Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Wellness Fair

Yesterday I set up a little table at a 'Wellness Fair' in Sebastopol, home of all things new age and healing. It was in a Masonic Lodge, which was interesting in and of itself. I had no idea what to expect, so I was quite pleased.
I had a little folding table with a Bali blanket tablecloth. I'd made a sign at Kinkos to offer free mini-sessions. I had my acupuncture doll and a nice handout sheet and two chairs. I wish I'd taken a photo.
The 'fair' went from 11 to 5 and I must have done sessions for at least 20 people. Maybe 25! At times the volume in the room was so high we were practically shouting--which is a little weird when you're dealing with someone's deepest emotional trauma.
I pretty much loved it, though my voice felt strained at times. I would have liked to have booked a few more appointments right there, but I have a feeling I'll be getting some calls. Generally the mini-sessions seemed very effective. One of my first 'clients' was a gal who was having a lot of trouble with the incense and candles stinking up the room. We got her symptoms down from an '8' to a '3' within two minutes. She booked an appointment with me!
It was also good to meet some young and really dynamic practitioners, there to fire up newer practices. The room seemed awash with energy--I felt like I was bobbing around in the ocean.
Today I'm hoping to relax and play with the girls all day.

Friday, March 28, 2008

First Algae Biodiesel Plant Goes Online April 1, 2008

Taken from the really excellent blog Gas 2.0 Here's an excerpt:

PetroSun has announced it will begin operation of its commercial algae-to-biofuels facility on April 1st, 2008.

The facility, located in Rio Hondo Texas, will produce an estimated 4.4 million gallons of algal oil and 110 million lbs. of biomass per year off a series of saltwater ponds spanning 1,100 acres. Twenty of those acres will be reserved for the experimental production of a renewable JP8 jet-fuel.

Read more here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Celebration of Eostar

Celebration of Eostar, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

A warm sunny Easter afternoon. The baskets and the egg hunts were lovely. The girls are playing happily together and Krista and I are attending to our long neglected photos.
Spring is here and the days will be getting longer for three delicious months. I hope you are happy and well.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Song to the Sleeping Stones

Song to the Sleeping Stones, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Krista and I went to a hanging yesterday. Or so we like to jest.
We hung fourteen of her paintings at Sonoma Country Day School, where our friend Steve works.
There were four new (and BIG) paintings. This is the smallest one. All four of them are just awesome. I can't tell which is my favorite. You can see them over on my Flickr site, or eventually on Krista's blog, Undercurrents.
We've been working pretty hard for the past few weeks. The past two days were a bit much. When Krista woke up this morning she said "I don't have to go to my studio today!!".

Sonoma Country Day School

Sonoma Country Day School, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

This is where the show is hanging. It really is a very grand place. If we weren't such radical unschoolers, I'd wish our kids could go here.

The Hanging

The Hanging, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

This is the foyer where Krista's show is hanging. One of the parents helped us (greatly). I guess the flags are coming down this weekend. They were up for some festival or other. And the symphony will be playing once or twice, in the auditorium through those big oak doors.
After a week or two I'll start planning the reception.

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Danny and I had a nice visit the other day. We did some drumming, then fooled around on guitars. We were playing at Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. I thought this temple would fit the bill--I actually stole it from the internet and don't remember whose it is. Sorry!

Eden and the Fat Cat

Eden and the Fat Cat, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We've Been Busy!

Krista has an awesome series of photos over on her art blog Undercurrents. She shows a bit of the evolution of her biggest painting to date. Check it out.
I've been so fortunate over the years to witness this process again and again. It's amazing to see figures emerging from the canvas, first in ghostly white then transforming as color is added.
Krista is finishing up four major new painting to hang at her upcoming show at Sonoma Country Day School.
I'm afraid it will fall to me to arrange some sort of reception, where the public can come and see this work hanging. I am seriously hoping that most of the paintings, new and old, that she brings will actually sell at this show. They really should. If so, then this potential reception will likely be the only chance her fans get to ever see them. It's a little daunting, thinking of setting it up, in part because the space is really huge and has terrible acoustics. Very echo-y. My first thought of having a little live music or even a poetry reading...not so sure. Also, not knowing how many people to expect...15 or 450? That makes it a little hard to plan.

In other news, I'm plugging away at my new therapy business. I just signed up to participate in a wellness fair in Sebastopol, on the 29th of this month. I'll be giving away free mini-sessions. I'm looking for space to give classes and groups, and have several leads to check out. And I've contacted several Mother's Clubs to see about giving free presentations.
Meanwhile, I think my actual sessions are going pretty great. Yesterday I helped a client shed intense guilt and shame that she'd been feeling DAILY for thirty seven years! Gone in 50 minutes. I love EFT! Now I just need more clients.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

California Welcomes New Headmaster

In a stunning development, it was announced today that Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge has been appointed Headmaster of the California Public Schools.
Professor Umbridge has pledged to stamp out all forms of homeschooling and to bring California's troubled schools up to nineteenth century standards of discipline and performance.
"There will be no more nonsense", Umbridge has decreed.

