Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This I believe...

I may have mentioned my love for the This I Believe series from NPR before.   I picked up the audio and have found it is the most perfect way to start my day.  Each passage is unique and I marvel at people's creativity and ability to articulate such broad themes into concise, thought provoking passages.

One day I will draft a version of my own.  I have grown to know a lot of things for sure but don't quite have my head around what I would write for this assignment.   For now, I'll continue to listen and enjoy the series.


Monday, April 14, 2014

In the yard...

We bought our house when in January, meaning there was a thick (2+ feet) blanket of snow and ice on the ground.  It stayed that way through our closing process and the first few weeks of taking ownership.  The seller told me that she is an avid gardener and the yard is a spectacle come the warmer months.  I, on the other hand, am not an avid gardener so whatever was there would be happily welcomed and whatever wasn't, likely never would be and I honestly just wasn't too concerned.

But here we are, a few weeks into April and the snow is finally gone.  The ground is beginning to thaw and the yard is starting to give us a sneak preview into what's to come.   I've noticed prickled, thorny bushes (roses, presumably?) and large dormant bushes that show remnants of hydrangeas!   What color - one can only guess.

It's exciting....!   The final thaw and early signs of spring are always filled with a bit of magic here in New England but this year feels a little extra special.  There are, quite literally, surprises blooming with each day that passes.  


Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello

Just a note here to catch up....  life has been a whirlwind.  Between the move, the rental unit, a new family dog, trying to unpack, decorate and the little ol' task of working full time and raising an active toddler, it's been hard to come up for air.   But as we learned in 2013, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, this too shall pass.

Spring finally arrived yesterday and wow, did it feel nice.  We spent the afternoon at the park and it just felt so wonderful to shed the layers and shake it all off a bit.  Here is Mother Nature reminding me of a lesson that I already know well.  Yesterday's high-50's temps wouldn't have felt nearly as revitalizing had it not been for a brutally cold and long winter.

And so it is, as always - the teacher will appear when the student is ready.   Seasons. People. Life... the only constant is change.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday

It's Friday, and although sometimes the week ahead feels daunting - here we are, wrapping up yet another one.   The pace is crazy these days.  I'm up earlier, home later and trying to cram in some fun social time too.  I know I'm burning the candle on both ends but hey - life is for living.  

The boxes will get unpacked and we will settle in.   Eventually.  

(via simple lovely)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Overprotected

A Cup of Jo linked to this article yesterday and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.  Warning: it's a long read, but a worthwhile read, and really interesting too.   It made me somewhat nostalgic for many of my childhood memories - when my parents would leave me at my cousin's house for what was supposed to be a summertime weekend but I would keep extending it until I had been there for more than 2 weeks!   ...we had so much fun there, just being kids.  Playing in the woods, reenacting scenes from Robin Hood.

While times have changed, I will do my best possible job to remember how happy those times made me and give them to J.  He deserves it.   It's hard, now as a parent, to not warn your child about what might happen...or help them find the easier way.   But the exploration, the hits and the misses, are so critical.

If you have a chance, please read it.  I think it was so important.

"Even though women work vastly more hours now than they did in the 1970s, mothers—and fathers—of all income levels spend much more time with their children than they used to..."

"It’s hard to absorb how much childhood norms have shifted in just one generation. Actions that would have been considered paranoid in the ’70s—walking third-graders to school, forbidding your kid to play ball in the street, going down the slide with your child in your lap—are now routine. "

It is no longer easy to find a playground that has an element of surprise, no matter how far you travel. Kids can find the same slides at the same heights and angles as the ones in their own neighborhood, with many of the same accessories. Now the playground can hold only a toddler’s attention, and not for very long. 

“look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.” But adults have come to the mistaken view “that children must somehow be sheltered from all risks of injury,” Frost writes. “In the real world, life is filled with risks—financial, physical, emotional, social—and reasonable risks are essential for children’s healthy development.”

Children, she concluded, have a sensory need to taste danger and excitement; this doesn’t mean that what they do has to actually be dangerous, only that they feel they are taking a great risk. That scares them, but then they overcome the fear.

Hart can’t help but wonder what disappeared with “the erosion of child culture,” in which children were “inventing their own activities and building up a kind of community of their own that they knew much more about than their parents.”

"There is a big difference between avoiding major hazards and making every decision with the primary goal of optimizing child safety (or enrichment, or happiness). We can no more create the perfect environment for our children than we can create perfect children. To believe otherwise is a delusion, and a harmful one; remind yourself of that every time the panic rises."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Boomerang: Michael Lewis

I just finished up Boomerang by Michael Lewis.   It was a really interesting read (ahem, listen - I did the audio version).  It elaborates on the financial falls in 2008 of Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and California.   It required a basic knowledge and interest in global finance but otherwise Lewis did a good job developing the characters and some personal story lines to keep it from becoming too dry.

The recurring take-away from the book, in my opinion, was really what happens when we let credit get too loose...  Do humans possess a natural ability to "do right".   The answer, according to Lewis, was unfortunately, no, they do not.   Given the opportunity, we will overlook common sense, and allow our greed paired with a general optimism take over.    I thought the way in which Lewis used cultural generalizations to explain what happened in Iceland vs. Ireland and so forth and interesting way of tying in some anthropology into an otherwise financial topic.

In the final paragraphs on the chapter on Greece, Lewis describes an inscription from the ancient Greek orator, Isocrates,  “Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality. Because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality, and anarchy as progress.”   Boomerang certainly leaves a reader wondering if in fact we are on a downward descent....


Monday, March 24, 2014

73 Questions

Have you seen this clip with Sarah Jessica Parker for Vogue.com    Wow, she never disappoints.   What is it about her  ---  her ease, her comfort in her own skin, her style, her inner security.   She is such a class act.