Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not Another Teen Blog

It's a very dark and dismal Sunday afternoon and I am reading young adult literature while my son watches Care Bears with a plastic bowl perched on his head (Mama, look! Hat!). I've had to pause and wonder why young adult literature is so interesting to me right now. I'm currently reading John Green's Looking for Alaska and earlier finished his most recent book Paper Towns and I'm not sure if I'm reading them just for the nostalgia or if there's something more to it. They're good books. At least, Paper Towns was definitely good in my opinion and Looking for Alaska is shaping up to be a good read (I'm on page 40). I guess what I'm wondering is why those 4 years of high school have left such an indelible mark on the US psyche. So many books, movies, and TV series all center around that time period and, for crying out loud, it's FOUR YEARS.

I look back on my high school days with a mix of regret, embarrassment, and yes, nostalgia. But I don't think they were truly the formative years of my life. I don't think I really started being a person until I left high school and went out on my own. I was one of those sponge kids in high school - I found kids who were funnier, smarter, and more talented than I was and tried to absorb as much of them as I could. It's shameful to admit, but there it is. It wasn't until I left that environment that I started to figure out that I could be funny and smart and that I had some of my very own Sarah-ish talents. I think that I started to figure that out my senior year in high school, actually, but it was the knowledge that I would soon be leaving it all behind that made me start taking seriously the task of finding out just who this Sarah Avery person is. And being a sponge is depressing and annoying for both the sponge and the, er, sponged from. To be honest, I'm finding it harder and harder to remember those measley four years with clarity.

Is it all just hormones? Is that what makes nearly all teenagers believe that those four years are like, omg, the most important years EVER?!?! I would be lying if I said that time in my life didn't shape me at all. I'm sure that being a sponge and realizing that I was a sponge had a lot to do with me deciding that I wanted more and I wanted the "more" to happen to me and not some conglomerate of all of my friends stuffed into a Sarah-shaped shell. Yes, I wanted to be more than social ravioli. Hopefully I am.

I think that the American obsession with high school is dangerous. Kids have all kinds of media telling them that this four year period is going to be the most important time in their lives and it's discouraging them from looking ahead. I think of all the kids that commit suicide while they're in high school because they feel like they are in something endless and it's so absurd. It's four years and those idiots making you miserable are going to be nothing but dim shapes in your memory in time. As some smart person once said, "the only way out is through."

[I don't remember when I wrote this but I saved it as a draft and never posted it. Dunno why.]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Simmer down, now...

I've been feeling hopeless lately and I think that's a pretty dangerous way to feel. It's just too easy to let myself start slipping down that aggravating slope when I watch/read the news, catch snippets of conversations, serf the endless tubes of the internets, etc. I need to take a moment, breathe deep, and take stock of what's good right now. Even if it's the small stuff. So here we go:

That first sip of coffee in the morning, provided it's coffee done right. Not weak or too bitter, sweetened just so, with enough cream or milk - the kind of sip that makes you close your eyes involuntarily and sigh a happy little sigh. I had that kind of first sip this morning. (Note: I know real men drink their coffee black but it's important to point out that I have never in my life claimed to be a real man.)

Both my kids waking up in a good mood. It's pretty darn fabulous when they open their eyes, stare blearily at me for a moment, focus, and then smile.

Having a long-anticipated, well-written, exciting book to read. I used to read books in the way other people might stuff popcorn into their mouths during some action-packed blockbuster. I'd cram them into my head as quickly as I could get my hands on them. I read at a much slower pace now and while I might miss that old fervor, I find that I'm actually savoring the words on the page. Being able to take some time to sit down and read is a reward, a gift, something to be appreciated. And I do appreciate it.

Playing online board games with friends. (It's also important to note that I have never in my life denied being a geek. Geek love, my brothas and sistas!)

And some things that are often taken for granted by myself and so many others: having a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food when I need it. I tend to really think of these things during the colder months when I'm out walking and my thighs have turned into blocks of ice and I can no longer feel my ears. At some point, I will be entering a warm building and have a chance to thaw and get a cup of something hot to drink. Too many people don't have that option.

OKay, now I think I've inflicted enough of my personal warm fuzzies onto the blogosphere. It's only fitting, being a Missoulian, that I should end this with a little something from Bob Marley: "Everything's gonna be alright."

And it will. Right?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Going for a walk

A man that I know is hiking the perimeter of Texas and recording his journey through Tweets, Facebook, news articles and his blog I highly recommend perusing his blog as it's a very good read and I in particular enjoy the vicarious position it puts me in. But it is this vicariousness that prompts me to write this blog now.

I am choosing to live vicariously through someone who is, essentially, going for a walk. A very long walk, granted, and one full of any kind of danger the modern mind can conceive of (and even the not so modern - a panther's scream in the night, anyone?) but a walk, still. Ever since having children, I have become annoyingly aware of the freedom I no longer have in my life. Going for a walk, which used to be a sort of whimsical desire that took nothing more than putting on some shoes and socks, grabbing a jacket or coat (depending on the weather) and going out the door, is now a process. I have the following to consider:

Have the boys eaten recently? If not, will they get hungry in the middle of the walk?
How long will I be gone and how far should I go?
Will we be gone long enough to justify schlepping along a gigantic diaper bag full of snacks, drinks, diapers, wipes, and changes of clothing?
Where did I put the damn stroller?
How warmly should I dress the boys?
Will Ben get too tired to walk? Ethan can sleep in the stroller but I don't relish the idea of dragging a cranky toddler down the road.
How bad will the traffic be on the chosen course? (Something I should have worried about when I was "alone" but nothing makes you aware of mortality like your own children.)

Slogging through these worries and others like them, the whimsy of the thought "I'd like to go for a walk" gets thoroughly crushed. However, I am not arguing that children take the whimsy out of life. Only as a parent can you push a cart down the aisles in the grocery store while cheerfully pointing out colors in an animated voice: "Green! See green? And BLUE! Do you like blue? I like blue." Or carry on a conversation consisting of an exchange of delighted, punctuated grunts : "Dah! Bah! Gah! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmah!" I suppose you can try this without children in tow but be prepared for public scrutiny and wayward glances. Having kids with you means that you can spontaneously skip, hop, sing, or dance. But you can't just go for a walk.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Damnit. I was wrong.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Resignation/One foot forward

I "created" this blog two years ago mainly to have the ability to comment on other people's blogs. I have been wrestling with whether or not I should actually enter the blogosphere myself, however. It seems odd that I should have majored in creative writing, yet not actually write. Chalk it up laziness or lack of confidence or both. That being said, I have decided to take a deep breath, gird my loins, stick up my chin, stiffen my upper lip, and take a crack at this whole "blogging" phenomenon. I'm still not entirely convinced that I'll be able to write anything truly worth reading but time will only tell. What does a 20-something mother of two have to say about the world? Well, a lot. But how articulate is she? Erm... not very. Still, though, I have leaked bits of myself onto Facebook and Myspace (but I have abandoned Myspace because it became too obnoxious for me) so why not sprinkle a little bit of me here? So this brief little paragraph is me dipping my toe to test the water. Now to gather my thoughts in order to take the plunge...