Curtains, please.

When I first began blogging in January of 2008, it was sort of an “experiment.”  I was taking a Blog Writing Course, and knew that I wanted to write about something.  That “something” seemed most naturally to be our tech-infused life.  So Topsy-Techie was born!!

It’s amazing how many things change in just two years.  We went from cyber-crazed homeschoolers to unschoolers.  Our passion for technology, while certainly still active, has taken a sort of backseat to spending time with new friends, becoming active in our local homeschooling group, and adventuring in the outdoors.  I went from working around five hours a week, to closer to twenty-five, which left me not quite as excited about spending MORE time on my laptop when I clocked out for the day. 

I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t feel so much Topsy-Techie, as I do just “Topsy” most days.  And I kinda feel like I’ve said all I have to say about our digital life.  I’m sort of wanting to move in a new direction with my blogging, and I don’t even yet know what direction that will be…but that is the exciting part!!!

I guess what I’m beating around the bush about is that I have decided to put Topsy-Techie on the shelf for now.  The most difficult part of that decision is that this blog is where I have met some of my dearest cyber-buddies.  You know who you are.  You know more about my life than 80% of my family members, and probably visa versa.  I have loved sharing my ups and downs, my warped sense of humor, and my techie tips with you.  I have truly felt blessed by your virtual laughter and encouragement and reality checks. 

I will definitely still be dropping by your necks of the woods to keep up with your goings on.  And I will still be accessible.  Some of you are already friends with me on Facebook.  Others of you bump into me most days at my website, SecularHomeschool.com.  And for everything else, there is always email

I can’t thank you enough for letting me share myself, Resistant-Techie, Uber-Techie, and Hyper-Techie with you these last 2+ years.  You have made this more than just a BLOG for me – – you have made it a community. 

I will never forget this Topsy-Techie experience……………

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Bittersweet Sixteen

16 years ago today I got my first glimpse of the face that was going to change my life for the better forever…

I’m quite sure at that moment I had absolutely no preconceived notions about what that little tyke would be like at the ripe old age of sixteen, but even if I had…he has far exceeded them all.

So today was the day to celebrate Uber, and celebrate we did – – mostly by eating our way through the better part of two counties!!  Andy’s “formal” celebration was on Saturday, when we got together with 15 of our good friends and family for an outing to the local minor league baseball diamond.  Our home team lost in a big way, but we made up for it in loud enthusiastic support!

But today was all about the food!!

Homemade waffles in bed for starters…

A stop by our favorite coffee cafe, where Uber is so much of a regular that they had a candle-topped muffin already waiting for him!

Then it was time for Andy to cash in on his birthday present from one of our dearest friends – – lunch out at a local vegan eatery.  Right up Uber’s meat-free alley!! What we didn’t know was that our friend’s restaurant suggestion even provided free birthday favors in the unisex bathroom!!!  Those vegans know how to party!!!

After a little more rambling around in Uber’s favorite sections of counter-cultural society, it was time to eat AGAIN…this time at Timeworn-Techie’s house for burritos, and of course some ice cream and cake. 

I swear the poor kid just told me, “Don’t worry about fixing me anything for breakfast tomorrow mom.  I won’t be hungry.”

Thank goodness we couldn’t afford a car for the kid on his big day.  He’s going to need to walk till he’s 17 just to burn off today’s calories!!

Happy 16th Birthday Uber!!!

The Freshman 15

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When I entered my freshman year of college, I weighed a whopping 95 pounds, soaking wet.  Gaining weight had never been my strong suit, and try as I had through high school to keep my chicken-bone legs hidden, I was still teased mercilessly about “being so thin that if I had an extra Coke, I could be used for a thermometer.”

