We’re been having basic civics discussions lately, mostly in context of public vs. private schools. This mostly has involved who pays and how, or How to Explain Taxes to a Preschooler. So, today, Caitlyn asked me, “Is government real?” “Should I find some pictures of the people who work in government for you?” “Yes. Because I’m not sure I believe you.” Which seems to me to sum up quite a bit, actually. The visual, easy-to-understand connections between the Taxes I Pay and What Government Does For Me seem to have broken down or disappeared (although I sometimes wonder if they …

There’s been a flurry (accidental weather pun) of hype about the Olympics getting started yesterday in Vancouver. The news has been full of worried reports about our unusually warm January and the measures the hosts are going to to keep the snow on the mountains long enough for the Games to happen. We don’t watch TV, broadcast or cable, and we’re really not sports fans, so it’s mostly been a thing happened Out There. And so, it took me a moment to recognize the subject of this project at Craft’s blog. Then, after I realized this was an Olympic Something …

Well, we’re back… I’ve been digging my way out of the pile up of Stuff accumulated while we were on vacation in California. Seventeen days, 8 different sleeping locations (two of them on Amtrak), 6 kinds of transportation, lots of friends and a new cousin. Great to see everyone, and great to be home. It’s New Year’s, and I keep thinking I should be making up a list of goals or something. Make some bold declarations. But mostly I keep coming back to wanting more of what I’ve got. I’ll keep gardening, sewing, freelancing. I suppose I could say that …

Until the Industrial Revolution came along and turned children into cheap labor, children were the opposite: valuable labor. Either they helped out on the farm… or they helped their masters, and in turn their masters taught them a skill by which they could eventually make a living… Adults and children worked together, and there wasn’t such a huge gulf between them. Not that children were considered mini-adults, unloved and exploited. Just that children were expected to rise to the adulthood all around them, not stew in adorable incompetence. – Free-Range Kids: Giving our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going …

We took the train to Portland last weekend, the first Amtrak train trip for both Caitlyn and myself (Ian’s done most of the West Coast by train). I’ve taken trains in Europe, but this was the first non-light-rail train trip in the States for me. And I might just be a train convert. Significantly less stress than flying since there were no airport security tactics and more comfortable than driving. Caitlyn got to play with other kids on the trip down and entertain someone else’s grandmother on the trip home – all while not being strapped into her car seat. …

We’re signed up for Earth Hour: 60 minutes of lights out to save energy and try to nudge more leaders into taking climate change action. We did this last year and turned off the lights, the music, the entertainment center and most of the computers. I think Ian read by candlelight. I was probably trying to get something done (grr, deadlines) but ran the laptop off the battery. Our brother-in-law went for extremes and threw the main for his house; I’ve got too much stuff in the freezer for that, though. They are looking for 1 billion folks to pledge …