For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lessons I Learned in School - On Friendship

As I described in my first Lessons post, the school I started going to was very tiny, with grades K-3 in a single classroom.  The room had chalkboards on 3 walls, with windows in the 4th.  The desks were arranged in 3 groups along the sides, with the middle open and the teacher's desk on the 4th side.  Kindergarten and grade ones faced one chalkboard, the grade twos were across the room with their backs to the windows, and the grade threes faced the chalkboard opposite the teacher's desk.   Her desk had a chalkboard behind it, and we could turn ourselves or our desks to face whatever direction was needed.

Though there were very few students, this meant we were still seated pretty close to each other, and in grade one (I didn't go to kindergarten). I found myself sitting next to a girl my own age.   Like me, she was bused in.  Not from a farm, but from a town even smaller than my own home town.   I remember having the hardest time remembering her name at first.  At recess, we got to playing and talking together and became friends.

Or so I thought.

For the first while, we played and talked and had a grand ole time.  Then something strange happened.

There was another girl in our grade.  She lived in "town" and walked to school.  Her family was pretty wealthy - though that was completely relative.  We didn't have much money at all, so pretty much anyone was wealthy compared to us. *L*  This girl moved in on my new friend, who suddenly wouldn't talk or play with me any more.  I remember one day, during recess, the two of them were walking around the school building together, talking and laughing.  Being thoroughly confused and hurt that I was excluded, I walked around the school, too - alone - not really realizing that I was following them.  After a while, they turned to me an angrily told me to stop following them and to go away.  I, of course, said I wasn't following them and found someplace else to be that wasn't around them.

This is when I discovered that apparently, you could only have one "best friend," and if you had a best friend, that was the only person you hung out with. 

This was the beginning of a very long, painful few years.  For the rest of my time in that school, with on exception I'll write about separately, I had no friends in school.  None of the other kids would talk to me, unless they had to. 

I remember on Valentines Day, every year, we did a lot of Valentine themed stuff that involved all the kids, regardless of grade, which included giving each other cards.  I was usually able to talk my parents into buying 2 or 3 cards I would give out to some of the kids I liked (or, more accurately, wished would like me), but we couldn't afford more than that.  At some point, we all counted how many cards we got, and everyone compared the numbers with each other.  The only cards I ever got where from the couple of kids from families that could afford to buy cards for everyone in the school.  I never got any from the kids I'd given cards to.  Every year, the girl from the wealthiest family in town - the one mentioned above, who "stole" my only friend, would get the most, or almost the most, cards of all.

I always felt so horrible and unwanted on Valentine's Day.  Wow.  It's been 35 years, yet thinking about it long enough to write this brings back some of the hurt and tears I felt.

Birthdays were rather different.  The only person who ever invited me to a birthday party was the same girl who always got the most Valentine's cards - and that was because she had invited every single kid in the school.  I'd actually never been to a kids birthday party before.   Our own birthdays were always celebrated with just family.  The party was at the hotel they owned - a tiny hotel, but huge in my eyes, having never seen the inside of a hotel before.  There was the biggest birthday cake I'd ever seen, and I'd never seen anyone get so many presents before, either!  I don't remember what I brought for her - my mother would have made the purchase on my behalf, and looking back, I knew even then that this was quite a financial sacrifice for my parents to do - but whatever it was, it was unnoticed and unnoticeable under the pile.  While I took part in the various group games along with everyone else, I still wasn't part of any friendship groups, so it wasn't long before I found myself alone and crying over who knows what.  I do remember her mother consoling me with a lollipop.

My own birthday is in the middle of July.  Every year, I would invite kids from school to our farm for my birthday, and every year until Junior High, no one would come.  They wouldn't tell me they weren't coming, though, so every summer at my birthday, I would get all excited about having kids come over, then be thoroughly disappointed.  My family did their best to make up for it, and we always had a cake (home made, of course), but birthdays were another painful and lonely time for me.

After third grade, we got a longer bus ride to the elementary school in the next town.  Here, I got to meet new kids at least.  At one point, a new family even moved into a neighbouring farm.  Our bus picked them up shortly after my own family was picked up.  The youngest was a girl my own age.  Much to my shock, when she got on the bus, she immediately asked if she could sit with me and introduced herself.  It turned out that they'd moved a few times, so she'd learned to make the first move when it came to getting to know people at a new school.  We did remain friends for several years, and even had sleep overs - convenient when we walking distance (only a mile and a quarter) from each other.  By high school, we sort of drifted apart, and eventually, her family moved away to a nearby town big enough to have its own school.  I will always appreciate the fact that she reached out to me.

