Scattered Life Collective: March 28th

scattered_life_collective This post was inspired by a blogging adventure  called Scattered Life Collective by Cynthia Lee. It’s a great series and my friend, Deborah Weber often participates in it too. Deborah is an amazing woman who has turned me on to so many crazy wonderful things that I just can’t even list them.  ——-

current time: 11:35 AM. As I write this, I just woke up from a crazy long nap. Oh bless. Napping is such a wonderful thing. I think that I have taken more naps these last few months than I have taken in the last ten years! It is fabulous.

on the menu:  This week, we had a Taco Tuesday. Life is back to normal after a wonderful vacation in Puerto Rico – which surprisingly had very little Mexican food. Lots of beans and rice, though. They make special beans. And special coffee. Outside of the strange fact that everything you buy is served on styrofoam (because it’s cheap, Tatia says) there is a delightful homey-ness to their cuisine. I think perhaps if we decide to make that our home in a few years, I will get into the habit of bringing dinnerware in the car with me. Would that seem pretentious? I just hate styrofoam for a multitude of reasons. As for Taco Tuesdays, it was very yummy. I made homemade guac and had my own version sans meat/carne with lots of veg. Oh yeah. Love those meals where meat lovers and veggie lovers can all eat the same dish and be very satisfied. Tatia ate the hard corn shells instead of the soft wheat shells and Eric complained. I had my whole wheat soft tortillas which were covering up the white flour variety that Tatia prefers so she didn’t see them. We all eat different shells. Eric suggested that I not buy her special shells, but I reminded him that if I did that we would all be eating whole wheat soft tortillas.

out the window:  Ice. Yeah, the icky stuff. I am boycotting winter. I get this way every year about this time. It is supposed to be warm this weekend though and melt off my deck so I can get out there. Yes, I will sit out there with a cup of coffee if I am able. Even if I have to wear a jacket and stay only briefly. It is a sign of things to come. Spring is in our midst, people. 

reading: I Ching – hexagram #2. I wrote this post earlier this week about this chapter so I won’t go into too much detail here about the specifics except to say that I am very glad to be studying the I Ching again after a bit of a hiatus. At this rate, it could take me a while! I am learning the styles of each particular translator. I must say that the Rudolph Ritsema/Stephen Karcher version is growing on me.  It is annoyingly disjointed with all of the cryptic word/character for word/character translation but as a person who is fascinated by the Chinese language, I am starting to see what they were trying to do and I like it. Like Jonathan Star’s version of the Tao Te Ching, they are helping me to learn this work through the eyes of its original language. Fun! I love reading through a section and just letting the various synonyms wash over me. It is a very different way of absorbing a bit of text, but as a word lover – it appeals.

listening: 

pandora: When Tatia plugged in Pandora the other day, we both were relieved to find that she was able to dig up some of our favorites for our ride back to Mound. (Twice a week, I drive in early to pick up Tatia from her dad’s house and take her back to our house so she can go to school.) Some favorites that came up were: The Call by Regina Spektor, Happy by Never Shout Never and Hey There Delilah by the Plain White T’s.

audible: Still making my way painfully slowly through the Pimsleur Spanish lessons. I can say, though, that all of our diligent practicing made our trip to Puerto Rico very pleasant. It added a challenge and gave us a way to connect with some wonderful native Puerto Ricans during our visit. They are such amazing people. They seemed to really love it when we tried to speak Spanish to them, but we couldn’t have been very good because each time we tried it they spoke in English to us. I ignored this and continued to speak in Spanish to them, though, just to practice. It was fun.

watching:  I am a little embarrassed to admit that Eric and I are watching Dexter and enjoying it. If you are curious why I might be embarrassed to admit this, look up the show. If you must judge me, however, you must first watch a few episodes. It’s only fair. It certainly brings up some interesting points about right and wrong.

playing: Whenever I come to this section, I think that I am probably one of the most unplayful people because I can never think of anything here. OK. in a few weeks, I am going to play. I am going to a foam party with a friend of mine. We are both in our mid-forties and no doubt we will be surrounded by twenty-somethings for this event, but she mentioned that she was going and I could not help but want to go with her so we are doing it! I will have to tell you about it when we are done.

good things: here’s a list:

