25 March 2008

No Wonder I Feel Dizzy

I get so overwhelmed sometimes just by the sheer number and weight of the things I think about all day long. My head is a crowded place. Here are some of its occupants:

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1. Is our culture really sustainable, or are we going the way of the Roman Empire? How can a society that is chock full of strip malls, Girls Gone Wild videos, chain food stores, and hydrogenated oils really last?

2. What is Oppostional Defiance Disorder, and does one of my children have it?

3. How am I going to get my kids to be better eaters and how am I going to cook locally grown, organic food that everyone in my family will eat and that will minimize the carbon footprint of my household without breaking the bank? How can I get Michael Pollan to be my personal eating and cooking coach without paying him anything?

4. Who is going to do all of this freakin' laundry?

5. How do I get my refrigerator to stop leaking? Actually, this one is more like this: Will my refrigerator stop leaking if I wish really hard, or do I actually have to DO something about it? Keep in mind that I already had my dryer fixed this week, need to do something about the leaky kitchen faucet, need to call about our broken garage door, and should probably try to figure out why the light in our hallway won't work. There oughta be a law of physics or something that so many home repairs cancel each other out and somehow fix themselves without human intervention...

6. What's the best way to teach a child how to ride a bicycle: training wheels or no? (This one will be answered today...)

7. What combination of stores, time, gasoline, and cash will yield the maximum amount of groceries for the minimum amount of money? This particular question could easily take up my entire week. What I am looking for here is a mathematical algorithm into which I could plug the location of the potential grocery stores, the price of gas per gallon, my weekly menu, and my capacity for stress, and out would pop a nice tidy list of where to buy what for how much in order to feed my family healthy, sustainable meals for one week, with enough left over for a valium vodka spiked latte from Starbucks.

8. Hillary? Or Barack?

9. Will my 3.5 year old potty train herself, or do I actually have to get involved? And if I've done this three times already, why do I have no idea how to proceed?

10. What new trick can I invent to get the kids to clean up without complaining? I've tried everything. My current method is to do it all myself. That's not working so well for me.

11. How and when will I make my great contribution to the world? Aside from giving the world five incredibly intelligent and gifted children, because I have a sneaking suspicion that will not be enough for me.

12. How are we going to get me a working computer? Mine crashed in January, and I've been borrowing this one for a couple of months. It goes back in about a week and half...and I'll have to take action.

And guess what? There's more. This is a sampling of the things I think about on an average Tuesday morning.

Time to go back to bed. Ah, but I can't. Must teach Lola to ride a bicycle...

16 March 2008

I'm Trying, Ringo

I did indeed hit 4:15 with a bang today. Tanked. Crashed. Burned. Spiraled out of the sky in spectacular fashion.

So I made myself a pot of coffee (will I regret this later?), and then it came to me. The following movie quote:

"I'm tryin, Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be a shepard."

Anyone know where that one comes from? It's a classic...and for today, it's the winner that will get me through to bedtime.

13 March 2008

Musings of a 9 Year Old

I found a paper of Samuel's this morning; I thought it was a writing assignment from school, so I started to read it to figure out what it was. It was just lying on our dining room table, understand, so I didn't go looking for his private thoughts; but I found them anyway. It was a gift: a gift to get a little glimpse into Samuel's head and see the things that ping around in there. I'd like to share that gift with you, so here are the musings of a 9 year old:

"Why do I think it rains so often? I think the reason it rains so often is because God wants the plants to stay healthy. I also think it is because he wants to give us some indoor time together for example: playing family games together, and drinking hot chocolate. That's why I think it rains so often. I don't really like being the oldest. Sometimes everything is expected of me. Sometimes they are not expected fairly. I would like God to help me with that. Why do you think Gloucester is mean to Edmund? I think Gloucester doesn't really understand. Edmund is bothered by this, he writes a fake letter saying his legitimate brother Edgar is going to kill Gloucester. Why do I think he is being mean? Nay, I know not, but I do think Gloucester understands. And for that Edmund's people seized him and gouged out his eyes. He does not understand until then. Why do you think Gloucester was being mean? Read the play "King Lear" and find out. Why do you think we get presents on our birthday? I think it is because it is a special day for us and they want to be polite. That is what I think. If I had a dog I would find it quite fun. Even though I have a brother and 3 sisters it would be better to play with a dog. Why? Because my siblings can sometimes be annoying, mean, (a little boring) and maybe sneaky. I can play with a dog because a dog would not do that sort of stuff. I wonder why I am one of the only kids in the world who knows about Shakespeare. I think it is because I went to Shakespeare camp in the year of 2007. As soon as I got out of camp (also known as Cal Shakes Summer Camp) I knew a "holl cobutal" about Shakesepeare. That is why I think I'm one of the only kids in the world who knows about Shakespeare."

