Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Hardest Thing...

about being a parent is being a grown up, all the time. Even when you are alone, you really never have a moment for yourself. There's always someone else or several someones to consider before any action, reaction or decision. Every choice you make affects someone else, even if it's the choice to sit and type a new blog entry instead of folding laundry.

Granted, most decisions like that will go unnoticed. However, I can't begin to count the number of times I've made a similar decision and it's had unforeseen consequences. I didn't wash a load of clothes and that was the load that was necessary for survival the following morning. I failed to put the papers in the recommended location and they disappeared from the face of the earth without a trace. I decided chicken nuggets and mac & cheese were great for dinner and my husband told me he was bringing a guest home.

Having to stop one drink short of lit, just in case. Being the person that is solely responsible for the toilet paper inventory. Knowing just how each family member likes their toast, pb&j, apples cut, shoes tied, hair brushed, songs sung, stories told, back rubbed...The list of responsibilities goes on and on.

The really hard thing is that as much as I hate being an adult, all the time, I love being a parent.

What do you find hardest about parenting?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Review: Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

If you like a swash buckling pirate story with lots of action and intrigue, this one is worth the quick read. If you wait a bit, I'm sure there will be a made for television movie based on the book. Either way, it's an entertaining story with a likable main character.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens story of friendship and fealty in Victorian England is considered a classic for good reason. The characters were compelling and the plot could easily fit in any reality t.v. show or night time soap in the modern world. Many current novelists could go back and read Dickens to learn how to tie together characters and events in unexpected and interesting ways. Too often lately, I've read authors who neatly package the story and totally leave out the element of suspense and surprise.

While I will still say that A Tale of Two Cities is my most loved novel by Dickens this story is well worth the time spent reading it.

I also need to share that, having read two Dickens' novels in the last few months, the language has become so much more manageable. I was able to enjoy the story from the very beginning this time.

Book Review: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

The Year of the Flood is a story of the end of an old world and the beginning of a new one. Atwood explores human nature and how crisis leads to renewal, for some. Having read Atwood before, I wasn't surprised at her premise. Taking the excesses of current society and following them to their sometimes logical ends and beyond is something I've come to expect in Atwood's writing.

Though I've enjoyed Atwood's futuristic writing in the past, this story was not one that I would recommend. The characters were likeable enough but not engaging. In spite of, or perhaps because of the extensive back story, I had no strong attachment to any group or ideal. I recognized those the author felt were worth saving from the flood and those that were kept around solely to add drama after the flood.

Perhaps the extensive back story led to my feeling of inevitability but the ties from character to character seemed predictable and there was little delight when old friends were reunited. Rather, I felt that I should be checking the reconnections off on a list that had been deliberately presented through the back story.

I understand that this is a companion book to another of Atwood's books. It may be worthwhile to read Oryx and Crake but since those characters and Jimmy were my least favorite part of this story, I'm not sure it's worth my time.

Heaven and Hell

I've recently returned from Mexico and found it to be a place of contrasts. The beautiful sand and sun. The stupid drunk people. The incredible temples and stonework. The Outback Steakhouse. The pride, craftsmanship and heritage.
The different style of living.

Granted, I only saw a bit of the country. What I saw outside the airport and resort was really only a snapshot. I rode the city bus in Cancun. That was probably as close as I got to the truth of modern Mexico. Since it was in Cancun, I'm not sure that even really counted.

I traveled to and from Tulum on a large tour bus. Out the window we saw the Mayan Riviera and what surrounds it on the road. Empty buildings, houses that are smaller than my neighbor's detached garage.

I traveled to and from Coba in an ecotour van. We went to a Mayan village. We saw boys on bicycles with guns. I thought of my own son and what it would be like to send him out with a gun and the expectation of him finding food. He's not even allowed to ride his bike in the street. I won't even think about the gun. I certainly won't tell him about the guns. He'd want to move to Mexico.

