Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Random Collection of Thoughts

We're having our two days of autumn this week. Here in the desert we have two primary seasons, otherwise known as summer and winter. Spring and autumn have devolved into transitional seasons that last anywhere from two days to a week, but never any longer. Last week we were having 90 degree weather and this week the temps are dipping into the high 40's at night.

But I like fall weather, transitional or not. It has always felt like something brand new and exciting was about to happen. The dragging heat of the summer is over and the nights are getting crisp; the days are getting shorter and there's all of the planning I start to do when darkness starts happening earlier. I never ever get everything done that I plan to do, but that's what happens when you have three kids, two cats, a dog, a husband, a house (the last of the guppies died last night, but it was nearly two years old which is positively ancient for a guppy.), and the sort of hobby-habit that earns nicknames like Stash Mountain. (I swear, I really do not have that much yarn. It's an optical illusion. Really.)

After a little introspection this feeling of anticipation probably dates back to elementary school, when the beginning of the school year was a time of exciting change; new school clothes, paper that hadn't been written on yet, the feeling that this year was going to be new, different, better somehow. I think maybe in elementary school those things were possible. It was when I went into junior high that everything went into a non-recoverable tail-spin. It was in high school that I began to have the feeling that formal education left a lot to be desired. Or maybe I'm just one of those critters who is hard-wired to like autumn weather and has a predisposition to over-analyze things.

I want to start being a little more formal with the Banshees and their education. The main problem with this, of course, is not the Banshees. It's me. I take to formal anything like ceramic takes to sky-diving. It isn't natural. On the other hand, a little structure will probably be good for me. I may have to be convinced.

Or we can just do what we keep doing, planning on one thing and ending up with something completely different. We were supposed to do history today and ended up researching black holes. EB is a little concerned that a black hole will come by and wreak all sorts of damage; she's somehow convinced herself that black holes were responsible for the disappearance of dinosaurs. (No, dear, the current theory is that meteorite had a lot to do with the lack of large lizards. Or it might have been climate change. Or maybe both. Which devolves into what theories are and why scientists use them. She's still giving me odd looks.) So we find a neat website that says that our sun will never get to be a black hole (not massive enough) and that black holes aren't really black, they just swallow light, and my own personal favorite, that they range in size from a couple of miles across to millions of miles across. It's my personal favorite because I didn't know that before. I knew all about massive stars exploding and collapsing in on themselves, but I didn't know that black holes are also found at the heart of huge galaxies. History gets to wait, but we got a heckuva lot in on astronomy. MB even went on to explore a little of the Solar System before losing interest and wandering off to other, more entertaining activities. (No, you may not pull dresser drawers out just far enough to use them as a step-ladder. It's one of those side deals that physics has with the universe; gravity is a constant and if you overbalance the furniture it will fall on you. Go check out why ladders work when you climb on them and dresser drawers won't. Just as soon as Mommy quits hyperventilating and screeching in painfully high registers.)

Oh yeah, and we had a cougar-alert yesterday. I've lived here for the better part of two decades and this is the first time that I've had the city call me to tell me there were mountain lions in the area and would I please keep an eyeball on any outdoor pets? Now, I like that dog of mine. She's cute and she's intelligent and she's an excellent companion, but she also outweighs all of my children and if a mountain lion is going to think anything is cougar-chow, it's probably not going to be the critter with the functioning fangs. EB spent this morning discovering the difference between the common housecat and their larger cousins.

So we've covered astronomy, scientific methodology, physics, a bit of metallurgy (did I mention they bent the drawer slide when they put their full weight on the drawer?), biology, public service and governmental theory, and a soup├žon of evolutionary theory. But no history.


Bobbisox said...

Glad you are raising thoughtful, insightful kiddos. Good luck to all the house pets, hope the cougar settles on wild food or garbage.

Crystal said...

I diligently continued with social studies in the waiting room at urgent care last night. Breaking her brother does not excuse the girl from my to-do list. Besides he didn't need stitches after all. I just started this year and I"m still desperately determined to neither fall behind nor give up entirely on the selected syllabi. Now if only the same could be said about my housekeeping.

Stephanie said...

Breaking siblings is never a good excuse to get out of homework. It just means homework plus stressed-to-a-fare-thee-well Mom on top of everything. You'd think kids would learn but...well, we didn't until we had kids. It's one of those immutable laws of something-or-other. I blame Murphy.

LOL, Bobbi. Thoughtful, inciteful, that's the crew :)). So far the dog is in one piece; the cougar probably wandered in because of a. drought and b. recent fire in the mountains. Hopefully it will find the pickens slim and go home SOON.