Category Archives: School is Cool

How many shades of heather does one person hold?

I mean heather as in an oyster color. I didn’t want to use “shades” and the g-word in my title as I’m already disappointing scores of Google searchers who are here due to a shoe fetish.

I am currently in the process of trying to make a HYOOGE life decision. In my head, which is a strange place, nothing can move forward (like buying a new house in a better school district or signing up for the GRE) until the decision is 100% made and zipped up in the irrevocable decision box.

I pride myself on being able to see all sides of most issues. If you need a Devil’s Advocate, I’m your woman. (Do you ever wonder if the devil really needs advocates? If yes, and it’s a high paying position, I’d like to put in my resume.) (Call me, Lucifer!)

But, if the issue is something the directly impacts me (not my kid or my family or friends), there is only black or white.

I had the opportunity to spend an hour on the phone with a Life Coach (hi Marste!) and outlined my two choices. (BTW – this is something I highly recommend. I cannot speak positively enough about how wonderful that hour was.)

After talking about what it would mean to not choose the Big Change and finding out that I am remarkably mature and insightful (paraphrase), I also found out that maybe I don’t have to make it a Big Choice all at once. I can keep on living my life as I move towards the center.

As I was talking about what I do with my time, I prefaced a lot of what I was saying with “I might be crazy” because I get told that sometimes. I’m busy. I work a pretty intense job (actually, two currently), I write (not as much as I think I should), I’m training for a half ironman, I have an almost-three-year-old, and a husband, and a few friends. I’m starting dance classes next week and I am, with the help of Rosetta Stone, teaching myself Swedish. I’m co-chairing a cookbook project for an online group I’m in. I’m working on a research project and eventual paper and maybe presentation  with someone who makes me look like a lazy slacker (love you, PSM!).

I am trying to do more things that scare me (see above re: dance class).

I am trying to travel more (see you soon, Chicago!), write more, be more. I am all about more.

I’m seldom about less, unless you’re talking about less social interaction. Then I’m all about the less.

I don’t really know how to do less and stay functional. If you gauge busy on a scale of 1-10, my preference for optimal life-satisfaction and productivity is right around an eight.

If I’m not full up, then there is room for discord and anxiety and those creeping little thoughts that are not helpful.

However, after the hour with Marste, I committed to try to find a center and to seek my balance in something different from left-braining with intensity all day and right-braining with equal intensity the rest of the time.

I am going to look for small steps and resist the go big or go home attitude.  I can be full without running full-tilt at whatever the next Big Choice is. Theoretically. (When I decided that the next Big Choice was a baby, I devised spreadsheets, created optimal timelines, charted ALL sorts of things, created a super secret blog about conception and then pregnancy, and read every book I could get my hands on. I won at pregnancy up through the positive result on the pregnancy stick. THEN the variable introduced into my planning made everything else go haywire.)

There’s only one real problem with this. I’m not sure how to look at the heather-colored spaces between. I might need a live-in life coach (note to self: add that line to the sister-wife job description currently posted) to give me more feedback on a daily basis.

My goal though, as always, is to feel good about the decisions I’ve made and completely own them. And also to be completely badass.

IMG_0083

 

Brain. Dead. Send Help (and gin)

It is Friday. TFIF. (Freya is my new goddess and I will be invoking her in all things that require divine invocation. My general atheistic stance remains pretty firm, though, so don’t worry!)

I am pretty sure that no one will read this, because not only is it Friday, it is Friday before a long holiday weekend. So I am going to navel gaze.

Has anyone ever done a vision board or a declaration of clarity or some kind of exercise that helps them get to the root of who they are and what they want? I tend to be more of a “develop a problem statement, get to the root cause of the problem, brainstorm solutions, and implement” and less into the more touchy feely stuff.

But I am not thrilled with where I’m at right now and the way I see it I have two choices.

  1. Continue in current career path that is not terrible, pays decently, and is currently fairly high stress.
  2. Don’t do that.
Option 3: Just say screw it and go to a movie.

Option 3: Just say screw it and go to a movie.

If I choose #2, I know what I want to do, and due to my (checks notes) propensity to offer “inordinately long explanations” (hat tip to Cromer), so does my PSM, but that way lies dragons. And also less financial security. (Or maybe the dragons are the lowered financial security.)