I stepped out of my normal life in many ways during my trip. I traveled internationally alone. I have a new passport stamp. I hiked through the jungle. I zip lined. I took part in a blessing ceremony with a Mayan shaman. I was given a Mayan name that means flower princess. I rappelled. I canoed in a cenote that may or may not have had crocodiles. I bicycled. I climbed up a very tall ruin. I climbed down again. I ran in the rain. I picked up conche shells. I bargained at the market. I loved every moment of it.

The highlight of my trip wasn't what I expected. It was quiet and dark. The highlight of my trip was my time in hell. According to the Mayans, the world is full of dualism. Neither good nor bad, just two parts of a whole. Heaven is above the ground. Hell is below it. Neither better or worse just part of what makes the world. What a contrast from my Christian beliefs about heaven and hell.

During one of our days in Cancun we took a tour that included rappelling into a cenote. A cenote is an sinkhole. The cenote that we rappelled into was covered by the earth and only accessable through two enterances. We rappelled through the first enterance. From the other enterance dangled a rope and wood ladder that extended into the water below.

I'm not really certain of the distance from the earth above to the water below but it was deep enough and dark enough that my first glance did not enable me to distinguish water from dark, empty air. I'd never rappelled before and the fear of a long list of unknowns tightened my chest as I shuffled to the edge of the cenote and followed Edwardo's directions to lean back and step off into nothing. Once I got the mechanics of lowering myself on the rope, I found the experience to be exhilerating. The cool darkness and deliberate movement of ropes and pulleys was much more comfortable for me than the wild ride and questionable brake I'd experienced less than an hour earlier as I flew through the Mexican sunshine.

As my eyes adjusted from the bright to the dark, I was able to differentiate water from air and while the distance was still great, I was enjoying the journey and looking forward to the destination.

A guide in the cenote cushioned my landing with an innertube and I relaxed into it with the satisfaction of an accomplishment I'd never anticipated. This was something I'd definitey add to a list somewhere just for the satisfaction of checking it off! I spent the next thirty minutes or so floating in an underground sanctuary surrounded by slightly luminescent fish and lit by two people sized holes high overhead. I said a prayer of thanksgiving for being the first of my group to decsend into the cenote. Even now, I can breathe deeply, close my eyes and clearly feel the time I spent resting in the quiet peace the Mayans called hell.

Multiplication Lessons

The problem with leaving things unattended is that they multiply. You see the effects in papers, dishes, dirty clothes, books, lessons, phone messages, expectations. It's a law, if you aren't paying attention mischief is being made.

And so, my beautiful long weekend in Cancun has left me with chaos. The dust, the laundry, the lessons, the dishes, the mail. It's all multiplied. The only thing that is still the same in amount is me and I may possibly be a bit diminished. I am certainly not multiplied.

How does one compensate after time away? My method of choice is denial. And a glass of wine. And a wonderful book.

The problem with that is it results, once again, in leaving things unattended. And when you leave things unattended, they multiply.

I need more wine.

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Hundred Days

We recently celebrated our 100th day of school. We celebrated by: measuring to find things that were 100" long, doing activities that took 100 seconds, singing, jumping rope and hopping on one foot, making collections of 100, writing stories of 100 words, figuring out how many packs of gum we'd need to buy to share with 100 people.

I find it mind boggling that we've had 100 days of school. I feel humble that we've come so far and panicked that there is so much left to do in the 80 remaining days. Some days I feel that we've found our groove and others I pray just to finish in one piece. You'd think after 13+ years of parenting and 20+ years of marriage I would understand that something can be impossible and worthwhile at the same time. If I'd known 100 days ago what I know now, would I have set off on this homeschool journey? Absolutely. Will I still be saying that in 80 days? I sure hope so.

In 100 days, we've progressed from Genesis through ancient Greece. We've studied plants and invertebrates. We've learned about nouns, verbs and pronouns. We've become more logical, potentially. We've written stories we loved and stories we hated. We've read and read and read. We've talked and talked and talked. We've mixed and stirred and baked and laughed. We've done experiments that worked and experiments that didn't. We've met new people and tried new things. We've learned about so much more than what was in the lesson plan.

