Friday, April 24, 2015

Beginning to Cook

I have often made light of my inability to cook and how slow I am at the most basic tasks. You may as well laugh as to cry about it. What I want to know from you more seasoned cooks out there is what should a kitchen have? Assume that I have nothing--this isn't true, but it is easier than making a list of currently owned kitchen items--and that my goal is to make most of our meals at home, relatively from scratch. What should I and my kitchen have?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Eager to Begin

This morning as I was driving into work, praying my morning offering, letting my thoughts wander as they often do because of the length of the drive and the demands of paying attention to the road, I had a thought coalesce in my mind.  For months I have told myself that I am being impatient while working these last few months, however many there may be. I have said I need to be more patient as I wait for the process to slowly turn its gears and I can finally walk away, but this morning I decided I am not being impatient, I am only eager to begin.

If I were being impatient I would have thrown my hands up long ago. I would have declared it impossible and allowed myself to sink into despair. Maybe I haven't been as impatient as I thought. I have patiently held this vision of how our lives could be for years. This patience has not always been cheerful or pain free, but it existed. The pinprick of hope that allowed me to see through disappointments and set backs and hold onto the vision in my mind. Is that a form of patience? I think it might be.

Ever since the real estate became a viable option, I have been filled with a peace that reassures me this is really happening. There have been some set backs and disappointments, but I have rarely peaked over the edge into that dark pit of despair where I used to teeter. I need to stop looking ahead with anxiety trying to figure out the timetable and just be pleased when the moment arrives. I wanted to be home in June because it is my favorite time of the year and that is not likely to happen, but in the long run, it is okay. There will, hopefully, be other Junes.

It is not wrong to anticipate or to be excited about life's possibilities. In a lot of ways I feel like I am getting a second chance that not everyone gets. I will soon get a chance to figure out how real life measures against the image in my mind. I will struggle and fail and succeed in an environment where I can do the most good and make the biggest difference and not just be a cog in the wheel, easily replace by another cog. Soon. I need to stop telling myself that this excitement is impatience.

And now, I am eager to begin. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Homeschool Planning Block

Back a few months ago, I mentioned my desire to homeschool. I have always been fascinated by it and when I mentioned my plans everyone encouraged me to start planning immediately. It is planning season for next year and all over, people are posting their plans, schedules, subjects, and curriculum. The excitement is in the air. I, on the other hand, am having a very hard time doing the actual planning. It's like writer's block except it is homeschool block.

I have a strong understanding about what my goals for next year are: I want to establish an entirely new way of living. That's all. Not ambitious at all.

I want us to ease into a new rhythm where I am the one running the household instead of showing up after the day is over. I am going to have to learn how to manage chores and children and learn how to cook more efficiently and oversee the education of three children, two of whom have spent years in a public school.

I do not have overriding academic ambitions for the year. The girls have always excelled in school and I do not worry about them falling behind. I want them to keep working, of course, but the focus of our first year is going to be learning how to be together as a family and finding routines that work for us instead of everyone running in her own separate direction.

That is my big picture, but when it comes down to actually taking out the calendar and planning individual subjects and choosing curriculum or books or anything, I cannot make myself focus. There is a sense of unrealness in the activity. I cannot make myself believe it will really happen.

I know, in an objective sense, that it is extremely likely I will be able to quit my job in the next few months before the next school year begins, however it hasn't happened yet. I feel reticent to make solid plans because if, for unforeseen reasons, I had to continue working next year and put them in school again, it would be devastating. If I hadn't planned it out yet, it wouldn't be so bad, right? It seems like it would be easier to lose vague, hazy ideas than to have concrete plans ripped away. I feel like I am not allowed to count on anything until I know for sure. I am protecting myself from disappointment.

But, again, it is very likely these plans *will* work so I need to get it together. I need to push through those fearful feelings and do it anyway, but I don't know where to start.

I am going to a local homeschooling conference on Saturday (Hi, Meredith!) where I have been told to bring my checkbook and a bag for books. I have never been to such a conference and I have no idea what I might purchase. I have that beginning homeschooler's terror at the sheer number of options. What if we spend the money and then we hate it and can't afford anything else?

But more than the feeling of being overwhelmed is the feeling that if I begin to believe, it won't happen after all.

So what should I look for at a homeschooling conference?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Back to the Grind

I took all of last week and also Good Friday off of work in my fourth planned vacation of the fiscal year. My thoughts about taking time off are much the same as the last uneventful week away from work. I didn't do anything specific or special aside from piddling around the house. I changed out the seasonal clothes for two children and cleaned up a bedroom.

It was an odd feeling. Betty Duffy has said somewhere--I couldn't find the post so just believe me--that she finds it hard to write when she is too satisfied with life. I found that to be true last week. I had no grist for the mill. I just puttered around doing mostly what I liked. The thought of blog posts or even FB posts were so far away. I couldn't find anything to say. I momentarily panicked, wondering if I would ever have anything to say again.

I realized last week that I have never really spent normal time around my house without having to leave again in a few days. I have taken maternity leave, but that is hardly normal. I have taken time around Christmas, but that's usually jammed full of activities. I come home on Friday night and try to recharge and cram as many chores as I can over the weekend, but after two days, the time is up and back to work I go. But twice this year, I spent an entire week at home just doing normal things. It was nice.

But by Thursday, the specter of Monday was already looming large and I was in foul mood. A majority of the children were sick and I had promised my parents I would visit for the weekend. My vacation was essentially over and I wasn't very happy about it. After spending the day whining to anyone who would listen, I decided we were not going to drag the children out to the grandparents while they were sick. It isn't that I mind going to visit my parents. It is everything that goes with it: the packing, the unpacking, the time spent away which means chores aren't getting done at home. It stresses me out. Once the decision was made to stay home, my mood lightened considerably. I had snatched another few days for myself from the general chaos of everyday life.

As it turned out, the children felt markedly better by Friday evening and I decided to be a dutiful daughter and spend Saturday afternoon at my parents' house. No packing, no overnight. Just drive up and visit and go home.

Now I am back at work. The most noticeable difference is that I have returned to my deplorable nervous habit of biting my fingernails. When I spend time away, I almost never bite my nails, but put me in a car driving to work and I can barely contain the compulsion. My mood didn't crash coming back to work this time, but I think I am crankier than usual. It's hard to tell sometimes. :P

Right now, we are patiently (or not) biding our time until the real estate option becomes viable. It gets closer all the time. I can see the end almost in sight. Will I have anything to say when I get there?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Perks of Working

I have long complained about my job, how I want to quit and get on with my life, and what I would rather be doing with my time. However, there are some real benefits to working that will not exist in the same way when I no longer have a job. I thought in the service of gratitude I would list the perks of working.

  • I have long stretches of uninterrupted time to read long articles on the Internet.
  • I get to have uninterrupted conversations, either in person or online.
  • I get to develop friendships with people I have never met because I have time to attend to them.
  • I get to fully think out problems and ideas in my head in silence and without competing distractions.
  • I get to write long, probably too long, blog posts fully developing a thought.
  • I eat lunch and breakfast uninterrupted.
  • I get to regularly use the bathroom by myself.
  • I have access to regular times to listen to audiobooks. (I'm not loving on the commute here, just the availability of time to listen.)
  • Food I have not purchased or cooked sometimes appears for me to eat, like the peanut butter egg out of the break room today.
  • Consultants sometimes buy my meal or my drink.
  • My children are always happy to see me when I get home.