Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sustaining Thought

My sustaining thought for this week (and maybe the entire year) comes from a lecture I heard this summer by Holly van Gulden at Pact Camp. Holly specializes in attachment and adoption. She is a vibrant and expressive speaker and one of my heros.

The reason children keep doing IT is because they don't have the capacity to STOP doing IT.

My interpretation of this is that my kids aren't doing IT (scream, hit, smack while they eat, argue with everything I say) just to bug me. So if I want my kids to stop doing IT, I need to help them grow their skills, their attachments, their brains or wait for the next developmental stage.

And take lots of deep breaths.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Great Deal on Great Map

So you know those maps that we've all used in schools and work since we were small? Like the one hanging on my dining room wall?

They're wrong. Well, they aren't wrong exactly, but they are optimized for navigation, mainly naval and arial navigation. Turns out my National Geographic map no where near accurately reflects the relative size of countries. Or their locations.

Our standard American map is the Mercator map and it inflates geographic size as we approach the poles. The Peter's Projection Map claims to be an area accurate map of the earth's surfaces (Wikipedia says it's not, either, because when you lay a globe out flat something is going to get distorted). But it does more closely approximate relative size of countries and their actual location in relation to each other.

Seems Peters wasn't the first to point this out, in 1973, and do something about it (he may have "borrowed" the idea from a man named Gall who lived about 100 years before him). And there were others before him. This map thing is a on-going hundred years argument. About 10 years ago, though, all sorts of internal cartographer controversy and bickering lead the major map-heads to issue a rather pissy sounding resolution:

WHEREAS, the earth is round with a coordinate system composed entirely of circles, and

WHEREAS, flat world maps are more useful than globe maps, but flattening the globe surface necessarily greatly changes the appearance of Earth's features and coordinate systems, and

WHEREAS, world maps have a powerful and lasting effect on peoples' impressions of the shapes and sizes of lands and seas, their arrangement, and the nature of the coordinate system, and

WHEREAS, frequently seeing a greatly distorted map tends to make it "look right,"

THEREFORE, we strongly urge book and map publishers, the media and government agencies to cease using rectangular world maps for general purposes or artistic displays. Such maps promote serious, erroneous conceptions by severely distorting large sections of the world, by showing the round Earth as having straight edges and sharp corners, by representing most distances and direct routes incorrectly, and by portraying the circular coordinate system as a squared grid. The most widely displayed rectangular world map is the Mercator (in fact a navigational diagram devised for nautical charts), but other rectangular world maps proposed as replacements for the Mercator also display a greatly distorted image of the spherical Earth.

Basically, get out your globes, people!

All the same, I like the Peter's map for giving me a more accurate idea of the size of land masses. Which means it shows us what size Greenland really is. Alaska, too, as it turns out. I'll hang it up next to my National Geographic map, and keep the globe on the living room table where small children finger it daily.

Enjoy here with me my buddies CJ and Josh absorbing the shock of the Peters Projection Map.

Want to learn more about Peter's Maps? Go to their site. And check the wikipedia article for balance.
Want to get a great deal on a slightly blemished Peter's map, go here and look for the $5 deal!

Happy geography, everyone!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Soccer Mom For A Day

Today I fear I was the stereo-typical soccer mom. Lots of driving for a game that's walking distance from our house - in our minivan, with our designer mutt in tow.

Theo's game started at 1:30, Rosie's game at 2:00. All other Barnacle adults are out of town. And somehow I signed up as snack mom for Theo's team for today.

We did our morning stuff, packed soccer bags and around noon drove to the grocery store (5 blocks from our house). We loaded up on snack bars, apples and string cheese, then drove to Theo's game (okay, at least this is 2 miles from home).

I watched for a few minutes (long enough to see his team score 3 goals), then hopped in the car and headed back to drop Rosie at her game that is 3 blocks from our house (long enough to totally geek out about how cute 6 year old soccer games are).

Then back to get Theo. His game finished, his team was still hanging out in the field kicking the ball together. Turns out they'd won 5-1 and apparently weren't over the high yet. I handed out snacks, peeled Theo away and drove back to get Rosie.

We cheered for the last few minutes of her game and enjoyed the cupcakes (?!?!?) someone had brought for snacks. Rosie reports their team won 12-2 (Theo and I are skeptical).

Finally we drove the 3 blocks home.

