“‘The time has come,” said the Walrus, “to talk of many things: of shoes and ships—and sealing wax—and cabbages and kings…”‘

LEWIS CARROLL, The Walrus and the Carpenter
10991142_10101506909083913_2270537028745408321_n

“Music forecasts the past, recalls the future. Now and then the difference falls away, and in one simple gift of circling sound, the ear solves the scrambled cryptogram. One abiding rhythm, present and always, and you’re free. But a few measures more, and the cloak of time closes back around you.” -Richard Powers, ORFEO

IMG_0367

“Flashing lights and we, took a wrong turn and we/Fell down the rabbit hole/You held on tight to me/Cause nothing’s as it seems/Spinning out of control/Didn’t they tell us don’t rush into things/Didn’t you flash your green eyes at me/Haven’t you heard what becomes of curious minds/…We found wonderland/You and I got lost in it/And we pretended it could last forever…”

-TAYLOR SWIFT, Wonderland

IMG_0610

My Katie on our walk tonight said this moon reminded her of the Cheshire Cat’s smile. As we rounded the corner toward home after a stop at the park, the sky streamed out behind this moon in striped mauve and grey.

IMG_0614

When Katie goes for a walk, she dances. And sometimes sings. “Take me to church/I’ll worship like a dog on a Saturday night.” Close enough! By the way, have you seen this? It’s been making the rounds but bears another share. Sergei Polunin’s performance here as he interprets Hozier’s song is one of the most beautiful performances I’ve ever seen.

IMG_0426

Since the iPod jack in my car got kiddo’d awhile ago, I have returned to albums in the car. That’s okay: I prefer to have the album artwork and liner notes. Hard to take a girl all the way out of the 90s! I treated myself to these albums last weekend.

IMG_0544

“They say we are what we are/But we don’t have to be./I’m bad behavior but I do it in the best way./I’ll be the watcher of the eternal flame./I’ll be the guard dog of all your fever dreams./I am the sand in the bottom half of the hourglass./I try to picture me without you but I can’t/’Cause we could be immortals, immortals/Just not for long, for long…”

-FALL OUT BOY, “Immortals”

Evenings at the track, pictured above in a photo from this past Tuesday, have increased to two sessions per week as I near my March races. If the bulk of my winter training has thus far been to build base miles (with some intense 40 to 50 mile weeks with double-run-days, plus swims), then as we head into spring (THANK THE STARS!!!) I am digging deep for the speed that has been sown with consistently bashing my sleepy face against the dark, cold, unforgiving mornings of some of my junk miles. I had started to worry that my speed was leaving me—it’s been a grueling winter, but I have run sheerly on a wholehearted trust in the process—but now that I get to dig, I find I have more speed than I have ever had, by quite a significant amount. The two speedwork sessions are murdering my legs weekly, but by the next week I find more gain. Occasionally, there is a third session of hill repeats at threshold on Friday mornings before I swim. Today my legs were WAY too thrashed for the hill repeats (although I did some “shake out” base miles this morning before pool laps, my legs were so thrashed that they woke me up repeatedly last night), because last night I did a series of 880s on a ten mile day at beyond race pace. I negative split those suckers, actually. That was kind of a proud moment, after a week of hard training… That gives me hope for how I might perform rested and tapered.

I’ve been training for a YEAR for a couple of repeat races next month. I am seeking improvement… It’s kind of crazy to have this huge goal in mind all year and be so close to having to prove myself to myself. I don’t feel too many nerves quite yet, but I have a very focused determination brewing right now. When I think of the hundreds—more like a couple thousand, maybe—of miles I have run in a year to get to this point, I feel more determined than ever to finish training as best as I can, which includes cross training properly and eating the right fuel. I’ve run over 260 miles since January 1st, alone. That’s what Bill reported last week, so after this week, it’s fairly close to 300 miles since Jan. 1st, I think.

IMG_0424

In contrast, as of last Friday I finally made my first 25-mile sub-goal (and then some) for the 100 mile swim this year. I swim just three days a week and get between 80 and 100 laps each of those days. I am at 30.7 miles as of today. Next stop is 50. With taper weeks and vacation/travel, I am still hopeful I can complete this objective no later than October. A couple of swimmers have already gone past 100 miles since January 1st, and I think the pool must be their primary source of training. I see some truly beautiful swimmers. One of the reasons I love to swim (outside of how great it feels) is that I get to witness all these tributes to human athleticism and power down there. One woman (I have discovered through careful online stalking) is actually this incredible triathlete in the 50-55 range. She gliiiiiiiiiiiiides. I try to watch her without watching in order to pick up technique. Some man today did so many across-the-entire-bottom-of-the-pool lengths in a row that I lost count. That lung capacity! Can you imagine? The pool has been busy lately. I’ve been circle swimming a bit more frequently than usual. The real treat last week, though, was that Bill had a four-day weekend, with both Monday and Friday (two of my three swim days) off. That meant I could go for 140 laps (2 miles) each day instead of having to rush home by 6:55 AM.

My mornings are busy. What’s strange is how I never used to do any of it, or get to bask in the sunrise, or hear the birds wake up, or feel like I was starting the day powerfully…and now I would miss all of those early mornings of exercise so very much, and they have become a fundamental part of my identity. My skin has come to know how light (not temperature, but light itself) feels different to the touch depending on the time of day. I cannot imagine not smelling the scent of dawn, which has the most beautiful scent, I think, of any time of day. I cannot imagine letting go of the hush that falls in the night, even though cars are bustling. I find it strange that I spent so many years not knowing these mysteries…when now I couldn’t live fully as myself without them.

