Monday, November 05, 2012

One day at a time.

Elections are tomorrow. I was worn out on the media hype, attack ads, and pithy Facebook posts back in March, so I sincerely hope that all the people who have an opinion one way or the other go out tomorrow, do their civic duty, and then graciously accept the final decision and look forward as a country, and not hate-filled, polarized individuals intent on striking out at anyone who disagrees with them.

*sigh* Now that I have that off my chest I'll get on with the events of the day.

A few weeks ago we RSVP'd for an open house night at the local university's planetarium. They've done some heavy renovating over the past year, and this was a "teaser" evening to allow the public in before they have the official grand opening in February. We weren't 100% sure what the program would be, but we thought it would make for an interesting diversion, and perhaps Small might enjoy seeing the ceiling full of stars. It turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable hour- the head of the department gave a brief overview of the night sky and pointed out the constellations currently visible in our hemisphere, and then they had a slide show discussion regarding Curiosity and some of the photos coming back from Mars. Small was suitably impressed with the star-gazing aspect and piped up several times when Dr. Hurd asked the assembled group questions (which had most of the college students laughing).  There were perhaps two dozen people in attendance all told, and the department had a small reception with star cookies and punch for afterwards, which Small thought was the absolute bees' knees... Dr. Hurd even dished her out a cup of punch and thanked us for coming personally. Earlier in the evening I wasn't feeling well and had considered blowing it off, but in hindsight I'm really glad we went. We had an enjoyable family outing for just the price of gas, there was a positive educational aspect, and now we have plans to go back for the grand opening to see what it will be like when everything is fully up and running (which should also be a nice distraction from the typical gloom of February).

In the few university towns where I've lived there appears to be a large demarcation between the university population and that of the townsfolk, as though the university is some sort of strange parasite that the town is forced to live with. Would that attitude change if more people took advantage of events like the one we attended tonight? Or would people continue to gripe because they are forced to deal with college students in their midst and pay taxes to support the institution, whether they want to or not? The Sunday paper regularly has "free to the public" events hosted by the various area colleges, ranging from concerts to lectures to gallery openings, and half a dozen other things besides. If the offer is there, why not take advantage of it?


Reorganizing the mind.

I haven't been good at juggling lately... Not in the literal sense, but the metaphorical "too many irons in the fire" kind. I've forgotten appointments, misplaced papers, pile things on my to do list and then can't figure out where the list went, it just goes on.  I don't even know that I have an excuse for being so scatterbrained, either- not pregnant, not ill, working at two fairly low key jobs.  What on earth am I doing wrong? I'm usually a very type-A personality too, so the lack of organization makes me even more bonkers than the run of the mill irritation from being unable to find things. I hate not having everything under control.

I've been researching voluntary simplicity and organization on and off for ages now, and I'm trying to incorporate things bit by bit to our daily life, but with a non-functioning brain it really derails the process. I need to find a way to reorganize my mind and get it in some semblance of order before taking on any major family projects. Where do I even start???

Saturday, November 03, 2012

When the old ways still work...

Pat jokes occasionally that he's a Luddite, since he's not a huge technology fan and has a hard time keeping up with the ever-changing trends in electronics, etc.  Not a true Luddite, obviously, since he loves his internet access and spends a good deal of time in front of the screen, but overall more simplistic and unplugged than the average American in our age bracket. 

I mention this only because yesterday I had a realization. The weather is rapidly turning towards winter, and being the perennially cold and thin-skinned individual I am I found myself curled up in the recliner with a thick blanket and slippers on, shivering and wondering where I'd hidden the small electric heater that usually resides next to my dresser. (Last winter I spent several hours huddled over this miniature power hog with a blanket over my head, attempting to create a one-woman sauna hot enough to peel off my outermost layers of skin. It was only after getting the electric bill for the month that I reluctantly put the heater aside, but I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it all together- we were far too close for that.) The blanket wasn't really doing the trick, and I couldn't recall which closet the heater had been relegated to, so I decided to see if the hot water bottle I'd purchased on a whim last summer might work. I was fairly certain it was hidden somewhere under the bathroom sink, so I put the kettle on to warm up while I fished around between shampoo bottles and rolls of paper towels before emerging triumphant and heading back to the kitchen. 

Wonder of wonders!!!! These things hold heat forever, and you don't have to plug them in! I could wander around the house hugging my happy red bag of warm, and I wasn't limited by the length of a cord! And did I mention it's warm????  

It may not be the latest technological marvel (maintains-a-temp-of-101-degrees-24-hours-a-day-only-19.95-order-now!), and I'm no Luddite, but by golly it does the job well and simply. How could anyone not be satisfied with that?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All Hallow's Eve Eve

We went from a two hour delay to a complete school closure this morning due to flooding, which was an unanticipated but not unwelcome surprise. Girl's day in, with movies and popcorn and carving of pumpkins, which went reasonably well considering Small wanted to do an ogre. I'm fine with stencils, but free-handing and carving is not my forte.

