Good morning. (yawn)

Early mornings can be productive.

This morning I blogged on two out of three blogs, told an editor at a daily to not publish a story that he's been withholding for two months leaving me unable to shop it elsewhere, shopped another story with a British publication, and I checked the latest e-mails from my cohorts in Tokyo.

And my upstairs neighbor got his groove on last night. He's a nice guy. It was about time.


A is in bed wrapped around the Weim. It is 7:45 a.m. and I do not wish to wake him up.

How early/late does everyone wake up? What time do you really get the lessons going?

I ask because if I actually open a classroom, I think that I might gain a few fans if no one is allowed to enter before 9:30 a.m.

Not to be missed, if it's your first time.

The Village Halloween Parade!!!!

And who has the ABSOLUTE BEST TRICK OR TREAT BAG? M-mv does!!


Fill-in Fridays...

This is why LaMai tends to be a pretty alert kinda person...

Go to www.Google.com and type the word "failure." Then click on "I'm Feeling Lucky."

Catherine - our French tutor - and I had an argument last night. Of all things, about the future viability of CBGB. Her husband is a jazz musician who has played at the club. "But eyeuw noooh, eyeuw cont av eet az eh moozeyeum!" I tried to tell her it wasn't going to become one, but she kept interjecting. She was very passionate about this one. It went on for 30 minutes. Fortunately, she had called me from Lincoln Center, and the audience started applauding, and she had to hang up.

A is reading Shakyamuni Buddha: A Narrative Biogaphy by Nikkyo Niwano.

We are studying amino acids in orgo chemistry.

Fridays are also "Financial Fridays" for us. We entered Cramer's Mad Money Challenge and today we get to pay attention to our stocks.

Napoleon is looking and leaning through a window. I hope he doesn't fall out.


For the bloggy audience...

I have blogpatrol and know that you all are there...out yourselves! Due to pressing projects, I can't write much at the moment (it is currently 7:41 p.m. on Thursday). So kindly entertain me. Drop me a line in the comments section, will ya?

Contribute a comment. Or complaint. Or suggestion. Or short question (like, "What shampoo do you use?" Any curricula-type questions kindly e-mail to me, as I take my time with thoughtful answers).

After writing your comment, bugger off.



The Noguchi Museum

A and I visited The Noguchi Museum today. On the left is an image of the museum's Zen garden. Isamu Noguchi is responsible for the artwork at the Associated Press Building in Rockefeller Center, and the big red cube at 140 Broadway in Manhattan.

On exhibit is The Imagery of Chess Revisited. There are chess sets from pre-Revolutionary France (a chess set on sticks made for play at the beach!), boards by Man Ray and Max Ernst, as well as a Hartwig Bauhaus chess set. One of my favorites was a board by André Breton and Nicolas Calas called Wine Glass Chess Set and Board. The player who captures a chess glass is supposed to drink the wine out of the chess glass captured.

At the end of the chess exhibit is a room with tables, chairs, and chessboards for museum patrons to play a game. Or two. A challenged me to a game, and he won. Gulp. Just kidding. We did not get to play the wine glass board.

A's favorite things about the museum: "the garden, the Dadaists' work on exhibit" (surprise, me), that he beat me at chess, "the portable French pin chess board on leather," a magnetic chess board that he saw at the museum store, and the museum store in general.

LaMai's favorite things about the museum: that you can view the entire museum and exhibit in two hours. If you want to. That there was an interactive element available (the chess boards for the patrons), and a media room where we could view a film biography of the artist.

LaMai's least favorite things about the museum: that I can't live there. And that while we played chess, we were observed by the (very nice) museum employees. As if I actually knew how to play. hah hah.

It's all in the DNA...

Yesterday, before studying World War I, we studied yellow journalism. I am fortunate to be involved in a few media happenings, so I pulled out some dailies with article content for which I was responsible, coupled with sensationalistic headers for which I wasn't. A then made up a few yellow journalism articles with headlines of his own.

For Genetics, we worked a bit off of this page.

Then I went window shopping at Carolina Biological Supply. I love that store. On our roster of things to buy are:



And this.

We still do not have a microscope, but that is on our wishlist.

A is out doing lessons right now. Catherine is back in the picture with A's French lessons. We were on a bit of hiatus with that.

Last night I attended a friend's birthday party. I knew it would be star-studded and laid back, but it was one of those parties that you do not soon forget. Photographers were there. Every single record industry person who I've met over the last 10 months was there. Musicians were there. Minnie Driver was there. I think a certain widow of John Lennon's made an early visit, but I would have arrived after her.

