Monday, February 14, 2011

Little Walks Down Memory Lane

Had a Tootsie Roll today. I eat Tootsie Rolls very seldom, and when I do - I might as well be right back at Baker Park at the age of about three. No kidding, I can still remember it. I took swimming lessons and the instructor put Tootsie rolls under water where she wanted us to put our faces. Just a step or two down (and wouldn't they float?-- she must have held them there...) That taste is summertime and swimming pool and reward for taking risks.

For Valentine's Day, Kevin bought me a combo iPhone alarm clock/charging station/music playing thingy. It was past time to throw away my old alarm clock. Many of the buttons were failing to work, and since I had my eyes fixed, I don't need the HUGE display the old clock had. That old alarm clock was the one we got when we got married, and it served us for almost 13 years! Can't say that about many of our other appliances. I can remember it resting on the bedside shelf in our first home on Lorilyn. And Kevin setting "Wake 1" and "Wake 2" when we both had jobs to get up for in the morning. I actually got a little nostalgic when I unplugged it tonight. It was 7:34 p.m. Can't count how many 11:11s I've seen on that thing.

I bought some pretty candles tonight to put in our bathroom. They're Gardenia-scented. A long time ago, my mom told me that was my Grandpa's favorite flower. I bought Gardenia-scented candles for my wedding, too. In a related story, Grandpa used to buy all the girls and women in the family a corsage for Christmas Eve. Not sure what type of flower -- probably not gardenias -- but regardless, the aroma in my bathroom now reminds me of Grandpa and corsages and special occasions.

That's all. Now I'm off to enjoy the scent of the candles drifting into my room and listen to the sounds of my iPod.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Finally Finished Walden

It's never a good sign when a book takes me several months to read. I picked up Walden, by Henry David Thoreau in oh, say... November?

Thoreau was a transcendentalist. I linked to its definition on Wikipedia, but if you don't have time to go there - think Oprah, but without so much fortune and a glossy magazine. Come to think of it, what I wouldn't give to be able to witness a conversation between Thoreau and Oprah. It is for sure that she would have asked him to appear on her show (were he alive) - given his transcendentalist beliefs and cherry-on-topped by his anti-slavery writing and lecturing. I can just imagine her applauding his simple life in a tiny abode on Walden Pond.

I don't have the intellect to comment much on Walden. If I had to sum up my problem with it - it was largely boring. When I was paying attention, I loved some of what he wrote, and found it challenging. But out of 224 pages, I was only truly engaged for about half.

Walden was never required reading in any of my high school or college classes, yet I recognized many lines - and I wonder where I heard them before.

If you're not already friends with Thoreau, acquaint yourself here with a few of his thoughts that stood out to me
"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well." -p.5
"Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate." -p.8
"None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty." -p.13
"It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes." -p.19
"I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes." -p.19
 "We no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven." -p.29
 "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate." -p.39
[Too long to quote here, but he wrote insightfully on "news" (-p.67) and his critique is scathing and (to me) laugh-out-loud funny.]
"I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now." -p.217
"Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can? Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made." -p.219
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." -p.219
"I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board." -p.222

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I'm introspecting. Nothing new, I do it all the time. But this is a bigger topic than my usual "Should I have that second helping of spaghetti?" Right now I'm wondering if I've ever really had to work hard at anything.

College degree? I went to UNLV. 'Nuff said.

Finding a husband? We were a match made in heaven and InterVarsity brought us together. I didn't even have to join an online dating service.

Ballet? Starring roles in my childhood recitals.

Golf? Natural talent.

Running? Okay, that takes a little effort...

The list of things I've dumped because they are too hard is much longer:
Really learning the computer... camera...
...chemistry... billpay...
...the coffee maker...
...Rubik's cube...
...Skype... sales...

Did I mention cooking? Okay, I haven't dumped cooking because Kevin once gently explained to me that our family won't work unless I make at least a genuine effort to TRY to put together meals. (He also graciously offered to help, a lot, and thankfully follows through on this regularly.)

But, really, I think I skate through a lot of stuff keeping it as simple as possible. I have NO idea how I ever passed algebra and chemistry without cheating. But I know I didn't cheat, and I didn't flunk - so there must have been magic involved.

Today's introspection involves Joseph's registration in this online school. My vocation just got a LOT harder. If all the homeschool moms who know me could read this (and I hope they don't - my ego can't handle it) they would point and chuckle, surely. You see, I was skating along with homeschool. And if I didn't put in an hour of effort into teaching math every day, I justified my laziness by assuming my kids would still get the concepts by "being-home-with-mom osmosis".

For the past week, Joe has had about six to seven SOLID hours of schoolwork per day! Those of you who send your kids to school might roll your eyes at this, since a public school day is about that long - but these are SOLID WORK hours. For both of us. Not counting lunch, snacks, and other breaks. I'm tired. And I feel like I can't feel sorry for myself since I chose this route.

It's still the early days of this new curriculum. I know there's a learning curve and catch-up work involved in a "mastery-based" program. But as I stated before, I'm not good at learning. I'm MUCH happier with being naturally gifted at things. You can see how this new thing is stretching me in good ways, right? Because I can't. I want to go pout a little more.