  • Traveling. I just love our vacations. Who doesn’t?
  • Spring. Couldn’t help myself. I just love all the melting and wetness. Eric actually said that he does not like this time of year. I could not believe that there would be a single human being that lives in a snowy climate who would ever say that! He said he hates all the mud and the ugliness. I say I love the mud and all the sweet little buds that are trying to come out! What fun!
  • Walking. Oh. I need to mention that I have pretty much decided not to do the Climate March walk. My sister was having second thoughts about it and we talked and I decided that I wouldn’t do it either. Then I hurt my leg. Not too bad, but just a signal to me. I still want to walk though. Maybe not for days at a clip, but I want to do more walking. It is one of my OLW action items for this year. Walking helps me get out in nature. Kim had done a half marathon by walking and that got me thinking that I might want to do something like that. Just see where it takes me. Walking to work now that the weather is better will be fun.

around and about:

This is Your Brain on Knitting – I can’t remember where I found this link, but this article was memorable for me this week. For those who don’t already know, I love knitting. I would go so far as to say that I am addicted to it and now I know why! lol.. I tend to be an anxious type person, but knitting has a wonderful way of soothing me. Great article!

Community Sweet Community – My friend Michele Bergh wrote this great little piece about online communities. It may have been  partly in response to Naomi Wittlin’s earlier post on taking too many e-courses (or just coincidence?). It certainly got me thinking… how do I participate in online communities? My participation, like my blogging, is like a sine wave. Sometimes I am really into it, and other times I am not at all. I mentioned this article to Eric and he said that he thinks that people really aren’t on Facebook as much these days. Several of his friends have said the same. It got me thinking – what if Facebook died? Wouldn’t that be interesting? Would any of us feel super sad about that? Maybe we would all just find other ways to connect, naturally? Maybe it would inspire us to actually meet in person more? Or at least talk on the phone more? I think that I have gotten socially lazy since discovering social media. I do like the online communities though. It makes the e-courses more fun.

Isn’t It About Time to Give Up on Plastic Water Bottles – If you didn’t know this already, I have been working on completely weaning myself from plastic bags this year. Who needs them, really? I even learned how to ask for no bag in Spanish for our Puerto Rico trip. That was fun. So what about the plastic water bottles? This article gave me some food for thought. Do we really need them? This morning, I filled up our ten or so glass water bottles for the fridge with filtered tap water. That is what we use. Basically, they are Tazo tea bottles that I have stripped of labels. We reuse them again and again and wash them in the dishwasher between uses to keep them sanitized. We never were ones to buy plastic water bottles but this has been kind of nice because we actually do use a lot less plastic water bottles anyways. Even though we never bought big cartons of plastic water bottles, we did buy them individually at times but don’t much anymore. Our recycling waste has gone down a lot. We also drink a lot less pop because, frankly, that is even worse and those are also plastic bottles just the same. We have all found that pop makes our stomachs ache so we pretty much don’t drink it anymore. Occasionally I will have it if I eat at Culver’s or something, but not much anymore. I don’t miss it. Isn’t that the key? Making small changes that you just get used to, they help the planet a great deal and they are super easy?

Princeton Mom

 

Oh my. I just watched Jon Stewart with Eric. It’s our lunchtime ritual when we are both home on weekdays. Jon Stewart had a segment on the Princeton Mom. Have you heard of her? At first, I saw his segment and was horrified. But, like anything, there are two sides to every story, right? So I watched another segment, to make sure that I was not reacting without the full story (see the second video, below).

What was more interesting to me was my visceral reaction to it. As I searched around for the angle that the news channels were taking when interviewing her (she was featured on many of the major networks for this), I was noticing that I was really offended by this idea. I was angry. Why did they feature this on all the news channels during Women’s History Month? I think, like most things, they were not really thinking about the huge responsibility that they have in putting out news stories. What does featuring this story tell our public in the subtle unconscious way that things are received during a superficial scan of the material like most people do? Maybe they WERE realizing the subtle undertones, which may be even worse. Then I felt scared. Truly scared for the direction our country may be heading.

On the Jon Stewart show, he played a piece about Obama saying that women have always been underpaid compared to men. What does this message, that women should be looking for a husband while attending college, really say to our young women and men? Clearly, this woman is a very conservative sort who has never worried about money. I then watched a third piece (see third video below) where these two young women sounded off about their thoughts on this controversial topic. Some of their responses surprised me, but I was happy to see that they were taking it in and thinking about it… discussing it. We hold the power of our own belief at all times. We get to choose what we believe. It is up to us to pay attention to the messages that come before us and decide how we want to believe and NOT to just take it in and think that is how we are SUPPOSED to believe.