I loved marking the 100 days. Often in my quest for the end I've missed marking the time along the way. It was good to have a point to rest on and think of what we'd done. It's not the top of the mountain but I've built a little bench and enjoyed the view, just the same.

What view are you missing by moving too quickly? Where do you want to build a bench?


Passport stamps appeal to the list maker in me. Each stamp is a lasting and visible record of an event. The stamps are crisp and clear as a check mark or crossed out entry. Even the chunk that the stamp makes as it hits the passport is satisfying.

As I've thought more about my habit of lists I've realized that there are so many small pleasures that appeal to the list maker in me. Here is a list of the listing activities that I find pleasing:

yellow pages
card catalogs
tables of contents

I'm sure there are others that help me feel the order of the world around me. What kind of records do you find appealing?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Finding a Niche

2 entries found.
Main Entry: 1niche
Pronunciation: \ˈnich also ˈnēsh or ˈnish\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Middle French, from nicher to nest, from Vulgar Latin *nidicare, from Latin nidus nest — more at nest
Date: 1611
1 a : a recess in a wall especially for a statue b : something that resembles a niche
2 a : a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted b : a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species c : the ecological role of an organism in a community especially in regard to food consumption d : a specialized market

I've read repeatedly that my blog needs to have a niche. While I have a vague idea what that means, I've been stumped by how to find a niche so I thought I'd start with the obvious beginning, a definition of that which I seek.

As I look over the definitions, I'm struck by the idea of a niche as a place where one is displayed and as well as nurtured. As a mother, I love that idea. I believe I aspire to provide (or be) a niche for each of my children, a recess (be it a safe place in a wall or a break from the daily grind), a place where they are best suited and a habitat supplying the factors necessary for their existence.

In aspiring to be a niche for four amazing creatures, is it possible to create a niche for myself? For what place, employment, status, or activity am I best fitted? What factors are necessary for my existence and how are those supplied to me?

The things I enjoy most, in no particular order, are cooking, eating, reading, laughing, listening, watching, smiling, teaching, learning and talking. I like the idea of creating things but am very rarely creative. I am exceptionally fitted for being a wife and mother. I have also been fitted for a variety of paying occupations over the years, none which I am inclined to continue or return to. I think the status that would best satisfy me would be one that enabled me to have what I want, when I want it without having to lift a finger to get it. Unfortunately, that status also comes with it's downsides. Being very small, bald, unable to speak and having to wear diapers are among them.

My children tell me I should open a bakery. I'm not sure how to blog a bakery but it sounds lovely.

The things that I feel are necessary for my existence, again in no particular order, are air, water, love, affection, chocolate, warmth, my children, shelter, books, my husband, food and most particularly sweet food, bread and cheese, also fruit and salad, and wine, perhaps beer too, clothing, shoes, towels, soap, toothbrush, hairbrush, lotion, washing machine, toaster oven or microwave, cork screw.

I think my list could continue on but I'm not sure it's helping me find a niche. So, I'll head back to the definition and try it again. My role in my community currently seems rather withdrawn. I don't tend to stray far from home. I'm not leading anything or anyone outside my home. I'm only peripherally involved in outside activities and have little interest in taking on more.

As for a specialized market, I guess if forty something, stay at home, homeschooling mothers of four who love to cook and read but don't really want to miss a thing that happens with their families yet long for travel and adventure, who support birth options beyond the conventional o.b., choice in vaccines, better education for health consumers, breastfeeding, classical education, environmental awareness and ending hunger is a specialized market, I could fill that. Somehow, I'm afraid that's a bit too broad and specialized at the same time.

I suppose my search for a niche continues. Maybe I should just be looking for the recess in the wall.

Niche. (2010). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Retrieved January 12, 2010, from

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bloggiesta: The Finish Line... or is it?

All I can say (use your best Spanish accent, por favor) is it's been one muy, muy bueno Bloggiesta and it's time for me to take a siesta!

