September 2nd, 2014

All By Myself…

geocacheAh, the joys of a new school year!  We moved Boy #1 back to college in Salisbury the same day Boy #2 started his junior year of high school classes.  As my baby sister with two elementary school age kids so eloquently put it, it feels like I now have more than two brain cells to devote to something other than the kids.  I do love the routine that comes from having a schedule; and even though I know it isn’t true, I feel like I have more time for myself now that my boys are back in school.  What to do, what to do?
I got really interested in geocaching while on summer vacation, which can sometimes involve a lot of hiking.  I’ve done enough now to know that I want better equipment than my cell phone’s GPS and “cute” shoes, so I need to do some research for that.  The Zinio digital magazine app on my iPad shows me we have magazine titles like Backpacker, Bird Watching, Canoe & Kayak, Field & Stream, and Outdoor Life just to name a few that will probably help me find the answers to my questions.

There are also lots of great cooking magazines that have yielded some tasty “keeper” recipes for me.  I do a screen shot and save them to my Evernote app for easy access from any of my devices.  The same holds true for crafting magazines and jewelry I’d like to try to make.  Can you tell I’m a real fan of downloadables?

There’s also Learn4Life – which recently had a name change to Gale Courses – but is the same great  product! Learn4Life/Gale Courses has personal development classes – several concerning digital photography, a couple on losing weight and low-fat quick meal cooking that interest me, and a natural health and healing class I’d like to investigate.  Those are free things I can do at home or wherever I can access the internet, and at whatever time suits my schedule.  That’s great for the time spent waiting in a doctor, dentist, or orthodontist’s office, waiting to pick up Boy #2 from school, or even on lunch break.

What plans do you have for taking time for yourself?

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August 25th, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

school busForget January 1. As the parent of a school-age child, the first day of school rings in the real New Year where the optimism shines as brightly as the new first-day-of-school outfit.  My son, though, has never been able to fully revel in this joyful season.  Instead of inspiring him with talk of a new start or lofty resolutions, his ever cynical mother can offer only real-life, social-doom-related adages, such as never ever leave your lunch tray unattended at any time for any reason or let your cosmetologist cousin “fix” your hair the day before class pictures.

This summer, I resolved to rediscover the magic of a new year by reading and watching characters reinvent themselves. My favorites included:

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
Rebecca, a once famous photographer, finds herself stuck in a raccoon-infested cabin in rural New York consumed by worries about money and her stalled career.  Relaxing into daily life with her quirky neighbors and the roofer who traps the rampaging raccoon, Rebecca leaves her old self behind, finding inspiration and a late-in-life second chance in the upstate woods.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Once renowned L.A. architect Bernadette Fox finds both the people and weather of Seattle eroding her sanity. Attempting to plan a long promised family trip to Antarctica hilariously derails as Bernadette is forced to ever more eccentric means of hiding her agoraphobia. Bewildered by his wife’s behavior, Microsoft guru Elgin Branch attempts a mental health intervention, during which Bernadette mysteriously disappears. Compiled by her daughter, the story uses Internet postings, emails, magazine articles and FBI reports to trace Bernadette’s journey back to her family and a rediscovered life.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
A former stay-at-home dad whose wife has left him, Ben takes the job of caregiver to Trev, a teen with muscular dystrophy, hoping to find a purpose in life. Their subsequent road trip in search of Trev’s estranged father (during which they pick up a runaway, a pregnant farm girl and a tail in a Skylark) points the way to forgiveness for Ben’s past deeds.

Doctor Who: The Second Series – DVD

The poster child of reinvention, Dr. Who’s regeneration in “The Christmas Invasion” features murderous Santa robots, a deadly spinning Christmas tree and a plot by the alien Sycorax to enslave the human race.  Putting his own stamp on the beloved character, David Tennant’s debut as Dr. Who encapsulates both the confusion and excitement wrought by a brand new start.

Busy Monsters by William Giraldi
Jilted by his fiancée for a giant squid hunting oceanographer, Charles seeks to win her back by embarking on a manhood-proving quest of his own. Confronting Bigfoot, alien abductees and other questionable creatures, he fights his own self-created monsters on a comic road trip to true love.

All good intentions aside, as my son left the car to wait at the bus stop all I could think to say was to sit toward the front, keep your eyes forward, ears closed and hands to yourself. I was rewarded with a massive eye roll and just the hint of a smile. I guess there’s always next year.

What’s your favorite back-to-school advice?

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