Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hear ye, hear ye!

In another round of I'm-late-to-the-party-but-better-late-than-never, I have a few links to share tonight.  Good links.  Sometimes funny links.  Scratch your head or sigh in comradeship links. 

Here's the deal.  I find myself with some extra time on my ears that isn't fully taken with a form of media, and as I was typing that sentence, I realized just how many different outlets of communication I have on a daily basis in my life now.
1.  Sirius XM radio (at least for a couple of more months...thanks hubs, for the Christmas present 'cause I heart Michael Smerconish!)
2.  6 large TV screens on various channels in front of me while treadmilling (On another note where I talk about running yet again, I'd like to point out that I thought today was going to absolutely bite the biggest of the big ones cause it's been a few days since I've run.  And it didn't.  3 cheers to that.)
3.  2 different devices with a constant email update/news update/entertainment update, all day long
4.  a favorite TV show for about an hour in the afternoon and another hour at night if I'm lucky
5.  3 podcasts that I follow every week
6.  another couple of podcasts that I've dabbled with
7.  a new podcast that I tried this week
8.  MLB TV soon and very soon (like a breath of springshine, the new season is a'startin')

But let's gab about #7 for a bit.  I occasionally reach into the TED Talks vaults for a class source with a couple of the classes that I teach.  And they're always fantastic.  Always smartly delivered.  Always fascinating.  Who knew that TED Talks are available for podcasts and videocasts?  Indeedy, they are.  They're that nugget of insight, wisdom and learning for the sake of learning that's been missing from my life.  They're (generally) kid-safe (which means that I can have them on in public spaces while putzing in the kitchen), and they're delivered in snappy little 5-20 minute packages, which is perfect-o for those times when you have a few minutes but not long enough for an entire episode of whatever it is that you're involved with. 

Just while juicing a few lemons, prepping for pizza and unloading a dishwasher, I listened to a discussion on asteroids (she seems like someone that I want to drink coffee with) and some thoughts about why we should raise brave girls (YES, YES, oh my YES & color me convicted of not practicing my own bravery skills).  When I was then making the pi pizza pie (it's 3-14 & my young people are always down for a mid-week, kitschy celebration), I sighed deep sighs on the truth of women's voices (my sighs were shockingly British sounding, too).  While I folded towels tonight, I considered a different perception of indoctrination (and will promptly be integrating this into my lesson plans for next week - get read, ENGW-132!).  And, while throwing on some clothes post-shower/pre-school pick-up, I delighted in learning from obituaries (fascinating stuff & proof positive that I don't only listen to female TED Talks speakers). 

Good people.  Embrace a new possibility.  A new potential.  A new bit of knowing.  If nothing else, I find that listening to brilliant and motivated people make me cheer for humanity and strive to be more of everything in a good way, a possible way.  There's a whole bunch of hope in knowing that a whole bunch of others know a whole bunch of things that I don't and so that I don't have to. 

And if you have a bit more time in your world or want to delve into a longer conversation of happenstance and hard work combined, I encourage you to give How I Built This a go.  I've only listened to a couple so far, but they haven't failed to make me shake my head a bit and appreciate the Common Joe aspect of all the innovators and entrepreneurs among us.

With all of those listens I'm sending your way, here's a clip for you parents out there.  I envy her spunk when faced with a car trip with kids.  There's just about nothing I dread more.  I want to be at so many places, but the boy doesn't want to foot the bill for airplane tickets (begrudgingly, I'm in agreement with right now), which means that we make calculated risks using Mapquest to guide our X-hour parameters.  We're firmly in the pack-up-the-kids-and-a-puke-bucket-mode around here.  My child...she is what she is.  But I'd like to see where the adrenaline-from-another-round-of-carsickness Mommy-tude falls into the hourly breakdown.  HINT:  For us, it happens pretty fast.  (I had the girls 45 minutes away from home this past Saturday for a girl's day adventure.  We made it 15 minutes before we had windows down and the familiar look was on her face.)


