Friday, February 24, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy

Things That Make Me Happy:

  • Music! Today Mikro and I learned notes B, A and G on our recorders, and played two practice exercises. I have the advantage here, because I read music, but I am working on teaching kiddo. (That seems like it will be harder for him than the fingering...) I got excited and went a little farther than he did and managed to play two simple tunes: Hot Crossed Buns and Merrily We Roll Along. Not bad for our first day. I also just finished reading a very interesting book called Guitar Zero, about the science of learning to play guitar/ becoming musical (especially in your forties, something the author and I have in common, though for me it's mandolin... and recorder.)

  • Kev, who made endless cups of tea for me and pitched in in all sorts of ways as I struggled with the Unending Chest Cold. Still dealing with the tail end of it, but it's on its way out.

  • A (cluttered, because C is my middle initial and it stands for clutter... or maybe creative chaos) desk that is once again functional. You don't wanna know how bad it was before I did a little reorganizing. It's covered in art supplies and toys. But they aren't across the entire horizontal surface anymore...

  • The weird weather. Yesterday it was spring-like, and last night it snowed. But we made hay while the sun shined and went to the park yesterday. I got to ogle my river and make a couple of quick sketches, and Mikro got to play on the playground with his latest set of instant fast friends.

  • The library. Honestly, they make homeschooling so easy. We have some great books out. Still trickling through the last of our Africa books before we move on, plus we have some really cool books about music and the orchestra out. And we signed up for the Highlights Magazine U.S. geography club called Which Way USA, and are supplementing with books from the library. We're getting started with our first two states, New York and California. And some science and math videos, some graphic novels, some poetry... It's a feast, really, that comes home in my library bags.

  • Art supplies. I am having so much fun playing in my sketchbook. Last week was sketching safari animals in ink, this week I'm goofing around with colored pencil landscapes. And it is a real joy to watch my fine motor challenged kid start catching up and developing a real interest in art & crafts. This morning he made his own paper alien with moving joints. (This was inspired by this week's episode of Face Off, which we watch as a family. The boy has announced that he would like a monster makeup kit someday...) Here are some of his recent crafts-- antelope and lizard masks inspired by our Africa unit.

  • Friends old and new. Phone calls from near and far and a visit out to Pennsylvania. Meeting new friends along the way.

  • Job search action. No offer yet, but he's had several second interviews for good positions, some full time, some contract.

  • Reality TV. No, really. We enjoy watching a few of the competition type shows as a family. Especially Face Off, Survivor, and Top Shot. Kev and I also watch Inkmaster and Project Runway together sometimes, and I have yet to catch it, but I am looking forward to checking out Work of Art .

  • Looking forward to the Daytona 500 this weekend, which is also a family activity here. I root for Tony Stewart (though I remain and will always be a Dale Earnhardt, Sr. fan), Kev is a Ryan Newman fan, and Mikro's loyalty is to youngster Joey Logano.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy

This week's happy:

  • Kev has had lots of job search action the past couple weeks. No offers yet, but several multi-stage interviews and waiting for word...

  • Mikro's exuberant enjoyment of valentine's day, which included nontraditional gifts from mama: a lizard puppet, reptile/amphibian coloring book/field guide, and bright green hair dye (which he has begged me for.)

  • A productive and fuss-free homeschool week.

  • Improved health. Still not a hundred percent, but we're getting there. At least I got my voice back.

  • The Notepad App on my Kindle. Now when a song pops into my head in the middle of the night, I can hunt and peck my lyrics into memory before I forget them.

  • Lots of time to draw! And I *adore* the Sharpie Pen.

    Here's a look at the recent additions to my sketchbook: From the everyday, to the exotic:

  • My new obsession: this is my bargain priced mandolin. Giving up buying cups of coffee in favor of making my own made her possible. I am dying to learn to play her. I'm starting off with some DVD/CD/book learn-to-play sets, and hoping that sometime soon I'll be able to afford to take some lessons...

    Life is exciting when you're learning something new, or brushing up on skills that have grown rusty!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy

I'm sort of a week behind on this, as my first bullet point will explain...

Things That Are Making Me Happy:

  • A clear airway! I can breathe! I've been sick as a dog all week with something that seems like bronchitis' ugly step sister. Today is the first day I have been able to be upright and moving around without breaking out into a sweat like a horse that's been run too hard. So yeah, breathing (even if it isn't 100 percent yet) and not soaking and shivering, that brings a smile to my chapped, crusty face.

  • Kev has a job interview tomorrow. He's already had 2 phone interviews, including a tech interview, for this position, which is contract-to-hire for slightly more money that he was making after his paycut. Tomorrow is the face to face. Good thoughts & vibes most appreciated.

  • Thrift stores. Kev was able to dress like a bum at his last job (which is one reason he loves IT to begin with), but it is looking like he might land somewhere that he has to dress like a grownup. He has one suit that he bought for a friend's wedding. Well, today, I scored two suits, two nice dress shirts, and a heavily lined London Fog trench coat for him (plus a kiddie steel drum, tie dyed sweatshirt and multiple long sleeved thermal shirts for Mikro) for under a hundred bucks. Woot.

  • Doodling. I have tried to draw something every day, even when I was sick. I have a nifty little art journal thingee going, that makes me smile. I've also mostly kept up on my paper journals and I've been playing with Derwent Inktense blocks, which are a lot of fun. I am itchy to paint. As in, for real, on some canvas. I'm also coming up with tons of things I want to try, like embroidery (mostly thinking of this as a mixed media thing).

  • Mikro's growing self sufficiency and willingness to take responsibility for getting his work done. I almost hesitate to say this, lest I jinx it. He has been so good about carrying on independently when I was too sick to do much, and Kev stepped up as well, and did a lot of science with him. Math videos worked too.

  • Music. I'm really enjoying writing lyrics, and I desperatey want to be able to at least strum along when I sing. I have never played a stringed instrument in my life. (I am an old and now chop-less trumpet player.) But I'm gonna learn. And I am going to start trying to learn (and teach Mikro) recorder, too. Winter seems the perfect time to learn some music.