Monday, January 17, 2011


Today according to my calendar, is Martin Luther King, Jr. (Observed) Day. I really admire President Obama's national call to service on this day. It's good to remember that this is not just a day off from work and school, it's a day to remember all the good we have done and still have yet to do in this world.

Growing up, I used to do some volunteering with my family. We would deliver turkeys, volunteer at soup kitchens, little things here and there. I remember enjoying it a lot and really feeling good and growing from it.

Somehow, after I finished grad school, I stopped volunteering. One reason for that was that my job itself was pretty demanding and I felt that the job, long hours, travel and hard work for a labor union, composed an almost insurmountable load of service in and of itself. I think, though, another reason was that once I felt truly independent, I started slacking on some of the core things I learned to do when I was small: eat right, volunteer, etc. Sort of like gaining the Freshman Fifteen, but a more gradual and sinister change - I kind of stopped doing stuff I didn't "have" to do.

I also have a talent for letting any small obstacle or hindrance stop me from doing something I say I want to do. For example, last year I signed up for Philacares, a Philadelphia-wide service organization. They mismatched my name with someone else's ("Dear Barry") and never sent me any requests to volunteer. I thought, "Well, I kind of tried," and left it at that.

This spring I hope to at least do a few things, maybe through church or some kind of cleanup at the park. I'm on leave until the middle of the spring so I should be able to find something to do.

It's funny how many people pledge to do more "clean living" - eating right, volunteering, keeping their houses clean, etc. - after having a child.

Oh, screw it, this is just a blog post about how I feel bad for not volunteering. So with that, I leave you with a photograph of the afore-mentioned park, so you can see how much it loves its community and deserves love in return. The end.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Comfort and Joy

Right now my kid and I are in perfect equilibrium. She gets food, comfort and care, and I get companionship, smiles and snuggles. I cherish her good company.

Edited to add: I also cherish her healthy skepticism, a quality she possesses in spades as the picture to the left indicates.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Anti-Resolutionista

I've decided to make a grand total of ZERO New Year's Resolutions this year.

This is not because I'm lazy. It's because I'm ready to settle into something normal. The past year I worked really hard to maintain at work, adjust to a new city, support my husband in his incredibly stressful job search, conceive, deliver and care for a child, and deal with a very challenging housing situation. The year before, we moved to a new city, suffered two miscarriages, and I lost 30 lbs. The year before that, I achieved and adjusted to a promotion at work and traveled to a foreign country. I'm feeling kind of tired. I think making resolutions this year would be somewhat of a false enterprise: I would make them, not really care about them, and feel like I had no credibility with myself.

Instead I will continue trying to do all the things I have wanted to do all along - be a good wife, mother, daughter and sister, take opportunities to help people in need, live healthfully, and leave the world a better place than I found it. I know that sounds cheesy and generic. I also know I don't really have a plan to do these things.

But instead of making myself miserable by "vowing to blog more" or "losing 40 lbs" or starting off determined that "this is the year I will ...." I am going to try to treat 2011 as a continuation of my 2010, 2009, 2008-and-further-back-goals.

I accomplished a mother lode of stuff in 2010. Our family accomplished a mother lode of stuff in 2010.

2011 will just be a year of striving, as gracefully and happily as I can, to live well.