What I’ve Been Up To

Lots of knit­ting. Lots and lots of knit­ting. (If you’re on Rav­el­ry, you can see my fin­ished projects.) My hands ache from the knit­ting, par­tic­u­lar­ly the left, because I knit Con­ti­nen­tal. I think I may have to learn to knit Eng­lish just to swap off on occa­sion.

We’ve been going out to hear more live music — three house con­certs this fall. I love me some house con­certs! In fact, I need to write some music reviews. I’m also in a cou­ple of RPGs each week, one Dres­den Files and anoth­er 5th edi­tion D&D. And I’ve been doing a lit­tle con­sult­ing on the side.

I haven’t found any­thing I’ve enjoyed read­ing enough to write about recent­ly. That takes love for the sub­ject mat­ter. I am still read­ing (it’s like breath­ing for me), there are just more arti­cles, and lis­ten­ing to more pod­casts and few­er books. I’m miss­ing the fic­tion I usu­al­ly con­sume, but I’m sure I’ll be back to it soon enough.

The need to re-do my web sites is present again. Know any­one who does good cus­tom Word­Press themes?

I’ve been look back on my web con­tent, want­i­ng to update it. Much of it was writ­ten when I was­n’t work­ing. I mean, I had plen­ty of work to do, because I was a SAHM to three kids and we enter­tained fre­quent­ly. But I was­n’t work­ing for any­one out­side the fam­i­ly. I love work­ing, but it takes up most of my ener­gy, so I just don’t have it to put into the web any­more. I don’t want to give up the site, though — there’s a lot of his­to­ry in technomom.com, going all the way back to 1995.

Break the Cycle of Failed New Year’s Resolutions with New Book, Achieve Anything in Just One Year

This is a spon­sored guest post writ­ten by Jason Har­vey on behalf of Achieve Any­thing In Just One Year. Post pow­ered by Spon­zai.

On Jan­u­ary 1, more than 100 mil­lion Amer­i­cans will make a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion, accord­ing to a Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton sur­vey. By March, how­ev­er, most res­o­lu­tion-mak­ers will already have bro­ken their new­ly mint­ed promis­es. 

In his new book, Achieve Any­thing in Just One Year: Be Inspired Dai­ly to Live Your Dreams and Accom­plish Your Goals (Amaz­ing Life Press, $29.95, http://www.amazinglifepress.com/), Jason Har­vey pro­vides a blue­print for per­son­al suc­cess that can make 2010 the year that res­o­lu­tions become real­i­ty. 

Most res­o­lu­tions fail because peo­ple try to change too fast and accom­plish too much all at once,” said Har­vey, a Cer­ti­fied Life Coach. “My book is about learn­ing how to make small dai­ly changes and be your own per­son­al life coach.”

The most com­mon res­o­lu­tions — to quit smok­ing, lose weight, exer­cise more, spend more qual­i­ty time with fam­i­ly, etc. — are also the eas­i­est to break. “The truth is, we set our­selves up to fail by mak­ing res­o­lu­tions that are sweep­ing and unre­al­is­tic,” explained Har­vey. 

The result­ing cycle of mak­ing and break­ing promis­es is self-defeat­ing — so how can indi­vid­u­als make res­o­lu­tions stick? Achieve Any­thing in Just One Year equips read­ers with the tools to: 

  • Be tru­ly com­mit­ted.Don’t just go through the motions — act like you’re mak­ing a promise to your com­pa­ny, or to your best friend. 
  • Be spe­cif­ic. A res­o­lu­tion like “I want to lose weight” is eas­i­er to ignore than “I want to lose five pounds by March.” 
  • Set a dead­line. A time­frame equals com­mit­ment and helps quan­ti­fy suc­cess. 
  • Avoid over­whelm­ing your­self. You may want to lose weight, quit smok­ing, achieve mod­er­a­tion with mar­ti­nis and cut up your cred­it cards all at once, but let’s get real. Focus on a lim­it­ed set of goals and plan on tak­ing stock mid-year. 
  • Change one thing at a time. Rec­og­nize that change is hard. Wait to achieve one goal before start­ing on the next. 
  • Be real­is­tic. Tak­ing charge of a fit­ness reg­i­men is a real­is­tic goal, while exer­cis­ing sev­en days a week may not be. Don’t set your­self up for dis­ap­point­ment with lofty goals. 

The idea is to take dai­ly action that cre­ates a rip­ple effect in your life,” said Har­vey. “By trans­form­ing your life with small steps, you can stay moti­vat­ed, focused and bal­anced. Best of all, you’ll feel hap­pi­er about pur­su­ing your per­son­al suc­cess.” 

Achieve Any­thing in Just One Year is avail­able to BUY NOW at Amazon.com.

Online Job Hunt — Heard of this place?

Yes, yes–I promise this is the last post for now. Prob­a­bly for the week­end, but at least for a few hours!

I con­tin­ue to hope to find some kind of work that I can do from home despite my unco­op­er­a­tive body. Of course, most list­ings for “work at home” and “telecom­mute” jobs are com­plete rip-offs. I don’t real­ly have the ener­gy to go the full self-employ­ment route, which involves doing all the mar­ket­ing and billing and col­lec­tions and such (if you do, check out Noël Figart’s very cool series of ongo­ing posts, How to Make a Liv­ing From Home: A Free Course). More pre­cise­ly, if I do all that stuff, I wor­ry that I won’t have any ener­gy left to do the actu­al income-gen­er­at­ing tasks.

