Friday, January 20, 2012

12 in 12

A few nights ago, I was thinking about my list of New Years Resolutions.  For some reason, I got all wrapped up in the number twelve.  I don’t usually strive to have the same number of resolutions as the year (thankfully, otherwise 1999 would have been a BUSY year), but something about 2012 has caused me to sort of fixate on twelves.  It started because I was thinking about my fitness goals for the year.  I started to reign in my eating habits at the beginning of December.  I recommitted to Weight Watchers, and focused on eating like a normal, healthy person, rather than a slightly out of control pregnant/nursing mama.  Which has gone GREAT!  I seriously suffered sugar withdrawal the first few days, but since then, I’ve been feeling so much better.  Generally much less irritable, and of course, rather pleased with myself for doing good things for my body.  Anyway, I was thinking, “I will end up wearing size 12 jeans this year, I just know it.”  Which led me to the idea of “12s in 12.”  

I didn’t want 12 resolutions, because that seems like too many.  I take my resolutions seriously, and 12 is just not achievable.  So I decided to come up with a list of twelve things I am happily anticipating.  Twelve things about this year from which I expect general awesomeness.  I have to say, I sort of drew a blank after about #9, so it was a fun challenge to round out the list.  Bikes and trains came to me in the middle of the night one night.  

Turns out, “Twelve in 12” is totally a *thing* on the interwebs.  I guess people are generally suckers for a dozen of something.

So, here’s my list.

  1. Swimming lessons for Miles
  2. Noah starting to talk
  3. Movies : The Hobbit, Breaking Dawn Part II, The Hunger Games
  4. The New Library Opening
  5. Spending time on my archives project
  6. Trips and visits to meet new little people, possibly to LA and/or Portland, and a trip to Disneyworld
  7. Size 12
  8. Taking more family photos, some with Rhee
  9. Exploring local trains
  10. Noah turning 1, so we can take family bike rides
  11. All the perks of weaning Noah (though this one also makes me sad at the same time)
  12. Pitching a tent in the back yard this summer

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Volume 106

I finished transcribing Volume 106 of my journal collection last Wednesday.  I'm not transcribing them in order.  I don't want you to think this is the 106th journal I've typed up.  I don't know exactly how many I have transcribed, I've started this project so many times and in so many formats, it's hard to say for certain.  This time, however, I'm serious about it, because I have a spreadsheet.  I have a list of every month starting in 1992 (when I really started to record things) up through today, broken down by month, and I've got columns for my journals and my photos.  I note where these things are stored, both physically and digitally, and if and where they are backed up.  I've also got columns describing where the items are "browsable."  For instance, I've been scanning all my paper photos and putting them in albums, so I note where the scans are (which CDrom), whether they've been backed up onto our home server, and which photo album I could go to to browse, say, October of 1997.  That's a black Mypublisher album, if you're curious.  The photos are nearly done.  There's a gap between 2002 and 2006 (which is tricky because that is right when I made the transition from paper photos to digital cameras) and then July 2010 to present day.  My goal is to finish up the gaps this year, and then be in a place where I could build each album in "real time" more or less as the photos are taken.  Spend New Year's Eve ordering up that years Family Album.

Anyway, my spreadsheet is much bleaker in the journals columns.  There are a lot of journals to transcribe.  Last year, around February, I gave up writing on paper every night.  I switched to blog format for my "journaling."  I'm not sure if I told you that.  I started with a lot of trepidation, it almost didn't feel like writing if I wasn't using a pen, and I still have a few reservations, but for the most part I like it.  I like being able to add a photo to a particular day.  I like the pretty blog themes I can choose from.  And I like knowing that I'm not creating new journals that will require transcription.  Only the 115 or so "back issues."  One of my New Year's Resolutions this year is to transcribe six volumes.  

I have set up several private blogs for journal transcriptions, one for every five year period of time.  One ginormous blog felt unwieldy.  So, volume 106 goes into the blog for 2006-2010, and my current journalling goes into the blog for 2011-2016.  I just enjoyed a brief flip through volume 106 on the iPad.  Talk about convenience, when they are all done, I could check back on any instant from 1992 to current day from a mobile device!

I started transcribing last year, with volume 108.  I was in the last month or two of being pregnant with Noah, and so I transcribed the journals that covered the period of time when I had a month or two left of being pregnant with Miles.  It was good to reconnect with the Jenn from the last weeks of pregnancy and the first weeks of parenthood.

