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I talked a couple of weeks ago about what people might do given some undetermined length of time when they weren’t traditionally employed.

My time, in that very situation (surprise!) started a few days ago.

This was self-chosen (essentially) and I wanted it to start out right. So in addition to going to the Atlanta Mini Makers Faire (with bonus visit with LLV folks) on Saturday, kiddo and I packed up on Sunday morning and headed to the beach.

My first Monday I stood with my kid on the beach and watched the sunrise over the ocean. Because it is the off season, we saw a good part of it with nobody else in sight. It was exactly what I wanted and hoped for. It was beautiful, filled with perspective, and soul feeding.

My first Tuesday I went to Power Yoga at 8:15. Exercise, yoga, a clear Next Right Thing for the morning. I (1) had not eaten breakfast, (2) had not had any coffee, (3) had not done any yoga in 12 years, (4) did not have a 100% reliable breakfast plan. The class was great and I’ll be back on Thursday – I hope that it is part of my weekly rituals that can stick because it really was great. Also … I haven’t stopped moving since then because I’m afraid if I do that I’ll never move again.

Tuesday then moved onto a new coffeehouse for breakfast and caffeine aaaaand the seating is great, the coffee is adequate, and the electricity and breakfast options are awful. It will work out fine when I need to do 2 hours of work in the sunshine. Still looking for Workspace Prime.

Wait. Working?

Yeah.

And getting pretty excited. My cart and my horse are all tangled up in each other, but I’m hopeful to have some stuff to tell you about soon.

So far. So good.

Opportunity cost. I choose one thing, therefore I don’t have the physical, mental, emotional, financial, or time reserves to do something else. There was a festival tonight, and a house show — we could only do one. The choice is based on excitement over either plus the sorrow of missing either.

As choices get bigger and more complex the opportunity cost gets more complex as well. How to spend one evening is one thing, but once you get into longer term questions it gets more difficult. How long of a commute are you willing to tolerate – and how does that change when the money is better (or you just need it more), when you have young kids versus older kids, when your parents need you to drive them more often?

LLV had a lot of costs to consider. Some of the positive things that came from that is our experiences with me on a smaller salary, seeing how time got managed differently when I was home more, and (we didn’t anticipate the importance of this at the time) seeing the ways in which we value and work with large scale opportunity costs.

I left my job today, after a transition period that took 2 months and 2 days from start to finish.

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The opportunity has costs, and risks, and will undoubtedly wake me up in the middle of the night from time to time. For now, though, I know that as each step has arrived I am more confident in the decision my family has made. I learned a lot of lessons about myself during LLV and I’m bringing the books back out to study them to shorten my learning curve on this adventure.

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I had lunch with my friends today. They love me, and I them. I am grateful every day that they are there and I worry (in the middle of the night) about how my decisions impact my relationships with them. Still, in a white bag there was a gift – not just perfect in its existence but perfect in quietly (sort of) telling me that I am understood.

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So here goes.

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(I expect to have a launch the first week of November — so don’t go buying your lady friend holiday gifts quite yet).

I have spent the evening trying to de-sexy-fy Glad You Came by The Wanted.

Thanks random school kid.

this has been awesome

At the end of LLV I took possession of the stuff I had been ignoring from my youth and brought it back home to start ignoring it in a more local setting.

My softball picture, The precious stuffed dolls of my childhood, and the arms of a chair.

The chair had been a gift for my first marriage from my mom’s best friend. It was meant to last for generations, it was beautiful. A Shaker-ish rocking chair, it had a seat in a classic and versatile floral on a green background.

Our homes were decorated straight from the catalog of Random & Whatever, and it was part of the first real adult furniture we had (see also: the dressers from my grandmother and the couch of OMFG). It was important.

Then, after J had to move to wait for his heart transplant it became the place where he did his twice daily dressing changes. It has been 12 years, I could go to the store today and buy everything he would need, I could talk a stranger through it, I can tell you where he would flinch (except later, he didn’t anymore). Realistically, there were 500 dressing changes.

The chemicals wore the varnish off the ends of the arms of the chair.

My parents never faltered in my presence when it was time to pack up the apartment. Hell, they just never faltered. The chair went into storage because it became the physical embodiment of that time. Eventually I told my parents that the chair needed to be destroyed, save for the arms which were to be mine.

arms behind me

I had a special season of hell planned for the arms of that chair. Every moment of rage and helplessness were going to find a permanent refuge in their destruction. Then I would get really serious.

I knew that they would be in the stuff I brought back at the end of LLV, and a couple of weeks ago I found them.

Now.

I still remember the season of hell I had planned for them. More than that, now, I know that I learned a lot in those months about myself, about courage, about medicine, about death, about love, about living, about things that are precious and the shit that isn’t.

Now, I suspect I will cut them down so they are smaller and decades from now my son is going to have to try and figure out what to do with two chunks of wood he has never seen his mom without.

Bookends, maybe.

What would you do if you had an undefined chunk of time with no solid time consuming obligations? I’m talking about maybe two weeks, or many months of time where the activities of daily adult living, spousing, and parenting were your only responsibilities beyond fiscal responsibility. What would you do?

How would you build days that had meaning, that filled gaps, and that worked on some of the things that you’re “too busy” or “too tired” to do? What kind of lists would you make?

