Things I should know

I’ve been thinking about gaps in my education lately. These are some things I should know more about:

  • The war in Afghanistan.
  • Science.
  • Financial markets and the principles of basic investing.
  • Japanese grammar.
  • The human body.
  • China.
  • Church history.
  • Divisions and functions of the branches of the U.S. military.
  • How to make things grow.
  • Russian history.
  • Fertility.
  • Cholesterol.
  • The Federal Reserve.
  • How to fix a spare tire.
  • Insurance policies.
  • How to read music.
  • Global warming.
  • Michele Bachmann.
  • Interest rates.
  • Calculus (and by “know more about” I mean “learn anything about”).
  • Currency exchange rates.
  • How to drive a manual transmission.
  • The Supreme Court.
  • Canadian provinces.
  • Latin and Greek roots.
  • The difference between Central and Latin America.

The reason why I don’t know more about these things is because, I suppose, I don’t find them fundamentally interesting. Even though I feel like I should. Do you know about these things? If so, enlighten me. I want to know.

Adjusting daily ritual

Orchard yieldI was realizing today that I’ve stopped doing a lot of things that were somewhat routine in my life. All of these new rituals have cropped up and have been replacing the old ones.

For instance:

– Can’t remember the last time I wrote in my journal (I’ve been doing my daily thanksgiving card, though, since January 1).
– Haven’t been reading nearly as many novels (blame that on all the dog books).
– No more yogurt or sugary cereal for breakfast (thanks, Lent!).
– No exercise (OK. I have no excuse. But I have been walking a lot more!)
– No fiction writing (I’m going to blame that on the weekly challenges. And on being lazy/uninspired).
– My Bible/prayer time has become increasingly spotty (no excuses for that).

I miss my real journal, though. I want to start keeping that again. I also miss feeling like I actually had muscles in my legs, instead of just limp fillets of skin stretched over bone. These habits ought to be reinstated. My sisters are very good about keeping goals and meeting them on a daily basis. I’m not sure how they do it, but they are both exceedingly accomplished.

Part of the problem might be this resurgence of my obsessive personality. All other notions and long-term aspirations (such as saving up to buy and learn how to use a DSLR, making my calligraphy business more professional, and going to grad school) have taken a back seat to my current urge to get a dog. Somehow I’ve tricked my brain into thinking that it won’t be that bad to have to wait a year. The Year of Patience! Right?

Still. I feel restless somehow. Like I should be doing something else that I’m not.

That said, the warmer weather is making me feel more alive than I have felt all winter. I’ve been taking long walks with Liz’s Golden Retriever, Bo, and finding excuses to walk downtown as often as possible. It was a long and dreary winter here in the Virginia mountains, but I finally feel like we’re coming out on the other side.

In other news, I’ve been reviving my love of Neko Case, Patty Griffin, and Gillian Welch, because I feel like they are appropriate for the landscape in which we live. My route to work is not especially lovely, but it does provide incredible views of the Blue Ridge mountains on the drive to and from the office. I am always grateful for the glimpses it provides and when Patty Griffin is crooning in the background, it’s just perfect. This is a beautiful country, folks. You should come visit.

All is calm

… with the exception of Aoive, the Pratt’s beautiful and crazy English Springer Spaniel, who is whining because she can’t stick her paws in my face… We are in Southern Pines again for a few days and will be jumping back and forth from here to Durham for a wedding this weekend. Then we’re back in Davidson for our annual New Year’s Day party. It has been a long, perfect, and peaceful holiday break and I wish it could go on forever. Even Reuben has been having a great time.

I’m enjoying the time to sit, read, drink tea and talk with much-missed relatives. The time to reflect has also allowed me to collect my ideas for 2011 goals. The women in my family are all fanatic list-makers and goal-setters; Grace perhaps most of all. So, family women, here’s my preliminary list:

2011 Goals

  • Start running again.
  • Read 50 books. (No more slacking! I was disheartened when I realized I had read 65 books in 2009 and only 44 in 2010–unless I can finish this Italo Calvino by tomorrow!)
  • Attempt to finish Francine Prose’s Books to Be Read Immediately book list.
  • Practice yoga 3 times per week.
  • Volunteer.
  • Thanksgiving Project: Purely inspired by one of my favorite blogs, THXTHXTHX, I am going to write down something I am thankful for every day for the whole year.
  • Drastically reduce my consumption of sugar; give up sugar for Lent.
  • Memorize Scripture.
  • Finish my Women in the Bible study.
  • Write and edit more short stories.
  • Start studying for the GRE; begin investigating flexible grad programs nearby.

Talk to you soon. In the meantime, please enjoy Guion’s face upon opening The Greatest Christmas Present of All Time. Grace, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives.

Anticipate me

We’re setting our 2011 goals for ourselves at work. For some reason, all I can think of is Tracy Jordan, screaming at his attendants: “You need to anticipate me! Where are the French fries I did not ask for??”

Last night, we went to the weekly MFA reading series that’s started up at The Bridge (the hipster arts cooperative a block from our house). It was really fantastic, even though I had to leave before the slam poet read. We listened to a funny, sad, thoroughly postmodern short story by one of the fiction writers, Joe. He was great and the story was great and we hung on his every word. I admired this little community of writers, who have been so welcoming to me even though I am not one of their own. I felt like we were in a Bible study or something, the way everyone leaned on each other and sought vulnerability. A Bible study with gleeful obscenities and 40-ounce PBRs.

We are jetting off for the beach this weekend for the long-awaited nuptials of Rose and Kemp! We’re staying in a house with a bunch of friends and I’m really looking forward to the escape. Let’s hope the hurricanes will hold off for the weekend… Talk with you again soon.