Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Changing my internet diet

Last night was one of those nights. One of those nights where it was downright blissful, instead of blisteringly annoying, to be up at 1:30 a.m. and just puttering around not doing a heck of a lot of anything. One of those nights where I have one of those multi-threaded thought patterns running in the background of my brain, sometimes running parallel, sometimes intersecting, sometimes flattening out into a broad ribbon of perfectly coalesced concepts.

Part of it was just reveling in the silence. I'm a solitary person by nature, but that pretty much went by the wayside when I had as many children in as many years as I did. DBS and I can be solitary or together when it's just the two of us, but there's no way of being alone anywhere in this house as long as more than one person is awake. So here I was, with hours and hours all alone, all because the Banshees fell asleep at their appointed hour without too much battle, and the worn out spouse had long since surrendered to slumber himself. There was just me, slightly  ditzy from the latest cold virus, my silence, and my thoughts.

One thread was spinning itself out of the deeply seated need to get my house in order. There's nothing figurative about that; the yard is a mess, the house is a mess, we're overcluttered and underorganized and we didn't get one trick-or-treater at Halloween because I guarantee you the yard looked entirely too well-disheveled for comfort. There's spooky, and then there is the threat of the grape vines actually swallowing somebody whole spooky. The yard needs to be in order because, well, because I always knew that someday it was going to be important to me and someday just bit me on the rear. It left an itchy bump in my psyche, something that must be exorcised, and the only way to do it is - O dear me - is to actually go out there and do it myself. To finally convince my inner being that fell swoops and grandiose gestures are all well and good, but it's going to be the monthly, weekly, daily routines that actually tame this yard so I can make of it what I wish. Personally, I want the front yard to be a lovely pasture for the geese and the ducks. The geese go after greenery with such passion - I really wish I liked my salads as much. DBS won't let me do much more than that, no tomato trellises, no raised beds of peppers, not so much as even a tiny plethora of Musque du Provence pumpkin vines. Still, the back yard is fairly sizable, I'm sure I could throw a couple of squash plants back there. The MdP has been especially fascinating to me since I bought a 20-pound specimen of it a year ago. So dusty looking on the outside, so very orange on the inside, and so very tasty as a pumpkin pie. Oh yeah. I need to get the birds properly housed (and yes, I know I've been saying that for a while now) and I need to get our Survival Garden going in style.

Another strand was plying itself together out of two different thoughts. One, the house and our desperate need to get decluttered and organized: Two, the Banshees and I need space and structure to really do well with the homeschooling. 

I fought for a long, long time to get the house organized and then, a couple of years ago, it hit me that this goal would not and could not be obtained as long as we had all of this stuff.  I've never been taught how to throw something away. I've always felt lousy about getting rid of something that was useful, or could be useful, or might be repurposed somehow. I even bargained a little -- hey, if I just gather this stuff together and put it on Freecycle or take it down to second-hand store -- that'll be all right, right? But sad truths need facing now and again; taking it to charity or giving it away is only going to work in this household after we've gotten rid of a whole lot of things that we don't use, or can't use, or can't find to use. So during the Christmas season I told the Banshees that there was no sense in ignoring the issue, some of the objects in our house were going to go into the dumpster because we just need to get out from under it in any way we can, even if it isn't very pretty and offends our odd sense of thrift. 

Yes, it's lovely that we have all of the art supplies. What good do they do anybody if I can't keep the table clear long enough for them to be used? What good is that old computer if I can't set it up where the Banshees can use it? These kids are ready to grab at any learning and absorb it through sheer osmosis; how do I get in front of that if I'm behind in everything else that matters?

And come to think of it, why haven't I finished National Novel Writer's Month (50,000 words in 30 days, I love November!) in so many years? I'll never be Stephen King but I can write any amount of wordage in a short period of time, so why haven't I?

Why haven't I written on any of my blogs in more than a year?

That is when, of course, all of those lovely little threads curled around each other and turned into a lovely pellucid pattern. 

Too much Facebook time. 

Oh, I spend far too much time on the internet by any measure. I love my political blogs and news outlets, and most of my friends and relatives know by now that all they need to do is tickle me under the nose with an interesting research problem and I'll come back to them in a few minutes/hours/days with the issue researched down to the furthest code on its DNA strand. I love research. Adore it. Did I ever mention that Connections was one of my favorite series?

But I let myself be pickled by Facebook. I'd cycle back -- are my crops done? Has anybody responded to my post? What funny poster has my brother come up with today? Who knew Sulu was so hilariously ornery? Cycle out to a political blog, come back, go figure out who's selling Shetland sheep or Shetland fleece or cobweb weight Merino 2-ply (I have a shawl that I'm planning that's going to take at least two years to knit, I need to have yarn I can get along with!), come back to see what's going on in the town square of Facebook. Obviously, I like hanging out there. Also obvious, but harder for me to see (and believe me, there are none so blind as those who just won't see) I was using this for every excuse under the sun for not getting everything that I really needed to do, done.

I have a lot of objectives that I'd really like to achieve. But I'm not going to get anywhere if I do nothing but hang out in the ether all day. The weeds don't pull themselves, they just get brown and sere and glower sullenly at me. The Banshees do teach themselves, but they need their resource center to be a little more, ah, shall we say present? Honestly, they may not be getting the public school edition of education, but I've found myself hurling sources of knowledge into the melee and ducking while they pounce on it like starving wolverines. They're avid, they're ready, and I'd better have a lot of supplies on hand if I want to survive this. (SO looking forward to teaching more advanced maths. And archaeology as it applies to cleaning of bedrooms.) And the words, the words will not write themselves. I'm not going to get better at wordsmithing if I'm not working at it. Do, or do not do. There is no try... as Yoda was so fond of saying. I have books in me. I need to let them out.

So, if you're here because you've missed me on Facebook, these are my few reasons for spending less time at the public square. I miss you too, but there are some things I need to work on, and here is where I'm likely to work on them. 

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