Thursday, March 31, 2022

Things That Are Actually Totally Fine

Last year I turned 40. I've never been a person who cared much about what others thought, but there is something about aging that makes you really not care. I think you just realize that life is too short to put up with things you don't want to, and to live in ways that are not authentic. Here is my permission slip to do things that actually totally fine.

Watching TV while wearing a firefighter costume, living her best life.

Letting your kid watch TV or use a tablet: Anytime I read a parent's shameful admission that they let their kid have any sort of screen time, I am a little sad. This admission is usually followed by a caveat like, "But they only play educational games" or "She only uses it on the weekend/days off/certain number of hours a day." I am here to tell you that letting your kid watch TV or play games on an iPad is totally fine. Ok, don't let your 3 year old watch Nightmare on Elm Street, but if they want to watch every Disney movie 500 times, hallelujah! Letting my kids watch TV is literally the only thing that allows me to have any rest, downtime, or time to work on any of my own projects. I grew up in the 80s, so of course we didn't have tablets or streaming. My family didn't even have cable. But I sure played a lot of Nintendo, and I managed to become a contributing member of society. Let the guilt go! Do what you feel comfortable with and what works for you, and don't judge others for how their families work.

Reading whatever you want: I know several people who describe their preferred genres as "trash." How did certain types of books get labeled as trash anyway? I'd guess it was by Judgey McJudgersons who believe that only classics or literary fiction or award winners are the only worthy types of literature. There are many different reasons for reading, but most people read to be entertained. We don't judge people who watch superhero movies over black-and-white classics, right? (Well, we shouldn't.) If you like to read vampire romances, fantasy in outer space, or the same police procedural format over and over, have at it! We only get to read a finite number of books in our lifetime, so make sure to read what you like.

Chocolate mini wheats for a snack. They're really good.

Eating without guilt: Honestly this could be a whole post in itself. Diet culture is everywhere, telling us what food is "bad" and what food is "clean" or "healthy." These determinations are completely arbitrary. Bacon is bad if you're on a plant-based-whole-foods diet, but it's just fine if you're on Paleo or Keto*. Fruit is good for you because it has antioxidants and fiber but it's also terrible because OMG so much sugar! Most of us have been conditioned to think in a certain, limited way about food. These thoughts have the power to literally destroy people's lives. Everyone is on their own journey so please seek professional help should disordered eating impact your mental and/or physical health. For everyone else, I just ask that you question your beliefs.

Not Hustling: At work, I've been a people manager for nearly 10 years. There are people who want to climb the ladder, get constant promotions, eventually be a CEO. There are also people who have had the same job for 15 years and are amazing at it. I love those people! They have found balance in their lives and have committed to what they like doing and are good at it. You don't have to have a side hustle; you don't have to grow your business; you don't have to be constantly seeking improvement. How about that?!

So, tell me: what else is actually totally fine?

*Don't even get me started.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Backwards Post

I bulk loaded these photos through Blogger and they came in reverse-chronological order. I don't feel like rearranging them so here's a backwards post.

My farmer neighbor who runs the sunflower field across the street came over and tilled up my new garden area! It is 18x25 feet, and ultimately will contain 100 feet of flowers. I'm pretty excited to see what this looks like in July.

Spring has sprung and I got the first bunch of flowers out of the garden. I hardly planted any of these, the white daffodils were all over the garden when we moved in. I don't know if people actually want to buy daffodils since they are all over the place, and because I don't have my infrastructure quite ready yet they'll probably just come live in my house. I'm not mad about it.

I went to a library that is not my usual, and they have a huge section of graphic novels. I probably would have gotten more, but I didn't have a bag with me and I could only carry so many. You know how I feel about books with pictures! I will be back.

I was in TJ Maxx recently and I saw a picture printed on canvas that was cute. I snapped a picture on my phone, and ended up painting my own version. I really enjoy painting but with work and all my other projects I hardly have time for it. There were a few cold mornings where I didn't want to go out for a walk and painted instead. I'd love to incorporate more art into my life but there is only so much time. I have the curse of too many hobbies.

