The trick is, there is no plan

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Just me and the kids tonight as Doolies left for Naginata practice. Dinosaur sits next to me and the spy camera can’t tell me anything about Tiger as it’s not working again. The WiFi, while better with my fiddling earlier this week, is still not ideal.

Dinosaur is about to fall asleep, his head is rolled to one side and his eyes are almost closed. That should give me the requisite time to spend with my thoughts if the dogs’ growls or barks don’t wake him. We’re sending them to grooming and doggy day care tomorrow. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to spend time with them, and with the weather cold and rainy, they don’t spend much time outside. Sending them for their monthly cleaning is how I salve the guilt of being a bad dog owner.

I ran into a colleague who was wondering the halls today. After sharing holiday greetings, I asked him what he was up to. He said that he was walking laps around the building to, first, burn off excess holiday calories, but more importantly, spend time alone with his thoughts to plan out what he wants to accomplish over the coming year. The first week from the holidays is slower at work, and since most of our jobs involve reacting to crazy situations, he decided to use this slower period to think about what, if he was to leave his job tomorrow, he would look back and say he accomplished.

This is a good exercise for both my work life and home life. I’ll stick to the latter as I don’t like talking about the former much here. I’ve been doing these sessions for about two weeks now. (It doesn’t feel that long, but I started on December 25.) I haven’t written anything wonderful or figured out what I am doing yet. I didn’t have any plans except to spend the thirty minutes every day in front of a blank screen.

From what I remember, I spent most of my writing time talking about my day and living with monsters at home. While I didn’t set out to keep a diary, I’m not surprised by the direction my writing has taken. I’ve always found that writing about what’s going on in my life, and tying that to past experiences or my faux-philosophical meanderings is a sure way to collect words. And if nothing else, this is an exercise in word collection.

I did eke out a few Horribles as well and that’s certainly a bonus. The Horribles and walls of text are starting to overwhelm my photographs. That’s something to take account for the next iteration of my website. (Even though it’s still swishing around in my brain, I’ll try to stay away from that discussion tonight.)

If I was to reach back further into my musings (when I used to do these less and sometimes more regularly in past monster-free times), I would find a long-term goal of writing something that was worth reading by someone who was not my mother or wife. These diary entries likely won’t accomplish that. It’s hard to say whether I’m on track for anything bigger, or even if I want to be on such a path.

I managed to cook the Italian bean soup this evening after remembering to soak the beans last night. I planned to take photographs but I was up against a tight deadline, as I needed to get the food cooked and help with Tiger’s bath and bedtime for Doolies to go to class. She was still ten minutes late to class, but she was excited to go and exercise again, and got out of the house. Tiger let me bathe her tonight as Doolies finished up her third helping of the soup while feeding Dinosaur.

The soup was tasty, and except for the vegetable prep work, not terribly difficult to make. It would be tastier with an actual chicken or beef stock instead of the salted water I used, but that requires more planning than I’m willing to put in for dinner. The soup plus the chicken cutlets I cooked yesterday should keep us fed for most of the week.

Dinosaur is snoring slightly but still sleeping. The dogs, after hushing them a few times, are resting quietly on their bed. It’s cool, windy, and rainy outside, with a threat of snow this weekend. I spoke a bit soon about Dinosaur, as his Dinosaur moans have started again. I’m convinced that they’re the result of gas pains. Poor guy. The pediatrician didn’t give us much hope for relief. Her basic message was that he needs to learn to deal with them, and accept that they’re transient pain and will go away in time. Try explaining that to a one-month old.

I hear slight banging from upstairs. I expect that’s Tiger trying to put herself to sleep by kicking the crib. Hopefully that plan works better than when I try it during bad nights.

I swerved off topic again, and didn’t get any closer to answering any of the questions about why I’m here or what I’m trying to accomplish (both in the Big Question sense and the 30-minutes of time I’ve set aside for this exercise). I guess I’ll keep at it and hope I arrive at the answer when I dig myself into a corner where I write nothing but vowels until the answer appears.