I’ve never been a firm believer that everyone needs to “follow their dreams” career wise. I actually think that’s rather shit advice. I mean, my dream is to be a stay-at-home-Amy and have someone support me in the manner in which I’d like to become accustomed, and also to have a house keeper. And a pool boy. Possibly also a pool, but let’s not get carried away.

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to find a career that you don’t hate and that pays money and just do it and save your passion for your life outside of work.

But what happens when you don’t have the time or energy for a life outside of work? I’m sure that eventually Bean will start sleeping again. (I’m wondering if the stress of staying dry all night is what’s interfering with his sleep? He’s really emotionally invested in it, and is NOT SLEEPING OH MY GODDESS.)

However, my calendar at work is getting fuller and fuller, and soon I’m not sure I’ll have any time to actually get any work done, which means I’m start bringing home more than just email answering. (On a typical workday, I receive between 100-200 emails. I am wicked popular. Today, however, I’ve only received about 30 by 11 am. Friday before a holiday weekend is good.)

If I do go with Option Two above, I have approximately two and a half years before I make that change. Two point five years of planning. And scheming. There are five things that I need to get done in that time.

(Five is such a random number that I just pulled out of my ass. Let’s see what I actually come up with.)

  1. Build up a substantial savings
  2. Publish something academically
  3. Become proficient at Swedish
  4. Write like a crazy person and edit like a sane one (I have four readers who are (I assume) eagerly awaiting the first draft of my first novel
  5. Polish my lady balls (definitely grasping at straws for number five)

I am doing a big sportsing this year, too. I am eagerly awaiting my training plan from my coach. Training starts in one month. I’m probably supposed to be doing some pre-training that doesn’t involve self-centered whinging, deep coughs, and qualifying for the wine Olympics.

Blah Blah Blah

tl;dr – I am crazy and tonight I’m drinking a French 75.

I Like Big Brains!

One of the best things about 2014 was that the new friends that I made were all so very much smarter than me. Well, that’s kind of good. A little disheartening at times, but overall good.

More or less.

There are times, of course, that I have to Google things before replying to texts from my platonic soul mate (who has about five million degrees in such diverse things as [I am now commencing the “making shit up” part of this paragraph] in nursing, biology, literature, comparative religion, underwater basketweaving, nuclear physics, necromancy, Swahili, and general awesomeness).

And my fellow writing group members are pretty freaking smart, too. They are also highly degreed (I have a BA and an MS, and am the least educated in the [admittedly small] group).

I read book. A lot of books. I read 134 (I think, I’m not going back to look) new books in 2014. I probably read about that many in re-reads. Maybe more. I finish a book every 1-2 days on average.

However, most of them are not…intellectually challenging. Not that you can’t learn new things from paranormal romance or urban fantasy – you absolutely can. Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series is phenomenally researched, and Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy send me to the Google almost as often as Cat’s texts.

But, a lot of what I read is not quite as much of a brain workout. Which is AOK. It doesn’t need to be. My brains work a lot when I’m at my job. And whoa! It’s been a workout there lately, too. I have a couple new projects that have really been making me feel idiotic taxing my mental limits.

Now, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I hate (HATE!) feeling stupid. It’s my least favorite feeling (well, maybe tied with nausea). So, I either need to (a) dump my smarty-pants friends (not an option! I mean smart people AGREED to be friends with me, so if I were to get rid of them, I’d just be reinforcing my own stupidity) or (b) do things that make me feel smarter.

So, in 2015, in addition to (and adjacent to) my goals I listed last week, I have these three caveats and addenda:

  1. Fifty percent of the new books towards my 150 book goal must be vampire and werewolf free. (I will honor the spirit of the rule, and not just seek out witch books, either.)
  2. I will listen to podcasts that keep me abreast of current events on a regular basis PLUS one educational lecturey type thing a month (TED-Ed type things). And I will report on it.
  3. I have a burning desire to become conversational in another language. I have the Swedish Rosetta Stone (because there wasn’t Norwegian). I will Rosetta Stone and learn me some Swedish so that by the end of the year, I can have a conversation with an attractive  Swedish person that I will import for that very purpose.

Hopefully this will cause my brains to embiggen.

2015 is my year of pushing though my comfort zones. Putting myself out there. Putting my brains out there. (Not literally, though. Don’t worry!)

After spell-checking this post, I wonder if one of my addenda should be to stop making up words? Ha! Never going to happen. It’s not wrong if I’m doing it on purpose. (That would be an excellent motto, although not one that would generally go over well in court.)

