This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


This week

Yesterday I went off on a bit of a rant. Sorry about that. I’ve been brooding over this Mommy Wars thing all week. Not so much the thing itself, but the discussions around it. Seems I just rambled and confused the few who read it. My apologies.

Let’s catch up around here, shall we?

This is the week that my husband joins his dad and uncle off in the frozen north for a few days of deer hunting. It’s not exactly great hunting land, he’s gotten exactly one deer in the nearly 20 years he’s been going, but it’s a bonding experience. It’s tradition. It’s just what they do.

This is my annual solo parenting week. It’s weird, but I don’t hate it. I am in awe of the single parents I know. I’m amazed at the parents whose partners travel regularly. But since it’s mostly just this one week, well, eight days, actually, I can take it. I almost look forward to it. Not that I don’t miss it, but there are some pluses.

I get a lot done, most years, anyway. I always have grand plans for getting the house cleaned and some years I actually do. This year has proven to be pretty unproductive so far, but I did have that eight page paper to crank out. I’m planning to haul as much away from the basement as I can tomorrow, but the weather may not cooperate.

wpid-20141116_212428-2.jpgI allow myself one late night meal of delivery garbage food each year. Tonight is the night! I just ordered an Italian sub and half a dozen boneless hot wings. I poured a neat bourbon and here I sit awaiting delivery. No, it’s not good for me. No, I don’t need it. Yes, I am going to enjoy every crumb.I’ll probably have ridiculous heartburn at 3:00 a.m. but I’m willing to risk it.

The kids really do miss their daddy, and that’s good for everyone. We all need a break from each other once in a while. They remember how much Daddy really does love them when he’s gone like this. They will be really glad to see him come home.

I got my paper done. Next, and last of the semester, paper due in two weeks. Then I gear up for Spring 2015, which, by all accounts, is going to kick my butt! Cataloging I and Intro to Digital Preservation, both at the same time. I was warned to take them alone, but I can’t swing it without adding a year onto this whole endeavor. Better to plunge in and get it done. Then I’ve got to figure out a practicum for summer, and there’s just one class to take in the fall. Then I’ll be DONE!

My food is here, you will have to excuse me. I’ll be back, of course, tomorrow. Good night.




What I DON’T want my children to learn from me…

And I'm not even all that good at keeping up with the laundry!

And I’m not even all that good at keeping up with the laundry!

So, to follow up my Nine Things I Hope My Children Will Learn From Me, I wanted to list a couple things I hope they DON’T learn. We’re all passing on our best and worst to our kids, but I hope being aware of these is helpful. I’m still convinced we’re all messing our kids up in some way. I just hope that they can overcome my parenting shortfalls and turn out to be successful, happy citizens despite them. I’m sure there are more if I thought long enough, but these are the things that pop into my head often. Dear Children, please don’t learn these things:

