A Day For Puttering…

My dad used to putter. I can distinctly remember him using that word often and describing many a day with a nonchalant “Oh, I’m just putter’n around…”

I came to realize that puttering for him meant that he was going to go to his garage, or outside, or even from room to room, and shuffle through miscellaneous items, check on the status of things, take stock of overgrown areas, perhaps even start out his puttering with a purpose like moving some wood from Point A to the much better and more convenient Point B. That purposeful act would then set in motion more puttering and more purpose, until – right before you could say “Why don’t you sit down and relax,” he would have a full-on project that needed to be done.

He had an uncanny skill for turning just about any small act of puttering into A PROJECT, and he loved that. He truly wasn’t happy unless he had something to keep his hands busy. If it was football season, you might catch him sitting for a bit, watching some of the game, but really, not for long.

I think that I inherited a little of that ability to putter. I wish I had project after project to keep myself busy, but all of my puttering is tempered by the fact that I just don’t have it physically in me anymore to take on full blown projects. I can however, start on something small, and wind my way from place to place with purpose. I just don’t let the puttering get out-of-hand.

Today was a putter’n kind of day, intermixed with sitting.

I puttered around the grocery store early just after starting a load of laundry. On my return, while stashing supplies near the laundry area it seemed important to unload the dryer right then and there.

I followed two trails of cat litter down the hall and onto two different carpets so both the broom and vacuum made an appearance. Then for good measure, while the vacuum was out, I sucked up dust bunnies inside the closet. All that sweeping and vacuuming led me to realize that the cat water fountain needed a good cleaning.

As I passed the table near the fountain our tax paperwork caught my eye. I got that organized and then it was time to call our long-time CPA and make an appointment. I will be seeing him March 11. I anticipate we will be paying this year.

The sun came out and I figured that it was the perfect time to go outside and vacuum out my car. That little chore led me to take stock of the dirt and leaves and other gunk inside my garage, so I grabbed the outside broom and swept everywhere.

I stood over the sink mixing up a salad for lunch and noticed a zucchini that needed to be used. Frittata for dinner was suddenly calling out to me. Rather than wait, because I knew my daughter would need the oven tonight for pizza, I whipped up dinner and started the dishwasher.

With the frittata in the oven, I printed some school worksheets for Miss G.

By then it was afternoon coffee break and computer time, I ended up here, reading and commenting, and starting this silly post. My dishwasher just alerted me that the cycle is complete. The dishes are ready to be put away.

I just saw the mail truck go by so perhaps I’ll take a short walk down to the box and get the junk mail. I know if I go outside again the weeds in my flower beds will actively call out to me. That situation constitutes one of those major projects I mentioned earlier, the ones I should avoid. I think the mail can wait. I’ll get it tomorrow, when rain is expected all day and I know that I won’t have any desire to be outside pulling weeds.

I’ve done enough puttering for today. No need to let things get out-of-hand…

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Big Kid School

Long day today. Tuesday’s are a challenge as I haven’t typically been with the girls since the previous Wednesday – 5 days off may be a bit too much. I think my body forgets that it’s going to have to climb stairs, get up and down off the floor about a billion times, wrestle with a 3 1/2 year old, lug around a 17 lb. four month old, and pay attention to, and play with, a dog and a cat.

We did get outside though. It was a bit cool, but the sun felt good and it was great just to be outside in the fresh air. The dog ran and ran, as did Miss G, so they both took naps after lunch. Miss C fell asleep in her stroller but then woke herself up when she accidentally hit one of her hanging toys with her hand. I’ll have to remember to move those next time.

Anyway, the reason for the post…Miss G will officially be in preschool two days a week come September. She will be at the local elementary school, just down the block from her house on Tuesday and Wednesday in the afternoon. This is the ‘big kid school’ because, as she doesn’t ever let me forget, she’s big now. I will be with the girls on Fridays again in the fall so I expect we will continue some version of our ‘home school’ activities on that day as well. It will be great to see what they expose her to at school and then I can use that for guidance on Friday’s. To be honest, I was running low on ideas and lesson plans, so letting someone else take over that job will be great. I’m mostly excited by the fact that she will have interaction with kids her age. She really needs and wants that so badly and there aren’t a lot of kids around her neighborhood during the day.

If I’m being totally honest, I am also looking forward to having a few days, and a few hours on those days, with a return to just one little person to care for. Miss C will be almost 1 year old and likely into everything, so being able to focus on her while knowing Miss G is learning and socializing will be welcome.

Still, even with the knowing that this is a huge, and very needed milestone in her life, it’s tough to realize that this little girl is growing up so fast.

