Since no one objected to list #3, and it actually received (gasp!) comments, welcome to list #4.
One of my greatest joys of reading blogs is also my greatest annoyance: I love to see all the cool stuff people do with their homes, lives, hobbies, kids, etc., but it sometimes makes me feel inadequate and lazy. I mean, apparently, while I'm sitting around reading about organization and creativity, other people are busy PRACTICING these things. And in blogs, these little bite-sized pieces of shiny lives, it can sometimes feel like my grungy self is just too lame for blogland. I don't want you to feel like my life is all glamorous and magical compared to yours.
I originally was going to title this list "Things I love about V" (and I'll do that one sometime, probably), until I realized it would be kinda sappy, and too much sappy makes me tired. So here's a non-sappy list to help you feel better about your lives.
1. Purging stuff. Actually, I like cleaning (scrubbing the kitchen sink is a favorite activity), but I rarely take the time to do it, partly because I have so much unorganized stuff. When my friend Johanna first came over, her response was "I just want to buy you some baskets or something." I like stuff. I like to have it around me, like a cocoon. A bare kitchen table tends to make me a little nervous. Now, having said that, I know that this clutter is not what's best for the whole family. I'm working on it.
2. Patience. I truly am one of the most impatient people I know. When I'm waiting for a train (which is almost every day, in this town), I have to get all meditative and remind myself to take deep breaths. Or do a U-turn and drive 20 blocks to the nearest underpass. And I have to literally sit on my hands when V's learning something new (like zipping her coat) to allow her the extra time it takes to do it. What's wrong with me?
3. Names. I used to be awesome at names. When I first started teaching, I could learn 125 names in a week and remember them all semester and beyond. Now, I'm lucky if I learn 125 names in the whole term, and the day I turn in grades, all those names fall right out of my brain. I still care for my students the same amount: I still desperately want them to succeed and have full rich lives and all that. I just cannot remember their names. The women are usually Amanda or Heather, and the men are all Jake. At least in my mind.
4. Resisting temptation. Though #1 on my list is a need to purge stuff, I am constantly tempted by the lovely thrift shops in our area. I'm also troubled by people who don't subscribe to my thrift store passion. I mean, I don't understand them. My sister points out that when you need something specific for your kids, thrift stores are not the most efficient way to get it, necessarily. But for example, in early October, she and I were both looking for winter gear for our kids. She found two lovely snowsuits (actually coats and snowpants sets) at TJ Maxx for her son and daughter, at around $30 a piece. But I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much. That same evening, I went to Saver's by myself and found brand new (still with tags) snowpants, in the exact size V needs, for $4. I know I was lucky, and this doesn't happen every time (she's still wearing last year's coat, for example, until I find one to go with the $4 pants), but I totally felt like I won. The key is to only buy what we need, and not just embrace every bargain/cool thing I run into. Ach.
5. Voices. This may seem like a small thing, but in this house, the ability to mimic is tremendously valued. Shaun has this skill, and V is exhibiting it quite early. I, on the other hand, can't even do a decent British accent. Or a southern accent. Or anything but a Minnesota accent. Shaun reads to V before bed most nights, and they develop these elaborate characters with which, when it's my turn to read, I just can't compete. Sigh.
6. Practicing Creativity. Well, I don't really suck at this. I just haven't been able to find much time for it. I should sew every day, should be elbow-deep in Christmas gift makings, but instead I just write silly blogposts. In all likelihood, I'll wait to start my gift making marathon until grades are turned in, around December 17th. It is unlikely to end well.
7. Optimism. I'm actually excellent at this, but it often trips me up, because I think it'll all work out in the end, and sometimes it doesn't. This is why I'm disappointed every single time a student cheats, because I'm so certain they won't do it. This time.
8. Coming up with 9 things I suck at. How much does that suck, to suck at describing what I suck at?
There, see? Don't you feel better? Yeah, me neither.