Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I've been listening to an audio recording of E.B. White reading his "Charlotte's Web" with Knox and my nanny kids, so the Goose's manner of speaking is rubbing off on me: Oh, how quickly ickly ickly my days slip away from me! They just slip slip slip away from me!

My new schedule with Knox in school and me working part-time feels very fragmented. I suddenly have more free hours during the week, but they fill up so quickly with household work and errands, exercise, volunteering, and the occasional meet-up with a friend. There are too many good options! I feel more stress and am more tired than I was when all my days were spoken for with being at work. That seems so silly--extra time? Ohhhh, how stressful! When I'm at work, I crave this extra time and envy those who have it. But I forget that work removes options and imposes limits in a way that can be helpful to the brain. You can't fit anything else into those hours, which allows you to focus on the immediacy of the job. It also assuages guilt and gives you a valid reason (excuse?) for not accomplishing the other things on your list: I worked today. With me and my free time, how do I explain to myself why my house is still messy and I still haven't unpacked the rest of the boxes? All I can say is that I had time but I didn't get to it because I was busy doing other stuff.

I don't like fragmentation, on the job or off. I'm not a proficient multitasker. My days are suddenly so fragmented that I'm experiencing some adjustment pains. I've been falling asleep at 9:30pm, unable to keep my eyes open even for reading or watching something or surfing the 'Net. And I'm desperate to go to the chiropractor to relieve all the tension in my neck, shoulders and back. Man, free time is stressful and exhausting!  ;-)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Cosmic Gesture of Creation

    The video below, called "On Handwork," speaks to me and I want to save it and share it here in my blog repository. I found it on the Rhythm of the Home blog. While I am not a knitter, I appreciate Renate Hiller's ancient wisdom and the calm, centered solidity of her voice, her movements and her conviction. I have certainly noticed that children gravitate toward practical work and skillful making when it is available to them. My son will gravitate toward a video game or television when it is available, and I want to exert the effort to make handwork available to him. One of our best family moments all summer was when we assembled our new deck furniture together. We didn't skillfully make furniture, but the act of working together on a practical project was satisfying and fun. Knox was completely engaged in the labor and enjoyed working with his hands and the tools.
    I also love her introduction about the spiral being a cosmic gesture of creation.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Birds and the Grasshoppers

(image of mating grasshoppers courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org)
    Yesterday I was playing outside with the little girl I nanny (I'm a nanny to a sweet brother-sister duo) when I noticed two large grasshoppers assuming THE position on her potted mum. I called her over to check out the grasshoppers up close. We get excited about our nature sightings--butterflies, birds, worms, caterpillars, deer, squirrels--and grasshoppers are rare. After a moment, she had to ask the question I was hoping wouldn't come up: What are they doing? It was literally my birds-and-the-bees moment, only substitute grasshoppers. I didn't feel it was my place to provide full disclosure about reproduction. I dodged the question and proposed that perhaps they were resting? They were quite still for two grasshoppers getting it on, after all. 
    I told her dad when he got home about what we saw and how I handled it. He told his daughter the grasshoppers were makin' babies! He also suggested that they were "being friends." I liked that one. I'll tuck that away in my Good Answers for Good Questions file. 
    When I left their house two hours after first catching the grasshoppers in the act, I felt compelled to go see if they were still there. Not only were they still doing it, but there was a third grasshopper watching and waiting in line! Kinky stuff, this grasshopper mating business! It was a day I sincerely regretted not having my camera handy.