I have learned so much and (you can stop with the Spanish accent now) I can't even begin to thank all the wonderful bloggers who have challenged me and helped set me on the path to being a "real" blogger.

To be honest, I had no idea that there was so much out there. I've read a blog here and there but up until now, I've been inclined to reach for printed material. I love wrapping my hands and my mind around my reading. I'm not sure I'm ready to go totally hands free but I've been given incentive to put the book down, every now and then.

Let me begin my recap by saying, Natasha, you sure know how to throw a fiesta! Gracias! I can't wait to spend more time at Maw Books.

Now for a summary of what I've been doing for the 18 or so hours I spent at Bloggiesta.

I'll start with the Flashback Mini-challenges.

Thanks to Rebecca at The Book Lady's Blog I now know what a feed reader is and have started mine. I've added quite a few feeds over the last three days. I suppose next Bloggiesta I'll be spending time deleting some of those new feeds.

Beth at Beth Fish Reads gave me some great ideas for post styles that I can use. Thanks to Beth I also know how to save and schedule posts for later.

Jill at Fizzy Thoughts encouraged me to visit other blogs and leave comments. I did visit some blogs but spent most of my time working on my own. I've got the "comment" task on my list of things to develop. It's a long list!

I learned about vanity tags and why I should use them from Emily Emily's Reading Room. I took her advice and hooked some up.

Deborah at Books, Movies, and Chinese Food let me know that if I want to talk about my blog, I need to figure out what to say. I'm working on that. Finding a niche and figuring out my elevator pitch go on the list.

The world of blogging directories was unlocked for me by Lynn atChronicle of an Infant Bibliophile. I didn't sign up for any because I'm not sure where I belong. Finding that niche just moved to the top of the list.

One of my favorite mini-challenges was from Trish at Hey Lady! Watcha Readin'? . Check out my new favicon!

You can see from this post what I learned from Michelle at Galley Smith. Anchor text is pretty cool.
After learning about anchor text, I was thrilled with Andrea's mini-challenge at Book Blather. I spent a bit more time learning about HTML.

Ruth's mini-challenge Bookish Ruth.
wasn't so mini for me. I almost skipped it but I poured myself a shot of tequila and went for it. I got a 13/100 on the website grader. I got some great suggestions for improvement and there are some websites worse than mine out there. If you can believe it!

That brought us to the current mini-challenges.
Rebecca at The Book Lady's Blog suggested we start by setting goals. I feel like I learned so much more than I ever expected. While my camera and computer still aren't speaking, the website grader says I have too many pictures anyway!

I loved Danielle's mini-challenge at There's a Book. My cheat sheet is open and growing larger with each blog I visit.

Pam at educated me about the importance of protecting what's mine. You can see that I took her advice if you go to the bottom of the page. Now I know what a footer is.

Labels were new to me too. I'm so glad Beth at Beth Fish Reads helped me get those started the right way.

Since my blog is only a few days old, I hadn't even thought about what would happen if I lost it. Jackie at Farm Lane Books made sure that will never be a problem. She also gave me another bit of information to add to my cheat sheet.

I was reminded by Chelle atPersephone Reads to take pride in my work. Even though I haven't written much, it was good to pick out something I liked best.

Kristen at Book Worming in the 21st Century and Kate at The Never Ending Shelf are amazing! I'm excited about the Bloggie Cult as a resource to help me improve my blog. There's nothing like having a place to learn. Take a look over to the right to see what I learned at The Never Ending Shelf. That up arrow is really cool, huh?!

Brainstorming ideas was the mini-challenge at Jenns Book Shelves. I'm excited to say that I've got way more than 10 ideas on my brainstorming paper.

So that's about 18 hours, 17 mini-challenges, I have no clue how many comments and a ton of learning. I loved the world of blogging that I entered as I completed these mini-challenges. This was a wonderful experience for a beginner like me.

I am muy, muy pleased that I joined the Bloggiesta. Ole!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thanks Pedro! I Didn't Know What I Didn't Know

Let me just say, it's a good thing I left the tequila out of my Bloggiesta. The amount of information that I've received, just on my first mini challenge is staggering and tequila would not have helped my reeling mind.

