Before I resolve anything I thought I’d reflect a bit on the past year. The great thing about a personal blog is that it allows you to look back.
I wrote about two things more often than anything else: work-life balance and my frustration with lack of faculty technology knowledge and use. It’s clear that those things were key factors in my deciding to quit. I had probably been thinking about quitting longer than I was truly conscious of. One thing I learned from that decision was that it was difficult. I spent a lot of time agonizing over how it would affect my family financialy. I shouldn’t have. I should have gone with my gut.
Stepping out of my role as a tech support person has allowed me to begin looking at the effects of technology on life and learning more comprehensively and more deeply. In many of the presentations I gave last year, I was already going there, thinking especially about social software and my own scholarship.
I turned 40 this year and my oldest turned 13. That changes your perspective a little. While I certainly don’t feel my life is over now that I’m 40, I certainly feel there’s no sense in wasting time. Spending time with my kids has become more important as I realize how little time I really have with them. Oddly, I also feel greater feedom to do what I want.
It’s been quite a year. I’m looking forward to the next one.
– Post From My iPhone
Technically I’m in the town I grew up in but I’m not in the same house or even in the same area where most of my childhood took place. Home has not been home for me since college when my parents got divorced and the world reordered itself. Most of my friends moved away and their parents too so it’s unlikely I’ll run into anyone I know. That used to be a regular occurance. The lack of these familiar things don’t bother me. In fact, I think if everything were the same I’d find that more disconcerting–like despite all that’s happened since I left hadn’t made a difference, that no matter how hard we try we’re pulled back by some force into our old lives.
I’m thinking about this not just because I’m here but also because the new year is approaching. So much has changed and it’s at once refreshing and disorienting. As I look around my town with the new right next to the old and familiar, I think about what is good to keep in my life and what should be torn down like a condemed building. I don’t want to become the abandoned eyesore but the strucure that’s been maintained by keeping the good parts and replacing those that have outworn their purpose.
– Post From My iPhone
After a sprint through the airport, we made the last leg of our flight to our destination. We’ve had a good night’s sleep and coffee. Let the family fun begin!
– Post From My iPhone
We’ve been attempting to get somewhere today. It started out with a 4:30 am call telling us our flight was canceled and they couldn’t get us on another flight tomorrow morning. We really wanted to get there today so we decided to fly out of Newark. The flight wasn’t until later but we were all awake so we decided to go out for breakfast and hit the road. An hour into the trip, Mr. Geeky got tired so we stopped at a rest stop for a nap. Geeky girl also napped.
Once at the airport, we were selected for special screening. Do you know what a pain it is to go through that process with two kids and lots of electronics? Bleh. So now we wait. I hope we arrive eventually.
– Post From My iPhone
The Geeky family is wallowing in the sloth and fullness of the season, which means things have been pretty good. Electronics reigned supreme again this year, with a new iPod and cellphone for Geeky Boy, who’s realized the costs of those two habits are going to eat up most of his allowance. Geeky Girl is busy playing new SIMS extensions on our new computer. We finally replaced our almost 8-year-old iMac with a newer one. That was the big gift of the season. Mr. Geeky got a netbook and I got a microphone for podcasting, plus pjs. I have enough pjs now that I can work at home in my pjs fairly regularly. It is teh awesome! There were also some books to go around for everyone, but in general, things were lower key at least in terms of the number of gifts this year. My dad started college funds for the kids as their gift for this year and my mom got them exactly what they wanted off their list–which wasn’t much.
I hope everyone had a wonderful day and for those continuing the holdiay season, continued well wishes. Peace and joy to all!
Update: The item I wanted–canceled. Note to online sellers: if an item isn’t in stock, don’t sell it on your website. Duh. Their consolation: we didn’t charge your credit card.
Normally, I’m not running around at the last minute buying stuff. I don’t like shopping and so I try to dispense with it as quickly as possible. But this year, thanks to the online shopping experience from hell, I’m running around trying to replace the gift that will not arrive in time for Christmas (still has not shipped!). I went to three different stores yesterday, including the brick and mortar version of the store where said gift is supposed to ship. And, they were out of everything. The traffic was horrible. Everything took longer than I thought. Bleh. So I came up with an alternative and am going to pick it up today.
On the plus side, we made our first batch of cookies yesterday. After school today (yes, the kids still have school), Geeky Girl and I are going to make Grasshopper Pie and fudge. Tonight we’ll watch Christmas Vacation, and I can finally relax (at least until it’s time to whip up dinner tomorrow night). It’s all part of the season.
Grasshopper Pie Recipe
1 C. chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 C. sugar
3 T melted butter
1 C heavy whipping cream
2 T milk
3 1/4 C. miniature marshmallows
2 T white creme de cacao
1/4 C. green creme de menthe
1 pt. vanilla ice cream, softened
Combine crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press along sides and bottom of 9 in. pie plate. Chill.
Whip whipping cream. Chill. Melt marshmallows and milk in pan. Cool. Add creme de menthe and creme de cacao to marshmallows. Fold this into whipped cream. Spread layer of ice cream on crumbs. Then spread marshmallow mix on top. Chill in freezer. Set out of freezer about 20 minutes before serving.
A friend and I were talking over the weekend about longing for better houses. A mutual friend is in the process of buying what sounds like to both of us a fabulous place to live. We both have good houses in good locations, but we both also have things we don’t like about our houses. And whenever someone we know buys a new house or we visit someone with a great house, we start seeing the flaws in our own houses all the more clearly. Luckily for me, most of the people I socialize with are other faculty who are as priced out of the larger house market as I am. But there’s still the occasional playdate visit that sends me into envy again.