Most bizarre moment? Five of us actually discussed mice problems, while we sipped wine and rum punch. This started because I asked a photographer if he had a dog, and he answered no, that he had a cat to resolve mice problems. Then we all sort of shook our heads and said, "Yeah, wow. Hate that." Then: "Wait. You've had mice problems, too?" What the going rate for glue traps must be in New York.

Second most bizarre moment? I certain young woman telling me Joey Ramone lived with her at her dorm at F.I.T. That he wore her bathrobe (she is 5 feet tall). Then she told me his shoe size.


I love Diane's blog.

Primarily, because she can tackle topics like this with wit and ease.

And I agree: The poster looks Soviet. Creepy.


Hating hate

These Prussian Blue girls are annoying. Their mother's homeschooling efforts are an absolute waste. If they are worried about race dilution, perhaps they should take a closer look at the map and notice in what country they live.


I don't like Mondays: give back, feel better about it being Monday

What you can do:

All it takes is a pen and paper, an envelope, and a stamp for these AI Kids Action projects -
*Amnesty International Kids Action (Diwali) - Kevin Benderman, U.S. citizen. or,
*Amnesty International Kids Action (Urgent Action) - Heba al-Khaled, Syrian citizen.
* "Adopt" a U.S. soldier.
*Earth Justice (online form) - Arctic Refuge project.
*Watch Born Into Brothels, and e-mail your sentiments to one of the children of your choice.

or this

Free the Gnomes.

but hopefully only after you've done one of the first five...

our dog trainer is going to the cats....

Me: Hi Victoria. Are you going to May's birthday party at the Cutting Room tonight?
Victoria: Um, no. Sorry. I have these tickets to see the cat circus, and I got the tickets a while ago.
Me: The cat circus?
Victoria: Yeah. They're are these cats that perform. They're Russian.
Me: I see.

No, really. Tribeca Performing Arts Center is hosting the Moscow Cats Theatre. And I thought cats couldn't be trained.

the S.O.S. links

I am adding links to the sidebar. I have - after visiting a few homeschool message boards - realized that addiction/depression links here were appropriate. We are human, after all, and it is okay to acknowledge that we, from time to time, need help. Help is just a click away.

Some of you may know that I have a parent who committed suicide; that bit of my history is part of who I am, and it is an issue that I grapple with every day. While that makes me statistic, it isn't for nothing that the the suicide monologue in Hamlet, since its penning, has resonated to some degree with its audiences.

If you know of anyone who needs help and don't know how to offer it, please direct him/her to a resource that can help. LaMai thanks you kindly.


Check out M-mv's page today

I love when M-mv does this.


Last night on Jay Leno:

Jay Leno: "This country's capital is Mexico City."
Random woman on the street: "New Mexico!"
JL: "New Mexico is a country?"
RWOTS: "Albuquerque?"
JL: "Not a country. Let me ask again. This country's capital is Mexico City."
RWOTS: "The United States!!!!"

Some words about our geographic literacy.

nurturing = a kinder, gentler world

I believe that the homeschooling "community" is, in general a kinder, gentler kind of community. We are generally not money-driven (or we wouldn't be doing this, folks) but fulfillment-driven. We learn, we teach, our children learn from us. And we are grateful for this process.

As a single parent in New York City, I constantly face people and their "issues" alone. Perhaps it is because I am a single parent, and because my mother and father's families are nowhere near the City of New York, that I feel the brunt of these things so much more than if I was in a partnered relationship. I do not know.
I can tell, very generally, who will be the more kind and more reasonable in my day-to-day interactions with them. It is generally the person who nurtures someone else.

I find that nurturing dependents teaches us selflessness. Not in the Ayn Rand sense. Those with dependents (child/children, a group of people, or a good number of pets) and who nurture those dependents, are generally kinder than those who do not. Nurturers are by no means perfect. But they care. And they do this without checking if they look "cool" doing so.

(Of course, there are exceptions and degrees to this. The evil Upper East Side socialite might have softened only a notch by having a child; UES ladies tend to let the nannies do the nurturing, and tutors and schoolteachers everything else.)

I know of a few so-called "experts" who champion humanity or youth issues, yet prefer not to interact directly people long enough to nurture anyone. They write papers, give talks, and talk the talk. When their humanity is truly needed, they bail out. It saddens me to no end.

When I knew Zana the filmmaker, she was self-absorbed. Okay, she was incredibly self-absorbed. Yet she has become this incredibly kind and generous human being; she offers what is uniquely Zana's to the world. Steely determination still there, she ultimately nurtures others and does so in a way that is very public.

I doubt that Gandhi could have become the Mahatma had he not experienced some form of nurturing and selflessness. And yes, apart from his children, he had an entire country to look after.

