Category: Untraditional Education

Defined by Hormones

A week ago Rach and I went to the library after her piano practice. She wanted to pick up some old favorite audio books to enjoy while she was drawing. When we got there we found that while working on the teen section of the library they had put all the audio books, all the manga and comic books, and about half the other YA books in storage. All that was available was a smattering of popular and “improving” print books. A whole library of space– room for a huge magazine room for adults, several computer rooms, several open rooms in the basement, a huge new music area, and plenty of other available spots and they had stored away the vast majority of things the young adults actually used instead of finding a place to leave them out while they worked- the project started in April and won’t be done until at least November. Rach was understandably frustrated. I was frustrated and angry at the lack of respect for young people (they had recently done similar work on other sections and never stored any of that away. This is an ongoing issue at this library- if it is for teens then it is easy to push aside.)

What made my blood boil was the response of the librarian we had questioned told Rach, “Just listen to some of the grown-up audio books,” then she looked at me and said, “She is just being a teenager.”

As if Rachel’s righteous frustration at not being able to get to the audio books she wanted because of the thoughtlessness of others was due to her age or hormones. Her genuine irritation at the situation and their treatment of teens was discounted as just being her age.

I want to take a moment and say that our children’s librarian is excellent and genuinely enjoys working with young adults as well as children. He brings in a lot of excellent books, audio books, comics/manga. He has introduced game days and movie nights for the young adults and made the library a natural hangout and friendly place for young people- but he can’t change attitudes. The other librarians as well as the majority of volunteers will quickly sweep aside the concerns of the younger generation, have been known to cancel activities for them for the sake of activities for older adults, and so on. This treatment is reprehensible but it is the comments that irritate the most.

This is something we run into everywhere. Not just at the library, at the store, at the Y, it is everywhere we go. Perfectly ordinary people who have never met either of my daughters automatically discount their very legitimate negative feelings when things go wrong or people treat them poorly as “being a teenager”. Yes, hormones do affect the way we feel- they act like a megaphone for our feelings, especially when we are in the worst of it, but that is just as true during menopause, during the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy. I know the majority of the women I know would be very unhappy if their feelings were regularly discounted because of hormones. “Oh, ignore her, she is just pregnant.” “Oh, she is just cranky because of her period.” “Oh, she just is crying because of perimenopause.”

No. In general teenagers are the only part of our population who regularly have their feelings discounted because of the hormonal stuff going on in their bodies. Everyone else gets the benefit of the doubt.

I wonder how this older librarian or any of the other older ladies who have made “teenager” comments recently would feel if I referred to her regularly as middle aged or a “middle ager”. What if I discounted her feelings regularly because she is dealing with perimenopause. “Oh, you aren’t really upset because you are having a bad day and people are treating you like crap. It is just because you are perimenopausal.” I don’t think that would go over well. And if everyone was doing that to her, after a while she would become pretty sensitive to it.

Our society as a whole tends to treat both young adults and children as second class citizens. We push them to do this and that, to grow up as fast as possible, and then refuse to acknowledge their maturity until a single age when suddenly we expect them to be all grown up. It doesn’t work that way. Everyone is different. We all grow and learn and mature at different stages. We need to respect one another, recognizing that everyone, children and young adults included, are dealing with different things. We all have struggles. We all have frustrations. We all have good days and bad. And as our children grow, we can gradually help them work through the rough spots, encourage them in their strengths, and treat them from early on with respect, recognizing them as fellow human beings instead of second class citizens. I think if we did that we would find that the vast majority of what we call “teenager” behavior would be eliminated.

Oh, and we solved the problem with the library- I suggested Rach go ahead and order the audio books from all the other libraries in the system. Sure it will be inconvenient for the librarians. Sure it may take an extra day but maybe next time they will leave them out instead of storing them away.

