouldn't do if I hadn't reminded him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Very impressive and very adorable video!

I wonder sometimes if I'm sort of skating on the edge of unschooling .... My son does not like to read. But he thinks it would be fun/useful if he knew how. Discussing it with him, he thinks practicing every day is a good idea. So I remind him every day (set out our schedule obligations, ask him to pick a time he wants to do it, remind him when it's that time). I wouldn't push him if he fought it, and every time I re-open the discussion, he still thinks practicing every day is a good idea. But still, he's doing something he doesn't inherently enjoy, that he wouldn't do if I hadn't reminded him.
When I was a kid I learned violin through the Suzuki approach. If you're not familiar with it, children can start very young, using a playful parent-involved format that leverages imagination, learning by ear, a common repertoire and mutually supportive group-based experiences. At the centre of the approach is a belief that all children can develop very high levels of musical ability if their musical intelligence is nurtured lovingly and (especially early on) in a manner similar to how they naturally learn to speak their native language.

As Suzuki students get older, aspects like reading music and orchestra playing and independence from parents and self-chosen repertoire would be introduced, so that the day-to-day stuff looked not all that different from ordinary music lessons ... but still at its core, the Suzuki approach rested on that foundation of a mutually supportive community of relationships and a belief in each person's ability. My mom started one of the first Suzuki programs in North America, and saw a ton of students go through her program to attain professional level playing abilities, and it would drive her crazy when parents of some of those advanced kids would say "My child used to be Suzuki, but now she does traditional." Sure the day-to-day stuff, which had been quite different from traditional teaching (and much more developmentally appropriate) when the child was 4, were now less different for an advanced 13-year-old. But the beliefs and values of the Suzuki approach were still there underlying it all.

I see what you're describing with your son as similar. It's not that his relationship with reading is straying out of the unschooling realm. It's that at this point, his needs and wishes and maturity are making his current version unschooling look less different from traditional homeschooling. On the surface there is that daily structure, the parent-initiated reminders, some work that's not inherently sunshine and rainbows, there are goals that entail a bit of grunt-work that isn't necessarily fun for him. But beneath it all he is in the driver's seat, and you are being the facilitator he wants, and the goals are his. I think it is normal for unschooling to look less different from schooling for many kids as they get older. Goal-setting and deferment of gratification ... these are things young children can't do, but older children often can, and want to.

Miranda
 

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GOOD NEWS!!
The boy is on insurance (and I do not understand the matrix of insurance rates) but my premium decreased?? He is researching drivers ed courses and will give me info this week to call around for classes. Looks to be about $600 for classes and testing- oh well that does include classroom, in-car plus license test. There goes his xmas money from grandma.

He has 6 months of a learners permit so there really isn't a rush but yeah- we are making progress---- slowly slowly says the sloth.

Forgot to add, kiddo grades posted for the semester- 4.0 - as expected.
 

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GOOD NEWS!!
The boy is on insurance (and I do not understand the matrix of insurance rates) but my premium decreased?? He is researching drivers ed courses and will give me info this week to call around for classes. Looks to be about $600 for classes and testing- oh well that does include classroom, in-car plus license test. There goes his xmas money from grandma.

He has 6 months of a learners permit so there really isn't a rush but yeah- we are making progress---- slowly slowly says the sloth.

Forgot to add, kiddo grades posted for the semester- 4.0 - as expected.
Great!! So happy for you guys.
 

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Does anyone have any experience with YouTube accounts for minors?

I've told them they can comment using my junk account, but they want their own account. I don't mind giving them their own gmail account so they can write relatives and such for fun, and give them a home base for eventual instagram accounts (soon) and facebook acoounts (later, and sorry, no twitter) but it doesn't look easy to get that tricky anonymous handle anymore. I used a false name for this gmail account, and I might have to do the same for them. Google wants a real name (not hard to get around). I suppose I could do that, with the idea that when they need an email with their real name, they can turn this first one into a junk account?