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

From the riffraff to the hoi polloi

Folks - I ran for 25 minutes at 5.5 miles per hour today (40 minutes total - that was my middle jag).  That's the fastest for the longest, people.  Cheer ye all, cheer ye all, I did not so much as keel over and perish but still ran on.

Readers - I'm glad that I have girls.  I spend 40 minutes a day reading books with two best friends who help fairies capitulate against conniving goblins and a nefarious Jack Frost rather than about muddy trucks and backhoes.  This is one of those times when God was three (thousand) steps ahead of me and knew my heart.

People - It's swimming week for the Elder, which means nightly hair washings and a couple of extra loads of laundry.  Have you ever tried to comb my daughters thick, gnarly wet hair?  Oh, lovely people.  I have.  Many times.  And that's enough to sprout my first grey hair.  Detangler is something of a placebo against this gnarl, and it must be two-three times a week that I ever so gently and kindly remind her that IF YOU WOULD LET US CUT IT, THIS WOULD NOT BE OUR HAIR WASHING SITUATION.  The end.

Homies - I'm about fed up with students who don't take the time to look at my feedback before shooting off an email to me about WHY DID I GET THIS GRADE and (my favorite) YOU MUST HAVE ENTERED THE WRONG GRADE HERE.  No, good students of my class.  I didn't.  You just stunk at that assignment.  All is not peaches and As when one does not take the time to understand the assignment and abide by the parts being asked of one.  But then we get back to class and I remember that I like my students a whole bunch, and I keep on a'keepin' on.

Humans - Today's word is "protmanteau" because that's relevant.

Community - My lilacs are burgeoning with leaves and my "decorative crab apple" tree has the hazy red of springtime on its blushing branches.  Absurd.  Unreal.  It's March 8.  I'm concerned about all things springtime in this crazy season of warm-cold-warm-cold-warm.  I also read a book on urban gardening lately (really good...makes me want to plant some potatoes in the front yard, be forewarned).  Someone send me some seeds!  Or seedlings!  'Cause I don't have any place to sprout seeds!  Let's get our warm dirty dirt on.

Mortals - I'm also reading a book about sugar.  Lemmetellya.  There's some good stuff in there about things like high fructose corn syrup that I just didn't know before and some things that I glaze through for a couple of pages at a time but overall, it's a sweet read.  Sweet, I say.  And it makes me want to swear off desserts forever.  But I haven't gotten to the part where we talk about how sugar is addictive yet.  We'll see what we learn when we get there.

Plebians - I got a doughnut today.  I knew that I was going to get a doughnut today.  It helped me through the last 7 minutes of my almost-so-I'll-say-it-was 4 mile chug today.  That doughnut didn't last long enough to make up for those last 3 minutes.

Tribe - Yes, yes I am using thesaurus.com.  It's 10 o'clock, and I'm also watching TV.  Sometimes the power of words elludes me at moments such as these.

Commonality - This one's a stretch.

Mob - I like this one.  Let's be a really good mob, though.  Let's mob illicit ice cream or something.

Family - I like putting on some running leggings in the morning and putting off the morning shower for a couple of hours.  And these knees, they're fresh and ready to go seeing as how I coddled them for the first 33 years of their existence.  I think I have a couple of good years yet in them.  Maybe even a 5K.  If it's not too bright and not too humid and not too cold and no one in the crowds lining the race knows me. 

Blogees - I'm going to eat some cereal because there isn't a better pre-bedtime nibble.  So says me. 