IMG_0523
IMG_0524
IMG_0517

On Monday—a non-school day—I declared “Monday Fun-day!” and after I got home from the pool, we packed a lunch and went for a 4+ mile hike at the Santa Rosa Plateau. I am thinking about trying to get out there again this weekend, we’ll see. It’s lovely, and I am ready for sunshine and spring. After the plateau, we decided to see the new version of “Annie” at the local theater. LOVED IT. I have never fully clicked with the original, but this one has won me all the way over. Normally I dislike reboots (even the concept, let alone the content) for some very serious reasons, but this one? Perfect. On the way home, we picked up a frozen pizza and little ice creams for the kiddos. I think we all agreed it was a favorite day.

IMG_0415

Learning some new hairstyles and braids for Katie-girl…

IMG_0594

Art project this week: render the five mathematical patterns that recur in nature (spiral, meander, explosion/fractal, packing, branching).

IMG_0591

We do art in the house, but we have tried to turn our garage into a bit of space with an art-studio feel.
IMG_0597

Katie’s “explosion”

IMG_0615

Eric took this unbeknownst to me one evening during my practice sesh. This is the face of intense concentration, I tell you! Oh, and jammies!

“The only way you can know, you gave it all you had/And I hope that you don’t suffer but take the pain/Hope when the moment comes you’ll say/I, I did it all/I, I did it all/I owned every second that this world could give/I saw so many places, the things that I did/With every broken bone, I swear I lived….”

-ONE REPUBLIC, “I Lived”

IMG_0589

Eric, while coloring today, noticed that his red went out of the lines at the top of the duck. He quipped, “Look! The duck has static electricity!” He’s hilarious!

IMG_0611

IMG_0556

Katie’s been doing the bulk of menu planning and cooking this week. She loves her Annabel Karmel “We Cook Together” cookbook. Tonight she made honeyed salmon skewers and rice (I made a Caesar salad with homemade croutons). She has also made us a chicken and corn pasta salad and chocolate truffles. My favorite meal is pictured above: she made Greek wraps with curried chicken and a layered strawberry dessert. She loves to cook! Thanks to her, we’re eaten well this week, that’s for sure!

IMG_0466

Valentine’s Day math journals: estimation of candy hearts in an area

IMG_0440

Lovin’ on my babies with rainbow heart pancakes on Valentine’s Day.

IMG_0490

Boccone dolce for Valentine’s Day dessert—my favorite dessert! Three layers of meringue, with whipped cream and berries in between each layer, topped with more whipped cream, berries, and drizzled dark chocolate (and mint). We had my parents over for dessert and had an otherwise mellow day. I took Katie and Eric for a long stroll/wander/walk/scooter (4-5 miles), and then I got home in time to watch the Millrose Games with my love, my one V-day wish. The next day after my long run, we set up the xBox, and for the first time in seven years, I got to play Guitar Hero with Bill, Eric, and Katie. (Last epic sesh was for four hours the day before Katie was born)! Fun! We also grabbed some Jamba Juice and went on a little family date to the Rose Haven.

IMG_0607

Tonight on our we-try-to-daily walks. I get my exercise in the morning, but the kiddos need some, too… We’ve been trying to do a couple of miles at least in as many just-before-dinner walks as we can manage in a week. Difficult, on interval days—can’t wait for the days to be a bit longer, even though, generally, I prefer the night.

Our schooling is going the best it has ever gone, and Eric is almost fully bought in to our structure now. I don’t know what we’re going to do with him: he is slightly above beginning-K level in reading and phonics, is onto addition and time telling in math, and works at Katie’s level in science. Katie’s moved out of her second grade history book (we are deep into the Rev. War), and out of her science book (following their Earth science outline, but really extending it). We’re psyched to be studying rocks in depth right now. We started today one of four rock labs I have planned (turn dolomite into a source of crystals), and they spent time earlier this week studying rock types (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic). We’ve made a model of the Earth’s layers and are excited to have the promise of so many labs with this unit.

Katie has also delved into multiplication, and that is going well.

We’re doing an author study of William Steig.

Every morning, she begins with the same set of warm-ups without fail: four pages of Explode the Code (level 6, though she finds it easy); a MAPS lesson (after she polished off the second grade level weeks ago, I skipped a level and went straight to Level D for harder map skills); and a set of grammar corrections from Daily Language Review. We then have a math review assignment for both kids (which might be in their Math Journals, or not), then a math lesson with new material.

While we used to do the core (English, math) daily and then alternate history and science, we now strive to do all subjects daily. French gets short shrifted now and then. They practice piano daily. It’s busy. I often have more lesson plans ideas I am excited about than I can do, but the nice thing about homeschooling is that I can fit things in on weekends. We’re always reading, talking, experimenting… It’s good. We’re currently in a rhythm that is working well for us, probably the best it has ever worked. I’ve been apprehensive about doing two kids at different levels, but with Eric getting well into his reading phase, I have hope that he will slide into his K year ready to roll. We did also cut back on a couple of extra-currics, and the “extra” time at home is such a bonus. Slowing a day or two down has been a good strategy. It’s not so much that the extra-curriculars themselves take time (the content is beneficial anyway); moreso, it is the accounting for transitions in and out of those activities that can suck the time up. Balance, balance, balance.

Have a great weekend, all!

Advertisements