In fourth grade, I found myself sitting next to a girl who lived just a few blocks away from the school.  She soon became my best friend (I secretly managed to have more than one "best" friend).  This was the first time I got to know someone I could actually pour my heart out to.  We could talk about anything and everything. I was pretty heartbroken when, in Junior High, her family moved our of province.  We managed to keep in touch over the years.  The last time I saw her, I was pregnant with Eldest.  She's completely disappeared since then.  I'd been trying to track her down in the last couple of years, as has another mutual friend.  We've been told she's in a witness protection program!

Through the rest of elementary school, I got to know quite a few kids, but very few I could call friend.  For 7th grade, we moved to a composite high school in the same time - grades 7-12.  There were less than 400 students at the time, and my graduating class had only 47 students.

In 7th grade I met another girl who was to become my other great friend.  She eventually was my maid of honour, if the term can even be used when one elopes. She, like me, was one of the "rejects."  Kids that no one else wanted to be friends with, whether it was because of the colour of our hair, our body sizes, if we had skin conditions, if we were considered ugly, because we weren't townies, or whatever.  There was a small group of us that became friends almost by default.  None of the "popular" kids would have anything to do with us, so we hung out together.

To be honest, I'm glad of it.  By this time in my life, I not only no longer cared what the other kids thought of me, but took pride in many of the things a lot of them held against me.  The town kids may not have wanted to hang out with a farmer, but by then I'd noticed that the being a farmer gave me all sorts of advantages.  While they spent their summers hanging out at the beach, I spent mine working with the cows, helping the the farm chores and, my favorite, throwing bales.  I was not only physically stronger than most of my classmates, but a lot of my teachers, too.  I found I also simply knew more than they did.  I was the only kid in home etc. that already knew how to cook and bake, even though I'd never seen standardized measuring tools before in my life.  I also was rather taken aback by how little the town kids knew about their own parents.  I remember asking one kid - someone I'd thought of as a friend at the time, but who turned out to be a fair weather friend of the first order - what her father did for a living.  She couldn't tell me.  All she knew was the company he worked for.  That didn't mean very much since that company was the areas biggest employer.  Being a farm family, every one of us played a valuable part in keeping things going - if we wanted to be fed or have an income of any kind, we had to grow crops to feed our animals, tend the animals, and plant our garden.  If something broke down, we fixed it.  If something needed to be done, we did it.  As the youngest, I didn't do anywhere near as much work as my older siblings, but I still knew I was a valuable contributor to the family.  It wasn't until may years later, when I read books like Punished by Rewards and The Case Against Adolescence, that I could articulate how important that was.  Back then, I somehow, subconsciously, understood that these things somehow gave me the advantage over many of my agemates.  It became a source of strength and confidence for me.

One of the other things I saw that made me glad to be among the "rejects," was the game playing.  There were very tight cliques in our school.  There were the townies, for example, who had no interest in kids from neighbouring towns and were bused in, and showed outright disdain for the farm kids.  Within the townies, however, there were every smaller groups.  Like the varsity teams (the only way "outside" kids could be part of the "popular" groups).  Gym class was often a pain. Not only was I not very good at sports (I preferred weight lifting), but most of the girls in my class were on the varsity volleyball team.  No matter who else was on the court, they always ended up playing each other, while the rest of us just kinda stood there.  On or off the court, they were their own little group that no one else was quite good enough for.

Then there were the city kids - kids who had lived in the city about an hour away before moving somewhere local.  The city kids looked down on townies and country kids alike.  They held themselves aloof, keeping a "tough guy" air about themselves.

I remember crossing with one of these kids in grade 8 or so.  It was lunch break and a "friend" and I were sitting in our home room class, watching some other kids horsing around.  I thought they were funny, so I turned to my "friend" and told her I thought they were being crazy.  Now, to me, "crazy" was a compliment.  My "friend" however, promptly shouted out to them that I thought they were crazy - and one of them sure didn't think of it as a compliment.  One of these kids was a city kid that often acted tough and aggressive.  She immediately came up to me and said...

... I had no idea what she said.  It sounded like pure gibberish to me.

