This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


Leave a comment

A DAY!

I’ve been writing about these MOMENTS, these snapshots of life in stokes that try to capture a piece of actual life, but seem light on details.

Well, today was ALL about the details! Such A DAY! Nothing traumatic. Everyone is still healthy and happy, and generally just okay. But SHEESH.

It started when I broke my shoe within five minutes of arriving at work. I guess I’d fallen into a bit of a routine, or a lull, with mornings. Most mornings the middle kid gets himself up and out the door before the other two get up. Then those two get up, get themselves breakfast and Chad and I each get one to school. It’s low stress and fairly calm. I have a half hour drive to work, but I listen to talk radio and catch up on the world. I get to work and make another cup of coffee before I hunker down to get some projects done. Fridays, especially, are great because I’ve got full student coverage on the Circ Desk all day. I can just hide in my office and get things done. Breaking my shoe was NOT in the plan.

IMG_20170915_092531_01.jpg

I kicked both sandals off, but going barefoot at work was just not going to work for me. Students often walk around there barefoot, but it’s my workplace. I just couldn’t pull it off. AmazonNow to the rescue! I ordered a pair of Teva flip flops and a frozen Amy’s Kitchen dish for lunch and had them within an hour. I guess I’m pretty blessed to be able to do that. The sandals arrived and they were a bit tight, but they got me through most of the day and they’ll be the girl’s pool shoes next summer.

At midmorning I got a notification on my phone that my Pending Fuel Purchase would finalize in 1-3 days. Well, since I was reasonably sure I was sitting at my desk and not standing at a gas pump, I shot a message to my bank’s support staff. When they got back to me, they said there had been an attempted gas purchase in Pompano Beach, Florida. If I was sure it wasn’t me (yup, still pretty sure), they’d put a hold on my account and issue a new account. Done. But I can’t use my card now until the new one arrives. Thankfully I have other ways to access cash until the it’s sorted out. What if I’d been a single parent with crappy credit and no access to any other account or credit?

When the too-tight flip flops started really bugging me, I emailed my boss and let her know I was bugging out of there to go find some better shoes. She told me to be gone and complimented my resourcefulness for ordering from AmazonNow. Well, she said she was impressed I thought of it. Same thing, right? So, I headed out and went straight to TJMaxx to see if I could score a pair to replace the broken pair. I bought a completely different pair, but got out of the pinching sandals. Yeah, but I locked my keys in the car in the process.

No sweat. I’ve got a phone, a smart phone even. And AAA. Opened the app and summoned help. Yeah, I had to shop a little more and then head over to Wendy’s for a snack. Found a great pair of pants, a couple cute tops to get through this transition to fall, and that pair of loafers I mentioned. It was annoying, but it wasn’t raining, snowing, windy, too hot, too cold. I relished a little alone time. My kids were all safe.

Picked up the youngest kid from Matt and Ray’s and headed home to feed the gang. We were down a kid since the middle kid went to the high school football game with the family of his buddy. Friday night means pizza, right? Of course. Tied to order from Papa John’s but apparently our regular store has decided not to deliver to this area. I’ll spare you the whole story, but 30 minutes, two online attempts, and four different phone calls later and I still didn’t have any pizzas on the way. Finally jumped in the car and picked up Little Caesar’s. Done.

There were a dozen other little mishaps, none of which amount to any real hardship, all of which are simply new twists on First World Problems. It’s so easy to forget that, though. My freaking shoe broke. How spoiled are we that these things seem like annoyances? I didn’t even have to go an hour without a shoe. The worst part was walking on the bathroom floor minutes after it had been cleaned. It was cold and damp, BECAUSE IT WAS CLEAN! What kind of whiner complains about THAT? And I locked my keys in my car. My working, reliable (knock wood) car that was unlocked in an hour and a half by the nice man from AAA.

And I couldn’t get the pizza delivered. I had to get in my (working reliable) car and drive two miles to the store and buy pizza for the family.

They all seemed like annoying things, frustrating things, obnoxious things when they were happening. Right now, though, all I can think is that none of that is a big deal. So what? It’s a pretty sweet deal I’ve got going on. I guess the thing to do is go make another donation to Hurricane Relief. Might as well spread the blessings, no?

Advertisements


Leave a comment

This Liminal Moment

Before I go any further, let me just tell you that I spent nearly an hour writing this blog post on Friday, only to have it sucked into the ether because the page had never loaded properly and therefore wasn’t auto saving. My mistake, for sure, but the great frustration of it all made me put away the Chromebook and bag it for a few days.

I can’t just let it go, though. This is a moment that I really want to note. Thursday was a work day unlike any I’m ever likely to experience again. Today, these five days of holiday before the new thing, is a liminal moment if ever there was one, for me, for Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and for Hamma Library. “Liminal” is such a great word, isn’t it? The second definition in the OED says “occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.” It’s spacial, but also metaphorical. It’s the word for “almost, but not yet” or “what was is no more, but what will be is not yet.”