So I had no real thought of my body size ever really changing…and then…COLLEGE happened.  My diet basically consisted of yeast rolls and honey with an occasional meat patty or salad thrown in for variety.  I sat in the library and studied.  My exercise, other than the required PE electives, consisted of climbing the stairs to my 9th floor dorm room a couple times a week when I was too impatient to wait on the elevator.  I was entirely too busy to notice that by the time Christmas break came around, my clothes were a lot more form-fitting.  In fact, all this happened completely without my knowledge or assent – – I just turned around in a year’s time and BAM!!  I was almost exactly 15 pounds heavier! But having been so painfully thin throughout childhood and adolescence, I almost found this growth spurt endearing.

Cut to…2009.  Longer work hours at the computer, prescription meds with the obligatory side-effect of “ungodly possible weight gain”, and a nasty new habit of eating every time I walk into the kitchen has again put me right back into the circumstances of freshman year.  Packing on the pounds without even realizing what was happening!  And believe me, I’ve added the freshman 15 at least twice over now, and my clothes are a lot more than just snug.  “Endearing” is not quite the word I would use for my current feeling about my pear-shaped reflection in the mirror. 

I’ve definitely made some feeble efforst to battle the bulge, including a stab at the “S Diet”, which was working well until it wasn’t.  I’ve also had several bouts of consistent exercise, which was working well until it wasn’t. 

So now, the girl who used to be teased about her knobby knees and bony butt would give just about anything to be able to even DISTINGUISH those bones again.

Please, bloggy buddies, tell me what a computer-bound, spinelesss, stick-in-the-mud, pre-menopausal woman is to do to get back down to a healthy weight again!!

I’m not under the impression that I will ever be mistaken for my high-school self again, but I wouldn’t mind at least becoming recognizable to myself in the mirror again.

Feel free to insert words of advice or encouragement below……….                                         

Those “Crazy” Unschoolers

I realize I am probably one of maybe 100,000+ people who are going to blog about this today, but what can I say?…OCCASIONALLY I fit in with the crowd. 

If you even vaguely keep your ear to the grindstone of the homeschooling world, you probably heard about the Good Morning America story this morning on unschoolers.  I actually watched it in real time because a friend called to let me know it was coming on.  So I got ready to watch.  I even called in Uber to watch with me.

And we sat there excitedly waiting – – in awe that they were doing a feature piece on unschooling on morning television! Then, our awe slowly turned to confusion, and then basically to disgust as we realized that not only were they profiling the two most radically “unschooled” families in the universe, but that they were actually generalizing that all unschoolers looked like that.  Even worse, the commentators decided to drop out honey-soaked judgmental condescensions every chance they got.  (“well-meaning”, “crazy” (thanks George!), “playing hooky”)

What bugged me the most was that the piece really had very little to do with unschooling at all.  I’m guessing GMA edited out all the parts where the parents outlined the benefits of this form of education, the parts where they quoted liberally from Holt, and the parts where they show the children actually able to put two sentences together that make some semblance of intelligent sense.  At least I HOPE they edited out those parts.

Instead, they decided to focus on the ridiculousness of parents who don’t really make their children do chores, or have house rules, or even attend to personal hygiene.  If that’s the case, then I don’t know what the big deal is.  It’s basically just natural selection at that point, right?  The universe is bound to weed out those whose teeth fall out before they are 12 anyway, and leave behind the strong, publicly educated children who eat the healthy foods from the school cafeteria and ALWAYS follow the rules.  It will all work out in the end.

GMA is doing a follow-up on this story tomorrow where all the crazed teachers whose egos this story threatens can call in and ask questions of these model parents.  I’m going to sleep well tonight knowing that these two will be speaking for me and all my unschooling friends as they field questions about the legal and societal implications of their decisions. 

You know those teachers who have been out of work since the economic downturn?  The ones who have been struggling to find some meaning in their life since their time in the classroom?  The ones who have time to sit around and watch GMA in the mornings while they scan the want-ads. Whatcha wanna bet they may have just found a cause they can all rally around and start campaigning against in their spare time??