I love that kid's mind. His reflections remind me that he is always, constantly, forever, trying to figure things out, make sense of his life. He is the question kid -- and apparently, he's asking himself as many questions as he asks me!

Note: I corrected all of his spelling except the one part I couldn't decipher: "holl cobutal." I have no idea what he means to say there. And yes, he really did write "Nay, I know not!"

I wish we all had the time to write down our questions about life and speculate about their answers.

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Edited at 7:30pm to add:

Maybe "holl cobutal" means "whole kaboodle"...

I've been thinking about this all day...

12 March 2008

Family Math

4 = 0


“You never take us to get anything to eat!”
Oh really? So let’s see, today is Tuesday and I took you to get cookies last Friday. So 4 days is equivalent to never. I see.

3 = 17


“I think that was three.”
Actually, Lola, that was the 17th time I have swung you from one side of the sliding roller-ball, handle-bar thing to the other.

2 + 2 = 2


“You said we could have 2!”
Yes, I did. You already had 2 cookies. Just because an hour has passed does not mean that the laws of mathematics still do not apply; even though you would like two more cookies, 2 + 2 still equals 4.


55 ÷ 7 = 12


If you have 55 homemade cookies and there are seven people in your family, those cookies will last approximately half of a day (or 12 hours). Do not plan on “making some cookies so we will have them to munch on for the week.”

07 March 2008

OK, I've Had My Special Latte, I'm Ready

Well, not quite. I haven't really had any valium or vodka laden coffee today - YET - but I'm still ready. It's 10:30, and I've already gotten so much done: Shopped for dried fruit (the kids each needed some to bring to school), packed decent lunches, folded three loads of laundry, put away the clean dishes, got everyone dressed and out the door and where they belong, sent out two invoices for our home-based business, did 1 hours worth of work on the big design project I have due to the printer on Monday, paid a couple of bills, ate breakfast (which, sadly, I have to put on my list of accomplishments, because I forget to do this too frequently), responded to a flurry of emails, tidied up my kitchen, living room, and dining room so I wouldn't feel cramped while I am working and could therefore let the creative juices floooooooooooooooow, and started on another design project I have.

It's been a good morning so far.

But here's my problem. As I said to Rick the other evening: "I can be a good mother. I just can't sustain it for the whole day." I was referring to what I call the 4:30 phenomenon. At 4:30, I tank. I can have a perfectly fine day until about 4:15, and then I just lose all motivation to keep going or even to stop and enjoy some time that isn't related to GETTING THINGS DONE.

Each day, 4:30 looms ominously in front of me; I know that when it rolls around, I will have to redouble my efforts to fight the funk. I will need to summon all of my womanly powers to continue to comfort the afflicted (apply bandaids), foster peace and understanding (break-up fights), aid the suffering (prevent the boys from tormenting the girls), distribute goods (feed them), and be the peace I wish to see in the world (somehow keep from screaming.)

There is a scene in Finding Nemo, where Darla is tapping on the aquarium glass and Peach the star fish is trying desperately to hold on to the glass while frantically repeating: "Find a happy place! Find a happy place!" That's me, every afternoon at about 4:30. And yes, that means that my kids are, collectively, the dreaded Darla, tapping on my brain with each of their 50 fingers, drumming all of their little needs and wants and stories and questions and fights into my consciousness.

And ooh, boy, can that happy place be hard to find.

Time to start spiking my afternoon coffee. What's your vote: Vodka? or Valium?

05 March 2008

Inspiration in an Unlikely Place

A friend of mine gave me a little gift yesterday; said she thought of me when she saw it and had to get it for me. Here it is:



If you can't view it well, it says "I'll have a caffe mocha vodka valium latte to go, please!" Quote attributed to Leah Dylan, mother of 5.

(Credit to Design Design, Inc., maker of the napkin.)

Now, while enjoying my daily coffee -- and I will neither confirm nor deny if any spiking is going on -- I get a little smile. Little smiles go a long way towards getting me from 4pm to bedtime. Who knew that a napkin could be a source of inspiration?

Thanks Kim!

So between my coffee, my napkins, and little mugs like this one, I'm all set.