Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I'm back...maybe.

So this is an interesting idea. An awful lot has changed in the roughly 7(?) years since I've written in this blog.  I have so much to say and so much I'm thinking, but I'm afraid I've lost my voice. I'm afraid I've lost my will AND my way to express anything at all coherent. I know that I'm still a work in progress. Every word I've reread here still rings true. So maybe it's time to come back. Maybe it's time to see this through. What do I have to lose?

Friday, February 25, 2011

How to take the first step?

Yep.  That's a question.

I'm great at planning.  I'm excellent at prioritizing and I know exactly what I want out of life.

I can sit at my computer all day and research and make lists and spreadsheets and schedules that put all of my plans into workable order.

Then, the next day, I research some more, make more plans.

Occasionally, I work a plan for a few days, only to drop it when things get busy or something big distracts from the day-to-day routines that I'm trying to create.

Then, I sit down at the computer again, research some more, and come up with a BETTER plan.  Yeah - this one will work!

Then, I get busy again and just fall back into my regular patterns, which really aren't that bad, but they just don't represent my intentions.

I'm constantly putting out fires.  Some fires are small, like the children need to eat or the kitchen is a disaster or the laundry is threatening to take over the whole house.  Sometimes the fires are big, like I really want to start exercising for real this time or I have to make a decision about homeschooling or spring is around the corner and I have to plan the garden.  Whatever the fire is, it becomes all consuming and everything else goes by the wayside.  The kids watch too much tv, we don't go outside, and I don't follow through on chores.  I don't read to the kids.  I definitely don't exercise. 

There is so much that I want.  Maybe I just don't have time to do all of it - but I ought to have time to do *some* of it consistently.  I have to be able to pick a few things that I want to change about my daily life and stick to them. 

So, what do I want?  In no particular order, except the order in which it comes to mind, which may be very meaningful...

1.  Daily exercise.
2.  Daily outdoor time.
3.  Daily time reading and learning with the kids.
4.  Regular time for baking, cooking, art, music, 'handwork',  as a family.
5.  Daily home maintenance that involves and teaches the children and keeps our home peaceful.
6.  Time - everyday (gasp!) - to take a shower and groom myself for the outside world.
7.  Regular social interaction.  This one is tough because *I* don't really crave this so much as I feel it is important for the children, although I would like regular interaction with our neighbors and community
8.  Experiences.  Regular trips out into the world to experience that which we cannot experience in our house.
9.  Time for my best friend.  Something regular that nurtures my marriage and reminds us both how and why this all began.

Of course, I could keep going.  The list of things I want to be and things I want to do is infinite.  But maybe I should start here.  I can decide - for now - to focus on these things only and to work on achieving these goals before I go making new ones.

I can feel the dread creeping up in me because I realize that all this will require is setting a schedule and routines and having the discipline to do what I say I'm going to do.  Everyday.  This is my perpetual failure. 

So, I guess the question is not 'How to take the first step?'  It's 'How to keep going....?'

Friday, February 11, 2011

Homeschooling. Seriously? Starting to make the decision....

I am planning on homeschooling our oldest child next year.

There - I said it.  Forgive the fact that it may not really be true, because I have not actually made the decision yet.  I just need to say it out loud and live with it for awhile, in a place where no one is judging me (because at this point, no one is reading this :)

I have so much information and so many thoughts and ideas and resources to sort through that my plan is to try to make sense of it all here. 

My first goal is to make some headway on the pile of books sitting next to me that I have been meaning to get into.  I'll chronicle my thoughts as I go.  I'm going to start with the broader, philosophical books before I get into the nuts and bolts of planning this crazy endeavor.  I need to wrap myself up with the deep, intellectual pedagogy for a while so I have a good foundation, before I get too involved in the planning.

So, here is the Phase I book list:
1.  Since I am not concerned at all that Jackson might fall behind academically, I want to start by thinking about how I might facilitate his overall growth.

2.  I am *so* intrigued by the Waldorf method.  Whenever I read about or see examples of Waldorf practices, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling.  I believe in trusting that.  This book seems a little heavy - I had hoped for something more practical and this seems *very* philosophical.  Again, though, I'm trying to develop a strong, knowledgeable foundation. 

3.  A classical education approach almost seems like the anti-Waldolf approach.  Definitely no warm fuzzies here, but I like that it is a complete plan with a beginning, middle and end and accountability for successes.

I'll post my thoughts on these books as I make my way through them and start to develop my approach...if I'm going to have an approach eventually someday, that is.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chew Your Food

Chew your food.

Pretty basic, right?

Well, I am extremely mortified to admit that I seem to have forgotten this simple little rule.  I went to see my doctor today (racked with fears of cancer and nerve disorders) because I have been getting food stuck in my esophagus.  Big, insufficiently-chewed chunks of food. 



Monday, January 17, 2011

Becoming a Runner Again

I'm a runner.

I say that with some certainty, but the fact is I really don't run that much anymore.  Frankly, I have not run consistently for any real length of time in my entire adult life.  I always come back to it though when I feel the need to get some exercise or get back in shape.  It's my go-to form of exercise and I relate as a runner.

