Category: Time Management


Birthday weekend is drawing to a rapid close here, and I’m sitting here. Reflecting.

I could describe the weekend in a linear way – things I did and saw. Or in a non-linear way – things I thought and felt. If I was at my best, I would manage to fold the non-linear into the linear and find a way to describe my inner world by relating external activities. Perhaps it’s easier than I’m making it seem in my head.

The weekend began with a lovely Sunday stroll with Lulu. We’ve been enjoying Walnut Creek Park for it’s wonderful forested trails and off-leash dog-friendliness. I continue to feel extreme joy and gratitude about the fact that I finally have a dog who is predictably other-dog-and-people friendly enough to trust off-leash, and it’s wonderful to leisurely stroll in the forest while she gambols in a loose orbit around me. I have loved all of my canine companions as fully as I was able at the time that I had them. Of course, Lulu benefits by being in my life at a time that I have relatively few constraints – I work from home, the kids pretty much take care of themselves, and really all I’m interested in lately is taking long walks and spending time in the garden – both activities that she is happy to enjoy with me. But also, Lulu has the exact right temperament for me almost all of the time. She still has her moments when I just don’t want to even deal with her, but those times are fewer and further between.

Also – would you look at that face? Who could possibly not be in love with that sweet face. I mean, srsly,

Apparently, chasing that small, speedy dog around a tree for 15 minutes straight and greeting every dog we met in a playful crouch was enough to sufficiently tire Lulu out, so I brought her home and went out on a quest for houseplants, which is what I decided to gift myself with this year. I’ve run out of electronic gadgets to buy and I’m going back to the basics. And because I posted this intention on Facebook, I came home from plant shopping to find several houseplants waiting for me on my front porch – left by a friend who is leaving town and needed to rehome them. I am both thankful to her and terrified that I will kill her very well-cared for babies. Hopefully this fear will cure me of my black thumb once and for all. It was wise of me to manifest house plants, though. My penchant for murdering creatures in the chlorophyllic class notwithstanding, I’ve always wanted for greenery. My desire these days is to grow things constantly. Buddha the Grouch is always, well, grouching about the fact that whenever we leave the house or return, the first thing i do is linger over all of the things that are growing between the porch and the yard.

Right now, I’m MOST excited about the artichokes lining my walkway. And now I’m getting even more psyched about otherworldly asparagus poking up in whimsical curlicues between and around the artichokes, and a possible pair of pomegranates lining my side walkway. But that has to wait until I can get some bare root starts next week. And the one small artichoke in the backyard that I managed to plant from seed and nurture into a fairly sturdy, healthy seedling. It grows so slow!

But back to my weekend – I realized I was late for a party after plant-shopping, so I headed out to enjoy the always gentle energy of dear friends M&K. I only intended to stay for a little while, but enjoyed the conversation so much…I stayed longer than I intended, and was late arriving home to once again firmly insist that The Tao of Bird PLEASE finish the dishes.

There is this pattern of behavior TOB has been getting into, where he will procrastinate a chore until it becomes a Herculean task. Like, if he just DID the damn dishes the first day he is scheduled to do them, it would be manageable. But he puts it off, in spite of my expressed misgivings, and suddenly it’s four days later and every fucking dish in the house is dirty and he is beside himself with not knowing where to begin. This happens weekly. We are working on it. It begins with suggestions – “Hey, um…it’s your day to do the dishes. Think you can get to them soon?” which quickly turn to more adamant suggestions – “So, you need to start doing the dishes now.” which is laced with a general desire, on my part, to not have to do this AGAIN. TOB usually responds to this by, at first, brushing me off – “I’ll do them.” And every week that we go through this pattern I get increasingly dubious from the beginning. Usually at some point in the process, ToB spends an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom, which I finally got him to ADMIT was a stalling tactic.

The thing is, I can FEEL him making the wrong decision. And I don’t like for him to do that. More than wanting him to get the dishes done, I want to not have the major proportion of our interactions be me telling him to get the thing done that he should have done 4 days ago when I first started telling him to get it done, and that still hasn’t gotten done even after the routine of handing over the mobile phone and eliminating screentime is dutifully and resignedly adhered to. I KNOW it’s overwhelming to have 4 days worth of dishes staring you down. Welcome to the first 8 years of your life. Part of me wants to tell him “If you think the process of doing 4 days’ worth of dishes is overwhelming, try doing them with a clingy 2 year-old pinching at your bicep fat.”

