Holiday Friday Babble

Everything In Between

this weekend, in Detroit, if possible, too much is happening.  On the commute in this morning S. and I spent many minutes creating different scenarios for our weekend, with the one constant being plans with A. for Sunday evening.  Otherwise, we are practically paralyzed with the wealth of other opportunities and can’t seem to make up our minds about anything.  We do know now that S. will spend time with his friend P.J. tonight, and I will drink wine, eat pizza, and watch movies blessedly alone. Tomorrow we have been invited to Robert Fanning’s book launch, and by invited I mean an acquaintance sent me an email that actually said this will be “the poetry event of the season,” like (a.) poetry has it’s own specific season, like debutants and winter holidays, like (b.) Detroit has SO many of such events that this is the can’t miss one, the one to set the tone, you know, for the season, neither of which are true, but I do love poetry and poetry readings and the chance to support a local writer is exciting.  Also, tomorrow and Sunday, there is the Detroit Jazz Festival in Hart Plaza, and the annual Labor Day arts and music festival in Pontiac with several musicians we enjoy, and the Tigers return home.  And BOTH the University of Michigan and Michigan State have their home-opener football games.

Honestly. Sometimes, my cup just runneth over. 

A Hundred Visions and Revisions 

I’ve been waiting for blog inspiration to hit but this week I’ve either been pouring myself into my job or the novel or the short stories.  I’m having trouble writing scenes and find myself writing long pages of character introspection and almost all of my writing seems to be lacking balance.  This morning I woke early to work on the second chapter of my novel and didn’t feel it going anywhere so moved to one of my short stories.  It’s such a luxury to have multiple writing projects – while sometimes it can be overwhelming for the most part I think it keeps me writing.

Books Read, Fall Reading Challenge and Currently Reading 

I started reading Richard Russo’s Empire Falls this week and it’s engrossing, so much so that each night I pick it up earlier and earlier.  His scenes are incredible, the dialogue brilliant.  And this is the second in my own fall reading challenge, to read the books I already own. I’ve completed Ellen Foster and am working my way through A Walk in the Woods, which is wonderfully entertaining.  Having two books I so thoroughly enjoy reading is making me a very happy woman.

Do I Dare to Eat a Peach

Today I actually skipped breakfast for, well, it has to be the very first time in my life. I can’t remember ever skipping breakfast before.  Even in college when everybody else just waited for lunch, A. and I woke early and went to the cafeteria for cereal and juice.  I actually brought breakfast with me to work today (I’ve been eating plain oatmeal every day in an attempt to improve my cholesterol) but a computer program walloped me and I forgot to heat it up. Oh, you know me, I’m just one of those women who forgets to eat now and then….seriously though, here I am, going on sixteen hours without food and I haven’t passed out, so good to know for the future.

 This morning on the Today show they did a segment on what equals true happiness, and I actually found it pretty interesting – I usually just watch this program for the excellent traffic updates.  The study (I think from Harvard?) said married people are happier than single people, but people with children are LESS happy than those without, which I found remarkable.  This is apparently because of the time constraints children create, and the way they influence the marriage. Part of me is scared to have a child because of this; I feel in eight years together S. and I have made a very happy home together and it’s incredibly difficult for me to imagine a child joining us, which is why we should probably get started on this pretty quickly if we want to.  When we were driving into work today I kept trying to imagine a baby in the back seat, a baby to take care of after  a long day of work, etc.  Part of me does feel, cheesily so, that we won’t be ‘complete’ until we have a child – and oh, the bibs! the tiny shoes! the unbearable cuteness! – but another part of me is scared to death.  S. did lay down the gauntlet this morning though, saying “I’ll tell you what, though. I will NOT spend my life driving around to that kid’s soccer and baseball games and whatnot. We will NOT be ruled by our child’s schedule like so many people are,” so, you know, at least we have some rules.

Other factors of happiness included not commuting to work, which I agree with, and maintaining your style of living even as you earn more.  The journalist interviewed noted that spending money on experiences – trips abroad, dance lessons, etc. – rarely disappoint because of their fleeting nature, while spending money on homes and cars are invariably disappointing because breaks fail and furnaces bust and all manner of annoying and time-consuming problems, time you could be spending showing off your new dancing skills in a Paris ballroom.  Money, according to the segment, doesn’t equal happiness, but how much money you have compared to those around you, does.  Visiting friends regularly and maintaining close friendships also was considered highly vital to happiness. I really enjoyed the segment all told, and it reinforced my desire to remain frugal and spend my time reading and rescuing my porch plants and having cocktails.  Let the good times roll.

And in a final bit of Friday banter, I’ve had two particularly interesting, if brief, conversations with friends recently regarding how annoying our electronic world can be.  One of A.’s friends left her a nasty message on her cell phone’s voicemail when she didn’t answer immediately, being otherwise engaged.  A. pointed out, Just because cell phones have replaced home phones, and I’m technically always available, doesn’t mean I SHOULD be. An excellent point, and one I’d wish all the drivers in metro Detroit would learn, not to mention those who try and order food while carrying on conversations.

My other friend, A.W., was complaining about the way email has replaced conversation in the work place. People act like, just because it’s written in an email, IT IS SO. I have to constantly remind them that this isn’t the case, that just because they have something in an email, it doesn’t replace face-to-face communication, brainstorming, agreement. Email has completely rid us of taking responsibility, and created a cover-your-ass workplace culture, and it’s unacceptable. She really verbalized something I’ve been feeling for a while – especially in my workplace,  email is treated as the FINAL WORD on every subject, and causes, in large part, our poor attention spans and lack of ability to concentrate on the matter at hand.

Well. This has been quite a post. What can I say?  It’s not one of my better days.  I hope you all have wonderful holiday weekends, replete with winning baseball teams, life jazz, the ability to purchase various food on a stick, time to read, time to write, time to meditate and rest and revel.  More soon.

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3 Responses to Holiday Friday Babble

  1. Dorothy W. says:

    You have a great weekend too! Your discussion of children and happiness really resonated with me because Bikeprof and I have been married for eight years too, and have a comfortable life and routine, and feel ambivalently about children. I believe what the show said about children and happiness completely, although I know that once you have a kid, there’s no way you’d want things to change. I’m less interested in having a kid than you sound, though — I think I spent too many years babysitting as a teenager, including babysitting my six younger siblings, and I know exactly what I’d be in for.

  2. Make Tea Not War says:

    Children are a mixed blessing indeed. I’m currently wondering about whether to have a second or not and the answer is very likely not. I love my one and I am very glad to have her but sometimes I can’t help but feel nostalgic for the double income no kids phase of life when we went out to dinner sometimes once or twice a week & slept in and spent all day doing just what we felt like at the weekends. Nowadays…well let’s just say my younger self would be appalled by this but I must confess that we haven’t actually been out at night by ourselves since January. And it’s not that we don’t have willing baby-sitters we could call on if we wanted- its mostly just lack of energy.

  3. Emily says:

    Lucky you, reading Empire Falls for the first time! As with everything in life, I’m sure there are good and bad aspects of having children. If I’d had them, I know I would have discovered all the magic involved that no loving parent seems to really be able to articulate (especially since I truly do love being with children. The trouble is, when they’re you’re own, it seems to me you spend an awful lot of time — out of necessity — doing for them, but not necessarily being with them). I never had them, though, and so really don’t miss that, and I love the life Bob and I have together (going on 11 years of marriage). I also just don’t think I’m “grownup” enough to have chidlren. The nice thing is that we have choices. I wish, though, those choices translated into what they should: no unwanted, abused, and neglected children in the world.

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