Some things I love about running:
  • No equipment.  Yes, it is best to have a good pair of running shoes, especially if you are going to be committing some major mileage, but for an on-again-off-again fitness dabbler like me, any pair of sneakers will do.
  • No travel time.  Step out the door and start running.
  • Nodding to other runners.  Rarely have I been out for a run that I have not come across at least one other runner to whom I can give the obligatory head nod.  Runners come in all ages and sizes, and there is something very reassuring about seeing others out there, making the time and pounding the pavement, just like you.  There's a camaraderie there - it's cool.
  • The rhythm.  You may have to be patient for this one.  My husband has tried running a number of times and he has no idea what I'm talking about.  I don't know if it's muscle memory or just getting into the zone, but when you catch that rhythm, it feels (for a while anyway) like you could run forever.  It usually takes a few runs into a new running kick for me to get this feeling.  It's so euphoric, I often wonder why it isn't more of a motivating factor....
  • Cardiovascular health.  With a history of heart disease in my family, this is big.
  • Mental health.  Exercise is an excellent stress-buster.  Who doesn't need that?
  • It's good for your bones.  As a weight-bearing exercise, running helps build and maintain bone density.
  • It's a great calorie burner.  Nuff said.  I love to eat.
  • It's a positive example for my kids.  I want them to see that taking care of ourselves is just a part of everyday life.  It's important.
All excellent reasons to run, right?  I know this.  Yet, since high school I have tried countless times to start up running again on a regular basis, but it just won't stick.

Some things that stand in my way:
  • Time.  Not so much the amount of time - because, really, how much time does it take to run a couple miles?  It's fitting the run consistently into the order of my day that I can't seem to figure out.  
  • Energy.  The best times for a run seem to be first thing in the morning or in the late evening, after the kids are in bed.  *Yaaawwwn*  I'm a sleep-deprived mama - this does not work for me.
  • Daylight.  Even if I had the energy during the wee hours that my children are asleep, most of the year I would be running in the dark.  I don't like running in the dark - it creeps me out.  I do belong to a gym and could go there, but that adds on time and it's still depressing driving to the gym in the dark.
  • My face.  Yep.  My face turns a bright steaming red whenever I run.  And it doesn't go away for a very. long. time.  So even after a shower (which can never be cold enough), it is quite some time before I can reasonably put on makeup or be seen in public.
  • My knees.  They suck.  I have a torn meniscus and a questionable reconstructed ACL in my left knee.  I cannot say with a straight face that this has been a big problem for me for all the running I've done in the past 10 years, but my knees complain more than they used to when I run and, frankly, we're not getting any younger.  I'm just saying.
  • Routine.  As in...it's just not part of mine.    
So.  There it is.  How does it add up?  Clearly, the things holding me back have done just that.  But the things I love about running are SO GOOD!
I am a runner.  But everytime I say it, it rings a little less sincere, and I feel a little less secure and confident in my ability to get it back.

I don't have the answer.  Honestly, I'm afraid to try, because every failed attempt feels like a failure.  Or maybe, every failed attempt is one more run under my belt.  One more run toward my goal.

There is a 10-mile race coming up in May.

Maybe I'll run it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This blog is not about my mother

My mother taught me many things.  She taught me compassion.  She taught me to laugh at myself.  She taught me how to get things done when resources are few.  She taught me survival.  She taught me that some things are worth doing simply because it is the right thing to do.  She taught me the value of a good bargain.  She taught me girl talk.  She taught me the importance of family.  She taught me to reflect.  She taught me to love unconditionally.  She is still teaching me.

But this blog is not about my mother.

This blog is about me.

It's about the notion that at some point we are supposed to be grown up - complete with all the knowledge and wisdom generated by our youth - and that we eventually become the adult people we were raised to be.  We can then, in turn, pass our completeness to our own children and raise them with our complete wisdom as though every day means the world.

This blog is about me, figuring it out as I go along.  Because I'm not there yet.  I'm not complete.  I'm not done growing and learning.  I'm not who I want to be yet. 

I'm a philosopher by nature and a teacher by trade.  I believe in the power of inquiry and reflection.  But there is a not-so-fine line between being a life-long learner and being one who is so focused on the goals that she forgets to appreciate the journey.  See, I believe that every day DOES mean the world.  So, I am trying to summon the courage to carve time from the big picture to just be.  Just be who I am.  Right now.  Today.  I am trying to summon the courage to put aside my plans and my goals to share that honestly and confidently with the people who love me.  

So this blog is also about me, figuring it out as I go along.  Life and loved-ones don't stop and wait while we research and make lists and plan the future.  Sure, the possibilities are endless and my dreams are big.  But today is finite, and I only have one chance to live it.  Today, I was a mother, a wife, a novice yogi, a cook and a floor sweeper.  That's a pretty good day.

I hope to share (for myself, my children, posterity at-large, and anyone else who cares to read it) some of what I am figuring out and the other stuff I'm doing along the way.  Some of it may be big, some will be small, and most of it (sorry, Mom) will be things my mother never taught me.