Thursday was the last working day for many at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Every single person who worked their last day was a good and faithful servant to Trinity and it’s mission. Every one of them had stayed to the end, even with plenty of notice that their jobs were ending. A few had small bonuses coming to them, for years of service, but others didn’t. Still they had stayed. That says something about these people, I think. I am not leaving. In case you haven’t seen my other social media posts, my job is secure for another six months, and even full time. I am now Interim Assistant Director – Hamma Library. I’d been so busy convincing them to let me stay, I hadn’t expected what it would feel like to watch the others leave.

There was to be a gathering at someone’s home on Thursday evening, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Though I was scheduled to work just until 5:00 p.m. I figured I’d just hang around and then go to the gathering. What I hadn’t counted on was that that put me at the library, as each person finished cleaning out their office and left.

I spent most of the week accepting hand-offs. My office is littered with little piles of things handed to me with words like, “Hang on to this you’ll need it when…” or “Better file this somewhere. It’s important for…” Each hand-off carrying the weight of making this library run by myself, or at least “in collaboration with and under the direction of” Capital’s new library director. I CAN do this, of course, but it’s a pretty big bite for this new librarian to chew. I’m not ALL by myself, though. Late in the week we found out that one long time staff member, one who knows all sorts of important things about how things are done, one who can only be described as “the guts of the place,” will be staying part time. We’re both only contracted until December, but maybe by then we’ll be so efficient, and so smooth that the new director will see no reason to change anything but to keep us both as full time.

In early 2014 I showed up at Hamma as an enthusiastic library student. I’d completed just one year of my three years of course work. I was so welcomed, so nurtured by the wonderful people I found there. I cannot imagine that I’d be as prepared to take this on had I not had those very people around me, teaching me, encouraging me as I volunteered, then interred, and finally found employment there. I can’t ever thank them enough.

So, Thursday. Yeah, that was surreal. I watched as people left carrying boxes by the library doors and out into the parking lot, or stopped by to borrow a library cart to carry things to their car, cleaning out offices that had accumulated personal items for years. I helped the rest of the library staff finish clearing off computer drives, and sorting through file drawers. Then I walked each one out. When the last library staff person was leaving I met a regular patron at the door, though we’d been closed almost half an hour. He handed me a couple books he wanted to return and asked about the jobs. I told him I was staying, accepted his congratulations, and then turned back to the dark library. Thanks to our conscientious student who’d worked Thursday, the lights had all been turned out, the doors locked, things put to rights for closing. It was just quiet, still, and startlingly lonely.

20170629_174521.jpgThe late afternoon sun in June is plenty to see by, but it didn’t take away from the strange, eerie feel of the place. They were all gone. Only myself and one more would be back. My first inclination was to get to work. To set about cleaning out my office to prepare to move it, to get the files straight, to begin the work. No, it was time to go to that gathering, to feel the community that had been built around this place, and to share it again with these wonderful people. So, that’s what I did. I walked back to my office, which seemed garishly lit with the fluorescent bulbs, shut down my computer, turned out the lights and locked the door. I walked out of the library knowing there would be these five days of standing in the threshold before I can really get to work.


Leave a comment

A letter to the other Trump supporters

Let me just tell you a few things I’m NOT saying. I’m NOT saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, sexist, xenophobe, homophobe, or any other kind of phobe/ist (though, many of you are saying you aren’t and just saying it doesn’t make it so). I’m NOT saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a threat to the safety of any American. I’m NOT saying that Hillary was my first choice for president. If you continue reading and you come away believing I’ve said any of that, you are simply wrong and you have not really listened.

That said, there are a few things I want to say that I’m not seeing in the social media conversation. First, I want to validate the fear of my LGBTQ+ friends, parents raising LGBTQ+ kids, minority friends, parents of minorities, and anyone else who feels afraid today. We aren’t afraid of all the Trump supporters. That’s ridiculous. If you aren’t a threat, you don’t need to say it every time someone posts their fear. If you feel the need to show that you aren’t a threat, GREAT. One simple thing you can do to show it is to wear a safety pin. If you don’t know what I’m talking about with the safety pin, here’s some resources from Huffington Post and The New York Daily News.

So what are we afraid of? That tiny percentage of Americans who are simply horrible. We’re afraid of a tiny percentage who think that Donald Trump’s words (and words ARE important) about Muslims, gays, special needs people, women, and immigrants were not just okay, but great. There are Americans who think it’s not just okay to beat up that effeminate middle schooler, but needs to be done. There are Americans who think that those who have less muscular control of their arms or legs should be made fun of. There are Americans who have long wanted to be able to openly call out those with different ethnic backgrounds in their neighborhoods and schools, to harass them until they feel unsafe and leave, to run them off. If my description of these Americans disgusts you, than you might not be one of them. Chances are NONE of you reading this is one of them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Not only do they exist, but they have been empowered, emboldened, and ENDORSED. It may not have been your intention when you voted for him, but it is the result nonetheless.

