Friday Night

A dusting of snow from January

Tonight I don’t feel very write-y. It’s been a day, a week. First, there was taking a child for a physical in the morning– I hate doctor appointment days, they throw me off schedule. Then there was a child who was having trouble settling at bedtime. I didn’t get the final tuck-in done until after 10 pm, which makes me feel cranky. I can’t settle to anything while I’m waiting for that shoe to drop: Mama, come tuck me in. So I feel jangly and can’t think of anything worth saying. So… what is worth salvaging about the day?

1. A child who has been struggling with copywork, suddenly developed a massive resistance to it. Spent yesterday dragging out what should have taken five minutes– or less– into two hours of foot dragging and avoidance. So today I decided to change it up. Even though said child was copying a poem they had chosen, I thought, maybe the problem is the poem and not copywork itself. So I took away the poem and replaced it with a short Bible verse– a verse that when we were discussing the day’s lectionary readings yesterday seemed to connect with my little procrastinator, who repeated the phrase three or four times. So I copied it out onto a sheet of paper and before I left for the pediatrician, I suggested: maybe you should do this for your copywork. If you can get your copywork and math done before I come home, you’ll get a reward.

And when I came home, the work had been done. Very neatly too. I still get stuck in stupid ruts, but after 7 years of homeschooling, I’ve learned a few things and have a couple tricks up my sleeve. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest.

2. Tonight for dinner we had naan pizzas. A nice easy dinner before sending off the youngest three to cub scouts where they put weights and wheels on their Pinewood Derby cars. I love naan pizzas because of their simplicity: I buy four packages of naan (an Indian yeasted flatbread) from the store, each package having two approximately 8 inch oval loaves. (Do you refer to individual pieces of naan as loaves?) I make my own sauce, but for tonight I used some leftover sauce and just dumped in a can of crushed tomatoes and half a can of tomato paste. And added some more basil and oregano. I went with pre-shredded cheese. And my family like cheese pizza so there were no other toppings. 10 minutes in a 450 degree oven, and they were ready to eat. Dom made salad and I reheated some leftover squash and eggplant. So the adults, at least, got some vegetables. The kids just ate pizza. To be honest, I kind of like the naan pizzas better than the pizza from our local pizza shop. It’s certainly cheaper.

3. The little kids had scouts tonight. I meant to take advantage o the time while they were gone to read to the big girls– we’ve been slowly creeping our way through their first Sherlock Holmes story: The Red-Headed League. But I never did get around to it. And the girls were too busy chatting with each other to notice. Oh well, next week. The big girls have an early scout adventure in the morning. Dom will drop them off to travel to the event with a fellow scout– by 6am. They’re doing a Polar Challenge– a whole bunch of cold weather activities. It’s been an unusually warm February and we haven’t seen significant snow since December. So their polar challenge will not be all that polar in feel, but hopefully will be fun nevertheless. They’re certainly looking forward to it.

4. Right now I’ve just started reading Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan, which is a history of the world centered around the Middle East and the trade routes between India and China, and Europe and Africa– instead of the Euro-centric history I’m more familiar with. I’m only in the second chapter but am very much enjoying the shift in focus. It reminds me of what I’ve enjoyed about reading Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World with the kids, but more so. I love history and I appreciate learning about those corners I have never previously had the chance to study. Right now I’m in the midst of Persia and the Sassanids.

I’m also reading Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy by Rumer Godden. It’s a novel about an order of nuns in France which ministers to women in prison– not merely by visiting prisoners and meeting their physical and spiritual needs, but by inviting them to become members of the community once their prison sentence is completed. The protagonist is a British woman who was a driver during WW2 and who was– well today we’d say she was a victim of human trafficking. She was seduced by an unscrupulous brothel owner and you could say she was forced into prostitution, but human lives are complicated and so are human hearts and Godden’s genius is that she probes those dark places between love and hate, the way love can be twisted into something terrible. Lise is in prison for murdering the man she loved, the man who had killed her innocence and twisted her young life into something dark and terrible. And her conversion is sincere. She finds new life, new hope in prison and from the sisters of Béthanie.

I’m also reading Sally Thomas’s beautiful collection of poems, Motherland, newly released this month.

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