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Share Your World 2016 Week 8

Share Your World Week 8

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing? I’m not too fond of any inside household chores these days, but the one that seems to be the most meaningless, useless and ridiculous to me is dusting. Why do it when it only takes seconds for the dust to settle right back into place… I only make a feeble attempt when the white is more prominent than the wood.

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ecodaily.org and no, this is not my table

What was the last URL that you bookmarked? That would be HuffPost Women. An article on midwifery caught my eye a few days ago and I realized that I missed reading this site so it now sits in my bookmarks bar as a reminder to read often.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you? That would still be my neck. After my whining post the other day things have gotten better, however it hasn’t let me forget entirely the weight of my bowling ball size head. The constant reminders to myself to sit straight, stay in alignment, don’t hunch are all tiresome and irritating as well.

Would you rather have a two-bedroom apartment in a big city of your choosing or a mansion in the country side in the state or country where you currently live? No city life for me so it would be the mansion in the country. I would adapt the mansion some though, and make it an old Victorian farmhouse with a bit of acreage for chickens and a garden.

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paddisonfarm.com

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am ever so grateful that, for once, I thought to start using my OTC allergy medication BEFORE the trees went into full bud. This mild weather and incredibly early spring we’re having is really enjoyable since I already have meds on board. That same weather also makes me grateful that I will be able to get outside with the girls for walks and park playtime. Being cooped up inside during the rainy weather has been tough on Miss G.

Thinking about ‘work’ and what it’s really worth

I’ve talked with people both recently and in the past, ongoing conversations over decades, in which they voice that they love their career, but that they really dislike their job. It might be the location, or the size of the workforce within that location, or the policy and management (or lack thereof), or the gossip or lack of privacy, or seemingly inept supervisor or boss…some aspect is keeping them from really finding pleasure in getting up, getting ready and entering the door of their workplace. Most often it turns out to be a combination of aspects, but the simple and clear point is that they would rather be anywhere but there, doing the job that they were hired to do.

The people I refer to here are competent, intelligent, qualified, rational. Some have a passion, a feeling that their career choice was a calling or meant to be. Others perhaps take time to come upon their path, but have grown to see that it was the correct road for them. Yet they go to an office, or job site three or four or five days per week, and they hate it. Many literally say they hate it.

I think we can all guess at some of the reasons why they keep showing up. Money and finances are most likely the biggest reason. Perhaps the investment and education behind the career drives them to appear each day at a job they dislike. Perhaps a desire for a specific lifestyle. Perhaps insecurity or worry about all the what-if’s keep them returning day after day.

I spent years going back and forth between two careers. I felt a passion for both, initially. I liked performing my jobs. Of course, like any job some days were better than others. One job I left by choice and have regretted and missed horribly ever since. It was never a burden to participate in that job. The other, over time, became too physically demanding and in that way I felt forced to leave. That job though, I have never missed. I spent way too much time trying to invest myself and my energy into attempts at change, at attempts to rectify systemic failures, at putting up with individual differences that would never come close to tolerable common ground rather that be moralistic or idealistic. I knew long before I left that job that I was done. The system in place was flawed and that I didn’t fit anymore, nor even want to attempt to carve out an identity to fit what was being pushed. Even knowing that I would be better, happier, and value myself more if I left – I stayed on. It took me years of personal compromise before one day, simply having experienced enough, I moved on – not back to a career I loved, but just to another location and another job within the same flawed system. In time I knew that I had made a mistake. All the inner voices that had been screaming at me for years were quickly mounting another onslaught and poised to needle my brain non-stop with the big question – “Why, why did you do this again?”

I knew enough about this job to realize that just about anywhere I could go, I would eventually encounter all the issues that made me dislike the job in the first place so many years ago. The work was wonderful, the physical hands-on doing was a job I loved, but the BS and game playing and mismanagement pushed all my dislike buttons and all those things came with the territory.

Of course, we don’t necessarily have the luxury to simply stop working because we dislike aspects of a job. So many people feel stuck or trapped (I did) within a job. So many people have no choice, but in this case, I suppose I am speaking to those who do have some choice, some control.

For those of us who have been, or who now fall into that dreading going to our jobs category I think we all have our own individual line that separates the ‘I’ll try to stick it out for a while’ from the ‘I refuse to tolerate this for another minute’ moment. We also have a lot of gray days, those not so bad days when thinking about family, or the weekend, or vacation in 2 months can curb some of the dislike and annoyance and frustration. We don’t let ourselves acknowledge that temporary fixes aren’t going to make the job better. They are only going to prolong the agony, and increase the frustration. We can’t seem to allow ourselves to take back control of our lives and our happiness.

Is there uncertainty, fear, even panic that comes with the thought of moving on. You betcha there is, but if everyday is filled with displeasure, anger, unhappiness, even physical and/or emotional pain, because of the job we force ourselves to go to, how can it be worth spending even one more day there?

