Monday, May 07, 2007

Long Time, No See

Hello, again. It's been a busy fall and winter, and I'm trying to get back to something resembling a schedule. But first let's catch up on old times.

Chimneyville

When you last saw us, we were heading toward Chimneyville for our first major show. It weeks to get everything ready. Finally, after a last-minute babysitter cancellation and replacement we were on our way. We were ready. We got there and found the other vendors were ready.

Unfortunately the management wasn't ready. There were new people running the show who didn't know what they were doing, and who had driven off the best customers with their pre-show scheduling blunders. Sales were terrible. We had entire days where we didn't sell a thing. So did the more experienced vendors around us. All in all we spent over $600 to get there and made $37.

But hey. It's just the first show. If we really get a move on, we can improve the look of our setup and quadruple our sales. We can slash expenses to the bone (after upgrading our setup, of course) and cut our costs in half. Then next year maybe we can spend $300 to go there and make $150.

It was even worse than I've said so far, but I don't want to go into the gory details yet. Just thinking about writing them down has kept me away from this blog for months. Maybe later.

New Project

My husband and I are working on a new project which is eating up large chunks of our time. Details to follow.

Homeschooling

We've had trouble with homeschooling for the past year. Last summer we let the girls take a couple of classes at the local summer workshop program. The year before they had been very well run, but last year they were run badly. All the girls came home with was a bunch of excuses in their repetoire, such as:

"It's too hard!"

"You can't make me!"

"I won't do X unless you do Y!"

*random screaming fits to disrupt lessons and everything else*

Those wear Mom out fast.

Then came Rightstart Mathematics. It's a lovely math program which I've heard nothing but good things about. It seems perfect for closing up some holes in my daughters' math education. But it takes 4 - 5 times the work out of the parent as any other math program.

Between the girls' fit-throwing, the work for the show and the new project, and the extra work for Rightstart -- I crashed. I crashed long and hard. We got down to doing lessons a few times a week, then not at all over the winter.

Spring came, and we're back to doing lessons now. Enough time has passed that Brighteyes actually wants them instead of fights them. We were far enough ahead that we're not behind on too much with her. I'm concentrating on math and English, catching up on the rest when I have the energy for it. Sunshine is still way ahead.

I haven't tried the Rigthstart program again, although I do pull out the manipulatives when Sunshine gets bogged down by mathematical concepts. I just don't have the energy to do more with it at the moment.

Doctor Who and Torchwood

While all this was going down, I found someplace to escape to from the madness for a while: Doctor Who. I loved the show as a teenager, but I was dubious of it's revival. Have you ever seen a show where the revival was as good as the original? It's theoretically possible but it never happens. It didn't happen with Doctor Who either. The revival is better than the original, which is way beyond all but my wildest dreams.

I've reviewed the first season here already. The second season was not as good as the first, due to it being rushed and revised several times (long story, but it wasn't the production crew's fault), but had some stellar individual episodes.

Then came Torchwood, the adults-only spin off of Doctor Who. Words cannot express how much I love this show. And yes, before we go any further, the first season was badly flawed. The series didn't have enough production time, and what little they did have was cut in half by technical problems with their cameras. The writing was experimental, and not all the experiments worked. But what they did right hit all my buttons.

Torchwood is about a group of ordinary people whose job it is to save the world from alien invasions without letting the world know that aliens exist. They don't know very much about aliens, they are hideously underpowered and understaffed, the job has an incredible stress load, a tremendous death toll, and nobody who works there longer than six months is sane anymore -- they know all this and they still show up for work every morning because somebody has to do the job, and for lack of anybody better qualified it looks like its going to be them. That whacks the biggest button I've got square on the nose.

In the first episode you find out that a fairly likeable Torchwood employee has been driven crazy by the job and become a serial killer. The policewoman who uncovers that is offered the job of replacing her. In spite of what she just uncovered she thinks she can turn the organization around and make them all happier, saner people.

You just know she's going to end up the craziest one of the lot. Well, I did at any rate. And by the end of the sixth episode she's jumped off the deep end with the rest of them. But she's just one member of an ensemble cast, and some of her coworkers are far more interesting and/or admirable than she is.

But Torchwood is an adults-only show, and I don't feel comfortable talking in detail about it on a homeschooling blog that children can read. It's rated for ages 15 and up, with good reason. I don't let my own 6yo and 7yo watch it. So I have a separate lj account for my analysis, speculations and fan fiction about Torchwood. If you're old enough and interested enough in the show, click on it.

Writing

You read me right. I've been writing fiction. Well, it's "missing scene" sorts of things, with someone else's characters and setup, but it's a start on something that has absolutely terrified me in the past. I'm told I'm pretty good with voices and pacing, which is good to know. It was very hard the first time, but the basics have become easier. I'm still setting new challenges for myself though, and each one is scarier than the last. Hopefully I'll eventually work my way up to original setups, and then on to original characters.

In the meantime it looks like I may be doing some nonfiction for publication. Wish me luck.

2 comments:

Nicholas said...

Welcome back, Lioness!

Carrie said...

I'm glad your back. Sorry to hear that you, too, have been in the homeschool trenches. Have you seen Poppins blog- she has been doing some wonderful posting about mindful homeschooling- and about her journey from classical schooling to child-centered-life- as-art schooling. It has been comforting to read someone else's journey as they move from trying to give their child the education they (the parents) want for them
(the children),to instead trying to give the child the education he/she wants.

Anyway- Poppins says it so much better than I do. Let me know if you need a link to her site.

Glad to see you blogging again- Carrie