So all those people who feel fear are absolutely justified in feeling that fear. If you still disagree with me about that one fact, you are probably one of the few still denying that white privilege exists, and frankly, I’m not sure that our discussion can go much further. We’re speaking different languages and since that is such a basic tenet of my beliefs about this country,  I’m hard pressed to find common ground. We can certainly disagree about how much of a problem it is, how to fix it, even how it came about, but surely you can agree that it exists.

There are dozens of reports today, and over the last few days, about why that fear is justified. There are middle schoolers chanting hateful things at ethnic minorities, graffiti with obvious hate messages, people beat up for appearing to belong to the LGBTQ+ community, women harassed on public transportation. Is there an actual increase in these incidents, or is it just being reported on more often? I don’t know, and really it doesn’t matter. It’s happening. The fear IS justified.

I’m not going to hash out the issues that made me choose to vote for Clinton over Trump. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to assume that most of you who voted for Trump made your decision carefully, perhaps prayerfully, and simply chose different legitimate priorities. Clearly we disagree, but Trump has won the election fair and square, so we have to move from there. I consider America’s endorsement of Trump to be a challenge, and I am up to it. I have the beginnings of a plan. Would you like to know what it is? I  bet we can find common ground there.

wp-1478965011446.jpgFirst, I’m going to show all the love I can. On Wednesday morning, when my children were sad and disappointed, I instructed each one of them to dig deep within themselves and find all the extra kindness and love they could muster and show it to everyone they came across. I want us all to double our efforts in that area every single day. If hate and fear have been endorsed and even ONE person feels more comfortable spreading that, than I want to be part of those who will smother that hate everywhere it springs up. The news will cover the hate faster than the love, so we’ll have to patient and steady and back each other up with that love, but I want to be part of that movement. I’ll wear a safety pin every day as an outward sign. I will continue to teach my children that this is the most important thing they can do, and that God demands it of us.

 

Second, I will try to hear the rest of you. You Trump supporters who are angry at the liberal reaction to this election, if you can express your feelings without anger, I want to hear why you chose him. I will try to squash my own confirmation bias and read even-handed pieces from reliable, authoritative, non-biased sources about the issues you find most important. I have several articles in the queue already, and Hillbilly Elegy is already ordered and on its way to me. I will engage in rational discussion with anyone who is willing about which issues should be most important, how they should be handled, and what the consequences might be of those solutions.

Lastly, I will not endorse or be part of protests that involve shouting “Not my president.” I will not threaten to move to Canada. I will not feed the hatred of “the other side.” I will give Trump the respect of the office he was legitimately elected to. I will likely disagree with MANY of the decisions he will make as president, but I will find productive ways to express that. I will maintain my faith in the democratic system, and work harder within it to effect the change I believe in.

 

 

 


2 Comments

The truth about the OUR Family Christmas pictures

I wrote the bulk of this post for LiveJournal in 2007. I’ve been stressing about Christmas cards pretty much every year since I started having children. Some people have cooperative children and get lovely Christmas shots every year. Me? Not so much. These kids are all related to Chandler Bing.

I thought I’d share the stress I found just a few years in and then share a bit of what I’ve learned since. Enjoy.

I have been sending Christmas cards pretty regularly for a couple years now.  Since Annie was born, anyway.  (So, get me your address if you’re one of those old friends I’ve recently reconnected with!)  I love the opportunity to send people I only speak with once or twice a year, a picture of my beautiful children.  I imagine them admiring their sweet faces and placing the card on the fridge where it will gather dust until July or so and then be tossed out with the expired pizza coupons they were covering up.  I know, I know.  Many of these cards end up in the trash within minutes of opening.  Now that’s a sin, don’t you think?  Those beautiful faces in the trash?  I won’t think of it.  And some stay in the Christmas card pile to be thrown out en masse.  I can live with that.  They didn’t look right at my children’s faces and toss them in with the eggshells, or empty milk carton if they recycle. 

I love having my own cards printed.  It seems so personal, but finished.  A big picture of my child(ren), but a message I thought out myself.  Still, I cannot bring myself to have our names printed inside.  I feel the need to sign each and every individual card with a short, but personal message, and my actual name written in my own hand.  Nevermind that I also sign for my children and husband.  To me (and there’s no offense meant to those who send me these cards each year), sending those pre-signed cards with no message says, “Hey, I thought of you for 2.8 seconds this year while I put the stamp on this envelope.”  Especially because most of the time, these cards come with a computer printed label with my address.  In that case, the sender may not even be aware that he HAS sent me a card!  I’ve sent out batches of résumés with more personal thought.