Anyway, it is just an observation.

Thunder near Pete's Pond

Some thunder/rainy weather appears to be brewing at Pete's Pond in Botswana. And the camera is shaking. Good news for everyone watching the Pond: The Wildcam has been extended to Dec 8.


Museum of the Moving Image

The Museum of the Moving Image, next to Kaufman Astoria Studios, was a total surprise for us. I found it also amazing how much this part of Long Island City now looks like TriBeCa in Manhattan. Can you say loft space everywhere?

A learned about kinetoscopes and Augustin and Louis Lumiere. He also learned about the marvel that is the film camera and sound microphone - with specimens of each from the late 1800s to today. Demonstrations by a wide-eyed NYU Film School graduate taught us sound and soundtrack editing, sound effects editing, dubbing, digital editing vs. traditional reel editing, and why the filmmakers' clapboard is so necessary in a film shoot. There was plenty of hands-on stuff to do. A re-mastered the sound effects for a scene Jurassic Park and I tried out different music soundtracks for a scene in the movie Twister. My voice was dubbed over Audrey Hepburn's in My Fair Lady, and A's was Denzel Washington's voice in the movie Glory. We created our own stop-action animation, and starred in a flipbook animation (you can actually purchase the 40-frame flipbook of your antics in front of the camera, at the Museum shop for $3.00).

Among the many collectible pieces - including an actual Yoda created for The Empire Strikes Back, A Chewbacca headpiece worn by Peter Mayhew, an original Gumby costume worn by Eddie Murphy for SNL, and Catherine Zeta Jones' costuming for the movie Chicago - were cheezy/pop culture t.v. and film memorabilia collections from the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's and beyond.

The Museum puts those tours at Universal Studios to shame. In addition to the demonstration film rooms, there is a small old-style cinema (see image of Tut cinema), and a screening room that seems to draw a dedicated cinephile audience.

Thursday is Thursday

A does not know it, but we are headed here. It is part of our structuring our "Cinema Club" studies. Some of you might remember that Cinema Club is something that we started about two years ago and have been doing loosely since my initial Q & A assignments. After seeing Zana's film, I think it's time to establish Cinema Club as a solid part of our studies.

Another film that I watched this week was Dare mo shiranai from Japan. A watched with me (unlike Born Into Brothels, no vulgar language is utilized by the parents). This film was difficult for me - as a single parent - to watch. The mother homeschools her kids - but at the outset, we do not know why. She is young, childlike, and seems to love her kids. All of that changes, however. The film is based on true events that were actually more disheartening than the fictional film.

LaMai's recommendation for parents: Born Into Brothels.

On a happier note, this is A's birthday week. A asked for - and got- CSS Web Design for Dummies. I thought it was a silly book to ask for; what could he possibly do with it? This morning, he showed me about 10 new things on the computer that he had designed using CSS.

I also am looking at this space for his b-m next year:


how do you say con~o in Hebrew?

I really must enter our curriculum here for the readership to see. I am tweaking things here and there, and expect to have a viewable curriculum ready shortly.


Last night, A presented to me about 153 messages in Hebrew that he made up on his own. Some were English messages; others were Spanish, and some were actual Hebrew words.

A: What does this say?
Me: Nun vav, sin vav hey. No sé. [Spanish for "I don't know"]
A: What does this say?
Me: Lamed vav vav, Resh kaf sin. Love rocks.
A: What does this say?
Me: [my eyes squinting] Valk the dog. Are you telling me to walk the dog????

A is enjoying his time with this new language. We have both decided on a low key and spiritual, but not glitzy, celebration for his Coming of Age. A wants Native American drummers to be there. I would like East Indian food catered for the guests. I suspect it will turn out to be most interesting. If any of the readership - with children - is interested in attending our fête in NYC (next year), let me know.

As mentioned previously, we are learning organic chemistry. Today A drew this on the computer:


blackboard shopping.

I like this dry-erase one but it is only 2' by 3'.


life is incredibly, stupendously weird.

The woman in the photo is Zana Briski. But I knew her when she was Susanna Briski, a hip London Jewish chick, while I attended boarding school in Britain years ago. And something about Susanna changed my life entirely. She stole my then-boyfriend. All three of us listened to Sisters of Mercy and Lords of the New Church (music bands, people). In fact, Susanna stomped right into a Lords show in Camden once while I was there. My friends thought she was trying to invade my territory. Sympathetic, they protected me. Who did she think she was? In return, I decided to become an super-hip-Jewish chick, like Susanna. Who was going to have all this One Upmanship?

[people, we were teenagers, okay?]

