Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Best

For one whole month I have blogged every day as part of NaBloPoMo. Now it has ended and the theme was "best", which I am just now getting around to. So, in celebration of committing to a thing and actually finishing it, I bring you my Sunday Best: a dress I made for the holidays for myself (it's a Vogue...not sure which one...I added sleeves. The fabric is a soft,classc gray, wale-less cotton corduroy) and GLOVES. Yes, I have decided I am in love with gloves. The ones in the picture were thrifted somewhere some time long forgotten. Someday, I will make the gloves from this Vogue magazine I received for Christmas a couple of years back. I am accessory-less and shoe-less. We like bare feet here in Kentucky.
And, in killing-two-birds-with-one-stone fashion, I will update you on how my One Small Change is going. It's going great! My change was going no-poo to save plastic bottles, and while I have shampooed my hair twice with shampoo that is already in the bottle I had, I have not bought a new bottle of shampoo. Also, I have made another small change and I am using cloth diapers at night. I had been using a paper diaper on Davis for the sake of sleep, but now we can survive the night with cloth only.
Whew!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What happened?

Dear Universe,
I am writing this overdone, rather trite letter, but it is for want of hope.
What have you done with my daughter? My sunny, chirpy, optimistic daughter has been taken by some unknown force and replaced by a secretive, sullen, monosyllabic someone. I know she is in the throes of being 15, and that can't always be easy. I don't like to walk on eggshells. I want to reach her and pull her back to me. (cue: The Story's So Much Mine)
So I took her to a movie last night. New Moon. Yes, I read the books...although I couldn't quite get through the last one, and barely got through the other 3, as I frequently muttered "This writing is terrible! I can't put it down!)
My favorite quote from the movie:
Edward: I lied. I had to lie, and you believe me so easily.
You can peruse other memorable quotes here.
But we got to get out and have some time together, and something to talk about.
And, a couple of loose ends to tie up. My mention of Waldorf in Louisville sadly and regretfully did not mention Byck Elementary, and said 15 year old went to school there in 4th and 5th grade. Byck is a public Waldorf magnet school. Now that's just cool!
Also, in the spring issue of Living Crafts you might see a familiar face, if all goes as planned. Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, January 29, 2010

January 29th

January 29th...and here I have blogged, every day, for almost a whole month. Today finds me quite tired, due to the force of a teething child. TWO teething children, if you will, if 6 year molars and emerging adult teeth count.
Doing this blogging project for a whole (almost- two more days to go!) month has been interesting. I felt I did tap into some writing energy, although I do not consider myself a writer. Poetry was something I did with my last boyfriend, but it is not something I do now. Maybe someday.
I found there is real power in documenting a month, in encouraging myself to be creative this way. It's been like bringing flower bulbs out of the refrigerator and into light and warmth. January is the ideal month since the year is new and this is the time you pin on all your hopes and plans. I also contemplate exactly what kind of person I am portraying here on this blog, and how my blog persona differs from my real-life persona. Dolly Parton, to me, is a good example of someone who is just genuine, all the time. She is so down to earth there is no need to put on airs. And, she will have you laughing in the meantime. I want to bring some of that Appalachian mountain woman authenticity to my blog, and indeed, it was the mountain women who were the original Queens of Making Do, making it yourself, and bringing brightness to some downright wretched circumstances.
I will take an idea from Kelli and leave you with this song from Dolly herself (I am recording it on my CD too- I am not ashamed of my love for Dolly Parton!)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Waldorf Education in Louisville, KY

The Waldorf school I teach for is in a unique community. Of course, all Waldorf schools are varied and unique, but we have one very interesting and wonderful development here in Louisville. In addition to our small, private Waldorf school, there is a cadre of public school teachers who bring as much of Waldorf education as they can to their classes. It's quite inspiring, and I feel our school would not be what it is if not for them, and they, in turn, are influenced by our school.
Many of those in-the-trenches public school teachers take advantage of a  program started by Mary Goral, professor at Bellarmine University and author of "Transformational Teaching". The program she has designed is called Kentahten Teacher training, and is a master's degree program for teachers interested in Waldorf. The training involves creative study in anthroposophy, music, handwork, art, math, science, etc. Many of the teachers from our school also teach there.
I would also like to let you know about two other websites originating from Louisville. Waldorf in Louisville is a gem of a resource, started by a teacher who had 30 years' experience in public schools (most of her teaching was Waldorf-inspired) before she taught at our Waldorf school  for 5 years, and Pythabacus.com, also chock full of good information. You have to do some navigating but it is wandering you won't regret. And, stay tuned, for yours truly is very slowly adding to Waldorf Handwork.
I was feeling some hometown pride today, and feeling grateful for my little school and the community of kindreds surrounding it. Every school has its story, and our school has been part of my story for the past 8 years. It's the longest I've ever held any one job, so I'm pretty sure that I've found my place.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Originality

"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."