To be fair, the woman does have a point – however microscopic it may be. Her slant on it is rather antiquated but a small part of what she is saying is something that I can agree with – that this whole focus on careers (i.e.: money) over family (for both women AND men) has gotten out of hand. On that at least, I can agree. Women have gotten so wrapped up in gaining equality to men that we have all left the children (and a restful “yin” state of being) behind in an effort to get ahead, buy more stuff, earn more money, etc.

That is messed up.

I was just thinking this morning about my Fridays. At the moment, I have Fridays off and I have to admit that I adore my Fridays. I will probably start working on Fridays doing subbing but this morning I was just standing in my kitchen and appreciating the ease that this extra day off has brought to me. I wondered if I really wanted to start working on Fridays again. I do want to sub, but I really only want to sub as an elementary school teacher and only once in a while – not every Friday. I love the freedom that this choice has given me. I love that I took a chance in giving up the bigger paycheck for the paycheck that lets me do what I want to do. I thought about the extra money and wondered if it was worth it.

I wished that the Princeton Mom had been telling us to do this in order to forget the money and live a more yin life, but she wasn’t. She was telling us to stop trying to find good jobs and start looking for a mate while we are young and the men are young too. In her letter, she was telling us that “the cornerstone of your future and happiness are inextricably linked to the man you marry”. Really?! Wow. In a strange way, I can see her point but it is just so convoluted and strangely worded. It’s the Church Lady speaking from the TV graveyard. Why does she want us to do this? What is the true meaning behind her message? In a way, she is right about our future and happiness being linked to the man we marry – yes, because it IS important who you chose to marry. Your life could be miserable if you chose badly, yes. But what about finding the life that we want on our own first and THEN finding a mate? Isn’t that healthier? What about those women who don’t want to have a family? Or, for that matter, what about those women who just don’t want to get married? It took me a lot of years to find Eric. I think I found a good one. I don’t really care that I found him later. I don’t really care that I had Tatia when I was 34. I happen to think that my choices worked for me. We are overpopulated in this world anyways. One is enough for us.I had a great decade in my twenties and many of those experiences could never have been had as a young mother or as a woman in a committed relationship.

I am one of the lucky ones. For many people, there isn’t a choice to work unless you count the choice as being the choice to go bankrupt, or not. Wages have not really been increasing but people’s spending has. The fat cats are getting fatter and the general public has sent both spouses to work to pay the bills. The basic bills, which nowadays includes those dang credit card bills. Those dang credit cards and the extra large sized houses filled with crap and the big cars. No doubt, the Princeton Mom was never buried in debt. Those who have the privilege of not working sometimes have no idea what it is like for those who must work to pay the bills. For those women, the Princeton Mom is just an insult and in very poor taste. No, I decided I don’t like your message, Church Lady. If I had my own news channel, I would tell a different story. (Which I just did.)

   

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for the lovely shout Amy. And I must say you’re a great source of inspiration for me.

    Your vacation sounds delightful – and how cool you kept using your Spanish. I see that commitment in so much that you do. That keeping at things until you’ve integrated them, figuring out what works and what needs to be tweaked and keeping at it. And remembering there’s no reason not to open to the possibility of having fun with it. I love that about you!

    Like I said, I love the “news channel of Amy”. Isn’t it fun to have a forum where you get to be you full out?

    • That is a lovely note, Deborah. Thanks. I love learning, especially when it gets to be real stuff that makes my life rich and rewarding. Fun is definitely a big part of the whole thing.

  2. There are several Facebook group invites that I just decline. I can’t be in all of them! I don’t even remember to go to Facebook every day. I post pictures about once or twice a month and like to read inspirational quotes there. And the classes ARE helpful in forming community, like you mention.

    I’ve been walking for three weeks now (for 30 mins a day… not three weeks nonstop!) and it’s been good. I enjoy walking around the neighborhood and getting garden ideas.

    As for the Princeton Lady, I’m with you 100%.

    And I look forward to hearing about that foam party.
    Naomi recently posted…Listening to inner guidance: March OLWMy Profile

  3. taco tuesday! I love it. I am thinking I need to majorly simplify here and have that same outlook …. Pizza Wednesday, Pasta Friday … thanks!

    and thanks for sharing with the collective!
    Cynthia Lee recently posted…the scattered life collectiveMy Profile

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