Monday, April 18, 2011

I Have Found My People...

...and they live in Duluth!!  The blog has been silent because I have been traveling and find myself, once again, sitting in an airport waiting for a flight home waaayyyy past the time I should have returned.  I am becoming a firm believer in The LaJoy Flight Curse, as it seems that when a LaJoy flies, there is always some sort of unexpected adventure or delay...or perhaps one is the same as another :-)

I came to Duluth to work with Madon Daily at the Nancy Larson Science exhibitor booth, and arrived on Thursday afternoon for the MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Eductors) annual conference.  I had  a blast, as Madon is sort of my older twin sister in an almost eerie way, and we had a lot of laughs while working and driving through snowy streets as we ogled the massive waves and tug boats on Lake Superior.  It was terribly cold with wind whipped evenings as we left the convention hall.  Then, in true LaJoy fashion, I missed my flight out because I somehow set the alarm incorrectly.  I rescheduled my flight for later that afternoon, and after Madon dropped me off and headed off down the road I discovered that the reservation clerk on the phone rescheduled my flight for the next afternoon (today).  And there was no way to get back home.  None.  Hmmmm...

So, I found myself at the Duluth Days Inn last night, and will now not arrive home until 10:00 PM tonight.  There are so many worse things, like being stuck unexpectedly in Petropavlosk, Kazakhstan for 2 1/2 months.  After that, nothing will ever really ruffle my feathers much again.  So, I took a long, hot shower, laid around and surfed the net, did a lot of thinking in peace and quiet, and here I sit in a coffee shop at the airport having gobbled down a toasty turkey sandwich and looking out over the very empty runway.  After all, it IS many flights in and out ARE there??  As I quickly found out, not many...hahaha!

However, during this brief interlude here in this lovely frozen tundra-esque city, I realized that I have found my people, I am amongst my tribe here.  Sitting here in the airport I see lovely mid-western women in seats all around me, little to no makeup, Alfred Dunner clothing on pleasantly plump bodies., short, practical no fuss hair styles, and I feel I have come home.  Hard to explain, but I have never visited what would truly be considered the mid-west before, my grandparents were transplanted mid-westerners to the coast of California where I never fit in, even as a child.  I knew I was not destined to remain in the land of glitz and glam, a hard body I would never be.  No, I am more of the squishy body crew, the large bosomed, broad hipped, never-looked-good-in-a-bathing-suite crowd even as a teen.

While I know my experiences here are surface only, the folks here are open faced, warm hearted, welcoming, hardworking who can still get down to old Olivia Newton John and Carpenters muzak. I feel as if I have actually stepped back into Lake Woebegone, trust me, it is a real place and is nicknamed "Duluth".   They are my long lost tribe, and I will leave here having gained a bit more insight into my previously unknown roots, and perhaps a tad bit wistful that this was taken from me long before I was born, that the call of California that wooed my ancestors unknowingly pulled me forever from the land of my tribe where I would have been able to walk amongst my true peers.

Now, on to other ridiculous insights...sorry, the Diet Coke is getting to me...

I often find it difficult to gather my thoughts for blog posts these days, and funny how after I got out of the shower this morning, otherwise known as Cindy's Thinking Chamber, I had a ton of them in mind, thoughts tumbling around, swirling in a messy little vortex of homeschooling, faith and tribal connections.  I also have a couple more pieces of our homeschooling long term game plan that fell in place, clicking almost audibly as they snapped into their rightful seat on the Long Train to the Unknown that is our family's educational mode of transportation to the Great Big Somewhere that will lead not only the kids, but Dominick and I as well to new and exciting places and insights.  Whew!

You have absolutely no idea how there are times when I wish I could shut my brain off.  Oddly, it is uncomfortable for me when it is still, and yet it is equally tiresome when I can't keep the tentacles from slithering all over the place.  This weekend Madon and I were talking briefly about Mind Maps and their possible use in helping pull things together for Kenny.  Madon is a former gifted and talented teacher, who is quite frankly, simply one of the brightest people I have ever met and flits from one thought to the other about as fast as I do, which I am sure makes our conversations seem somewhat schizophrenic to the outsider listening in, but is a sheer delight for me.  I am very lucky to have a couple of other key people in my life who understand this or are like this as well, so from time to time I feel less like the odd duck that I really am, God Geek, Homeschool Curriculum Freak that I am.

