It's not cold today but it's been cold. It's not hard today but it's been hard. Hard I don't mind - you can get through that. Cold - cold might kill you.
So my process remains the same as ever. If there is a problem you make a plan and execute the steps, every day that you're able, to mitigate the problem in steps. There's nothing in the world that can be defeated by a decent plan, meticulously executed.
Meticulous isn't my strongest suit, you understand, but this is one of those areas where I'm harder on myself than is sensible. I was talking to a friend of mine and I said - what do you think? I feel like I'm lazy, but that I accomplish kind of a good deal of things. I mean, I haven't written any very good books - but I've written some books. I haven't painted any very good paintings - but I've painted a lot of them - and at both of these things I've gotten better. I haven't had the best job, but I get better ones - always and forever I feel like I am in the act of becoming and that the permanent trajectory remains forward & up. There's a direction to things and it's carried off by trying a little bit each day to make a thing happen. That's the standing position, the foundational assumption. I stick with it.
To this end my circumstances have actually improved for the better owing to the recent troubling revelations re - that kid up there's school performance.
So I managed to expand the amount of time we have together by chiseling in twice weekly study sessions up at the library. This is proper & great. Sitting by the fire talking about the origins of Judaism & methods of calculating GCF & 15% tips. We're progressing, she's progressing in school, and I'm progressing in getting to have useful productive time with her. I love her so.
(Incidentally. So 6th grade Social Studies does a non-chronological introduction to all of the ancient world. The first section was cavemen & history and we had a long, productive discussion here. Lascaux & Altamira caves represented, I give her this lesson, a chatty kind of lecture spoken as we walk the walks of our neighborhood: "You see for the last 10,000 years people have had civilization. But there have been people for hundreds of thousands of years. Cave-men, you understand? They were amazing, brave. Think about it. These people wandered through the world killing mammoths - Mammoths! With rocks, pointed sticks and rocks. Rocks! And they sat by their fires, eating their mammoth and they must have told stories. Had their own ideas and legends. What could they have been? We don't have them now, because they didn't write them down, who knows what they talked about, or what language they spoke? But then they figured out to write things down, and you see, after writing things down for just 10% of our history we went from hunting mammoths with rocks to landing spaceships on comets. You see what organization & history can do. You can't land a spaceship on a comet without all the thousands of years of development and planning, but every generation improves things a little bit, makes it more possible for the next generation to build more and better things. So the moral of this story is - Write Down what you have to do, and Write down when it has to be done.")
We're working on things. And now have things to work on - it's added a bit more structure to our time together and it's given us projects to see through - so that's actually something that has been missing in our interactions. Really, she's been heading into weekends tired & overworked & so have I - we've fallen out of the habit of making lists of tasks and activities, and now we're back to it. We knocked out sumeria - learned a little cuneiform & even made a cuneiform emblem out of clay for her - I lent her my book on the treasures of UrIII and told her the PG version of Gilgamesh - we had productive time & good.
The last section on the fertile crescent before heading into Egypt was on the history of the Jews. I worked through it with her, but I was pretty astonished at just how kind of... religious & downright zionist the section was. The covenant with Abraham was kind of painted as a real-true thing that happened, for example. And Moses & the red sea was presented through, effectively, the Charlton Heston version of history. I held back and didn't correct, just helped her through the questions presented and offered commentary as deriving from the Torah - Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel - there are interesting stories- Noah/Utnapishtim's arks & the tower of babel & so on. We got through it and it was worthwhile - but I didn't do too much commentary because, well, you have to know the represented information before you can make a functional analysis. That's down the road, no doubt - but for now, it's been pretty wonderful.
But it's winter, or winter enough - and it's been cold. We were sledding on saturday & discarding our coats on sunday. Crazy old Ohio weather. The wind is blowing a gale now and I understand the cold is coming back, so it's back to coats & layers for me. And cold walks in the early dark talking about Imhotep & Osiris & the 3 seasons on the Nile & the meaning of lowest common denominators & the value of work & the worth of effort for its own sake.