Saturday, November 27, 2010

Today's Milton Musings

It's not a funny one, but here's today's Milton Musings. Back to lightheartedness next time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Catchup

I don't remember the last time I really blogged, when I wasn't posting links for stuff I'd written that had been published elsewhere. I've got 12 minutes before I have do something else, so here goes. I think it's going to be a data dump.
  • My pink Dell laptop died two weeks ago. Actually, the screen burned out. Computer was fine. Would have cost $400 to replace the screen. Got a new laptop for $300. It's a bargain brand (emachines) but it works, and it works fast. I'm getting used to it, but I'm making lots of typos. The keys are absolutely flat on top, not with ergonomic little indentations, like my Dell. Maybe that's why the Dell cost 4x as much? That, plus I bought it 2 1/2 years ago. Prices have come down on electronics (but I think that's the only thing!)
  • I am in manic Christmas Concert mode at school. I rehearse for this concert all day long, every day I'm there. The kids are working hard and sounding better all the time. My mania has an end date of December 14, after which Christmas-shopping mania will take over.
  • The boys finished soccer last weekend, and Abby finished her music theatre class yesterday. I'm looking forward to some more relaxed Saturday mornings.
  • Earl is replacing all the fasciaboard all around our house. His dad has helped, too. This, in anticipation of the roofers finally coming and giving us a new roof -- hopefully one that will not leak -- right after Thanksgiving. Maybe it will hold for more than 10 years this time.
  • I have more or less been holding steady with weight since September. I'm not thrilled about it, but have been pretty busy with my new jobs. I'm glad I haven't gained. I've slacked off on exercise for the past two weeks, though. This is not good, but I don't see myself getting back to it until after Thanksgiving weekend. Ah well.
  • The cold season has arrived. I spent three hours in a freezing cold church this morning where I was filling in for the music director. I am sure the heat was on, but from November through May I'm pretty much an ice block, and I need to remember that whenever I venture anywhere out of my electric-mattress-pad-warmed bed, and dress for it.
  • The exception to the above is my classroom at school, where I've had the windows open since August.

And on that note, I'm off into the freezing cold to pick up Abby. Cheerio!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Column Double Feature

This is the week for my family column, Just a Minute, which runs in the Patriot Ledger, and often times in other GateHouse papers around the country. Although it's not a Thanksiving column, per se, I'm so thankful for my dear family, near and far.

It's supposed to be an off week for my Milton Musings column, but as I was writing it this week, I got my dates confused. It wouldn't have been as timely if it had run next week, as scheduled, so my editor, bless him, ran it early. Now I just have to come up with another one for next week!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin column

Our front-step pumpkin played a starring role in a situation that unfolded on Halloween night. Milton Musings has the story.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Family column

Here's my family column for GateHouse this weekend. Enjoy!

Abby was finishing her breakfast the other day when she asked, “Mom, do you have some kind of disease that always puts you in a bad mood?”

I stopped in my rush to get ready for work, one shoe on and hairbrush in hand.

“Well,” I said. “I have been kind of stressed out lately, but I don’t think I’m always in a bad mood.”

Abby considered this. “Oh,” she said. “I guess it’s more of a temperament thing.”

“Temperament?” I asked.

“Yeah, you know,” she continued, “like Rottweilers are aggressive. Temperament. They can’t help it. It’s just the way they are.”

I’m not sure which made me feel worse: that my fourth-grader thinks I’m always in a bad mood, or that she compared me to an aggressive dog.

I spent much of the next day ruminating on Abby’s comment. Am I really that grouchy? I certainly have my ups and downs, but overall, things are pretty good. Why would she think I’m always in a bad mood?

Since school started a couple of months ago, we’ve been on a pretty tight schedule. I began a new job, too, so I’m out the door before the kids are some mornings. Evenings are for dinner, homework, showers and bedtime. Even the weekends are busy, with soccer for the boys, a theatre class for Abby, church, chores, and everything else that doesn’t get done during the week.

As I thought about it, I realized that most of the time we’re together, I’m telling Abby to do something. Finish breakfast, get ready for school, start your homework – all geared toward keeping the day running smoothly, staying on schedule and on task. And, I admit, when people aren’t moving quickly enough for me, whether it’s in traffic or in my home, I get irate.

Abby, by contrast, never hurries. She marches to her own beat, and her tempo is considerably slower than mine. I’m constantly trying to move her along at my speed. No wonder the poor kid thinks I’m always in a bad mood. I am.

I’m at a loss about how to improve the situation. My typical strategy is to analyze, categorize, organize and schedule a problem into submission. It’s not the best approach, though, when scheduling is actually the problem.

Maybe I just need to work on my patience. Lighten up a little, stop and smell the roses, let Abby get things done in her own timeframe.

Next time I’m feeling impatient with Abby, I’ll try counting to 10. Well, no, that takes too long; maybe to 5. Then I’ll take a few deep breaths – I think I can squeeze in three.

Patience is a virtue, but it takes so darned long to develop.

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