Volume 106 covers November 2008 to January 2009.  It starts with a trip we took to Portland and ends right before we all went to Tahoe.  One entry talks about the possibility that H will move back out to the West Coast!!  One entry describes how I will establish a photo-a-day collection for the first year of Miles' life  (that never happened). December 3rd, 2008 is the day we learned we were having a boy, that's in there.   Quite a few entries describe how many days I have left of work before maternity leave and how much school work needs to be done before the end of the quarter, and how much cleaning and organizing needs to be done around the house before the baby is born.  There's definitely a sense of  waiting, of filling time, and an attempt to prepare.  There's also a lot of recognition that life is about to change, hugely.  Pretty much every weekend day that Nathan and I spent watching TV or movies (even when I was watching for Library School Homework) ends with me describing how we won't be able to do this once the baby comes.   It's interesting to note how my fears/predictions/expectations match up with our new realities.  Certainly makes me think about what life will be like two years from now, and how that will compare with the thoughts I jot down (or type up) tonight.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Three moments...

I'm thinking about you, H!  I'm thinking about your five days of silence, I think you are on day three as I write this.  I spent a few minutes contemplating how little stillness there is in our house, and how moments of quiet usually put me to sleep very quickly.  I was thinking about this on Friday morning, right as I got in the car after I dropped the boys off at school.  Which led me to think about how, on any given day, there are as many as three moments that I can reliably count on for a brief pause.  A space of quiet and solitude.  (Others might appear randomly on any given day, but these three are part of a routine in our house, and so, I am able to blog about them.)

Predictable Peaceful Moment One:

Happens right after daycare drop off.  Mornings are a blur of activity from the moment I get up until I walk out of the gate at school.  This is my main "alone" time with both boys, and some of my favorite times, despite the craziness.  Both boys are well rested and happy to see Mama.  But it's very, very quick and busy.  So by the time I get them to school, I am buzzing. 

When I walk out of the gate and get into my car, I'm thinking about how much I love my guys, and how GOOD they are (or how clever, or how sweet, or how funny--this varies from day to day.)  I'm also thinking about how grateful I am for their teachers and their wonderful school, the place that will keep them safe all day, the place and the people that help them become more clever, sweet, funny, and GOOD.

Then, before I start the car, there is one moment (usually accompanied by a sip of coffee from my travel mug) of peace.  My brain is switching from mom-mode to librarian-mode, but there is a moment of quiet. 

Predictable Peaceful Moment Two:

This is the flip side of moment one.  At the end of the word day, I have a short hike back to my car.  I pass by the new library building and walk up a quiet street to the parking lot.  Along the way, I finish thinking about whatever work things I was thinking about in the last hour.  I start to anticipate how much fun it will be to go home to all the guys, and hear about their days.  Usually, it's dark, so I can visit with the moon and a star or too.  Lately, it's been very cold, which is nice, because otherwise I might forget it's winter.  And between when Librarian Brain switches off and Mom Brain switches on, there is another moment of stillness.

Predictable Peaceful Moment Three:

Most days we take our family walk after dark.  We head out between seven and eight, so by the time we get home, the boys are sound asleep.  Nathan gets Miles, and I get Noah.  We put the amazingly awesome double stroller in it's place in the garage and then we take the boys to their beds.  Each night as I follow Nathan up the stairs, I think about how much I enjoy our family walks (even if I wasn't excited about it when we started) and how soon it will be before the little guys will be too big to carry, even if they do fall asleep on the walks.  By necessity, it's a quiet moment, creeping up the stairs as best one can while carrying a 25 pound warm, snuzzly blob.  It's one of the family-est moments of the day, and because it's the moment before I get to start my own winding down for the day, it's delightfully calm. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

My New Desk

We're about to open a new library building, at my library.  We're closing up on January 16th, and we have our Grand Opening Celebrations on February 11th.  It's all very exciting.  And incredibly, freaking, downright, CRAZY.  Every one of my coworkers is freaking out on one level or another.  Some of them are freaking out on all levels.  And not entirely without cause.  We haven't been able to really work in our new building much, and our movers arrive to transport our collections in ten days.  Yesterday, for instance, I discovered that the magazine collection I tend doesn't, you know, FIT, so much, on the new, undeniably beautiful, new shelves that were planned for them.  They don't fit in a variety of ways.  The shelves are too small for the magazines and there are nowhere near enough shelves to house the number of magazines we receive.  This is disturbing certainly, and a bit of a challenge, and something I'm sure we'll figure out in the next few days.  Just a little unforeseen blip.  I found two or three such blips yesterday.

