Thursday, June 29, 2006


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Current mood: lethargic

I read a very interesting short article in Time magazine today. It reports, "a study finds Americans are getting lonelier". The study specifically found "a one-third drop in the number of people with whom the average American can discuss 'important matters'." This drop occured between 1985 and 2004.

The article connects this drop with other symptomatic evidence of increasing social isolation: less participation in PTAs, clubs, charities and family dinners for instance. I can certainly attest to a sad drop in participation in neighborhood association activities- I volunteer with our neighborhood association, and the apathy and lack of interest we get from residents is very discouraging. Always I hear people decry the fact that nobody knows their neighbors any more, that schools don't have support from parents and that there in no real sense of community any more. But then when it comes to cultivating these social connections and supporting our communities, all of a sudden they just don't have the time or the energy for it. Likewise, there has been noise in the news lately on the importance of the family dinner (including a recent article in Time)- how families that dine all together regularly tend to eat healthier and communicate better, not to mention a whole list of other benefits I can't remember right now. But how many families do you know that sit down together for supper every night?

I am now thinking of a third article I read in Time not long ago (can you tell we subscribe? LOL) about multi-tasking and how it has been affecting the current younger generation. One effect of ipods, cellphones, e-mail and yes, myspace has been that many teens are less socially adept in a focused, one-on-one conversation than previous generations have been. They get distracted easily. I bet this might tie in to the loneliness issue, as well.

Is it true? Well, I think it probably is. Besides less participation in our communities, less meaningful communication in our families and less practice at focused, engaged one-on-one socializing, we also have less extended family at hand to support and mentor us in our daily lives. Now that I am a mother, I understand much better the importance of a supportive family network. There is so much that used to be available to moms and kids (and dads too) right within the family, that now we must seek out in planned social interaction. I desperately need mommy friends to exchange information with, share gripes and goopy lovey mommy joys with, share adult conversation with (while our kids get to share arcane childhood knowledge, combine exuberant energy and work out complex social norms). I use the internet to chat and share information, and to research for information that used to be shared within the family or community. I meet with my mommy friends for the all important social interaction and the chance to share a meal, activities, babysitting, tips etc etc. The good thing about this is that I have a much wider realm of information and people I can choose from. My mommy friends are not only wonderfully helpful, they are also cool people that I'd probably like to hang out with anyway. Family doesn't always offer that luxury. But the bad thing is, it takes a lot more time and effort to cultivate these connections now, whereas in years past they were right there, waiting for you- moms, aunts, cousins, grandparents, sisters, neighbors. . . some of us still have a family network but all too often the old support networks are too far-flung or too busy to be of much help.

So, I guess the point is that now, it takes a lot more effort to cultivate the kind of social connections that sustain and support us. Too many of us lack the social support we need. So, get out there and join something! Talk to people, and find the time to get involved. It pays back with interest. :)

Time articles:
On the loneliness study:,9171,1207822,00.html
On the family dinner:,10987,1200760,00.html
On multi-tasking:,10987,1174696,00.html

The last two are previews only, bacause you have to subscribe to view the whole article. Sorry!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

the demons that drive

Monday, June 26, 2006

the demons that drive
Current mood: frustrated

The other evening we were talking about perpetual discontent. Discontent that, no matter how good things get for you, still lurks indestructibly beneath the joy and laughter. The nagging feeling that things still aren't right, no matter how good you know they are. And the realization that the discontent will never go away. It's sort of bitter to realize that things never really will be right.

The trick however, is to learn that this discontent (though negative) is not bad. Without discontent of one kind or another, there would never be any progress. Those insatiable demons inside us are what drive innovation and forward movement in our lives. Without them we stagnate in comfort and stationary contentment. Face it- change is hard, no matter how desired or positive it may be. It's hard to leave your comfort zone. We need negative emotions to drive us forward, much as a coach driver cracks the whip to drive the horses on. Let your discontent drive you. (Just don't give it full reign in your life, or it is likely to drive you straight into a ditch.) Be sure you choose your direction.

Think of it as just another example of yin and yang, that beautiful balance of positive/negative, white/black. We need the balance. It's unwise to try and eliminate the "darker", more negative impulses in our life. Acknowledge the demons, recognize that they are there to stay, and then use them to accomplish your positive goals. Take that fire and create, always striving to be better than you are now- but don't forget to always count your blessings as well. Balance in all things.

Just a ramble that was rumbling 'round my head.

And incidentally, today was one HELL of a day. Brings new meaning to the concept if being "star crossed". How damnably frustrating. Glad it's over.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

tricycles and learning how to learn again

Saturday, June 24, 2006

tricycles and learning how to learn again
Current mood: mischievous

On Thursday (mine and Billy's birthday- yes, it's the same day- and thank you all for the nice birthday greetings!) Littleman learned how to pedal his tricycle. Up to then he had enjoyed riding it while we pushed, but wasn't overly enthused about the whole idea. It's so funny when learning moments just click into place like that- the lightbulb over the head cliche, the Aha! moment. One minute he just doesn't get it, the next minute he is off and away.

