Oral Hygiene Queen

My Photo
Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

RSS Feed

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Five Things

Last week I gave my Non-Fiction Writing students a prompt: write about five things you want to figure out in the next five years. After the writing time was up, I was giving students a chance to read their lists aloud, and one of my students asked what my five were. I'd been spending the writing period trying to catch up on paper work, so I hadn't thought about it. But I promised my students I would.

Five Things I Want to Figure Out in the Next Five Years

1. How to keep my desk clean. Make that how to keep my desks clean, since I have clutter disease on both my desks - the one at home and the one in my office at school. It takes me forever to clean my desk, and then when it's finally clean, it seems like it gets cluttered again within a week. Why? One word: paper. Cleaning up clothes, toys, dishes, tchotchkes - that's all relatively easy because they're different colors and shapes and sizes, and I can quickly decide what I use regularly and need to store, and what I don't use and need to get rid of. Provided that I have the time to keep on top of it, keeping that stuff in order is possible. Paper tends to be 8 1/2 by 11, and it tends to be white. And it tends to pile up and pile up, and I can never decide if it's worth recycling or if I need to keep it for future reference. And once I decide to keep it, I can never figure out where to file it, or if it's worth creating a new file folder just for this one piece of paper.

2. How to improvise on guitar. I started playing guitar when I was twenty, so I never had all those hours of noodling around that all my guy friends who began playing when they were adolescents seem to have had. (For some reason all the guys I know who play guitar started when they were fourteen, or younger. All the women I know who play started when they were twenty or older. Pre-teen and teenage girls, if you want to play guitar and haven't started yet, get on it!)

3. How to do it all. I want to be able to do my job well and be a good mom. And I want to read novels that have nothing to do with school. And play my guitar. And exercise regularly. And spend time alone with my Old Man. And write poetry. And go out with friends. And keep my house tidy enough to promote my own sanity. (And clean my desks more often!) I want to spend more time with my kids, and I want to spend more time by myself. And, realistically, I need about 73 hours in a day to get all of this done. Especially since I want eight hours of sleep every night too, please.

4. How not to let crazy people take up my time and energy. One thing I've learned in my years of being an adult is that you can't avoid crazy people. They will show up in almost every area of your life at one point or another. You will have to work with at least one, and chances are you'll eventually have to work closely with one. They'll show up in your family, and if you get married, there's bound to be at least one in the family you marry into. My problem is that I can't just say "Wow, that person is crazy. I think I'll try to ignore him or her to the extent that it's possible." I always have to try to fix things. Thus, time and energy sucked into the gaping maw of insanity. And that makes it harder to figure out how to do all the stuff I want to do up in #3.

5. How to listen to my kids. Before I had kids, I always assumed I'd listen to my kids very intently, once I had kids. Now that I have kids - kids I love to pieces, whose perspective on things I truly care about - I occasionally find myself only half listening to them. Not because I don't care, but because I'm a very busy and distracted adult with a lot going on. And because, although my kids usually say funny, interesting, endearing, or amazing things, sometimes they go on and on in great detail about things that I'm actually not that interested in, and then it's a bit of a struggle to listen. Especially if I'm also trying simultaneously to figure out where I left my keys or what needs to go on the shopping list before my Old Man leaves for the store. But I know that as my children get older, listening will only get more challenging, because as children become more and more their own people, their parents sometimes have to struggle to hear what they're actually saying through the filter of what the parents want to hear (or are afraid to hear). And that, I think, must be when the listening thing gets really challenging.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

I Do Not Love My Kindle... Yet

My beloved aunt who tends toward excessively generous gifts got me a Kindle for Christmas. It never occurred to me that I might want a Kindle, but I do read a lot. I'm an English teacher for Christ's sake! So, fine. I'll own a Kindle.

Still, I was ambivalent. When I saw the commercial for the Kindle (or maybe the Nook... it was on mute) I watched attractive, thin people tossing their Kindles into their backpacks and bike baskets and purses - so convenient! - and thought "Yeah! Compact. Portable. Just like a book." It seemed unnecessary.

If I felt the Kindle might be superfluous, my Old Man was sure of it. His comment on learning about my aunt's gift? "Don't open it. It'll be worth more on eBay if the packaging is intact." And, yes, it's true that we did sell the digital picture frame she gave us on eBay a couple years back. But that gift was really ridiculous. A Kindle's not ridiculous. I'm just not sure it's me.

But it's a gift, so I'll try it. That was my attitude. I opened it. I set it up. I started browsing around for books. But I quickly realized that ebooks are only a few bucks cheaper than actual books. And I had a hard time coming up with a title of a book that I was willing to pay almost full price for without actually ending up with a physical book. I like books! And for those books I don't want to own, my local public library is just down the street.

Part of my problem is that I'm married to a fairly voracious reader. My Old Man reads four books for every one I read, and I'm continually trailing after him, picking up one of his recent reads that he's sold me on. This makes it really hard to think of a title I want to spend twelve bucks on that I couldn't get at the library for free or at my local used book store for way less than an ebook.

Does anyone out there own and love a Kindle? And why should I love mine?