  1. Procrastinating is a reasonable life habit. We all put the unpleasant off from time to time, but cramming all night for a test, or waiting until your lease is up to look for another apartment, or just waiting until you’re hungry to think about preparing a meal, will not serve you well. There is an argument to be made that an approaching deadline can get your creative juices going and make you perform better. It’s a good argument, I get it, I’ve felt it. But do it to yourself. Set your own deadlines ahead of time. If you have six pages to write by the 20th, tell yourself you must have all resources gathered by the 5th, a rough draft by the 10th, editing by the 15th, and final formatting by the 20th. Or whatever. Respect your own deadlines as much as the instructors, or your bosses, or the cable company’s! If I’d learned that by the time I graduated from high school instead of only after I’d birthed children, I would have avoided a great deal of stress in my life. That black cloud of dread hanging over your shoulder stinks, and it can be avoided.
  2. You don’t need a budget, credit is easy, and there’s always time to save later. Again, I finally learned this lesson, but not until I’d married your dad. My parents knew it, and tried to teach me, but I just didn’t get it. Just like number one, if I’d learned this earlier, I’d have saved myself a whole lot of stress. Your dad may be a little too neurotic the other way, but we balance each other nicely. Don’t count on meeting a mate that balances you, though. There are too many other things on the must-have list for a mate. Take care of your own money because it’s smart. Set a budget, stick to it. Don’t take unnecessary credit, and pay what you do take on time as agreed. And always, always, always save something for the future.
  3. Girls must stay home and cook meals, do all the laundry, care for the kids, and never mow the lawn or perform car maintenance. Now, you might think this one is obvious, but it is what your mother does, at least for now. As much as I spout equality for men and women, I stay home, cook ALL the meals in our home, do all the laundry, provide nearly all primary care for the children, and I’ve never ever run the lawn mower. But you have to understand that this was a choice. Your father and I have divided our family and household chores in the way that works best for us. I LIKE to cook, he barely likes to eat! It does not have to be this way, it’s just the way it is at OUR house. And your dad can, and has, pitched in cheerfully to do laundry, and frankly would do more of it if I weren’t sort of a freak about how it gets done. That’s my own issue, maybe I’ll talk more about that another day. It’s best to find a mate who compliments your interests. If you hate to cook, it’s great to find a mate who loves to, but if you don’t be sure you both agree on what the best take-out is.
  4. Cursing is an acceptable method of communicating. I’m working on it. I know I let the naughty words fly more than I should, and I know you’re listening and repeating it. I know. I promise to try harder. It’s not cute, it’s not even funny. Other people are judging me based on what comes out of my mouth, and they will you, too. And that’s fair because we are all in control of our own mouths!
  5. Smoking for a while when you’re young is no big deal, you can quit later. I hate to use the word “regret” because I wouldn’t change anything that would change the place in life I find myself, with this family, in this place, at this time. If your father and I weren’t smokers, or if only one of us had been, our initial social interactions might have been different and who knows if we’d be together. That said, my only real regret in life is picking up that first cigarette. I really wish neither of your parents had ever been a smoker. You see that I am not a smoker today and maybe you think it was just a thing I used to do and you could try it, too. Please, please, please don’t. Quitting was enormously difficult. I am extremely proud that I accomplished it, but it’s not a project I would wish on anyone. Ever.
  6. You must always make your point. I know you (and probably most of the readers) think I actually believe this one. I don’t, I just have trouble remembering it. As much as I enjoy a good disagreement, and believe it necessary for a healthy relationship, sometimes you have to just let it go. You cannot have a healthy long-term relationship if you can’t sometimes just let the point go. Sometimes making the point isn’t necessary, sometimes it isn’t advisable, and sometimes it’s just too much effort for no pay off. Choose your battles.

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Heroin happens. Why we HAVE to keep talking about it!

So, here I sit in the middle of my not-so-clean house, not cleaning it. Yesterday was the final deadline for my summer class, it had been extended from last Friday. I really hate when the finish line gets moved, but there you go. I’ve been hanging on for this class to be over so I could get on with summer and all my grand summer plans, and this morning all I feel motivated to do is sit here. Gave each kid a bowl of oatmeal and now I’m just wallowing in the idea that I don’t HAVE to do anything. It will pass in a minute and I’ll get up and get on with my to-do list for the day. Wash the shower curtain in our bathroom, strip and wash the kids’ beds, scrub the upstairs bathrooms, go the grocery and pick up graduation gift for the last grad party of the season. Think about the fun the kids and I can have next week with no homework hanging over my head.

Life is good. My life is good. I am so aware of my blessings today.