— Jim Jarmusch

hmmmm...still pondering this quote. My lovely daughter sent it to me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Breathing

Speaking of my husband, my husband is a bodyworker. He practices Structural Integration, more commonly known as Rolfing. It is an intense and transformative process that involves your participation, indeed, requires your participation, with body and mind.
The rolfing series involves 10 sessions. I have had 7 of the 10 sessions, which is good! The work has allowed me to move my body in ways that were much free-er, and helped me stand taller. I could even feel better in my yoga (more accurately, asana) practice.
During a session, Chance would have his hands on me and apply pressure in ways that felt uncomfortable. I wouldn't say it was painful, just intense and temporarily uncomfortable. To ease this process, Chance would say "follow the breath." or "bring the breath to your elbow." (for instance)
"Follow the breath" has stuck with me, especially when I think of rhythm. Rhythm IS breathing; our days are filled with myriad in-breaths and out-breaths in a dance that leaves us thoroughly invigorated, exhausted, tired but happy, or somewhere in between. Breath is sustenance, and sometimes I feel my breath becomes too shallow and quick...I am not paying attention when that happens, and am letting my "rhythm" be the sort that is stressful. I want to "follow the breath" and embark on a creative exploration of breathing.
What is breathing, exactly?
in:: hold::out
Expand::contract
Active::sleeping
chaos::creation::order
tense::hold::release
take out::put back
inhale::exchange::exhale
 Breathing is a force of rhythm, of ritual, of habit. A breath has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I often have trouble with the exhale...the ends...I leave lots of them loose.
Just for fun, I decided to document one "breath" out of my day. We have family dinner every Tuesday night, because in our house, it is, sadly, the only night out of the week where everyone is home at the same time. My Rolfer often works late to accomodate clients, and my teen girl is just plain busy, and, well, Bri is in college. So Tuesdays are special, and it is burrito night!
Here is our breath: clean up, set the table, eat, clean up again.



How do you follow the breath?

Monday, January 25, 2010

House

The house in my dreams is not my house. It is cleaner, airy, large rooms... the house in my dreams is my house...it is being demolished, remodeled, painted. Color is being added, things are being taken away, furniture is being moved.
The house in my dreams is not my house. We are bringing in our furniture, just enough to fill the bedrooms, and look behind the walls through the little door...the huge space behind the walls...I go and look and find a flood. It is raining and the roof is bad, and walking through, the space gets smaller and smaller until under a roof slant a boy sleeps near my daughter's room's secret door.
The people in my literal house are part of my dream houses. The rooms are the nature of our relationships. I always think of my marriage when I have dreams of houses....how could I not, when I sleep next to this man every night? How are our dreams intertwined? How are our dreams less than waking?
I cannot ever deny the power of partnership, yet I struggle with what it means, and how to practice it. The constant building and tearing down of our "rooms" is a process I am fully engaged in, or unconsciously participating in. He informs who I am, and gives shape to who I am as a mother. Who he is, who he is not, it is a powerful influence, every day. Our dance on many days is less lock-step and more lock-horns. Yet I have gratefully learned much from this man, and we struggle together, and we stay together and learn love, practice humility, embrace selflessness. Mother-parts of me that I am proud of would not have come to fruition if not for him.
The house in my dreams is not my house. It is kinder, lighter, happier. The house in my dreams is my house. It is creative, vibrant, real.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Pilot Cap

I made this little pilot cap pattern when Davis was small...maybe 7 or 8 months ago. Honestly, it is so very simple. I've been tweaking it and hope to add sizes and make enough to have a stack around the house. I love them because you can use them for wearing indoors. I also love the Scandinavian aesthetic...it's such a protective gesture.
I try to make them out of knit fabrics for their softness, and also thick diaper flannel I have left over from making diapers.To save money, we turn our heat to about 65 degrees by day, and 60 by night. So we have to wear sweaters and socks and the baby gets a pilot cap.
The pattern on the sidebar is free and assumes you are familiar with following a pattern and sewing basic things. I think if you are a beginner it would be a good project with someone teaching you how to sew the curves, and how to pin baste. Davis is a year old and for this one I added length and width on the square sides, took in the top a little, added sashes and a lip for grow room.

