Friday, September 24, 2010

maybe painting is more my thing

Considering that I have struggled with the writing, and this painting (in progress) feels much stronger, I may be a better painter than writer.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


We know who we are, and according to the Psychology Today article, "Revenge of the Introvert," we make up 50 percent of the population. 

I have no question that I am an introvert. And this article explicitly explained two of my biggest pet peeves about how non-introverts treat us: 1) pressuring us to "be happy" as if pursuing happiness is the thing to do (it is a very American ideal) and 2) trying to help us become more extroverted, as if that were the desired state. 

An introvert is not necessarily shy, but recharges alone, thrives with time to consider problems and questions, and even likes this kind of rumination. But, and I know this feeling well, introverts often feel alien in the U.S. culture that values extroverts: "As American life becomes increasingly competitive and aggressive, to say nothing of blindingly fast, the pressures to produce on demand, be a team player, and make snap decisions cut introverts off from their inner power source, leaving them stressed and depleted. Introverts today face one overarching challenge—not to feel like misfits in their own culture." 

Yes. (Though I've not minded feeling different for a long time now.)  

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

chucking it all

I am covered in yellow (washable) paint. That should teach me to wear a smock when painting murals in my son’s kindergarten class.

I have decided to chuck it all these past couple of months. I’ve been following up on academic concerns about my older son, Iz, which has required taking him to and from testing, going to preliminary and follow-up meetings, and being in his kindergarten class often. (He will be fine. He’s just not skilled at following teacher-directed tasks, remembering names of his classmates or the letters and sounds of the alphabet, or following classroom routines. It’ll come.) And I only have 16 hours a week with no children in the house. So I still have almost-3-year-old Az much of the time. I don’t have a lot of time to work.

I signed on to be the flexible parent. It made sense. I work from a home office, so I can control my own hours. But then my main client went bankrupt (more than a year ago now), and I’ve been editing online content for meager pay. So I had less and less work.

And I am lousy at marketing myself (possibly the worst lack of a skill for a freelancer).

So, with all the recent demands, I’ve done little to no work the last couple of months. Yet I am not independently wealthy, so the financial side worries me a lot. But what can I do? I have mostly let the worry go, or buried it so it can give me an ulcer. I can’t be sure which.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

my mother's day

I was born at 9:06pm on Saturday, May 8, the day before Mother's Day. My mother relayed that fact to me every birthday, with affection. She died in 2007; this is my third birthday without her. I remember her reminding me to remember her. How complicated. Happy Mother's Day to my mom, wherever she might be. Love you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

my purple tutu

I am going to try being one of those runners, one who pulls on a tutu over the running tights. I have bought myself a purple one -- seemed the best color choice. (I'm not such a pink person.) And I am excited about the whole idea. I enjoyed picking out my ensemble for the race more than I usually do.

I am wearing it for the St. Patrick's Day 8K tomorrow. The race is a festive dress-up kind of one, though a green tutu might be more appropriate -- but I don't have one of those. And the race is a shorter distance, so I can test run the tutu for next weekend's National Half Marathon. That's the ultimate plan, people! 

My time goal? Around 40 minutes. But I have not run a race since November 2009, and I've had an injury, so we'll see what I can pull out, especially in a tutu. But I also don't care so much about being faster and faster anymore. Though I still like being kind of fast. And, in a purple tutu, kinda fast will also be fun.

Look for me if you are in downtown DC on Sunday morning at 9am -- Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th Street!

The next question: How do I wash the tutu?

Monday, March 01, 2010

happiness vs. sadness

Reading the Sunday New York Times, I read these two articles back-to-back: On Top of the Happiness Racket, by Jan Hoffman, and Depression’s Upside, by Jonah Lehrer. The juxtaposition interests me.

The first article is a profile of Gretchen Rubin, a wealthy and published New York author and mother (my snarky thought: sure, I could stay on top of everything is I was wealthy, lived in an NYC triplex, had a sitter for my kids and a housekeeper to clean my house -- but, still, I might not be happy). Hoffman also gives some review of Rubin's book, The Happiness Project. Supposedly, we can expect a slew of books about how to be happy this spring. Why do I find this annoying?

The second article presents a study that suggests some depression--shorter-term depression, not debilitation long-term depression--can help the sufferer focus on the problem and solve it. Charles Darwin is the lead-in example here. And the idea that depressed people are the creative ones is also addressed. I found this new take on no pain, no gain interesting, if limited.

The second was much less annoying that the first.

Somewhat indirectly, both articles remind me that I have two--yes, two--appointments with psychologists today. One is for me (yeah, so?). The other is to discuss Iz, my 5 1/2 year old, who is an anxious and creative little guy. Fun, fun, fun.

Happiness, anyone?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

mother and child

My mother would visit the National Gallery of Art on every trip to Washington, DC. It was a favorite place. She came to love the Impressionists in her middle age (after a fascination with Surrealists, such as Dali and Magritte, when I was young). Especially Monet. I remember her office at the University of Technology Sydney plastered to the ceiling with Monet posters. Some she bought at the National Gallery.

Iz and I have many just-us outings there. We have attempted joint copies of Monet’s Rouen Cathedral and Japanese Footbridge paintings with markers on sketchbook paper. We go underground to the cafĂ©, walk along the moving walkway through the light tunnel, then sit at a table near the fountain for a snack.

When there, I think of my mother, and I enjoy being Iz’s mother.

Yesterday, Iz’s kindergarten class had a field trip to the National Gallery. His teachers asked for parent volunteers; I couldn’t say no to that trip. The plan: to see the French Painting of the 19th Century exhibit. My mother's on-and-off favorite painting, Woman with Parasol, which pictures a mother and child, is included.

Iz grabs my hand the moment he gets off the bus, sometimes pulling me, sometimes melting into me. He doesn’t let go. I feel as if he is barely paying attention – focused only on me.

The class of twenty sits on the carpet, looking up at the woman with her parasol and her child on a windy day; I, of course, think of my mother and am melancholy (in that oddly satisfying way); and Iz insists in sitting in my lap, his face turned to me, his eyes closed.

Mother and child motif repeated in a moment.