Eventually, though, there is a breakthrough. And then it’s just about me adhering to my standards in spite of the fact that I’m just grateful that I no longer have to nag someone. He ended up powering through it in the end, so I took him out to get a burger and fries so I could spend some time talking to him before his winter break reached an end.

I stayed up late into the night dancing and writing in my journal.

Woke up on my bday, made coffee, and met with a friend who has schemes for a chicken coop made out of pallettes. We talked gardens and strategies & I’m excited about learning to build things and coming out the other end with something practical. I also learned about cold frames, and now I’m determined to build a cold frame – if not this year, then next for sure.

D is a fabulous fount of knowledge about plants and things. She is the one who suggested the bare root starts for asparagus and pomegranates, and because of her, my growing flock will have a suitable abode. It was a good meeting, and I’m glad to be learning so much from so many people.

I’ve been thinking a lot about transience and permanence. I’m not sure if I’ve written about this in earlier posts, but something Wendell Berry wrote in -I think it was the introduction, even, of his book of essays The Art of the Commonplace- about a sense of place. About how people who live closer to the land – people in rural areas, or other areas where you don’t have the same services and conveniences people in the city have – have to consider the entire lifecycle of every purchase. When you buy something, and you can’t just throw it in a plastic bin and put it out on the curb, you have to think about how you will dispose of the husk of that which you consume. And, specifically in terms of sense of place, your relative transience impacts the choices you make about the spaces you inhabit. If you have a home, for instance, that you intend to hand down…you will make decisions about repairs and upkeep in a way that’s different from someone who intends to flip that home or rent it out. And with all of the people who have passed through this home, that becomes evident. Which is why I”m looking for ways to make this space more cherished.. I’m putting down roots. Literally. Finally. Whether I stay here 4 years more or 20 years more, I want to leave this space better than it was when I arrived. Not for resale value, but for me.

I guess that’s what all that reclaiming was about. Perhaps why I let things go for so long. If I claim this space, don’t I also claim these circumstances? Ironically, claiming the space only serves to brighten the circumstances. More and more, my home is my spa. The things I choose to do to beautify it are my meditation. And the things I leave a mess are their own form of beauty. Like my “new” stove – purchased a year ago – which currently shows the wear and tear and disarray of a much-loved and well-used appliance.

So, I spent much of the 45th anniversary of my birth reading in the backyard while attempting to get a fire going, listening to punk rock, writing in my journal. I got into a groove of recounting life in Chicago – perhaps inspired by Kerouac, as I’ve been listening to On The Road lately. I haven’t re-read it yet. I’m sure it needs editing. I might even still cut it up and make it vague. I go back and forth. But it’s ok. The zine will get done when it gets done.

I’ve been learning the art of editing. Clearly, not of the writing in this blog, but in life. Like corn. D made a remark about how I might get some good chicken feed out of a crop, but that corn is really difficult to grow & I realized that it’s silly for me to do something so difficult my second year of gardening. Why not, instead, build my confidence with some easy spring/summer crops? Corn can wait. This made me happy. As much as I would love the outcome of corn, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the input of corn.

“It’s like kissing my kitten in the belly.” -Jack Kerouac

And dinner with S&B&C&Buddhathegrouch&Tao of Bird on my bday. Indian food. It was tasty, but I felt distracted by my words and queasy. It was nice to mix worlds. Friends meeting friends in parallel friend universes.

And then today. Today, I cooked. I cooked, and between bouts of cooking, I read zines. And played Cookie Jam. And listened to endless podcasts. And let the dog out and in and out and in again until I finally realized it’s a beautiful day and left the back door open while I cooked and listened to podcasts.

So…you know…I can’t complain. Forty-Five is mellow. Forty-five is wise. Forty-five balances movement and stillness. Forty-five is unflinching in the face of things that would have kept Thirty-Five up all night, worrying. Forty-five suits me well. There are going to be some exciting changes this year. I’m ready.

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This post may be somewhat disjointed. I am somewhat disjointed. Out of joint. Bent…

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I’ve been walking a lot lately. Walking is conducive to thinking. Walking is frequently conducive to composing blog posts in my head. Some of which never get written. Some written, never posted. Let’s hope this one passes muster.