Last week’s post about heroin lurking just on the edge of our world got a lot of hits. I am glad that folks are reading. I got feedback on Facebook, through emails, and even a comment here, about personal experiences of parents. My friend who wrote the piece I posted has written a bit more to share with you. I hope you will read it, too, and keep the conversation going. I can’t tell you how important I think it is to have this conversation. So many of us as parents are hanging on the idea that we can all somehow find the perfect book/blog/philosophy/guide/support group/whatever and we’ll be able to do this job perfectly. Or at least well enough that our children will be spared any pain, or bad decisions, or any of the pitfalls of life. I want to make the point again, with the help of my friend, that we’re all making mistakes and some of our children will get themselves into really bad places, whether it’s drugs, or something else. What I’m NOT saying is that it isn’t worth the struggle. I’m not saying that we should just accept the fact that some of our kids will turn into junkies and all we can do is hope it isn’t ours. I believe that talking about it will do two things. First, it will help remove the stigma felt by these kids who are trying to recover, and by their parents. Less judgement, more love, is always beneficial in healing. Second, it will increase awareness by those of us who don’t have a lot of experience with these things. A head in the sand never solved anything. Ever.

So, here is the next installment of a conversation I hope will continue.


How Did You Know?

How did you know? I’m not sure I did.

Why did you go looking? My gut told me to.

You invaded his privacy? I saved his life. For now…

Heroin is seductive; it lures you in and makes you its slave. It does not discriminate and invades families of all socioeconomic backgrounds, races and cultures. Heroin provides an almost immediate emotional and physical pain free escape from reality. It is as instantaneous as social media. RAPID RESULTS. Something our young people have become accustom too.

Statistics are showing that there is a terrifying trend. More people under the age of 21 are trying heroin. In fact, there has been a sharp increase in first time heroin use in the 12-17 age group. #Staggering

How did this happen? Ohio waged war and shut down illegal pill factories. Unfortunately, they created a climate that was ripe and ready for a heroin epidemic. Pills became less available and costly. Think $80 for a single pill. My son, since rehab, has shared with me that similar to his experience, most of the heroin addicts he knows, started on pills. For my son, his dealer struggled to get pills, so his dealer turned him on to heroin. Here is a

FAST FACT: Did you know heroin costs about $5 a hit. That is cheaper than pot and way cheaper than pills.

Guess what else? Heroin is more accessible and easier to obtain than not only pills, but pot.

The tiny blackish-brown square of black tar heroin, wrapped in foil, placed in a sandwich bag costs about $5. The physical and psychological relief this little mistress provides is reportedly amazing. Euphoric. It gives instant relief to anxiety, depression, mania, physical pain and everything else. You just don’t feel.

Regular use changes brain chemistry. Not only does your tolerance increase, so more is the only thing you desire, but your brain chemistry changes so you think being high is normal. And you will continue to use more, so you avoid any withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include, goose bumps, watery eyes and runny nose, excessive yawning, loss of appetite, tremors, panic attacks, chills, nausea, muscle cramps, insomnia, stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, shaking, chills and profuse sweating and irritability.

So first, let me state, I am no expert, I am a mom. And my sons addiction, although I know it is not all on me, it feels like an exceptional parenting fail. So please, no need for you to judge me, I am judging myself daily. So there is no perfect science in how to tell if your loved one is using.

What I know is that my son was dealing with some pretty challenging personal SHIT just before his heroin addiction. I could see he was spiraling and he did not want our advice or help. I also knew he was not coping well with his stress. There was excessive pot smoking. I discovered he was drinking my booze. And although there were fights and consequences, I know he could have cared less and I felt helpless.

Then I noticed a couple times some seriously glassy eyes. It was weird and it was a look I had not seen before. I don’t remember the puddley looking eyes with the tiny pupils. I thought to myself, whoa, he looks messed up. So I would ask if he was okay. How do you think he responded? He’s 20 and he would become volatile if I pressed, so I didn’t.

He was also pulling away from us. Isolating himself, spending time with his personal shit problem girlfriend and became more private and more withdrawn.

In my gut something was horribly wrong, I knew it, I felt it and people around me would talk me out of

it. So I gave it time. I gave it about five minutes.

