ROWing Along the Erie Canal – ROW Updates #15 and #16

I really thought I’d be feeling more talkative by now.

Truth is, though, I’m not.

I’m not going to apologize for that. I’ve used my words here at home, during a week when the children both had colds, and there seemed to be more than the usual amount of conflict.

We’ve been practicing conflict resolution during the last few weeks, and learning how to try to meet everyone’s various needs peacefully.

It’s taken a lot of attention, and a lot of energy, learning new ways of being and relating.

If that doesn’t leave a lot of room right now for long and pithy goals updates, so be it. We’ll make it up on the microfilm….

Which really means that time invested in family peace now will almost surely lead to more writing time, somewhere in the future….

You get 10 points if you know the microfilm reference (and I will write 500 words on a subject of your choice to the first correct answer!).

In other news, on Saturday, after some shopping, the kids and I went to Waterford, the oldest continuously incorporated village in America. We visited with some longtime friends, and took a stroll along the Harbor. which runs alongside the world-famous Erie Canal.

A man and his daughters had found a turtle, and offered us a good look. We walked up along the lock wall, and discussed the awesome power just on the other side, and why the wall is shaped as it is. Annalise read a sign, and we studied the foot and hoof prints in the cement walkway, and how they represent the mulepath of old. We symbolically walked about half the length of the canal via the brick path that traces its route, and we sang the Erie Canal song.

Annalise made a young friend of about 2, and we watched her family catch a bass and a sunfish out of the canal.

We looked at several boats, but the locks were not in use during our visit, so we didn’t get to see the immense lock doors open, or the lock fill or empty of water, which is a beloved pastime for us all.

Then we went back to our friends’ home for the main attraction – the addition of two outgrown guinea pigs, Midnight and Blaster, to our family.

For those who wonder how this unschooling thing works, how children can learn without a curriculum, this one day may hold a clue.

In it, we covered history (the Erie Canal, which was vitally important to New York‘s development; and Memorial Day – the reason and bunting); science (guinea pigs, painted turtle, fish, locks); math (comparison shopping and budgeting; figuring out the guinea’s cage), English (reading various things); and a good deal of easy, natural socialization – the thing so many people seem convinced can’t happen without a classroom, when, in truth, Jeremiah and Annalise are comfortable talking and interacting with people from newborn to the very aged.

And that was just Saturday!

Round 2 Goals:


  • Read at least as many books as the number of the month (4 in April ; 5 in May; 6 in June) from my bedroom To Be Read piles.
  • This goal has been attained for this month.



  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I am continuing with the Story a Day May Challenge, as noted above.
  • I have submitted my entry for the June Unschooling Blog Carnival, also as noted above.
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I have been commenting on most of the blogs I read, and have been sharing them here, and sometimes elsewhere.
  • I have been working on answering a rather overwhelming array of comments…if I haven’t gotten to you, I will – I promise! It just may take quite a while – we’re into our travel season!
  • I have been sharing my blogs through LinkedIn and on the ROW80 page.
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I still have Elizabeth Anne Mitchelll‘s wonderful post waiting to publish. I am going to schedule it today or tomorrow; it will definitely post on June 1!
  • Still looking for two more guest posters to hop on the Soapbox I’ve provided. The only guidelines are positivity and kindness – the rest is entirely up to you!



  • Use Twitter and Hootsuite at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I am changing this to “Twitter or Hootsuite”. There’s too much redundancy in trying to do both…
  • I am running Twitter today. I have to admit, I am liking it more, but it still feels inflexible and counterintuitive to the types of flowing conversation I love on Facebook.


