Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is this all there is????

I moved out of my parents' home when I was 18 to go to college. I did go home for a few summers after that, but really, after that point I haven't lived "at home". I just did some disturbing arithmetic centered around that little factoid.

It's been 32 years since that date -almost exactly, since my leaving home would have been tied to the start of the academic year. That's 11,680 days. Here's the thing. There are 8760 hours in a year -a few more, actually. It might be 8766, because of the leap year thing. But really, let's think of the work-week type hours. That's 2000 hours.

If I've done even one hour of housework every one of those 11,680 days -and between making your bed, loading the dishwasher, unloading the dishwasher, fixing and cleaning up from a meal, wiping out the bathroom sink, and sweeping a floor somewhere- you've probably got an hour in on days when you think you've done nothing. So, VERY conservatively, I've done 11,680 hours of housework in that time. That's 6 years of housework, if doing housework were my full-time job.

Shouldn't I have something to show for it???? I need a house elf.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The "Taking Care Of" Business

I've always been a bit of a nurturer. My parenting style was pretty clearly hierarchical. "I'm the mommy; you are the babies." I believe that sentence may have fallen out of my mouth more than once ;) But also there was deep, crazy go-to-the-wall care for the little beasties sweeties. But they don't need day-to-day nurturing any more.

I took care of homeless people. And students. And a husband. Then I had to be the one taken care of. Gradually, I walked out of Crazytown, and could care about the world around me. But still, I didn't think I wanted anyone or anything to need me. I didn't want to care for anything that could leave me ever again -ever, I tell you.

Remember? I even said that I thought my garden was probably taunting me with my inability to nurture things -even nonsentient things.

And then, there were animals. I never even wanted pets. I'm allergic to animals, for heaven's sake -and my stuffy, drippy nose (how can it be BOTH??) attests to that. Silly little Claddagh has a cold, and had to go to the vet yesterday. He was so upset about the car ride, he had a little accident. Sigh. And now he's on three medications that he HATES to get. And he was mad, MAD, MAD at me yesterday, for allowing these injustices to be perpetrated upon him. Seriously...the look he was giving me clearly said, "And I trusted you....."

But now this poor vulnerable little kitten doesn't feel good and is depending on me to fix it. Apparently I can nurture again. I'm back in the "taking care of" business.

Darn cat! ;)

Monday, August 17, 2009

We Need a Little Christmas...

....right this very minute..... need a little Christmas NOW!!!

(Auntie Mame. You got that, right?)

Here's the thing. Saturday, at knitting, people were planning their Christmas knitting. And of course, it's not too early for that, but I choked. I'm pretty much ready to start thinking about planning to research the possibility of shopping the "back to school" sales ;) (I don't want to over-commit, there!) Christmas is out of the question.

Or I thought it was. On the way to rock climbing this morning, the girl-child and I were chatting. If we're going to invite ourselves to someone's house for Christmas, it's actually not too early to start plotting planning. Yet, as so often happens in my life, she encouraged me to step up a little. It's time, apparently, to host my own Christmas.

I'm petrified. I'm excited.

Christmas 1 - I fled, plain and simple. I went to Montgomery and stayed with my brother and his family and was pretty much a fixture that people worked around.

Christmas 2 -I traveled. That's different. I went to a sister's house. I also had a tree and decorations in my own house -the beginnings of pulling it together on the holiday front.

But this year, apparently, I'm staying put and doing Christmas here. I would love to invite the sibs here, but the no-furniture thing will not be entirely rectified by then. But I've claimed a future Christmas for that.

I'm sad. I'm thrilled. Sheesh.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I don't pretend to understand baseball, so really the game was an anthropological experience for me. How, for example, can it be true that this many people don't have anything else to do on a Friday afternoon?

Batting practice was mildly interesting, but mostly I was reading grant narratives. (One great, one will be great, and one... well, let's draw a merciful veil. The PI doesn't really want to do that one, is what I think.) Minor amounts of mustard on the pages will have to be explained, but I can do that. .

Then the army precision parachuting team arrived. It was hard to get pictures, but pretty astonishing. I'll climb rocks, but my hat is off to anyone who will, short of his children's lives being in immediate jeopardy, jump out of a moving airplane.

Then, the game started and the Cubbies got to work. By the end of the second inning, they had scored 14 runs. This, I am told, is unusual.

Good friends. Good fun. Warm beer and Chicago hotdogs. There are certainly worse ways to spend a day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Write of Passage

The last 22 months have been astounding in some ways. I've come back from being a broken, bleeding wreck (OK, my friends held my hands and walked me away from that crazy place) and have made JILLIONS of amazing changes. Can I say it, who ought not? I'm proud of myself.

I own a house (well... you know.... I have a mortgage).
I have a fun job that most of the time I love.

I have a kitty purring on my feet right this minute. There's a sweet little puppy.....

There's more. of course. Traveling and coping and having parties and my academic efforts and.....

But, on some level, these are external changes. It has been pointed out to me that sometimes we change the external to change the internal. Or as a precursor to changing the internal -sort of a signal to our subconscious that we mean business.

So, do I mean business? Is this trajectory of change and moving forward going to continue? Looking around for an answer, here..... No hands raised in the class???? Well, shoot. I guess we'll figure out the answer together.

I know that this feels hard, too. Not harder than the other work. I don't think ANYTHING can feel more difficult than getting up and getting dressed in those early days. But it feels like it's going to be the work that makes the external stuff real. And I know that I have to keep writing in order to figure it out.

