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I am insanely close to the end of my graduate degree.

I thought it would feel different than it does, and maybe it will when it is all over with. Graduate school has been squeezed in around the edges of a busy life, it has been online and without the great bonding of actual classroom work (which is also why I got the degree I wanted instead of one that was close by and close enough).

Like my graduate level certificate before it, it has been (with one exception) far easier than what I did as an undergraduate. With more experience under my belt, it doesn’t feel as Mission Critical to a Successful Life as my undergrad did (which was a BA in History for crying out loud). It was a bucket list item, and now I’ve nearly got it.

I want to celebrate it, because I did get a grad degree while being married, working, and parenting a (very) young child — but — I am so underwhelmed by the feeling of finishing so far throwing a celebration seems out of place.

Kind of like throwing a party because I managed to get my pixie haircut trimmed on a regular basis.

I’m not sure how it will turn out in the end – but at least the end is near.

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My husband grew up playing games with his family. There was a lot of variety in the games they played and it is a general wonderful hunk of memories for him. I didn’t play with my folks as much – sure, some Sorry and Clue from time to time but it wasn’t a big deal for us.

Pre-marital counseling should include game play along with religion, money, and children as things to be discussed in a structured environment before marriage.

As we dated, I learned a couple of games that I mainly played to be attractive. In my mind games were something to do with your hands while you talked. Turns out that other people play games in a different way –– by the rules. They play to win. It is serious business with some fun thrown in along the way.

We have introduced Jeff to games from fairly early on, with my husband generally taking the lead. We started out choosing age appropriate classics and trying to play those….

Now I am a good mom. I get down on the floor. A couple of weeks ago I spent an hour on the floor pretending to be my kid’s puppy. But lord’amighty a classic and appropriately aged children’s game is going to be the END OF ME.

Then I found Tabletop.

Wil Wheaton (who I have come to believe is the voice of my generation) hosts a show where they play tabletop games.

NO

WAIT!

COME BACK!

I am finding games that fit my family. We play Tsuro without modification with a 4 year old. We play Ticket To Ride (l-rdy that one was expensive) with modification for Jeff. Still, with the modification he played for about 75 minutes straight last week!

I am only making suggestions for games I think I want to play too, and I’ve got some more on my wish list that look good. It is changing my vision of what games can be, and what they can be for my family. That is a lot of fun.

Realized I never recapped that one.

Yeah.

That about sums it up.

I like Grease; I’ll be interested to see what all they do (and how on earth they will make it different than any other production of Grease ever).

Unless something magical happens – I’ll be waiting for the free episodes after that.

I am surprised at the way motherhood has made me parse my reactions to things.

My son did something that was a minor annoyance, it was no big deal at all, and it deserved something like, “Please stop, I don’t like that.”

But I was tired, and I’ve been a little sick and run down, and my stress level has short, medium, and long term stressors in it right now that (apparently) I haven’t been tending to as I should. So instead of talking to him like I wanted to, I left the room and told him I was because I wasn’t acting right. I did that instead of roaring at him and selling him to gypsies when he didn’t deserve it. Still, I didn’t have control of my face or voice as I left the room and I scared him. After I calmed down and wanted to talk to him about it (the same way we end his time outs) he was tucked into daddy-o and unwilling(unable) to get in the conversation right away.

So I said what I wanted to, and asked if it made sense later. It didn’t, so I tried again. It sunk in a little bit (thank you TV show that introduced “me myself time” to Jeff as a concept).

All of this is to say that I am far more conscious these days of the separation between surface / intention / motivation / causes than I have ever been before. There are a lot of things about this awareness that I like, I like how it gives me a toehold in a lot of conversations, I like the earnestness it brings out in my son, I like a lot of it. It also is a total pain in the arse, because I’ve never articulated anger well in my life but I want my son to trust what he sees when he sees it. So I try really hard to not play off, “Mommy was really mad” as “oh no, just frustrated / tired / blah blah blah” but to own, through my son’s recognition that in that moment I was really mad.

It is amazing how much I can learn from a little.

I have two shows that I watch. Glee and Doctor Who. This week they both went into fall break and cracked or ended relationships that I have really enjoyed.

Another thing that happened this week is that two of my family members went into the hospital for non-critical but they are still in their 80s so it is no cake-walk either things. I am closer to one than to the other, but they are both weighing on my mind a lot.

I am taking detours to track down beautiful trees, so that I don’t miss them, and so the pictures that I take can maybe get turned into watercolors as I become a stronger painter (wow, look at that – I seem to have a plan to keep doing this???).

I am three weeks away from the end of my master’s degree, and the big push for my papers is starting.

Fall always feels like a gathering time, more clothing, heavier food, more time inside. It is also a trigger for great memories because most of the great loves of my life have begun in the fall – perhaps, in part – because I look great in fall colors.

So yeah, it is fall, time is relentless and fast-footed, it triggers the same things every year and every year I embrace it with a tiny sense of loss.

I cannot guarantee this clue free …

So that was the big show, with every established couple in turmoil. Some random stresses, some normal stress, some reasonable endings, and some KA-BOOM! Easy stuff first, the songs were well performed and appropriate (except maybe Santana’s where her delivery made up for me thinking “What?”).

The rest is hard to talk about and keep it spoiler free, but one man was acting waaaay out of character, well, two maybe. In the first case, the storyline has opened up and it might be more interesting but it also feels more forced. In the second case, it was such a random ’bout of jackass behavior that it caught me by surprise.

I’m sad that they need to do the MLB time-out now, because it worked as a cliffhanger. I am also sad that they are going to spend the next show (where they do the fall musical) trying to make me care about the new cast members. They all seem lovely, but they are not who I am invested in. I also think they are plotting a bit of temporary switch-o-roo which is SUCH a reach.

I wish they would have been able to spin off the graduates into their own show, I quietly hope that with another graduating class that maybe they will be able to do it next year.