Random thoughts for mid-week

I love seeing a day when my calendar is open. No calls. I can do what I want! Do you ever get open days? I find them to be a major benefit of working for myself, and largely by myself.

Parenting highs and lows. My 2-year-old didn’t nap yesterday, so I played with her for a while, just snuggling and tickling on my bed and she was so cute and fun and giggly. It was all happiness. Then, at night, I got home to find out she had bit the babysitter (who she really likes). As she told me, “I don’t know why I bite people.” I don’t know either. Sigh.

Speaking of last night…I spent some time at the library, and took a break from working to peruse the non-fiction stacks. It was fascinating to see a few things. First, I am amazed how many books I have no interest in. Second, books on certain topics are almost all uniform in tone. The divorce shelf, for instance, was uniformly about ‘how to make divorce less awful,’ which suggests that it probably is pretty awful. Third, I saw how quickly political books get dated. They probably sell well when coming out, but I’m not sure how many people wish to read screeds against WJC or GWB anymore. I’m curious how long they’ll be sitting on the library shelf.
 
I’ve been doing an experiment this week in checking email less frequently — just twice a day if possible. It’s been somewhat helpful for focus, but a key realization is that there are lots of ways to avoid work. I’ve been spending a lot more time surfing the web.

One thing I read: extreme frugality blogs. I followed a link from Money Saving Mom’s discussion on saving $900/month over to The Prudent Homemaker blog, which had advice on turning off the stove 2 minutes before food is done to save electricity. I am grateful not to be watching pennies, though it is somewhat fascinating to read about how people do.

I also read Emma Johnson’s post at Daily Worth about how men don’t need to do more housework, women need to do less. Tentative finding from Mosaic: people who work fewer hours do more housework and errands. That makes total sense – they have more time to do it in – but I also tend to see from logs that it looks like a function of being around. A lot of people seem to have trouble just relaxing at their houses. If you’re in the house less often, you spend less time doing stuff to it.

Mind/Shift has a great article on online resources for gifted kids. (Cross posted at Gifted Exchange). Key quote is that if you’re always the smartest person in the room…you need to find a different room.

8 thoughts on “Random thoughts for mid-week

  1. My father does that with boiling pasta– after it’s gotten to a rolling boil, put the lid on and turn the heat off. He’s also very much into conservation so it isn’t 100% about saving pennies. (Though a lot of it is.) Also grateful not to be saving pennies, though I do do some things automatically because of my upbringing (turning lights off etc.)

  2. I have a similar fascination with Soule Mama’s blog. I would never want to homestead much less home school, but I find it intriguing to read about a life so different from my own.

    1. @Alison- exactly. Reading blogs is like reading serial literature sometimes. You get caught up in the characters and the various situations they have created for themselves.

      I think I would be quite good at frugal living if I chose to be. As it is, we do a lot of hand-me-downs and cook at home. I don’t drive much (but we do own 2 cars).

  3. Does turning off the stove like that really conserve much $$/energy? Fascinating.

    When I was writing my diss–largely pre-internet–I took a lot of walks.

    1. With most of this stuff, my DH tells me that it’s whether or not you’re trying to cool or heat the air in the room that’s important. Unplugging stuff, not using the oven, etc. saves a lot of money when you have the a/c on, but doesn’t do much when you have the heater on because most of the wasted energy is going to heat. If you’re trying to create heat, then it’s not really that important whether the heat is coming from the heater or from appliances wasting energy.
      *
      She keeps her a/c lower than we do (79 vs. our 82, unless I’m pregnant and feeling irritable)– I also think she’s wrong about the ceiling fans because cross-ventilation is important. (Also reversing ceiling fans in the winter and keeping them on can lower heating costs.) That may be why we’re able to keep our a/c at a higher temp than she is. (My father, of course, made sure we only had the a/c on at all if there was a heat advisory, and that is the primary reason that I make a lot of money. I had a Scarlett O’Hara moment about never overheating again.)

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