Footnote to a frustrating afternoon
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
We're back, and thoughts on toy guns.
Well well, we are back from our whirlwind tri-part trip. Part one: overnight trip to my Grandmother's for Thanksgiving. Part two: our very first overnight backpacking trip with the kids (Billy and I used to do quite a bit of backpacking together, but have not been at all since before we had Littleman. And of course, backpacking with young kids is another ballgame entirely). Part three: two nights in Gatlinburg TN for some fun with the boys. Whew!!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Current mood: cheerful
Wow, so I was stuck at the studio for awhile last night (my car is in the shop for routine stuff) and to kill time I was watching TV. I don't ever watch TV (we do not get any channels at all at the house) and I am pretty amazed. What an incredible, colossal waste of time! It was mildly interesting at times, but that wasn't enough to make up for the bland worthlessness, the blatant manipulation and absolute banality of the programming. It was almost like I could feel my brain cells begin to liquefy. I swear I do not remember TV being this bad- either it is worse than it was when I was in high school, or else my absence from the medium has given me an objectivity that I lacked before. I seem to remember the "educational" channels having some good stuff to show. . . but anything that caught my fancy last night turned out to be stretched, edited and beaten into submission so much that it lost what value it's premise held. Man, do they ever know how to beat a dead horse. My resolve to never get TV here at the house has been reenergized.
OK- that said, I did actually come away with a couple thoughts and ideas to ponder. Mostly they are recipe ideas from the food network (mmm, a pinot noir reduction as a glaze for turkey. . .), but there was also one program that discussed "Happiness and Your Health". (The long program could have been condensed into 5 minutes and still easily made it's point, but I digress). It talked about various studies that show that laughing a lot, being upbeat and happy, loving people and having gratitude will all improve your health in concrete ways. Furthermore, if you do not naturally feel happy, you can fake it and still reap many of the health rewards.
There are clubs around the world called "laughter clubs", whose members aim to laugh every day, for many minutes a day. (I remember someone saying 30 minutes a day is a good goal). If they don't feel like laughing, they fake it and laugh anyway- and lo and behold, their mood improves. Over time laughter can improve your mood, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and impart an overall feeling of well-being. (So can meditation, even for beginners).
Caring deeply for others improves your health. Positive people enjoy better health than negative people do. An ability to communicate well with others leads to a better sense of well-being and a more positive outlook. And cultivating a sense of gratitude for the good things in your life can actually have many concrete health benefits.
Which brings us to Thanksgiving: silly perhaps to have a holiday to remind us to be grateful for our blessings, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded of something we need to be doing every day. I love Thanksgiving, not least because I enjoy the food preparation, traditions and the shared meal. But it is also a holiday that is not so commercialized; a holiday whose original meaning is not obfuscated by layers and layers of ancilliary trappings. (Which might only be because it is such a young holiday, but the why of this point isn't really my concern here). It is a great opportunity to practice concious gratitude, and hopefully it can be a jumping-off place for us to remember to practice gratitude on a daily basis.
Be thankful- it's good for you!
Gratitude part 2: an article.
This is an article that was sent to a yahoo group I'm in, and it directly relates to some of my earlier blog post today. I thought I'd reprint it here for you.
Friday, November 17, 2006
I like the sound of rain on the roof, and the wind in the branches outside. I was awake last night when it started, gently at first with a sound like the house settling, building quickly to an intense steady pour. The house was quiet and cool; we were warm and snug under the blankets. The rain hummed me to sleep.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
all over the map tonight
"I am a big boy."
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
On yoga, and the beauty of knowing your neighbors.
We've lived in this neighborhood for 5 years, and for most of that time (has it really been 4 years??) I've been active in the neighborhood association. Also for most of that time, the other active members (always the same hardy souls) could be counted on one hand. We have really struggled to keep things going, as this is a voluntary association and people generally don't do jack-shit unless they have to. So we were always strapped for cash and starved of feedback or participation.
Saturday, November 4, 2006
rocking to sleep
Densely packed, soft, humid miracle- sweeter than honey, than angels or pumpkin pie, sweeter than all the treacle cliches that come to mind. Halo of downy curls glowing into my neck, fingers that humble me, delicious, delicious juicy knees and the breath of god- as mist that thunders off a waterfall, as a butterfly lights on jasmine, as the moss that cushions footfalls in the hush of twilight. Nothing so elemental, nothing so fundamental, nothing so pure as this treasure melted into my arms, this love manifest, this ancient creature, this baby.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
fall color, delegating and a busy schedule
Wow, the leaves in the mountains yesterday were GORGEOUS. If you get a chance this week to drive around in North GA and check out the fall color, I highly recommend it. They are prettier than I recall seeing for the past few years. We had a lovely hike (planted a new letterbox, too!) and I got some great pictures. Plus I got to share a caramel apple with my boy. How fun is that? ;)
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Spiced Pound Cake
Been busy busy busy (so what else is new?)
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
a carp encounter
The Carp as a spirit guide (gleaned from a google search, so take it for what it's worth):
Sunday, October 1, 2006
The trees meet overhead, creating a tall tunnel for the nature trail. Plenty of light streams through, illuminating select trunks and dappling the gravel path, dancing through the undergrowth like half-seen sprites in the forest. Every once in awhile I zip past an opening in the knotted plantlife to my left, and brief vistas of rich wetland flick past my vision before being swallowed by the trees again. I stop the bike at a particularly nice view and admire the woven stretches of water and grasses- vibrant greens fading to muted gold, ochre and some lavender. Groups of pines tower here and there, and farther down I can just see the tangled construct of a beaver dam. Last time we were here it was evening, and the cricket, frog and owlsong swelled as a huge blue heron took flight. Magic, magic. The veil is not so thin now, in early afternoon. But it is beautiful nonetheless.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
What are public schools for?
