Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm having a productive day, after a weekend spent celebrating Joe's birthday. Friday we had a private celebration, just the three of us. On Saturday we had a long, wonderful day with many, many friends over for movies and pizza and board games. And Sunday was dinner with his mom, and cake, and a long, slow, companionable day.

I'm struggling, a little, to get back up to speed after the weekend. The trick, I find, is the lists. I make one giant one, with everything I can think of on it, and then take 5 items off it at a time, to make a mini ToDoNow list. I don't have to worry about forgetting anything, because it's all on the Giant List, but I'm not overwhelmed by having to look at more than a handful of items at a time. At least, that's usually the trick. Today I'm finding even the mini lists are hard to focus on. I keep wanting to crawl back under the blankets with a book and a cup of something warm and comforting.

I added three more items to my 101 list (things I want to get done, and will be getting done anyway, and want to be able to cross them off a list, damn it!): clearing out my email inboxes (a total of 41,550 messages when I started, I've gotten them down to just over 37,000), redo the Christmas music books for next year (lyrics for all the carols we sing at the Christmas gathering with my family -- I need to make some large print ones, add an index to the end, and reorganize the order of the songs), and do some journaling and photos every month, so that I have more to choose from when I do scrapbooks for the grandparents at the end of each year.

I'm making progress on lots of the items on the list, but can't yet cross any of them off. I think the one I'm happiest with, so far, is eating getting in the habit of eating together in the diningroom, and developing a repertoire of healthy, simple, tasty meals. We've been particularly enjoying tuscan white bean stew, black beans with rice and avocado, and red lentil dal over basmati rice, recently.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Giant Honkin' ToDo Lists!

A few friends of mine have been doing the 101/1001 thing -- make a list of 101 things you'd like to get done in the next 1001 days. I love new year's resolutions (and I also make and love birthday resolutions) -- although I don't really do *resolutions* so much as take the opportunity to examine the way I've been spending my time, attention, and energy, examine whether it's in line with my priorities, and plan out for myself ways to get myself more on track with those priorities.

This year, though, for whatever reason, the time seemed to be ripe for a more ambitious list. I started on January first, and the goal is to be done by September 29, 2011:

