As I start this I remember recently reading an article about whether we are actually as busy as we think we are.* Whether maybe we know we’re not actually that busy but it seems important to society that we be busy, so we’re also not actually as busy as we say we are.
I googled “Are we really that busy?” and got article after article after article about how we’re NOT actually as busy, etc. etc. so it must be true.
But anyway. I’ve been really really busy lately. Usually this time of year I have lots of time to sit in the adirondack chair on my deck with a gin+lemoncino+tonic (a “lemony snicket” apparently) and a good book. Not so much this year.
We were very busy in April and May turning this:
Our backyard in early April.
Our backyard now. (The perspective is the opposite, but they’re the best panoramic I have of each)
Of course it helps that the world also turned green during that time span, but there it is.
We leveled 500 square feet of dirt, and then spread and leveled (with a carefully calculated 1/2″ per 8′ slope) 500 square feet 4″ deep in gravel, and then laid 5 tons of flagstone one piece at a time; and Husband built the pizza oven.
Lots of work. My back is still pretty pissed off at me, but there it is.
We also had to deal with the fact that Second Son’s car (my old Honda Odyssey) finally gave up the ghost after 13 years of service and 240,000 miles. We drove it, gently (the transmission was going, so there were to be no sudden moves), to the Honda dealer and basically gave it to them in trade for a 2004 Corolla with 96,000 miles on it (a significant improvement, nonetheless). After cleaning out bags of papers and food wrappers and water bottles, and, mysteriously, the steak knife that has been missing from our set for ~ 3 years (our driveway is “dark and creepy” at night, apparently the steak knife was to offer protection; thinking if someone were on the attack it would have been either useless or turned on him, but I guess it made him feel better, so whatchagonna do, especially since I didn’t know about it at the time?), Second Son stood in the parking lot and said his good-byes. I found myself “harkening” back as well — it was purchased in the week or two before Only Daughter (now 13+) came to us from her birth home (South Korea), and has seen us through a lot of life’s changes. More of my life looks different now than the same — divorced, bought a house and moved, remarried, children grown and graduated, different jobs, opportunities, friends. That van was a pretty significant material connector really to what I would call my “former” life. Maybe I should have stood next to Secondo and said a more formal goodbye as well.
He rescued his lego Ninja from the dashboard, we drove away.
Dante? Is that you?
This past week I completed my apprenticeship (hopefully) to become a member of the Royal Conservatory (of Toronto) Board of Examiners. This Wednesday I leave for a 12-day trip to the British Isles to perform with a choir for whom I play. Husband’s unable to come, so I’m traveling with the group and he’s holding down the fort, such as it is.
I find myself with new chamber groups to work with, new performance opportunities, job openings that I may or may not apply for, so the transitions continue.
Have you heard the expression: “You throw your anchor into the future you want for yourself and then pull yourself along by the chain”? The thing is, (or shall I say the things are):
Do you really know what you want from the future? So often it doesn’t turn out the way we had expected.
Have you ever found yourself dutifully pulling yourself along by the chain, and The Whole Entire Time nothing in your surroundings seems to indicate that you’re pulling on the right one? Like, “Now just wait one cotton-pickin’ minute. Whose chain is this? Am I pulling on the right one? Is that yours? Where was it this was going again? Who moved my cheese?“)
It seems that we can spend months and years if not longer chasing things, trying to form our futures into that Future; you know? The Future We Want? And then all of a sudden all of this stuff happens, seemingly out of the blue.
Now I realize that it’s not “all of a sudden,” that all of the things I’ve done and connections I’ve made and hours I’ve spent practicing and trying to be a good teacher and good collaborator have paid into these opportunities. But it still seems kind of random, and quite unexpected. Good, but unexpected.
Anyway, I’ve been really really busy moving rocks and practicing and pulling on those damn chains. I have a zillion ideas of things I want to write about, but it seems that my hands have been pretty full.
