Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gotta get that glow!

My husband and I love Himalayan salt lamps.  The first time we saw them, however, we both thought they were a little strange and wondered what mystical power they were purported to give by those who believe in such things.  The white ones reminded me of Planet Krypton, which I vividly remembered seeing in Christopher Reeves' Superman in the theater as a child.  I wondered what they were supposed to be used for, other than to sit in the corner of a darkened room looking mystical, earthy, and just plain decorative.

But when we saw an entire store of them in different shapes and forms, though the air in the store was as fresh and clean as that surrounding an effervescent cascade deep in the forest, supposedly as a result of having so many of the lamps lit, we decided that we would like to have oodles of them in our own home giving off that glorious peachy glow.  So beautiful!  Like watching a motionless fire.  A blaze that doesn't flicker.  And I wonder who, as I stare at them, first put a flame to a chunk of Himalayan salt and gazed upon that first glow.  I'm sure it was some very cold nomad, thousands and thousands of years ago, who lit a fire near a wall of coral-hued salt and said, "Oooooo..."

My husband and I imagine having a library with dark wood bookshelves and puffy chairs and rugs with salt lamps illuminating every corner. 

In the meantime, to appease our cave dwelling instincts, we have invested in a few of the lamps.  Three are votive holders that were a steal because we purchased them from a gemstone dealer who had them on display as part of his rock show. 

One is electrically lit and must weigh over ten pounds.  Look at those colors!

It is claimed that salt lamps charge the air with postive energy and purify it.  I don't know anything about such things.  I keep air purifiers on all the time in our house, anyway, because my boys had asthma when they were younger, so I wouldn't know the difference.  But those stores, the ones with two thousand salt rocks heated and glowing, are invigorating.  I don't know if it's the salt lamps that  do it or Febreeze.  Probably industrial strength air purifiers working away out of sight.  I don't know and I don't care.  It's all about the glow, for me.

I do know that on humid days our large lamp, that is lit with a bulb, literally drips with moisture and has to be blotted dry.  

The color that these chunks of minerals give off when lit is warm and easy on the eyes.  I am very sensitive to "atmosphere" and this is the feel (look) I want from a room full of salt lamps.  Just look at this room!  Not ours, but we hope to add more to illuminate the cozy spaces or our home.  My poor grandkids.  I can hear them now, telling their friends about how crazy their hippie grandma is...who really isn't.  Okay, maybe a little, but I still think incense stinks and it makes my nose itch.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Head first.

Yes, that is German for Dummies.  I am German, but I'm also a dummy.  Maybe this will help.  ;)

I love teaching my children and giving myself to them in that way.  I would have missed so much if they had gone to school all of these years and don't know how we could have had the relationship we have now if I'd packed them off every morning.  Not that students who learn outside of the home do not have a bond with their parents, but there has just been so much more time in the day for silliness and memory making because I teach them at home.  I also love watching as they understand or learn something new, rather than just seeing report cards and graded papers coming in the door. 

Though sometimes, when I'm trying to wash floors or get a bit of quiet time, I think how wonderful it would be to have everyone but myself out of the house for 30 minutes on a week day and wonder what stay at home moms who put their kids on a bus every morning do with their day.  I can't imagine what it would be like to not have to worry about someone walking on wet floors or being allowed to finish an entire cup of coffee while it's still hot during daylight hours.  But I know when they are grown and there is no one around to ask five times if the floors are dry, because, of course, no one needs to go in a room util the floors are wet, I will be mopping them with my tears.  So putter away, my little fellas, and Mommy can get a new cup of coffee when the first one gets cold. 

Teaching reading was tricky for the first little guy, but because my second little guy sat listening while putting puzzles together or playing with Play-doh all those preschool years of his that I was teaching his brother, he learned on his own.  That was it.  Done.  He just knew how to read and it was like a gift from him to me, rather than something that I could give to him.  He loved books that showed many pictures with the word printed over each, so once he learned letter sounds he just took off.  So I would say, that after teaching them for all these years, that once you get over teaching them to read, the rest is a breeze, but I only did half that job so can't even take the credit or feign any hardship on my part in that area. 

Algebra.  Now that's another story.  They get it, fortunately, but I still want to cry.  So that has been the hardest thing for me to teach.  I'm so glad they inherited their father's skills in that area and that he can teach them where my abilities fall short. 

Both seemed to learn at the same ages and grade level, right around the end of fifth grade, that if they focused on one task at a time, their work would be done and they would be free, free, FREE.  It's just like making your bed or taking your dirty laundry basket to the laundry room to sort.  "We may not like to do it, but once it's done we don't have to worry about it anymore."  I wonder how many times they have heard that come out of my mouth.  I'm sure they could tell you, too many times! Trying to make lessons as fun as possible really helps, and that has been my favorite job over the years.

But here we are into August and, though we have no idea where the summer went, all three of us are getting excited about the new school year.  It will be bigger than ever because my oldest is starting high school, but it may be my last year home schooling them both.  The older boy is toying with the idea of attending one of his three options in schools that exist in our area.  So, in that respect, this could be our most important year for silliness and memory making, which means I have my work cut out for me in structuring everything to keep us organized.  I'm ready.

We purchase the last of our supplies over the weekend, even enough earth-friendly products to make a humongous batch of laundry detergent to last well into the year, and now I just have the 2+ weeks of lesson planning, chore and schedule chart making that it typically takes me, and a master bath to renovate.  That last item is a long story worthy of its own post.  I'm just too tired from planning for it to even type about it right now. 

So today I am diving in head first while my boys sleep in and then goof off, maximizing their remaining summer days.  And I think we'd better finally make it to the pool before they drain it for the year so we can literally dive in.  Yup.  Good idea.