Annie’s first Christmas, the only one for which she was the only subject of the photography session, was so much fun.  My mother helped me get the shot when she was visiting for Thanksgiving.  We dressed my sweet 10 month old in a lovely red corduroy dress with the sweetest matching tam.  We sat her on a white sheet and surrounded her with little colored lights, greenery, and some not-too-breakable tree ornaments.  She was so enthralled with this stuff.  She seemed to know instinctively that it was a pile of stuff she wouldn’t normally be allowed to touch.  She drew the lights up over her head, then down in her lap.  She pointed with her tiny finger at a blue one and starred right at it.  Snap!  Got the shot.  The card was perfect with the caption, “May the wonder of the season stay with you throughout the New Year.”  Sweet, cheery, pretty.  Done.

  

The next year, I started trying for the elusive Card Picture around the first of November.  I wanted to get it all done and printed so that I could take my time signing and addressing, by hand of course.  I chose some sweet holiday-ish outfits for the kids.  Annie, now 22 months, in a sweet flannel Stausburg dress of blue checks, and Sammy, at 7 months or so, in his holiday snowman sweater with the sleeves rolled up.  For our first session, I dressed the kids and put them on our red couch, gave them each a giant jingle bell and starting shooting.  Thank heaven for the digital camera.  I would have ruined a lot of film!  They grabbed the bells from each other.  Sammy put them in his mouth.  Annie grabbed Sam’s cheek so hard, she left red marks.  Session over.

  

  

Session Two came up by accident.  I realized one day that Sammy had on a dark green and red plaid one piece thing, and Annie was wearing a black sweater with a big pink snowflake on the front.  The session went about as well as the first, but in the end, I think the picture we used came from this day.  There were several more “sessions” of chaos, but nothing I want to remember.  Why does a seven month old child get SO upset when you aim a camera at him and want him to sit next to his sister for .8 seconds?  And WHY must a 22 month old girl hug the STUFFING out of her little brother just because you picked up the camera?  Around the second week of December, in desperation, I ordered 50 copies of the best snapshot in the bunch and stuck them on some of those photo cards you can get at Target.

  

Last year, I got smart.  I began dressing the kids in outfits that looked good photographed together on a regular basis.  I always had the camera at the ready.  I snapped HUNDREDS of pictures of them together in an attempt to get that one Card Picture.  Anytime they were even close to each other, I’d try to get them both looking at the camera.  There are files and files on my hard drive of pictures where their hair is sticking up, they’ve food on their faces, or the background is a baby gate or something equally as attractive.  Eventually, I got a semi-decent shot.  I ordered beautiful cards in two patterns from Vistaprint.com and I loved them.  Great, huh? 

Except now the bar is set.  The pressure is on.  It’s not even Halloween and I’m OBSESSING about these damn pictures already.  Like I have NOTHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT!  Somebody, please talk me back from the edge!

Those were just the first THREE years! The next couple years didn’t go much better. The next year these were the best of the bunch.

wpid-wp-1416326640289.jpeg

In 2009 we moved to a new house with a big fire place and hearth. I was sure that I could get a wonderful shot in front of the stockings and poinsettias.  HA! I dressed them up and stood them there. After an hour or so of frustration and tears, both mine and theirs, I gave up. In the end, I sent a photo collage with a whole lot of laughable out take shots.

card091

In 2010 we had new a new baby. In the fall, we hired a photography student to take family portraits of our family, including my parents and my brother. I put together a card with some of those images, and I was fairly pleased with the result. Easiest year of all, I guess, but I can’t afford even a student EVERY year. And even she had trouble getting a great shot of all three of them! (She’s working as a professional now, and I’m happy to send her some business. Her name is Ashley West, and I don’t even get a kickback.)2010 card

2011 came and I snapped this shot on Thanksgiving. I printed wallets of this and each of the kids’ school pictures and put them in small cards. Done. Call it a punt.

2011 card

2012 we went to Disney and since they make it so easy to have pictures taken with your whole family, I sent wallets of one of the shots the Mouse took. Again, punt.

Animal Kingdom pass

2013 I felt like I needed to step up my game, so I went back to the folly of trying to get a great shot of all three. I tried for weeks. We hadn’t spent real money on cards in several years so I was willing to order nice cardstock  prints this year, I just needed to get the right shot. Dozens of tries. Gave up. Fine, I’ll just put separate shots of the kids on the card. Again, no luck. Finally, I drug them out in the yard before school and told them to smile. I got lucky, I guess. I ordered them THAT DAY!Fullscreen capture 11182014 10841 PM.bmp

 

This year, I’m not willing to spend a fortune since I did last year. But of course, I got great shots in the leaves a couple weeks ago. Yeah, it’s more fall than winter. Yeah, you’ve all already seen them. I don’t care! They are great shots and they are going on the cards!