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Monday: A relaxing day at home, surrounded by loving family. And a little time to myself.
  • Tuesday: A little more time alone, and some hometending. Bought and began playing Cake Mania 2. Got back to kids’ reports.
  • Wednesday: Hometending, Worked on reports (so that I won’t be doing them at the very end of the month). More Cake Mania 2.
  • Thursday: Cake-doing. Relaxing. Stating my needs clearly.
  • Friday: More stating my needs, attempting to do so respectfully and non-reactively. Hometending. Medium. Weeding (I love weeding!).
  • Saturday: Erie Canal, guinea pigs, visiting friends, cake-doing, Medium, and leisurely conversation with Jim. Time spent happily (and a bit not so much) with Miah and Lise.
  • Sunday: Hometending, Writing. TNG and Medium.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Monday: Very little movement – I was really sore from the weekend.
  • Tuesday: Hometending and unpacking.
  • Wednesday: Hometending and more unpacking. Body feeling better and better rested.
  • Thursday: Hometending.
  • Friday: Hometending and weeding.
  • Saturday: Hometending, walking along the canal, shopping, carrying groceries and pig gear, setting up guinea house.
  • Sunday: Hometending, a little mowing.
  • Add self-decorating to every week
  • I wore a smile, anti-frizz cream, and the kiss of the sun this week. 
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Monday: Writerly stuff – enjoying being alone and with my family.
  • Tuesday: Began new story sequence that’s been rolling around in my mind for a while. More solitude.
  • Wednesday: Added another story to the sequence. Putting the house back in order. Time alone with Jim. Began Medium.on Netflix. It was a former favorite, but I missed the last season or two due to not receiving CBS. I am starting over at the beginning, and will work my way through the series. =)
  • Thursday: Kept writing the story sequence – it’s taken hold of me! More Cake Mania.
  • Friday: More story. More cake frenzy. More hometending, which brought me pleasure. Flowerbed weeding.
  • Saturday: Hometending cake-doing, story writing,Erie Canal, Guinea pigs, photography!
  • Sunday: Hometending, cake-doing, collage-making, rereading old story stuff, new story writing.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jeremiah: Conversation and cuddles. Gave him a game credit. TLC for his cold.Erie Canal;assorted goodies; yes to mowing and guinea pigs.
  • Annalise:Conversation, cuddles, and tickles, and TLC for her cold.  Erie Canal; assorted goodies; yes to guinea pigs and a blanket fort..
  • Jim: Appreciation and companionship.  A cleaner house.

Administrative Stuff:

  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • Both reports are written and, as of Thursday evening, submitted to the school district via email.
  • Annalise’s report.
  • Jeremiah’s report.
  • This goal has been attained.

So there you have it – a mellow but reasonably productive ROW. I may falter in my rhythm again next weekend, as we will be visiting friends in New Jersey. That’s OK, though, because I can still make it up on that microfilm!

I’m posting a few hours later than I wanted to, but I’m posting.  This Memorial Day, Jim and I gave ourselves permission to loll about in bed for all hours.  Annalise was in and out, lolling with us and doing her own thing.

Jeremiah awoke just as we started finding some motivation –  the coffee helped, and he asked if he could mow the lawn –  so far, the new mower is solidly in our win column!

After that, he and Annalise watched Sgt. Frog, and yesterday’s paper voodoo dolls (“It’s amazing how much about ancient spellcasting you can find on the internet,” says Jeremiah, as he discussed pin colors and voodoo techniques) gave way to Annalise’s paper dolls representing the members of the Armpit Platoon and their flying saucers, too…..

Jim and I have been working through  a major household issue –  the level of clutter and just ickiness in common spaces, and we had a long talk where I really tried to peacefully express why i don’t feel welcome or at home in those spaces.  Jim listened, and we decided we’d spend 15 minutes in cleaning those spaces, letting the kids know they were welcome to help or clear out until we were finished.

Everyone helped according to their nature, taking frequent breaks   Jim decided to upend the couch, and an eclectic junkyard was revealed…and duly processed.

The rooms still aren’t welcoming me in, but I feel as though they’re moving in the right direction, and we all took some pleasure in working to resolve this issue together.

Everyone’s also agreed to try to remember to commit 15 minutes a day to clutter control in those spaces, broken up however they choose, because the problem is the result of three people who really do not notice where they drop things or how that might affect others living with one person who sees things wide-angle, in great detail, and with a near -photographic memory…

I have a good feeling that, at long, long last, we may have hit upon an equitable, but more importantly, peaceful approach to what has been the greatest remaining source of friction in our lives.
I will ask both kids how much or little they would like to be reminded, but I will leave the accomplishing to their discretion.  They both like to be helpful; this just isn’t a natural way for them, so it’s very much a learning process for us all.  At last, though, we all seem to be in a good place to deal with it, and I am happy with even small improvements.
Look at that!  I had a few things to say, after all! =)
Check out the other ROWers!


  1. Having moments of silence, given the flurry of activity that you seem to be involved in is just fine.

    And I always heard it was the microfiche… Which always made me think of very small guppies. 😀

    • Microfiche – tiny guppies! BWAHAHA! I remember your goldfish named Cat Food….

      “We’ll make it up on the microfilm”, is from the Ursula and the Bear episode of The Monkees..the one with the obviously bugged table lamp, a pillow fight, and “I want a pair of red maracas”. Oh, and, “Argentina is nice…”.

      I like flurries of activity, and I lie quiet, too. I try to be present to whatever is dominating, in any particular moment….

  2. You’ve been incredibly busy! Sit down and take a load off, lady. 🙂 Thanks for the mention and the pingback. That was very sweet to mention it. 🙂

    You’re kids are precious. Keep up the good work.

    • I like to be busy…and to just Be, too….

      You’re very welcome for the pingback – I like to share the coolness that is out there; in another life, I would’ve made a great librarian, maybe! =)

      We like the kids a lot. Each is absolutely one of a kind – our kind of wonderful!

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