Then I did it. I invaded his privacy. I went in to my 20-year-old sons room and searched. It didn’t take much searching; I saw the baggie, syringe (sans needle), a small piece of foil, a spoon and a lighter sitting out on a chair. It was right out in the open.

(By the way, what this taught me was that there is no privacy in my house. If I suspect my child is in trouble or doing something troubling, I will search their things and be unapologetic because it could be life or death. It is not a betrayal, it is my house and my rules – I can search and I will search.)\So what were the signs? The signs sucked, I relied on my gut and his behavior. Did my gut tell me he was using heroin? No, but I knew something was happening.

What should you do? Every situation is different. Not every addict presents the same. There are some similarities though. They lie and they get really good at covering their addiction. They may bargain and make promises that heroin never intends for them to keep. They stop caring about everything, except heroin.


What should you look for:

Pin Point pupils

Droopy appearance like every limb, including their head is heavy

Dry mouth and extreme thirst

Behavior changes

Appearance lacks care altogether

Withdraws or other behavior changes

Baggies and foil laying about or in trash

Missing tablespoons

Understand that addiction is a disease. It is complex and your loved one will struggle. Relapse is part of this struggle.

Understand the difference between support, enabling and meddling. This is tough, so rely on help from professionals and friends.

TALK ABOUT IT – tell trusted friends and talk about it. This hardship is too much of a burden for you to carry alone. Go to a meeting like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.

Remember, there is no such thing as recreational heroin use, get them to rehab. Find a program. If they have a family component, go to every meeting, rearrange your life for your family. This is important. Embrace taking things one day at a time. You need to live during this time too. Live and find joy in every day. Look hard for it, because it is there, even if it is to be grateful your loved one is safe and in a facility.



School, the boy, and our diet.

In every semester, I have a few of those “Oh, my God, I’m swamped and I don’t know when I’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel” posts. This could be one of them, but that isn’t what I signed on to write about today. I am swamped, and I don’t know when I’ll see the light, but I’m beginning to accept it all as a permanent state. Doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to only taking one class this summer, and belonging to to the pool, but there is the tiniest chance I could be working part time, or even just volunteering somewhere, too, so I’m not going to get too pumped about an increase in down time, yet.

I finally found an edition old enough to serve for my Rare Books project. Inside was a pressed leaf that I can't bring myself to get rid of. Hope it's not harming the book. :)

I finally found an edition old enough to serve for my Rare Books project. Inside was a pressed leaf that I can’t bring myself to get rid of. Hope it’s not harming the book. 🙂

There are things going on that I need to share, though. And I’ve hit some walls in my determinations about how much to share about some things. I think there are some fine lines to walk, and I’m working out exactly where those lines fall. One of those areas of my life is our current challenges with my middle child. He’s been experiencing some increased issues with impulse control, focus, staying organized, keeping his body under control. Most of it could be chalked up to typical, bright, nine-year-old (well, almost) boy stuff, but it’s more. That’s all I can say to describe it. It’s just MORE. His teacher is losing patience, we are losing patience. Life at school is getting too hard for him, life at home is getting harder for all of us. But I still hold onto my conviction that this is not a kid who needs a diagnosis, a label, or a designation. He’s not ADHD, or maybe he is, but not to the point that there are advantages that outweigh the disadvantages of labeling him as such. But the fact remains that we have come to a place where the whole thing is bigger than we can manage at home, or without outside advice.

I will make his annual well-child appointment with the pediatrician today. I will make it for just him, and his dad will try to be off work and join us. We’ll start there. We love Dr. W, she’s been our only pediatrician for all three kids, and Middle Bird knows her, and trusts her. Hopefully, he will be comfortable, and we can all talk about the situation. I need someone to tell me where to go next.

