I've been neglecting my blog lately. Between personal and global events, I've had precious few cycles to devote to writing. But I'm determined to make writing a regular activity again, and there's no better time than the present.
(I've made a deliberate decision not to write about what's going on down in New Orleans--there are plenty of bloggers and news organizations giving you all the information and commentary you could want. I'll limit my remarks to saying how relieved we are to know that our friends Deborah and Bruce left the city early Saturday with their dogs, and are safe with relatives in Alabama for now.)
Among the many things that I've neglected to share with my readers over the past month are the acquisition of several nifty new toys. The first is the first new car I've had in over 15 years (the Odyssey doesn't count, since it's Gerald's vehicle). At the end of July I signed a lease on a brand-new 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca, and I love it. I'm feeling slightly bad about not having gotten something with better mileage, but we'll be turning the Odyssey in next summer, and will replace it with something much more fuel-efficient--the Tribeca, which has seating for 7, will become our primary family car.
We got the Tribeca with the DVD system for the kids, but not the GPS navigation system, which added nearly $2000 to the price. Instead, we bought a small, portable Garmin Quest GPS unit for less than $400 from Amazon. It's wonderful. So, so helpful when you're new to a city and have lots of navigating to do. The only problem is that we keep stealing it from each other's vehicles, so we'll probably have to acquire another one to keep the peace. Without a doubt, this is the best gadget purchase in a long, long time.
Today was the first day of school back in Rochester, and also the first day of homeschooling for the boys. They each went to an enrichment class sponsored by the school district ("Grammar Games" for Lane, and "Origami" for Alex). Lane is taking two additional classes that meet later this week--"Origami Math" and an improv acting class, and Alex is taking a cooking class. Early reports from the field (yay for cell phones!) are that the classes got a big "thumbs up." They've also been playing with some online math activities, and some discovery channel tv/worksheet tie-ins.
We're thinking about acquiring some caged pets (for their scientific educational value, of course), and spent a good bit of time last night reading about the pros and cons of different options. I was unenthusiastic after reading about gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs. But then we found out about pygmy hedgehogs. How cute are they? So tomorrow the boys are off to a downtown Seattle pet store to check out some babies for suitability.
Also on the agenda for that all-important "socialization" aspect of homeschooling are a regular Friday afternoon "HomeZone" program at the YMCA that includes gym, swim, and art, as well as a local homeschooling group that sponsors everything from lego clubs to family hikes. And perhaps most surprising to anyone who knows us, we're going to check out a local Unitarian Universalist church on Sunday and see if it's a good fit for us.
On the professional front, I'll be speaking at C2: Connect & Collaborate later this month, participating in a workshop at State of Play III: Social Revolutions in early October, and then speaking at Internet Librarian in late October. If you'll be at any of those, come say hi!
All that ought to give me plenty of fodder for writing on a regular basis. Plus it's September now, so my brain is kicking into gear (as befits a well-socialized academic).