Reading: Son of the House was really good. Thanks to Nicole for the recommendation! I love books set all over the world, and I've only read a handful from Nigeria. The characters were both fascinating and there is a thread that brings them together in a really clever way. (More bathroom floor reading, this time I actually did read and not look at my phone!)

I'm nudging my girls to become readers as well (so far, so good), and here is Cora at our local library. I love the kids' section. The shelves are low, and there is only one entrance/exit, so the kids can't escape.

A freak snowstorm in March - although we usually do get the last snow around St. Patrick's Day. This one was a proper blizzard, with sub-freezing temperatures and snow blowing sideways. Cora did not last long outside.

I finally took the plunge and got some of my content off the internet and into physical form. I had this blog printed through Pixxibook since it had the best looking layout of all of the blog printing services I could find. The pages are really thick and it looks beautiful. It is pricey, but worth it because anything on the internet is impermanent. Google likes to get rid of services so I won't be surprised if they shut down blogger some day. I also had an Instagram account that I closed, so I printed all the photos from that into a book too. This one was from Shutterfly, and was really cheap (around $8) since I got a softcover and had a promo code.

Happy Spring everyone, and I hope it's even just a little warmer and brighter where you are.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Doorstop Crisis of 2022

I figured it was about time for ye olde blog post, but man, looking back through the pictures from the last few weeks, I have nothing but those photos you take to text someone later. I remember those days, pre-kids, when I would bust out the tripod, take many photos of myself modeling knitwear, and edit them all individually. Now you get a picture of the doorstop aisle at Home Depot, which I took to illustrate that there is a severe doorstop shortage WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS.

Next up is a photo of the rear of my car, which I am slowly covering with stickers. At some point in my life I would have been concerned about "resale" and damaging the paint, but I fully intend on driving this car until its death. Back when I was commuting 2 hours a day, I really enjoyed when a car had stickers for me to read when I was stuck behind it on the highway, going nowhere. I do need some more stickers (obviously) so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

This is my usual walking route: after I make it through the neighborhood of McMansions, I walk to this nice little park. Ugh, it's so brown right now! I have been really appreciating the lengthening days and the increased opportunity to get outside and not freeze. But BROWN SO BROWN. 

Ice storm! Another reminder from nature that, hey suckers, it's not spring yet!

Despite the weather, I still have several trays of seeds started which will eventually go outside pending an unexpected, sudden ice age (and let's never say never, people, after the past few years we've had). Yes, I am starting a flower farm. Yes, it is a SMALL flower farm. I have a little bit of a complex about it because I think people imagine acres and acres with barns and greenhouses. It's surprising how many thousands of plants you can fit into a small space, but I'm also not ready to write on my website "um actually the farm is in my backyard". Shout out to my fellow micro-farmers!

Books! Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang was excellent. It's a memoir of the author growing up as an undocumented immigrant in New York City during the 1990s. I was constantly imagining where I was during this time and what my life looked like (I'm just a few years older than the author), and the difference was shocking. One of the reasons I love reading is that it has made me so much more aware and sympathetic to the other lives being lived on our planet. 

Another shot from real life: reading while sitting on the bathroom floor, supervising bath time. (Ok fine I didn't actually read, I just brought the book with me and then proceeded to scroll on my phone. We've all been there.) I've been aware of the Chris McCandless story, but I had never read Into the Wild. The book itself is wonderful. The way the story is told is not just a linear account of events, but a slow piecing together. I know many people have personal opinions as to if McCandless was a hero or an idiot, but at the end it's a tragedy of a person who died too young.

I took a day off work this week, while everyone else was a work/school, and it was amazing. I spent about three hours laying on the couch, sometimes reading. I finished up a project for the basement gym, started a painting, and then sat on the couch some more. Best day ever!! This meant I had a little more energy than normal for Saturday, and took out my own sketchbook while Cora played with play-doh. So why isn't the 4-day workweek being adopted universally yet? The entire world would be so much more relaxed and happy!