To make up for the earlier part of the day, I plan to sit on the couch and read samari novels until dinner.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just Sayin'

I've been really aware these past 2 days how much help I get over the course of a day from my dear hubby and delightful housemate. Having them both gone and trying to do the work of 3 adults seems like a big load.

I'm not complaining or whining here, just noticing...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spelling Fun

Trying to keep the spelling fresh, Theo made a crossword from his list today. I dished out the letters after he spelled the words, then he arranged them. Boy, was it hard for me to keep my hands to myself and let him have the fun.

Now I need a bananagram fix and 2 of my favorite opponents are out of town. Yikes!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Never drive...

...while trying to eat a chocolate dipped ice cream cone.

It won't turn out well. Especially on a hot day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Jitters

During our 5 day camping trip with the homeschool folks, Bill and I hosted a coffee tasting. We tested:
- Starbucks Via VERSUS Nescafe Instant
- Starbucks blend VERSUS Seattle Mt Roasting Co
- French Press VERSUS Brikka

Drinking various coffees over the course of several hours with friends rates high on my fun meter. 6 cups of coffee later, though, I was seriously buzzed. My agitated self engaged in conversation with several people about the strengths of various brews. Some of the numbers seemed skewed to me, so I looked them up. They weren't.

Shockingly, my innocent cup of drip is the most jittery of them all. Here's what I learned about the punch behind some of my favorite drinks.
Starbuck's* drip (12 oz) 240 mg
Starbuck's decaf drip 12 mg
Starbuck's single shot (1 oz) 89 mg
Starbuck's decaf shot 8 mg
Brewed black tea 40 mg
Hot Cocoa 14 mg

*I use Starbucks as a random category because amount of caffine varies greatly depending on everything from type of bean to which farm to roasting techniques.

On the occasionally consumed soda side:
Diet Coke (12 oz) 45.6 mg
Barq's Root Beer (12 oz) 23.0 mg

Back to the coffee tasting, the winner for me was clearly french pressed Seattle Mountain Coffee. In the caffine ratings, French press as a "brewed" coffee has a smaller amount of caffine than drip (about 1/3 less-ish). Which puts it at about 170 mg. Or a double shot of espresso. Yee haw!

In the instant competition, the Via tasted good. Next to it the Nescafe was painful, and I tossed it in the bushes after 2 sips. I'd definitely take the Via traveling with me, and I'm looking forward to trying the Via decaf when they release it.

Currently, I'm sworn off caffeine all together. When I choose to indulge again, I'll be well prepared.

In researching caffeine numbers, here were my favorite sources:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Getting Regular

In the spirit of getting back to regular life, I'm starting up our kombucha after a few months off. I like the rhythm and routine of it, plus it does keep bodies around here operating smoothly.

During a pause in the summer I brewed up a batch and even took notes in hopes of reproducing it if it tasted good. The results were lovely - mellow and sweet as kombucha goes. So I'm sharing them here with you (and so I can find them again in a few weeks).

Kombucha mix from 8/11
- 1 bag licorice tea
- 3 bags green tea
- 2 bags black tea
- 1 cup nettle tea (strong)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back in the Swing

Tomorrow we're officially supposed to be back in the swing of regular life.

With a good sense of where we're going with our schooling this year and the ideas and information my kids are about to consume, I'm excited too watch them enjoy and grow. Still, I'm feeling a little cowed by the wall of "normal" that is all supposed to kick in tomorrow. I know last June this was all easy, fun and done by noon. I just can't remember how we got there! Baby steps and ice cream, probably.

Dribbled out in bits over the next few weeks, here's what I hope our mornings will look like by the end of the month:

Theo (about 3.5 hours)
independently: morning routine, chores and grammar
with me: guitar, handwriting, math, spelling, writing
with Rosie and me: history, geography, poetry

Rosie (about 3 hours)
independently: morning routine, chores and HeadSprout
with me: guitar, handwriting, math, reading, Draw3D
with Theo and me: history, geography, poetry

I'm still working out where to fit in our running program and some sort of science, plus the latin program Theo really wants to do.

Wish us luck! We're going to cap off the first day with the Not Back to School Day potluck with a bunch of our buddies from the Seattle Homeschool Group. It'll be a blast.

ps. I don't recommend searching google images for "woman with ice cream." Results can be a little raunchy. Shocking, really!