Tim has me hooked on Serial. Are you listening? It seems like everyone is and I understand, because it is bizarrely addictive. I admit that Law and Order: SVU was an old flame of mine, and Unsolved Mysteries was one of my first TV loves, so I come by the interest of this criminal investigation honestly, but even people who have never been a fan of crime shows seem to be getting sucked in.
I'm trying to think of why. Maybe because it's heartbreaking to hear about these kids (look at the pictures...they are babies). I'm not sure, but I love the idea that in the midst of a world that preaches that we have attentions of weasels (I barely fit into the definition of a millennial), we're loving this in-depth, slow, methodical inquiry into a 15 year-old case. Love it.
Every year, we get adorable Christmas cards from a few crafty friends showing pictures of some combination of pets and kids and holiday items. And I put them up on the mantel, surrounded by lights, and they make the house look pretty dang festive. I stop by them often and smile in their direction. Since I don't do a ton of decorating any more, and very little Christmas shopping (more on this later), I really look forward to these little tokens of the holidays.
But I myself never do holiday cards, which I could blame on my mother never doing holiday cards, but the truth is, I blame it on the environment and the fear I have of watching it crumble and then kicking myself for not doing anything about it.
This is dramatic, I know.
But this is the hell I've created for myself in my head. This is why I stay up at night worrying. Only recently have I been weighing the ratio of worrying I do to the amount of good I am doing by being such a curmudgeon. So I'm starting to look for bigger ways I can try and make a difference (getting involved in local politics, volunteering, buying USA Made) and trying not to sweat the small stuff. Because I sweat balls over the small stuff.
So, I'm thinking about doing holiday cards this year. Also because: we have a baby! And I want to show him off because he's so fraking cute.
I love the idea of these 3-1 Holiday cards from Artifact Uprising. They're a little pricey, but, you can read their story, and see that they're a pretty sustainable company, so i think that it's worth it. Yes, I will be creating more waste than if I didn't do cards at all, but I'm going to see how it feels this year. I have dreams of making a holiday video card, but I need to work on my video editing skills.
Now to choose an adorable picture of Beckett....or grab Froley and dress then up like elves.....
One thing people told me would happen after Beckett was born was that I would no longer read. They told me like this: I used to read, and then I had kids! and Oh, I've heard about that book. Enjoy...while you still can! and Wait to you have kids and your brain turns to mush! They told me this like it was some sort of funny punch line. And because something about pregnancy hormones made me believe and dread everything everyone told me (luckily, I have recently recovered), I was horrified. Would I really stop reading? Would I really only have the energy to watch hulu before I crashed mid-sentence, incoherently discussing my baby's poop, in bed, while not having sex with my husband?
Needless to say, this has not happened for either me or Tim. The reading, or, not reading thing. And I know many parents who still manage to read (though I do admit, I live in a world of readers that may not be representative of the average world-dweller). This afternoon, Beckett surprised me by napping for an hour and a half and I got to start and finish an essay by Jonathan Franzen in his collection of essays titled How to be Alone. The essay is "Why Bother?" and I'd link you to it but it's only available in the book. Also, it's pretty long, so I doubt you'd read it right here and now. As you can surmise by the title and the author, it deals with the question of why we bother to write, and, by some extension, live at all. Which, he argues, is sort of the reason writers write novels--to grapple with that big question, or subsets of that big question (this is a gross over-simplification of this essay). It also the reason that writers are apt to succumb to varying types of depression.