 


4 Comments

It’s not about not judging, it’s about not giving a $h!t #MommyWars

wpid-wp-1416081794192.jpegOh, I’m gonna piss folks off with this one, aren’t I? I guess I’ll be accused of some sort of participation in the Mommy Wars, but I’m still not even clear what that means. I think it means expressing some sort of opinion on how other Mommies are Mommy-ing. Here’s the thing about that, though. See, we’re all starting these Mommy Blogs so we can spout off about stuff we’re thinking about. We want to write about how we feel about life as a Mommy, or a woman, or a wife, or a person, or a citizen, or a drinker of wine, or an eater of salads, or whatever. We all want to write stuff to “brain dump” it, but anybody who says they don’t care if folks are reading is lying. But offending folks means nobody will read anymore, or that you’ll go viral, depending how offensive you are and to which side. We can’t write anything too controversial, because we might offend. We can’t write anything specific about our own opinions, because that might be considered offensive to those who have an opposing opinion. We can’t write about how Breast is Best because that might make the formula feeders feel bad. We can’t say staying home with our kids has been a super awesome thing, even though it’s crazy hard, because that might make those who have to work to pay the bills feel bad. And we can’t write about being glad to send the kids to daycare so we can go have grown up time in the office because that means you’re shaming those Mommies not living up to their male-equal potential.

But the prevailing opinion that we should stop “Mommy-shaming,” that we can write about. We CAN write about how everyone’s choices are valid, we all have to do what’s best for our own family, and “judging” each other is only causing more harm. What the hell does that even mean!? Are you seriously telling me that you think that the mom who has a college degree but feels so strongly about being at home with her kids that she spends hours clipping coupons and figuring out how to feed her three kids on 50% of the household income they had before kids is  NOT going to have ANY opinion on the mom who works full time just so they can afford designer clothes? NO OPINION at all? Come on, that’s just not realistic. Whether or not she expresses that opinion is her call. Whether the working mom CARES about that opinion, now that’s another thing. That’s realistic to expect someone to control. SAHMom has no right to stop WOHMom at the Back-To-School Open House and spout her opinion, but if she puts it on her blog (not calling WOHMom out by name, duh), and WOHMom reads it, SO WHAT? If she’s offended that’s WOHMom’s problem. And if WOHMom wants to write a book about how gratified she is by her work and how she can’t imagine being stuck home all day with the laundry and the kids, how is that offensive to SAHMom? For crying out loud, if we all have to make the choices that are best for our own family, why do we spend so much time justifying them in the form of rants about how nobody’s choices deserve judging.

What’s your point, Bird? I don’t know. I’m just tired of being told not to judge. That’s ridiculous. Humans judge. We just do. Obviously I think that the choices I’ve made are the best, or at least I did when I made them. Yes, by “best” I mean that they were/are best for MY family, based on available information and my own beliefs and values. Yes, if you make a different choice based on the same information, I think it’s the wrong choice. Doesn’t mean ANYTHING TO ANYONE! NOTHING, nada, zip, zilch, zero. I thought MY choice was right. I will do you the courtesy of believing that you, like me, think YOUR choice is right. And besides I am sometimes wrong. Wrong about my own choices, wrong about what I think of yours. Catch me on a good day and I might even admit it. Don’t count on it, but SO WHAT? The only thing that is offensive about me believing MY choice is right would be if I felt compelled to somehow force my choice on you and your family.

Just so you know, none of the moms I know in real life EVER talk about how wrong someone else’s choices are, especially with regard to the have a job or stay home question. It just doesn’t happen. So, despite all the blogs, media articles, books, whatever about these “Mommy Wars” and the tension between them, it’s a made up thing. If you are getting your self worth, or letting it be stolen from you, by somebody else’s book or blog, you might need to rethink how you made your choice to begin with.

Maybe instead of the Mommy Wars devolving into a bunch of high powered CEO moms, blogger moms, and playground moms all patting each other on the back congratulating each other for making choices, any choices, whatever the choices, with no judgement about any choice ever, how about we accept that we don’t agree with everyone’s choices and we stop being so darned sensitive to the idea that someone might disagree with our choices. You’re probably judging me right now for that crazy run-on sentence.

That’s okay. I can take it!

 


3 Comments

Nine Things I Hope My Children Will Learn From Me. Yeah, it’s a list!

Have you noticed all the lists on blogs lately? Like, “12 Things Every Girl Should Know Before Entering Eighth Grade” or “8 Things I Learned Being a Parent of a Super Awesome Kid” or “25 Things I Wish I’d Told My First Grade Teacher” or maybe even “17 Things I Might Do If I Have Blue Eyed Children.” Everybody has a list. Some of them are wonderful! Some of them are ridiculous. And some of them just piss me off. Then I think about my children, or my relationship with my parents, or how college kids today know nothing just like I knew nothing but I thought I knew all the stuff, and I think, HEY! I should make one of those lists. But the rational part of my brain takes over and tells that other part to shut up! Don’t be ridiculous, there are too darn many lists out there already! But sometimes the obnoxious part wins. So, I present to you Nine Things I Hope My Children Will Learn From Me.fall 26