Then there’s the school stuff. I’m struggling, maybe panicking a little, with keeping up this semester. The Rare Books class is a constant onslaught of new and fascinating material, but it’s so foreign to me and I’m having trouble finding the time to read everything, watch every lecture, and just absorb it. I’m keeping up, but it’s the hardest I’ve worked at one class since starting this endeavor. And the other class, Special Libraries with less daily stuff, but several big projects, is not a cakewalk, either. I’m enjoying both classes, thank heavens, so I’m making it work, but I’m getting a little close to the flame here. The Special Libraries class is over around March 23, which will make the Rare Books class go a lot smoother for the last two months or so of its run. I am learning SO much this semester, since I finished the core stuff that got me all pumped up for the profession, and moved into the more specific issues and daily life of a librarian of some flavor. I’m excited, and I’m ready to get into it.

That’s where the rough stuff comes. I’ve known for a while that I need to start beefing up my resumé. If I can’t find a job, and I wasn’t looking, really, I have to find some volunteer experience to put on there. I need to find somewhere to get my feet wet in this whole library work world. I don’t know how we’re going to make it work, but it’s got to happen and soon. I got a lead on a job, pretty entry-level stuff, but I managed to get myself an interview tomorrow. Maybe nothing will come of it, but I haven’t had a job interview in about 12 years. Good practice, and a chance to increase my network, even if the job doesn’t work out. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Other big doin’s in my life? Well, there’s the whole paleo thing, right? Yeah, it’s still on. Sort of. I think we covered early on that rules for eating aren’t my strong suit, but this is still working really well. Let me recap what I’ve been successful, or mostly successful, at maintaining.

  • No sugar, no artificial sweeteners. This one was big for about a minute. I stressed about giving up my sweetener in coffee, but in the end, I started enjoying black coffee. Nobody could have been more shocked at THAT! Knowing that sugar is off limits has actually made it WAY easier to drop weight, whether it’s the actual lack of sugar, and an argument could be made for that, or whether it’s the part that rule has played in making other things off limits. All sorts of things I used to eat for snacks, and considered somewhat healthy, are off the table. No more cereal, even the fiber stuff. No more granola bars. No more prepared foods like salad dressings. I’m actually amazed at how little I missed it after the first couple days. I have allowed myself a little honey, and I need to invest in some of that delicious, raw, local stuff sold over at the farmer’s market.
  • No grains. Just like the sugar, this made so many of my go-to snack foods off limits. Even though I fought with the portion control when I tried other diets, I was still allowed small amounts of things like Wheat Thin crackers, Ezekiel bread, and corn chips. None of those things qualify on this mostly-paleo experiment, so they just aren’t an option. I think when I finish this 30 day kick-off, a little rice and quinoa will be the first things I add back. We are experimenting with the gluten elimination thing to try and help Middle Bird, so I’ve had a few mouthfuls of rice pasta, gluten free bread, and quinoa, but just a few. I didn’t feel right about asking the kid to eat it without at least trying it. The verdict? Rice pasta is pretty darn good. Even Daddy Bird ate it and he’s tough.
  • No legumes. No peanuts, no soy beans, no black beans, no navy beans. There are other legumes, but those made up a pretty sizable part of my pre-paleo diet. I don’t think that I actually miss them, other than the extreme convenience. I mostly included them for their protein value, and if I’m eating meat/chicken/seafood every day, I need the legumes less. I will probably allow edamame back in after the 30 days, but the rest are probably not necessary.
  • No dairy. Also MUCH less stressful than I expected it to be. As with the sugar, I expected my morning coffee to be a big stumbling block, but because I found I actually enjoy black coffee, that wasn’t an issue. I have learned to eat the things I used to think NEEDED cheese, without cheese. Scrambled eggs, for instance, do not need cheese. Don’t tell my children, but I actually like them BETTER with just the sautéed veggies and some Frank’s Red Hot. Cheese was the biggest part of this category. I don’t eat yogurt anymore, but I never really needed it, it was just something to eat in the afternoons that I thought was “healthy.” Full of sugar, or some substitute, so I don’t need it at all.