I only recently came to understand that I have something called Auditory Processing Disorder.  My hearing is fine, but somewhere between my ears and my brain, the signals get scrambled.  Sometimes, I hear completely different words.  Sometimes I hear nothing at all - just gaps of sound in what someone is saying.  Other times, my ears hear what's said, but my eyes saw something that distracted my mind, and whatever was said is completely lost.

Sometimes, I hear gibberish.  Nonsense sounds strung together, completely undecipherable.

That's what I heard from this girls. 

Judging from the tone of her voice and body language, I could understand that she was threatening me, and that she was asking me if I wanted something.  Unable to figure out what she's said, I stared at her a moment, then asked, "why would I want that," hoping my response made sense. 

When she answered me, the only word I made out was "because..." then it all disappeared into gibberish again.  Using her tone and body language again, I knew she was still threatening me, but with what? 

The only thing it, not only could I not understand what she was saying, but I didn't feel the least bit threatened by her.  So I just smiled, chuckled a bit, and made some brush off comment.  She continued to rant for a while, and I was eventually able to decipher that she was threatening to slap me in the face.  Then she stormed away.

Over the next while, I had a surprising number of people come up to me, all excited because apparently I was supposed to get into a fight with this girl.  Most were in my support.  I may have been one of the "rejects," but at least I was local, and not a city kid.

As for me "friend" who's misquote of me started all this?  She came up to me, all scared, saying that she wasn't going to hang around for me for a while because she didn't want to get beat up, too.  She seemed to think I would think this was a good thing.

Nothing ever came of the incident.  The only fight I ever got into at school was several years later, and it was very short lived.  What started out with a locker door being bounced repeatedly off my shoulder escalated to me being pushed almost on top of my friend, who was crouched to the bottom of her own locker.  It ended with me landing a single punch to the jaw.  The poor guy never did live that down.  Even years later, well after he'd transferred to another school, I heard myself being introduced at a social as "the girl who beat up (the guy)." The sad thing was, I had actually had quite the crush on him.  Not enough to let him be an asshole to me, though.

The cliques of school were very strong, and they remained largely unchanged all through our years of Junior and Senior High.  It wasn't until grade 12 that something odd happened.  Suddenly, a lot of the kids who wouldn't give me the time of day in the past, started talking to me like an equal.  Shocked the heck out of me the first time it happened.  I'm not sure what happened, but for that last year, the social scene at school was almost pleasant.

Few of the lessons I learned in school about friendship were positive.  I learned that you weren't supposed to have more than one "best" friend.  You could only be friends within some arbitrary social group, and if you weren't part of that group, you weren't worthy of notice.  I learned that some people might be friends to your face, but would abandon you at the first sign of trouble.  I learned to take pride, not in being part of the popular crowd, but in what made me different from the popular crowed - and that I wasn't willing to change who I was to be accepted by others.  I learned that no matter how much people blustered and blowed, they couldn't intimidate me, and that sometimes, that intimidated them.

I learned that girls were supposed to be friends with girls, and boys were supposed to be friends with boys; that even though I couldn't understand girls much at all and had more in common with boys, cross gender friendships just weren't acceptable.  You couldn't be friends with the opposite sex, only boyfriend or girlfriend.  If you did manage to be friends with someone of the opposite sex, everyone else would still think you were actually a couple.

Which is funny when you consider that my best male friend from school is now my husband of 22 years.

I also learned that, outside their cliques, people who wouldn't normally talk to me could actually be really nice people, and that they often behaved the way they did because that's how they thought they should, not because that's what they were really like.  I learned that I didn't want to play those games, and that I would be who I was, no matter who I talked to.  If they didn't like that, it was their loss, not mine. 

For most of my life, I haven't been able to get along very well with my own gender.  I simply didn't have much in common with other girls, and wouldn't play the games I saw so many of them playing.  Since friendships with males were often misinterpreted, that meant I didn't have many friends of either gender.  It wasn't until many years and many moves that I started to get to know women I could actually connect with.  Even so, though I have more friends now than I've ever had in all my life, I have never had another friend as close as the one who's disappeared, or the one who was my maid of honor.  Today, some of my closest friends - friends I can talk to about things I can't talk about with anyone else - are actually online friends I've known for years, but have never actually met in person.  *waves in the direction of Illinois*  Thanks to facebook, I've got back in touch with quite a few people I've know in the past.  We've all grown, changed and matured.  The cliques no longer exist, though some still seem to be living that surface life of status and manipulation. 