Maybe I Can Practice While I Vacuum

Believe me, I understand how vomitous it is to read yet another blog post by someone saying how busy they are.

But I am seriously, no-holds-barred, barely-can-find-time-to-take-a-shower, ready-to-run-screaming-down-the-street kind of busy right now. 

So please forgive me for my bloggy neglect. 

j0283975 And to ADD to the busyness I am seriously thinking of taking up the harmonica.  I have no idea why.  I just want to.  My dad played a little, and maybe I’m just having missing-my-daddy issues.  But the harmonica looks like so much dang fun to play. 

On the downside, I’ve never really been able to get proficient in playing any other instrument.  Five years of piano lessons gave me the ability to plunk through a few elementary-age songs fairly well.  That is the height of my expertise.

To make it even worse, I have several family members who can pick up any musical instrument and make it bend to their will immediately. 

Stupid gene selection!! 

We have a neighbor who sits out on her back deck every night and plays the Native American flute.  Won’t it be cool when I just chime in with my harmonica out of the blue one evening???!!!  It’s almost worth it to learn just for that moment alone.

But the most positive side effect of all?  My boys will see that you are NEVER too old to let your interests lead you toward learning.  Golly, I love unschooling!!

Squee!!

Just had to pop into T-T tonight to brag about my baby.  (No not THAT kind of baby, silly!!  When my biological clock ticks, I just open a new website!!) 

The source of my pride is SecularHomeschool.com which just reached the 500 member mark today!!  I know that in web terms, that doesn’t sound like much, but if you’ve ever tried to find other secular homeschoolers, you’ll understand that getting 500 of them together in one place is much akin to winning the lottery TWICE…in one WEEK!!

Besides the growth in numbers, though, the forum activity has just exploded in recent weeks, which has been so fun to watch.  Everyone is so supportive and helpful to each other, too…it’s like a lovefest over there.  Plus, we got a brand new header makeover today and a new logo!!

Come join us, won’t you???  Why shouldn’t you get in on the excitement, and help us get closer to the 1000 mark?!

Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit

Today was a FUN day.  I mean more fun than a lost dog in a meat market! I have no pictures to show for it, but that’s because I was having too much fun to remember to take them.  The temps in our area hovered around 90 degrees – – the first and only time I can ever remember that happening in April.  It was a day right out of a Joe Cocker song…”walking on a sidewalk hotter than a match head.” But did we care? No. We were playing in the “big city” today with friends and leaving our cares behind.

First stop…food.  A place called Barley’s which is famous for its beer and pizza.  Weirdly enough, I don’t care much for either, but the spinach salad was so good it made you want to swallow your tongue afterward just to get the last bit of juice off your taste buds. 

Second stop…Mast General store.  If you don’t live in North Carolina, then you don’t know about Mast General, which is as sad as a mule with a mouth full of bumblebees.  Mast General is just about my favorite place in the world to shop.  Each one is set up like an old general store – – right down to the barrels of old-fashioned candy that you purchase by the pound.  They sell everything from woven baskets to hiking boots and I could basically bookpitch my tent there and take up residence.

Third stop…the bookstore…where I purchased the book that inspired this blog post.  The one that has given rise to the terrific sayings (seen here in italic) that can only be homespun here in the south.  All I can say is that if you were to head over to Amazon and purchase your own copy, you’d be smarter than a tree full of owls.

Final stop…the chocolate lounge!!!   The part of the day I had looked forward to most. AND the place where I learned the most valuable lesson of all…teenage boys can never appreciate the finer things in life.  When three relatively sane boys scrunch their nose up in disgust over a wine glass full of sipping chocolate, you know that bringing them there was about as smart as trying to sling a hammock between two corn stalks.  We moms are already planning our next visit – – sans neanderthals.

It was a glorious summer-like spring outing in the city, and I hated to call it a day, but I guess (((sigh))) sometimes you simply have to pee on the fire and call in the dogs.

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