Off to make more pilot caps!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spin cycle

One thing I have not written about on my blog is my moon cycle. That Red Girl takes up quite a bit of my energy...actually, a great bit of my energy, because she is the drum, the heartbeat of my body and my spirit. She has been gone a long time, and this time was gone 652 days, according to cyclespage.
 I was singing her praises a few days ago, because I was in the throes of fertility and life is good, very good, on all fronts, when a woman is fertile. A fertile woman is creative, energetic, in her body, full of hope. For me, creativity came on strong this cycle, only my second cycle since Davis was born (yay breastfeeding!) I was, and still am, literally swimming in ideas, and it feels like big things are happening, that I have something, some ideas to contribute to this world. But woe begins when fertility is over, and the hard introspection begins, and I must come back down to earth, get on my knees and dig into this soil, fish around, and figure out which parts need nurturing, which parts need turning, which ideas need nurturing. I turn to intuition, listen to still, small voices, find themes in everyday conversations, meditate on these things, try to learn what I am supposed to learn. In the meantime, my husband makes a mark on the calendar for the days he can do nothing right. Poor guy...he didn't know what a mood was until he moved into a house full of women.
At any rate, I am cycling again, and this brings me bliss thinking that in my body, I am given four living seasons in one month. This gives me grief as well, knowing that in my body, I am given headaches and depression and lethargy and anger as well. And also a spiritual lesson...a theme.
My theme this cycle seems to be self-care, which is hard for someone as codependent as me. (sure honey, you go on, I'll take care of it, don't mind me....)
Yet today, I managed to get out of my house, left it messy, left other things undone, and for the first time in a long, long while I went a-visiting with women friends. Oh, what a wellspring of nurturing...what a joy and pleasure to be in the company of friends....how wonderful to share burdens and secrets and make big plans, to speak the same language, to appreciate each other's art, to admire each other's children, to watch another woman cook, to be fed just by being in their presence.
I read about a study on longevity and the study concluded that married men lived longer, and married women did not. But, if a woman had a group of close women friends, she lived longer. This day served as a good reminder....it is most important to nurture your friendships...vital, even.
Welcome back, Red Girl, welcome back to nurturing friends. How lovely to be in these circles!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spinning Magic

Lately I've been soothing myself at my spinning wheel. It isn't thedreamy white snow that coats the ground that turns me inward, because here it is all fog and rain. No, it is just a compulsion...an intuitive turning with the season. As soon as I sit down at the spinning wheel, my 6-year-old comes and asks me to wiggle her tooth. Yes! For the third time in my life, I get to witness the process of relentlessly wiggling out a first tooth, even as a big tooth marches right in to replace it. It is a magical time.
And to have it happen to a 6-year-old? Priceless. Six is "large and in charge." Serena the Six Year Old doesn't just shut the door, she SHUTS THE DOOR. She doesn't just laugh out loud. She LAUGHS OUT LOUD. She doesn't just stand and talk to you. She does it while jumping up and down. She doesn't want to be tickled a little. She wants to be tickled a LOT. HARD. And she doesn't just complain. She COMPLAINS. Her favorite gift for Christmas, she informs me, is the jumping ball with the handle on it. And, the zoo pass for her and Papa from Aunt Karen.
She recounts in exquisite detail the stories of her days, and then recounts them again to her grandmother on the phone, who is the most patient listener there is. She is happy to do her jobs when asked: taking out the compost and setting the table for dinner.
And she is very attached to her friends at school. She LOVES to play. Her friends at school have, of course, informed her of the Tooth Fairy. So, with all this wiggling comes much anticipation about when that tooth is going to come out, and what exactly the Tooth Fairy's role is in the whole process.Which we are making up as we go along.
And now, with the house dimming in the growing night, she sleeps. Her light is on, she is somewhere under a coccoon of heaped blankets, she is wrapped still closer in a fancy coat from her Mimi, her bare toes peeking out over the side of the bed. She is lovely, so beautiful while she sleeps, so unnaturally still. I kiss her dreaming eyes just one more time, before she grows one tiny bit bigger the next day.
I can hardly wait to see her toothless grin.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spinning My Wheels


I'm doing this. Get this...I'm going to take a plain skein of white yarn, and sew onto it to make my yarn. What am I going to sew onto yarn? Well, I am going to get the people of this house in on the act in a clever attempt to clean my floors and help any teenagers be mindful of throwing away their wrappers! So, I have asked each person in this house to notice what is on the floor, gather it in a basket, and I will sew these items onto my yarn. So far, I have gathered vaccuum-resistant pine needles, a newborn size baby sock, several candy and gum wrappers, ponytail holders, a yarn wrapper, a crumpled paper snowflake, and a feather. I'm going to collect things for the next two weeks and my yarn will be a true representation of domesticity in action. And it will raise awareness about what is underfoot. (But will they pick it up???)


