Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reasons the blog has been neglected......

(Yes, just about everyone, from the second grader to the college folk do some or all of their schoolwork on the computer these days!)

Outside my window: These brisk days have reminded me that winter is just around the corner in all it's chilling glory.

What I am thinking: Recently I was listening to a radio program about the history of women's right to vote. Well, it does seem pretty silly that women weren't allowed to vote in the past, so I have no qualms there. It was just a statement made by one of the participants that caught my ear. " ALL women were trained to do ( in the past) was to take care of their home and children" ( or something to that effect). I do realize that the aggravation in her statement was caused by the fact that women in times past didn't have a choice to do other things. Yes, I get that. It just struck me as ironic that even though women have won many freedoms and have a great deal of choice these days, the choice to be a stay at home mother ( who cares for her home and children full time) still seems to get little respect. On one hand, no one would argue that it is easy or a fluff job, some will even say "The most important job in the world", on the other, there seems to be an undercurrent of "women who stay at home are just doing so by default ( ie: they can't think of anything better to do) or until their children are raised and they can do something REALLY interesting and important. A scenario comes to mind: Here we have a group of mothers at a party discussing their daughter's future plans. Mother A "My daughter is going to Yale to study medicine!" ( oooo----ahhhh!!_) Mother B "My daughter is going to Stanford to study law!" ( oooo-oooo-ahh- ahh) Mother C "My daughter is getting married and wants to be a stay at home mother" Dead silence. :)

The poor stay at home mother. Perhaps throughout the ages taken advantage of ( which gave rise to feminism) in recent history, domesticity is maligned as an inferior choice to what is available out there for feminine occupation.

From the schoolroom: School has pretty much overtaken our lives, but not in a bad way. We started a new program ( the three middle boys) and it is a lot of hard work, but something I think we all needed this year. No matter how much boys rail against routine and accountability, they do seem to thrive under it. Not to mention it has been very helpful to me, since most of it is so well planned out and user friendly. Even George, who was mightily struggling at the beginning of the year said "I see now that this program isn't so bad. I'm getting into a routine and it's not a big deal". That mostly sums it up right now. :)
From the kitchen: It seems like the cold weather brought about a cooking spree this week! It felt like I was constantly baking or rustling up some type of comfort food and I printed out reams of recipes. Choc chip cookies (we found a super, duper recipe that includes kosher salt...adds an unbelievable yumminess!), spinach pie, chicken linguine (baked) Alice Springs Chicken, hummus and pita, the list goes on and on.
I still have a pile of recipes to try. Maybe next week!

I am reading,watching and listening:

Let me think of the highlights of the past couple months.

Reading: "Men at Arm's" by Evelyn Waugh. This is part of a trilogy Waugh wrote about WW2. I'm not really a *war* person, as in "it's -not-a-big-interest-of-mine", but Mr. Waugh very entertaining writer and it was a good eye into the realities of soldiering during the second world war. I always find his slant on life thought provoking.
I watched a movie based on this trilogy "Sword of Honor", which was pretty good and left me wanting to read the whole story.

Watching: The best movie I watched was called "A Woman in Berlin"....which was a German movie. What was interesting about this movie to me was that of all the many, many movies about WW2 and the Holocaust, you nearly never read/watch anything from a German point of view. This was based on a true story written by a women who lived in Berlin at the time the Russians invaded. It was a bit more disturbing than most movies I like, but it wasn't gratuitous. We are so far from the horrors of war ( well, most of us in America) these days I think in some ways it is good to be reminded about how * it was*.

(Hmmm...war, war and more war..... do I see a theme here? :)

Listened to:

I've listened to a lot of A.S Byatt's work recently. My very favorite was "Possession" ( and I watched the movie by the same name which was also good, but needed a bit of casting help....the actor who played Roland.....tsk tsk tsk....Jude Law might have been a good choice :)
A.S Byatt is intriguing to me because a lot of what she writes delves so deeply into the academic literary world. If I ever thought about going back and getting a degree, literature would be right up there as a choice. Maybe not so much after reading Ms. Byatt. I see politics ( on both sides of the spectrum) invade that world as they do so many others. And another annoyance....literary criticism, which I suppose makes me sound even less sophisticated. I really sometimes grit my teeth when my children are asked in their school curriculum questions about a certain poem or story they've read. I do understand that most writers write with a point in mind. And it is not a bad exercise to try and figure out what that point is, but sometimes I'm not sure that SO much thought has to be put into what the point is. Why can't the *point* just be whatever it is to you, whatever enjoyment or connection you feel to the story or characters? Well, I am really digressing here.
Back to A.S. Byatt. Can't say I 100% agree with her worldview, but there is no pablum in her writing. It's challenging and entertaining at the same time. She also has a wry sense of humor about certain things which I appreciate. I suppose that comes from being a 76 year old woman.

Another good one: "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion. While this book was heart-rending, the writing was so engrossing it kept me in rapt attention. Like a good meal or a gorgeous painting, an example of someone who knows and executes their craft so well is a delight to read even if the subject matter was hard to listen to at times. Not only that, but I think just about everyone can relate to her thought processes while enduring tragedy. It is like there is one part of you that can step back and identify that the crazy thoughts coursing through your head are nonsense, yet another part of your body responds to them as if they were gospel truth.

Around the house: Finally got the bathroom painted, although it needs additional help since the tool to remove the wallpaper chewed up the wall in places. Cleaned out the shed. That's it folks! :)

What we will do this week: It seems like good old Dad has been working away from home for months. ( Maybe he has?) But this week, he is here. Hallelujah! And it looks like a nice week weather wise, so hopefully some outdoor projects will get accomplished. Certain members of the family are heading to Texas for dear cousin Abigail's wedding. The rest will do school and attend meetings, birthday parties and try to survive without them. Sniff :( :)

Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.