If we are to write about the world, we have to be removed enough to see it clearly. Which does two things: once, encourages us to look at a flawed, unfair, heart-breaking, angering reality. This urges us to look to the past for a better time and pretend it was better, then eventually admit that is was still all of these things. And then we look for the redeeming aspects to life and we ask ourselves if these outweigh the bad. The second thing this does is seclude is because we do all of this alone and the process of doing so pushes us further away from a world full of people who are actually busy living their lives in this world we are analyzing. So we look at these people--strangers, friends, family--and if we're lucky and feeling empathetic, we can write a story. It the muse is not on our shoulder, then we let ourselves spiral about "the state of affairs." If the former happens, for me at least, it normally satisfies that part of me that is more concerned with thinking about living as opposed to doing it. Maybe this is where my compulsion to write comes from. And most writers I know (I do not mean published or successful writers, per se, but simply people who write) would agree that writing is a compulsion, not a hobby.
One prediction that has partially come true is that I won't have time to write anymore. I have finished a few short pieces, but I need to "go somewhere" to really write. I have to go to that place I described in the last paragraph, and although the trip there is not rough, it's actually more like a well-waxed metal slide, getting out of there is a hard climb. But I need to, otherwise, I get stuck at the bottom, kicking my feet in the playground sawdust.
That's part of the reason I started this blog, so I would have some sort of external motivation to put virtual pen to virtual paper. And it's not quite enough to get me out of that place, but, the other thing that works is reading. Which is maybe why I'm reading so much: a constant stream will curve my need to "go somewhere" and write. Tim and I are reading MaddAddam, the third installment of a Margaret Atwood trilogy. We're reading it out-loud, which is perhaps the most romantic thing I've ever done with another human being.
But Tim also reads his poetry, and since we have jobs where we speak a good chunk of the day, we have limited vocal power. So, today after work I went to the library and picked up the books for these two new movies:
Gotta read before I watch. Other book on my list is Goldfinch. So, what are you reading? Any recommendations?
Hopefully these books will stave off my need to thrown my self down that slide and write something more than 5 pages.
Actually, they are. Every parenting book I have read has hold me the the secret to a blissful life with children relies on your "dedication" a "consistent" bedtime routine and "respecting" nap time. The only other option seems to be tying him to my hip attachment-parent-style and let him run the when to sleep show. You just bring them everywhere and make do with his moods. My sister raised her kids this way and they are all mind-boggling awesome people. And if I didn't have to work, I might just try this out. Because you know who routines are not for? Me.
It took me until my late twenties to realize I am not the person who will go running every morning or enjoys her evening cup of tea and book. I will not journal every night or do my bill paying on a Thursday or do every single dish after dinner. And I have tried very hard to be this person because, well, I've read a lot of magazines that have promised me it will make me much more productive and happy. Also, every successful (regularly published) writer I knows has a writing routine. But. Routines make me feel like screaming. Routines make me feel trapped. Routines kill the joy. And I am not being hyperbolic.
But, like I said, babies like routine. And it's not as simple as putting him down at the same time. It's having the same routine, more or less, every time you put him down. This can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes (the books recommend 30, but, come on!) And he naps three-four times a day and goes to sleep one (thankfully he falls right asleep after nursing at night). So that means on top of nursing/preparing a bottles and changing diapers, there's the prep for sleep. Which leaves Tim and I at home. A lot.
So we've started some routines that are not aimed at productivity or efficiency. They're aimed at embracing where we are in life. I mean this both emotionally and spatially--we are at home all the time. Have I mentioned that already?
On Friday night we were supposed to go to a Mac and Cheese party (isn't this the best reason for a party) and Beckett's weird sleep patterns left us with the decision to try and extend his bedtime a couple hours and deal with a fussy baby and a long, sleepless night, or stay home. We choose stay home, and I'm glad that we had pizza movie night as a back up. It made having to stay home and miss the party a little less bitter.
I was in the mood fro something light, and it was my night to pick the movie and Tim's night to make pizza, so I made Tim watch Bridget Jones Diary: The Edge of Reason which is not as funny as I remember, but it was appropriate payback for the time he made me watch The Conjuring.
Click here for full detail. Here's a summary: Spokanite. Partner. Teacher. Mama. Writer. Jane of all Trades. Wanna-be homesteader.
WHAT I'M READING
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