Skip to content

I wish there was a recipe

February 23, 2012

This picture, which I love, is a sort of a metaphor for this blog. Because when I press “enhance” in iphoto, which is my craftiest photo trick to date, the juniper tree becomes a gorgeous deep green but the robin becomes something dark and smeary. Which can be taken many ways, but I’m just saying I’m not that good with technology. Further evidence is that I put up a post Wednesday and instead of it appearing on my homepage as a new post should, it slunk way down in the old posts like it was in hiding. Which, maybe it was. I was a little nervous about posting it, a little vulnerable about sharing some of my more difficult moments.

And then I had a great talk with Erin Goodman about how perhaps people are craving vulnerability and realness even more than perfect sewing (and fermenting) projects.

This was on the heels of my friend Steph telling me the response of a successful life coach, who, when asked about her biggest regret of the past 30 years responded, “speaking negatively to myself.” When Steph told me that we both paused in the slushy snow of our stroll, because holy shit, who would we be and what could we do if we didn’t engage in any negative self talk?

So, I’m trying to interpret the subtle nuances between negativity and vulnerability. I think it goes sort of like this: I suck = negativity. I don’t know what I’m doing = vulnerability.

Thank you for your insightful comments (and e-mails) thus far on more like a labyrinth. Maybe I haven’t let on but this homeschooling gig requires a dumptruck-load of trust, daily. Do I seem fearless? Because I’m not. Sometimes I need 10 chiropractic adjustments an hour, my neck gets so jacked with tension as I’m helping Col write one sentence in his journal. This may be when I start imagining him as a 43-year old illiterate lego-savant.

I’d love to open my door each morning to the dumptruck depositing a load of trust on my lawn. But trust is manufactured on the inside. I just wish there was a recipe.

Also, in announcements:

* My next writing class starts 3/12 and there are still some spaces open.

* Fun new 6512 sidebar feature: good stuff on the worldwide web. Not sure if you can see this on your phone or rss feed.

* Ginger ale is done! Bubbly and sweet and disappearing fast down sweet little mouths.

Have a wonderful weekend!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2012 10:15 pm

    i like the negativity vs vulnerability exploration. also – and i can’t remember where i read this, but it seems relevant (talkfeeleez, perhaps?) – “worrying is like praying for something you don’t wish to happen.” yeah. that one socked me right in the gut. keep on keepin’ on, sister. and i if i see a dumptruck fulla trust, i will grand theft auto that sucker and leave it on yer doorstep. xo

  2. Tammy permalink
    February 23, 2012 10:23 pm

    You’re doin’ alright. I homeschooled my 3 for 10 years and though there was many a day that I had the same concerns, the same, “What was I thinking of?!” And now, today, my kids are in rigorous academic programs, loving their college studies, and thanking me. I couldn’t deliver everything, but what I believed in, I could. And I think it’s all good and what you’re doing with your children is more than amazing. God bless you.

    • February 25, 2012 5:57 pm

      Thank you so much, Tammy. The doubts seem to be a bit endemic to the newby-ness of it all. Hoping to grow into this role. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      • Tammy permalink
        February 25, 2012 11:01 pm

        and Rachel, I feel like the doubts never did (never do!) go away, but no doubt it is not an easy vocation. No you are are doing the right thing in following your heart. From what I read, you sure are!
        By the way, my daughter just had posted on her FB status, “Just finished writing the best essay ever, titled ‘Stop reading that book and go play with the other kids!'” She featured me as the benevolent caregiver, said I was not a villain at all! And it is always my honor to be called upon as my college kids academic reference. So however long you choose to school them for, enjoy all of the fun stuff.

  3. February 23, 2012 11:36 pm

    I have a complicated relationship with technology too, but one trick I’d like to learn is how to put little hearts over all the word combinations and sentiments I love in your writing. I’d be click click clicking like a mad lady.
    Negative talk- wow. Yeah. To realize your own worst enemy is inside your skull – both creepy and irritating and then, on the bright side, great news since you are that voice and can choose something different. But it’s funny, if someone was standing in your kitchen talking to you in that way you’d “unfriend” them on the spot. Amazing what we put up with from ourselves.
    And I agree I think people like vulnerability, CRAVE vulnerability. I think for every photo of the perfect sewing project or immaculate “candid” kitchen shot, there should be a mandatory behind the scenes shot of all the crap shoved into the laundry room to clear the way for those photo shoots. And every time we share something true, not just funny or clever or pretty, we are doing a service to humans everywhere.
    As for reading, our homeschooling of Xi meant we read to her every day and she didn’t even try to read. She wanted to know how to read but she didn’t want to learn how to read. She learned somewhere between six and seven and I don’t even know how because there was no discernible learning.
    And I don’t think I said the above quote but I would have :). I also like this one, not mine either, but very good:

    “Whatever you’re thinking about is literally like planning a future event. When you’re worrying, you are planning. When you’re appreciating you are planning . . . What are you planning?”

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      February 25, 2012 5:47 pm


      I love everything about this comment. If anyone spoke to me like I spoke to myself I’d call the domestic abuse hotline. And as far as “choosing something different,” hmm, yes. Stepping up my practice, now.

      xo Rachel

  4. February 23, 2012 11:36 pm

    OK, so I am revealing myself. We are mommy twins in so many ways, primarily in that I, too, am on the journey of trust with a 6-year-old soon to be 50-year-old illiterate Hero Factory savant. Just saying.

