A January miscellany post

img_2479We are mostly back on the mend here. The toddler got the stomach bug this weekend while I was in California, and then my husband (who was the one taking care of the toddler) got it, but both are mostly better now. Of course, there turn out to be other illnesses beyond GI ones! I took the 5- and 2-year-old to their routine pediatrician appointment yesterday, and my daughter failed her hearing test because she turned out to have an ear infection. She's now on antibiotics.

Despite all this, I have been reasonably consistent with running. I find that it helps to assume that I will run every day. Then the question comes not "if" but "when" -- and that's much better for strategizing about the day.

On the plane to California I read a book called Time and the Art of Living by Robert Grudin, published in 1982. It is 365 (not a random number!) short meditations on time and how people experience it and spend it. While I'll admit that my mind wandered in places and his ideas for creating a more rational calendar just fell flat, there were plenty of great quotes. "We diminish ourselves by wishing time to pass." Or my personal favorite, "We pamper the present like a spoiled child." I often talk about how we give too much weight to the experiencing self vs. the remembering self -- the remembering self would love to have seen that art exhibit, but the experiencing self feels it's a lot of bother to get dressed and by the way it's cold out -- and this pretty much sums it up.

As a side note, though he wrote this in 1978-1981, he comes across as a very modern father in terms of his time and stories with his small children. Partly, this might be the nature of writing as a profession. He writes of his schedule being entirely decided by his sitter; if she chooses not to work Wednesday, he won't be writing on Wednesday. I can relate!

I'm looking forward to reading another time-related book: Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation, by Alan Burdick. He's a staff writer for the New Yorker, and explores a lot of the current research into time perception. More on that when I finish it.

I am clearing two big projects from my someday/maybe list: cleaning out my bedroom closet, and cleaning out my office. I had done the closet to a degree this fall, donating huge bags of stuff, but I still had a lot of junk lingering in the corners and in some bags of stuff I'd cleared out from drawers. That is mostly done now. There was no life-changing magic involved, but hey. The office could be a different matter. It's been cluttered for a while -- just the nature of papers, and receiving at least a book a day in the mail -- but I'm curious to see what I'll find. Possibly some nice pens, and notebooks, and books I actually want to read!

Speaking of life-changing magic: Marie Kondo posted a quote of mine on Instagram, though she just attributed it to "The Wall Street Journal" (where the essay it was in ran). Such is her reach that I actually heard from a gentleman who had tracked down the source of the quote, and wanted to confirm it was me so he could make a poster of it for his home.

Another someday/maybe project: going through old journals. I think I want to type up entries that are interesting, to have more interaction with memory, and possible purge some stuff that it is not worth having. But I haven't scheduled that one yet.

Photo: From the backseat of the car taking me to SFO on Monday. We had to take a lot of detours due to traffic and flooding but the result was a gorgeous drive through Napa and Sonoma, down through the Marin hills and over the Golden Gate bridge. 

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6 Responses to A January miscellany post


  1. Erin Wilson says:

    Interesting that Marie Kondo, a writer herself, would think the Wall Street Journal – an inanimate object – made a quote all on its own….

    • @Erin- who knows. She may have just found it second hand, or someone in her organization just pulled it. I assume nothing!

  2. Cloud says:

    It is nice to hear a story about someone tracking down the source of a quote to say something nice! When my essay on princesses ran in USA Today, someone tracked me down on Twitter (not mentioned in the article, which was published under my name, not my online pseudonym!) and told me I was a an idiot. That seems like the more usual way of things…

    But seriously, that is cool!

    • @Cloud- so true that people are more inclined to seek out to criticize. His note made me feel really nice!

  3. Jessica says:

    I recently read through a few of my old journals & it was so amusing! I have very much become the person the younger version of myself wanted me to be.

    • @Jessica- how wonderful! I’m hoping that’s what I discover when I read through. I mean, I think I’m living the life I wanted but maybe that’s a story I’m telling myself. I’m more worried that current me will read through old entries and just be disgusted with how much mental energy I put into stuff that doesn’t matter.

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