Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Years Hall of Fame

The year is drawing to a close, and 2010 is going to greet me, like it or not, when I wake tomorrow morning.   Recently I have been thinking to myself that 2009 was one of my best years yet.  There are several that rank high on my list, and oh-nine joins the club of the elite greats.  There was the year that I up and traveled to China, all by my lonesome to see if I could be somebody or save somebody.  I couldn't and I didn't, but it was an amazing, life-changing journey!  There was the year I came home from China after 2 1/2 years and went to graduate school.  It was there I think I became -- Myself.  It was the year my relationship with my husband developed and grew into an engagement, then a wedding on a snowy December day in 1997.  So, ninety-seven ranks up there.  2001 goes into that "Best Years Hall of Fame" because my son arrived and transformed my life and rocked my world, and now my heart runs around outside of me, and I can only do my best to raise him and hope that it doesn't break.  2005 goes into the Hall of Fame because my daughter arrived, and unearthed in me a tenderness and magic that I didn't know was there, and I fell in love all over again.

I'm seeing a pattern here...The years that were the best were the years that were transformational--the years in which I grew and changed and "became."  There was a deeper awareness of the world, of life, of mortality, of maturity, of love that arose out of all of those things.  This year did not hold any such significant milestones--we didn't travel to faraway lands, have a baby, move to another state, or even change places that we shop--but I was transformed.

That transformation came from this:  it was this year in which I made one of the best decisions I could have ever made, and it brought a sense of peace and balance that was sorely needed.  It may seem like a small decision, but it was one that forced me to step back and "dig deep" to find the mom and teacher that my kids need me to be, the wife my husband needs me to be, and the grown-up that I need me to be.  The decision was to drop out of all co-op activities and design my own program for my particular kids, and accept the fact that my son and my daughter are who they are.  I basically removed myself from all situations in which I would be tempted to compare them to other kids and let them (and me) be.  It has been so liberating.

My resolution in 2010 is to build on this foundation.  I hope to spend less computer / screen time, more time in books, spend more time in The Book, less on facebook.   I want more time with the kids on field trips,  to walk a 5K, play more golf.  Happy New Year.  May 2010 be even more peaceful and balanced.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Goals are a Good Thing

Okay, for those of you who have made some internal resolution to take up the WEM and join in this pursuit,  here's an accessible challenge for us:  Let's get to chapter XX by Jan 9.  My friend / reading partner is probably already on chapter XXXLVINLIGHTINGREADERXXXIVL, but that's okay.  She can sit down and wait for me to catch up now that the new year is upon me and I'm fresh with new resolution and intent. 

If you are reading this for the sport of watching people set goals and not reach them so as to make yourself feel better...tsk, tsk...go get a copy and join in the fun.  Better buy one.  The library doesn't have enough renews to keep you going on DQ.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Don Quixote is on Bed Rest

The holidays and illness have knocked me off the noble steed that was carrying me into the world of Don Quixote de La Mancha.  I am ashamed to admit that I am not much further along than when I previously posted.  There are a few quiet days ahead of me here without many commitments.  I'm sure my friend Heather who agreed to read and discuss the book with me as a "reading partner" is going to find me a bit of a ball and chain in the undertaking.  Nevertheless...I post my confession and will get back to it.

I have to say, though, that I think that SWB makes this the first undertaking in her book The Well Educated Mind not so much for the value of the novel, but to test the mettle of the readers who take her challenge to become the autodidacts they claim they want to be.  I won't let you down, Susan!  I am up to the task (or will be as soon as my head clears from this cold!)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Accidental Field Trip

I called our friends to invite them to play yesterday afternoon, and on a whim she invited us to join them on an outing to a local dairy farm.  Some other families were going to investigate the possibility of buying a cow share so as to get raw milk.  I was interested, it sounded fun, so off we went.  It was muddy, but very nice for the children to see all the animals, and we were delighted with the new calves.  Here are a couple of the fun moments on the farm...Oh yes, and I am seriously considering a share to have the raw milk.  It's wonderful stuff.

Many Pages and Teeny, Tiny Print, or I'm Only on Chapter 3?!

Don Quixote is a long, long, book.  I know this undertaking is supposed to be educational, and intellectual, but with the pace my life has been taking lately, I imagine that it could take me the better part of my lifetime to read this monstrosity.  Okay, now that I've had a good rant about the stack of pages and teeny, tiny print I see sitting beside my reading chair...

I have to admit that I actually find this book to be very amusing.  I've only made it through chapter 3, but I love the scene in which the sordid inn where he stays for the night becomes the castle, the prostitutes are the "damsels in distress" and the muleteers become his hapless victims.  Finally in exasperation, the innkeeper knights the lunatic and sends him on his way.

On to chapter four...if I can stay awake.  The only problem with reading at night is that it is, well, night time and I tend to not retain what I've read as much.  The problem with reading in the morning is that I have my quiet time when I first get up.  I've also undertaken to read the entire Bible chronologically.  I've never read the Bible cover-to-cover, though I've probably read all or most of the Bible.  This morning I finished Leviticus.  I began that reading journey on November 3, so I'm covering a lot more territory reading the Good Book.  Can't help but say I find it far more inspiring, interesting and thought provoking than Don Quixote so far. 

Face it, as busy moms and homemakers, life gets in the way.  I'll excuse myself if D.Q. takes a while.  It doesn't look like Cervantes meant for it to be read in a rush, anyway.