Thursday, February 26, 2009

What's Up

Hmmm. . . I haven't posted about what we've been doing for a while. That is mostly because I've been obsessing over my latest career endeavors, which have to do with cartooning, blogging, and creating a website. Also: poster-making, card-making, t-shirt making, bumpersticker making, etc.

But anyway, we've found plenty o' time to go to nature centers, the library, social groups, playgrounds, and friends' houses. Also, Ezra does circus school once a week. My husband has been spending a lot more time with the kids this semester, too. But it's been so cold that they've mostly stayed inside together.

But one exciting new development is that Ezra has decided he wants his training wheels off! We had friends visit from Viroqua, Wisconsin, and Ezra found out that his friend (or Faux Cousin, as we like to call him), Luka, who is 9, does not have training wheels and apparently right away he said he was ready to try biking without them. So a day or two after Luka left, Kenny took the kids out to the back parking lot with Ezra's new training-wheel-less bike and Ottar's little scooter.

Ezra has also been learning more about rockets, of course, and currently he is working on another book. This one is called Rocky the Rocket's Adventures in Space.

Oh! How funny I almost forgot to mention Ezra has pretty much taught himself to read, with virtually NO help whatsoever and in fact I've been secretly discouraging it for over a year (I'm into Waldorf ideas about brain development). But anyway, now he loves to try to read rocket books, some of which are quite advanced. And also Captain Underpants, which we somehow ended up with a copy of (though I do really like it!)

Oh, and soon I will hopefully post pictures of the kids on their new rope ladder and rings we've hung in the middle of the apartment - hours and hours of cooperative, healthy, muscle-building fun!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Transformational Psychology

I just have to go on a slight tangent here, about how frustrated I am that so few people seem to know anything at all about the many, many forms of transformational psychology that are available today.

Remember, I posted once about how just about all the unschooling families I know use at least one "modality" for transformation?

Let me tell you about transformational psychology, in case you don't know. These modalities are basically ways to change yourself rapidly, effectively, and usually permanently. Want more patience? More creativity? Less anxiety? Would you like to overcome depression, get over an addiction, lose weight, or figure out what to do with your life?

How about more money, would you like that? Or maybe you'd like to get over the trauma of incest or some other horrible life event?

Well, you can do all that with transformational psychology, and you can often do it in 1-3 sessions. Sometimes you can even get over something absolutely unbearable in only 15 minutes.

Isn't it fishy that nobody seems to know this? Well, if you're reading my blog, you probably *do* know about some of the modalities.

Off the top of my head, some modalities which utilize quick-transformation processes are: Network Chiropractic, EMDR, Psych-K, Neurolinguistic Programming, Focusing, Sedona Method, The AIM Program, One Command, Advanced NVC, and The Work of Byron Katie.

Of course, if you want to improve every aspect of your life, it might take quite a lot of time. . . for instance in my life, since I found out about all this stuff, I have switched from one focus to another. At first I just tried a bunch of different stuff, to see what I could do. Then I focused on recovering from chronic depression. Since I tested "done" for depression issues, I have focused on family and career issues, for the most part. Soon I will be tackling the subject of money and prosperity.

In any case, I have no idea why I keep hearing on the radio, reading in magazines, etc. about people who have these totally debilitating disorders, like as if there is no hope for them. It makes me crazy. True, some of these methods require money, but you'd *think* insurance companies would be on top of it. But they aren't. And one major reason why is that the pharmaceutical companies don't want you to know that you can fix all this stuff really easily. In fact I know of at least one instance where 60 Minutes cut a show about transformational psychology after the pharmaceutical companies threatened to pull all their funding.

If that surprises you, it's time to wake up!

Fortunately for the internet and all the people I know who use and rave about these methods, the word is spreading anyway and those Evil People will get what they deserve. . . which is to have their companies lose all their power.

I recommend that if you don't have an arsenal of transformational psychology methods in your personal toolbox, that you get off my blog THIS MINUTE and start your research!! Get on the phone!! Order some books!! Make some appointments!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On to chickens

Well, this week Ezra has been focusing on drawing chickens as much as drawing rockets.