I feel like I’ve mentioned, in bits and pieces, that I’m currently in the process of reclaiming certain aspects of my life. Some of which I didn’t even realize needed reclaiming. Some of which I figured I’d leave unreclaimed. Some I thought I already had a claim on. And while it’s frustrating that I find myself still not completely free from certain negative impacts of certain types of trauma in my life, I’m thankful I can recognize the origins of that frustration, roll my eyes and be temporarily exasperated with myself, and move on.

I’ve been telling the same stories over and over again, because I find myself confronted with them. As my housemates were cleaning up my yard, cheerily clearing the brush and treating the arduous labor as a happy task, I vividly remembered walking out to the backyard a long lost married-person mother’s day ago, to find my then-husband angrily hacking at the shoulder-high weeds with a push mower. “Happy fucking Mother’s Day!” Through gritted, angry teeth, was my greeting.

That wasn’t the last time the lawn got mowed, but it was the last time he mowed the lawn.lulu

Needless to say, it wasn’t a very happy Mother’s Day. It wasn’t a very happy anything in my life during that time period. Somewhere around then – I think the same year – my elderly dog got cancer. I was 5 months pregnant with a 3-year old and a surly, unhelpful husband, and my best friend for the past 10 years was dying and I was incredibly sad. The day she died, he helped me load her gasping body into the car and he was the one who sat with her when she was put down, and then it was like a switch was turned and suddenly any sadness I felt about it was not allowed. Was a play for attention. I was being overwrought. I remember being so desperate for some sort of mutually nurturing relationship I went to the pound on the 4th of July – or thereabouts, and finding Twyla curled up in the corner of a kennel with a sign on the cage that said “I’m deaf, but I’m really sweet.” And she was. And I brought her home much to my ex-husband’s dismay.

“You always do the most difficult thing.” He snorted.

“I married you, didn’t I.” I retorted.

My mind is blurry, and I can’t remember if this happened before or after he broke up with me, but that was around the time. I came home on a lunch break from work, hugely pregnant. Hot. Emotional. And he told me he was breaking up with me. I had to go back to work in 30 minutes. Still hugely pregnant…hot…emotional…and single. Little knowing at that time that it would take multiple years to finally extricate him completely from my daily life, in spite of his refusal to contribute emotionally, physically, or financially beyond the bare minimum.

I’m not saying these things because I’m still bitter about them. I’m stating these things flatly. This is my experience. This is what I have lived. These are the things that re-emerge when we do things we haven’t done since that time period. Like getting a new dog.

5c44e4f5-c619-4bce-a177-b6d766f18fa1Even publishing the zine. I recently sent a couple of copies of the last issue of my old zine bAnal Probe to a friend of mine, and I realized those last few issues were done in collaboration with him. I hadn’t even realized publishing a zine was an act of reclaiming…and there it is. Reclaimed. Painlessly. Cleanly.

I wasn’t the best dog owner during those times. I was distracted, at best. The dog never got my full attention. We went for frequent walks and I spent much of my time feeling overwhelmed with everything I was responsible for. I wasn’t a BAD dog owner. I was mostly just exhausted and had no room in my life for another living being. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve felt sufficiently free of the every day responsibility of nurturing children to really focus on a pet, and this batch of cats in my life has gotten more love than previous batches. For sure. I’m excited about having a dog both who seems to require less effort and for whom I have significantly more bandwidth.

Along with those realizations was the realization that the way I’ve been managing my time is kind of screwy now that I don’t have to think in 15-minute increments as much. It’s time for me to expand my attention span. It’s time for me to have more flexible time for just sitting and enjoying. I’ve thrown away the old system and am working on a new system that allows for that. I hope. I imagine some things will fall through the cracks during the transition, but so far I’ve been spending a lot of lot of lot of time with friends, I’m getting a lot more outdoor time. More movement. A bit more structure. This structure will probably increase as I get used to the rhythm of the dog. When to feed her, when we walk. It’s kind of like having a large, slightly more self-sufficient baby. I’m so glad that she’s at least housebroken. And she sleeps through the night.

And well into the morning. Which is nice.

***

The other thing I was thinking about on my walk is all of the anger and frustration and heartbreak I am feeling for the mamas of Central America and Gaza whose babies are at risk. And of course for the mamas themselves. And the non-mamas, but mostly the mamas and the babies.

I’m sure this is a political theory that has already been written somewhere, and I haven’t taken the time to do any sort of research into who might have already thought of it, but it strikes me that the only way to make free trade not inherently exploitive is too also have open borders. Otherwise aren’t we just allowing the true cost of our low prices to be out of sight out of mind? And when something like a huge influx of refugee children show up at our border because they’ve been suffering that consequence for us, it’s altogether too easy for some people to blame the victims.

