A Grateful Run

Running through the fog today, in the pre-festivity Thanksgiving morning lull, I started thinking about how grateful I am to have work that I love. Frog Hollow is pretty much my grown-up equivalent of unschooling; I get to share what I am passionate about with people who are bright-eyed and passionate themselves. It’s pretty great.

And I realized that homeschooling was what gave me the confidence and the trust to invent my own perfect job and make it real. This led me to feeling grateful (for the zillionth time) that I got to homeschool. There were the practical benefits, for instance that when I applied to Stanford homeschoolers were admitted at twice the general admissions rate, but beyond that, there were all the life skills I learned.

We had a class when I was miserably attending middle school that was called Life Skills, of which I remember two things: people being sent out in the hall for drawing on themselves, and a painful sex-ed video where a camera followed the journey of the sperm only everything was blue and there was bad synthesizer music.

Homeschooling, on the other hand, I learned a basic life philosophy, and I learned it through experience, without a synthesizer sound track. I learned what it feels like to follow what excites me and to trust that whatever crazy place it takes me is a good place for me to go and that if it ceases to be good, something new and exciting will open up. This is a huge life tool for someone as indecisive and hesitant as myself, and the times when I have used it have been some of the best.

Operating from that kind of inner motivation is a profound skill, especially in a culture as grade/prestige/image oriented as our own. It makes both success and rebellion authentic, and I believe that it is the source of most deep positive change in the world.

I feel grateful to have been raised with many role models and the encouragement to develop that in myself, and I feel incredibly lucky to do work that not only allows me to keep following my passions, but where I can encourage that in another generation of young people.

(This post appears as well on my new blog about teaching writing to homeschoolers. Most posts on that blog do not overlap with The Friendly Moth, so if you like what I write, check it out! You could even subscribe!)


Ass and You Shall Receive

“I wish I had a bronze statue of your butt,” Nate told me a couple of months ago. “With a plaque: Becca’s butt, age thirty two.” Careful what you ask for, Nate.

Bronze was outside the scope of my budget, so I used Sculptamold.

“How would you make a casting of an, uh, torso?” I asked the art store guy. He suggested painting on latex, then supporting it with plaster.  He stressed the importance of thorough Vaseline. You have hairs you’ve never even noticed, he warned. I enlisted my friend Brigid, an artist who has seen my rear end plenty of times at the ladies’ spa.  She coated me up in latex like some sci-fi movie heroine.

“It’s like I’m just making art,” she said, “but then I remember, it’s your butt.”

Hours went by. But the latex wouldn’t dry. It kept, well, cracking. I worried about the efficacy of my vaseline. Brigid got out the blowdryer. Squinchy looked on, confused. He never has understood fine art. Finally, we thought it was dry enough. She put on the plaster casting. But when she peeled it off, the latex came off in shreds, dissolved by the moisture in the plaster. Now I was the sci-fi swamp monster. Hours of lying very still while someone painted my butt with tropical tree sap were wasted. And somehow I had to get all those shreds off of myself. I was rightly worried about the vaseline.

Displaying photo 4.JPGHowever, the plaster cast was good on its own. I loaded it up with sculptamold and voila — there was a statue of my rear. Very white and kind of pockmarked, but still totally my butt.

“You’re going to love your birthday present,” I told Nate. “But it isn’t ready yet.”

“Is it a puppy?”


Days went by. It still was not dry completely. I stuck it in the oven on warm for a few hours, then wrapped it in a couple of towels and drove it over to Nate’s.

When Nate unwrapped it, the statue was steaming.

“This is an amazing present,” said Nate, with deep sincerity. Yep Nate, it’s a benevolent universe.

I told my brother about it, and he thought Nate and I should each make one yearly, and line our basement with them. That’s an idea, Aidan, but forget the basement. Nate wants to hang it on his wall. Though for now it’s on an oven rack on his table, still drying.

The Quotable Nate

Nate has a little tip he’d like to share with all you single guys out there, one of those pieces of wisdom that is so useful it makes itself obsolete.

Go dancing.

Because, as Nate puts it, “People who know about dancing don’t have to be freaks.”

(Guess how Nate met me?)

I would like to add that dancing also works for girls. Also, that it Makes Dating People Funner. Every time Nate and I go dancing we totally remember exactly why we like being with each other.

And if anyone has seen Nate’s bolo tie with the real gold in it that he was wearing when we met, feel free to try out its magic, but then please send it back. He misses it.  And anyone who doubts the awesomeness of this bolo tie should have seen it on a certain Man in Black as he leaned on the wall drinking his whiskey sour.

Or forget it. Just go dancing.