And so did my coworkers.  All over the place.  Everyone, in every little corner of the new building is experiencing some growing pains.  Which is to be expected.  It's like when you move into a new house, and you realize there is no full length hanging space in your master closet.  Who hasn't been there before?  Eventually, you make your peace with hanging your wedding dress in the guest closet.  Still, everyone is FREAKING OUT.

My favorite way to combat the craziness?  I like to plan my new desk.  I have a lovely new desk.  It has several great features, such as being near a window and close to Heidi, allowing us to plan stuff without getting up from our chairs.  But most of all, it's SO PRETTY.

Here's my desk now:

My kingdom, under the air vent that blows freezing air all day.

Very busy.  Lots of happy crap.

Yep, lots to look at.

Here's my NEW desk (a week or two ago...):

Luckily these chairs have been moved...otherwise it would have been 
pretty crowded.  The walls are a nice buttery yellow color, and my
computer screen will go on that arm thingy there.

My second table!  And shelves!!  Also note, I'm not wedged into the middle
of a bunch of shared workspaces, where other people will need to reach
over my head several times a day to accomplish a task!  Such luxury.

My plan is to keep things very simple and clean and tidy.  Not nearly as much happy crap this time around.  Much of that will go in my ephemera collection to be scanned.  But the things that are out and visible, oohhh, those will all be pretty.  Much like this blog, I'm going GIRLY with my desk.  No trucks or dinosaurs.  Flowers and dainty shapes.  I can't WAIT to get in there.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Things I want to try next Christmas

I was getting caught up on my feed reader after the holidays and found all these cute ideas I wanted to remember for our next holiday season. am I going to remember to come back and check the list on this post?

  1. I want to make cookies with the boys and maybe even put a little tree in Miles' room, like this mom did.
  2. Definitely excited about the wrapping Christmas books and having a special "holiday book time" each night...we don't have 24 Christmas books yet, so it's a tradition we could grow over a few years...
  3. I already started packing the boys Christmas shirts in with the Christmas decorations.   I ran across several cute shirts Miles had last year just a few days ago...grrr.   Not a total loss, as Noah can still wear them next year, but I'm sad Miles missed the chance to wear them in 2011.
  4. Email from Santa!!  Awesome.  I'm not sure Miles will be quite old enough for this next year, maybe this is a 2013 thing.
  5. And wow, have I enjoyed looking at various December Daily albums....I'd go with a digital version, if I tried it...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Memory Isn't Cohesive

"Because memory isn't cohesive
It isn't a solid line from one day to the next.
It comes in chunks and I don't know them as
a solid entity.  I know the little pieces of them that
were a particular moment.  It all seems to have music
flowing through it.  But not a song I could name,
or even hear fully."

I have no idea what this quote is from.  Maybe "The English Patient" by Michael Ondaatje?  Maybe something by Jeanette Winterson?   No idea.  It's what I put on the very first Photoshop cut'n'paste I ever did.  That quote, a picture of redwoods, a scan of a tea bag, the fortune from a cookie (inverted, so it's white font on black!), a Scrabble board and a package of chopsticks.  What does it all mean?  I am too deep for myself.

I found this gem, along with a copy paper box full of other random ephemera, in my hall closet.  I'm trying to collect all such material into one bin.  I'm also hunting for some postcards Jean sent me, probably in 1996.  I don't remember what these postcards look like.  I remember them as being lovely, lovely.   Whenever I think about collecting all our bits and pieces into one place, I think fondly of how nice these elusive postcards will look.  Though I don't know what they look like.  I'll know them when I find them.  I think there were a series of three or four of them.

These pockets of ephemera, though, bring up such a mix of emotion.  Part of me thinks, "Cool!! I'd forgotten that."  Part of me thinks, "Really?  I've taken up hall closet real estate for this?"  And usually, I only seem to "get" about a third of whatever it was I thought I needed to tell myself, in saving such things.  Were the chopsticks symbolic?  Or were they just near the scanner when I started experimenting?  No clue.  But I still like the phrase "memory isn't cohesive" and "I know the little pieces of them that were a particular moment."  So I guess I'm glad I stuck this on a shelf.  Even if I now plan to scan it and dump it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Think what we've missed!

I've been doing an inventory of my archives lately.  The places I am recording things about my life, or about the boy's lives.  It's rather a stunning list.  Wanna see it?