 

I want to write more about my vacation, but today was an exceptionally good day, and rather than write about the then, I’d prefer to gush about the now.

I’ve been struggling lately. I mean…I’ve actually been struggling for awhile, but I do a pretty good job of managing my own personal struggles I think (I hope!) – but lately I’ve been struggling in a positive way – overcoming, is the word. I’ve been overcoming some of the residual imprints of struggling.

Overcoming seems to involve a lot of self-reflection. A lot of heavily guarded alone time. Sometimes to an extent where I wonder if it might be unhealthy for me to spend so much time alone, without really desiring the company of anyone else in particular. Not that I don’t love and adore my friends and loved ones…it’s just lately I seem to adore spending time by myself an awful lot more.

I sometimes worry that I don’t have the ability to deal with ever surrendering any tiny scrap of my autonomy to be in a relationship with another person…but I’m too busy not caring to worry about that for very long. Though I do have a corollary worry that my inability to surrender any tiny scrap of my autonomy will cause me to end up being bitterly alone when I’m too old to find someone who wants to surrender a tiny scrap of their autonomy for me.

Who knows. Maybe it’s just a phase.

What I haven’t been struggling with lately is being ridiculously appreciative of the gentle rhythm of my days, which is possibly WHY I’m feeling reluctant to risk losing control over them. I notice that I really seem to enjoy my job on a soul-nourishing level. It’s nice to help people all day. To be able to talk to them as a human being and solve their technical issues. I really enjoy people treating me like an authority on something. One of the first things I had to learn to do to succeed at my job was to eliminate my tendency towards humility when helping people with technology. I’m used to approaching people in an exploratory way, which works pretty good for training, but generally when you are calling tech support, you want someone to be a bit more authoritative. I’m really enjoying mixing both so I don’t come across as a know-it-all and intimidate people who just need a little nurturing. It’s actually not a bad way to spend 10 hours a day.

I’m also really happy with the habits I’ve formed around preparing and eating healthy, homemade meals all week, reading, getting some sort of exercise, and writing in my journal every day. It’s been awesome to have time to spend on myself. And while I have had weeks of getting sucked in to one TV series or another (most recently, Eureka, which actually gave me some of the most amazing dreams and, in spite of the fact that it was a pretty damn cheesy show (or maybe because of that) has me mourning the little world I lived in with all of those characters for a month or so.

I guess this is all sort of related to my vacation, because part of all of this is the fact that I’ve also been able to travel more – take more road trips – get out of town more. It’s something I feel I’ve been somewhat deprived of over the past few years. It’s really nice to be able to pick up and leave town for a bit. The endless rhythm of the tires on asphalt with trees and signs and other cars whishing by. The places my mind goes when there’s endless novel monotony all around me. My face focused forward, but watching the world peel by on either side. Tracking time by moon and sun and moon again. Driving. Driving. Driving. Being driven.

Today’s Mantra, while taking my second Eucalyptus-infused shower in less than 24 hours in hopes of clearing my allergy-ridden nose:

Ritual abandon, chaotically enacted with surgical precision.

I am engaging in a project-based mini, semi-vacation within a tiny bit more of a vacation. Otherwise Known As 24 entire hours (plus!) without having to be in the presence of another human being. But my time is drawing to a close. Soon, ruckus will once again descend upon the house, but it will dissipate and a quieter ruckus will ensue. And just that near silent-hum that exists as a background noise whenever there is another person in the house with you, capable of interrupting the quiet at any given moment. Most of a time that is a pleasent hum. Sometime – it’s just nice to muffle it for a day.

I spent my time well. Forced, as I was, to succumb to a mostly horizontal plane of existence due to aforementioned leaky nose and the irresistible allure of lethargy. I’ve been organizing my data. Pushing around bits and bytes from one storage format to another. Sifting through images, music, writing – things of my past that have been stored in various formats throughout my life. Organizing it. Analyzing it. Contemplating it. This life in pixels.

I create systems while I work. Systems of efficiency. Systems of reward. Systems to prevent me from becoming bored. And, while working, I watch – or listen – or create in between bouts of “productivity.” Appreciating the progress. Enjoying the process. Knowing there is a beginning, middle, and forseeable end to this project…makes for a very satisfying few days of laze and precious solitudinous haze.

What are you waiting for?