Rethinking and Survivorship Bias

I have been thinking a lot about this:

When I first read this http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/ I was thinking “oh, I never thought about it that way, I need to redirect my brain”. Then I realized that no, this is how my husband and I see everything. (Caution, very long and wordy article. Good but wordy. The first half is more a history lesson, then a bit that is important to the article, and then the end comes back to that first half full circle. So iuf you are in a hurry skip down to the image of the bomber and read there.)

If it isn’t working for other people then we look for a different way to do things. Instead of looking at the few successes with any given thing (and boy do we hear about those- but it worked for so and so…so what, it didn’t work for 90% of the other people who tried it) we focus on why isn’t it working for all those other people, there has to be something better. Then we search until we find something that is working for us. Thus the radical unschooling, thus the home/unchurching, thus the natural remedies, the gentle parenting and so on. We tend to rethink everything. If it isn’t working then lets do something else- why continue doing something that is damaging us and our relationships even if it IS tradition or the way things have always been.

I remember a while back Jessica Bowman wrote a great post about not worrying about what they aren’t learning and repeated the “This is stupid, so I’m not doing it anymore.” Exactly. (http://www.christianunschooling.com/why-i-stopped-stressing-myself-out-with-classical-homeschooling/) If something isn’t helping us or our family, if it isn’t making our lives better or doing what it is supposed to be doing, then why are we still doing it. “This is stupid. I’m not doing it anymore.”

A Season of Transitions and Many Blessings

After 3 years of  full freelancing, with God providing from all different places including the work of our hands, the Lord has seen fit to give me a job that is providing fully for our family. This will enable us, God willing, to find a local place to rent instead of moving wherever (as we were willing to do and are still willing to do should things change, yet this means we can stay here where family is, especially my grandmother who is not doing as well as we would hope.) This was completely God’s hand– one minute I  was doing some website work and an hour later I had a full time job.

New palette– sketch for future color reference.

This job is not a forever job.  I am part of a team of women who care for an elderly woman. When she no longer needs us then I will no longer have this job.  So we are using this income to get ourselves on better financial footing, to pay off debt,  and find a temporary place to live. (The bank finally, after 6 months, decided that the buyer of our home was not suitable and that we were going to back into full foreclosure. Sigh. So we have a Sheriff sale ate again and a move out date.)  We are packing up the house and looking for a place to rent, or will as soon as the plague leaves our house. We have a list of places to check but are waiting on God’s timing, and part of that is being healthy again (Rach got sick, then the rest of us did– par for the course, though I think we are on the tail end of it now).

Little reader dragon-ACEO

In the last month, not only have we been adjusting to the changes that come with me working full time but also, God has been doing some serious spiritual heart surgery around here.   There have been many changes of a wide variety and those, combined with me working, and the family being sick, have made for a very interesting time but one I am not quite ready to discuss publicly (especially since we are still in the midst of it– we are talking deep internal changes which only show in small things externally). Basically Shamus and I have been spending a huge amount of time listening to the bible together and talking about what God is showing us and  the internal understandings and changes have been pretty huge. Aside from  all the other stuff He has specifically laid 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.) on both of our hearts and we are praying and learning what that looks like in the work that He has given us to do.

Curled up with a Good Book– dragon postcard.

Also, during that time Shamus had a huge computer mess which lead to blessings but that is a story for him to tell (which I believe he will be sharing later this week.) In fact, I believe he has another thing to share this week as well.

All in all God has been blessing us from every angle.  The job I have permits me a lot of downtime and quiet, so I spend that time reading and painting. I do have internet access but no laptop or tablet so I can only be online in part, via the wi-fi smart phone– this means I can keep in touch with the family while there without having to make calls. This means I am spending less time  on groups on Facebook and more time just praying for the CU group (I can only access it sporadically from the phone and usually don’t get updates). That said it is a blessing to have quiet time to paint, and be encouraged to do so (the lady I work for loves that I spend my downtime painting and encourages it.) So I am not only working full time but also producing more paintings.

New book dragon.