Well, the boys are in bed early tonight. Littleman was very sick yesterday, out of the blue. He couldn't even keep water down. Finally after another puke around 2 am I was able to very gradually introduce some diluted Gatorade, and it stayed down. He slept well after that and today has been his normal self again! WTF?? Well I am glad it resolved so well so quickly. I have still been cautious with what he eats and drinks, but it almost seems like he was never sick. I may even let him go to montessori tomorrow.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
a quiet breath
Well, once again I've gone blogAWOL for awhile- sorry! No guilt, vacations or major life events to point to, I've just been too busy and it wasn't on my mind.
Monday, September 11, 2006
The grass is soft, and long enough to tickle my back where my shirt rides up. There is only a breath of a breeze, but the day is not too hot. As the sun sinks it turns the light golden, and I gaze out at the mountains around us. The bird rises into view again, coasting gracefully on the thermals, sailing and circling with no visible effort. As it wheels slowly overhead I point it out to Sweetcheeks, who focuses on the bird and watches it with improbable concentration for a one year old. He is relaxed and seems very happy out here, touching the earth and sky. He turns to me suddenly with a delighted grin, and points at the bird. Then he points at the trees, whispering his little baby language to me. Next it's the mountains, then a nearby rock. He pats the ground and rolls off my lap to crawl through the soft, long dry grass that arches over his head. I keep an eye on him while he explores.
Friday, September 8, 2006
Over the river and through the woods, to Grandma's house we go
Yesterday, I took the boys to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Littleman's cousin (the one closest in age) was there, and the boys would get to play together and drive the battery-powered jeeps around the property. We planned to stay for dinner, get Littleman ready for bed and drive home at a reasonable bedtime, since Littleman had Montessori to get to this morning.
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
I've been reading up on homeschooling, and it's getting me excited about the prospect all over again. You see, once upon a time I was an education major in college, and the more I learned about learning the more I was bewildered by our public school system. How can we know so much about how children learn best, and yet be applying so little of that knowledge in our public schools? I started looking for alternatives- how could we teach better, how could we meet the needs of children, and not squelch their innate love of learning?
Sunday, September 3, 2006
I was listening to The News From Lake Wobegone on the radio tonight, and it seemed to me that the story ended just a little too neatly. (I'm sure it was partly just my mood, as Garrison Keillor isn't exactly known for complicated plot lines). But it bugged me a little bit, and I thought, "Life is too complicated for that". I felt a bit cheated, like the real story would have been messier and more interesting.
Friday, August 18, 2006
just a hello
Sorry, I have not kept up with the blog as well as I'd like over the past several days- I am very busy, and in addition I've been feeling really guilty whenever I sit down to do something for myself. On the one hand I know how important it is for me to try and keep in touch with myself and my own interests, but on the other hand I have some serious expectations to live up to and I've been feeling like I am not measuring up. Hell, I know I am not measuring up, I just don't know if it's impossible or if it's because I'm doing something wrong. But in any case I have not been taking much time for myself lately, and the blog certainly falls under that category.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
on toddler persistence, dog grooming and a writer's details
There are few things as maddeningly persistent as a 3 year old. Often the maddening part is that whatever it is he is persisting in, makes no logical sense to me at all. From my utterly unenlightened adult perspective, this most irritating repetition is absolutely pointless. Perhaps the fact that it is irritating IS the point, but I hope not. I hope he is merely testing some parameter of his existence, and not deliberately pushing my buttons. Oh, wait- deliberately pushing my buttons IS a means of testing the parameters of his existence. Sigh. Knowing it has some sort of point doesn't really make it less irritating, though. I've been gritting my teeth and looking heavenward a lot more than I used to, these days. At least he is usually cheerful about it, even if I am not.
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
brief side trip
Saturday, July 29, 2006
another day slips past me
I'd just like to reiterate: it's truly amazing how the day just disappears, and it's late at night and I feel as if I've accomplished nearly nothing. I've been busy all day (sometimes ridiculously so) and yet here before me are almost everything on my to-do list, still yet to be crossed out. How can two small children- two reasonably good small children- require SO much time and energy? It's easy to laugh off as an old truism that small children take time, but holy shit, is it ever true! Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with everything that is expected of me- I know it's not possible for me to do it all. I'm just doing the best I can, while trying to hang onto my sanity.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Lessons from the Cove
It's not hard to imagine a life here. Without electricity, without running water. With few neighbors and little contact outside of the cove. I can imagine growing up here, free to roam the fields and forest as you please. Helping with chores and playing with siblings and cousins, making up things to do because there is no electric box around to entertain a passive mind. I'm sure it was a hard life, lonely and dangerous. But it was a life steeped in beauty, rooted to the Earth (gee that sounds so cliche but I mean it), and full of purpose. A life connected to the land around you and the people you depended on.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Sorry kid, the potty's all done
The campground has facilities with running water, sinks and toilets (but no showers). Littleman was too busy most of the time to go potty (we went through a lot more diapers than he's been using at home) and we were slack (I admit) on pushing the issue. But he did go potty several times.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Sorry for disappearing- we were off camping in the Smokies for a week. It was a good trip! Littleman in particular had a really great time. I have been busy since we got back catching up on laundry, dishes and paperwork, not to mention all the other things on our calendar. I will blog as I find time. Now however, I really must get a few more things done.