Anyway, I was Googling Mind Maps while we were speaking about them, and seeing images of them I thought it reminded me of my own actually well organized set of thoughts that reach outward in so many directions that it is no wonder I have a hard time keeping track!  I decided to create one here so you could check out this VERY cool tool which I found a version of online for free called "Spicynodes" at www.spicynodes

So here is my own personal Mind Map which reflects an extremely limited look at my thoughts at this very moment, and only abbreviated about homeschool.  I sat here for an hour creating one that had several other topics but lost it and realized it would be far too huge to present here anyway. This will give you an idea of what it is like though, and how limitless it's uses are. The cool thing is that this is animated!!  Click on each of the sub-categories and it opens other items on the screen  Surely someone else will find that this is a "must have" tool in their arsenal too!  I know, I get excited over the silliest things :-) Just go with me on it:

Now, I am going to take another sip of the cool, refreshing beverage in the silver and red can next to me, look up from the screen, and probably begin Lame Post #2 :-)  Sorry for the stream of consciousness flair today, sometimes you just have to ride the wave when it comes, yelling "Cowabunga, Dude!!".  Sorry, I AM from Cali, you know.


Anonymous said...

Your tribe---that is hilarious! Where I live, Kansas City, there is a huge Irish festival every year and I see hundreds of "my tribe", with pasty white skin and freckles and red hair. I do the same thing -- my people! I am not the only one here without a tan!

Anonymous said...

As a Minnesotan, I thank you, I think.

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

I can't wait to check this website out. The kentucky christian home educators convention is the end of June...maybe we will meet in person there (oh wait we will have already met in Washington DC! yeah!)


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the tribe. I'm one also. I even lived in Minnesota for a time. My mother was born there, Dad raised there. I fit the genotype. However, my heart is in the west. Funny how heart and body can exist in different places.

The mind map looks like fun. I'll go there more often when I am using my own computer not a borrowed one.

Welcome home,

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy,

Did I ever tell you that I lived in Duluth for a year? My first year of college, I went to the university there. Two weeks into school (in September), it snowed. It kept snowing. On the last day of school at the end of May, it snowed as I left town with everything I owned. I never returned! :) The people were great, but I could not handle the weather. After my year there, I thought of Minneapolis as having a "mild" climate. It's all relative :)

So glad you had a good time on your mini-trip. I'm looking forward to hearing about your next get-away- the big one!

Melissa in WH

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a wonderful time "up North". We love Duluth and all points north. Our daughter worked at Cascade Lodge and Blue Water Cafe in and near Grand Marais. My favorite place is Gooseberry Falls.

Yes, there really is life at "Lake Wobegon"...or someplace just like that mythical village made famous by Garrison Keillor. I'm so glad you found it, and your tribe!

The Midwest is a great place.
Nancy in the Midwest

Anonymous said...

I love the Mind Map application. That is pretty cool. Of course I would just use it to make, yet another, list. :-) Thanks for sharing though!

~ Maureen

Anonymous said...

Yes, join the tribe - folks with good midwestern values and down to earth outlook with a huge dose of common sense...that says midwest and "home" to me, too.


Dee said...

I'd love to visit there but I couldn't take the winters. If I have to put on a coat, it's too cold out! C'mon over to my blog and check out the terrific prizes I am giving away!

Marnie and Jeremy said...

My husband can't understand why I take 20 minutes in the shower!

Nancy Larson Science said...

OOOH, your SpicyNodes are cool, wonderful, and awesome. I like the floating animation. Duluth had the nicest people. Everyone there was so kind and helpful. It warmed the heart, and with the north wind we needed all the warmth we could find.