This is because my husband and I are trying to come up with drawings for chicken puppet for a movie idea we have.

I was also reading a Jim Henson biography this week (fairly coincidentally) and Ezra just LOVES the Muppets. Have I mentioned that? Of course, Ottar does, too. We all do! We used to rent episodes, but now Ezra watches Youtube clips on Sundays, which is his day to watch Youtube rocket launch and Muppet videos. Of course he loves Pigs in Space, but also Grover as a waiter, and the Sesame Street episodes with those furry aliens, and Swedish Chef.

We've all learned more about chicken anatomy this week than we ever have before, even though we went to plenty of farms this summer. I can't believe how many chickens I've drawn in my life without those rubbery red things hanging off their noses.

Chicken pix to follow, I hope. . .

And I should mention, that the more I watch the Muppets, the better it is. It is seriously amazing art. I could watch it all day long.

Anyway, Ezra has some crazy chicken puppet ideas. He has designed some kind of chicken puppet that has a telescope in its head, for instance. And another one that he can go inside of, like Big Bird. So it looks like he may be very interested in getting involved with the puppet-maker we are in contact with (a guy who worked with Jim Henson's son, Brian) if he will allow some onlookers or apprentices!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

One thing leads to another

So, Ezra is obsessed with rockets. I just want to record what all this has led into so far (that I can think of)

-thousands of rocket and launchpad drawings, mostly on his Doodle Pro, but also with markers and occasionally paints

-organizing his very own Rocket Party all by himself (I was not invited, but I heard it was very well-executed!)

-interest in Russia, Japan, and India because of their space programs.

-learning the numbers 1-10 in Russian, plus some Russian letters and a few other vocabulary words.

-interest in math "because he needs it to become an aerospace engineer."

-lots of computer know-how (he has taught me quite a few things!) because of figuring out how to look at and save youtube videos of launches and photographs of space shuttles.

-some geography, of the states and countries relevant to rocket launching.

-astronomy, of course.

-physics, like friction, gravity, speed, etc..

-interest in John F. Kennedy's speech about going to the moon.

-memorization of many songs about rockets, including my favorite, "Zoom Rocket" but also "Afternoon Delight" and "On Eagle's Wings" which is played during a Youtube tribute to the Space Shuttle Challenger astronauts who died in the explosion.

Well, that's what I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there is so much more. . . in which case maybe I'll add it later.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jane Goodall Talking with Animals Video

We watched a really cool video last night that I couldn't resist when I saw it at the library. I am such a huge Jane Goodall fan, and this video is featuring her, but mostly talking about the capabilities of animals/pets and the importance of human relationships with them.

There was some really cool stuff in there! One thing was an Amazon Gray parrot, who has a vocabulary of over 1,000 words and just chatters away about his thoughts and desires to his owner. Also this owner can communicate telepathically with the parrot (or the parrot with her - whichever).

There is also a section about whale communcation which was fascinating - apparently whale songs evolve "just like pop music"!

And I loved a long section on search and rescue dogs and a juvenile jail program called POOCH which pairs up "troubled teens with troubled dogs" - saves dogs from euthanasia and gives the boys the responsibility of rehabbing and training the dogs so they can be adopted out. They said there is a 0% re-offending rate of the teens that have come out of the program so far!!

They have tons of other interesting stories, too, like about training rats to (safely) detect land mines in Africa and about animals' abilities to detect earthquakes and tsunamis.

I could go on and on!

As soon as the movie was over, I told my husband maybe he might want to get a search and rescue dog to use for Tornado damage. He always says he feels guilty going to areas that are hit by tornadoes, because it might seem like he's just gawking (even though severe weather is his field!) Anyway, I suggested if he had a search and rescue dog, he could survey the damage and be helping look for victims in the process. He is not a dog person, though, so this idea did not strike him. I'll keep working on it, especially because I have a keen sense that my two boys are going to need a canine companion soon (once we get those 80 acres!)