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An exciting new thing for me

There is a reason I have been doing so much making, and more about that later. In the meantime, please, please wish me luck and good will, for I am submitting a story/puppet project to Living Crafts. I have never done anything like that in my whole life of 41 years. Here is a picture of the main character:


I could not email a picture this morning pleading for detail-oriented pattern testers. If you would be interested in testing this very easy pattern, would you please email me? (Cadi...Renee...anyone else??? Cadi...this
would be easy for your second graders.) Happy Tuesday! It feels more like Monday!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Etsy etsy etsy!!!

The etsy shop is up! Yes, it needs work, but so what....it will get work and I'm glad to have finally done it. Need some yarn? There you go! I also love bartering....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reminiscing

Chance told me that the average person who starts a blog stays with it for 3 months, then calls it kaput. I find this interesting because I WAS that person. Blogging freaked me out a bit at first...I was so afraid I'd say too much, and I probably did but no one commented on it. And heaven forbid anyone I knew would find out I was blogging, yet, paradoxically, I wanted some recognition. I'm just insecure that way.
At any rate, I committed to posting every day this month through NaBloPoMo (see sidebar). I can't believe I've actually made it this far.
 I did start 2 blogs, tried to make a go of it, deleted them, and I can't even remember the name of the last one. Writing about beekeeping here a couple of days ago got me thinking about a post I did.( Mentioning my grandfather also got me thinking about alcoholism and how his actions have affected my choices, but I will save those thoughts for another post.)
To really go on and on, what I really wanted to share with you are pictures from my honey harvest from my previous blog incarnation. I was pregnant. I look like I'm an alien. Later, I wore this for Halloween.



Saturday, January 16, 2010

Setting up indoor play spaces

We have had such beautiful weather these past couple of days, but the cold is coming. Perfect fodder for setting up simple, creative spaces for play. I'm in the mood to cleanse and be deliberate. So, here is my first attempt of the year at this...just one little shelf. I think it could be simplified further, but for now...the bowl of balls satisfies Davis's need to dump and fill, the groupings on the top shelf satisfy Serena's propensity for telling stories. The elephant...i made that in my handwork teacher training. Davis got to some of the animals already...but they're meant to be played with! Missing are the blocks I cut this summer...
Always evolving....on to the doll corner now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Planning the urban homestead


Today, the sun made its annual January appearance in these here parts, bringing with it winds so warm my heart couldn't help but be gladdened, and swept into a wild dreaming of seeds. Oh, the weather has such wiles and my mood moves with it. No matter, there were moments of gladness today. And planning!
 Our little back yard is a work in progress. I wavered about the bees, but have now renewed my commitment to them. My grandfather kept bees, and, alcoholic though he was, one of my fondest memories is that of his honey harvests. I want my own children to continue to experience that...chewing beeswax...dipping your fingers in honey....the miracles that abound in your own back yard....the sense that abundance is right here and you don't have to go out and get it. So, in April I will yet again make a trip to Kelley Bees and get 2 or 3 package hives.
I failed my bees last year, or they failed me? I'm not certain. I also failed my dye garden last year. I just have to chalk it up to trying to do too much in a baby's first year, and poorly communicating to my husband where NOT to mow.
My wish list for my back yard includes plenty of lovely spaces for vegetables. My husband scavenged some big logs during the storms we had a couple of years ago, and those hold the sides of our garden plots. I'd like more garden plots, more flowers, an herb garden, and of course, the dye garden. I am going to plan out my spaces, start small, and allow room for evolution and improvement. Oh, and strawberries...I want strawberries!
And dreaming into interstitial moments has me learning how to build a brick oven. And a chicken coop. Chickens may have to wait if I am investing in more bees. Plus, when the harvesting season begins, Chance often trades massage/Rolfing for produce and eggs. This has been a big boon to our family, and those hard-working farmers and now friends surely appreciate the bodywork he does.
The bunnies continue to be a source of joy. I do love brushing them, and am now spinning a skein of pure angora. Very slowly.
Bunnies...bees...chickens....vegetables...kids....outdoor ovens....a handsome man who gardens....what lovely dreams I have.

(by the way, I LOVE Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I got dye plant and herb seeds from Horizon Herbs. I got still more dye plant seeds from The Woolery.I am looking for a seed mat.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lap Games-Celebrate sledding

Today was the start of our new year for parent-child. In the spirit of snow, I wrote a very simple song about sledding. You can listen to it here. (please let me know if this doesn't work...I can email you the music or the sound clip-forgive the quality-I recorded with family in the next room)
This is a lap game for your child, and you can "sled" according to who is riding the sled. Go side to side...add some bumps!