It doesn't seem to have got them any farther than anyone else.

note:  It's almost 4:30 am as I finish writing this, so I'm not going to be going over the whole thing again.  If there are any weird typos or strangely constructed sentences, I apologize now! *L*

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So much for winding down!

What a full day it turned out to be today!

Because last week's voice lesson for Youngest got cancelled, we had a double lesson today.  It was also the day her teacher recorded and burned a CD of Youngest singing 3 songs as her year end project.  Listening to it on the way home, I have to say, she nailed Hallelujah down pat!  I was quite impressed.

Youngest is leaning towards not continuing her voice lessons.  We'll see how it works out.  If she decides not to, I hope she continues to sing and practise on her own, because she has a truly wonderful voice.  The last thing I want is for her to lose her joy in singing, and forcing lessons on her might do that.

During the home learning expo, someone suggested Eldest show her work at an art show in the summer.  We looked into it and it was something she was interested in.  The registration date is actually past, but she found out there were still some spaces left.  The very best ones are sold out, but there were still some decent spaces left.  Yesterday, we'd tried going to the art supply store registration forms were at.  We all remembered seeing this place on a certain road, but never found it and finally headed home.  Going online, we ended up finding two different addresses for the place.  On the way home from Youngest's lesson, we took a little detour to find the other address, just a street and a few blocks away from where we'd been looking before.  Sure enough, we found the place - and it even had free parking!

So, shortly after dropping Youngest off at home (with her dad, who was home from work because of his back again), Eldest and I headed back to the art supply store.  She asked questions, saw a map of the different spaces still available, and so on.   We found out they needed some photos/images of samples from each artist on registration, so we took a form and headed back home.  Because of how few good spaces were left, we wanted to get the registration done as quickly as possible - namely, before the place closed at 6 pm.  Eldest filled it out, then went to print out some of her scans on photo paper so we could head back to the store with everything needed.

I should probably mention that our printer/scanner combo is broken right now, and I'm too cheap to buy a new one.  Somewhere inside, a piece that grabs the left side of the printer paper broke.  Without it, the paper would be grabbed only on one side, get all crooked, then jam in the printer.  We could, however, still print anything small enough that it only needed to be grabbed on the right side of the printer.  Like 4x6 photo paper.  I've been using it, and it had been printing beautifully.

Notice I'm using the past tense here.

Eldest went to print out her painting, Absolution.

Note the colours in this painting.  Lots of reds and blacks.  Some touches of blues and yellows in the stained glass window.  Generally, rather dark and moody, right?

Now try to imagine it in bright green.  Cyan, to be more precise.  With a bit of yellow in the window.

The image was still incredibly crisp and detailed.  It was just... well... green!

I tested the printer again using different software, checking all the settings, and using a different painting.  No luck.  That one was printed in cyan and yellow, too.

Looks like I'm going to have to stop being cheap and figure out how to pay for a new printer/scanner.  :-P

Unable to print the images ourselves, Eldest picked several of her scans and saved them onto a memory card.  We headed to a nearby mall and a pharmacy with a photo centre we could get them printed out at.  Then it was back to the art supply store.

Unfortunately, this meant cutting across downtown through the height of rush hour traffic.

It took a while, but we still got there with a generous amount of time.  A few minutes later, and her registration was complete!  She has a spot in a decent, if not prime, location.

Over the next while, we will need to accumulate what she'll need for a display.  She just has a spot, nothing else.  We'll at least be picking up some grid walls and hooks to hang her paintings from (and her registration gives her a discount on those, plus any art supplies she buys from that chain).  Artists are expected to demonstrate during the 3 day event, so she'll need a set up of some kind to draw or paint at.  I'm thinking some sort of folding shelter for shade would be a good idea.  Business cards would be good as well.

Then there's the most difficult thing of all.  Figuring out how to price her work!  How does one even figure that out?  We've been looking at art for sale as we find them, and have been pretty stunned by the prices we've seen - and the art those prices have been attached to.  How does one decide to charge more than $700 for a painting done on one of those pre-stretched canvases you can buy pretty much anywhere these days, that involves little more than splashes of paint.  Not to put down the visual appeal or skill of abstract art, but it's really hard for me to understand how finger painting in oil on a fairly small canvas can justify price tags heading towards the $1000 range.  Plus, this is a street festival type setting.  People just don't walk around with many hundreds of dollars in the wallets.

Okay, I take that back.  While working in the grocery store, I did see a surprising number of people who did just that.

Ah, well.  We'll figure something out.