By the way, Umbridge is a character from one of the Harry Potter books. She's a monster.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Homeschooling In The News

Homeschooling is in the news today, at least here in California. Through the courts, the State has re-asserted it’s right to control how children are educated and insisted only certified teachers are fit to do the job. Ouch.

I’m not worried about the outcome of this decision. Already our movie star “Governator” has jumped on the issue with both boots, calling it an ‘outrageous’ decision by the courts. The Christian homeschoolers, bless their cotton socks, are a powerful political force. Thankfully, this is one of those rare issues where the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ come together, making swift passage of more libertarian laws very likely.

But after reading a host of on-line articles today and the passionate comments following them, I’m reminded of how many misconceptions there are about education in the US and about homeschooling in particular.

Here are my two cents worth.

Our school system was primarily developed, and funded early on, by wealthy industrialists interested in social engineering. Their goals did not include ‘education’ as we think of it today. Rather, the system was set up to break the influence of the family on the child and replace it with the State (they were faced at that time with a great influx of Catholic immigrants from Europe). Through the use of short periods of study punctuated by bells and whistles, the dumbing down of textbooks and the fragmentation of subjects of study, they sought to diminish the child’s natural intellectual curiosity and ability to think critically.

This system was imported directly from the Prussians. They were after docile workers, obedient soldiers and obsequious civil servants, used to following orders--unable and uninterested in questioning authority.

Children were to be graded, like cuts of meat. Sorted out by their usefulness to the ‘captains of industry’.

“Socialization” in schools gradually pervaded civic life and set up generations to become empty-headed consumers of entertainment and goods and services, replacing earlier bedrock American values of independence, entrepreneurial spirit and community mindedness.

The plan worked. It worked beyond the wildest dreams of its founders. Our families are weak and broken. Parents have little influence on their own children. Siblings have little connection. Most children have few adult friends and little interest in the adult world. American students are, on the whole, dumb and getting dumber every year. Entrepreneurial spirit is all but unknown to most Americans now, who grew up with “stay in school and get a good job” mantra ringing in their ears. Those few who want to be their own boss can buy into a corporate franchise.

But the greatest triumph of the social engineers was to somehow convince ‘the left’ that public school was a good thing for the masses. I don’t know how they pulled it off, but people still treat public education as a sacred cow. No matter the overwhelming evidence to the contrary—public schools ‘just need more funding’.

Two of the greatest analysts of public education, John Holt and John Taylor Gatto, came to the same conclusion: that it was simply un-fixable. School reform is impossible. Forget more funding and forget higher standards. The system works as it was designed to work, whether or not your child has a great teacher (as most parents seem wont to believe) and that system is destructive. Period.

Personally, I’m not all that interested in reform. My kids don’t go and we don’t do “school at home”. We are not Christian and we aren’t trying to protect our kids from scary Darwinists and homosexuals. We simply remember how horrible school was for us, and we’ve read about ten thousand books on education. We want what’s best for our own kids and don’t trust the State to share our interest.

Now my kids are both on the shy, introverted side. Even so, they have much more ‘real world’ interaction than the poor school kids who are stuck in a room all day with one adult and a bunch of other children their own age.

That’s another thing—segregating people by age. How weird is that? In most schooling families, the siblings stop relating to each other as friends. It’s totally not cool to associate with someone younger. And after a while it’s not cool to associate with your parents.

Most of the homeschoolers I know are not only secular; they are people who really love their kids. A lot of them probably did natural childbirth , extended breastfeeding and family bed. They have a strong loving attachment to their kids and the thought of some muggle teacher taking over their job of raising their own kids is absurd and appalling.

I know this is very rude to say, but most of the teachers I’ve met (and I’ve met quite a few), are just not very inspiring folks (to put it politely). I mean, c’mon. These are people who liked school so much (or were just so afraid of the real world) that they wanted to stay in for life. John Holt once wrote that having a teaching credential automatically disqualified you from employment in the most prestigious private schools.

So how do kids learn if they aren’t in school? What a stupid question. I know, I know—people like to say, “there are no stupid questions”. But this one really takes the cake. I like to answer it with another question—how did you learn to talk? Or walk? Or dress yourself or use the toilet? Did you have a specialist with a curriculum? Did you take a test?

Children are very clever monkeys. They are learning machines. They are learning learning learning all the time. There is really only one way to stop them (or at least to slow them down). And that way is called public education.

Imagine those powerful clever monkey minds unhampered by dull textbooks and tests and ringing bells and antagonistic, moronic peers and the fear of being graded and judged and ridiculed. Imagine them aided by loving parents and public libraries, community centers, junior colleges and the Internet. Imagine them pursuing their own unique interests, diving in deep to whatever information attracts them, on their own schedule, at their own pace. Imagine them being loose in the community, forming relationships with adults and kids who might be older or younger than them. Imagine their creativity and ability to think outside the box.

These are the “unschoolers” and they are the last best hope for this country and the Earth itself.

So, California, leave ‘em alone.