1. finish family heritage scrapbook (collecting the parents' and grandparents' stories)
2. finish personal scrapbooks (that is, finish archiving all the stuff I have saved from childhood, high school, college, pre-Sarah and baby-Sarah years)
3. learn bass (able to play 6 songs well, able to work with a new song fairly easily)
4. learn banjo (ditto)
5. make church a habit (on average once a month)
6. make family dinner in dining room, saying grace a habit (twice a week or more, on avg)
7. make evening retreat a habit (twice a week or more, on avg)
8. make dinner with friends on Saturdays a habit (once a month or more, on avg)
9. finish writing 8 stories and at least get them to a beta
10. finish writing 6 songs (that is, ready to be performed for an audience)
11. fit into my denim dress
12. progress on kafg project
13. finish turning the basement into a guest cottage
14. turn yard into a garden (front and back)
15. read 100 books
16. kayak 10 times
17. hike 10 times
18. be able to get all the way through the kickboxing routine comfortably
19. finish my pirate ship room
20. finish dollhouse with Sarah
21. find a way to sing or make music with other people on a regular basis
22. get the slow food potlucks going again
23. refresh my knowledge of engineering
24. refresh my knowledge of science (physics, chem, earth science)
25. read 150 articles (newspaper or magazine, paper or online)
26. refresh my knowledge of math
27. refresh my knowledge of US and irish history
28. renew my commitment to voluntary simplicity and conscious/fair trade shopping
29. refresh my knowledge of comparitive religion
30. keep lr, dr and bathroom tidy enough for company
31. finish rhetoric course
32. start taking classes again, in a sustainable way
33. refresh my knowledge of nutrition
34. begin and sustain a skincare regimen
35. see my ob/gyn 2-3X
36. see my GP 2-3X for annuals
37. see my dentist 3X for checkups
38. refresh my knowledge of alternative ed theory/history
39. visit 20 states and get a real sense of them
40. refresh my decorative painting techniques
41. finish the back porch
42. create a real workspace for myself in the diningroom
43. go out with friends 12 times (dancing, blues club, karaoke...)
44. get my own toolbox, fill it with tools, learn how to use them well enough to do small repairs
45. help create a more montessori-like prepared environment at the school (for now in the art room, eventually the majority of the school space)
46. build the school enrollment to 15 students
47. help build a school community -- regular potlucks, evening events, book club discussions, family outings. (6 a year of potlucks/outings and 6/year of evening events/discussions)
48. join that women's anti-war group (wilf? something like that)
49. see Grandma and Grandpa ~1X a month
50. paint murals in Sarah's room, downstairs, and upstairs hallway
51. get to mediawest 1X, tribal forces and EMC 2X each
52. learn Spanish (get to intermediate level)
53. refresh my knowledge of programming (html at least, maybe others as well)
54. refresh my knowledge of math (precalc, calc, etc.)
55. refresh my knowledge of NY history
56. refresh my knowledge of computer theory
57. take 3 NY walking tours
58. attend 6 live concerts/shows
59. go ice skating 2X
60. go roller skating 2X
61. go to AMNH 6X
62. write letters or send cards to friends/family 25X
63. decorate the laptop bag
64. repair my cloak
65. refresh my knowledge of slow food/fair trade issues
66. develop a repertoire of healthy, simple dinners (10-12 I use on a regular basis)
67. develop a repertoire of healthy, simple lunches (3-5 I use on a regular basis)
68. learn to surf
69. learn to hangglide
70. find one opportunity to wear my kickass black dress
71. bake on a regular basis (4X a month, on avg)
72. learn to make 3 cocktails really well
73. take a roadtrip with mom and sister
74. take a roadtrip with friends
75. have 2 retreat weekends for myself (or with friends) and a retreat day with Sarah
76. finish 6 pieces of jewelry
77. cut back on tv significantly (cut back by, say, 50%, to begin with, and go from there)
78. attend a kirtan
79. attend 6 drum circles
80. work out a daily routine that really works for me, and that I'll stick to at least 80%
81. attend an ecstatic dance event
82. get fuschia streaks in my hair
83. write thank you letters to 30 people who've touched my life
84. take a class at home depot (or similar place)
85. complete one chain mail project
86. do 20 No Free Lunch presentations
87. refresh my knowledge of nutritional anthropology
88. learn hand massage
89. perform 34 acts of activism (~1/month) (write a letter, make a phone call, make a donation, volunteer my time, etc.)
90. learn enough woodworking to finish one project (perhaps that picnic table?)
91. make family time a consistent part of the evening routine (3X a week, on avg)
92. get to damrosch park concerts at least 2X
93. complete a mala
94. get all the decorative stuff on the walls
95. go to canada (perhaps to J's, perhaps to Montreal)
96. give Sarah a magical childhood (family rituals, magical bedroom, storytelling, little details)
97. have a scrapbook day with my mom at least 2X
98. bring in one activity/project geared specifically for each student, each week, for a month
99. find some kind of class to take with Sarah (martial arts, dancing, music...)
100. have a family outing at least 1 weekend a month, on avg
101. get involved at church (UU or Quaker) -- take a RE class or join a discussion group or choir...
(I decided to add a few extra items to the list -- things that I know I'm going to want to get done whether they're on the list or not)
102. take a couple pictures and do a little journaling each month, for the yearend scrapbooks I do each year
103. redo the Christmas songbooks -- larger print, better index, page numbers, etc.
104. clean out email inboxes

(note to self -- these are goals, not commitments. They are meant to create inspiration, not guilt. The habits don't have to be perfect, just to be true habits by the end of the 1001 days -- the exact numbers are guidelines.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm watching a program on Pete Seeger. In the time it took me to log in, I've already lost the exact words of the quote I wanted to record, but it went something like: "Participation is what is going to save the human race." Get Involved.