On a related note, I'm tired of getting scolded by them for being careful. I'm handling it well and "parentally" and all, but it's tiring. I did say the worst of the *likelihoods* is that they would get harassing emails and we'd have to delete the account and start over. I'm trying to be realistic. Unfortunately, sometimes what's realistic is obnoxiously vile.

Winter break is going okay, but Christmas shopping is taking up all the time I hoped I'd have for major housekeeping and long walks. Boo. I'm managing. I'm stressed. It's all okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Does anyone have any experience with YouTube accounts for minors?
Sort of. My kids had accounts as minors. I didn't have much to do with them, though, so I'm not sure how much wisdom I can offer.

We had the advantage of me having my own domain and webhosting package, which meant I could create and delete email accounts easily for anyone. If my kids wanted an account or two, I created them. If one got overrun with spam we'd just delete and make a new one. (For what it's worth I'm not particularly concerned about preserving anonymity online. Anonymity is, to my mind, a double-edged sword, often particulalry poorly wielded by young people.)

I kind of stopped being 'parental' in the protective limit-drawing sense after a while. Bottom line for me that they had enough smarts to know what spam was and what type of content it could conceivably contain, so that I wasn't concerned about them being unwittingly exposed to content by opening stuff that didn't deserve to be opened. And they were way too smart for me to be under any illusion that I could stop them from intentionally seeking out mature content if they happened to want to.

We talked a lot about spam and scams and misinformation and click-bait and privacy and all that. Not in a preachy way, since they were more knowledgeable about a lot of stuff than I was. For us being internet-savvy has always been a bit of an intellectual sport, and we share clever things we discover and roll our collective eyes over things we see other people falling for.

Miranda
 

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My kid has email with gmail set up with anonymous something like "numberwordword" and when filling out the gmail info for name etc we used number word word for the place holders. So his email and 'name' look something like Seven Soda Green. I recently set up a 'junk' email for something and did the same thing with out issue. There is nothing wrong with having numerous email accounts with gmail or other providers.

My 16 yr old still goes anonymous on the web. He hates using his real name etc, even for college classes online. He much prefers being known as 'Seven Green Soda' or whatever. He understands when it comes time for a real email and a career he will need to open an account with 'first name, last name, placeholder' and is fine with that but I have a feeling that account will be seldom checked at the 'seven green soda' will always be his comfort zone.

As for youtube, twitter, facetime, vine, etc - those are so difficult to control. Apps come quicker than I could ever manage or monitor. I think setting a good base and understanding of 'the internet is permanent' is what is really important' Making sure the kids understand that even under an anonymous screen name you can be tracked, and whatever you say, whatever you post is permanent. Deleting really isn't deleting. Somewhere, somehow there is a giant server that keeps everything, Every keystroke, every pic, every piece of code. That is so difficult for kids to understand, that something they post in 2016 can haunt them in 2050.

When we think back to our awful yearbook photos, we never in a million years thought of those being plastered all over the world- i never thought that yearbook would leave that little town. Now- really, who knows where that yearbook from high school could be. If you told me that 30 years ago, I wouldn't have been able to comprehend technology. To be able to predict technology 30 years from now? Impossible.
 

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My kids don't have accounts for themselves yet -- neither of them can read well enough yet to have or want them. They do make YouTube videos, and I post them on my account. I'd give them an account if they asked, though.

However, I don't worry about anonymity. My family has never been anonymous. The kids have been in books, newspaper articles, and documentaries, pretty much since birth, with their unusual names. They'll always be findable. So, the only thing left to control is WHAT is findable. As they get older, I hope they'll gain more awareness of that, and start making some of those choices themselves. Of course, if they want fake name accounts to be somewhat more anonymous in some parts of the internet, that's fine too.

We also live in a small town in a small state, so being recognized and known on the street is normal for everyone.
 