  1. Go to church. Yes, Jesus loves you and yes, the bible tells you so. We have gone to great lengths to teach you what we believe, and though we don’t agree on every aspect of religion, we share some common core beliefs. Many people advocate letting children figure out for themselves what they believe and not “forcing” religion on them. I couldn’t disagree more with that approach. You can and should figure out what you believe for yourself, but I’ll be making sure you know what I believe, as I do with any other topic. Why would religion be different? We’ll keep taking you to church, not in an effort to brainwash you, but because only there can you learn how deeply we believe these things. Only there can you hear God’s word proclaimed every time you walk in the door, and explained by different people, maybe one of which will make the most sense to you. And only there can you experience the community of believers that is special and different from a social club. If you find yourself in a church that doesn’t feel like that to you, find a different one. If you find that you don’t believe the things being taught by the particular church you find yourself in, find a different one, but go to church.
  2. Vote. Every time there is an election in your precinct, for any issue, any office, any levy, educate yourself on the question or candidates and pick a side. Then go vote. The whole system runs better when people are engaged in the process. Not just because the people actually chose the winners, but because it makes you a more educated citizen, increases your awareness of the issues that affect not just the nation, but your little piece of it.
  3. Pick a mate who has other long term relationships and a good relationship with at least one parent. If he or she has never had long term friendships, why would you assume this person is capable of a long term romantic relationship? And assuming his parents are living, does he WANT to have a good relationship with them? Now, obviously sometimes we meet perfectly nice people who have crazy people for parents. Fair enough. But assuming sanity on all parties, does she try to keep a good relationship with her parents? That tells you a lot about a person, don’t you think?
  4. Don’t eat crap. Well, not much, anyway. Okay, eat crap if you want to, but don’t let it take over your diet. My generation was raised on Twinkies and Wonder Bread, Tang and Hawaiian Punch. It hasn’t killed us all, but Lord knows we’ve shown over and over that this is not a good basis for a diet. So, don’t worry too much about a particular diet, but eat whole foods when you can and try to steer clear of these over processed things. You’ll feel better, and you won’t crave that garbage.
  5. Do things for other people that you don’t have to do. Maybe that means volunteering somewhere like a food pantry or homeless shelter. Maybe that means just raking the leaves of an elderly neighbor. Maybe it’s just reading to a little kid. It feels good, and it’s okay to feel good about it. Feeling good for doing good is not a bad thing and you should not feel guilt for wanting to feel that! So, make meals for neighbors with they’re sick or have a baby. Donate items to the charity of your choice, you probably have too much stuff in your closet at any given moment. Participate in fund raisers and public awareness campaigns.
  6. Don’t let people tear you down. I could go on for days about society’s effect on our girls and body image issues, or boys and the macho thing, or bullies on the playground, on and on. But in the end, decide that you are a good person and act on that. Then if others don’t agree, don’t hang out with them. You don’t have to TELL those folks they’ve been cut from your life, just don’t make any more plans with them. People either build you up, or tear you down. If you aren’t being built up by someone, find someone else to hang out with. In the end, all they have to do to build you up is NOT tear you down.
  7. Take care of your skin. From adolescence to the end of your life, your skin is worth caring for. This is one I’m not so good at, and my skin shows it. It doesn’t have to be expensive, the main thing is to be consistent. Wash, tone, moisturize. Moisturize your whole body. Even when you’re in a hurry, or tired, or whatever. Even when you think your skin is perfect, it won’t always be. Stay on top of it.
  8. Don’t chose a mate based on the high at the beginning of a relationship. Sure, we all know folks that met in high school, fell instantly in loved, and lived together happily ever after, married for 60 or 70 years. But of all the people you know, how many fall into that category? Most people who make a life-long commitment based on those new love feelings are not prepared to spend a lifetime together, even if they think they are. Yeah, you’re in love, you are sure it will last forever, and maybe it will. What’s the rush? Give it a few months, a year, maybe a bit more. Get into a routine, maybe (*gasp*) cohabitate. Have a big fight. Still think this is the person for you? Great. Invite me to the wedding. I love weddings.
  9. Live your values. If you believe it, don’t sit on it. You don’t have to PREACH it if you demonstrate it. Everyone has to figure that one out for himself, but if you feel like something you’re doing isn’t living up to what you believe, you should stop doing that!


3 Comments

#NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month

Okay, BlogHer, I’m in!

What a great month for National Blog Posting Month! November is a little crazy, but not crazy like December. There’s so much to talk about in November, well, for me anyway. I love this little semi-pause between chaos of back to school through Halloween, and the holidays. The weather is firmly NOT summer, and I feel like I’m fully into the most productive season of my year.