The only downside of me working is I am getting less time at home with the family. 🙂  They don’t seem to be suffering for it, in fact it has been a neat transition as Shamus is taking on more of the daily conversations about anything and everything. I think it is a very good thing all in all but I do miss having a good feel for what is going on, what is needed, and who is struggling with what.

Finally, Shamus and I celebrated 16 years of marriage this week by getting nice and sick (well, he is.  I am only slightly  so– stuffy nose mostly) but that made for an interesting anniversary.  Also, Rach spent her birthday last week sick but I think had a super awesome birthday anyway.

So there it is.  A bit of a rambly post about how God is working in our lives and  where we are right now. Aside from being sick the kids are thriving. Shamus is thriving. I am thriving. God is good and is doing great things.  We will see where He leads us next.

God Uses Our Baggage

We all have them; stories we seldom share because they are still too painful, too small, could hurt someone if we shared, or that we are still working through.

How can I possibly talk about dropping the vacuum cleaner and filling the air with dust just as my asthmatic husband was about to come in and work when someone else’s baby is dead? Why am I so upset for so long about something small when something huge has happened to someone else? How can I even  bear to pray for my small stuff knowing children are starving in Africa? How can we ask for prayer from friends or family about a missing pet when someone else is missing a child? How can we ask for prayer for a healthy pregnancy when someone has just had a miscarriage? How can we deal with all this stuff without laying our burden on others?

Instead of comparing ourselves to others, consider Esther (the queen, not my daughter) and Mordecai’s question of her, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” God can only use us when we are willing to step up to the plate, are willing to work through our stuff, to burrow through that baggage, and come out the other side and share what He has done. He uses us as we are willing and as we work through our anger, our frustration, our depression, and  focus our eyes on Him, willingly seeing the good He has for us in the darkness.  We are to be lights, shining on the world, showing them the way.  If we are caught up in our own misery, focusing on the pain we have or avoiding it completely instead of dealing with it, then our hearts turn rocky, they turn solid instead of soft.  We need soft hearts and open hands in order to be used by Him.  We need to be willing to shine and  burn all the way down to the nib. If we aren’t willing, if we are caught up just trying to keep the flame lit at all, then it makes it hard for Him to use us. If we look at others and see their problems looming or  assume that they don’t have it as hard as us, then it makes it hard for Him to use our stories.  

On the other hand, if we  open up, if we share even the stupid little things willingly and without anger, we find that God can use it.  For example: I have never lost a child.  I have never had a miscarriage.  I have never had an abortion.  I have no idea what that is like, what that grief is like.  Yet I have many, many friends and family who have lost a child, often not even talking about it except in whispers. Who knows how many people  would be comforted to know that they aren’t the only one to have lost a child to miscarriage,  abortion, adoption, or death after birth. What a comfort it would be to others who have also been there, to whom can then say, “Oh, me too.”

We are all in different places.  Our stories are all different.  What you are going through and what you have dealt with is what you alone have gone through, it is no one else’s story.  Only you know how painful it is, how painful it was.  Only you know your relationship with God through this thing, and only you can work it out with God.  Just know that  it is important.  It is important that  you work through it with God.  It is important that you remember. It is important that you heal.  When you are through it, when you come out the other side (and sometimes even when you are in the middle of it all), you will become a  memorial stone for the next person on that same journey, on that same path.  You will be a landmark and light for them.  You will, once you come out the other side, be the person encouraging the next person in the midst of it that this too shall pass. If you let God use you through it, then He will use you to  lift someone else up and  bear the burden. If you hide it and keep it close then He won’t be able to do so.

God wants to use your baggage and turn it into a light for the next person on the path.  Let Him do it.  

Tire edition #birdsoftheair

It has been a blessed week, though exhausting.