It's a strange weekend. My friend's mom passed away, yesterday, and we're working on all the little details involved in figuring out how to get up there to be with her for the wake and funeral. I have a cozy birthday gathering to go to tomorrow, once the iciness has passed, and have some planning I need to do for that. And I have about 3 hours of work to do, to catch up from this week (I had a very productive Monday, but since then it's been all I can manage to get myself up, dressed, and fed, every day). I can't seem to figure out how to deal with all these different types of energy pulling me in all these different directions, when all I really want to do is curl up in a little nest of blankets with my family.

I've been enjoying the sense of coming into my own I've had, the last year or so. Hitting solid Mothering energy, and becoming much more *myself* -- much less worried about how I'm coming across to others or about doing what I'm "supposed to" do. This part of aging, though, I'm enjoying less -- the first time I'm the grownup making arrangements to attend a funeral, instead of just tagging along on my parents' arrangements. Everything, the last few days, has been under a pall of sadness and the awareness of mortality. I'm so sad for N, but also sad in advance for myself, looking ahead to the losses of the future, if that makes sense. Well, I'm sad even if it doesn't make sense, so there you go.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tonight I hosted the monthly school community meeting. Afterwards, standing in my backyard with Liliana and Pat, I felt so very deeply connected to the earth. To the *Earth*, the whole planet, yes, but specifically to my little plot of land. I tend to avoid the yard once the trees have lost their leaves -- I feel as if I'm on stage, without the cover all that greenery provided. Apparently I'll have to get over that, or find a way around it, based on my visceral response to just 5 minutes out there, in the breezy, moonlit night...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hunter's in the newspaper, today. Sort of. The article's more about some test-prep "enrichment" program than about the school itself. Mary called to tell me about the article, and to laugh at the last line (and tease Joe about it -- Stuy is his alma mater). I wasn't aware of anyone who did that level of test-prep. I was still in school when the cram program they're talking about started, but wouldn't have known anyone young enough to be entering in 86 or 87. I don't know if I just spent time with more laidback people, if kids just didn't talk about it if they did cram programs like that in those days, or if it's that the surrounding culture has shifted that much over time, so that this sort of test-prep place is now popular enough to be getting this sort of attention. Or good enough at publicity, anyway.

I read about kids going to "testprep boot camp", or about modern homework expectations, or about bizarre good behavior incentives, and I find myself thinking I can't talk to normal people anymore. I just have to live in my little cave in the woods, the crazy freeschool hermit, with the locusts in my teeth.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I typed this up the other day, but never posted it. Still seems appropriate:

I love Christmas vacation. So far today we made up cards for Sarah's different moods/personas so that she can display a new one each day, depending on who she feels like being that day (Goth chick, Fairie Princess, Adventurer, Acrobat, Fashion Designer, etc.), made a list of things we can do instead of watching TV, listened to a couple lessons on, found some recipes online to use with Sarah's new Easy Bake Oven, and now I'm making potatoes-onions-and-eggs and reading one of the issues of Parabola I've been meaning to finish for 100 years (required borrowed-stuff note -- while I would happily read my own stuff in the same room as I was working with food, I wouldn't do it with Other People's Stuff -- it's happening more in quick succession than simultaneously). This afternoon we're gonna tidy up the house, make room on the counter for the microwave (it's an inherited one that usually lives in the basement -- so people could use it when staying in the basement apartment, back when it was habitable and not, say, a swamp) -- the cupcake-making kit Sarah got is apparently only for use with microwaves -- make some of Sarah's baked goods, watch a couple episodes of West Wing, make a couple recipes from my new cookbook (combining them with the leftovers for dinner), and maybe play The Good, The Bad, and The Munchkin (another of Sarah's Xmas gifts from my grandparents).

I love Christmas vacation.