Saturday, September 25, 2010

The (No) Internet Experiment

Here's the thing.  I like the internet.  It's an endless resource ever at my fingertips.  So I abuse it.  I don't even want to know the amount of time I've spent online over the last year.  If I am away for a week I don't have any trouble going offline, but I spend far to much time in front of my screens when the option is there.

Let's face it.  There is much I want to do.  dreams I want to pursue, thoughts to be had, family and friends I know I don't see enough of, cooking, music, cleaning, studying, exercise.  All far more worthwhile then catching up my FB feed or watching movies on youtube.  (hey, at least I don't have an actual television).

In short, I am so much closer to the person I want to be without the internet.

I'm not about to delete my facebook, or give up blogging or online courses or news sources.  I'm not doubting the online world is useful if we make it serve us the way we want it too.

This is, essentially, the first time with my own place and internet and computer. In the past I've relied on stops at friends and the library.  You know what?  It was better that way.

I love the outdoors.  I love conversation, adventures, life.  You know, the real version.  I'm just terrible for procrastinating it.

So, here's the plan.  For the next week I'll be online for no longer then half an hour each day (including my apps), outside of studying.  I'll still be blogging, but I'll just c/p from word.  Actually, don't be surprised if I blog more, and better quality.

I'll miss some of my mind numbing time wasting standard habits but we'll see.  Maybe I'll have to enact this as a standard part of my life.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Notebook Chronicles

The little bald one with the glasses is the regular.  I know him only as the milk truck man.  He actually wears a blue collar.  I like to think I belong in that class, despite my ripped t-shirt.  We make our living off the same industry.  His job occasionally overlapping mine.  But that is all.

The milk truck man.

We exchange pleasantries before most of the world has even woken.  "Good morning," and, "How are you today?"

This morning as I finished clean-up I felt like we shared a bond.  Both of us the working class.  Earning our keep at jobs we do well.  Keeping our hours and making sure you get milk on your morning cheerios.

I grinned at him.  As though, somehow, we knew a common secret.  It not occurring to me that it was a connection noted only in my mind that particular AM.  He probably only thought I was strangely cheerful at a time when usually I look forward to is going back to bed.

I leave our farm as the sun rises.  My part of the process complete for now.  He finishes loading the fruit of my labour and continues on, his day just beginning.

The milk truck man pulls up to another parlour as I crawl beneath the covers.

The feature where I let you read the ramblings of my past.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Randori, Newaza and Other Japanese Words I Don't Remember

All of me hurts.  Well, when I try to move.  This is specific to, but not limited to thighs, upper stomach, neck and upper arms.  Not to mention the bruises running pretty solid up my left arm.  Does that sound bad?  I think it's because that's the arm I usually break fall with.

Yeah, I'm back at judo. Item 46.

I might not be coming back with the obsession I had at 17.  I always wished I had a chance to start younger and train harder.  But, I've missed it.  Practicing this year will whip me back into some much needed shape.  I build muscle easily for a girl.  I miss my chiseled shoulders, and my masculine forearms.  Wait... what?

Maybe I'll fall in love with the sport all over again.  And if not I'll be able to leave some energy on the mat.  My Mom was never a big fan of her teenage daughter rolling around with sweaty guys, or the part where we try to choke each other unconscious.  But she once said it was good because it was an outlet for some of my fight.

if nothing else I'll leave healthier (unless I tear something in my knee).  Right now that's hard to remember when sitting down necessitates a five inch uncontrolled fall.  In a good way.

Maybe you'll see why I find judo beautiful.  This is the international competition scene, no choreography here.  I can understand why a match would be dull for someone who isn't a judoka, so feel free to check out these highlights.  Bobby says to warn you to turn on the mute.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I Done Got My Schoolin' at Home

I was home schooled.

A lot of you already know that, on some level or another, but I want you to tell me your reaction.  What biased did your mind jump to when you read that sentence?  What are your preconceived ideas and judgements?

See, I still don't really seem to get it.  Over the years I've bragged about being a home schooler.  Now it's less relevant to my life (hello adulthood.  You and I are old friends now) and I prefer to think of it as advocating. 