My dad is on the sled, my dad is on the sled, and I have been waiting far too long
My dad is on the sled and his face is all red
Oh will he get off so I can get on?
My mom is on the sled, my mom is on the sled, and I have been waiting far too long
My mom is on the sled and her nose is all red,
Oh will she get off so I can get on?
( repeat as long as you like with my grandpa....my grandma...my brother....my dog...etc.)
Oh....
I am on the sled, I am on the sled, and I have been here all along
Oh, I am on the sled and my face is all red
I don't want to get off so I think I'll stay on

Another lap game I wrote a couple of years back, and I left the second verse at school. Oh well...maybe I'll edit it tomorrow. This one is simply spoken.
On my sled I'll take a ride, I smoothly soar, I freely glide
Here is a big hill, here is a bump
Then down to the bottom and off I'll jump!

And, for crafty sledding inspiration, look here. These are just darling...I may have to make some for the nature table.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Sneak Peek



A sampling of what is coming next week to my Etsy shop! Yay! It only took me TWO YEARS!
Plant-dyed yarn, hand-painted low-impact organic yarn, hand balm, felted scarves, and soon, felted animals.
Monday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mindless knitting- a solution to lack of baby socks!

Poor Davis. He's a 4th child, AND a baby, which means his socks are frequently lost. Plus, he is not a walker yet, and those flimsy baby socks, even with baby shoes on top, just don't seem warm enough. and, as much as I love knitting baby booties, I need stuff that is faster than even the simplest bootie pattern.
So, I came up with something even simpler, believe it or not.

Knit-to-fit baby slippers
Cast on 28 stitches over size 6 needles. Knit roughly 20 rows for a one-year-old, or knit to the thickness of the baby's upper ankle. (optional: add 3 sets of short rows at either end of the slipper by knitting 8, wrapping the next stitch, and turning.) (also optional: cast on more for a cuff.)
Knit 2 together at the beginning of the next 4 rows. (for smaller babies, I suggest casting off 6 at the beginning of the next 2 rows)
Knit until the slipper is as long as the baby's foot, plus a row or two to grow on.
Knit 2 together all the way across the row.
Break yarn, thread a large tapestry needle, and instead of casting off the stitches, thread them onto the needle and gather. Stitch up the front. Stitch the back seam. Crochet a chain, thread it through the top of the slipper.
Stick them on your baby as fast as you can!


Monday, January 11, 2010

The Handwork Report


First grade knitting. They are making "curly cats".



Second grade gnomes. Some are missing hats. Others are missing the "gear" that has been knitted for them: shoes, bags, even a skirt.


Third grade crochet. In progress: hats and flute cases. We will start a scarf with double and triple crochet next, followed by a crocheted doll.




Fourth grade handwork bags. The design reflects the use of the bag...see how the top is "open"? Darker colors are used for the bottom of the design, suggesting heaviness near the bottom. And, a cross-stitch in progress. These will be made into pincushions and their design complements their fraction studies nicely.



Fifth grade socks, top one in progress, bottom one of a pair. Some fifth graders are working on a hat with a cable-knit band.
I hope to have some of these patterns up on Waldorf Handwork tonight.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Big college girl was readying herself to leave, back to her life of staying up all night studying (or not!)
Sudden panic gripped me as I realized that every combination of family picture had been taken over holiday break EXCEPT one of all the people who live in this house. I put out the call, for we had to hurry, and everyone (somewhat) cheerfully came to the picture, just as they were, no frills. So here is my family, our little blended family, but no one makes the distinction of half-sister around here.
Cheers for the New Year!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

One Small Change

Yes, I, too, joined One Small Change and am late blogging about it. I was amazed to see how many folks have joined in...I think it's not too late!
My one small change is going to be to reduce my plastic consumption further by finally going no-poo. That is where you take care of your hair by natural means. I know there are several ways to do this, by alternating baking soda and vinegar rinses, or using a shampoo bar. Those are the ways I will try. Yet another habit to break! I'm not doing so bad right now, I'll go several days without shampooing but I admit I have used the shampoo I have a couple of times. However, I will not buy any more shampoo for myself. Renee at Heirloom Seasons also reminded me about sewing bulk bags, and I saw that the health food store also sells mesh bags to put produce in. I believe these would be easily sewn as well.
But my one change will be no shampoo. Alright, maybe toothpaste too...that's pretty easy to make as well.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Day!