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We've had the usual turn of the sun weather around here, 69F on Sat. afternoon, 14F that night, barely above freezing the next day and another hard freeze at night...so over 70F today, 5 or 10 above forecast. (For comparison, a typical December temperature is a bit under 60F, around freezing at night.) Only it seems to never be typical: it's either a cold blast or a warm sector balminess before the next cold blast. So, Yana had left her dogs in the house on the coldest day, and the special needs dog ran out while I was getting other pets in and out, out the front door. And down the road with her other dog. I was just one minute late to work, because the dogs decided to run back up the road and into the back yard when I opened the gate, so I was able to call Yana and tell her she didn't need to come catch her dog!

Zela got 4 A's and an A- for the first semester of her senior year. She had expected a C in Sustainable Living (a "science", the A-) and was surprised that she didn't get a B in World History. Spring will be quite challenging because in addition to writing two theses (on for major, one for Art History; she dropped the AH one this fall because a friend was killed in a car crash and she couldn't focus and toyed with the idea of dropping out of school for the semester, which I tried to discourage for both reasons of getting it done and also because it's time that the family funds started going to Yana's Adulthood Project) and is taking advanced machine knitting at the request of the teacher, which takes enormous amounts of time. And biology, the first 'real" science" of her life. And majors. And that sort of thing. So I expect it will be intense. (She wants to start on the AH thesis in the break; I need to record a book for her, fortunately just 160 pages, need to start on that.)

I've been fitting as much work in as possible and have not done ANY Christmas preparations. Yana will be leaving before dawn on Christmas day to fly to visit Zela (staying on site at college, getting small stipend to be winter break RA) for 11 days. I could visit my mom & sis (visiting from CA) for part of next week, but it seems impossible! But it has to sort out one way or another, doesn't it? ;)

Deborah
 

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My mom has very resistant rheumatoid arthritis which has left her disabled (she can walk short distances with a walker but it is difficult and painful) and in the back of my mind I'm worried I might have something similar starting...I'm on the verge of having to give up on my Boston dream. :(
I hope not. My grandmother and my dad had the "knobbies", enlarged knuckles that in my grandmother's case left her hands quite twisted, although it didn't slow her down much...she was very crafty: sewed, knitted, gardened, cooked, wrote letters, and collected and dried plants and made arrangements of them, first spray painting them gold, silver, or bronze. My dad joked that if she'd been able to hold him down long enough, she'd have sprayed him gold too. My dad had enlarged knuckles, but not nearly to the extent that his mom did, and I have a bit of it too, primarily on knuckles that I've injured. So of course, as a violist I hope that it gets diluted through the generations. (I've looked it up on the internet, read the descriptions of what it does, and said Oh NO! It's some sort of autoimmune condition, which our family is FULL of, so thanks Family Tree!) I am also one of those people who is sensitive to potatoes/tomatoes (solanine?), and if I eat much of the nightshade relatives, the joints of my hands hurt. So I sorta follow and "anti inflammatory" diet. Too bad, because potatoes are one of my favorite foods!

My guess is that these injuries will heal, you will rebalance your quadricep, and be good to go in Boston. Things will start looking up by, say, after February! ;)

Deborah
 

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I have to share my 5yo's cell bio video she made with you guys...she's always the one who's been a little less outwardly impressive with her learning, so I think it's kind of cool for her to have her own chance to show off. And I love that this interest has wrapped both kids into it so thoroughly. My son goes deeper, but both love talking about and drawing and arguing and discussing about cells.
ohh...that is just TOO adorable. Your house looks like a yurt! (from the little I can see; my husband would love to live in a yurt.)

Deborah
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
My guess is that these injuries will heal, you will rebalance your quadricep, and be good to go in Boston. Things will start looking up by, say, after February! ;)
Problem is, a typical training arc to build endurance for a marathon starts 18 - 24 weeks ahead, and we're at 18 weeks now, which is why I'm starting to feel pressure to call it one way or the other. I know that from a cardio standpoint I am hard-wired for endurance but from a bones/connective-tissue standpoint I need the longer window to avoid injury.

Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Well it's perfect here. We have lots of snow, more falling but not so much that we have to worry about getting shut in, temperatures have warmed up a lot so that it's just below freezing. Our dodgy local-ish airport had a fortuitous 90-minute clearing of the skies (said airport has a 30% flight cancellation rate from December to March) just when Sophie was flying in. Hers was one of only two flights to get in that day. And then Erin made her tight connections through busy airports to arrive in Spokane the next day.

I've been knitting gifts, and cooking, and painting whenever I get a moment in the House-in-town, before or after airport pickups.

At home I've been Zwifting on my bike trainer in the basement. Honestly ... it is so fun! I've never been able to tolerate indoor fitness activities, but this is amazing. You ride through one of several virtual worlds, some based on real terrain (like roads through London), some with great fantasy terrain (the island of Watopia, with a great submarine glass tunnel and a soon-to-be lava mountain) with a social element, plus whatever stats, challenges, races or prescribed workouts you want, or you can "just ride", all with real effects like drafting, hills, route choices, meetups with friends and so on. It'll eventually cost me $10/month and I'll need to decide whether to pay when I'm only able to use it two days a week when I'm home ... but at this point it's free and I'm home for a while, so it's brilliant.

I've been trying to accumulate skate-ski equipment for myself for more than 20 years on the cheap: I got poles out of a clearance bin in 1992, boots on eBay in 2009 (note the long gap for having children), and just last summer I found skis the right length with bindings to match my boots. It's a decent mid-range kit, and all-told it cost me about $110 US. Amortized over 24 years that's not too bad! I've signed up for some group lessons in January. Hopefully this will allow me to exercise some of the same muscles as running, but with less stress on my knee. I've tried my skate-ski kit out a couple of times just around home, and I've been (classic) XC skiing a few times. There's a great set of trails 10 minutes from our House-in-Town so through January/February/March I hope to get out at least a couple of times each week.

We seem to have our festivities well in hand. Now that everyone is home the cleaning, decorating and cooking are shared out which is fantastic. Things are financially contrained this year, so other stuff like ice-lantern-making, snowman-building and hot-chocolate-picnics at the lit-up Japanese gardens on the waterfront are taking on more importance. Oh, and Netflix, hehe. Family movie nights almost every night.

As predicted Fiona is no longer feeling any no-school aimlessness now that her siblings are home. Noah is practicing his bread-baking skills to take back to his roommates in January, as well as being on a nostalgia gaming jag, playing Age of Empires in its current iteration, a game he's been enjoying on and off for more than 15 years! Erin is of course practicing violin in 'upkeep mode' (4 hours a day). Sophie is studying Chemical Engineering and Advanced Calculus because her exams were cancelled due to Vancouver's snowpocalypse and rescheduled for the first week of January. And Fiona is doing a little bit of AP Physics work on Khan Academy and a bit of violin practicing.

I have been corresponding regularly with the refugee family we're sponsoring. Our relationship has evolved greatly over the past couple of months. We expected them to have arrived already but the government visa office bureaucracy moves so slowly that their medical clearance expired and they had to repeat all the examinations. Everything is tickety-boo again and it's just a waiting game. In the meantime we chat about food and children and customs and religion and politics and it is so wonderful! We are so lucky to have been matched with this family!

Time to go throw various knitted things into gift bags for my own family!

Miranda
 

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I can't remember a more atypical Christmas...so far I have not done even ONE holiday preparation, other than make sure that Yana has a ride to the airport tomorrow morning, for an 11 day visit with her sister in Maine! I'm working almost full days with the Christmas pets, and the weather is fortunately good. (This time last year I happened to be away when we had a region/wide snow/ice storm that even dumped several inches in town and at our house.) So, no problem putting the dogs in the outside kennels: 7 kennels and 25 dogs this morning; even with the ones from the same family together, it takes quite a bit of shifting in and out.

So the only kid i am likely to see on Christmas, during daylight at least, is son! And Lela is off visiting her mom's many relatives. I have (finally) got her violin set up, start in the new year!

Well, a bit over an hour until I go back and shift dogs around again. (The six cats get shifted only once a day.)

Deborah
 
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