Can I do it? Can I actually blog every day for a month? That’s the challenge I’m setting for myself. I always feel like I have so much to say but I shouldn’t bother until it’s all put together in some totally rational (well, okay, semi-rational) form. Maybe I’ll get better at that if I do it every day for a month. Maybe I’ll just ramble and run off all my followers, few as they are. I guess we’ll see, won’t we.

So, it being November 1, All Saints’ Day, I’d like to start by telling you about the wonderful, healthy, nutritious breakfast my children ate this morning. I’d like to, but I cannot. Not one person under age of 11 has eaten anything but candy so far today, and it’s almost noon. AND, they’re all glued to the screens in the basement. PlayStation, Kindle, and PC are all going strong. But, after a few weeks of video game ban, and my refusal to buy Halloween candy in advance because it gets eaten, I suppose they deserve their little party. Daddy will be enforcing a basement clean up party in the afternoon, anyway.

Halloween was a success, and even this Grinch had a good time. Girlie and her friends had a ball. Pending approval of the other parents, I’ll share a picture at some point. Middle Bird had a lot of fun trick-or-treating, especially after they ditched the little guy and Daddy showed him how to really cover ground. I think the total candy haul in this house is a little ridiculous. The Baby Bird headed out as Buzz Lightyear, but ditched the wings this time. There was just no talking him into it. He still did quite well with his candy haul. I’m not doing a lot of candy monitoring around here. Frankly, I’m hoping they will either burn out, or get rid of it quickly! Myself, I’ve had my fill. I was a bit gluttonous last night and this morning’s sprouted wheat toast with hard boiled egg and sliced tomato was just what my body was screaming for!

wpid-20141101_115000.jpgGiven that the house is bursting with candy, it’s naturally time for me to get back to eating a little better, right? Yeah. The Paleo Experiment of last winter was very successful, and though I don’t think I need to be quite so strict about it, I think I’ll be leaning that way for a while. I felt really good, and I want some more of that! I finally got around to replacing the food processor attachment to the Cuisinart, and I invested in a mandolin slicer and a spiral slicer. The plan is to cut out almost all grain, sprouted wheat being one exception, a lot of dairy, most sugar, and generally avoid all processed foods. It’s not a diet, just a style shift in what I eat. I’m not going to beat myself up if I decide that I just HAVE to have one of the fabulous apple cookies my mother only makes at this time of year. For now, I’m off to the store for more jars. I’m going to roast a chicken to day and get the broth going, plus I want to give a shot to making fig apple butter in the crock pot. Surely I’ll be blogging about that tomorrow, right?


Leave a comment

A Year In Birdland

Today is day 365 of blogging for me. I’ve kept this thing going for a full year. Not sure that it’s any more entertaining today than it was on March 6, 2013, but it’s still here, and that’s saying something, right?

It’s also Ash Wednesday. Lent, Easter, and all the associated dates are so variable, that it’s hard to measure the years by those dates. Middle Bird’s birthday is March 28 and he celebrated his first birthday before he got to his first Easter.

The Girlie Bird’s first trip to church was on Ash Wednesday, that year it was back in February, and she pulled one of those baby power blows just as we stepped to the alter for the imposition of ashes. Yeah, you parents out there know what I’m talking about. When you’re holding your sweet newborn, and she’s sleeping so peacefully, then for just a second she screws up her tiny face for just a second, and there’s a rumbling that’s so deep and so foreboding that it doesn’t occur to you it might be coming from that bundle in your arms, then BAM, the explosion! And I just slipped out quietly hoping there hadn’t been a containment error.

Baby Bird was baptized on Easter Vigil. Actually, all three of the kids were baptized on changeable dates, the other two were Mothers and Fathers Days.

Babbling? Well, yeah, a little. But hey, that’s life. I just wanted to pop in and say it’s been a year. A full year of blogging, and that happens to end on Ash Wednesday, which is, of course, the beginning of Lent. I’m not sure what adventures Lent will bring this year. I don’t know what spring will bring. We’re not to spring, yet, but Lent is surely a good sign that we’re moving that direction!

 


Leave a comment

“My New Year’s Resolutions” or “Why I won’t make resolutions”

I HATE New Year’s Resolutions. I’m all for taking stock and rethinking one’s plan of attack for getting through each day. I’m on board with the concept of looking over the last year and deciding what worked for you and what didn’t, for consciously making decisions to try and adapt habits that improve one’s life and the lives of those around you. I think the New Year gives most people a great opportunity to mark the passage of another year by doing just that and then making a list of the things they resolve to do in the next calendar year. I also think it’s an invitation for failure and I screw up enough all the time without spelling out the ways I will fail at the beginning of the year.

I try to spend time contemplating how to improve my habits. Sometimes I even try to grab hold of a new plan and make new, better habits. I do this all the time. I am sometimes successful and sometimes not so successful. I don’t spend enough time evaluating, and often I just keep on doing the same old thing because that’s easiest. If I have just one real, honest, improve-my-life resolution, it’s to spend more time and effort evaluating what’s working and what isn’t and to ditch the less than productive habits and actively search out and attempt to ingrain more productive habits. There. That vague enough for you? I mean I do mean to do this. But I have specifically worded it in such a way that there is not measurable criteria to ascertain my success or failure in keeping this resolution.