The car now has new tires, and a fixed right front lower control arm thing, and as soon as we have the cash, aligned. It was all confusing and convoluted because  my dad got wind of us needing tires thanks to totally bald ones that skidded in less than a half inch of snow.  He and my mother-in-law decided to pay for it for our Christmas present, but then there was something broken which needed fixed before it can be aligned, and so on.  So my dad ended up paying more than planned for our gift but is now happier because he isn’t worrying about us  getting in an accident.  The tires still need aligned but that will happen as soon as we get paid for a couple jobs. So God worked it all out and we now have good tires and a fied thing that we didn’t know was broken, and soon it will all be aligned so there will be no more concern in that department.

Several packages full of things from our grocery wishlist as well as from the kids wishlists.  This is awesome because we have no money for gifts this year and Hanukkah starts tomorrow night.  The kids thought they were getting nothing.  Instead we now have  the makings for several treats, so we can have a special treat a day, plus they have each gotten a gift – each something they really, really wanted. I also know that at least one other person has ordered gifts for the kids which I haven’t mentioned to them, so that will be exciting to see as well.  (I should take a video next time we get a package.  Everyone gets so excited because it is always a surprise, and often we don’t even know it is coming.)

We got a coupon in the mail for $10 off $40 in groceries, one for each of the next few weeks so I suspect that will be helping put food on the table.

We have the house decorated for Hanukkah, we are all warm and fed, and God, Lord Provider, is so very good to us.

Have a blessed Sabbath.

Birds of the Air

A friend who is in  a kind of similar boat financially…okay not really but in the “trusting God completely with this whole money and provision business” boat has started a weekly meme where she encourages others to share God’s provision.  This is perfect because, though I write it over on the Untraditional Home Facebook page, I do often forget to come over here and share. So here is me sharing all the awesome stuff God has done over the past week.

To start this last week we had no idea where the money was coming from for our auto-insurance.  We are in the “juggling bills” stage of  freelance work and things have been …interesting.  (Initially as in Jessica’s case God provided via our Amazon wishlist and direct donations via paypal.  More recently it has been through  a huge variety of sources, including donations but mostly via work He has provided from many different sources. ) God has been continuing to provide from all sorts of places but it has been tight and we have to be careful.  After paying the most immediate need we waited to see what He would do.  I was finishing up the book and in the meantime we waited on God.  I finished writing and editing, got the book up for sale and by the next day we had exactly the money for the car insurance.  Down to the penny.  Exactly.  So we paid on time.

It was a miracle and all of us were so excited to see what God had done. However, the thing about getting exactly the right amount was that we pay tithe on whatever He gives (personal conviction and He has been faithful.).  I needed to pay that bill and now but wanted to pay tithe.  So we prayed about it and decided to give the money from the next two books sold as tithe.  And sold two more books the next day.  No other books, just those two.  So there was our tithe.

But I didn’t know where to give.  All I had was the name of a friend, I was to contact her. When I did she didn’t need it (they live in New Jersey) and no one locally needed it but she knew of someone who lived on the shore who either could use it herself or would know where it should go.  So she messaged her for her paypal account so I could send the money directly.  When she got back to me she said that 9 other people have also asked for her paypal information out of the blue and she knew exactly the family that needed the help.  God knew exactly what He was up to there.

A few days later my print book came. This was amazing because it meant that from start to finish the book had taken almost exactly 3 weeks.  You don’t usually write a book in 3 weeks let alone hold a physical copy in your hands in 3 weeks.  Granted it is a short book but still. 🙂

So now the book was out there and I could focus on decluttering our house in preparation for sale.  We have no idea where God is leading (okay, ideas yes, but no firm plans) so we are focused on leaving here with as little stuff as possible. We are eliminating everything excess from our lives so that when He says go we are ready.  The house has a buyer so we are waiting on the bank and various decisions to be made.  If it goes through then we will be out of here before Christmas but everything is still up in the air.  So we continue to get rid of and simplify our lives.  We continue praying for wisdom and clarity in this and that we can move out soon because it is expensive to heat and keep electric and water on in this house.