I'm also starting to realize what home schooled actually means.  Or, rather, what people think it means.  And, yes.  I am personally aquainted with some of these stereotypes.  The ten kids, denim jumpers, headcoverings.  Classical piano, Rod and Staff (err, that's a curriculum), and repressed social development. 

But... But, that's not what home schooling was for me.  There were a lot of "normal" experiences that I didn't have.  A good chunk of my sex ed came from magazines and late night talks with my friends.  I never shoplifted gummy candies on my lunch break or smoked cigarrettes under the stairs.  Personally, I don't think missing this out did me much harm.  Most of my "home schooled" friends have grown into functional, responsible, intelligent adults.  The ones with the most trouble are the families I've known that have been extreme (see above paragraph).  Honestly, those kids often go crazy, but do you blame them?

Those of us with a better balance may question our social roles a little earlier and learn to make out in the backseat or a car a little later.  But, in the end, we usually seem to work things out just fine.

Education at home is a concept that has continued to capture my attention.  I have no interest in working in education, but the idea of alternative education fascinates me.  I have little tolerance for anyone closed minded enough to override home school as even a possible beneficial option without any previous experience or reason.

Do I think everyone should be schooled at home?  No.  Not every parent is anywhere near capable of that commitment.  Do I think home school is ideal in every way?  Not even a little bit.  I do, however, think the public system only serves a certain portion of the population very well.  Obviously, it's a one size fits all, and has to be that way.  And that, essentially, is why I continue to support home education.

The potential for a personally tailored education is endless.  So much so that I can see how mistakes could be made, and parents could easily feel overwhelmed.  There is much to take into consideration.  This is also why I'm bothered by such a sweeping generalization of home schoolers.  There is no norm.  I have some of the typical traits, but not many.  Where I'm from almost has a separate culture just for us.  We always walked the line.

I, personally, am thankful for my home tailored education.  There is much I would do different if I went back.  Would hope to do different if I were ever to have children of my own.  And high school should be (and was for me) a personal option.  Proof of academic achievement and a social structure are two aspects of home schooling that must be thought out where there is rarely need in a public school.

Just, please, tell me this.  What do you think when I tell you I'm a home schooler?  Is all this defense necessary?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Autumn Beats Me Up

I know it's still the end of summer.  A season for freedom and carelessness and passion.  I know I was jumping from cliffs into beautifully fresh water this weekend.  Around this time we're usually melding into a beautiful Indian summer.  However, this year I've already tasted the crisp tang of fall.

The first emotion autumn brings me is an extreme urge to move on.  Summer's dying and I need to travel, quit my job... leave.  I need to learn, wander, wonder.  Time to work and move on and join autumn sports.  September is a learned habit to pack up, start school, travel, move.


And then, or at the same time, I start to want to settle down.  Cooling air makes me want fuzzy blankets and someone to share them with.  I want fall colours and cable stitch sweaters to wear with my bluejeans.  I want to make jam from our harvest, collect firewood, hunt and knit burnt orange touques to keep me warm through the winter cold.  I want an acreage and an orchard.  Some dark cool dirt to dig in and a fireplace to come inside to.

Settling in.

Here we can climb wooden ladders with laden canvas totes.  Gala, Honeycrisp, Delicious, Macintosh.  You better believe I can bake a mean pie.  I can milk a cow, make yogurt, cut meat to stock the freezer.  I've pressed juice, made pickles and dug potatoes.  This is where I'm from.

But I have a backpack by my bed.  And a tendency to search airline tickets when I'm supposed to be paying bills.  I have mind-stretching universities in my bookmarks and a tank full of gas that begs me to use it every time I drive to the edge of town.  Rusty Spanish that begs to be stretched out.  Energy to wear out on the ice, the judo mats, the ski hill.

Fall brings out both sides of my excess energy.  Estrogen and testosterone in a mad and endless clash. This fall neither will be much of an option.  I'll need my silly little side projects.  No month long road trips or beer in hostel basements.  No international markets, or no running my own local booth.  I'll be wearing out my fight in a dojo and wondering why I'm settling for middle ground.