Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Currently: August/September

Since school started in late August I have spent an unprecedented amount of time ALONE in my car. (Not in the evenings, of course, but during the day. In the evenings the kids and I cruise from one activity to the next together.) And for the first time in my entire life, I have kept both the radio and the CD player off.

I love to turn the volume up and sing along to my favorites tunes. I love to turn the volume down and let the background music carry me away. But this fall, the peace and quiet I've found in my suddenly and almost eerily quiet car has been exactly what I needed.

I enjoy a wide variety of foods for dinner, but when it comes to lunch, I tend to find something simple and tasty and stick with it for between two and four months. For example, two winters back I ate chicken and vegetable soup every day. Last summer I ate a veggie burger, broccoli, and strawberries every day. This past winter I ate/drank a pineapple, banana, and spinach smoothie every day. And this summer, or at least for the last month, I've eaten cottage cheese and grapes every day. I seriously cannot get enough cottage cheese and grapes - the good folks at Kroger are starting to wonder why I suddenly shop for groceries twice a week instead of once, and why my cart is always half full with these two items. Yum!

I think this is a strange category, so when the October/November installment of Currently rolls around I'm going to combine Eating and Drinking. It just feels odd to month after month document that fact that month after month I drink basically the same beverages at the same time every day. Boooorrrring.

If you recall, we had 36 hours of glorious, fall-like weather a couple of weeks ago. Since then we've enjoyed a couple of cool(er) mornings, but our daytime high temperatures have remained near 90 degrees. Weather-wse, early- to mid-fall is my least favorite time of year in Texas, probably because early- to mid-fall is my favorite time of year in the Midwest.

I expect to feel a little more homesick than usual this fall because my mom, my sister, and I aren't taking our annual October/November weekend trip to Chicago. Between weddings and travel plans and work commitments we couldn't come up with a single free weekend, which means that for the first time in my entire life, I won't experience a Midwestern fall - brisk mornings, sweaters and jeans, stunning colors, falling leaves, pumpkin patches, and apple orchards - in person.
My mom took this picture in Northern Wisconsin last weekend.
Is anyone else SO over shorts? I strongly dislike shorts to begin with, and by this point in the year I want to throw every pair I own in the trash.

I'm proud to report, however, that once school started I transitioned easily from my workout-pants-until-6pm summer style to my showered-and-dressed-in-real-clothes-by-11am fall style. Every August I wonder if I'll be able to let go of the workout gear, and thankfully, every September I've been able to do so. Most days.

To be clear, I'm not waking up, showering, and getting ready for the day at 11am. I get up at 6:30am, get the kids dressed and fed, walk the kids to school, go to the gym, and then, before I shower, I tackle any errands (like the bank or the dry cleaner, where I don't have to get out of the car) or jobs around the house (like cleaning or yard work) for which my sweaty clothes will be acceptable. Just wanted you to know.

For the most part, even though I stay very busy during the day, I have no trouble settling down and relaxing for at least an hour or two every evening and for maybe half of the weekend. But every once in a while, the anticipation surrounding and responsibility associated with an upcoming event - even if I expect the event to be enjoyable - start to weigh heavily on my shoulders and I find myself unable to completely relax.

That inability to relax, and the desire to simply "get through" what's next, is what I'm feeling right now.

I hate this about myself. I wish I could - and I honestly try to - focus only on the excitement, but for some reason a part of me can't let go of the deadlines and responsibilities and costs and time commitments and, and, and… Just something else to add to the list of "things I'm working on".

I desperately want Moo's front claws to be removed. The vet we chose won't do the procedure until he reaches (approximately) five months old, and I just don't know that my ankles, hands (he loves to attack my fingers as they cruise across my computer keyboard), tennis shoes, and furniture can survive his kitten claws until late December.
On his way up my pajama pants.
I also want a pair of camouflage pants and a cream-colored lace top. Any suggestions on where I could find these items?

There's a fine line between want and need…I may NEED Moo's front claws to be removed.

I also need just like two more hours in each day. All those in favor, say "aye".

Seriously?! Who has time to think these days?!

When I find a spare moment I try to crack open a book and read a page or two. Right now I'm a few chapters into Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, "an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem". Tom commented that this book seems like a strange choice for me, considering my most recent reads included Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and Divergent for the second time, but that was my goal when I brought this work of nonfiction home from the library. I wanted to read something completely different, something that would require me to think about a topic that had never crossed my mind before. And boy, does Stiff deliver on those two fronts.

I'm using the hilarious coupon booklet that Will made me for Mother's Day as my bookmark. I smile every single time I open the book.

Besides grapes and cottage cheese, I'm enjoying the kids' fall sports season. Both Will and Hallie decided to play soccer this fall, so for the first time since the fall of 2012 I'm back on the field at least a couple of times a week. The organization through which Hallie plays doesn't hold actual games, but instead focuses on technique instruction, character building, and developing the life skills associated with team sports. It's a perfect fit for Hallie, who enjoys soccer-related games and activities and running around with her friends but loses all interest (and/or falls completely apart) as soon as someone takes the ball away from her. Will plays in the city's league, and while I'm not a huge fan of the league itself (we've yet to experience a season that wasn't plagued with coach, field, or uniform problems), Will wants needs the competition that real games bring. And if I'm being honest, I want the competition that real games - even if they're not my games - bring as well.

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