Thursday, August 5, 2010


Violet has decided to retire from formal swim lessons. She's been taking classes for a year and a half and she is an excellent swimmer. About a year ago, she passed the goals I had for her in taking the classes.

Last Monday she didn't want to go to class. She'd gotten up early for Greek Mythology. She was tired. It had been a horribly busy month. On the way to class she started crying. I suggested she get through a few more classes, wait to make the decision until things had settled down to normal. She was okay with that, or so I thought, but half way through class she was crying again. She said afterward she was sick to her stomach. After she changed we stopped at the front desk and gave notice that she's taking a "swim break."

The place where she swims doesn't have sessions. It is open ended. You can start any time. You can quit anytime, but with a one month notice. Her last lesson is in a few weeks.

Tonight I made her go to do a make up from a class she'd missed. I was feeling awful about it, but the classes are quite pricey. I wanted her to go since we'd paid for it. The make up was supposed to be with the instructor she'd had at the last level. We got there and found it the instructor was off, and the aquatic director was actually running the class. Violet is a little afraid of her. Mom guilt levels were sky high.

I watched her class from the lobby, and low and behold, Violet was having fun. The AD had them try pull buoys. Check out the link if you don't know what they are. You hold them between your legs to float and just swim with your arms. Violet really got the hang of them right away. The other two kids in the class, not so much. The AD also gave her some pointers on her butterfly stroke. It was the best class she'd had in a long time.

We discussed it on the way home. The pressure is now off. It doesn't matter if she advances to another level or not. She's retiring to move on to recreational lap swimming. We already have our open swim pass and plan to start going to open swim once school starts up and most of the little urchins are back in prison. I told Violet how I loved to use pull buoys too, and we ordered the one in the link to take with us to our open swim workouts. Violet even suggested we spend about a half an hour working towards improving our endurance each time we go to the pool.

Obviously, the time was right for her to retire. I had been worried that she made the decision when she was too tired. But I can see now, that was part of what was tiring her out. If she decides she wants to start up again, we can do so at any time. But I don't think she will. She made it a lot farther in formal lessons than I ever did. I flunked minnow three times and quit. She's almost graduating from stingray to turtle. She has 4 more lessons to take. And she's actually looking forward to them as she counts down.

Mom Guilt can take the night off.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We Have Tried it Their Way, We Don't Like it

This week Violet has been taking a class on Greek Mythology at our local community college's Kids and College program. She's taken several culinary classes this summer, but this class is giving us a glimpse into the world of the public school family. We are certain it isn't for us.

The class starts bright and early every morning at 9:00 a.m. We have to leave a little before 8:30 to get there, park and get into the class. We never leave that early for anything. Well, Violet never does. She gets up around 9:00, leisurely reads in bed for 30 or 40 minutes. Feeds her fish. Wanders down for some breakfast. Reads some more. By 11:00 sharp she's finally dressed. Most days.

On Tuesday she had a homework assignment. She had to complete a worksheet on the development of a Greek myth of her own creation, write the myth and draw a picture. I think most kids completed the task in class. She had her basic idea, but wasn't sure where she wanted to go from there and needed time to think about it.

She didn't mention the assignment until the middle of the afternoon. Her class is out at noon. Um, we'd better get going on it. I helped her with it. Mostly helping her flush out her own ideas and getting it on to paper. I used open ended questions, so she could come up with her own story. And helped her focus. She had invented a goddess of pets, but needed to narrow it down to one story about the goddess. I think in her head she had an entire volume of stories.

So here we were, the night before it was due, doing homework. We don't do homework. We don't have deadlines. We let our creativity take its own sweet time. We certainly don't fill out story worksheets first. (And don't tell her teacher, but we actually filled in his worksheet after her story was done.) In our homeschool if you want to write a story, you write it and see where it takes you. Would that past muster in a professional writing class? Of course not. But we don't mind. Usually the stories written develop over months. Pictures and sketches are drawn. Parts are acted out by Barbies or Littlest Pet Shop characters. More pictures are drawn. Once in a while the story is actually written out. I guess we are more into the verbal story telling.

The man who teaches her class teaches fourth grade during the school year. I don't think he's used to dealing with us laid back, do our own thing, homeschoolers. But he seems nice anyway.

I asked Violet yesterday if she'd like to be in public school, get up early every morning and have homework every night. She rolled her eyes at me and made some sort of grunting noise. I think I have created a homeschooler for life.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Last night I watched "No Reservations" on the Travel Channel. It is hosted by one of my favorite writers, Anthony Bourdain. The episode I watched was his look back at how he got from New York City chef, to writer, to television host. It reminded me of the opening chapters of his newest book (which I haven't finished yet due to my insanely busy summer).

In the episode he talked about how he is a writer, he always has been, it is just in him. That got my brain spinning. I think of myself as a writer as well. Bourdain inspired me last night to let out that writer and just write. Write, write, write.

Sure I write all the time for work. But client bulletins, power point presentations, white papers, and guest articles for industry journals just aren't fulfilling, you know? Sometimes I write so much for work, that by the end of the day, I am tired of looking at my little MacBook screen. Yet, I am inspired to start doing just that again.

I need to find some sort of fulfillment. Like I mentioned, work isn't doing it for me. I'm not unhappy with my job, but I do think of it more as a job than I did a year ago. A year ago I had a career, a profession, a position in a well-respected company. I thought that even though I was part-time I was going somewhere. Keeping my foot in the water. Keeping the dream alive.

Now I know that in order to advance any further than I am right now will take a lot more sacrifice than at 43 I am willing to give. My career goals have sailed and I didn't get on the ship. I chose another path, that of homeschool mom and "hands on, home most of the time when she needs me" mom. I took the right path. But now what?

I've been struggling with this all summer. It is part of my absence from the internet. That and the 45 hour work weeks on top of all my mom responsibilities. I didn't know what to do. I can't quit my job. It is our only income right now besides unemployment checks. Honestly, I don't think I'd want to. I've worked so hard to get where I am, even if I can't go any further. But I feel like something is missing. Or that there is an opportunity out there for me, but I just can't see it.

So I am inspired to write. I love to write. I like to write non-fiction. I always have. I'm not interested in creating fiction. The real world is too interesting and unbelievable, I see no need to make anything up. So I pledge to start writing. Maybe somehow it will lead to something bigger, something just around the corner is waiting for me.

Until I figure out what form my writing should take, you Dear Blog readers, will be stuck with my ramblings. I must practice my craft. Hone my skills. Let out my anger and frustration with the world. Try to figure out what might be out there lurking in the shadows for me. And hopefully find fulfillment in the process.