Everyone always asks, “But what if it’s worse, that next place that I end up?” It might be, because really, until you’re there and in the mix, you have no real idea. But, what if it isn’t worse? What if it’s better, even just a little bit? What if you can go there, do your job and enjoy three of the five days you’re there…what if you can actually look forward to opening the door at 8 AM and feeling like you will probably like the day ahead…what if your family won’t have to hear all your complaints…what if you could just have time to stop asking what if, or if only, or I should…what if you make the decision to try?

I’d love to hear some opinions on this, no matter which side you fall on. Have you been/are you in this situation? Have you come across your own personal line and triumphed…or failed? What would you tell someone who is unsure, who is fearful or worried, or can’t bring themselves to take the step?  Why do we feel it’s okay to devalue our own self-worth and happiness for a job that we dislike?

 

 

Excuse the whining please…

As I write this I feel that I need to share that I’m lying down on my couch, a pillow strategically placed under my neck causing my head to be flexed forward, my chin almost touching my chest. Right now, this is the only way that I can tolerate being on my computer.

The arthritis in my neck is aggravated again, I am in pain and I feel like whining. Feel free to stop reading if you like. It won’t hurt my feelings. I just need to vent.

But first, on a positive note, I had a wonderful visit with my friend yesterday, although her couch really helped to add to my neck pain. She talked and talked. I got the distinct impression that she needed some adult conversation. It’s tough to get much feedback from a 2-month-old, who is adorable, but not very talkative. We spent a few hours talking back over her birth story and the difficulties she had afterwards. Then we spent another few hours sharing and commenting on changes happening at my old job. While I’d love to share, ethically it wouldn’t be right. Let’s just say I feel even more confident that I left at the right time, physical issues aside. I’d suggest considering the term ‘going to hell in a hand basket’ for quick insight.

Back to the neck… I did some reading today on this situation and didn’t learn much more than I already knew. It’s arthritis, and it will continue to worsen. Did you know that your head, a head in general actually, weighs between 8 – 10 lbs on average? No wonder, when I sit up, that it feels as if I have the weight of a bowling ball on my neck. I did learn that I could use that weight to provide some traction and the possibility of relief. Extending my neck is definitely not good, but flexing helps so it was suggested that I lie on my stomach on the bed and allow my head to hang over the side for a brief time. The idea here is that the natural weight of my bowling ball head would pull my vertebrae apart a bit and hopefully help to relieve tension and pressure. It actually worked…for a while. Unfortunately I can’t really spend my days hanging off the bed.

I was admonished to be mindful of my posture, and I am keenly aware that I am going to have to find some way to modify some of the things I do with Miss Cece. I can clearly see that she has reached the age and size, just like her older sister before her, where a good deal of my actions with her directly irritate this neck issue.

Speaking of Miss Cece, she turned 4 months old today and a picture is appropriate.

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She started rolling over about 2 weeks ago, back to tummy and just a few days ago, she went down for a nap on her tummy and while being mad because she lost her pacifier, managed to flip from tummy to back. This girl is determined. 

Somehow, when I see that face, it’s a little easier to forget about my neck for a few minutes.

Share Your World 2016 Week 7

Share Your World Week 7

What are you a “natural” at doing? I am a natural at worry. I can spend inordinate amounts of time and energy wondering ‘what if’ and it usually does no good.

Would you prefer a one floor house or multiple levels? The home I have lived in for 24 years has an upstairs. I avoid going up there. The house that I take care of my granddaughters in has an upstairs. I am up and down those stairs all day. I wish there was an elevator. My knees creek and my ankles pop. I am not truly comfortable unless I’m using the hand rail. Take a guess…what type of house do YOU think I prefer?

What was your favorite subject in school? This question is tough, because favorites had a lot to do with the teacher, and the year. How about what I didn’t like. I didn’t really like penmanship way back in elementary school. I didn’t like geometry and never took math after that. I didn’t like many aspects of P.E. – I was really uncoordinated.

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Complete this sentence: If only the rain.. could be made of chocolate martini ingredients and fall delicately into my waiting glass.

“What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?”  I am supremely grateful that Alison and I have come to an agreement on cooking dinner. She does her own, and I eat vegetables as I have returned to a previous weight loss/anti inflammation plan because I feel like a snail that needs to shed it’s winter shell. I have maintained my weight loss really well over the years, but carbs have been creeping in and I am aching and sore and swollen. I know I need to be more mindful. *I suppose this statement negates that rain sentence I so eloquently put together…

As I am at mid-week again with this post I can only say that I look forward to (tomorrow-Thursday) spending time with a friend and her 2-month-old son, who I hear is growing by leaps and bounds.