Wednesday, May 22, 2013

quest for intellectual fulfillment

i am a "why" person.  i don't think i will ever be satisfied with the amount of knowledge i have. 

i'm pretty sure i've always been this way.  i would like to be able to ask my mom that question some day.  i've asked my dad, but he doesn't really remember, partially because he worked third shift and was sleeping during the day when i was asking "why" all the time.

i must have asked that all the time.  because in the recesses of my mind, i can hear my mom saying, "because i said so."


on my days off, i typically will sit in front of the computer and drink my coffee, starting out browsing news headlines, and inevitably finding something that strikes my interest.  but, i am not satisfied with just one new topic.  i end up making this weird, tangled path of associations until i end up learning about something that is completely unrelated to the initial subject.

case in point: last night, jay and i were watching "the hangover II."  this morning, on the news page of google, i see something about "the hangover III." so i click it, and then i think, "hey, that guy that played doug, i wonder what else he's been in." head over to, find out his name is justin bartha.  his mom was a teacher. then i think, i wonder if bradley cooper is smart.  so i find out that he was a part of the actor's studio, but had to miss his own graduation due to filming a movie.  then i see a link to "he's just not that into you," and i think, hmm, i wonder how many big names were in that movie.  then i see jennifer aniston on thumbnail for a movie called wanderlust.  and i think, i wonder how old she really is?  then somehow or another i end up seeing the word teetotaler, and i think, wth does that mean?  so i look it up, and then next thing i know, i'm ready about hare krishna and straight edge-ness.

to go from "the hangover III," which is completely full of debauchery, to straight edge, which was apparently a direct response to the sexual revolution that pushed hedonism, free love, and drug use.

when i was a kid, my mom was the cleaning lady for our local, small-town library.  so after hours, my sister and i would go with her, sometimes to help, but mostly to read books and play on the computer.  i remember being enthralled with the world of books, how something that you could hold in your hand could completely, potentially, change your views, open your imagination, or steal you away from the real world.  how those words would live with you, forever.  i still can remember some of the books i read, the plots, the stories.  i can remember spending hours in the nonfiction section, learning everything i could about science, and health, and animals.  it's something that, to this day, i enjoy.  i love to learn.  i love to read, and i love to expand my horizons.

i hope that i will pass that on to my children someday.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

i want to be bionic

when i was a little girl, i was a girl.  and my sister was a girl.

this is obvious.

but that means that dad never had a boy....a boy to help him in the garage, to tear apart transistor radios or to hold the flashlight when he replaced the plumbing under the kitchen sink.

enter my sister and i.  we learned to drywall, and use table saws, and paint.  we learned to use drills, we learned about electrical.  (note: to this day, i'm still scared to death of electrical work, because i've shocked myself twice and it was very very scary.  and weird.  and i sort of had amnesia for a few seconds afterward.) 

not that we didn't learn other stuff. 

we learned to sew, and cook, and paint.  we learned to play outside, in the rain, and that it wouldn't kill us.

i learned to play hard like boys do, to get dirty like boys do, and to clean up and look good like girls do.  i think we were pretty well rounded.

the whole point of this is that my sister and i learned to do for ourselves.  we learned to seek out answers and solutions to our problems and put it into practice.

dad always says he was "too cheap to hire anything done."  i think, personally, he just realized that if he tried hard enough, he could make it perfect-er than anyone else could.

so, because of this, i have this constant desire to make things better/faster/stronger.  i want to improve myself, my mind, my body, my faith, my strength.  it's a daily thing that i strive for.  this summer, i have many small-ish projects i'm going to do for this house to improve the curb appeal, improve the inner beauty of the house, and make it more functional.

am i ocd?  maybe some tendencies.  am i always trying to improve?  absolutely.

i've replaced our kitchen floors myself.  i've patched drywall.  we've painted almost every room in this house ourselves.  i've replaced bathroom fixtures.  we're getting ready to replace exterior doors, and upgrade our screen porch.  i clean my own carpets.  i make homemade desserts for the kids' birthdays at school.

i've been hitting the gym 3-5 times a week since january.  i've trained for a 5K and maintained.

i've cross-stitched a blanket for my nephew, a birth announcement to hang in my daughters room.  i've crocheted an afghan for my daughter, and am finishing one up for my son.

i made blankets for all 17 of our nieces and nephews and close friends' kids for christmas.

now, this gets EXHAUSTING.

and i LOVE pinterest for it's ideas on how to make things simple, how to work smarter, not harder.  i do.  i love the imagination it inspires.

having said all of that....i don't make all my own food.  i don't eat as cleanly as i probably should.  i buy the dogs cheap dog food.  my car is 7 years old, but it's in relatively good shape.  i hate clutter.  and there are times that, frankly, it's so much easier to feed the kids donuts in the car on the way to school than it is to get up an extra 15 minutes early and make them breakfast.  it's so much quicker and less stressful to buy heart-shaped cookies that are already baked from the local grocery store than it is to spend three hours making them myself.  is that a missed opportunity to let the children do something cool with their hands?  of course it is!  but it's also three hours i gain where i can run with them in the yard.

it's also, potentially, a three-hour nap in the waiting.

it's hard to balance my need for simplicity and organization and cleanliness with the time constraints i have.  it's a balance i strive for every day, and sometimes it's a battle i'm just not willing to fight.  but i'll fight it tomorrow, and i'll wake up the next day and i will not feel guilty for not cleaning the house yesterday.  i used to feel that guilt, as though there were certain things expected of me as a wife/mother.  but i am striving not to feel that guilt anymore.  not to stay up until the wee-hours just to dust.  it will wait.  it will be there tomorrow.  and there will be a thousand more projects i want to do.  it takes patience.  i don't normally sit still very well.  but i'm trying.

as much as i want to be stronger/faster/better, i'm just not bionic.  maybe someday.  but not today.