why are multi-vitamins so enormous?

Seriously. They can put a monkey in space but they can’t manufacture a multi-vitamin that is smaller than an infant’s fist? (I know they put that monkey in space a really long time ago, but I’m not as updated on scientific breakthroughs as I probably should be, even though my husband has a subscription to Wired.)

She’s five. But do you see what I’m talking about?

I can’t swallow pills.

Not entirely accurate—I can swallow them eventually. Here’s how I do it: Put pill in mouth. Take sip of water. Decide it is too much water. Spit some into sink. Decide it’s not enough water—take a micro-sip. Breathe as I try to psyche myself up to swallow pill. Cringe as it begins to dissolve in my mouth. Try like hell to swallow it, repeatedly holding up index finger—just hold on—at anyone who attempts to speak to me. (Quite often the phone rings right about now.) Finally manage to swallow the chalky, bitter, vitamin-y sludge. Swig down giant gulp of water. Breathe heavily as though I’ve just run a 5k. I do all this in the kitchen. (I’m never kidding when I talk about all the time I spend in here.)

This is more than you wanted to know about me, yes?

I’m getting to a point—I mean it.

So, I have been back-sliding lately. I do really well for short periods of time keeping everything in perspective, but then I always seem to slide back into worrying about all of it. All of the stuff I am trying to keep going. (Please assure me that I’m not alone in this.) I need to write more. I need to get that freelance career really rolling rather than limping along. I need to figure out once-a-month cooking. I need to read all those parenting books. I need to make sure I am doing enough with the kids. We are “unschoolers” which means we homeschool without a curriculum. The concept being that the kids are allowed the freedom to pursue their interests and play and create as much as they want, having faith that they are learning. The end result is days that are filled with activity that does not necessarily look anything like “learning.” And as the parent, I’m supposed to be totally cool with that, because I have faith that kids learn on their own time-table and this will all be for their benefit in the end. I don’t know how many of you can relate to this precisely, but I think you can probably find something comparable.

But life has a tenacious way of interjecting itself into my plans. (I’ll bet you can say the same...) I generally plan activities for the kids 3 months at a time (this is the print-out I use): projects and science experiments, cooking together, outings. Because even though we don’t use a curriculum, I want to provide an enriched environment conducive to learning. But it seems like half the time my stinkin’ plans fall apart. The house needs to be cleaned or someone gets sick or unexpected stuff comes up or breakfast and getting dressed seem to take all morning or they just aren’t all that interested in what I am attempting to do. And then—only to make life that much more interesting—the pot boils over on the just-cleaned stovetop. Right? It’s challenging to meet the deadlines and keep up on reading the books that will make it all easier, make it all make sense, make it all work once and for all.

That’s just about the exact moment I feel like I am failing. Again.

But in spite of it all, things are getting accomplished. Why do I always focus on what’s not getting done?

I have this vision of the perfect life I could be leading wherein all elements are just so—if I could only plan and execute it. But the truth is that even if my life had only one aspect—instead of many—I guarantee that one thing would not be perfect.

So I ask: are the kids happy? Are they laughing (a lot)? Are they well-fed? Is the house basically sanitized? Do we have peace? Am I slowly but surely moving my career forward? Do I have clean underwear most days?


It’s like swallowing that enormous pill. It might take a few false starts and a lot of effort, but in the end it will always get (imperfectly) done. And on the good days, I know that this is enough.

full-body YES!

I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve have repeated this avowal all year long because I knew I wanted to be working on this blog and freelance projects and editing already-written novels and my other commitments. And showering. That being said, I just signed up again. Like, moments ago. (I figure I’ll cut back on showering. And definitely shaving. I mean, what are pants for anyhow? Right? Right? Are you with me?)

So, I’m gonna do it for the 4th year in a row. Why? I am nuts.

Speaking of which, it’s Halloween this week and we have watched It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown about 47 times in the last few weeks. I adore Peanuts holiday shows. Probably too much. (And yet in my heart I know there is no too much when it comes to Peanuts holiday shows.)

(Our jack-o-lantern and his yucky black moldy stuff.)

Happy Halloween! Now back to the topic.

What is the topic? Finding life balance. And I am about to tell you exactly what that is: a big freakin’ joke. I’m just kidding.

(No, I’m not.)

I threw an enormous fit recently. Luckily the kids were at my parents’ house and not present to hear the litany of swears and witness the throwing of objects. Here’s what happened: the thingy on the toilet that makes water not spray all over the bathroom blew and the toilet began spraying water all over the bathroom. (It was clean water, so there’s that for a small blessings and all that crap...) To me it was more than water spraying all over the bathroom—it was another mess to clean up, another thing to fix, another thing keeping me from writing.

(This freakin’ thing. Please disregard the ugly ‘80s tile we have yet to sledgehammer.)

I have maintained a mantra over the last couple of years: “I can’t get all this done!”

And alternatively: “There is no way to get all this done.”

With the addendum: “I’m so tired.”

Well, recently I realized something: I can’t get all this done. There is no way to get all this done. Also, I’m so tired. It occurred to me that if there is no way to get all this done and that very fact has been amply confirmed, why do I keep trying? The very problem is in the statement itself.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Albert Eistein

My sister has a friend who recently experienced the death of a close friend. And it made her reconsider her priorities. She said to my sister, “Unless it’s a full-body yes, then it’s a no.” Now that is a mantra by which to live.

I have applied some of that sentiment to my life in trying to approach balance. As it appears “there is no way to get all this done,” and there is nothing I can or am willing to cut entirely, the logical thing to do was identify and pare back each component and do some realistic goal setting. Err on the side of small, well-spaced objectives and if more gets accomplished, call it gravy. (Warning: this rarely happens.)

And I gave a lot of thought to media, which spins completely out-of-control really quickly. The inbox to my Gmail account was one of the things that felt unmanageable to me. And if that’s not a luxury problem, I don’t know what is. But first-world guilt aside, I did rein it in and I will share my tactics with you. I think it’s important to seriously regulate your information upload. Don’t subscribe to every blog (but do subscribe to this one), RSS feed, Facebook page—don’t live in fear of missing something “crucial.” Seek info when you need it. It’s called the Google. Use it. I went all brutal on my blog subscriptions and unsubscribed like crazy, using the full-body yes method. Where I could, I switched to Facebook or Twitter feeds. I am not a fan of RSS, but if you happen to be, that’s another way to go. With the info coming via these streams, you can so much more easily pick and choose. Now my email inbox is pretty much exclusively business. I l also try to designate a finite amount of time each day to view my media streams. The bottom line: if it doesn’t add value to my life, I cut it.

I try to apply this full-body yes sentiment to the little and the big things in life. It’s a no-fail in-your-bones kind of thing. It’s an approach toward balance.

So maybe I am nuts to do NaNo, but when I questioned it, it was a full-body yes. I’m gonna trust it.