Thursday, September 24, 2009

I've been away from the computer for a while--mostly trying to get my act together, because, really, the tap dancing/juggling bit wasn't meshing (too much shuffle ball-change, too few flaming chainsaws)--but, fear not!, my keen powers of observation were still tuned in to the little quirks that make life interesting to at least five of you out there.

So, without further ado:

Thing I should have realized before I reached the age of 37, but didn't because either they just never came up before then or I was oblivious at the time
(it'a working title)
  • Any day that begins with the baby creating a syrup trail throughout the house is almost certainly destined to end in a carb-induced coma.
  • You can lead an eight-year-old to the piano, open the book for him, place his hands on the keys and wait expectantly, but you can't stop him from asking, "So what do you want me to do?"
  • Nor can you stop the resulting maternal scream from exiting at least two cranially-located orifices.
  • You can't reason with a four-year-old, but you CAN sentence her to an extra-long nap, as long as you have earplugs and a strong bungee cord.
  • Eventually, and with a little divine intervention, obstinate four-year-olds become six-year-olds. You CAN reason with a six-year-old, but he's just going to do what he wants after the discussion.
  • Grocery shopping DOES count as "getting out of the house for some alone time" but only if you're really desparate.
  • And eventually you'll have to get back into the car and go home. The bakery ladies look sympathetic, but they're not willing to adopt you.
  • No matter how much you beg.
  • Regardless, never pass up a chocolate chip cookie.
  • There will be days when the dog will track mud over the newly-mopped floor. Accept it and go on. But if it happens three times in the same day, you'll also have to accept the fact that something is not right in your housework/dog equation.
  • Gardening in the Desert Southwest is fabulous in October, exhilarating in February, but lethal in July.
  • Which is just when every magazine is touting the benefits of the family garden. Ignore them--and enjoy the fact that you can have fresh tomatoes in March.
  • As long as you remember to water the darn plants.
  • Because while all weeds are desert-adapted, tomatoes are horticultural whiners. And no amount of tough love will ever change that.
  • There is no Anasazi Program for garden vegetables. Get over it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shhhh . . . I'm supposed to be overseeing schoolwork!

Okay, I'm taking a quick break from listening to boys write about robots and killing machines in their journals (I'm pretty sure these are personal records that will be deleted from the heavenly hard drive in the eventual eternities. I know we've been counseled to keep a personal record--but how many descriptions of impossible multi-missiled machines of doom do we need to write about to gain celestialization? Because I'm pretty sure there's a limit on that sort of stuff, and I'm just as sure that my sons hit that limit about a month ago.)

But I digress.

Now, before I get to the core concept of this post, there are some background facts you need to know--or it just won't make any sense. Trust me--I live this reality, and it's barely comprehensible to me. You NEED the exposition. Heck, I need the exposition most days.

  • First: I have been knitting away ever since camp, making Christmas stockings for my sister and her family. I have never knitted stockings with heels before. I have, however, knitted spiral-ribbed tube socks. (Muy fabuloso!) Because this is a semi-new skill, I'm taking my time on it. It's taken me a month to knit 4.8 stockings--and that's knitting at all possible hours of the day and night. I am determined to do this right so my sister doesn't have to make an explanation to every person who visits her during the Christmas season. ("Oh, those? Well, my sister--you know, the crazy one--tried her hand at knitting a few years ago. Thank Goodness they only have to stay up there for a few days!" Only, I'm sure she'd phrase it in a kindlier way than that. The reference to me as crazy would remain, however.) Take this as a warning: never EVER mention that you may want something that I could possibly learn how to do, or my ineptitude will be forced upon you and you will have to make explanations about the thing inhabiting your living room for the rest of your life.

  • I have been going slowly blinder than I had ever planned to be for about five years now. I'm used to it, but it has required a certain set of needs that must be filled before I can do anything other than staring fuzzily ahead. Namely a pair of reading glasses at all times and extra light--as much as possible.

  • The best light in this house, sadly enough, is in a room designed for nothing more task-related than a quick peruse of the headlines. I should have installed brighter lamps in the family room, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. So, if, after a certain hour of the evening, I want to do anything requiring sight--like perhaps setting a heel on a Christmas stocking--I have to go into the guest bathroom, which has four lovely high-wattage lights and an equal number of nicely reflective walls.

So--and this is the core concept I mentioned earlier--when my husband came up the stairs from the basement and saw me sitting on the toilet knitting away for dear life, is it any wonder that he almost split a gut laughing after the initial shock and resulting double take?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The prodigal returns

Ahhhh, the joy of typing for pleasure and not for work-sheet production--the cheerful clack of the keys as I mistype and then hastily backspace through three sentences The soft roar of the overburdened computer. The finding of goodies dropped between keys by munching children. (Is that a cookie bit? Mine-sies!) A moment to myself and the universe with whom I commune. Via Internet. Because the medieval notion of ether-filled space was a bunch of hooey. Unless you follow recent astrophysical discussions, wherein the speculation is that there is indeed something filling up the nooks and crannies of our hitherto-thought empty cosmos. Go think about it in gospel terms. It's mind-blowing.

I needed a break. True. The world was crushing the life out of me. Too many demands for too little time, and the thing that could go with the fewest screams of despair was blogging. But, now that I think I have a handle on it, I'll try to squeeze in some deep/humorous/oddball/wacky/just-too-strange-for-explanation musings occasionally.

I've spent the time well: read some relaxing books (murder mysteries--relaxing because at the end of the book I'm still alive), knitted a few Christmas stockings (latest count: 3.85--and sill knitting), finally got the schedule mostly squared away.

The last one was the biggie. We had had the same schedule, with some minor tweaks, for years. It was a good schedule. It worked for us. I could live quite happily within its limitations and strictures. Slight problem: the kids have gotten older, and the burden of responsibility grows heavier for them. (Permit me a small, slightly satisfied, cackle--BWA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Who's feeding the dog now, kiddos? Who's feeding her now?) And yet, we still have the standard-issue 24 hours per day. (I'd like to discuss that someday with someone who can do something about it. It would be a lot better for those of us with older children if our days could be variable in length--longer on the days we have too much to do, and shorter on the days when we all frazzle out a bit at the ends. Maybe a dial/watch sort of thing with a twisty bit on the side to speed up or slow down time. That would do us quite well, thank you.) So, our time for lunch kept bumping into our schedule for piano practice, and then they both jostled up against my (mostly imaginary anyway) free time, and the science and the math and the heart-to-heart discussions about feelings and aspirations just sort of had to work their own way in somehow. It was not a happy time.

In desperation we did what I suspect all successful parents do: we juggled everything around, reconsidered every aspect of our time-stressed existence, made a few changes, chanted a few calming mantras, ate some chocolate, and came up with a new schedule. A new way of looking at the day for a family that cannot define itself as "family with small children exclusively" anymore. In the process I've had to give up some things I enjoy--like 90% of my computer time. And my children have had to learn to get their rears in gear earlier in the day. (Me? Well, I'm still working on that one. Thank goodness for a husband who can wake up at the crack of 6:34. Most of the time.)

So, here's the concept: I will continue to write, because something has to be done to get all these random thoughts out of my head. Call it catharsis of the brain (because catharsis of the bowels is so MUCH more disturbing). The entries may be less frequent, and certainly will be less polished, but they will be written by someone who isn't trying to type with one hand while she combs hair, makes lunch, and corrects math tests with the other.

Balance, people. That's what it's all about.