I also noted that I have a smaller house than my parents did. Financially, my mother ended up in about the same place as she was when she grew up. My dad fared much better. Me, I’m doing worse (yay for the education industry!). Of course, it would have been difficult to go up from where my dad was–near the top of the income ladder, especially for the small town I grew up in. Every once in a while, I lament that I didn’t follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer. Of course, knowing me, I would be a public service lawyer of some kind and still not make any money.
House envy (and probably general envy of other goods) has to have played some role in the current crisis. You watch friends and relatives move up to bigger houses or add on to and improve existing houses and you think, I want to do that. And so you go to the bank and no, you can’t quite afford it, but the broker plays on your envy and next thing you know, you’re paying more than you can afford for a house that isn’t worth as much as it once was. I think it’s a pretty easy trap to fall into.
The whole issue of envy is something I’ve been working on a lot. I think because my lifestyle is somewhat downsized compared to what I grew up with, I’ve struggled with my frustrations at not being able to have some of the things I had as a kid. At the same time, I contribute some of the relationship issues my parents and I had (have?) to the fact that they were both somewhat obsessed with keeping up with the neighbors and we were in a living space where we could all easily avoid each other. So, I’ve been focusing on other things: spending time with the family, enjoying the things I do have. I actually want less stuff now, not more. And we’ve tried to do small things to make our house more enjoyable. Frankly, I often feel lucky to have a roof over my head.
I watch this movie every Christmas, sometimes twice. I remember when TNT used to show it every day for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. The first time I saw it all the way through was the Christmas after my sister died. I was staying at my then boyfriend’s house. The emotion of it didn’t hit me then. I think I was either too cynical or too focused on just the relationship between George and Mary.
Now I can’t watch it without crying. Even though I know what happens.
I share the views of this article, which explains that George’s life isn’t all that wonderful. It’s confining and dull, full of those horrible adult responsibilities we all wish we could dispense with in favor of travel and other recreational activities. I’ve always seen Mr. Geeky in George. The oldest kid, who put off college while his younger brother went immediately after high school. While Mr. Geeky stuck nearby his home town throughout grad school, his brother went off to med school, internship and residency. Now, of course, the tables are turned and Mr. Geeky lives far away in the big city while his brother returned to his home town.
As I get older, I feel the sense of letting go of earlier dreams from my youth. There are certain things that will never happen. And what I get from the movie is the grieving process of that. There’s the denial, pain, anger, depression and loneliness (near suicide in the film), and then the post-angel part of the film is the upward swing toward acceptance, ending in the hopeful message that “No man is poor who has friends.”
I think what’s moving about the film, then, is that I go through all of that with George. Every year, I am reminded of what’s really important and quit comparing myself to the Sam Wainwrights of the world. It’s a moment of realizing my own shallowness and then letting that shallowness go. The emotion of that and the suddenness of it would make anyone cry.
No wonder box stores (I’m looking at you Target) are suffering. Their online counterparts suck. I’ve order two things–important things–for Christmas. The same day I ordered several other things from places like Amazon, Honeybaked Ham, and Overstock.com. I have tracking numbers for all of those items. A couple have already arrived and a couple more look likely to arrive tomorrow. The stuff I order from Target (one item is not available in their store): not shipped yet. Ordered on Monday. One thing’s for sure, I’m not rushing to Target to replace the order. I’ll find what I need elsewhere. Idiots.
And if you detect a little bah humbug in that, it’s true, I’m a little edgy about the season. I think a few others are too. Perhaps many people are frustrated, sad, scared, etc. because of the economy. Well, they’re taking it all out on the rest of us.* I haven’t been honked at so much in my life as I have been in the last week. And I promise, my driving hasn’t warranted these honks. Even my son commented on someone’s misplaced honk on our way to school the other day.
*Maybe they have a right to, but damn, it’s not my fault. And if they actually talked to me, I might offer sympathy and support.
I think Tim is going to regret tagging me. I have really bad taste in films. I’m much more of a book or tv show person for some reason. Mr. Geeky is the movie guy. I was, however, happy to see that Tim’s not the hugest fan of Hitchcock either. I mean, I like his films, but Mr. Geeky will watch *anything* by him that’s on.
So here’s the list for both of us (mine is listed first, Mr. Geeky’s is second):
American Beauty | Alien
Best in Show | Brazil
A Christmas Story | Citizen Kane
Dr. Strangelove | Diehard
Elizabeth | The Evil Dead
Ferris Beuller’s Day Off | Fargo
Gone With the Wind | Groundhog Day
Hairspray (both versions) | Halloween III: Season of the Witch (don’t ask)
It’s a Wonderful Life | Independence Day
Juno | Jurassic Park
Kramer vs. Kramer | Kung Pow: Enter the Fist ( I was torn myself)
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King | Lord of the Rings (the whole series) – we do tend to watch the whole thing in a marathon session
Monty Python and the Holy Grail| Matrix and Memento (tie!)
Nine to Five | North by Northwest
Out of Africa | O, Brother Where Art Thou
Platoon | Planet of the Apes
Quiet Man | Quantum of Solace (there are no Q movies!)
Rear Window | Raiders of the Lost Arc
Shakespeare in Love| Silent Running
Talladega Nights | Twelve Monkeys
Unbearable Lightness of Being | Unforgiven
Valley Girl | Vertigo
When Harry Met Sally | War of the Worlds (1953)
X-Files | X-Files (hey! we agree)
(no Y for me) | You Only Live Twice
Zorro | Zodiac