 

Word Nerd: Solecism

I have not used last week’s word at all. I thought about it frequently and practiced in my head, but then I was concerned that I would use it incorrectly and someone would make fun of me. (This is actually a fairly constant worry of mine. I have so many friends with prodigious vocabularies that I often avoid using my fifty cent [and silver dollar] words in their presence [or in the presence of their eyes] so I don’t appear idiotic.)

So, this week’s installment will be particularly apt.

sol·e·cism
[soluh-siz-uhm, sohluh]
noun

  1. a nonstandard or ungrammatical usage, as unflammable and they was.
  2. a breach of good manners or etiquette.
  3. any error, impropriety, or inconsistency.

Origin:
1570–80;  < Latin soloecismus  < Greek soloikismós,  equivalent to sóloik ( os )
(
Sólo ( i ) a city in Cilicia where a corrupt form of Attic Greek was spoken + -ikos -ic) + -ismos -ism

I will try to worry less about committing a solecism with my new words and hope that those who hear me in an error will gently point out said error with a minimum of mockery.

“solecism.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 12 Jun. 2014. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/solecism>.

Five Things Friday: Alvie Bean Edition

You guys, my kidlet is not only a tiny sociopath*, he is also adorable!

  1. Yesterday, we were counting, and I was counting on my fingers. He looked at my fingers, looked at his own fingers, and his face LIT UP. He counted to four on his fingers and then looked at me. And I was all, “YES! That is right!” And he was blown away that counting on your fingers is a thing – a thing that he understood! He counted things all night. (He gets a bit confused after four; we are good at 1, 2, 3, 4…but then it usually goes 6, 7, 9, 10.) It was so fun to see him grasp this for the first time. It’s hard, as an adult, to understand really ‘getting’ concepts like this. When he first figures out that all the individual letters that he can identify make the words that we speak and read, that is going to be so cool.

    This is similar to how he looked when he figured out counting.

    This is similar to how he looked when he figured out counting.

  2. Bean loves him some strawberries, and ours are ripening now. When we get home, the first thing we do is go and pick all the ripe strawberries. Then, we look for bugs and he pops them all down the hatch. Yesterday, we probably picked a dozen. I got one. The architect got one. The Bean ate the rest before I could even say, “hey! I want more!”

    Helping us get even MOAR strawberries.

    Helping us get even MOAR strawberries.

  3. Bean also loves Daniel Tiger. A lot. It’s almost pathalogical. When he wakes up on the morning, he asks to watch Daniel Tiger, even though every single day I say, “No. We do not watch tv before school.” The other day, I came into the living room and saw this:
    We're watching you...

    We’re watching you…

    That is decidedly not okay. (Although if I tell Bean that he should potty because Daniel Tiger potties, then he’ll agree to give it a go.)

  4. Alvie is TERRIFIED of the bathtub right now. For no reason that I can discern, the bath has become a horrific place where anything (bad) could happen. However, he is also a 2-year-old boy with an unseemly love of dirt, so baths are kinda necessary (how can one small child smell that stinky?). I decided I would show him baths were fun and climbed into the tub. That was not okay. Then he was worried about me. “Out, mommy. P[l]ease out. No baff mommy.” We’ve been wiping him down with a washrag since I can see no good reason to cause hysteria in him, but I’m hoping this phase ends quickly.

    One month ago when baths were delightful.

    One month ago when baths were delightful.

  5. Bean has bad dreams from time to time. I believe I mentioned once (although maybe just on facebook) that a few months ago he woke me up crying and when I went into his room, he was sobbing, “new, blue shoes lost!” over and over. I had to reassure him that his shoes were okay, and also that being worried about losing a beloved pair of shoes is perfectly normal. Last night, he woke up crying about cereal. I’m assuming in his bad dream, the world’s supply of wheat-free cereal was gone and he was forced to eat something other than eleventy bowls of cereal every day.
    And when we're out of cereal, we will be forced to wear the bowls on our heads and sing Devo songs!

    And when we’re out of cereal, we will be forced to wear the bowls on our heads and sing Devo songs!

     

Happy weekend, all!

 

*maybe not a sociopath, but he is extra hitty at school and bitey at home. He’s going to end up in military school** by 3 if he keeps this up.

 

**not really, we’ll wait until he’s five. Military kindergarten!