Living in Louisville means the weather cannot quite make up its mind. I have often teased that you need your sun hat and snow boots on hand at all times. But finally, finally the big snow came, and there was much celebrating. Last night, Chance took Serena and our dog sledding. While they were gone, Davis had a little ride of his own. They came home two hours later, rosy-cheeked and full of sledding stories. Apparently there was a sinkhole. And friends. And a walk through the woods.
Today was a wonderful slow blur of losing time. No school! I took down the Christmas tree, spruced up the living room, shopped for food, made hot chocolate, and am looking forward to a date with my husband. And, all 4 children were home.

(this is your cue to comment on how adorable my son is :))

Thursday, January 7, 2010

5: Hero of the Spirit's Sanctuary

To be a hero of my spirit's sanctuary, I will do what I can to grow my own creativity. That's all. I just want to play more. I don't want to make stuff just for the sake of making stuff.
To that end, the archetypes I relate to and work with concerning creativity are: artisan, inventor, critic, wounded healer, wise woman, and child.
And one task I am giving myself is to find time to paint, using this book as a guide. Every time I walk into the art store and there is a sale on canvases, I pick one up. I tease the cashier, "these are for my retirement." And I mean it, thinking I haven't the time/talent/ideas to paint. But why not paint now?
Well, thank you for witnessing this little journey down a stray path and allowing me the space to do it. I think it was good for me to set intentions like that, and I also give myself permission to flow and renege any time I feel like it. There are always options, yes?
I still hold these questions, and more: What are the archetypes of the modern day? What are the archetypal images children of the world are forming based on those? What stories are being told?
What archetypes do you relate to? (if you blog you are most certainly a networker!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

4: Hero of the Child's Sanctuary

For me, the child's sanctuary is also my sanctuary, only carefully balanced and adjusted to include an evolving human being. And to nurture that human being-what a task! Truly heroic. What I do with myself teaches my children what it means to be a mother-wife-worker-human. Since I had a chance to meditate on work yesterday, it was nice to think about how that informs my parenting. My focus for parenting this year is going to be on the meaningful work I engage in, and continue to surround my 6-year-old daughter with healthy, life-giving human work in her home, and bring little Davis into the fold as well. (I did write about meaningful work last year.)
 The other part of my intentions for the year has to do with emotions. I feel this could be an ongoing conversation, as in how much of your adult emotion do you show to your child? Yes, there is the paradigm of "the world is good", but children learn how to regulate their own emotions by watching their parents, and one can't honestly expect to never expose a child to your anger, no more than you can expect to never show them wonder or joy. So, that is a question of mine I continually hold, and I will try to model good mental health this year. 
Parenting intentions for the year:
Find joy in meaningful work, give my children plenty of opportunities to imitate. The work I plan is gardening, animal care, housecleaning and maybe beekeeping (an aside-I have kept bees for 4 years and lost my 2 backyard hives last year. My husband is pushing for a year off.) Gosh, just keeping a garden will help set your seasonal rhythm. Last year was still a baby year, and my husband took over the care of the garden. Thank God he did! This year, I am inspired by a book that is coming out on landscaping with food. Now, doesn't that sound heavenly!
My older daughter has an interest in cooking, so that is an easy one: cook with Madeline.

And, here's a big one: I will more diligently moderate my computer time to exclusively include hours when the children are asleep. I watch TV occasionally, and I'm pretty good about watching it when the smaller kids are asleep, but I do find myself wandering to the computer during the day, "just to check my email" or whatever, and anytime I sit down it's a cue for the children to find me. Like Pavlov's dog.  So, I think for me, I just need to set some parameters around it.  (yes, this is painfully honest for a Waldorf teacher!)
As for the archetypes, this is where rich work with archetypes can happen. Archetypes from the fairy tales and Mother Goose include plenty of gardeners and bakers and farmers and craftsmen. With complete naivete, I imagine spinning a fairy tale life for my children and will consider the archetypes I present. I am going to keep just a piece of that naivete and use it for balancing archetypes like working mom (surely a modern day archetype). And I did have one nice "fairy tale" moment last year. We have a climbing tree in our front yard and it is Serena's tree. On warm days, Serena and I would bring food, a blanket, and yarn to the tree. She would climb, I would knit. Of course I liked doing it, but Serena told her teacher that was her favorite thing to do.
I stumbled across the goddess Uke Mochi and liked her because she was gentle and kind, bountifully fed people, and continued to nourish from her body even after she died. She will be my inspiration for my parenting work in 2010.
(thank you to those of you who are reading along with this little idea of mine. I hope it inspires you in some way! tomorrow's theme is "hero of the spirit's sanctuary")

