An afternoon in Middle Earth and diving back into the school and work year — End of the Day for January 6, 2014

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The holiday season closes today with Twelfth Night, but we still had one important event to fit in before Rosanne starts teaching again tomorrow and Joseph returns to school on Thursday, After a fairly full day of work and a bit of Christmas cleanup, we headed off to the Arclight in Sherman Oaks to catch a screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I have been a big fan of the books since high school and also loved all the previous movies This 2nd part of The Hobbit did not disappoint, as far as I was concerned and the family seemed to agree. Seeing the movie on a Monday afternoon certainly has its advantages, too, as it was nearly a private screen in a nice theater. I made a big crock pot of chicken noodle soup from scratch earlier in the afternoon so we would have dinner ready when we returned, since we wouldn’t be back until well after our usual dinner time. It was fun to have one last fling before diving back in.

If you have never read The Hobbit, or The Lord of the Rings, I highly recommend it. For me, they have been literary companions I regularly revisit nearly every year. The dramatic sweep of the story is something everyone should read at least once.

Diving back into the school and work year

Of course, most of the rest of the day was taken up with work, both business and home, Since the beginning of the year, I have been pushing very hard to start the year off right. Of course, that means a lot of time in front of the computer. It is only now, more than a year of “wandering in the desert” that I feel ready to engage with the world again — both in regards to life and work. 2013 has been a rather confusing, and frankly challenging,  year but I see a few paths that I want to follow now and I am already taking the first steps in those directions.

That said, I will have plenty of work time as we enter what I can “roommate” mode. During the school semester, I feel more like I have roommates than a traditional family. Rosanne’s work schedule is quite demanding and Joseph will be deeply embedded in rehearsals for the Spring Musical, West Side Story. This often leaves me along to work in the home office all day and much of the evening, too. I am not always at my best when left to my own devices, though.

It can be hard sometimes to deal with all that solitude, but at other times it is nice. The largest problem is coordinating all the schedules to make sure everyone is where they need to be and has everything they need — including meals — which often have to be something that can be kept warm or reheated to serve everyone’s schedule.

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Our calendar starting to fill up

My biggest loss if having someone about to bounce ideas around. There are days when the first words I speak are in last afternoon and to the barista at the coffee shop, if I decide to step out of the house at all. I can feel a bit  of a “lone wolf” sometimes, but I think I am getting a little better about dealing with that — or at least I hope I am. I have had to adjust my attitude towards this reality which has been presented us. I have been fighting against it for the last year, but I think I am ready for a new normal that allows me to move forward. The worst part, and I freely admit it, is that  I can get quite grouchy when I am alone too much. That doesn’t help at all when the family then comes home and wants to interact. It is almost like getting grumpy when you are overly hungry (something I have heard described as “hangry”, which I have started using, too). To suddenly be thrust back into the position of having to talk with others and deal with their needs can be quite jarring and I don’t always make the transition well.  It is something I have struggled with for years and will just have to continue to work on it. 

I could sense a bit of uncomfortableness in everyone today as we prepared to dive back into the school year. I wasn’t feeling good about taking 3 hours off to see a movie when I could be working and there were also many projects around the house that could have been done. There is always such a struggle between what needs to be done and what wants to be done; It can drive me to distraction sometimes, especially when neither needs or wants are progressing very well. I deal with this mainly by working on a project for a set period of time and then doing some small project like taking down a small set of Christmas decorations, repairing a door hinge, and other small things that NEED to be done and offer a moment away from more concentrated work. It is these small tasks that seem to linger for months, so checking off any of them keeps us moving forward. Of course, differing attitudes and approaches to these projects can often lead to some friction. It is always quite a dance to make a family dance together without stepping on each other’s toes — and we don’t always dance perfectly.

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A daily reset

Everyone is off to bed already, leaving me along here to write these new blog pieces. This is actually what I had planned from the beginning as they are morning people where I am more of a night owl. Their early bed times gives me time to myself at the End of the Day to look back over what happened, what was accomplished and what wasn’t and what I will need to work harder on tomorrow. I think this is what I need most lately, a chance to let go of one day and start fresh the next. When life is challenging I can often feel that it is ganging up on me, presenting me more challenges than I can possibly deal with and the combined weight can push me into fatigue, inaction, and in the worst case, depression.

I have to guard against getting overly tired or everything can start to slide and it is a devil of a business getting things set to right again. It is always so much better if I can stop it from getting that bad in the first place. Hence, the daily reset. One day is past and cannot be changed. Another day is coming and holds much promise. I am great at carrying around self-recrimination, if I let myself wallow in it. I can regret things today that happened 10, 20, 40 years ago — and feel the same emotions all over again. I think that by letting go of each day as it passes I might finally be able to let go of those things that happens so long ago. We shall see.

Previously on End of the Day:

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