I didn't know that I didn't know anything about feedreaders or RSS. And this is just my first mini challenge. In fact, it's a flashback mini challenge. If they are all this educational, I may not get into the new challenges until next Bloggiesta.

I didn't know anything about vanity tags and how to keep track of yourself.

I didn't know anything about creating and saving blogs for later use.
I've got a saved blog entry scheduled to go out next week while I'm in Mexico.

I didn't know that I needed a niche.

I didn't know that I needed goals.
I suppose my first goal is to finish the Bloggiesta mini challenges even if it takes me all of 2010.
My second goal is to be consistent in my blog. Now that I know how to save and schedule blogs it seems possible!
My third goal is to find a niche.

I didn't know what the heck a favicon was and now check me out!

I didn't know anything about labels.
I've labeled all my posts and am keeping an eye on the way others label their blogs.

I didn't know what anchor text was.
I've got a basic understanding of html that will help me make my blog and comments better

I didn't know I needed a cheat sheet.
My cheat sheet just keeps growing.

I didn't know that you could add a page up arrow on to your blog page.
Look to the right and there that little guy is! Thanks, Kate at The Never Ending Shelf for sharing those great tips in your Design it Up series!

I didn't know that I should be copyrighting my blog. Not that I think anyone will really want to steal what I write but one can always hope.
Check out the bottom of that page and then use that cool up arrow at the right to come back here. Neat, huh!?


Look Who Has Come to Join the Fiesta!

Welcome Pedro! It's good to have friends. Thanks Amy!

Click here to sign up!  Do it now!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bloggiesta: Where's Pedro?

I think I've done it again. Blame it on the tequila, the chips and the guacamole! I have no idea what I've gotten myself into but I know that I have nothing to lose. So, I suppose the first item on my list of things to learn for making my blog better is how to get Pedro to join me... It's a slow start but it's all I've got right now.

1. Find Pedro. Invite him to vist and hope that he stays.
2. Work on the communication problem between my camera and my computer so my blog can include some pictures.
3. Learn all I can about being a responsible blog owner.

Junk Food

My head is full
Of things I should have done
Need to do
The things that need attention
The energy
Is not creating
Filling my brain
Is draining my body
Maybe because I'm serving
Junk food

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Marvelous Day

Today was one of those days that reaffirmed my commitment to homeschooling.

I have some lovely pictures of my children working together and independently and all of us having a marvelous day. Unfortunately, my camera and my computer aren't speaking to each other this evening. As I'm only qualified to do marriage and family counseling and not technology counseling, I'll have to wait for someone else to try to bridge the communication gap.

The thing that most struck me about today is that it wasn't perfect but it was still wonderful. My dd10 took all day to do only half of the things on her list and much time was wasted. There were squabbles, mediation, correction, distraction and redirection. The thing that made today wonderful is that we were all together, working and playing successfully in a way would never be possible if we didn't homeschool.

I can't tell you how fulfilling it was for me when I suggested that dd5 get her upper/lower case letter set and dd13 asked if she could be the one to help dd5 with it. The letter set is the same one I used when working with dd13 on her letters. Each one of the dc talked about what they remembered about the letter set. Dd10 remembered it smelled like baby food and Sharpie marker. It still does. Ds7 even went over to join the letter matching/sound game when he finished his writing. It was lovely to have so many teachers for dd5 and all of them intent on the exchange of information and ideas.

All through lunch today, the dc played Connect 4 discussing strategy, coordinating team plans, making sure everyone had the opportunity to win at least one game. If I'd asked them to do this, it would have been met with groans and rejection. It was their idea and they had a marvelous time at it. Only with homeschool could we have spent our lunch hour together, engaged in conversation and play, learning all the while.

Even this evening as I fearfully waded into The Well Trained Mind Part 3: The Rhetoric Stage, I was able to be thankful for the blessings of homeschool. The idea of taking my dc to graduation at home is frightening and exciting. There are so many experiences and ideas I'll get to share with them. There is so much to expect from all of us.