    You made me laugh and helped me cut myself some slack. Thank you for that!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      February 25, 2012 5:48 pm

      Thanks for “coming out,” Amy. Slack is good, yes.

  5. Audrey permalink
    February 24, 2012 2:08 am

    Will you send me that photo please? Maybe part of the recipe is having friends who know Photoshop…

  6. Chris permalink
    February 24, 2012 7:06 am

    Rachel – I have four sons (ages 6 – 11) – both my personal experience and ed research shows there is a really wide range among children acquiring literacy. The process – the steps – are usually consistent across children but the timeline between steps hugely varies. You’re raising Col & Rose in a word-rich environment that welcomes curiosity, that strong foundation is key.

    I totally understand about the moments of self-doubt, though, and it’s not unique to homeschooling. It would be, frankly, an improvement if I could envision my sons’ experience in their schools as a labyrinth. Lately it’s much more a very random maze, despite the best intentions of nearly everyone involved.

    Our first robin sighting was on Feb 1 – unusually warm winter in Minnesota!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      February 25, 2012 5:49 pm

      > You’re raising Col & Rose in a word-rich environment that welcomes curiosity, that strong foundation is key.

      Thanks for those words, Chris, and for walking the labyrinth with me.

  7. February 24, 2012 10:43 am

    My sister and I built tents. One of my bestest childhood memory.

  8. February 24, 2012 11:35 am

    I am so with you, sistah, (On this post and the labrynth one) and I’ll think I have a couple of future illiterate Lego savants to join yours in 30 years–maybe they can start a club–because I have one that reacts with paroxysms of kicking and screaming if anyone suggests he read a book for his reading log. And, while we’re at it, we’re sliding back down the pottytraining mountain, too, ’cause who wants to use thsoe scary bathrooms that flush so loudly at school, and then once you’re at daycare it’s way too much effort to go inside unzip your snowpants and you’re wet already anyway, from wallowing around in the muddy pools left behind by the scant snow we’ve received and you’re kind of cold, and it’ll warm you up for a little bit…anyway, too much info about my kid’s bladder control issues. Yes, it is so refreshing to hear people admit to vulnerability, and since the past week has not been one of my most stellar parenting-wise (I think it all started with staying up too late Friday night watching Three Idiots [which I highly recommend], followed by staying up too late Saturday night drinking too much wine with a friend, capped by staying up too late Sunday night for the Downton Abbey finale) I do so appreciate knowing that it’s not all roses (or fermented beverages) for others as well. I’m trying to take my hairdresser’s advice: Go back to basics. What do you know you do well? Do that. Oh, and by the way, I have one kid who has never once participated in any constructive way to Valentine-making, and I’ve decided that’s OK (after forcing the first child to handwrite all 30 Valentines when he was three, I finally lightened up and realized it didn’t matter). And they will learn to read, I promise (yours and mine) and if not, I’m sure there’s some kind of Lego home that will take them in.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      February 26, 2012 1:10 pm

      Loudly flushing toilets are anxiety-producing here too.

  9. Nana Judy permalink
    February 24, 2012 1:32 pm

    A professor of physics at Harvard Eric Mazur was tremendously frustrated & sobered when he realized – from testing and conversations – that his students didn’t understand the fundamentals of the discipline, despite totally brilliant lectures from the podium, and despite the students being able to solve problems from formulas learned mechanically. The prof – in desperation – told the students to talk to the person next to them and to figure it out. It was chaotic in the classroom, but it led to a whole new approach to teaching. He said recently, “In a sense, maybe I’m bringing kindergarten back to college by having people talk to each other.”

    So…in sum…I think you are doing just fine – and when anxious or at an impasse, ask the kids to figure it out!

  10. February 24, 2012 1:53 pm

    still brewing my honey ginger ale. :) but you and erin are right that what we all crave is the real stuff, yep even more than recipes and tutorials. i love your tag “homeschooling requires trust” and i totally agree, in dumptruck load quantities. and i think that’s why i like it. and i also think homeschooling BUILDS trust. so at least there’s that flip side. trust is a real good thang.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      February 25, 2012 5:52 pm

      Yes, homeschooling does build trust (and I love that), because the alternative is I’m passed out drunk at 10:00am, and that’s not going to fly.

  11. Emily permalink
    February 24, 2012 9:19 pm

    ok, sure, but you’re still going to post fermenting projects right?!?

    In the back of my cluttered/maze mind I had prepared myself for my son to be a late reader (he’s a boy! we are slacker homeschoolers! I was a late reader!), but when my daughter was late I was totally unprepared for the panic I felt. still a little panic-y.

    My mother (oh crap) once told me that her college students couldn’t write intelligently because they didn’t read anything worth reading. I had a high school teacher say something similar, while seeming to experience physical pain over grading our papers. Which is to say we read a lot. It’s the one thing all educational folk seem to agree on. I hold onto it like the kids hold onto neon blue lollipops from the bank teller.

    and (almost done) I find my trust grows (maybe not to dump truck loads) when I read homeschooling books that speak loudly of trust. Holt, David Albert, “Your Childs Growing Mind” (not actually a homeschooling book). When I’ve talked about tough homeschooling moments with other mums, reading stuff that speaks to, or inspires you is helpful stuff, and it keeps you from breathing down your kids necks. Umm, did you actually ask for advice?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      February 25, 2012 5:55 pm


      Yes, the community helps. So much. I am lucky to be in this homeschool co-op, where everyone speaks the same language and there is a lot of cheerleading for the team. And I *do* appreciate your advice!

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I love hearing from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s