I spent much of the morning today thinking about artichokes. Working on my forthcoming zine, Oyster Lexicon.

In case I haven’t already described it (my understanding of this project has evolved over time, so I might have written about it before in a less specific way) Oyster Lexicon will be an alphabet of me (aka Lainie the Oyster) and A is for Artichoke. I have an artichoke drawing, a recipe, and artichoke mix…originally I thought I would just do 6 letters of the alphabet per issue, but it’s starting to seem like I might be doing 1-3 letters per issue, what with all of the artichoke media I’m going to gather. The zine will also be fully or partially full-color. I’m still debating about the size format. It will be hand-lettered (no computers will be used in the creation of the pages, but I will be scanning the hand-drawn/hand-lettered pages to do the layout and MIGHT do some computer editing after that.)

I’m super excited about doing a zine again. I had started to do one years ago after a trip to Chicago, but never really sustained an interest in it (though I do still have some great pieces that I was going to include in that zine that I might use for my “C is for Chicago” pages of Oyster Lexicon.) My plan is to put out the zine, as well as postcards and maybe notecards with the illustrations I’m making for each letter. I’d love to encourage people to send out actual mail, so I feel like making things that other people can use to brighten up the mailboxes of friends and relationships will accomplish another goal.

It’s been a long time since I last put out a zine, so I’m not entirely sure how I will do distribution. Ideally, I will be able to get some advanced orders to help fund the printing and mailing of the initial print run, which will hopefully continue to (mostly) fund any additional print runs. It’s not like I work at Kinko’s and can get free copies anymore. Speaking of which – do I still know people who work at Kinko’s and can get me a deal on copies? 😉

Etsy? WePay? Amazon books? iBooks? How are people promoting/distributing zines these days? If anyone reading this can give me any advice/suggestions, I’d really appreciate it.

In other news –

My new rhythm of days is working really well for me. I feel like I’ve achieved a pretty decent balance of internal/external time, and I’m making time for art and education as well as day-to-day practical things. I’m a little less worried about completing everything on my list, and am working on finding chunks of my week where I can just forget about time completely and focus on a task until *I* feel done with it, rather than when a clock tells me it’s time to be done with it. I still need to work on eliminating distractions and focusing on the task at hand (as evidenced by the fact that I got caught up in several facebook discussions during the writing of this blog post.) but I do feel like I’m spending the time I have doing things that are important to me, or essential to my family and community.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about dating, and how people without children maybe don’t really grasp the challenges in the lives of single parents – particularly custodial parents. Primarily, it’s odd to me how even very kind and understanding people can misunderstand how much of a financial and logistical burden it is to be the custodial parent of children – even when those children are older and not in need of constant supervision. As a woman and a feminist, for instance, I’m not really keen on a guy always picking up the tab for me. As a single mother who is struggling financially, however, you are damn straight I can’t even afford dating unless the other person pays. I’m totally cool with non-extravagant dating. I’m especially cool with cooking in or creating our own DIY entertainment…but it’s really difficult for me to help people understand that my inability to pay for a date is not a “reverse sexist” thing, but a “financial necessity” thing…and if I was the person in the relationship in a better financial situation, I would definitely be the person who offered to pay, or I would adjust my expectations of what a date might entail to ensure affordability. It’s a tricky subject, and it makes me want to avoid dating rather than having to attempt to unpack it with someone. hahaha.

Also, my children are not baggage. It might be challenging to date a woman with children, but it is hopefully a net positive. Oddly enough, I feel like my children become more of a challenge to my dating relationships as they get older. When they were younger, they tended to be more agreeable and open-minded about accepting people into our lives. Now they are more set in their ways and can be resistant to inviting new people in, even temporarily. I’m sure it’s difficult for a man to come into my home and be shunned by my adolescent boys, but that is the way adolescents sometimes are. It might be more exaggerated in my household because I am not a strict authoritarian, and my boys have always been very free to express themselves (for better or for worse) – but it’s the way it is. It’s really up to the adults in the relationship to navigate these issues…and I seem to find men who want instant acceptance from people who just aren’t designed to be uncritical of new people in their lives. It takes time. It takes time. It takes time. And the last thing I need is to be this person who is trying to solely balance the needs of the children with the needs of a potential new partner. Guess whose needs are going to come first every time, guys? You got it – the non-adults! The ones who I am obligated to care for until they are able to care for themselves. Which, by the way,  might not be the very day they turn 18. It could possibly take longer than that. Because all kids mature differently.

