Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tuesday rambles



It's Tuesday morning, and I'm sitting down with my second cup of tea. I'm on the computer under the guise of looking up a Mystery Science activity for us to do in a bit, but the children have rediscovered their teddy bear collections {or realized just how many they have, with a combined eighteen years of collecting between them.... and now I've just gasped over that number...} and so who am I to interrupt their imaginative play?

So I'm here. With a cup of tea and an overfilled laundry hamper full of clean clothes ready for folding, and kids in the background filling stuffed animals with voices and heart and the heater thrumming...

~~~

These days are filled with Christmas activities. Movies, baking, making and wrapping gifts. Though I've thrown in towel with cookie baking. We have so many food allergies and sensitivities, I've found cookie baking in particular tedious. As I mentioned in a previous post, my personality lends itself to a lack of precision and so baking can be hit or miss. Quick breads and cakes, brownies and one specific chocolate chip cookie recipe I've got down pat. But cookies... Christmas cookies especially... seem to be my nemesis.

I had a list of cookies I wanted to bake this year, and so this week was to be all about cookie baking. Yesterday we started with an orange spritz cookie. Halfway through I looked at the kids and told them, "You know, I don't enjoy baking, but I do enjoy spending time with you both," and Fynn looked up and said, "So you're doing them both at the same time?" I laughed, but it got me thinking.

When you do an activity that you don't enjoy, that stresses you out, and at the same time try to enjoy every moment of the time you're spending with your kids doing this special thing because that's what's expected... I guess you're supposed to put on a happy face and just get through it for traditions sake.

I don't buy it.

The cookies turned out dry and crumbly. They taste mostly of flour with a hint of orange zest. They're cookies though, so they'll get eaten.

As for the rest, we're buying a bunch from Trader Joe's that the kids and husband can eat, and I'm making a cake for Christmas. Because cakes I can do. Cakes we can make together and I won't loose my mind.

It's all about knowing your limitations, your strengths, the things that make you want to go hide in the bathroom, and what makes you tick.

~~~

It's the time of year for reflection, and yet, for some of us it seems we reflect all year long and so the extra pressure of culturally appropriate reflection can put us over the edge.

Even still, while  academically our year begins in September, personally I do find January the perfect time begin a fresh planner, a calendar, a fresh start.

The key in being the type of person who reflects and changes throughout the year is finding the right tools to do help you do so.

This year alone I've tried the Get To Work Book and the bullet journal system. Both have their strong points, and I've both for various reason. Currently I'm enjoying the bullet journal that I keep as a homeschooling log more than my personal one. With the bullet journal one can be as creative or as minimalist as you desire. The Get to Work Book was kind of a gateway tool to bullet journaling. However, I found that the workbook didn't have quite as much room for each day as I wanted, and the bullet journal is almost too unstructured {unless I want to loose hours in structuring it, and constantly changing it and fine tuning it...}

It all comes back to wanting structure until I don't want structure, and then I want it again until I don't, and so finding something that lends itself to that cycle, the ebb and flow of, well, me, is proving difficult.

{I also realize I'm spending too much time focusing on what type of way to plan and keep track of my days instead of focusing on my writing projects! I've given myself a bit of a break after nanowrimo, but today is the day I'm going to begin rereading drafts of both the novel I began earlier in the year, as well as the one I was working on last month. I'd like to get through them both before Christmas so I can have an idea of what I'd like to work on, or find a way to approach working on both.... ramble within a ramble much?}

So. I'd love to hear what you all use for planning tools, and what your favorites are. I'm looking at the Start Planner for next year, thinking it looks pretty fantastic especially since there's a page allotted for each day.... but I'm open to suggestions. Looking back at this year the times I was most productive with my writing, I was using a set planner rigorously and it kept me more accountable than I have felt ever before. For myself, if there's something written in my planner for a specific day, I'm going to do it. If I have the option of moving an item into the following day {one of the whole points of the bullet journal is to have a rolling to do list, though I know I could customize and it's all about mindset...} then I'll take that option instead of actually doing said task.

{and this, my friends, is why writing is amazing: I didn't realize that until JUST NOW, what I wrote in the previous sentence!}

~~~

I know, frivolous stuff amid a world full of serious issues. But sometimes, frivolity is important. Taking a break from the news and the facebook feeds of opinions and high stakes and emotions. It doesn't mean I'm not interested or participating in the discussions, far from it.

But right now I'm doing a lot of listening. Or trying to. Reading for facts and hearing different perspectives even on the same side.

Because there are so many.

~~~

And on that note, the kids are finished playing, and I need to find some science activities as promised, and Poetry Teatime is on the horizon and we're writing our own poems this week...

I used to write these rambling posts often when I was blogging regularly, and looking back, they're some of my favorite posts. Partly because of conversations they started, partly because I can see what was going on in my mind, what mattered. Little things matter. What are the little things that keep coming up for you? That are on your mind that don't seem big enough to warrant discussion, but in all likelihood, do? I'd love to hear it, truly.

Happy Tuesday, my friends.

2 comments:

  1. This is so funny that you mentioned planners. I was going to text you this afternoon to pick your brain about the Get to Work Book. I need (really really) need a structure so bullet journaling doesn't work for me. I like a planner that has space & also lets me doodle or get creative too but that has the days all laid out already. Or else I get lost in the where to begin setting it up & how much space should I leave, etc. I do like the planner I had for 2016....just a simple one from Target. But my brain is screaming "Let's try something else!!!" when what I really probably need to do is just go buy the 2017 version and stick with what works! But I'm still going to research a bit ;-)

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  2. I usually buy a weekly planner from Barnes and Nobles that I can keep dates and reminders in (cell phone does NOT work for me). Then I have a little notebook (moleskine grid) for a bullet kind of task tracking system. I use markers in that one and have been having fun.

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