Friday, March 3, 2017


So I blissfully slept on the couch last night, curled up wearing a sweatshirt and in the middle of four blankets of various weight.  I'm a girl who likes some heat and the weight of covers when she sleeps.  There have likely been downwards of two times in my life when I haven't been able to sleep because "it was so hot."  Por ejemplo.  We went tent camping in 100-degree humid heat last year.  The heat bothered me not a jot (at night).  When I was a mid-teen, my parents gave me one two of my favorite presents ever: flannel sheets and a down comforter.  July was toasty roasty in my room.  I admit, it almost sounds disgusting to me to acknowledge that I used to sleep in flannels year round, but then I remember the glacial conditions that my dad (i.e. the one controlling the A/C) prefers.  Whenever we visit now, there's nearly always an extra blanket or two ready and waiting at the foot of the bed because it's like they know me.   

Those roasting July nights of my youth...ah...those were some of the best of times when it comes to my sleep.  As an adult, there have really been two better-than-I-could-possibly-believe of times that I now recognize in hindsight.  (If only I had appreciated the glory days when I was in them.  Nowadays is very much not the glory days.) 
#1:  When I was teaching full-time, pre-children especially, and getting up earlyearlyearly so that I could drive to work and/or when I didn't even have the longer commute but still cut myself off from work at 11 PM each night after longlonglong days.
#2:  Both times I had a newborn.  Naturally.  Those days taught me how to sleep for realsies. 

But something happened a little over 18 months ago, July 2015, actually.  That was some humdinger of a month, I tell ya.  Sleep - no more.  Hormones - not my normal.  Life - different.  I'm pretty positive that this whole thing has been a hormone issue from the get-go given that my sleep changed muy dramatically all at the same time as other not-very-exciting-nor-blogworthy things happened.  But who knew that one would need to be sleep trained mid-30s?  Not I.

Now I.

I read this article once before but came across it again today and I read this last night, so it seemed like a good time to talk about it, given my couch surfing proclivity.  (To be fair, I fully expected to sleep on the couch last night 'cause I had coffee late and was teaching late.  Even without coffee, after driving home, it takes me a while to downshift into neutral, and by that point, my normal was a while ago.) 

I desperately want my own room that we can call a "guest room" for the sake of social appearances.  I never need melatonin when I sleep by myself.  I always need it at minimum otherwise. 

I don't love all of the 10 tips, though, for re-training your sleep patterns.  I'm n-o-t a fan of less than 67 degrees in my bedroom.  We get that low in the winter, but my nose gets cold.  Blergh.  I'm not on board with getting rid of a clock, even though I'm aware of the light issue.  And it's 100% IMPOSSIBLE that I forgo my computerly devices within 2 hours of sleeping.  When would I work?  That is my prime working time; I could have a jam packed kid day and feel confident that I was going to get something accomplished once they were put away for the night.  It's a non-option.  I feel anxious-er now just thinking such a dreadful thought.

I haven't tried any of the teas yet because a) tea tastes like t-e-a (and while I've adjusted to my cuppa green each day, unsweetened, something reminiscent of hay doesn't scream sleep baby sleep to me) and b) diuretics seem to contradict my nighttime goals.  Has anyone had any success with an herbal nod? 

And how does one sleep this way when one is not in one's own meticulously curated sleeping space?  So much can go wrong.  So much does go wrong.  There's a noisy fan running somewhere.  The room is frigid.  My child is BREATHING beside me.  The windows don't have coverings (what the what here, good people of the hospitality industry?!?).  Good people that we travel with are on a different sleep/wake schedule and talk like people are wont to do.  The mattress just feels different.  Call me kooksville if you want, but why yes, I am that person bringing my own pillow to the hotel/B&B/in-laws/whatehaveyou because that's a deal breaker.  Give me my pillow or give me a night of wallowing.  (I do have the perfect pillow.)

Sleeping outside of my home is a new worry.  A worrisome worry.  It's enough to make me all a-dither before the witching hour draws nigh when staring a strange sleeping arrangement in the face.  It's gotten to the point that I mentally scout a second-option-escape-route out in advance.  Just in case.  And it's almost always needed now.


This sleeping thing is for the birds.  Maybe not...they were singing pretty happily at 5 AM-ish just the other day.