Sunday, September 25, 2011

Words of wisdom

I had a conversation with my dad not long ago. He was probably on me for putting salt on my food ( something he is notorious for in general) and I probably said something glib like "Well, I like salt!" ( convincing!) His response was "Well, I like salt, too, I don't eat it because I know it is better for me not to!" Well, it's hard to argue with my father. One, because he is also known for being NW ( never wrong..... example: one time when I thought I was in labor and came to drop the kids off at their house, he said "You don't look like you are in labor." Sure enough, false alarm. :) Two, because he looks good and is in purty good health for a 71 year old man. ( as does/is my mother!) Beyond that, I've thought a lot about that comment. I might argue with him about the salt issue, but not about the self discipline issue. Denying yourself things you really like seems to get harder for me the older I am. Maybe that isn't true. Maybe I've been living on good gene fumes for most of my life and have avoided chronic health problems because of it ( not because I've made a whole lot of conscious choices to be a healthy person). I'm pretty sure that situation is starting to wind down.

I know the mental battle that rages within has mostly to do with "poor pitiful me " thinking. It's not that I don't enjoy my life or my vocation, but there are always things that are distasteful in any life/career. I know I don't want to add certain unpleasant tasks ( like lifting weights) or subtracting pleasant ones ( like eating whatever I want) because "Oh, I already have this, that or the other difficult thing to do on a daily basis and why shouldn't I be rewarded by doing things I enjoy and why should I punish myself by doing more things I don't like to do? ( yes, mature! :)

Something else I read underlines this as well. "I work out every morning, 7 days a week-even when I am traveling. I hate it. But I love the results! That's the key, baby!" Jack La Lane. Jack La Lane?! The grandfather, the patriarch of the fitness movement hates to work out?! Yes, I believe that is the key. What separates the men from the boys here. Doing things you don't like to obtain good results. So simple, so difficult. Hopefully the genes I've inherited include the wisdom & strength of will my dad possesses. I just hope I don't have to wait until I am 70 for it to blossom. :)

From Naomi's blog

"Remember how much stress you had over the past year? It probably wasn't worth it. Whatever happened, happened and would have happened without the stress"

Funny how mother and daughter learn the same things at the same time. Not that I have really LEARNED this lesson, but it's at least on my radar and I've been thinking a lot about it. So much of what we stress out about is gone and forgotten a year later, heck sometimes a week later! Why do we put ourselves through it? In reality there seem to be very few things to stress about in life. Case in point, Noah's grad party. Oh, I stewed about that one all summer. Would we have enough food, would we have too much food. Did I invite too many people, did I forget to invite certain people. How would I arrange tables/chairs, parking, invites and on and on and on....when, in the end, it was just a party. Sure, a party to mark one of your child's milestones in life, but nothing life or death for sure. I know I lost sleep, I know I was crabby about it, I know I was short, scatterbrained and distant from my children while I worked everything out. Was any of it worth it? Probably not. But that is just a vignette from the many things I get stressed out about during any given day, week or month. The funny things is, I am a nazi-like perfectionist about a few things, and not so much (even when I should be more careful) about a lot of things. Why not just be balanced? Well, the first step in conquering any given issue in your life is the realization it's an issue. So, onward and upward. :)


Do we see some similarities? :)

We FINALLY had Noah's grad party. This is about the only picture I got...but thankfully all went well. Especially the weather! We've had some wonky fall weather but somehow was blessed with a lovely day. (Pinata for littles)

Clay creations. School has started in earnest!

Parish festival. I do a little tent where small kids can come and play for free and get their face painted ( this wasn't my original idea, the genius of another lady....but I took it over from her).

As gardens go...this one is decidedly not that impressive. To is a wonder! I still can't over that you can push some seeds into soil and up come these amazing plants! Maybe not so much with plants you buy from Home Depot ( which sort of seems like cheating :), but ripping open a little packet of seeds and a month or two later up come yards of pumpkin vines and 8 foot tall sunflowers. Gratifying.

Outside my window: Sort of gray. Looks like rain. We've had a lot of rain after barely any this summer.

I am thinking: "An idiotic waste of life." (Charles, Lord Hazlemeare) For some time, WW1 has fascinated me. For one thing, it seemed to open the door to such social and political change in Europe. For another, I really didn't "get" why the assasination an obscure Austrian Arch Duke, in a small Eastern European country ( Serbia) could have set off such a huge, world involved conflict. Well, two aides helped me get a better picture of things over this summer. One was the book: "George, Nicholas and Wilhem: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War 1" by Miranda Carter. The other was the mini-series "Fall of Eagles". While I am sure you really can't boil things down to any one simplistic reason, these two resources make it clear that a good deal of the conflict was due to the ups and downs of familial relationships between the ruling heads of Europe at the time (who were, in many ways, a bit-"off" personality-wise). Which truly makes one scratch their head in despair. That a few men held the lives of millions of men ( and their wives, children, parents and others who knew and loved them) in their hands while they fumed and fussed over power and prestige on the European continent. I guess it is not a new story in the history of mankind, but such a recent one and very poignant. I don't believe wars are always unjustified, but, despite some of the good that came from it ( ie: absolute power of the monarchy was diluted in some cases, completely overthrown in others) this one was, well, dumb.

From the schoolroom: Our first day of school was Sept. 6th and so far, things are going suprisingly well. Manny continues to astound me with his readiness for full-blown school work, and everyone else jumped right in and fell into the "old" routine without much ado. Thankful.

Reading/Watching/Listening to:

Just finished "The Wilder Life" by Wendy Mc Clure . This was very entertaining. I thought I was the only one who lived, breathed and ate the "Little House" books as a young girl! It was humorous and interesting to find someone trying to re-live those little rays of sunshine in a pre-teen girls life. And it had a good bit of new information I didn't know about the family. It also makes me want to "do" her Ingalls road trips (visiting the places where they actually lived...De Smet, South Dakota, anyone?...they actually have a campsite there where you can sleep in a psuedo covered wagon!) and I am kicking myself for not pushing to go see the site in Mansfield, Mo when we were there last spring!


The most memorable of dvd's watched lately was "Of God's and Men". This was released this year or last year, and was well received (Cannes, Cesar, Best Foreign Language Film). It is slow moving and thoughtful, but what impressed me was that the monks belief in God was never ridiculed ( as that belief is so often in modern day movies). It was respected, and even admired. Beautiful.

Listened to: What I am trying to listen to ( on a "classics" roll lately) "Swann's Way" by Marcel Proust, "Mrs Dalloway" Virginia Woolf, "Tender is the Night" F. Scott Fitzgerald. I did finish "Winesburg, OH" by Sherwood Anderson. I can't say I loved it, but it was interesting. Especially being written in 1915. Underlines the fact that while times change, human nature does not.

From the kitchen: "Chicken Taco Soup" good stuff ( see Food Network for recipe...can't get the link on here.

Comings and goings: Well, Naomi finally landed a job ( at "Jimmy John's no less...there is some irony there for the girl who doesn't like to cook :) So, there will be lots of driving to and fro ( thankfully, not too far away) Hopefully, I will get to see one of my son's soccer games! Either there has been sickness or party prep on the weekends they play and I haven't gotten there ( Tim has, thankfully). Other than that we are trying to stick to doing school, with the usual trips to the library,etc. I am hoping now that we've had a few weeks under our belt we can branch out and do some field the zoo, farm, capital!

I should add, that to round out the summer, we had a lovely ( and more importantly, WARM) camping trip and a nice little party for Tim's 50th. Not sure why no pictures, but there you have it.

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