Because of the house sale we needed to get a few estimates on sewer replacement. (The buyer is threatening to walk if too expensive.  Be praying God’s will here– it IS more expensive than they want to pay but if the bank is willing to work with them then  maybe they will stay?) I have always been horribly afraid of making phone calls.  That whole talking to random strangers without being able to see their face thing is HARD.  Yet, suddenly God removed that fear completely.  I was able to call without even a twinge. And last week I spent several hours on the phone negotiating with our cell phone provider so we could move to a way cheaper situation for free, without fear.  I realized that God has completely removed that fear.  Maybe it was all the robot calls during the political campaign.  Maybe it was all the crazy calls from the bank (right hand has no idea what the left hand is doing) but it is gone.  In fact, I have to call this morning and get a few more estimates and I am not even feeling nervous about that.  God is so awesome!

God has been providing money for groceries from every source imaginable and has also provided that for the first time ever our groceries are super cheap.  Thanks to the GAPS diet we are now able to eat “normal” food with minimal side affects– even Es who was super allergic to corn and rice can eat both without a sniffle.  This week, when my dad took Issac and I out for breakfast for Issac’s birthday I asked about going to Sam’s Club sometime in order to stock up on a few things. He offered to go right away but I explained that it had to wait till I had some money to go (our current grocery budget is about $40-$50).  He said he would take us and give me that much to buy groceries.  Then I ended up picking up the wrong rice (50 lb instead of 25 lb– it was in the wrong pile and I got distracted as I picked it up) so we ended up going over but only buy a little and it was fine. So we ended up with enough food to last us several months, or at least to extend whatever else we can afford (the flour and rice will last, the rest?  Probably not. :))  God has also provided random food from friends and family– a large shopping bag of apples from a friend, some fruit from my grandma, things like that.

We also felt led to drop Netflix this last week.  It is a small thing but it cost money that we didn’t have and it needed to go.  So we cancelled, and it turned out that when we cancelled it was the very last day of the month– if we had waited a day it would have charged us and with what we are juggling that could have been bad. Then Issac decided he wanted to use his birthday money for Hulu Plus this month.  He was so excited when he discvered that the show they had all really wanted to watch, which wasn’t on Netflix, was available on Hulu Plus.

And finally, it looks like God has gone ahead and supplied the money for the next bill– the cell phone, which was about to be turned off tomorrow, and would have cost a lot more to get turned back on or if we dropped it completely. So that is another phone call I get to make today. 🙂 Praise the Lord!

As I posted on Facebook: It can be nerve-wracking (living on what God provides alone) but such a blessing to see how specifically He is taking care of us from all different directions. With God it isn’t, “You can expect me to always provide in this one way,” but rather “Don’t bother to expect me to provide in just one way, I am amazing and creative and own the cattle on a 1,000 hills and love to surprise you and remind you I am Lord through my provision.” #birdsoftheair God is so good and who are we to be afraid when He has shown us time and time again that He is taking care of us and will provide.

Now head over to Jessica’s to read some more awesome stories of God’s provision.

Happy Halloween

We finished Rachel’s Chell costume (from Portal) tonight.  Issac had to test out the Portal gun: made from a small soda bottle, a 2 liter, foam, paper, tape, glue gun, some pieces of plastic and wire found around the house, and a glow stick.  Designed by Rachel with help from Mom. The boots  are real boots with stockings over (drawn on with sharpie) and lots of electrical and packing tape.

Interruptibility

Seth Barnes wrote today about  being interruptible in terms of leading and mentoring young missionaries and it got me thinking about it in terms of  parenting and unschooling, especially when both parents work from home plus in terms of the mentoring I do of Christian unschoolers and others who contact me regularly via email and Facebook.  In Christ being a leader (whether of a group of 800 or just in your home as a parent) means being a servant.  Being a servant means being available.  Being available means you are setting yourself for  exhaustion if you don’t make sure to recharge.  If you are being there for others 24/7 then you need to take what opportunities He provides to rest and make sure you are filled up with Him.  July took a lot out of me.  It was a very hard month.  This month is just as full but in  more fun ways and He has been showing me how to  serve while taking care of my heart and mind so I can better serve.