I suppose dating as a single parent of adolescent boys is a good filter for me, though. It’s a lot more difficult to get involved in relationships and situations that are overly-complicated and require more of me than I should be expected to reasonably give. I’m just not capable of accommodating another person’s needs above mine or my children’s right now. It’s challenging for me, because my tendency is to accommodate. My tendency is to invite chaos. My tendency is to try new and different things, experiment, and see where they end up. And while I might be giving up on some things that might, after some work, end up being beneficial…I just can’t spare the time and energy to get there at this point in my life. I require a partner who is able to give more than take right now. I require a partner who accommodates me, more than requiring me to accommodate him. That FEELS selfish to me, but it’s reality. It’s where I am. And, really? I’m fucking worth it! hahahaha.

 

Mommy-Son time with The Tao of Bird today. We went out to breakfast at his FAVORITE RESTAURANT ON EARTH, Donut Taco Palace.

We ate donuts AND tacos, and enjoyed some tasty beverages.

Juice…or no juice?

I kept trying to get a picture of Bird, but he kept, as he called it, “Sean Penning” me.

I have embarrassingly few photos of my children. Both of them started to hate having their photo taken at a young age, and I gradually just trained myself to take pictures of food and trees and birds and stuff. I can’t say I blame them…I’m not terribly fond of being in photos, either. But I need good material to embarrass them in front of their dates wi…er, I mean, to send to relatives who have no clue what my children look like.

After breakfast, Bird and I went to the library to check out some books. Bird is really enjoying Lord of the Flies. He is just certain that’s the way it would really be if children were stranded on an island. I told him he needs to watch Lost…or Gilligan’s island…for slightly different points of view. He says he likes books that are grim and depressing and unsentimental. I tried to get him to read Native Son by Richard Wright, but he chose some sort of weird space cowboy mystery, instead. I think this is going to be an interesting reading year for him. He’s exploring new things. I chose some awesome books that I won’t be able to finish by the time they are due, and will probably end up buying, after paying my overdue fine at the library. Because that’s how I roll.

In the car on the way home, we listened to this episode of Radiolab.  What’s funny, is I remember listening to that episode of radiolab on a walk by myself one night. I was going to pick up Bird at a neighbor’s house while I was listening to it. I have no idea why I remember that, as the day was completely insignificant, unless you consider that radio show to be significant, which I suppose you can. It’s a pretty good episode.

Back home, I watched Heathers while Buddha the Grouch scoffed. As a 16-year old (actually, pretty much since he turned 5) he seems morally obligated to scoff at anything I like. In fact, he has actually told me that he’s not allowed to like anything I recommend to him. I keep telling him that’s going to bite him in the ass, especially when all of his friends start talking about how awesome, say, Raising Arizona is…and he’s either going to have to admit that it’s a great movie, or he’s going to forever be a closeted Coen Bros. fan. But I wonder if Heathers is really only funny in the context of all of the ’80s John Hughes-formula teen angst movies. I guess I’ll have to ask someone else’s kid. I hadn’t watched the movie since my 20’s, and I laughed out loud at some parts, but OH, THOSE SHOULDERPADS. hahaha. Of all of the eras of fashion, you have to admit…the 80’s were pretty fucking ridiculous.

The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping, driving to the other side of town and back, and avoiding being sucked into an endless “How It’s Made” marathon, because apparently that’s on Netflix now. I’m so toast if they ever start streaming House Hunters. As it is, Buddha the Grouch keeps trying to get me to watch “just this little bit” of How It’s Made, and I keep objecting vociferously.

So, you know, typical weekend of late. I’m glad I’ve taken the time to spend extra time with (or at least being available to) the kiddos lately. I’ve missed out on some important activities that I’d really like to be involved in, but I just don’t feel right not being here right now. Especially with the coming weeks and the work-hour craziness they will be bringing. Insane amounts of overtime – here I come! I’m telling people I’ll probably see them in October. Hopefully, I’ll still have time to write.

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This week has been kind of a whirlwind. I had really just begun to establish myself at work and not stress at all about whether or not I could do my job…and they threw us into training for something new. Which is awesome. It’s nice to learn new things…but I was just at that point where it seemed like I might maybe start establishing a good rhythm in my life & my schedule was thrown all out of whack, I’ve had to work extra hours, and now we’re being offered a bunch of overtime that I’d feel silly to not grab up while the grabbing is good. So, there’s that. A mix of bad and good things. Good things and their maybe not-so-great consequences, is what I’ll call it.