I don’t remem­ber how, pre­cise­ly, but I ran across Vir­tu­al Voca­tions a while back, and have looked around the site a few times. I’ve yet to actu­al­ly pony up the fee to get access to the con­tact infor­ma­tion for the job list­ings, but the fact that they allow any­body to see the rest of the list­ings with­out pay­ing is pret­ty nice.

The only gen­uine­ly-neg­a­tive thing I’ve come across about them any­where is a per­son who claimed that they con­tact Craigslist posters who have stat­ed that they do NOT want to be con­tact­ed by third par­ties. I don’t like that at all, but it isn’t quite a killing blow. The only “it’s a ripoff” com­plaints I’ve seen are anony­mous com­ments left on any blog that posts a VV review. I give those all the seri­ous­ness of the com­menter’s will­ing­ness to back up his words–meaning none.

BUT–people I actu­al­ly know are more cred­i­ble. So have any of you used the site, or do you know some­one who has? What do you think of them?

Learning by Doing

An awe­some arti­cle by Seed mag­a­zine (my cur­rent favorite mag­a­zine!) about learn­ing by doing. Appar­ent­ly that’s how we learn best. When we learn by doing, we retain the infor­ma­tion we’ve learned much bet­ter than if it’s pre­sent­ed to us in an abstract way.

How We Know: What do an alge­bra teacher, Toy­ota and a clas­si­cal musi­cian have in com­mon?

The Myth About Homework

As the days go by, Katie’s time gets more and more pre­cious. I’m not the only one who is miss­ing lazy days of cud­dling up to do our lessons togeth­er at our own pace, doing as much as is need­ed and no more, then going on to Girl Scouts or dance or friends.

Every night, every week­end is full of more and more home­work. Some of it is very obvi­ous­ly work for the sake of assign­ing home­work. She has four class­es, and only two of the teach­ers assign home­work. I can’t begin to imag­ine when she’d sleep if she were tak­ing four “seri­ous” cours­es, but we’ll know next semes­ter, when she adds a third one.

So this arti­cle real­ly hit home. It’s some­thing we railed about when Sam’s chil­dren lived with us, and now it’s an issue for our fam­i­ly again.

Think hours of slog­ging are help­ing your child make the grade? Think again

Too much home­work brings dimin­ish­ing returns. Coop­er’s analy­sis of dozens of stud­ies found that kids who do some home­work in mid­dle and high school score some­what bet­ter on stan­dard­ized tests, but doing more than 60 to 90 min. a night in mid­dle school and more than 2 hr. in high school is asso­ci­at­ed with, gulp, low­er scores.

I sup­pose it’s time to start cam­paign­ing, which means first get­ting involved in oth­er ways. You can’t walk in with a com­plaint and expect to be heard very well if you haven’t already estab­lished your­self as a pos­i­tive asset.

Quote of the day, happy half hour

“We wor­ry about what a child will be tomor­row, yet we for­get that he is some­one today.” — Sta­cia Tausch­er, quot­ed in The Change Your Life Chal­lenge by Brooke Noel.

One of Noel’s sug­ges­tions is to have a reg­u­lar “hap­py half hour” with your fam­i­ly. Set up fresh fruit or oth­er health snacks, pour cups of juice or some sort of drinks they like, and set apart that time for every­one, kids and adults, to con­nect in a pos­i­tive way. No “must do” talk, no down­ers, no com­plain­ing — just good stuff. Encour­age each oth­er, express your grat­i­tude for each oth­er and the good things in your lives, share your joys, and catch up with each oth­er.

Home­school­ing fam­i­lies sel­dom need that as much as some oth­ers do, but it can’t hurt, can it? There’s nev­er a bad time to share some hap­pi­ness with our fam­i­lies.

In transition

Katie is going to high school in a few weeks, a 10th grad­er. The school is much larg­er than the one she attend­ed last fall — approx­i­mate­ly the same pop­u­la­tion as my own alma mater when I was there.

I, at least, will con­tin­ue to write here, as I’ve been inter­est­ed in home­school­ing and edu­ca­tion much longer than I’ve had a child at home offi­cial­ly being home­schooled. In fact, I first heard of home­school­ing as a mod­ern real­i­ty right after I grad­u­at­ed in the mid-1980s, and was imme­di­ate­ly intrigued. I read every­thing I could find about it, and have kept up that con­nec­tion since then.

Katie is all excit­ed, of course. I’m excit­ed for her. I fear she may be damp­en­ing that excite­ment down a lit­tle because she knows that I’ll miss her, but she should­n’t. That’s just a nor­mal part of being Mom­my. Let­ting go is in the job description.Trying new things is in hers.

Separation anxiety

And I don’t even know for sure if there’ll be a sep­a­ra­tion!

Katie may go to high school this year. We’ll know for sure very soon. I’ve done a tran­script for her, all offi­cial and every­thing.

Just the thought makes me jeal­ous of the time I have with her now, though. I’ve enjoyed these years togeth­er, and I don’t want them to end. I don’t want to clip her wings, of course, and I know my qualms are self­ish.

It isn’t as if I’ll have trou­ble find­ing things to do. It’s that Katie won’t be with me to do them.

Cyn

Driving Lessons

So, for the past week or so, I’ve been tak­ing dri­ving lessons. First I had 30 hours (spread out over a week, of course) of in-class study, most of which was about the law. Then, yes­ter­day I start­ed on my 10 hours of behind-the-wheel lessons.

Both of my teach­ers (one in class­room, one in the car) have been very good. I think I’ve learned a lot already. I’ve fin­ished all of my in-class hours, and 3 of my behind-the-wheel hours. Yes­ter­day I went on the express­way! I was ner­vous when I start­ed dri­ving, but then by the time I’d got­ten there I was calm, so it was­n’t that scary. I felt all zoomy after­wards.