Anyone who knows me well knows I am a non-planning laid back sort of person.  When I try to plan and schedule things  I get caught up in my plans and forget to enjoy life.  So instead I come up with a tentative plan and trust God with it– His plans are way more awesome than mine. 🙂  So I am naturally fairly interrupt-able.  Once upon a time I was obsessed with reading missionary biographies.  ONe in particular said something that stuck with me.  It was something about how being interrupted was God’s way of getting him where He wants him.  Back then I decided I needed to make sure I was doing that– seeing interruptions as God getting my attention and refocusing me on what was important.   I have also needed to learn when I have to stop and how to work things so I have the breaks I need in order to recharge properly.  I am introverted despite my constant interactions and needed to learn how to get the recharge time I need to I can be what others need when they need it.    So, even though we have had company visiting and lots going on in the group I admin (with the help of 11 beautiful, gentle women who help me keep things loving and thoughtful when anger and frustration rear their heads), plus the kids needing this and that and just wanting to talk, I wander out to the porch with my book and read until one of the kids joins me on the porch for a chat.  I take a long quiet bath or watch a bit of a movie or read or bake or take a walk, anything to get the rest my brain needs when I can so that when I am needed I am recharged and ready.

Yesterday I was blessed with a minor road trip to the airport with several visits interspersed– some with people I have never met, others I hold dear, but in the midst of it I had time driving alone.  I love driving, especially in new places with interesting sights.  I love  being able to see God’s handiwork everywhere and have quiet conversations with Him as I navigate roads, having faith that He will get me safely where I am going whether I know how to get there or not (the kids will tell you I am never lost since I know where I am– right here– and know where I am going  though only God knows how to get between the two though I very often am in the place where I don’t know how to get from here to there and spend that time prayerfully driving and we eventually get where we want to be).  It was a day that was not planned,  other than getting to the airport on time and meeting up with Grace’s friend’s family.  Everything else was spontaneous and relaxed and filled with the freedom to wait and see what God had in store.  The visits were a lovely blessing and the space to drive and pray and think was just what I needed after such a hectic week.  God worked it all out perfectly so that not only did I get plenty of time with Grace before seeing her off and time with my brother-in-law and his beautiful and very pregnant wife, but I also got plenty of downtime alone with Him.  And I have learned that if I watch and wait He will provide those times in the midst of the busy-ness if I keep my eyes open– I just need to be ready to take them.

Everything is an adventure and I love  seeing where God is leading us and watching to see how He works it all out.  And very, very often it is those interruptions, those messages on Facebook, or those emails, or phone calls that  remind me where He IS working and how I can help in this or that circumstance.  Those interruptions also remind me  that He uses everything for good.  Our various health issues, behavioral stuff with the kids as well as both Shamus and my learning issues in school, and the way He has worked to heal us through various diet related things, my studies of herbalism and wildcrafting, food related stuff, our indie book publishing, writing, fixing things,  unschooling experiences, gentle parenting experiences, art stuff, the list goes on.  I have messages daily about all sorts of things that people are struggling with — areas that I have past experience with that helps and encourages them.  It amazes and blesses me daily that God is redeeming those experiences through these “interruptions” in what I think I should be doing.

 

Addendum– as I wrote this I also helped Issac  figure out ideas for things to build in Minecraft (including finding him graph paper, ruler, and pencil so he could draw out his ideas), and had several conversations with Rach.

Where We Are June 2012

On the house front we have a buyer– maybe.  Have to get a “dye test” done for the sewer and if that needs work then the buyer is walking– so still no idea when we will have to move and just waiting on God.