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

3: Hero of the Work Sanctuary

Work can indeed be a sanctuary. In the past, I associated work with drudgery, a poor substitute for whatever else it was I'd rather be doing. And this is from a woman who has had moderately interesting jobs: seamstress in a bridal shop, midwife's apprentice, childbirth educator, assembly performer for Mad Science, singer with a traveling gospel singing group, group facilitator....
When I became a Waldorf teacher, I started the year my grandfather died. There was just a lot of "stuff" around his passing and my heart was heavy. One day, I had a mentor and in my conversations with him, he reflected to me that I seemed crabby in my teaching. I told him that maybe it was because my grandfather had just died. He said something that has stuck with me: "You've got to leave that outside of class. You can't take those things into class." For a long time now, these words hit home. Being mindfully present wasn't just an amorphous concept...I had a place to practice. And so I have. Walking into each classroom affords me the opportunity to take my mind off of everything else and be present to a group of kids. I consider my opportunity to teach in a Waldorf School the best gift I've been given. Like anything else, I've had my doubts and concerns and frustrations and all sorts of things that come from working in a non-profit, but I remain committed to nurturing creativity in children, and helping parents find the resources and strength and knowledge to enrich their journey.
My goals for my teaching work this year are to deepen my parent-child program. I need to give some thought and attention as to how to go about doing this. I will ask for feedback from parents. For handwork, I am going to commit to attending the handwork conference at Sunbridge College in April.
This also applies to my work in the home, especially to my work in the home. It is harder to walk into my house with the same mindset I have when I walk into a classroom, but I can lose my worries and dream heavily into a sink of hand-wahsed dishes. I want to keep making positive changes and tweaking our rhythm. Right now, my goal is to work on the "soul" mood of our home around chores. It seems that everyone having their own chores is not a system that is working for us. Instead, I am going to try out a few"group chores" like everyone doing dishes together, or putting together socks. My hope is that when the people in this house feel accompanied in their work, that will take some of the "drudge" factor away, especially for the teens, and give us family time. Even chores can be fun. (I keep telling myself that!) And mindful.
The archetypes I relate to for work are: Teacher, Mentor, Seeker, Student, and even Initiate.
Any Goddess suggestions?
Alright, my self-imposed New Year's goal-making and ruminating is almost at an end. I must say, I am completely intrigued with how this has evolved for me and how writing about it has helped me. I wanted to give myself 5 areas to work on. The remaining two are: Hero of the Child's sanctuary, and Hero of the Spirit's Sanctuary.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2:Hero of the Home Sanctuary

Anytime one attempts to identify with "hero", one must certainly evoke Warrior. I see Warrior as being strong and effective, efficient, and having the courage to make the best decision at the right time. So, for my home intentions this year, I have chosen the archetypes Warrior, Mother, Rebel, and Destroyer. Sounds dark, eh? Actually, I will tell you why I chose those archetypes as I narrow it down to my intended actions. Just for fun, you, dear reader, could go look at that list and see all the archetypes you realistically embody at home (crime fighter....mediator....rescuer...counselor...the list goes on and on).
Ok, so my intentions/themes this year are:
-To deal with clutter. To this end I must become the fierce warrior who guards the boundaries of this home and wisely discern between what should come in and what should go out. This is hard for a sentimental fool such as myself. Too much stuff saved, too much stuff to care for. I started by cleaning the basement. I will remind myself it is a work in progress. I will let myself destroy old habits and transform them into new ones. I feel doing this clearing, and not just half-assing my way through it like I have in the past, will help clear space to be more creative.
My plan for this is: 1) to clean as I go and not let the house get so messy I couldn't clean it up in 20 minutes' time. That gives me room to be a little messy, since it is important for me to not feel tied down by a sink of dirty dishes. 2) to read Simplicity Parenting and The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker for inspiration.
Oh, and for this task I must put my (inner)critic in her proper place. If I let her get out of hand, she shames the living daylights out of me. If I use her for good, she helps me see what areas need work.3) Come up with a plan to decorate. We've lived here 5 years and haven't painted. Our furniture has been given to us. So, I'd like to add a bit more of "us" in this house, and reflect my love of family and art, and Chance's love of movement. We are working to evolve spaces where one could dance, do yoga, move...and art and music projects lurk around every corner in this house. They need a touch of redirecting.
The rebel part comes just in paying attention to rhythm. Our culture has little tolerance for the gentle, natural rhythms of nature, much less for the innate rhythm of a woman. I will rebel against that and stand strong.
And of course, I will stand strong with loving arms as the Mother of this house. Again, I am striving to be a source of strength for my family. I have wounds and issues like so many others.
My Goddess for this day's theme is, of course, Hestia.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