My prayer is that I'll maintain my ability to recognize the marvelous days, even when they aren't perfect.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I've been wondering today about the way I engage with the world and especially with my children. I love the idea of being totally present in the moment but so many moments seem to blow right by me. I want to be fully engaged for my children. Yet, when the Barbie meets the Jedi master I'm often running for a book, the computer, the laundry...

My hope is that I would find the desire to occupy myself with the interests and activities of those I love. This is not to say that I would let the interests and activities of others replace the interests and activities that I enjoy for myself. I think there can be room for both. Rather, that I would so enjoy being with the people that I love that the activity would be inconsequential.

I love watching my children. Sometimes the watching, while entertaining and undemanding, isn't adequate. Sometimes I know that I need to take a step closer and engage. Sometimes I'm able to do that. Sometimes I choose to make the children engage with me on the topic of my choosing rather than being in the moment. Sometimes I continue to remain an onlooker. On my worst days, I walk away and find a book or computer or the laundry.

I want those that I love to know that the desire of my heart is to be with them. I want those that I love to have memories of me that involve my presence and participation in a variety of settings. I want to be there and aware. Perhaps good intention is enough. Perhaps being aware of my engagement will increase the amount of time I spend engaged. At the very least, it may force me to make a conscious decision about disengaging rather than pretending like it makes no difference. Because, really, even if no one else notices, I'm aware and it's my choice to engage.

How do you engage in the moment? What do you do when you find yourself disengaging and you don't want to continue that pattern?

Monday, January 4, 2010

The American Printing House for the Blind

Have you ever been to a place and thought, "Gee, I could work there."? I've been out of the mainstream work force for over thirteen years and on a very few occasions, I've had that feeling. Today was one of them.

For the last three years I've wanted to tour the American Printing House for the Blind. I discovered it's nearby presence when I was researching the area and have had it on my to-see list (see previous list making post) since then. For whatever reason, I was never able to find the enthusiasm in anyone else for the museum and tour. I'd flown the idea to various visiting relatives and my immediate family on repeated occasions and somehow, something always seemed to come up.

Last night, I saw my chance and took it. The love of my life was leaving the country for another work trip and I knew that he'd be willing to do whatever I asked on the day that he abandoned me for 10 days. A poor attempt at making it up to me but one I was willing to accept in order to get to the American Printing House for the Blind. My darling children were dreading starting school after a long break so I knew that they'd go anywhere and do anything just to postpone the inevitable. The last hurdle to cross was the 10am starting time for the tour.

Miracle of miracles, we got up, dressed, and there in time for the tour. Bonus! We were the only tourists in attendance. Our guide was lovely and interesting. The history of and the work done by the American Printing House for the Blind was impressive and inspiring. Not only do they print books and magazines, they are responsible for "talking books and magazines" and a wide variety of products designed to improve the quality of life and education for visual impaired consumers. The amount of though and effort that went into so many of the products we saw was impressive.

There were several jobs that I could see myself doing at the American Printing House fo the Blind. I'd happily run the museum, give tours or read all day. The satisfaction of working for such a necessary non-profit organization doing something I love would be a gift, at least in my imagination. Of course, as my daughter reminded me on the way home, I've got about 13 year until I'll be able to do that kind of work.

Until then, I'll be mindful of my blessings and thank God for abilities that I've taken for granted. I'm not sure anyone else loved the tour as much as I did but they all loved me enough to make the best of it. Yet another thing I gave thanks for today.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Book Review: Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson

In his second book, the adventure and inspiration of Greg Mortenson and the CAI continue. Mortenson's first book, Three Cups of Tea, introduced us to a man with a mission. The inspiration and results were epic, deserving every bit of the attention and accolade that they have brought to Mortenson and the CAI. The continued productivity and results of the CAI, as presented in Stones into Schools, over the last seven years is remarkable. The fact that this book was completed only months ago makes the impact even greater. The work is far from done and I find myself drawn to being part of the next chapter of world literacy.