I was thinking about this whole resolution thing as I checked in on Facebook this morning and came across a post by a friend and fellow blogger. Stacey is a full-time pastor, mom, wife, doctoral student, and crazy productive crafter whose handknits look lovely and often make me drool over her posts. She decided to post her Whimsolutions for 2014, and they’re awesome. Why do “resolutions” HAVE to be about losing weight and eating better, being more organized and frugal, or spending more time on my homework. I knew I should be doing that stuff in October, what makes it easier to accomplish in January? The whimsolutions are just fun. They’re still about improving my quality of life, and that of my family. I am totally stealing this idea, okay not really stealing since I gave her credit, but I’m absolutely copying her.

My Whimsolutions for 2014

1. Learn to knit.

I don’t have to finish some great project or learn a bunch of different methods. I don’t have to make any Christmas gifts for next year or any other such thing. I just want to knit something scarf-like. YouTube tutorials, here I come!

2. Take my daughter shopping more.

She still trusts Grandma and Mommy to dress her and though she has opinions about the things in her closet, she’s mostly happy to let us buy her clothes without her and dress her up. That’s fine, but the time spent together sorting through the clothing racks is excellent girlie bonding time. I think we could be chatting about things we might not talk about at the kitchen table or when I tuck her in at night. I always want to press that you-can-talk-to-me-about-anything vibe and shopping seems to be ideal. Plus, it’s fun.

puzzle3. Do a big jigsaw puzzle with Middle Bird.

I think we might be able to get some of that same bonding time that shopping would afford Girlie and me. And I LOVE jigsaw puzzles. I think he will love them, too.

4. Take Baby Bird to the zoo more often.

We have a membership and we use it, but we could go more. He’ll be in school full time soon enough and I’ll miss the time we could have gone. The dishes can wait.

5. Bake more cookies.

Cookies are the perfect treat. You don’t have to eat a ton of them, and they can even be healthy, though I’m not necessarily committing to baking healthy cookies. This is a WHIMsolution you know. Maybe use this blog post (also recommended by Stacey) to perfect a chocolate chip cookie recipe that this family will love.

6. Buy and wear more fun socks.

I’m in a sock rut. I have five or six pairs of black, and five or six pairs of athletic ankle socks, and a handful of blah brown or black trouser type socks. I see people wearing bright socks and they look like fun. How can it not be?

7. Get manicures and pedicures.

Not all the time, I can’t afford an addiction. But once in a while pay someone else to groom my nails. I’m always happy when I do it, but I haven’t in years.

 

I guess I didn’t really land on a theme, but over all I want to spend more energy on bonding with my kids and doing things that aren’t strictly necessary but that improve our quality of life. Wish me luck?


Leave a comment

Some MORE things

40 years ago. I needed bangs even back then!

40 years ago. I needed bangs even back then!

Tomorrow, well, probably today by the time you read this, is my birthday. I am twenty one. Again. Not like some people say they’re turning twenty nine again because they never want to turn thirty, but like I’ve lived twenty one years, twice. Forty two. Eh, not usually considered a milestone birthday, but when I realized that my twenty first birthday was exactly HALF of my life ago, suddenly forty two seemed like a HUGE milestone.

142KLYou know what I haven’t written about in ages, right? Yeah, that weight loss thing. Turns out I don’t seem to be very good at watching my weight while I’m actually in school. Good thing I only have about three weeks to go this semester. But then it will be the holidays, so that should be easy, right? Eh, I’ll get on it. That’s not why I bring it up right now. I just want to acknowledge that I’m not ignoring it. I’m still fat, and I’m still concerned about it.

v65oai7fxn47qv9nectxI have really enjoyed watching the twitterstorm about Dr. Lee’s blog post that was removed from Scientific American’s site. I could go on about my thoughts on this, but there’s not a lot of point in that. I’m not a scientist, I’m an amateur blogger at best, I’m certainly not a person of color, but I AM a woman, and all I need to say is that this has been interesting to watch.

imagesGirlie is entering a poem in the PTA’s Reflections contest tomorrow. I think it’s brilliant, she wrote it all by herself, but I’m honestly worried that people won’t believe it. I might be biased, but it’s a really, REALLY great idea/concept for a poem. I worked REALLY hard to give her feedback as she worked it out but to never give her “help.” It’s all her work, but it was HARD not to take her great idea and write my own poem! It’s just such a good concept. I didn’t do it. I didn’t write hers, and I won’t even write my own, but it IS a great idea. After they announce the winners, I’ll share her poem. Just seems like I should wait. Okay, okay, a tease. The title is “The Pencil.”