1Thing: Cat Pee
I’m easily taken in by a sign that reads “free kittens to a good home.” I makes me think, Hey, I’ve got a good home! and things go from there. We have a new kitten and the couch has become a urine sponge.
I treated it with oxy cleaner like the guy on TV pushes. He’s full of crap. So tonight I went online and found a plan of attack. The cushion covers are in the washing machine and the stinking cushion is now soaked through with vinegar.
I want to attack the cushion with the wet/dry vacuum, but eleven at night and the neighbors would prefer I let them sleep. Besides, the cushions need to soak overnight. Meanwhile, I want to send the covers through the wash again with vinegar this time even though the machine isn’t even done with the first wash.
I’m washing the covers, I’ve soaked the cushion. The rest will have to come later. I’m doing one thing at a time and the world, I have to believe, will get better. Tomorrow is another day and another chance to do one thing.
A Brain With a View
Went to get the laundry out of the dryer while thinking about three other things that felt like they had to be done. The thought of all this was making me panic. I know that sounds like overstatement, but this is how my brain works. I’ve been trying to change my life of late and it feels as though everything has to be done immediately. But as I was pulling the laundry out of the dryer, I heard myself think the following:
One thing at a time and the world will get better.
I said it again in my head, two times, three, four. Then I said it out loud. Alone in the basement pulling laundry from the dryer I repeated to myself, “one thing at at a time and the world will get better.”
After I pulled the laundry out I recycled a can, I scooped the litter. Then I booted the laptop and found that I could route the wires for it more neatly. I did that. I shelved a few books on my desk. I lit a candle. And one thing at a time, my world got better.
I might be on to something.
I’m a Used-To-Be
Over the past week I have been working to declutter my life. I almost wrote that I was trying to simplify my life, but that’s not as accurate. I have simply been spending time getting rid of the things that I don’t use. It’s probably cliche, but I was finding that my possessions had taken possession of me. And so, I have been going through things and clearing out.
Some of it has been easy enough. The clothes that haven’t fit me or that I just never wore were easy to pitch. So too were some dishes we haven’t used in years. I was able to pull a bunch of compact discs because they are all on the computer and backed up several times. Even a few of the books were easy to dispose of. But somethings were more difficult.
The most difficult decision to make had to do with old notebooks in which I had kept writing. I had enough of these to fill two paper shopping bags and they seemed like the sort of thing that just couldn’t go. Yet I was struck by how much they troubled me, how much I found them to be a burden on me. It was a thought that hadn’t occurred before. They took up space on the shelf and they took up even more space in my mind.
So I packed them in those two shopping bags and they went out to the curb last week. I feel lighter already and, here’s the best part, I feel like writing more than ever. I wasn’t going to go back through those notebooks and I wouldn’t want anyone going through them without me to guide them. Having them gone relieves me of responsibility for the things in my past that I can’t change.
It turns out that clearing clutter in my world is really about making space in my head. I’m just peeking in on my brain and it looks spruced up, bright, clean. It feels like a nicer place in which to live. I think I’ll move in.
I’m a used-to-be.
I used to be a Catholic when I was a kid because my parents raised me as a Catholic, my friends were Catholic, I went to a Catholic school, and so on. But then I grew up, looked at the politics of the thing, indulged my heavy skepticism in the notion of God that I had been taught, found science much more convincing and moved into being hard-core atheistic.
I used to be an atheist and an angry one at that. I looked at believers as fools, as chumps who bought snake oil and believed in magical beings who ruled the heavens. I figured that it was a sign of weakness to give in to such foolishness, such utter nonsense, such child’s play. But then I started running into walls I didn’t think I could climb over.
And so now I’m a used-to-be type of person who just doesn’t know a lot. I know that I don’t believe that there is some single entity hanging over my head knowing my every move. I know that the Bible was written by men (and maybe a few women) without a divine guiding hand. I know that I have free will. But there are things I can’t account for in the power of human kind when we are together. I just get this feeling that something is binding us together.
I don’t think that the believers are fools or chumps any more. I think, for the most part, that I’m a chump if I go around trying to envision myself as better than every one else. It keeps me from finding peace and happiness. And maybe peace and happiness are God on Earth. Who knows? Not me. Not yet.
Recreating a Website
Okay, that’s pretty cool.
The Look Back
I’m recreating the Seven Valleys Writing Project’s website with some new tools available at Google Sites. It is an exercise in writing, and I’ve put up a post on our Seven Valleys Blog because I need an audience for this drafting process. So far, no one has gotten back to me, but it has only been a day so I should probably stop acting like I’ve got squirrels in my pants and settle down.
This is how it goes with writing too. I write something for whatever reason and get it to the point where it’s as good as I can make it. Then, almost immediately, I want to take it for a test-drive on someone else. Is this narcissism or a childish need to please, or does writing just work this way? I’ve yet to figure that out.
Anyway, I’ll keep working on it and see how the thing goes.
In the college cafeteria, I was walking
with a plate, silverware, a couple napkins,
and four glasses of cold milk when
I saw a beautiful girl looking at me.
I kept walking, trying to think
of my girlfriend back home,
but this girl had looked at me and,
I had to look back, to check.
That’s how I walked into a column,
dumping plate, silverware, napkins, and
all that white milk down the front of me.
That’s why the room erupted in laughter
and derision at a boy who still today
cannot seem to focus on where he is going
instead of all the places he has been
or might maybe have gone
Ready for the morning at the Seven Valleys Writing Project’s Open Institute on Technology. What more could I need other than a cup of Starbucks?
Frustration in Teaching and Learning
I’m at the Seven Valleys Writing Project’s Open Institute on technology and today has been a day when I have heard people suffering frustration. My first instinct is to swoop in and “fix” things. Luckily, people here are pretty strong and don’t let me do that. They push back and tell me to go away (they do it nicely) so that they can learn.
What is the purpose of frustration in teaching and learning and what is my role as a teacher when students suffer from frustration? Obviously I can’t lose students to frustration, but it seems just as obvious that I can’t save them from it. Neither thing is particularly useful. There is a middle ground and that’s what I need to look for.
In keeping with this theme, I’m frustrated with this piece of writing. When I was walking in the hallway I thought I had a full idea, something useful and interesting. Now, it feels mushy and weak—a question with an obvious answer instead of something important. Ugh. I’m frustrated with it and so, I’ll come back later.