Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Not List for the New Year

Today I finally finished baby proofing the upstairs. There is nothing like crossing off something from the "Big List of All Things", eh? Of course my children are two and five, but if someone visits with a crawling baby, boy oh boy, that baby is safe upstairs.

I hope my family doesn't mind pureed foods, because I am now ready for the next thing on the list: canning homemade organic baby food.

Maybe I missed the boat on that one. Besides, the first child hated (still does) pureed foods, and the second went from rice cereal to gumming steak in mere months. I cooked a few yams, stewed some apples, so I think that counts.

I have multiple lists swirling in my brain at all times. I think most women do, but for some of us, it is almost an affliction. Besides the Big List of All Things, there is the immediate list. The immediate list is the one that makes me feel like an insane robot left alone on a planet for centuries (the anti-Wall-E, if you will).

I have this thing about wasting no steps. It's something that stuck from my waitress days: Never return to the kitchen empty handed. Bring hot food out, clear dirty dishes back. Only now, instead of dishes, it's all housework, and I don't get tipped. As I walk down the hall I fish out the puzzle piece from my pocket that I picked up earlier and, in a single motion, swing open the toy cupboard, shoot it like a basket ball into the puzzle shelf, and re-latch the cupboard as I go.

It sounds efficient and mom-like, right? But today I needed to pee. I went to the bathroom and found the toilet less than pleasing. I have a five year old boy, need I say more? So I cleaned it first. I keep a stack of what I call "pee rags" in the cupboard handy. Then I took the rag, along with the pile of clothes "someone" left on the bathroom floor, to the adjacent laundry room.

Here's the problem. A normal person would just go pee first. I on the other hand, upon finding myself in the laundry room, felt the urge to "swap out the laundry" i.e., put a load in the dryer, and start a new load in the washer, before I returned, clean towels in hand, to the bathroom. No wasted steps, see? By the time I'd loaded the washer though, I'd forgotten my original bodily need. The moment I heard the Whoosh of the washer, though, I remembered that I really had to go.

I made it, and as I had more than a few moments to reflect, I decided that this immediate list, and the Big List of All Things, both needed to chill.

My husband would laugh if he read that last sentence. He would say, "You can't do it," not in a mean way, but as a way to challenge me. This, from the man that says every New Year, "I resolve to not make any New Year's resolutions," and thinks it's funny. Every year. He and I have a difference of opinion of what a "day off" means, but the truth is, I need to learn how to do nothing. When you are travelling at light speed, you miss the rainbows.

So instead of New Year's Resolutions, I'm making a Not List.

#1 is an easy one: I am not going to feel pressured "as an author" to twitter or facebook. If I want to say something or respond to someone, I will, but I haven't found any of this glorious social media to have an impact on my supposed "platform" or to make many meaningful connections. A few, sure, but mostly it takes away time I need for writing, sleeping, or relaxing, all things that are better for my health and well being than tweeting about brisket.

#2  I am not going to nurse my daughter for much longer. That is a tough one for me, but it's disturbing my sleep too much. It hit me on the night of her second birthday this week (yeah, I'm one of those la leche mamas). While she was nursing, she paused, and with the boobie still in her mouth said, "Back kick." Assuming I heard wrong, I repeated, "Back kick?" She then nodded and proceeded to show me her back kick.

Apparently, while nursing, she was mulling over how to perfect her Tae Kwon Do. While I say 'Kudos to you, my martial arts baby', it does make it perfectly clear that nursing is no longer food, nor even comfort at this point: it's a coffee break, hold the coffee, stet the milk.

#3 I am not going to post on this blog more than once a week. Ooh. Another tough one. In part because I feel like I have so many things I want to post about, and also because "they" always say that you must post at least three times a week, if not five, to have a successful blog. I'm not sure how "success" is measured, but I do know that I have other projects I want to put energy into, and would rather make one good post each week and have fun with it.

#4 I can't say I am not going to make lists. I'd need years of therapy to throw out my legal pad, but I am going to mellow out on both the immediate list and the Big List of All Things. I probably should start by changing the name of the Big List.

I know, that last one wasn't a "Not". In fact I've sat here for 15 minutes and everything I tried to write was an "I am" instead of an "I'm not". The moment I say no to a few things, a world of possibilities opens. Think of what I can accomplish when I master doing nothing?

What do you say, are you with me? What's on your Not List this year?


  1. I am not going to stop being your friend. You bring great joy to the world and I am grateful that you let me in on a very little bit of it! Thanks Julie. You are quite a gal and I like you!

  2. I am not going to set unrealistic deadlines for myself. How's that?