  1. Miles' Baby Book
  2. Noah's Baby Book
  3. The boy's Birthday books (which are pretty easy, as they only require up-dation about once a year)
  4. The Family History Blog -- a project I've started to collect all sorts of family memories, stories, old photos...I'm attempting to farm this project out to Grandparents, as much as is possible.
  5. Family Photo Albums (nearly caught up, between scans of old photos and digital or two more albums to finish, and then I'll just be making new albums as life goes on)
  6. My daily journal (which I've taken to writing on a private blog, so that later editions need not be transcribed...)
  7. The boy's day to day blog (Two New Little Cupcakes)
  8. This blog, to which my commitment is clearly unflagging, what with this being my second post in two days.
Then, there are my "archives..." including old journals, letters and other ephemera that I am slowly, slowly, slowly beginning to digitize and organize in private blog form.  Talk about a bucket list project.

And yet....and yet....I've felt compelled lately to do MORE.  There are several moms out there on the internet doing all sorts of interesting projects that just SING to me.  Come join us!!  We will assimilate you!!  I envy them their creative spaces, their beautiful finished products and, heck, sometimes, even their bubbly girly handwriting.  

There's an angel that pops up in Job's Daughters lore, I don't know if she's really in the Bible, or if she's Job's specific, the Recording Angel.  She's there jotting down notes (and in this day and age, you'd have to think she's shooting some photos, making some YouTube videos, and checking various Facebook statuses) of everyone in the world, and noting who's Naughty and Nice.  I think Santa sends his elves to intern with her before they are promoted to his list making services.   Anyway, the Recording Angel.  She's probably my patron saint.

I tell myself that there is always a fine line where Recording = Not Actually Living, and that these blog moms may be missing out on the actual moments they are so busily shooting and scrapping.  (But darn, do they seem to go to fun places and have organized closets and make beautiful Halloween costumes.)  I remember that moments when I'm not actually savoring the awesomeness of two growing boys are wasted, even if I've managed to capture it perfectly in a photo.

The other thing that strikes me lately is how many events in my life I would have LOVED to have recorded with these new-fangled web thingies we love now.  Shoot, jean, if you'd blogged from France?  If H had Facebooked from Nicaragua?  I remember distinctly, somewhere around 2000, right when I started to take all those web classes, thinking, "Could I make a web space where all the teos could post little notes about what they were doing?  We could talk to each other online, leaving little comments on each others updates?"  Dude.  I INVENTED FACEBOOK.  Sorta.  What if I'd had a digital camera when I went to Wales?   What if I'd started using Photoshop earlier?   Think of the things we could have captured as short videos (can rap, polka breaks, Seder at 512 Second Street?  just to name a few)....

It would be nice, in that the digital trail would already be in place.  Keyword searchable, so perhaps we might have a record of what Jean really meant when she uttered "That's just one dipthong away from Honkey..."  Which I have scribbled on a piece of paper somewhere.  

On the other hand, we wouldn't have written as many letters.  We wrote a lot of letters.  This is one third of the letters I have organized and collected in one place.  We wrote LETTERS.  Anais Nin would be jealous of the letters we wrote.  They were juicy and long and frequent.  Partly because we were younger and had more disposable free time, and partly because we were full of angst and creativity and we were apart when we were used to being together.  But also, I think, partly we wrote such letters because we didn't have blogs or Facebook and we couldn't send text messages or check our email on our phones while waiting in line at the grocery store.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dear (insert your name here),

Dear Blog, Friendteos, Family, and even myself....

I miss you, we should hang out more.  I wrote this in pretty much every holiday card I sent this year.   So this year I'm going to be better about connecting with friends.  Friends who live less than an hour away, friends who live in this state, friends who require plane tickets, and friends like this blog, who live right on my desktop.  I'm not saying I haven't been spending my time wisely, I'm pretty proud of what I've been doing, but I'm going to work on a little balance.

I didn't send my blog a holiday card, but I do miss this space.  Heh.  I miss talking about ME.  A few nights ago, I popped into this blog to see when I last wrote, and discovered I hadn't posted a darn thing in a year.  So I changed the template to something girly, sure that having a pink and floofy space would entice me to hang out here, virtually, more often.  There are so few pink and floofy spaces left in my life at this point.

And then today, I learned that H is disappearing from internet land.  She's separating herself from email, facebook, her cell phone, and pretty much every tool I use to keep in touch with her.  Letters.  She can get letters.  I used to write letters.  I used to write a LOT of letters.   I know this, because I've been sorting through them (more on this later.)  I could write to H here, and print and send them like letters.   And Jean, well, Jean needs something to read in the middle of the night, when she's up feeding Jack.  So, I can blog for me, and for Jean, and for H, who will get this in letter format.

So, 2012, the twenty year anniversary of meeting Jean, H and the other teos, I'm going to re-develop some aspects of my 1992 lifestyle.  The keeping in touch with people habits....not the eating ice milk after every meal habits.

Jenn (remember me?)