Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Kirk and I were reading the story of Louis Braille tonight. It starts out with a heartbreaking accident that causes young Louis to go blind. Then it goes on to explain that at that time, early 1800s, most blind people had miserable lives.
Since blind people couldn't communicate with others by reading or writing, it was considered useless to send them to school. As a result, they were cut off from such professions as teaching, law, and medicine. Many blind people had to live in poorhouses. Others begged for food and money on street corners. The lucky ones found jobs shoveling coal or carrying bricks in exchange for food and a place to sleep.
The story goes on to tell how Louis was determined to find a way to read and help others do the same. There was at the time a cumbersome system of raised letters, but it was time consuming to read, expensive to produce, and would never truly open the world of books to the blind. At fifteen, Louis Braille created the Braille system - though it was not accepted during his lifetime, this gift he gave to the future lives on today to millions of blind people.
When we finished the book, Kirk and I talked about how sad and troubling things we now accept will one day likely be changed, perhaps by one person, dedicated to solving that particular problem. In the future, we may not be able to imagine hungry children, ill children, people dying in wars or being sent to prison. All it takes is that one person determined to find a way. Good wishes! Eileen
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
One night, browsing the internet, I read about a person trying to improve his marriage by not complaining for three weeks. He referred to a 21 day no complaint challenge that eventually led me to the website http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/
I LOVED the idea. And I was successful for almost three hours. Then, ironically, I found myself complaining to a friend about my kids' complaints pertaining to four of the five food items on their dinner plates. Following the suggested practice, I switched my bracelet (my own though the site offers one) to the other wrist as a notice to myself I'd have to start the 21 days over again.
And thus I've gone on, once going three days before the switch. I will be delighted to hit a new high of four days but am benefitting from the mere attempt. The very process of editing the complaints, negative descriptions, griping, and whining from my communications makes me realize two things. First, negative talk is a complete bore. Second, when I talk about the "bad" stuff, I "re-infect myself" by reliving the situation and just bring myself and whomever I'm talking to down.
This challenge has made me very aware how much I complain to the kids ("Yuck! Can't you please close your mouth when you chew!"), about the kids ("You wouldn't believe how much the kids were fighting today!") and around them ("I can see why the postal service is going broke with those inconvenient hours").
So if you take out all the negative, what's left to talk about? I've started asking "So what's the good word?" when we sit down to dinner or I call my parents. I really enjoy hearing what's going well in others' lives. And talking about the good in my day: a hug from the kids, a perfectly toasted bagel, a kind check out clerk, the blue jay up in the Oak tree, the fact the kids ate all their veggies (even if open-mouthed), brings my mood up, reminding me of the myriad of happy moments in each day.
So far I've made it to 9:02, Wednesday morning, keeping it on the up and up. I had to start over again last night....not that I'm complaining...;-)Good wishes!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
To anyone kind enough to have checked in during that time, thanks and apologies for being so slow. It has been a wonderful few months. I made huge progress on my book. I have worked really, really hard to be a better mom (not always successfully) by listening more and being more in the moment. I got a lot done in the yard, finally tackling the weediest areas. And of my list of all the projects I wanted to tackle by October first, I made serious progress, including getting the 1980's wallpaper out of two bathrooms after living here for 14 years with plans to do so;-)
I love that line! I copied it and emailed it to myself as a reminder to create the life I want, I have to be the person I want to be and do the things that person would do. I get it wrong a lot, and get frustrated when I do something the person I want to be wouldn't do (over eat at the Chinese Buffet, yell at the kid over minor stuff, ignore my family, not call my parents regularly, let the dishes stack up till the ants all come back, etc. etc.) But I make baby steps to be that person and when I do something she would do, I pat her/me on the back;-).
I hope all of you are striving toward goals that will and are bringing you joy. Best wishes! Eileen
Monday, August 15, 2011
Admittedly, that's not as efficient as sticking to a budget, something I've slacked on this summer. That said, it was a fun, frugal weekend. We took our big quilts to the laundry mat because when we bought our washer I asked the guy for any advice on getting it to last as long as possible. He told me keep the lint traps clean and don't wash big blankets. He said that shaking thing you sometimes get when the blanket gets to one side is very, very hard on the machine.
We also biked to the beach. We live too far out to bike to most places so we drive part of the way, park, then bike part of the way.
Kirk had wanted swim flipper and goggles. We stopped at a thrift shop on our way to the beach and lucked out finding flippers that fit for $1.
We spent Sunday at a local park playing baseball, soccer, Frisbee and even a bit of tennis (almost all equipment gotten at garage sales through the years), so fun and frugal.
Cooked a big batch of pasta, then made three meals for the week ahead - mushroom, spinach pasta; ricotta lasagna pasta, cold veggie pasta.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Frugal Decision #1
Monday, August 8, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Spent three and a half glorious hours at Panera working on my book, mostly research to answer questions that occured to me when I was in Boston. I put on my headphones and get my large iced tea and delve into 1775 with enormous satisfaction. I haven't had much time to write this summer. With the kids both home full-time, by the time 9:30 p.m. rolls around and kids are in bed (supposedly 8:30), the dog has been walked, Greg and I have a chance to chat about our days, I'm usually ready to sleep and the thought of powering up my computer for research or writing is as unappealing as nighttime sit ups;-). So today, Sunday, was a wonderful time to focus.
The kids and I are biking a lot as I'm trying to exercise away about eight pounds. Now if they want a weekly bagel at Panera, we ride four miles round trip to get that treat. We have to drive to a place where we can all be on safe sidewalks first, but it's fun and the kids seem to argue a lot less when they get lots of outside exercise.
We found a tunnel for $2 at a thrift store (don't shop them much now with the kids to avoid the unending "I wanna xyz"" but we did this day and trained Brandi to go through it with treats. I often feel like she needs more interesting things to do; she's not exactly the obstacles course type Sheltie, but I've read dogs are happier when they are challenged to think and try new things. So this was a happy find.
I am always trying to find ways to get the kids to help out in the garden, not usually to much avail, but when Kai realized he could deliver some annuals we'd gotten on sale to the pot I was putting them in, he got into the spirit.;-)
Good wishes to all and to all a happy summertime! Eileen
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Just got back from a wonderful, wonderful trip to Boston to see all the historic sites from Paul Revere's home to Old North Church, to Lexington and Concord. The trip really gave me a new perspective on our history and corrected some important logistics errors in my book where I have characters doing things that were either on the wrong side of Boston or physically impossible due the time and mileage;-). These sorts of errors will now be corrected. The trip also gave me an appreciation for what a gift we've been given to live in a democracy. The birth of America was never a sure thing! Good wishes! Eileen
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Sorry that I appear to have fallen off the planet. The kids home full time for the summer has been a lot of fun, but very active. Today we went to Prairie Du Chein for a War of 1812 battle reenactment at this very fort on the Mississippi river. It was really interesting (no lives lost) and I learned lots of little details about the lives of soldiers, their families, etc. so it was helpful for my book too. The book comes along in bits and pieces. Once the writing class was over, it's been hard to get many chunks of time, but I write when I can.
We are being pretty good on the frugal front - home more and eating at home pretty much always. Few thrift store ventures (much harder with two boys in tow;-)
The garden is wonderful this time of the year and always makes me happy, whether I'm out there or just watching from the windows.
Wishing all of you a happy July and baby steps along your own journeys. Eileen