All in all, though, we're pretty excited for Eldest.  It would be so cool for her to start selling her paintings!

Anyhow.  Where was I?  Oh, right.

By the time all that running around was done, the idea of cooking supper just didn't appeal to me.  I had been thinking of barbecuing some meat and some asparagus, but just didn't feel like it anymore.  So on the way home, Eldest and I stopped at our favorite Italian grocery store and picked up some sandwich fixings.  Fresh baked bread (since opening their second store, this place bakes all their own bread in an old style bread oven every day), some smoked provolone, goat cheese, turkey breast, peppercorn salami, lettuce and Polish mayonnaise, to go with the artichoke hearts we already had at home.

The joys of living just a few blocks away from the best deli in the city.

Now that the art show is a go, Eldest plans to be painting up a storm in the next while.  She doesn't want to sell a lot of her older paintings, since they're on paper and use paints she now knows are substandard.  Seeing some of her sketches tonight for a planned triptych, I'm really looking forward to how they turn out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lessons I Learned in School: My first day.

As the youngest of 5 children, I had a rather privileged position.  While the rest of my siblings got up early to do chores, have breakfast, then head off to school, I got to sleep in.

I missed my siblings terribly, though.  Especially my youngest brother, whom I adored to the point of irritation.  I had a serious case of hero worship with him, as well as my sister.  I drove them nuts, I'm sure. The high point of my day was watching and waiting for the bus to drop them all off after school.  When I saw that distinctive yellow colour flashing through the trees, I'd be out the door and flying down the driveway to meet my sister and brothers, shouting with excitement and giving them all hugs.  I eagerly looked forward to the day I could finally join them on that bus, and couldn't wait to start school!

That day finally came, and I was so thrilled!  There I was, with my lunch box, waiting at the end of the driveway with my siblings.  When the bus arrived, we all lined up, automatically from youngest to oldest, to get on.

Back then, my home town still had its own school, so the ride was relatively short, with only a few more farms between us and the school that we had to stop at.  I saw farms I never new existed until then, as we simply never had reason to go down those roads.

The school had two classrooms, an office and boys and girls bathrooms.  There was one teacher, and students only went up to grade three.  There were so few students, grades K-3 were all in one classroom.  The other served as a gym or, if the weather was unpleasant, for recess and lunch breaks.

Of the day itself, I don't remember very much.  I remember being suitably impressed by my teacher, Miss B.  She was tall and thin, had long, straight brown hair, and wore a brightly coloured dress.  Mostly a reddish orange colour that day, from what I remember.  Growing up on the farm, this was all rather exotic.  Sure, my sister had long, straight brown hair, too, but not almost to her waist, and she certainly didn't keep it down like that all the time.  Long hair was a danger on the farm, so if we had it, it was usually tied back.  Dresses, meanwhile, were things worn for church and special occasions, since they weren't very practical for milking cows or feeding chickens.  Dresses were certainly not for every day!

It's the end of my first day that really stands out in my memory.  The day was done and we were all standing outside the front doors of the school, waiting for our buses.

Imagine my surprise when something like 5 or 6 different buses pulled into the school yard!  I did know that the bus that picked up my siblings wasn't the only one - I would see another drive past our place on a different road every weekday - but I had no idea there were so many, nor did I know which one I was supposed to go to!  I watched and waited while the other kids got on different buses, looking around, tyring to figure out what I was supposed to do.  One by one, the buses closed their doors and drove away.

Finally, just as the last bus was getting ready to leave, I made a run for it.  The driver opened the door and let me in. 

I'd never seen him before.

I started down the aisle of the bus, but not a single seat was available.  So I turned around to face the front, grabbed onto the backs of the seats beside me, and prepared to stand for my ride home.  Still heady with excitement from my first day of school, it never occurred to me that this was a problem.

I don't remember what the driver said exactly, but he had no idea who I was either, and I wasn't supposed to be there.  He wanted me to get off.  Towards the back of the bus, a couple of teen girls spoke up.  I recognised them as sisters from one of our "neighbouring" farms (they lived some 5 or 6 miles away from our farm).  They tried to talk the driver into taking me anyhow, since their route went right past our farm, though it didn't turn down the road to our driveway.  It turned out that this was the bus I saw driving past every weekday.  The driver refused, saying he wasn't able to take me. I had to get off the bus.

By that point, my predicament had soaked in. I was in tears getting off the bus and ran, crying, back to the school.  I couldn't get home!  It never occurred to me that there was any other way I could get home than by bus.  What was I going to do? 