A bit of confession: my first thought when the cancellation call came through was "oh, no, now I'll not get ANYTHING done with my day off."  Small is not a difficult child in any respect, but since there aren't many other children around for her to spout off with at length, she turns her attentions to me and Pat. Most times this isn't a problem, but she has a constant streaming monologue going most of the day, and it's difficult to pay attention to that and participate while at the same time trying to cross things off my to-do list. There are far too many days when I have huge mommy-guilt because I tell her no, I don't have time to play with dolls or read a story or sit and watch the tv with her.  After my "oh no" thought, someone must have felt the need to tweak me a bit, because over the course of today I managed to scrub the bathroom, do the dishes, run laundry, vacuum the house, make the bed, cook three meals, and we were still able to watch two videos, carve pumpkins, and spend some time over the Playmobil people together. (And yes, she was tucked into bed at her normal time.)

If I could figure out what the difference was between today and my normal half-crazed hectic schedule I'd have the key to happy home life.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The wind has seriously picked up this evening, to the point you can tell there's a hurricane working its way up the coast. I haven't cranked up the heat in the house yet, but I'm definitely debating putting on some thick socks and a sweater.

We ventured out earlier for choir rehearsal before things got too ugly, and on the way we stopped at a roadside stand and picked up two mid-size pumpkins for carving tomorrow night. The school just called and confirmed a two hour delay tomorrow as well, so we'll have a bit of a lie-in on top of evening festivities.
We actually got to the church a bit early, so I had a chance to run over things, and Small worked on her C major scale. She caught on quickly to the note pattern and followed it the whole way up the keyboard, which is awesome... I haven't wanted to push too hard on instrument training in case it put her off, but when she shows an interest we putter around and have fun with it. She loves singing in particular and she's very fond of the bongos a friend gave her for Christmas two years ago, but I'm still surprised when she pitch matches and tries to pick up songs by ear on the recorder. I see her every day, but the leaps and bounds in what she can do always catch me off guard.

I had several inter-library loan books arrive earlier this afternoon, so I think I'm going to finish folding sheets, find a warm blanket to curl up in and read until bedtime. It's perfect weather for it, after all.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

I have stood here before, inside the pouring rain...

Cold, wet, miserable weather, which is pretty much what I expect for this time of year. I don't know if it's selective amnesia, but the locals are always SHOCKED when the weather isn't 75 degrees and sunny in this area. Really, folks? You live in the SNOW BELT. It gets cold here! Yes, it's a shame that it will likely be raining over Halloween, but I think with thermals on under the costume and a large umbrella the Small should be perfectly okay with it.  It was drizzly and chilly last year at this time, as I recall, and we ended up the evening with hot chocolate and a movie after all the excitement, so I don't believe she was in the least disappointed with how things turned out.

Since Pat will be away this week due to work we decided to bump up the traditional "popcorn, cider and movie" night to yesterday, and Brother B joined us a bit later in the evening bearing a rather tasty shepherd's pie. Small seemed to like Mad Monster Party (and really liked the shepherd's pie, which I think Brother found gratifying). I'm thinking that after trick or treat we'll catch a short Halloween special.... either Charlie Brown, or Which Witch is Which. There are so many fun holiday specials I recall watching when I was younger, and she's finally hitting an age where she appreciates a lot of them. (Then again, this is the child whose favorite films list includes a lot of Ray Harryhausen.) We also did quite a bit of cooking today, which was dual purpose: one, Pat will be able to have some home cooked food instead of being forced to eat out every day this week, and two, it warmed the house up considerably. Win all around!

Friday, October 26, 2012

I AM the jealous redhead.

I keep thinking I want to get back to blogging regularly again, but I don't feel that I have that much to say. At 16 I thought I was going to be a writer, and I churned out page after handwritten page of fantasy stories and journal entries.... Now, not so much.

Part of my problem is I still don't have much confidence when it comes to pursuing what I like and taking a few chances.  I make catty comments about people's pricing of Etsy items, and then catch myself and realize that the reason I'm being catty is because I'm jealous. I want to make nifty things and have enough confidence in my work to show it to other people and be proud of it, but I'm a) too damn critical, and b) terrified that what I do won't be perfect. (Those two may be synonymous. I haven't decided yet.)  What if I tried to write a novel and it ended up being utter, horrible schlock?  Worst that could happen- it WOULD be utter, horrible schlock, I and other people would recognize it, and life would go on. That's the part that amazes me- life will continue, and with most of the people I know now, they would all be kind enough to write it off as "good practice" and then have the courtesy not to mock me about it for years to come. I keep holding on to this fear that if I do even the slightest thing wrong I will never be allowed to live it down, so I don't do anything at all. I work at my quiet little office job and stress like hell to make sure that there are NO mistakes on anything, instead of just doing the best I can, admitting to the occasional mistake, and learning from it, and this is a low-key, part time, going nowhere position. I can't even fathom having a "high stress" career.

My closest girlfriend has been after me for years about going to therapy, and I shrug it off and go about my business. I'm making baby steps forward at home now that I have a supportive family, but I recognize that yes, I have some issues. What really brings it home is that in talking with another sibling and watching him exhibit all the signs of massive depression, now I'm the one advising therapy, and he's gently shrugging it off and going about his business, and it is so. darn. frustrating. I SEE that his quality of life is much less than it could be. I SEE that he has MASSIVE amounts of talent and potential, and it's being quashed by something that could possibly be treated, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it except be here for him when he wants it.  I'm seeing this firsthand from both sides of the coin, and it's STILL hard to actually try and do something about it.

Some people make goals public to give themselves motivation and accountability. Perhaps instead of a NaNoWriMo I'll spend the next month trying to blog something at least once a day. No more lurking- time to actually do something.