Archive for the ‘The Practice of Life’ Category

Today, I’m in the bathroom with the monkeys, one on the potty and the other one just hanging out, and we’re talking about ‘public.’

“Mommy, if you and me, and Monkey #2 are in the potty, we can say butt,” proclaims Monkey #1.I’m trying to teach them that some words are OK at home, but not in public. “Yes, we can say butt at home, in the potty.”

“But if we’re in the potty with Lucy, we can say butt,” he continues.

“Well,” I said, first of all, “you shouldn’t really be in the potty with Lucy. But if you are, it’s kind of public, because she’s not family, so you shouldn’t say butt.” I know, it’s shoddy logic, but it’s been a long day.

“Well I want Lucy to be family,” says Monkey #1. “She can be family, even though we don’t live together.”

“Not really,” I say, “If you want Lucy to be family, one of you has to marry her.” Between Cinderella, The Sound of Music and 2 family weddings this fall, the monkeys are pretty into the idea of weddings.

“I’ll marry Lucy,” says Monkey #2.

“OK,” I say. “That makes you, Monkey #1, Lucy’s brother-in-law. And you, Monkey #2, her husband.”
“What does a husband do?” says Monkey #2.
“Daddy is my husband. What does he do?”
“Cooks,” he replies. “But I don’t want to just cook.””Ok,” I say, ‘you can also…take out the trash.”
“I want to work,” says Monkey #2, earnestly. Then he thinks for a second, “but I don’t have a computer.”

I must admit I’m quite pleased that my son wants to be a husband who cooks and works. I’m sure Lucy won’t mind taking out the trash.


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We had a rough bout of the stomach flu the other night, with each monkey up every hour or so throwing up. At first, I went to sleep with Monkey # 1 and was taking care of him. But then Monkey # 2 started, and I switched beds (and rooms), thinking that Monkey #1 was probably done puking. He wasn’t. And he wasn’t pleased to wake up to find Mr. Daddy next to him in bed instead of me.

We talked about it a lot the next day. How there’s only 1 mommy and 2 sick boys, and I needed to try to be with both.

Monkey #2 said, ‘I wish there two mommies.’ Monkey #1 seems to be a bit better at conceptual math. ‘Next time, each of us could have half a mommy and half a daddy to sleep with us. That would work.’

Not willing to be outdone by his brother, Monkey #2 topped him with this: ‘If we had 100 mommies, a few could sleep with each of us, some could sleep with daddy, some could sleep with Misha and some could sleep in the basement.’

And some could cook dinner, and some could fold laundry, and some could work. I’m liking that last plan.

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I had two whole weeks off for the holidays. 

Here’s what I planned to do:
Blog every day
Reflect on the past year, create goals for the new year
Exercise frequently
Hang out with Brett
Host a party
Have friends over for dinner
Go out
Read some business books, some novels

Here’s what I actually did:
Wrote 3 draft blog entries; published none
Reflected for a total of about 2 hours
Read 5 novels, 1 nonfiction book, 0 business books
Exercised about 5 times
Hosted 1 party, 1 cocktail hour, 3 dinner parties, 1 play date
Went out with friends
Played 7 games of Zingo, 2 games of Ned’s Head
Acted in 8 performances of Jack and The Beanstalk
Cleaned the house about 6 times (see hosted)
Saw 1 movie at a theater, 4 movies on DVD
Went to 4 parties

There was a lot more play and socializing than I expected, and a lot less writing and reflection. It’s amazing that even if you set priorities in advance, your true priorities will emerge in the doing.

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As I reflected on the past year over my long staycation, what struck me most was that I’m entering 2009 in the same work/life situation as I entered 2008. I was a little surprised. At first, I worried that I’d made no progress in the past year. But after thinking about it for a while, I realized that things aren’t exactly the same. While technically my situation is the same, my attitude about it has changed, and that does make a difference.

As someone who agitates for things to look and feel different, it’s a big deal to shift to a mindset where growth doesn’t always mean that you’ve changed a situation, but it can mean that you’ve changed your response to the situation.

Happy New Year, readers! More soon.

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A winter Friday

Cleaning up rocket ship debris

From the bed

Hidden among the crumbs

Endless rain falls outside

As we trample

From room to room

Trying to entertain, and engage, and play, and referee


I finish the last bits

Of work for the year

and then

I finally shower at 4

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In Philly, the first signs of fall are in the air. I love the crisp air and that indescribable smell that reminds me of little league football games. And it reminds me that I need to get outside while I can.

Folks who commute to offices have to get outside – at least as long as it takes to get into their cars or walk from the parking lot to the office. Working from home, before I was in charge of preschool drop off, I could spend an entire day, even a couple of days, in the house wihtout once stepping outside. That can’t be healthy.

Various studies have shown that too much artificial light can make you tired. And sunlight can energize you and make you more productive.

These days, I try to get my daily dose of sunlight by building a few walks and other distractions into my day. Taking the kids to school, walking the dog, walking to the post office, going to the bank or even grabbing lunch ensures that I get out of my work cave and enjoy the day.

It feels wonderful this time of year, which is motivation enough.

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Every time I visit the Philadelphia Zoo, I can’t help but stare at the squirrel monkeys. They remind me of what goes on in my house. I’m the big fat one, sitting on the branch. The ones jumping around like maniacs, eating their own feet and each other’s heads, well, you can guess who they remind me of.


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