Miss B. took me inside while that last bus drove away without me.  She sat me down at one of the desks and tried to console me, but I was inconsolable.  I wailed my little heart out.

That's when she broke out the big guns.  She opened up a closet door and took out...

...a chocolate bar!

This was a wonder to me!  Chocolate bars were things we rarely ever got.  Now, here was Miss B., magically producing this rarity and handing it to me!  To this day, whenever I go into that old school, which is now a summer-only flea market, I look at that closet door and remember it was from behind that door that a secret gift emerged, soothing my broken heart with the wonder of a treat, just for me!  My tears instantly dried up, and joy replaced my sadness.  Which also conveniently allowed Miss B. a chance to go into the office and phone my parents.  She stayed and talked with me, letting me know they would come and get me, and generally keeping me comforted.  I have no idea what she said, but whatever it was, by the time my mom arrived to pick me up, I was all smiles again.  I do remember being surprised that this was even an option.  Somehow, I just didn't think that my parents would be able to do such a thing.  Taking the car out for something other than church, grocery shopping, or rare trips to the city?  What a concept!

When I got home, my youngest brother was waiting for me.  He was visibly upset and kept saying how it was all his fault I was left behind; how he should have gone to the door of the bus and stood there so I could see him, and that he should have made sure that I got on.  I was quite surprised by this.  While I adored my brother, I was really quite a pest in that stereotypical little sister way.  The youngest of my brothers is only 3 years older than me.  My sister, on the other hand, is 10 years older than me, and there were two other brothers who really should have noticed that I hadn't got on the bus. Yet my youngest brother was the one who was the most distraught and felt the most responsibility over my not getting on the bus.  I was confused and surprised by his reaction, and quite touched as well. 

The next while was spent explaining to me exactly how to tell our bus apart from all the others.

I learned a few lessons from school that day.  One was that not all buses would take me Home, even if they drove right past Home anyway.  I learned that a simple chocolate bar can cheer a sad and frightened child.  I learned that my parents really could, and would, come and get me. 

And I learned that my youngest brother cared about me a lot more then he let on.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Winding down...

We've been pretty busy the last while with all sorts of things, while others are winding down for the school year.  It'll be good to have our more relaxed schedule again.

We've had our required visit with our facilitator - a pleasure to have him, as always - and our paperwork is done for this year, as well as our registration for next year.

Youngest is done her voice lessons for the year at the end of this month (her teacher follows the school year and takes the summer off, since most of her students are on that schedule themselves).  Her teacher's year end recital was this weekend.  Youngest didn't perform, but she and I did get to see the first half of it before we left to take in another event.  Instead or performing, she's supposed to cut a CD for the grandparents, which will be done in the next few weeks. She's still debating whether or not she wants to continue next year.  Meanwhile, she's expressed an interest in learning the acoustic guitar.  We'll have to look into that. :-D

One of the local home school groups we're members of had a home education expo on the same day as the recital.  Eldest had a table with a few of her paintings.  This was her first public showing of her work, and the responses were very positive.  She had a lot of people asking if she was selling them.  She's thinking about it, but doesn't know how much to charge for them.  How do you even figure out something like that?  There was also a teen panel that she was on, though it wasn't quite as successful as the last one.   There were very few people there to ask questions.  I think the expo itself was too much of a distraction, and people just didn't want to leave the displays they were visiting to take in something else.

A friend of ours, who's had her first baby just a few months ago, took in the expo as well.  She and her husband are talking about home schooling their daughter, and she's been asking all sorts of questions.  She's also been sharing some of her own school experiences, which were far from positive.  Not a whole lot of learning involved!  I was interviewed for one of our home school group newsletters, where I was asked how we did things, how they've changed over the years, and if we'd have done anything differently, etc.  I described our method of home schooling as "free range."  When my friend read the interview, it really hit home for her - it's the sort of education method she says would have been so much better for her than the school system.

In talking with her, I got to thinking about some of the lessons I learned in school over the years that weren't exactly meant to be taught.  Some were positive, some were negative, some were just downright confusing.  As my kids have been interested in hearing some of these stories, I've decided to start writing a few of them here.  They'll be categorized under, imaginatively enough, "Lessons I learned in school." *L*  I don't know how regularly I'll be writing them, but they should be coming up fairly often.

Well, it's coming up on the wee hours of the morning.  Time for me to wind down the day and hit the hay. ;-)