There are a lot of words pinging around in that space inside my head -- sometimes they come together and make some kind of sense. When they do, I put them here, to make room for more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Time it was

I was thinking about when the internet first became a thing -- scary that I actually remember that. The IT guy at work was tricking out my computer to give me access, and I remember him looking at me as he did it, and saying, "You won't believe what a time-suck this will be!" He had no idea. This was well before YouTube and Facebook and Twitter. Heck, it might even have been before Google, though I'm not sure I remember a time before Google.

At the time I thought I just didn't have any extra time to waste: I was there to get my work done so I could leave on time and get home to my brand-spanking new baby. This work/life balance thing was already straining my limits; I really didn't have more to give. How wrong I was.

I recently spent an hour updating my LinkedIn profile page, fine-tuning it to be attractive to employ-mates. I obsessively check my email account to make sure I'm keeping up with the flood of messages that pile in from friends, coworkers, school, as well as all the businesses spamming me with the latest sales and deals they have to offer. I regularly drop into my Facebook page to check the status updates of my 437 "friends" that scroll incessantly down my "wall". And I just spent forty-five minutes navigating Twitter, searching for interesting people/groups/things to follow, and learning how to manage my account.

Because I just joined Twitter, and now I'm trying to figure out how this latest time-suck fits into my life. I can't imagine what exactly I need to say in 140 characters or less, much less who might want to listen to it. And if I decide to only use it to follow other people, I have to ask myself, who or what is so important that I need to hear from them multiple times a day in tiny little spurts? (Besides my spouse, that is. Goes without saying.)

No wonder I'm so anxious all the time: there's too much information to process, every minute of every day. I heard noted women's doctor Christiane Northrup speak a few years ago; she was saying that our psyches are built to process all the information of our village. But now that village has expanded, beyond the confines of our neighborhood, our town, our state, even our country. We have the news of the whole world at our fingertips, and our poor psyches are completely overwhelmed. I don't recall what she said we could do about it. I'm not sure she even had an answer.

But I remember when the blinking light of the answering machine, indicating at least one unanswered voicemail message, seemed like a lot to have to deal with. And that was for the one phone on my one desk. And somehow, I've managed to fold that time-suck, the internet, into my daily life. I just wonder what other meaningful things have gotten lost in the meantime. Because time only expands so much.

Monday, May 3, 2010

No news

I really want to cancel my newspaper subscription.

Seriously, how hard is it to get it here in time for me to read it with my breakfast? Apparently very hard. Which is really a shame, because it's not as if the news is breaking: it's already more than 12 hours old by the time the printed word hits my driveway. In fact, if I've watched the news the night before, I've already seen the major stories, and can find anything else I want to know on either the ever-resourceful internet or the morning news shows.

And with the incredible shrinking size of the daily newspaper, one might ask why I bother at all with the printed word. The short answer: I like to read. I like to peruse the headlines, find the stories that interest me, then read until I've read enough. I like time to process what I'm reading, instead of having the news flung at me by a reader in real-time, when they don't always know the extent of the story. I like articles that have been thoughtfully researched, have a beginning, middle and end, and offer a complete picture.

I like to be in control of which stories I read and which I skip entirely, instead of having to listen to everything and tune out what I don't like. I want to learn about what's happening in far-off places, or not. I want to relish the advice column, play with the crossword, and amuse myself with the comics. I want to start with the front page and read my way, front to back, through the entire thing, even if I'm running late and racing through it at record speed. Although if it got here when it's supposed to, I wouldn't have to rush.

So even though I'm frustrated with the lack of timely delivery of an outmoded news delivery system, I'm not quite ready to give it up completely. Especially since, every morning, I have the satisfaction of watching my children devour it as well, developing their own relationship with the printed word. And I just can't deprive them of that.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

For a mother

We are mothers.
We get up.
We wake up.
We make breakfast.
We pack the lunches.
We fight over clothes.
We make suggestions.
We hold our tongues.
We grit our teeth.
We take a breath.
We find missing books.
We shout in frustration.
We rush around.
We close the door.
We breathe.
We make the plans.
We make the beds.
We buy the groceries.
We drop off the dry cleaning.
We repair the bike.
We help out in the library.
We go to the committee meeting.
We sneak in a workout.
We call the other mothers.
We bake the treats.
We walk the dog.
We clean the toilets.
We breathe.
We drive to the school.
We drive to the sports field.
We drive to piano.
We drive to ballet.
We drive to the library.
We drive home.
We supervise the homework.
We ask the questions.
We raise our voices.
We try to listen.
We chop the veggies.
We make remarks.
We criticize.
We wipe the table.
We load the dishwasher.
We feed the dog.
We argue over homework.
We get exasperated.
We hold our tongues.
We say goodnight.
We say I love you.
We give the hugs.
We shut off the lights.
We hope it’s enough.
We breathe.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Another milestone

We sold the swingset today. The one we bought eleven years ago, when my son was a newborn and my daughter an energetic 3-year-old. She was so excited to see it in the store, then watch her dad and friends assemble it in the back of the yard, strategically positioned in the shade. Such a great distraction, to have a playset outside, providing me respite from entertaining them for awhile.

Of course, at first I was part of the play at the swingset: I was required to push the swing and supervise the sliding. Drag them down, in turn, from the ladder at the side that connected to the top. But as they got older, they mastered more of it on their own, turning parts of it into a fort and other parts into a "horse" stable.

But in the last few years, it has sat unused back there, collecting sap and dirt, no longer necessary for swinging or climbing or pretend play. And now, thanks to craigslist, some other small children will get the chance to slide and climb and pretend.

And as I watch these new people load and tie down the set, I try to muster nostalgia and regret at the passing of time, the aging of my children and, of course, me. But honestly, I am so damn happy to get that eyesore out of here and reclaim the back of the yard. Oh, and the money doesn't hurt either :)