Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How Many For Dinner?

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly. 
Henri Bergson

Now that all the kids are off and independent, I'm trying to adjust to cooking for two. Difficult, as often at home and at the lake, the numbers at the table had a tendency to grow at any moment. I became adept at Stone Soup. Start at 4. Grow to 9, 12, even 18.

Things have changed. The realization that all our kids are indeed off on their own and financially independent is beginning to sink in. Through the years, seemed this time might never arrive, but now that it's here, it's taking some time to adjust and become aware of what might be ahead.

Easter Sunday I normally have crowds. This year - just my husband and me. No visiting college students or extended family. No friends from town. My sons that live in town, their significant others, and my husband and I will soon gather in New York City for youngest son's graduation. I figured with all that family togetherness ahead of us, the kids should spend Easter with their other parents.

I wasn't going to cook, but then decided that I must. Just because everyone was off in other directions didn't mean my husband and I shouldn't honor the holiday. Hell, we even made it to church!

But, as you can see, my measurements are off.  I had a meal prepared for many more than two.

That roast lamb was a tad more cooked than it appears in this photo. You had your golden beets and goat cheese, your heirloom tomato Caprese salad, roasted fingerling potatoes and your broccolini.  Strawberry shortcake for dessert and a nice bottle of wine.

The dinner was so good that we, in fact, had it again on Monday night. And Tuesday night. And although there is enough left for tonight as well, I think we're gonna eat something else. Good as it was.

The point of this story? Seemed like we were in that mode of almost getting to Empty Nest for so long. Kids going off to college, but not all of them gone at the same time. One kid coming back as one more left. Although they didn't require much from us, still, we were not completely deparented.

Now, with the youngest employed and financially independent like the others and no one living in the upstairs, it is not only safe to use the toilet up there, it's a little quiet as well.

Adjustments. Seems life is filled with them. Always an adventure.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Are Morning People Truly Better?

Night Owls Rock!
 Julie Sucha Anderson

I couldn't find an apt quote for this post so I made one up.

When I get up in the morning, it takes me a while to get going. I don't care to have a conversation with anyone. I need time to gather my brain. It took me a long time to get to sleep and, therefore, a long time to wake up.

I understand this about myself. My inner time clock works this way. No matter how I try to change it, even with 50 plus years of getting up at the crack of dawn, my sleep pattern cannot be changed. At night, I'm awake. In the morning, I struggle. 

If I have a defined place to be by a certain time, like teaching or an appointment (or for umpteen years raising babies and kids) I function fine once out of bed. I can do it. But on mornings when I can wake up at will, I tend to loll around, in bed. First I daydream with my eyes closed for a while. Then I might get a cup of coffee and grab my computer, my journal, the book I'm reading, and my phone. I retreat back to my bed where I sit upright and can see out my slider to the backyard.

I study the birds talking to each other as they flit around the trees. The squirrels chasing one another. Leaves blowing about the yard if there is a breeze. Today I can see the herbs sitting on my picnic table that need to stretch their roots in the newly tilled soil of my garden. I imagine them magically planting themselves.

I'm writing this post four hours after I awoke. I've had two cups of coffee, a breakfast of uncured Canadian bacon scrambled in two eggs with a dab of cheddar cheese. Salt and pepper. I've ordered the invitations for my youngest son's graduation, played four games of Solitaire on my phone, caught up with three of my Scrabble games, set up a time for later in the week to visit with an injured friend. Haven't touched my book and it's almost noon.

I have to say that although I have big plans for the day -- YMCA, garden center visits, planting, watching the last DVD of last season's Nurse Jackie, and probably a few other things in there -- I'm not unhappy that I'm still sitting here. In fact, I could probably last until about 3pm before finally moving my ass.

(As you can see, my last post on finding a rhythm has had no definitive effect on my day to day. I'm still doing free expression rhythming.)

I've read five or six newspapers online and a great article about the writings of my friend, Sorayya Kahn, whose new book City of Spies will be published in December.  I've also read an article in the Huffington Post by Sarah Klein that has me huffing.

As a non-early riser, the article lured me as it was entitled  "7 Things Morning People do Differently."  I hoped to be enlightened. To gather something that might give me new information in a positive forum. Alas, apparently early risers (Larks) are plain better people than the likes of me (Owls.)  And photos display Larks with sunny light surrounded with love.

I'm rather offended. Tongue in cheek.

Instead of going after the nonsense of that article, I'm going to have some fun with it. For I'm an Owl and since this attribute comes to me genetically, there is nothing I can do about it anyway. I have to continue to try to function in the perfect world of larks.

Here we go.

Does having to hit the snooze button a few times make me a not nice, unproductive person? Maybe for the first half hour of the morning, but seriously all I have to do is set my alarm to accommodate those 30 extra minutes and I get up on time. Genetically engineered misfortune overcome.

Is there a fog about me when I awake? You bet. Who wants to be clear-headed first thing in the morning anyway,  bombarded with the days events before you even have a chance to pee or brush your teeth?  The only kind of perking I want to hear in the morning is my coffee pot. Perky people scare me.

Are larks more conscientious?  Different words for conscientious: diligent, industrious, punctilious, painstaking, sedulous, assiduous, dedicated, careful, meticulous, thorough, attentive, hard-working, studious, rigorous, particular; religious, strict.

I don't even want to be some of those things - sedulous? punctilious? rigorous? strict? Sounds like the equivalent of a stick.

Larks get better grades. Okay, you got me there.

Larks are more productive. BS. Plain old BS. We just produce at a different time of the day.

Larks are less likely to be depressed. Really? All I have to do is drag my ass out of bed early and I won't ever suffer depression? Really?

I couldn't suppress my laughter (or disdain) at the last line of this article.

"In a small 2013 study, larks were less likely than night owls to possess "Dark Triad" personality characteristics like narcissism, Machiavellianism (meaning a person may be manipulative) and psychopathy, potentially because the darkness of night allows evening-type people to get away with dark deeds."

I'm thinking that was indeed a small study.

Dark deeds. Hmmmm. Sitting in my Lazy Boy at night, watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report while knitting or reading the New Yorker or folding clothes or writing letters to friends, I'm really narcissistic, Machiavellian and psychopathic. Please don't tell my husband, the Lark, sleeping in the next room. Please?

My rant for this day ends. I'm off to do all those things I planned to do today, just getting a later start than a Lark.

I must ask you, though -- Who would you rather have fun with when your focus isn't being nice, productive, consciensious or perky? A Lark or an Owl? Who would you rather party with? A Lark who has to retire early so he can wake up with a sunny disposition? Or someone who can stay awake and contribute to the fun? Like me.


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