On my walk today, I had all sorts of ideas about what I might write about tonight. Apropos of the above, I thought a lot about how I have this love/hate relationship with chaos/order. I like making plans and schedules, but I rebel against them regularly. It’s possible I dislike commitment. It’s possible I am not fond of predictability. It’s possible that patterned behavior annoys me. OR…it could be an exercise. It COULD be that my rebellion against my inner organizer is just practice for when all of my plans go to shit and I work 12 hours of overtime in a week or something.

Maude (from Harold & Maude): Vice, Virtue. It’s best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much *life.* Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you’re bound to live life fully.

But mostly, I think I just figured out a long time ago that I will never ever get done all of the shit that needs getting done, and decided I might as well prioritize the fun shit as much as possible.

I also decided, after years and years (gosh, more than 20 years, really) of de-prioritizing my own desires, needs, and rituals out of fear of spending money on them, to get a tattoo I’ve been hoping to get for some time. Fuck the fact that I can’t afford it. I also can’t afford any of the other stuff I’m forced to afford, and I somehow get by. And how many packs of ex-boyfriends’ cigarettes, guitars, and whatever else have I paid for in my lifetime of waiting to get this damn tattoo? I could have gotten a zillion and a half tattoos by now!

Needless to say, I’m already planning the next tattoo.

 

Gone Daddy Gone

The Fine Art of Dish Stacking

I’ve been…temporarily unavailable. After a month spent practically living at The Capitol, I’ve been pretty busy tending to my household, preparing for the upcoming school transition, taking care of myself, saying goodbye to my dear friend Pansy, who moves away in just a few days. Reacquainting myself with some familiar scars. Or attempting to. Wishing I could avoid some, but allowing myself to dwell on others.

I fell out of my rhythm, and now I need to regain. I seem to be staying up later and sleeping in until just a few minutes before work starts – falling out of bed and into work. Which is fine, but…no leisurely coffee/book transition into my day makes everything seem off. So this week I will try to have breakfast on the porch at least once. Take at least 3 3-mile walks. Write at least 3 blog entries. And Make soup and grain salad for dinner this week. This is where I’m failing myself. Not having a regular rhythm for exercise/cooking/creating…and relaxing. I end up relaxing in all the wrong ways – vegging out in front of a stupid game or something – and not doing anything useful or fulfilling.

And next week, I get back to my garden. My poor, neglected garden.

Hope all is well with you…

Mornings on the porch

Mornings on the porch

Working from home has been a lot like funemployment, only with slightly less time to waste. I need to make a few adjustments in priority, and maybe rein in some of my slack-time, but I’m amazed at how little “pressed for time” I’m feeling. It’s nice. I mean, I’m attributing it to the fact that I’m now working from home, but it could also be my general attitude about my job. Or maybe it was having 2 months off to really contemplate things. I feel like I know what’s important, and I’m getting that. I’m managing to spend time with friends and family pretty regularly. I’m still managing to do some amount of creative work every day. I’m reading. I’m getting a fair amount of exercise (though I’d prefer to get more)…little adjustments to make here & there, but overall, I can’t complain.

On the fridge

On the fridge

I do still need to get into some sort of time budget, as well as a budget budget. But there’s time for that. There’s time for that. There’s easing into time for that.

And all things, really.

all things, really

all things, really

*******

After a year-long journey fighting her wrongful foreclosure, Rose McGee has won a settlement with CitiMortgage and Fannie Mae to stay in her home.

“We are working on final details for a settlement resolution, and I will be staying in my home,” said Rose.

70 community members gathered to support Rose in a prayer vigil circling the Government Center water fountain Tuesday afternoon before she went into settlement court, where she finally reached a deal with CitiMortgage and Fannie Mae.

http://www.occupyhomesmn.org/rose_victory

Free Minds, Free People is a national conference convened by the Education for Liberation Network that brings together teachers, high school and college students, researchers, parents and community-based activists/educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote education as a tool for liberation. Read more about our mission and goals.

The 2013 conference will take place in Chicago, July 11-14. In the aftermath of a strike that brought teachers and community together to successfully challenge corporate education reform, we are excited to offer people who care about education justice the opportunity to connect, learn, and plan for action in this important city.

http://www.fmfp.org

https://www.facebook.com/events/138976599582671/

 

Blueberry Scones w/Lemon Glaze: http://www.katiescucina.com/2013/05/blueberry-scones-with-lemon-glaze/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FeVgcK+(Katie’s+Cucina)

University of California, Berkeley police arrested four people Monday morning and a plow turned under crops planted in protest at a makeshift farm encampment set up on university property.