Overall, I feel SO good! My skin is improved, my sleep is improved. I feel much more even as far as energy. I could probably give up that coffee, but I like it and since I don’t see it as a big negative, I’ll keep drinking it. And I’ve lost about twenty pounds! That’s right I’m about a third of the way to my final goal! And it wasn’t even HARD! Sure, there were moments, especially when eating with other people or eating out, where I had to really make an effort, but most of the time, day to day, it is no real stretch after the first week or so. Once I cut the sugar, I am amazed at how I don’t feel “hungry” every afternoon.  Studying in the kitchen, I always felt tempted to go eat something when I didn’t need anything. I attribute my lack of those feelings of hunger to breaking my addiction to sugar. I eat good, filling, whole foods and mostly at mealtimes. It doesn’t feel challenging, it just feels normal. I like it. I’ll keep doing most of it for the foreseeable future.

20140121_211833A few people have asked for “recipes” I’m using, and other tips I’ve learned. I’m no expert. I’m not even a learned enthusiast, but I’ve learned a few things by trial and error. I can share them. You can take them or leave them.

  • Coconut oil is wonderful, but it isn’t the panacea. Unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil has the most health benefits, but it’s got a distinct flavor. I love it with sweet potatoes, anything cooked with ginger, and seafood, but I’m not fond of it for browning meat or roasting vegetables. Because it solidifies at 76 degrees, when I toss my chopped cold veggies with it, it gets a solid coating quickly, and that makes spreading them on the parchment paper messy and unappealing.
  • Good old extra virgin olive oil is still the BEST! I don’t have to measure it now, so I love it even more. I’m not slathering it on everything, but it’s good stuff and I’m never going to run out of it again!
  • Shrimp rules! It can be reliably bought frozen and thawed in just the right portions. It is fat free and delicious on salads, pan seared with ginger and onion, or with oven roasted veggies of any kind.
  • Parchment paper is a cooking miracle. I have no idea why it has just never been something I picked up. I tried roasting sweet potatoes and veggies of all kinds, and the results are stunning. Perfectly browned yumminess without mess, or the need to flip halfway through cooking. I roast something on parchment nearly every day now. Broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, onions, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and carrots have been the most popular.
  • Bone broth is lovely. I’ve roasted a couple chickens and used the carcass, and once just cooked up a bunch of drumsticks and made broth from them. Fabulous stuff! I LOVE it. I don’t buy broth at the store ever anymore. My stuff gets all icky and gelatinous in the fridge, but that means it’s REALLY good for you, even if it’s not very appealing when it’s cold. I make chicken rice or noodle soup for the kids and my husband, I sauté up veggies and drown them in the broth for me. It’s a wonderful winter comfort food to keep on hand. I’m sad that there is none in the refrigerator right now. I’ll roast another chicken on Saturday!
  • I cannot be trusted with almonds. Seriously, they are the safe munchable, so I will munch them. If they do not come in pre-portioned packets, I will eat WAY more than I’m supposed to. I’m not sure why my will power is so weak with this one thing, maybe because it’s not been required much with the other things, but I’m not buying almonds in bulk for a while.
  • I don’t feel the need for coconut milk. I just haven’t bothered, yet, and I’m not in a hurry. I don’t see where it could fill a need or whole in my diet. Lots of paleo folks swear by it, but I read an article about how hard it is to get it without the guar gum as a stabilizer, and it just turned me off. No big deal.

I could share some of the recipes that have worked for me, but I think you should play with it and see what works for you. What flavors do you like? Put some together in the pan and see how it turns out. I found every new recipe I tried with an open Google search, so use that. Pinterest, of course, has lots of ideas, too, though I found LOTS of things just way too complicated. I hope to spend more time looking over the next month or so, so feel free to follow me there if you like. I haven’t done much, but it will be picking up. Remember that most recipes, especially those with such simple and basic ingredients as those on the paleo list, are just foundations. Feel free to play with things however you like.

