Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On Screens and Parenting

As a parent, I have had a tense and contradictory relationship with television, and with "screens" more generally.  As a kid, I got to watch as much TV as I wanted (though as the youngest, I didn't always get to watch what I wanted).  As a parent, I/we have tried to keep our kids' screen viewing to an appropriate level...very little during the week, with a bit more leeway on weekends.  But it's hard to feel like or know if we are doing the "right thing."  Are we getting our message across that it's better to read a book than veg out in front of a screen?  That using a tech tool to create something is better than just passively watching something?  

A week or so ago, we got a small sign that we must be doing something right in this regard.  To explain: we usually all watch "Dr. Who" together on Sunday nights.  One Sunday, we had guests over for dinner who stayed through our usual Whovian viewing time. Howard and I told the kids they could just watch it on their own...but neither of them wanted to. They were quite clear in their desire to wait until we could watch it as a family.

Is it strange that this made me feel at least a little better about how we deal with screens?  I mean, at least they want the family experience, not just the screen time, in this case...

That's parenting, I suppose.  Never knowing if you're "doing it right," and latching onto any hope you can find!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Into the Woods (She was right...again)

 Anya has been bothering us to go for a walk in the woods for a couple of weeks now.  We finally managed to get there for a little while today. She was right, as usual.  We need to walk in the woods, more often and for longer.  There is no better celebration of fall than this.   

Monday, October 13, 2014


Although I know too much indigenous history to feel celebratory about Columbus day, I will admit that this was a much-needed long weekend.  I put off any grading until today, and focused the weekend on: 
  • walks in the morning
  • yoga in the afternoon
  • our first fires of the season
  • cooking and baking at leisure--and of course soup was involved
  • knitting various little projects
  • visiting my mother in Rockport and taking a walk (and pictures!) with my girl
  • listening to a new Dark is Rising book in the car on the trip to and from Rockport 
I even had the computer off for a whole day.  Strange to realize just how often I head there just to "check on something" or fill a few minutes that could otherwise be filled with...well, life.  

Even today, I prioritized a walk and didn't settle down to work til about 9:30.  Then, I set aside work at about 3 p.m. in order to do 45 minutes of yoga, followed by another fire in the fireplace and relaxed cooking, interspersed with knitting.  I think now, post-dinner, it's time for some chai and a book.  

I've probably said this before, but it bears repeating (to myself if no one else): despite my deep dilemma over when and how to "retire" from my job, I need to remember to seek simplicity and live according to my needs and values in the here-and-now.  It would have been so easy to fill more moments with work.  Alternately, it would have been easy to put off that grading this morning in favor of another day off.  But what I needed over the weekend was down time, and what I needed today was to get some momentum so that the grading would stop looming.  

The semester is always too full, and the juggle is always so painful for me, even when it's fulfilling or exciting.  But I must remember to take advantage of these opportunities, when they present themselves, to insert balance and breathing room into my life.

Especially in the fall semester.  I just so much love this time of year.

What's your favorite way to decompress when life gets too hectic?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

This Week In My Kitchen: Soup!

(Joining Heather for the kitchen blog hop)

Fall is in full sway, which means two things in my world: 
  • Grading, and
  • SOUP!
I live through the former, I live for the latter.  I have many fall foods that I love, but I could (and sometimes do) eat soup every day in the fall and winter.  Most recently, it's been aduki bean and butternut squash soup from Clean Food, autumn lentil soup from this cookbook that I've kept around ever since my first pregnancy, and pinto bean chicken chili.  Of course, there were other delicious foods in the mix as well.  Even when it gets crazy busy, I do my best to reserve time to cook at leisure on fall weekends.  

We also had "first Sunday brunch" again this past Sunday, and it's proving to be a wonderful time to connect.  I'm learning (slowly) not to make it too much work.

And you know what I plan to serve at first Sunday in November?  That's right--soup!  (with bread and salad and maybe apple crisp)

What's your favorite fall meal?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Dabbling

I've been meaning to try this for a while--making some of my own facial products.  So I looked up some recipes from this book, and gathered ingredients.  When a few quiet hours presented themselves Saturday evening, I took advantage of them to give a few recipes a try.  

And for the record, I was absolutely positively not avoiding my grading.  (Okay, even I don't believe that...)

It was fun, and pretty easy.  I didn't try to make a lotion or cream yet, as that will be more involved and tricky.  I'm still getting used to them, seeing if my skin accepts them or not.  I'm hopeful that they will become a regular thing (I do so like home made, and I far prefer to know what is going in/on my body than to buy pre-made).  We'll see.  I tried oil cleansing last year, but my skin hated it and broke out, so I'm trying to observe carefully.  So far I'm not used to the kind of "sticky" feel I sometimes have on my skin with some of these products, but I'm optimistic.  

Anya, however, is not pleased because she says I don't smell like me.  Ah, my primal child.  Even at almost 10 years old, Anya is the most instinctive person I know.  

What new things are you trying lately?