Activists had occupied a tract of farmland — located near the corner of Marin and San Pablo avenues, part of a property they referred to as the Gill Tract — owned by the university on Friday, protesting plans to build senior housing and a grocery store on the site.

http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/four-arrested-crops-removed-from-occupy-the-farm-site/

They reap the profits (and the ridiculous tax breaks) while we pay the cost. Funny how that works:

“Exxon Mobil Corp. is challenging $1.7 million in penalties proposed by federal safety regulators who faulted the oil company over a 63,000-gallon crude oil spill into the Yellowstone River, according to documents released Monday by the U.S. Department of Transportation.In the first formal response to the alleged violations, Exxon attorneys said the company’s workers responded appropriately to warnings that the 12-inch Silvertip pipeline was endangered by erosion along the Yellowstone near the town of Laurel.” http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/05/14/exxon-challenges-1-7m-yellowstone-spill-penalty/

(File under: Why we need government, or some sort of citizen body, to determine and oversee equitable access to resources)

“Google has tried to put the best face on this by portraying the qualification process as a sort of community kumbaya, “allowing the citizens of City to determine where and when the Project will be deployed.” (The words come from Google’s contract with Kansas City, Mo.)But that’s nonsense. Had the city tried to make that determination through its elected representatives, say by requiring service to underprivileged neighborhoods, Google’s response would have been, “Adios.” The company’s goal was to spend money where it was likeliest to attain a critical mass of customers. The inevitable outcome was an economic one: redlining.Google insists it wants to close the digital divide. But private companies have to make money, and reinvesting in the public interest is always going to be a secondary concern.”http://news.zurichna.com/article/0c4a7a574b7821f4464332bda02e01dd/will-poor-people-get-google-fiber

“Chase, the lawsuit claims, effectively used California’s judicial system like a “mill” to obtain default judgments and garnish borrowers’ wages. The bank filed thousands of lawsuits every month from January 2008 until April 2011, the state claims. On one day alone, Chase lodged 469 such suits.

Chase also sought default judgments against borrowers who were military members on active duty, the suit claims.

“At nearly every stage of the collection process, defendants cut corners in the name of speed, cost savings and their own convenience, providing only the thinnest veneer of legitimacy to their lawsuits,” the complaint says.”

http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2013/05/from-bogus-lawsuits-to-threats-via.html

***

“It seems that we have been reduced almost to a state of absolute economics, in which people and all other creatures and things may be considered purely a economic in “units,” or integers of production, and in which a human being may be dealt with, as John Ruskin put it, “merely as a covetous machine.” And the voices bitterest to hear are those saying that all of this destructive work of mindless genius, money, and power is regrettable but cannot be helped.” -Wendell Berry

***

I’ve been taking a mini vacation. A small escape. Holed up in my good friend’s house…dogsitting. Watching cable television. Today has been an endless blur of HGTV, 16 Candles, Breakfast Club, and Say Anything. And lots and lots of commercials.

And doing laundry. And writing in my journal. And dancing. Kind of the usual, only in a different place. With cable television.

I’m trying not to keep track of time too closely, but I have about 3 weeks left before I start my job. So. There’s that. It feels like forever, but there are some pretty major projects I want to complete before I have to start devoting 40 hours of my week to a job. I’m so glad I’ve been able to take some time to be by myself and reflect before I start ramping up.

Some habits I think I’ll keep:

  • Breakfast on the porch with a book
  • Blogging every night before bed
  • Walking, walking, walking every day
  • Chalk pastels on Sundays
Never Quit

Never Quit

Some habits I still need to establish:

  • Some sort of cleaning schedule
  • More regular cooking and baking
  • Business planning (and execution)

Projects I want to complete:

  • May Day picnic
  • Room rearrangement/painting
  • New HVAC unit
  • Clean out garage/yard sale

(That’s a lot…I’m hoping I don’t have to pare down, but if I do…the garage cleaning can wait.)

I’d also really like to shake the blues that tug away in moments of happiness. Shoo, blues!

Tree Shadows

Tree Shadows

Did you know there is a vacuum for ear cleaning? The WaxVac? Weird shit, man.