I might think of more, maybe I won’t get the gumption to write about it. If you’re reading, let me know, that might help. 🙂 Saturday is my thirtieth day. I don’t see much changing, though. A little rice, and quinoa, maybe. Eh. I’m feeling really good, and I want to keep that going. My next challenge is to try and do better with buying organic and sustainably farmed. That will be a whole new challenge.

These are a few of my favorite paleo sites. Maybe you think I’m crazy and want to prove it. Maybe you are thinking about giving it a try and need to know more. Either way, check out a few, or just hit Google.

Easy Paleo

nom nom paleo


The PaleoFood Recipe Collection

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Down time



Finally finished what I didn’t know how I was going to get done. Tomorrow, another big unknown, but I’m excited.

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“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?

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More social media procrastinating

It seems that my most effective tool for procrastinating on school assignments is social media. I’ve recently picked up playing on Twitter again. I use it to follow all sorts of library and archive organizations, about six teenage girls who are cousins, nieces, or friends of them, and a few college and high school friends. Mostly, I keep the college and high school friends to Facebook, though, because, well, I’m over 30. Seems the kids don’t hang on Facebook much, now that a bunch of us middle-aged folks (read: parents) have taken over. Nevermind that I joined Facebook when the earlier mentioned crop of young ladies from my family were entering middle school. Yes, they came into MY world, as far as I’m concerned. But yeah, I know I jumped into a younger world there, and whatever, I get it. I’m old, they aren’t, and now they hang out on Twitter.

So, anyway, I’ve been tweeting. Look for me there. I’m very boring.

But I have this new hobby on Facebook. Before I go into all the creepy stalker details, I should remind you of a few details of my story. So, I was born in Ohio, went to elementary school in North Carolina, moved to Georgia in middle school, and went to college in South Carolina. A few years after graduating, and bouncing back and forth between Georgia and South Carolina, I decided to pack it up and move to Ohio. Lots of extended family here, right? And I just felt a pull to come “home” even though I hadn’t lived here since I was four. All of that is just to tell you that I thought of all of these places as very distinct periods in my life. I had entirely separate groups of friends in each place, right? Well, sort of. I had friends through church in Georgia who knew a few friends from college. I went to a Lutheran school, that wasn’t too shocking. There had been youth gatherings, and meet-ups at the regional church camp in North Carolina, Lutheridge. Then some of my friends met other people I knew when we got old enough to be counselors. A little more overlap. Nothing major.

Then in 2007, I joined Facebook, as did a whole bunch of my mid-30s peers. I found a few more connections. Degrees of separation, I guess. I found out my pastor’s son from Georgia had once dated my pastor’s daughter from North Carolina. There was even a picture of them together on Facebook. Neat. Now, I differ from some people in my approach to social media. If I ever knew you, you can friend me, and I might friend you. I’m not picky. It is so easy to move someone to the “acquaintance” list, or just leave them off the accepted list. I follow the “if I wouldn’t want it on a billboard” approach to posting, and so I like having a large friends list. Besides, how else could I keep up with who YOU know, or who you friends know?

So, this brings me to my new hobby. I love to browse the friends lists of my friends looking for one and two degrees of separations that we didn’t know existed.

I know, it’s a tad creepy. I’m sorry. It’s really just a way for me to kill time when I should be doing homework, but at the same time, it’s fascinating. Turns out, a neighbor from when we first moved to North Carolina (I was FOUR!) later moved from that town to another and lived near a girl I’d later go to college with in South Carolina, and none of us would make the connection until Facebook. I’ve got friends from high school who are just one degree removed from friends from college, and even one friend I recently made here in Ohio, though she did her undergraduate work in Georgia. And another mom in the neighborhood grew up in a town north of here where my mother’s father’s family is from. Just discovered a couple one-degree connections there after friending a cousin at the family reunion today.

Now, don’t get all weirded out. Somewhere out there, some guy who had a crush on you in high school is blowing up your Facebook snapshots to some incredible magnification to see if you still have that one tiny mole under your chin. I have not reached that level of stalkerdom, yet. I just like to find the connections.