I later found out - via the ex-boyfriend who now lives in Toronto, Canada - something awful and life-changing occurred when Susanna, years later, was on a trip abroad. On the surface I felt bad for her, but secretly thought, "Well, there's her karma." So funny how we think when we're incredibly self-absorbed and young and narely 25.

Last night, I watched Born into Brothels. I invited A to watch with me. Nothing in the film is too hard to watch; it's actually hard to not watch this film. We saw unfold the story of young kids growing up despite that their mamas work the work, while the kids somehow found ways to laugh, play, and to be witty and wise.

Alexander was really moved. So was I.

Behind the work was Susanna - now Zana - Briski. I was good seeing her again, if only on celluloid, and I had absolutely no idea that this was her film, or that she had won a little golden statuette for her work. And now Zana's foundation, Kids with Cameras, is spreading all over the globe.

Here's to your karma, Zana. LaMai is profoundly inspired by you.

If you choose to purchase a photograph by one of the kids, you can do so here. It is a way by which the kids can sustain themselves and their education, not rely on handouts, and it keeps them out of the brothels.


Yom Kippur

We do not say "Happy Yom Kippur" (tune in to Comedy Central for that one) but instead, we wish each other "an Easy Fast." Here is a short informational guide to the Jewish holiday from the BBC.

Why is LaMai gettin' all religious an' stuff? Believe me, I am not. I do believe in observance of certain cultural markers, but I stop at exclusionary and separatist practices.

After all, Joey Ramone *did* have a Bar Mitzvah...

We're also in the middle of the holiday of Ramadan.


Saxon or Singapore?

We're ready for a new curriculum. But which one to use?

I listened to this and read that.

for Saxon Homeschool, no media page but this general one.

But did he poop on Saturday?

Again, I am finding out the hot topic of discussion among New York City dog owners. Did your dog poop on Saturday? I must explain.

Saturday was a rain day. It rained all day. Without break.

A and I tried to walk Napoleon for the emergency 5-second relief. We figured he could get some real exercise with a gift of the dog run on Sunday. So Saturday morning, leashed and ready to go, he walked down to the lobby and M. Bonaparte sort of noticed the rain, but didn't know what it was. Until he stood outside. His legs froze.

"No. No. No. No. No. I am so *NOT* having this."

And back inside he went. We tried again. And again. And again.

On Sunday, he was on the curb the entire duration of our walks. It was then that I noticed a strange phenomenon. I overheard two men with dogs talking.

"Did your dog go outside on Saturday?"
"No, uh-uh. But he pooped 20,437 times today."
"That's so weird. So did mine."

My friend called me on the phone last night. She has a dog but lives in a house here in NY. The first words out of her mouth were, "My dog actually went inside the house on Saturday! I couldn't believe him!"

Canine psychology: Rain 101. Your next non-rain day will be full of poop.


Hurrah! Hurrah!

The Denim Jumper is a reality! Hip Hip Hooray! Three Cheers for Sarah!

Because we get to homeschool and not apologize for the martini glass in hand, nor the days that I want to use bar soap to stiffen my hair, like the lovely lady on the left.

If you, like me, are a homeschooler and learn toward a secular lifestyle (whatever your religious brand), or feel comfortable around secular folk, you now have an e-community to call home.


For those about to write, we salute you

It's NaNoWriMo time. I received that e-mail from Chris Baty, asking me to answer the call this year. I am ready. No, really. Who is with me?


Shana Tova. My head hurts.

I do not know if my head hurts from evaluating/determining which books are going to go in A's new 2005-06 curriculum, from the amount of writing I have been undertaking of late, from the idea that we have a Supreme Court Justice nominee who has never before worked in Constitutional law or sat on a bench as a judge - ever, anywhere, or because Madonna is *really* opening that Kabbalah hotel in London.

And NaNoWriMo is just around the corner...

More apple. More honey.

Will blog soon.



So I am giving myself a deadline of today. Today. To finish writing a proposal? story? about a certain girlfriend of a John with the last name of Lennon. Because I did the interview over a week ago, and the girlfriend went to the U.K. to visit the ex-wife, and now the girlfriend and ex-wife are arriving in town for the ex's book launch, you see.

I really hope Google doesn't pick up my ramblings here.

This is fun, but scary.

Anyone else write for a living?

Finneas has arrived...

Congratulations to the Modern Mother on their new addition! And man, she's blogging already...


infect. evolve. repeat.

Is this free flash game educational? Erm..maybe? I personally find it amusing that there is a game depicting white blood cells as the villain.


Overheard this afternoon:

A to a friend on the phone: "Can you repeat what you just said? Sorry, I was multi-tasking."