Thanks for sticking around.
I’ll post some pictures of really old castles and Stonehenge and this drink I’m supposed to try in Scotland (a crabby green something?) as soon as I can.
*Being me, I have absolutely no recollection of the source of this article; hence I am unable to link to it. My apologies.
Questioning how it is that nobody is talking about the people who enslave girls, force them into marriage, etc.
I had it wrong, though, for which I vehemently apologize.
These girls weren’t being kidnapped to be enslaved; they were kidnapped as an act of “rescue” — to convert them from their errant ways as Christians to the correct religion, Islam.
That’s so much better.
Or maybe a different form of enslavement, but enslavement nonetheless.
I’ve deleted the rest of the post — it asked some tough questions, but questions that should be asked in a more relevant context.
I also recently deleted a post on my other blog, expressing my dismay at a woman driving down the road with a “God not Government” bumper sticker. I wonder whose God she meant. Presumably not the Muslim one, as she was driving a car, and was out without an adult male relative escort.
I should have done better research before ranting. (My new motto: Research Before Ranting.)
Yesterday I started Robert Bly’s Sibling Society – a book I bought a long time ago and just rediscovered in a pile of dusty, unread books. He’s writing about what’s happened since the 50s to change us from a slightly paranoid while still seemingly optimistic society to one where children grow up expecting their parents to solve all of their problems for them and teachers struggle to get students to even CARE about learning.
I haven’t gotten very far, but it makes a lot of sense to me, based on what I’ve observed in the past dozen years or so of teaching-while-raising-children (a notable subgroup if ever there was one).
One of the things he addresses, albeit briefly, is our need to share, to speak, to rant (this was written, I think, before Twitter was Twitter or blogging was popular). As I recall he’s talking about how misguided this is; how, if we were striving to know ourselves rather than to feel that we were known by others, we would spend a great deal more time “talking” to ourselves in terms of self-reflection, self-improvement, self-awareness, etc. (And notable, at the risk of repeating myself, because this was written before Twitter was Twitter &c &c)
And I find myself wondering why I’m blogging.
Do I “find” myself by talking to you? Or am I (somewhat deliberately albeit subconsciously) missing the point?
I’m SO tired of and frustrated with the media’s portrayal of women; with the lack of support for equality in every respect in society and our government; in the ridiculousness that provides 9 year olds with smartphones and Only Daughter (in SEVENTH GRADE) coming home with stories about her “colleagues” talking about participating in various sexual acts that none under the age of 17 should even know the name of. Of course, we don’t know if any of them are ACTUALLY participating, or if it’s just a bunch of bravado — but shouldn’t the BRAVADO be something none under the age of 17 even think of? The government is being run by who can raise the most money, which means it’s not representing any of us without it, our roads are falling apart, schools spend too much money on unnecessary technology and fancy buildings and too little attention on whether my child is actually learning to think creatively, to problem solve.
But does my getting upset about any of these things, and ranting writing about it, actually change anything?
Even when I decide that I’m tired of the sound of my own voice, and I go looking for other things to read, I’m just reminded about two things: how much blather there is out there (blogs with followers in the tens of thousands if not millions that are writing about how to organize your purse or the best recipe for lemon curd) and how much ridiculousness. Even Upworthy makes me feel sad/mad/angry/frustrated. I love Jessica Valenti, but she’s screaming out the window until her face is hoarse about the same things I am, but nothing changes.
I’m also becoming less and less comfortable with the “Me! Me! Pay attention to me!” nature of blogging. Maybe it’s my age, but I think maybe I need to spend more time listening, wearing muted colors, and practice speaking in a softer voice.
Maybe I should experiment with turning the blog over to you, my few but faithful readers. Introduce a topic, invite a conversation (civilized discourse only, of course). I know that might be asking for trouble. Internet/blog commenters are not known for their tactfulness or restraint. But you all aren’t the average internet readers/commenters, are you.