So, here we go. Chapter 2.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I have a mixed history with camping. We did it a bit when the kids were little, and I liked it well enough. But camping is a BOATLOAD of work. I would have been fine if we'd stayed at the Ramada Inn and visited the forest, but it was not to be.

But weirdly -and no one was more surprised than I was- last summer I found myself wanting to go camping. I bought a tent that I could put up by myself, a sleeping bag that would keep me warm, a light, and a cooler. I wanted to camp on the solstice, and I did.

This year my schedule has been a little, well, insane is the only word for it. But the old urge to sleep outside has hit again. And the need to do it my way persists. (Seriously, I love this part of being single. I don't have to explain it... defend it... argue for it... or submit gracefully. Camping can be exactly as I want it.

And it's going to be glamping. (I didn't make up this term, but honest to Pete I can't remember where I saw it. A thousand apologies.) Okay, it won't be quite this elegant. I'm not a glamour girl, by any stretch of the imagination. But I'm going to practice early morning yoga outside. I'm going to drink champagne mixed with my orange juice. I am NOT going to eat a hot dog. I am going to bring the green bike of wonderment, and ride around for as long as I want to.

What else would make it perfect? Irish coffee at night around the campfire? Some time writing, while sitting at the picnic table? Walks with my pretty pink camera, taking pictures of whatever pleases me?

There's precisely one weekend available before Labor Day -and I suppose it is now spoken for. I'll be glamping.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Go See Yogalila

It's here: yogalila.

It's a team blog, with some dear yoga friends -friends who are smart and funny and insightful and drop-dead stunning in their abilties to practice and reflect about yoga. I've moved my posts about yoga over there, and I just put one up.

This month we're thinking about yoga and fear. But -being us- we also post whatever comes to mind at the moment. So you'll find workshop summaries, thoughts about the sutras, rants about clueless people at yoga class.... whatever.

Come play with us.

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Birthday Without Heartache

That's my mom. Some ASTOUNDING number of years ago today, I made her into a mom. (I wonder if I did her a favor?!) Thanks, Mom, for having a birthing day!

Last year, my sisters were here, and we had a party for friends and family. As it happens, it was the first big backyard party of what's turned out to be a series of backyard parties. Who knew? Last year, too, Dave returned to town on more-or-less this date. We literally have not seen each other in a year. Once I saw him from far away on his bike. That's it. Who's hiding from whom, here? This town is awfully small (and campus is smaller yet) for us not to have run into each other. (And seriously... do you know anyone else who got stood up for her own divorce? I didn't even see him then!) It's been another year of that strangeness-and I know I can live through it.

I'm making a life. It's bumpy and new and full of mistakes -but it's also shiny and new and full of wonder. I'm glad to have made it another year. I wonder what next year holds? Thank you for all the moral support and the kindness and the strength and the coffee and the hugs and the being-there. You're part of the giftedness of my life, and I thank my lucky stars for you every day.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Mr. Watson, come here. I need you.

Can I find a metaphor that helps me understand technology's role in my life? I'm not sure that I can. It's my sister's area of expertise, and she can be quite eloquent about it. Me? I just know what I know, and mostly wait for someone to mention new possibilities to me.

There are conflicting thoughts bouncing around in my head. First is the truth that people eventually adopt their last technology -sometimes intentionally. I remember my father-in-law (He was my father-in-law at that point, may he rest in peace) saying that he just wasn't going to bother to upgrade to DVDs. He fancied himself an early adopter of technology, but he just wasn't adopting another one. It was totally his call, and inconvenienced no one. But I've also seen quite young (relatively speaking) people do this. What happens if you quit adopting new technology and you're only 40-ish? Such a person becomes less employable on some level, less connected to other people, and has to work harder to get mundane tasks such as banking done. The world gets sort of ossified into a previous state, and I don't want that.

Or, does that person preserve a kinder, gentler, more old-fashioned and sweet style of interaction? And incur fewer risks to her personal information, to boot? Both can be true, of course, but which is better?

I'm getting an iPhone in a few days. I've figured out how to make inexpensive international phone calls on my cell phone. I no longer have a land-line. (What a weird idea -a house phone. Why would my house get phone calls?) I pay all my bills on-line. I order my clothes (and would order my groceries, if I could) on-line. I'm on twitter and facebook and academia.edu and flickr. I watch movies and television programs on-line (legally, thank you very much) and download my music from iTunes. Clearly I blog. I'm at the point where I can hardly manage my multitudinous on-line accounts, and am trying to coordinate them through chi.mp.

And yet, I still use a paper planner. I've tried the electronic ones, assuming that they would work for me, but I've had no luck. I make hand-knit clothes, which surely isn't the most up-to-date technology for getting that done. I ride a bicycle, when obviously a car would be faster.

I thought at first the distinction was "appropriate technology." Why zoom when a stroll is sufficient to the task? Why muscle through a task when grace and finesse will work as well? Why wait until the last minute so that speed becomes essential? (If I figure out that last one, my life will be significanty improved.) And then I thought perhaps the distinction was artistry. I write in a paper journal with a nice pen because the process pleases me; the outcome is no different. My thoughts are no nearer to brilliant because I wrote with a fancy pen. But the design of the iPhone and the iPod is a kind of artistry -one I can appreciate but not imitate.

Maybe it's just that new technology can be fun. That's what gets it in the door. If it doesn't remain useful, it falls by the wayside -replaced with the next fun and potentially useful thing. So what's the next fun thing? What am I missing?