1: Hero of the Body Sanctuary

Today's list centers around the care of my physical body and themes and intentions related to that.
Archetypes invoked: The Athlete (Artemis, Olympian), the alchemist, the chef, the healer
My intentions:
-To feed my body good food. I'm pretty good at that already, but I am going to refine my diet to try and address the fatigue I frequently struggle with. To that end, I am going to see what happens to my energy level when I eliminate flour, sugar of any kind, and coffee from my diet. Yipes! Did I just write that? Egad!
-To work up to exercising for an hour each day. That may sound like a lot, and I am, admittedly, shooting high, but I feel so good when I am exercising regularly. I hope to address the depression that creeps up on me in the winter through running.The problem is not the exercise itself, but finding one hour in each day when I do not have work or responsibility for children. This is sad but true. I need to garner the support to have time for myself....that's important too!
Artemis,who was goddess of many things, including the hunt, had extreme physical prowess and was a protector. Artemis was the eternal virgin, or "woman who belongs to herself".She will be my inspiration in guiding my body. When I run, Artemis will run with me. When I stretch and push, she will goad me on.
 I will be strong.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Twisting THE List

So this year, I decided I am going to make a list of lists. I hope to post these lists on here, and it'll be fun and interesting to see how I come out at the end of next year.
I am going to group my intentions in lists. I am not making a list of resolutions, although some of these intentions will be met with great resolve and hope. My hope is, instead, to make a list of areas I need and desire to develop in myself, based on this list of Carolyn Myss's archetypes. I am fascinated by the meanings found in modern-day archetypes, because as we parent our children, we are presenting archetypes....giving them their story....living out our own stories. I wish to give a little more consciousness to my story, and feel a lot of that desire has everything to do with being a woman of 41.
Although I have not narrowed the archetypes I wish to address (there are so many!), I do wish to write about the following, and then assign archetypes to these themes:
Where I've been (see Sarah's lists)
Where I intend to go...my creative ideas and plans...the idea-children
How I will care for my body
How I will improve my parenting, and continue to hone my observations skills
Developing deep relationships with women...something I feel I've had trouble with
nurturing my marriage, which has had its ups and mostly downs this year. I want to fix that.
creating and nurturing the physical space in my home
becoming the teacher I want to be
finding meaningful work through urban farming (backyard bees, gardening, dye garden, bunnies, herbs)

One of the things I wanted to call my personal plan was Hero of Sanctuary. (or sanctuary hero, heroes of sanctuary...not sure what has the nicest ring) Imagine my dismay when I googled "Heroes of Sanctuary" and found out it was a video game! Arggh!  Oh well, I am still going to keep the name for myself and apply it to happy home making in the light of personal development.

A couple of random things:
I joined NaBloPoMo.
We have been drinking this tea, a variation of an herbal combination given to me by my first midwife.
Take loose handfuls of *red raspberry, *chamomile, *nettles and combine. Make a decoction and keep it in the fridge to sip on through the winter. It helps keep you well. I added peppermint for taste and rosehips for vitamin C. I bet you could also add hibiscus and that would be lovely.

tomorrow, on to the lists!

Friday, January 1, 2010

I'm Real!

Deanna at FunMama has awarded me with the Marie Antoinette award, for being real! Yippee! In fact, she did it so long ago that my fellow blogger friend already took the picture and "did it up". I liked it so that is the image I'm using.


Can I just say how much I love this..the idea of being real and honest? Because, truly, when you blog, you leave yourself lots of leeway for pretenses and putting on airs. And to be real is to be vulnerable...open...transparent.  But hey, why be anything less than you are any where you find yourself? Love, love, love.
So here is passing along the love, to people who put it all out there and tell it like it is, and who inspire us with ALL the reality of the day-to-day. Gotta admire that!
gypsy at domestically blissed
amy at These Are The Days(yes, I know someone else passed it along to you but you were the first person I thought of when contemplating the meaning behind this.You're pretty real, Amy!)
renee at Heirloom Seasons
cadi at MaeheGirl (it is hard to be a blogger and a Waldorf teacher at the same time...all those expectations!)
Mama Jude (it doesn't get much more real than plant-dyeing)
Jen at Shean Stories

Happy New Year, everyone! I am hoping to make this a blog week of lists, inspired by Stars in Her Fingernails.
***ooo...I forgot to put on two other very real people: Kelli and Leslie. I hope you both will take your "real" prize!