One thing that was sad to me about the movie was that it was just brushed over that "maybe humans could have these abilities" and the truth is that they DO. They just aren't used by civilized society, so the only people who have developed them are considered freaks. However, there are entire tribal societies who can do a lot of these things - anyone interested in this might like to read Original Wisdom by Tom Wolff or watch Rabbit-Proof Fence, an excellent (but tragic) movie about the aborigenese of Australia. There is also quite a bit of information about human potential in the book Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce, and a little more about latent abilities in The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff.

Weekend in Milaca

Well, my husband and I have been thinking of moving to Milaca. Not because there is anything special or even probably tolerable about this small northern town, but just because it has a cool name and therefore we figured we could recruit lots of people to join us there because they would feel proud to say, "We needed to get way out of the city, so we're moving to ***Milaca!***"

So, when a friend of Kenny's said he was having an overnight skating and snowshoeing party there at his parent's place, we took it as a sign. We went to stay at Shelly and Eric's house - they have a really cozy, beautiful, woodsy house with a huge shop attached to the back, in 80 acres of woods with restored wetlands and 40 years of new growth trees (it had been clearcut before they moved there.)

We packed up the kids and got there way too late, in my opinion, but in any case we got to take the kids out on the pond in the woods behind the house, and look at the moon in the dark while other people skated. Later, at around 10:30 p.m., everyone went for a snowshoe-hike in the dark with both kids pulled by my husband in the sled, while I and many others snowshoed out to look at the constellations. That night I went to bed with the kids while Kenny did some sauna-ing and snowjumping, and the next day we snowshoed out to a further pond where some people had built a 7-foot snowman the day before. The kids loved it! Ezra even snowshoed with adult snowshoes on without complaining. Ottar insisted on walking and dragging his sled instead of riding in it, as is typical of him!

Later the woman of the house offered to take us out to see the resident porcupines. So we snowshoed out again and saw the nest and then the porcupine waaaay up in a tree. She told us quite a bit about porcupines and also showed us some wolf tracks and some mouse tracks that ended in the mouse being eaten by an owl (which also left a track). While we were doing this, Ottar was with me and the others, but unfortunately Kenny was back with Ezra, feeding him lunch after he got a little "loopy" and tried to start snowball fights (he loves snowball fights!) with un-amused adults. Since they didn't know if they could catch up with us, they went back to see the snowman, and Ezra had a *very, very* tearful goodbye. He named him Charlie and took pictures of him with his digital camera (after we got home the next day, he somehow figured out how to superimpose Kenny's voice pretending to be Charlie, over the photo. It said, "Hi, I'm Charlie the Snowman. Ezra, I hope you don't forget me after I melt!").

Kenny and I chatted at length with Shelly and Eric about living in the woods, thoughts on schooling/homeschooling, bears, berries, and Tom Brown's and other tracking/nature observation workshops they have taken. Shelly has learned to "hear" the plants she gathers for her native plant nursery.

Right before we went home, we also got to see Shelly and Eric make 2 pairs of snowshoes with their son and a friend. They used to have a snowshoe-making business and estimate that they made between 12,000 and 30,000 pairs. (One of them says 12,000, and the other says 30,000. . . hmmm.) Anyway, they have stopped the business but they still make them on occasion and it was so cool to watch.

I am now interested in snowshoeing after using their snowshoes, which are made in the traditional Cree (?) way and are made for the snows of Minnesota. I had previously been snowshoeing with a rental pair of aluminum snowshoes, but I kept sinking in and I was totally annoyed! Now I find out that those aluminum ones are meant for harder-packed snow, rocky terrain, or icy slopes.

One of the most impressionable things was the conversation I had with Shelly about her efforts to protect the hardwoods and the soil up in the area, and how many of the hardwood trees are cut down specifically to produce computer paper. She also explained how all the logging has depleted the soil so that now the trees have extremely shallow roots (no topsoil) and they blow down easily in storms.

I must say that the drive up to Milaca is mighty ugly, so we are now not too excited to move up there, but on the other hand, it was a very inspirational and educational experience, and it was cool to hang out with people who raised their kids on 80 acres, which is my dream!

We are very grateful to Shelly and Eric for their generosity, conversation, hospitality, and patience with our kids.

I hope to post some pix soon!