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Just to share a bit…

In my attempt to remember all the things I think I want to write about, maybe I’ll just share some of the things that have inspired me this week. There have been several smart blog posts by cool women I don’t actually know, but some are friends of friends. You should read them, too.

Why I am the perfect mother, by Emily Willingham. Because we moms are ridiculously hard on ourselves, even when we’re not, and then we’re even harder on other moms.

So Sorry, by Koz. Because I’m sick of the non-apology, too.

Worst End of Year Mom Ever, by Jen Hatmaker.  Okay, this one is from last spring, but I rolled so much reading it that I had to reread it this week. It’s good to remind me where we’re headed. But for now, it’s fall and I’m still a rock star.


There were some news articles I was going to share, but we’ve got such a nice theme going here, I think I’ll leave it at that. Really, you should read these. Very cool, and very entertaining.


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Sorry, Mom

My mother says I have the children I deserve.  She says this a lot, actually.  I always tell her the same thing:  I love them anyway.  It’s true, though, I do deserve them.  Let’s talk about the Girlie Bird.  She’s the only girl I’ve got, so I don’t know how much of it is being the first born, the first born girl, the only girl, or just A girl, but oh, dear Lord, that one is going to be the death of me.  She isn’t the loudest, or the most defiant of my children.  She isn’t the most likely to be in trouble at any given moment.  But when she IS in trouble and I confront her, or when I have to give her a lecture about something, or if she knows she’s screwed up, I can almost hear her thoughts.  I can read on her face exactly what she’s thinking.  I am transported back to being the nine-year-old facing my mother.

1226_10151246528404748_1574069305_n - EditedI was an enigma to my mother, though.  She was as confused by me as I am by Middle Bird.  So, I’ve already told my mom in person, but let me just put it out there in cyberspace.  I’m sorry, Mom.  It turns out, it isn’t any easier if you can figure out what the kid is thinking.  It’s no less frustrating when she spends the afternoon blowing off her homework to read her current favorite book, or when she tries to explain that she has it all figured out how she can skip piano practice today and still fit six practices in for the week, or even why it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that she should have her dirty clothes from the last three days laying on the floor between the door to her room and the closet.  Understanding how she arrived at all these conclusions doesn’t make you want to shake her any less.  It turns out, it’s JUST as completely frustrating when she stares at you blankly while you explain her offenses.  So, I’m sorry.


Friday Night Excitement

I really hate being behind in my homework, but I hate being behind on my social interactions, too.  And Facebook is great, but let’s face it, sometimes you need more than shared amusement over cat pictures and pictures with funny sayings about wine.  Sometimes a girl needs honest to goodness girl time.  Maybe a shared bottle of actual wine, too.  

So, here it is Friday night, and I was supposed to have a couple girlfriends come help me drink one of the big bottles, and chat, and generally get caught up.  One is my oldest friend in Ohio and introduced me to the Daddy BIrd, the other is a new friend I’ve only had maybe three real, in-person conversations with, but click well with and look forward to sharing lots of wine and chat.  But the new friend is sick and the old friend and I agree it’s better that I spend my evening on homework.  So, I will.  And maybe some laundry because that just makes more sense.  

Tomorrow I will be glad I spent the evening tackling my homework.  Tomorrow I will be glad the laundry is not behind.  Tomorrow I might even get around to cleaning those toilets and then that will be done for another month.  (Just kidding.  I really do clean them more often than that.  Honest.)  But tonight, I’m just bummed.  

The kids have eaten their cheap pizza, and loved it.  They’ll go to bed without showers because tomorrow is Saturday and everyone gets a bath on Saturday night.  They will sleep late in the morning, or have sense enough to be quiet so they can eat pop-tarts and frosted flakes for breakfast.  

Life is still good.  Really good.  But I do need some girlfriend time!