Mortenson and CAI's philosophy of starting at the end of the road and focusing on female literacy is as intelligent as it is successful. Empowering the inhabitants of a land struggling to regain themselves is a skill CAI has developed and it serves all well.

I learned much about Pakistan and Afghanistan by reading the book and admit that the perspective presented offers hope and encouragement. I was especially heartened by the cooperation and understanding that this story presented concerning our military presence in this difficult situation.

I look forward to the continued adventures and accomplishments of Mortenson and the CAI.

Checking it off

I'm a list maker. There are several things that I love about a list. One is that it gets the listed items out of my head. Somehow, the act of making the list relieves the pressure of all those items bouncing against the inside of my skull. Also, the satisfaction of crossing items off a list is really fulfilling. Knowing that I had an intention and followed through is very empowering. Even the act of making a grocery list and crossing off the things I've put in my cart is satisfying.

I've been known to put things on a to-do list that I've already done, just so I can cross them off. It's not cheating if it's your list.

I teased my mother about being a list maker when I was younger. It took me awhile to get in touch with my list making self, step out of the list making closet and embrace the list maker that I am. Maybe there is a genetic component to list making, maybe list making is the result of being around successful list makers, perhaps list making is the result of experience and the inability to remember anything that's not written down. Whatever the origin of the list making, it's a method of making my way in the world that provides comfort and a sense of accomplishment.

This week we managed to mark four things off our "Things to do around the house" list. We added insulation to our bonus room. Already there is a noticeable difference in the temperature there. The kids won't need to wear their heavy coats to school any more. They are thrilled, I assure you.

We reworked the family room coffee table, covering the top with padding and upholstery. It's lovely to look at and prop your feet upon.

We hung a peg board in the garage for the tools there. I suppose the picture is a give away for my husband's favorite football team. Until we got the peg board up, the sign (yes, it is as large as it appears in the picture) was centered in front of our home. At least this year the love of my life didn't string the Christmas lights on it.

My favorite project, and the one of which I am most proud, is our new headboard. We created a luxurious, covered headboard for our bed. The headboard was the final touch to having a beautiful bedroom to rival any world class hotel.

There are other things on the list but the sense of accomplishment in crossing these things off is great. If I hadn't made the list, I'd never be able to acknowledge the triumph.

I wonder how non-list makers take time to feel the victory of a job well done when there is no list to help them slow down and mark the moment.

An early failure...

I suppose the pressure is off now. I've only been keeping my blog for one day and totally missed 24 hour period that would have been day two. Today...yesterday, I'd intended to wax poetic about a variety of topics: life, love, laundry, family, food, feelings, rights, regrets, religion, peace, politics, books, movies, music. Alas, the time is late and my commitment is weak. I can only improve from here.

Although, I suppose that "technically" this counts. I've made an entry. Something has been written. I commit to doing better


Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year Resolutions

Each January 1 provides the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. The temptation to clean out the old and welcome the new is often overwhelming. The limitless possibility of what new could be stretches out before me. The list of complaints concerning the old is endless. Changing from old to new can come with a crush of disappointment when the new mimics the old. Due to past disappointment, I've grown cautious when setting off down the path of resolution.

This year, I have decided that some risks are worth taking and that the old is unacceptable. The new must be different because the old is a mire of inaction and apathy. Any action at all will bring more positive results than paralysis.

And so, I find myself here, doing something new. Talking to myself in public. I'm determined to expose myself in unlikely ways in an unlikely location. As a writer. Writing.

My intention is to write. Daily. To learn about expressing myself and to develop the ablility to express myself well. The reason I'm writing in public is to give myself a measure of accountability. I need a record of my success/failure/progress/lack of progress. I need a measure of myself. This forum is my measure. I'm hoping it will be, in time, a record of growth. I hope to see the kind of results that my children see when they look at the pencil marks next to the door in our kitchen. Last year I was here. Now I'm here. Next year I might be here.

For now, I'm content to have made a beginning. Sometimes the first steps are enough to celebrate.