I think a lot of a toddler's learning must be that way- the mind is absorbing, absorbing all this flood of incoming information, and filing it away as fast as possible. There's a little librarian in there fitting puzzle pieces of information together. He matches this shape with that, notes that these patterns are the same, until he says "OH!" and the whole picture starts to become clear.

Click click click, information falls into place- how Daddy rides his bike, how Mommy and Daddy showed him where to put his feet and where to push, how pedalling a bike is sort of like walking, how steering is like pushing a cart and making it turn where you want to go. . .who knows what pieces made the picture clear? And all of a sudden he is zooming through the garage, pedalling forward or backward, gleefully steering the trike to ram right into our legs where we stand. Pretty impressive, really.

Anyway, we're proud, he's delighted and now any time he sees the trike it's hard to get him away from it. It's a lot of fun.

Adults seem not to learn this way as much- I wonder if it is because the information our brains are collecting is mostly old, familiar stuff by now, so we don't have such a backlog of data waiting to be puzzled out? Or is it perhaps that we only THINK the information is familiar, therefore not paying it the fresh, open-minded attention that a toddler would? I wonder if we are missing out.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A little of this, a little of that

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A little of this, a little of that
Current mood: blah

Today, Simon asked for cookies. I laughed (because I don't keep cookies in the house) and said we didn't have any cookies, of course. So he whines, "I wanna go to Grandma's house!!" LOL!

Laundry stalks my dreams at night, threatening to bury me. I think it's in cahoots with the dishes. They must be procreating like rabbits, considering the speed at which dirty dishes fill the sink. Perhaps they learned how from the dog hair, which sheds from Gypsy so improbably fast it's a wonder she has any left. She must manufacture hair cells at supersonic speeds. Maybe I could learn how she does it and market the secret in a new hair tonic.

The transformative powers of music never cease to amaze me. The right songs can utterly change my perspective sometimes, allowing me to view myself from a new angle. Or sometimes, all I need is that brief ticket to an earlier time and place in my life. A little peace, a bit of smile- nostalgia has it's uses.

My fingers are rich with the scent of oranges. Yummy.

Happy Solstice, everyone! Take a moment to give thanks for our Earth who sustains us, nurtures us, tolerates us. Take a few minutes this week and pick up trash outside, or donate a little time or money to help your environment. Your great Mother needs nurturing, too.

Tonight I am grateful for bedtime, music I love, mommy friends, purring kitties (even those who are just as likely to hiss and spit at me for no reason), air conditioning, iced (green) tea and the 'big picture'.

Off to do more laundry.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Current mood: rushed

- is crawling.
- loves kittens (they were the final motivating factor in learning to crawl!)
- slept 9pm to 5am last night (woohoo!).
- is eating his first finger foods (green peas and avacado).
- can stand holding onto something (but does not yet pull up).
- loves standing, and still looks surprised and pleased when he crawls forward.
- liked the beach a lot.
- is still a happy fellow.
- LOVES "swimming" in the pool.
- is not too happy about long car trips.
- cries at startling loud noises.
- likes to play "peek-a-boo" using the wide brim of mommy's sunhat.

- is using more and more sophisticated sentences and grammar.
- wants to read Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go" every night.
- is remarkably good with a T-ball set.
- is reluctant to potty train, but willingly pees in the potty sometimes.
- idolizes his cousins.
- just had a bad dream. (poor kiddo! I'm back now from comforting him)
- is not very into swimming, hates the ocean, but likes the beach.
- LOVES his daddy.
- is into EVERYTHING (making me want to tear my hair out sometimes, LOL!)
- wants peanut butter and jelly sandwitches all the time, but also likes kale a lot.
- says "Simon do it!!" very insistently.
- is sweeter than angels when I put him to bed at night.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006


Monday, June 05, 2006

Current mood: good

Ahh, sand in your shorts. But what fun it is to liberate our toes and spread them joyfully into the damp grit, to dig in and sink our soles in that curious mix of Earth and Sea. There is nothing like salty breezes, carrying kites and gulls, the smell of ocean life, sunscreen and the coconut battered fried shrimp from that bar over there. The sea is still a little cool and the current startlingly strong, but the sun is warm and the wind whips our hair as we race around the blanket. Dig a shallow pool and let the tide fill it, let the sun warm it, let the baby splash in it with delighted squeals and curious exploring fingers. What a remarkable thing, wet sand! Both liquid and solid, soft and sharp, everchanging it fascinates.