Would you take a “vacation” of binge TV watching, or put structure on your days right away to protect against a free fall? When would you really, actually, clean out the laundry room if you had the chance?

I have a solid idea of who I am. Still, like a lot of people, there is Aspirational Me as well. She is craftier and reads more fiction (shoot, just reads more in general — but fiction is tougher for me). So with this undefined space in front of me my mind is boggled with the options, analysis paralysis to be sure.

Finally do something with those photographs?
Make an appointment with the dermatologist?
Will I find a plethora of great podcasts to go along with the three I am compulsive about (if so … what are you listening to that I should hear???)?
I would be well served by working on my grammar a little bit, and I’ve been curious about spending time at Kahn Academy?
Get functional on the piano, or the ukulele, or both?
Volunteer even though I don’t know how big my window of availability is?
Master the art of banana tattooing?

Soon I suspect that Aspirational Me and Actual Me are going to be nose to nose with each other. I might go to the library, I might go to the gym, I might finally watch every moment of Breaking Bad. I’m just not sure yet.

So, let’s pretend it will be six weeks. Travel is out because of spouse, child, fiscal stuff. What would you do?

Who needs your help today? Do you have a time to spare?

Dancing Chinese Dragons and chocolate dumplings at the local science museum were the order of the day.
On a beautiful fall day in October the three of us went on an adventure and for the first time in years I didn’t take any pictures. Not of the shocking blueness of my son’s eyes, or the drummer’s concentration as he played for the dragon. I skipped taking a picture of the biggest (meanest) looking owl I have ever seen.

The people who shout about parents putting down the phone, and free range parenting proponents, and all of them just frustrate me in all kinds of ways.

I am not actually a parenting methodology, neither is my husband. We are actual people with an actual child.
Some days, as a family, we swirl around each other in engaged and cheerful bliss.

Some days we’re lucky we each don’t disown the other two.

Some are hard and all we are really interested in is thinking our own thoughts without anybody talking to us.

Some days there is just too much on the to-do list to think a lot about meeting emotional needs. As Maslow points out, if your pantry is bare then it doesn’t really matter how many art supplies and google eyes you have. The same holds true for clean socks by Sunday night.

So we went, and sometimes we held hands in varying combinations. Each, in turn, put our face towards the sun. We had a day that had different things in it. Not “enrichment”, not “a well-prepared learning environment” (although it was), just a day with a mom & dad & kid where we looked at stuff, and talked about other stuff and tried with determination to spell dragon.

It isn’t a methodology, or training, it is just three lives lived in close proximity and with great affection.

I have, this summer and early fall, been very consumptive. Part of it relates to my experimentation with anxiety and part of it was just that sometimes I am consumptive. I’ve been passive about a lot things, and have separated myself from those who make things.

It sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Making things.

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(I found the picture on tumblr somewhere, I be happy to attribute it if I had done a half-way decent job of documenting it or if you know where it comes from).

In the last few weeks, it has become clear that I need to try and start moving out of my consumptive mode, to begin to dream of things worth making, to both admire and begin to learn from those who take the time to make. I’m starting small, because that is the only way to really start.

A big batch of caramelized onions (kiddo announces he can smell them outside).
A new batch of lunch for me this week (LikeMyMamaSays points out that the crock pot in my home is woefully underutilized)
Plans.

Kiddo was cleaning his room today (making — a better place for shoes, making — a secret room to play in) and we were looking at a toaster (with pop-up mechanism) that was made for him a few years ago by my dad. He asked why grandpa had made it, and I said because grandpa had been a maker every day of his life. It is how he loves people.

It feels far away, but I think it is time to make something.

Ryan Murphy can sleep just fine at night. He has completely nailed the first three episodes this season in an amazing pressure cooker of expectation.

He called it just right by not naming why Finn died. He just did and really the “how?” of it doesn’t matter much for the fictional character. Now, for Cory it absolutely matters because he is a face of heroin addiction that isn’t often seen — but for Finn it just doesn’t.

There were 3 million more viewers of The Quarterback than either of the first two episodes this season. What happened was a lovely blend of The Characters and their reaction to Finn’s death and The Actors reacting to the death of Cory. It rarely seemed like it was anything other than The Actors dressed like The Characters and standing places The Characters would stand.

No place was that more evident than the discord of Lea / Rachel’s song. Her studio recording of the song was strong, but clearly not her best (and who could possibly expect more of this woman right now). The filming of her singing it (after years of practicing lip synching to her own work) was brutal and heart crushing to watch because it didn’t match. She couldn’t access emotional distance (or didn’t want Rachel to) and it is agonizing to watch her mourn on screen.

Two last thoughts…

1. I am on tumblr where I am a silly crazed fangirl to my heart’s content. I was really touched when other fandoms put together little blips that acknowledged that it was going to be a rough and emotional night in the Glee fandom.

2. The Actors are roughly the same age as my group was when my first husband died. It stood out to me.

Now for the hiatus. They are back on Nov 9 doing … what Glee does. Doctor Who has the 50th on Nov 23rd and then nothing until the Christmas special. I’m keeping up with TBBT but that is just pleasant and not really appointment viewing for me right now.