Otherwise all is well and the Lord has continued to provide enough for the coming month.  It has been so awesome to see where the money comes from each month– some from book sales, some from website stuff and art sales, some from ads, some from donations, but regardless it is just enough eacah time.

The kids are busy and happy and growing and learning and just plain awesome.  We got to go meet up with some fellow Christian unschoolers yesterday at Old Bedford Village which was so much fun despite the heat.  I am thinking that is another post though.

The Christian Unschooling group I run (now with the help of 11 wonderful ladies) on Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds with roughly 20 new people a WEEK and all sorts of conversations ranging from basic unschooling and Christianity questions to health to prayer requests to who knows what (today’s big question was about coffee– best type of coffee maker and coffee because one of the kids wanted to know so Mom asked.:))  It takes a lot of time and energy to keep up but it is amazing to see what God is doing and I am so grateful for my small group of admins who help me keep it kind, gentle, and away from the danger zones.

I AM remembering to post recent pictures of the kids but mostly just to my Facebook page for the blog since I am on Facebook for the group all the time and am able to quickly upload them there now (used to be nearly impossible for me to upload pictures to Facebook, plus their policy about photos used to be squiffy).  So if you want to see where we have been and what the kids have been doing and learning  you can find the pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/untraditionalhome?

Also, I have been updating my Etsy shop with all the art I have sitting around that never got posted (still have Sherwood Showdown paintings to post but otherwise  I think I have them all up there and decently organized).  Lots more geeky stuff for sale plus art from Shamus’ book: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ElasahArt

PAX East

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The show floor from the sky bridge that you walk across everytime you want to get to a panel room across the building on the same floor as the last panel you saw.

We just got back from PAX East last night.  God provided that we had the money to get there, sold all the books while there and therefore had the money to get home.  Go God!!!  And thank you to the random gift givers who helped us get there.  You all are awesome!!!

Escapist Movie Night
The Escapist movie night panel, L-R: One of the dudes from the new show "Space Janitors", Shamus, Movie Bob, and the crew of Loading, Ready, Run: Matt Wiggins, Kathleen De Vere, Graham Stark

We got to find out how quickly Shamus’ book would sell out and wish we had brought more.

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Blankety Blank Panel which was hosted by Susan Arendt (NOT in the photo), in photo : Russ Pitts, an ex-reviewer who wrote a book that I can't remember the name of, Kathleen De Vere, and Movie Bob

We saw some amazingly funny panels (like the LLR panel and those that the Escapist creatives including Susan Arendt and Movie Bob were involved in). We got to meet some more cool people to add to the list of cool people we already know (like Russ Pitts and James Portnow along with a slew of Shamus’ readers and some really awesome indie game developers) and see friends we hadn’t seen for a year (like Susan Arendt and the LLR crew) .

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James Portnow of Extra Credits among many other things.

We got to see some incredibly thought provoking panels which I am still pondering and percolating posts thanks to (namely two that included James Portnow and were on topics close to my heart– one on Gaming and Education and one called the Genre Divide about rethinking why people play certain games and how games are divided into genres.)

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Girls Like Robots (a pretty fun indie game.)
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A very cool concept for a rpg that my kids are really looking forward to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/JoshuaACNewman/mobile-frame-zero-rapid-attack

We got to see a ton of amazing indie games and some cool AAA games.

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Shamus crashed while waiting.

We got tired and hungry and sick of granola bars (thanks to the convention centers ridiculously huge symmetric layout where you have to go down a level and cross a sky bridge to get between two panels on the same floor and expensive food–$7 for a HOT DOG.)

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In front of the convention center-- parking was in rear and you had to walk a quarter mile of wind tunnel just to get in a door.

We got stuck in 2 hours of 5 mph traffic and only got lost in Boston once (last year we managed to add a half hour of wrong turns onto every single trip and this year we were saved mostly thanks to paying close attention, avoiding the roads we knew we had trouble with, and Josh’ excellent sense of direction.)

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The audience at the Escapist movie night panel.