September 10, 2015

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Oh, dear readers, I’ve been wanting to write here, but it’s been a bittersweet month.

We had our girl home for the summer, which was wonderful. There was so much time for being with her, for cooking with her, for talking to her. (Spoiler alert: I wrote my next column for home/school/life entirely about talking with this girl. It’s what we do.) By the last week of August, I was already feeling that dread that comes when one of my kids leaves home. I nearly broke down at Whole Foods in those last few days, realizing that I didn’t need to pack my cart with kale and almond milk for my vegan girl, because she’d be back at school soon. The thought that she may never be home for three full months again is something I’m pushing out of my mind altogether. La la la.


Then the day before she was due to go, my father-in-law passed away. We’d visited him just hours before, so Lulu could see him before she left. His death wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it was sudden. The loss of a beloved person seems too monumental for a blog post; let me just say that it’s the sort of thing that sets your world entirely off-kilter, and makes you grab hold of the people closest to you.

I was planning to go back to New York with Lulu, to move her into her new dorm apartment. I didn’t want to leave Chris, but he insisted, and so we went, lugging our heavy hearts with Lulu’s suitcases. There was the thrill of New York City, of walking, walking, walking (12 miles our first day there, according to my Fitbit), the thrill of lunch at Via Carota and an utterly delightful fava bean salad (which you can see at the top right of this page), of finding treasures at my favorite consignment shop (Thompson Street has the best stuff), of setting up Lulu’s sweet little dorm studio with her best friend.


But there were also tears at bedtime for her Papa. I was glad I was there to lay beside my girl and hold her hand.

I flew home Monday night; Lulu was back in California Wednesday morning with her older brother, for the burial, for the memorial service.

H hasn’t been home since Christmas, and having him here was a balm for his dad. After the services, we put Lulu back on a plane, but H stayed a few days. He played catch with his dad at Lake Merritt.

baseball_boysThe three guys and I went to an A’s game on Saturday night, and all three got new hats. Beloved boys and baseball: I can’t think of what Chris might have needed more.


Now we’re trying to move back into our days. It’s just the three of us at home again, and Mr. T is beginning what will likely be our last year of homeschooling. He plans to go to high school next year, so there’s this whole other bittersweet thing going on. A few weeks ago he asked me how long I’ve been doing this, and when I told him this was year nineteen, his response was “That’s too bad.” So close to twenty! I decided right then that I’ll just call it an even twenty, since the year when H was four, when he dropped out of preschool and I started madly learning all I could about homeschooling, was really the start of it all. (And that’s precisely where I plan to begin on Monday morning, when I start this class on The Thirty-Minute Memoir. It should be the kick in the butt I need. Thrilled! Terrified!)

I miss writing here. I miss all of you. I’m hoping to show up more often in this new year, since Septembers are beginnings too, whether you’re in school or not. I want to capture what it’s like to be on this end of the homeschooling life. There’s so much to say! I’ve been jotting it all in my spark file. Will report back.

Life is heartbreaking; life is beautiful. The best way I know to make sense of it all is to write it down.


summer freebies

July 15, 2015
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Which is all well and glorious, these homeschooling days of wonder. But there are other days wracked with a whole different sort of wonder, particularly if you are a parent. Why can’t he write a paragraph by himself if schoolkids his age can? Should I push her to read instead of listening to audiobooks for […]

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notes from a writing conference

July 8, 2015
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I fly into Ohio on the redeye. I get to sit in the window seat, since I have no kids with me, and watch Lake Erie come into view, all misty in the dawn. It’s 6:15 a.m. when I land, and I have a morning to fill. I take the Red Line into downtown Cleveland, and drag my carry-on to the […]

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I danced and danced and danced

May 28, 2015
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I turned fifty last week. An old high school acquaintance wrote on my Facebook wall, “It’s just a number.” To make me feel better, I guess. But I don’t feel bad about turning fifty. I feel excited, to be honest. When you’re in your late forties (or thirties or twenties, for that matter), you’re creaking […]

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nine questions about writing for the rare readers who wonder

March 12, 2015
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I fully realize that reflections on the writing process can be fascinating reading for writers–and dull as tax documents for non-writers. I also realize that over the years I’ve acquired a readership made up largely of homeschoolers, and that I’m not necessarily writing much about homeschooling here these days. Which is to say that the post that […]

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game boy

February 19, 2015
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Desire is a powerful engine. As a homeschooling parent I harness it shamelessly. If my boy delighted in turning learning into games, I was game. Through T’s eyes, the Periodic Table was a glorious alternative Pokédex, each element a character with distinctive powers and potential to unleash chaos on other elements. Other areas of science, […]

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January 21, 2015
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Our two New York kids were home for Christmas. H went back a few weeks ago; Lulu is here for a few more days. It was pretty much the best thing ever, having all three kids home at once. It was also loud. My family is loud. Some of the family noise is good, don’t […]

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