Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Edith Wharton: American Jane Austen?

Edith Wharton, writing nearly a century later than Jane, is what I believe to be a cynical version of Jane Austen. At least in the House of Mirth.  She can write about the nuances of behavior and looks, the confusion between men and women about love, power, or intent in the confines of society rules.  But I find Edith a bit more cynical.  I don't believe she means for her heroine to triumph, even though I'm only 1/3 of the way through the novel.  We shall see.  But I would recommend checking out her works.  Next on my list is the Age of Innocence.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Horrible Histories

My new favorite past time (ha, ha, no pun intended) is watching clips from Horrible Histories, a British children's show about the icky and creepy stuff from the past.

Be sure to check out all the offerings on YouTube you can find. It will entertain you for hours!

Monday, September 5, 2011

For someone who loves historic clothing of all kinds

Only thing I wish they did in this video was to label the slower version with the actual years they were hitting as they danced back to 2011.  Otherwise this is a fun romp.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thinking me like the new Blogger interface

I am getting sucked into more computer media.  I've been using the new Blogger interface (what the hell, be an early adopter) and find it is fascinating to get a look at which posts have gotten the most views.  So much easier than trying to use a site counter.  Now I know which posts have attracted the most looks.  Funny.  I will have to send the Blogger folks some feedback.  Maybe this will get me back in the game.  I was going to be all chronically about my life as a forty-year-old.  Turns out pretty much like a 39 year old.  So it's been hard to see where I should go with this blog.  Maybe the new feedback info will help.

Look out world.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Questions of balance

Some days, I feel I'm a lazy mom.  I was just reviewing what I did, or did not do, with my kids the week I had off before school started.  I am afraid I just let them veg in front of the TV or with a video or computer game for too long.  I had no gumption to get out of my pjs before noon.  I spent too much of my time letting them do whatever with each other with electronics.  Usually, I let this get to me, but that week, I just let go.  I was tired from work and let my brain rot.  Rot on reading FB posts, emails and strange internet news.  Wandered around the house organizing small piles of stuff here and there.  Catching up on DVR shows.  Reading several different books at once: a guidebook on Maui, a book about weight training and the House of Mirth.

About noon I would realize I needed to get dressed and "do something."  And maybe feed my kids lunch.  Most days, lunch came at 1:30 pm.  I did take them to a museum and we spent quite a bit of time there.  They did have soccer practice at 5 pm several days that week, so I guess I felt justified in letting them veg in front of the TV.  Three days that week, I also got them to the pool and one day my daughter and I went to the farmer's market.  So I did make an effort to get us away from the house.  Just not really hard.

So I know other people who talk about writing in gratitude journals, taking walks at sunrise for inspiration, taking time to think and ponder on the meaning of life, finding time to exercise, wanting to make sure that they spend as much time as they can as a family without TV, video, or computer.  I feel a pang of guilt, because I feel I am not being a deep person, not making life meaningful for my children, not facilitating their sense of self and spirituality.  I feel guilty that I'm not spending more time with them.

Then I realize, I wouldn't be happy doing that.  I can't sit and be emotional and spiritual in front of my children.  I have to be matter of fact, open and honest but matter of fact.  Logical and straight from the hip.  I also want my me time, which, I guess, for me, is to spend some time on the computer web surfing.  I surf for information, often reading news articles and Wikipedia, for questions that come up.  I relax by watching goofy SyFy shows and just letting my brain turn to mush.  I don't want to spend every waking minute with my kids, I want them to find ways to entertain themselves.  Maybe they need to see me doing more reading, like when I lost an hour just reading about Maui and suddenly realized I should shower and work on lunch.

I ponder life's problems driving to work, always.  I have composed some awesome blog posts in my head.  But as soon as I get to work, they are forgotten, because I must deal with the mundaneness of work.  I probably get enough time to wonder as I drive to/from work and maybe I don't need to write it all down.  It is enough to think it through in my head.  I defy being there every minute for my kid and embrace the lazy parenting attitude. 

Come to think of it, when I was kid, I was outside, wandering the front and back yard and next door parking lot.  I don't remember spending a lot of time playing with my parents in elementary school.  They were doing whatever parents do and it didn't make a good or bad impression on me.  It just was.  So I think we have some time yet to get it all in and I'm not going to sweat the small stuff.  It will come when it needs to and will shape our family life however it can.  They will grow up how they are supposed to.

Because that is just how it is.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Nostalgia: that's what all those posts are for

Did a little look through my "favorites" and I decided I chose well. They reminded me of times and stories I hadn't thought about in a long time. So maybe that's what the blog is for, to look back, laugh, be glad I recorded it somewhere and to come back to it time and time again. Sigh, dream of the sweet days gone by. They were soooo cute, but they can be something else even now. The oldest and I sat down and reviewed the middle school handbook. I'm one of those parents who does exactly what the letters from the principal says to do. Goes over the handbook *with* my child. It was a good time to discuss what could, might, or what he should expect to happen and to have him declare that he would get A+'s only and he would never, ever end up in anything other than Honor Level One (which means no demerits. Really? They use demerits at this school?). We read all the classroom policies he brought home, signed all the papers promising he would abide by teachers' rules and I would be the back up to enforce that he abide by teachers' rules. Then I had him stuff them back in his backpack. For Tuesday. Yes, I'm an overachiever. I'm going to finish MY homework ahead of time, so I can relax and enjoy the weekend (well, Monday anyway, I am working the next two days.).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First day of school

I am just blown away by the fact that my oldest is in middle school.  This should not come as shock, there are people who I know with their youngest leaving for college, but still, I am probably more nervous about middle school than he is.

My favorite comment about middle school from him today was that "It isn't like on TV where there's a lot of bullies in middle school."  Good call, my dear boy, I think we need to talk about fact vs. fiction again.

The other thing I had to get over was that they are now in two separate schools until he is a senior and she is a freshman.

More passages this year.