Friday, October 09, 2009

Breaking the Cycle

The defining trope of my childhood was that I was the underdog. I was the picked-on, the teased, the friendless, sitting alone on the playgr
The defining trope of my childhood was that I was the underdog. I was the picked-on, the teased, the friendless, sitting alone on the playground with a book. This shaped my self-image for a long time, and is still something I struggle with today.

From conversations with my father and brother, I know that they had similar experiences, so I have been, consciously or unconsciously, waiting for the same thing to happen with BB.

This morning, he and I had a long talk on the way to school, about friends and teasing and getting along. It seems to be that he's a pretty happy kid. I asked him about a teasing incident he'd mentioned to me fron a couple of weeks ago, and he seemed surprised that I remembered. It hasn't affected his friendship with the boy in question. I asked him if he had a best friend, and he told me it was hard to pick one, and he has at least four candidates. My best friend was always just the one who picked on me least.

I'm beginning to have some hope. Not just that BB himself will escape his school years with self-esteem intact, but that maybe the whole system has gotten better. At the very least, I feel proud of my son, who is growing up to be a good and decent young man who has a hard time even grasping the concept of bullying.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Techno-what? or Where's Karl on Thursdays?

Friends have been asking me what's up with the "Techno-fast" thing I've been doing on Thursdays. Some are even taking great delight in catching me out if they see any online activity from me that day. I'm glad that people are interested, and I thought I'd write it up and give everyone the facts.

The first thing I want to say is that this is my own thing. I do this for myself, and I'm not advocating it for anyone else, nor am I judging or condemning anyone else's actions. It's all about me (isn't everything?) :-)

This all started when I participated in Adbusters' Digital Detox (https://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/digitaldetox) back in April. I became aware of it at a time when I was struggling with the parts that the Internet and technology play in my life. As I told some friends recently, the Internet taught me how to make and keep friends, and many of my most important relationships are with people I know online, but it also came close to losing me a job. I learned a few things about myself during that week, but it was a one-shot deal.

Then, this summer, Kim and I participated in a Bible study called The Hurried Family. The class was great for us, helping us get some perspective on the things that we do and the reasons we do them. The class featured weekly challenges, and one of them was to pick a day and give up something technological. So I chose Thursday, and chose to do a mini-Detox that day. I enjoyed it so much that I'm working to make it a weekly thing.

So, here are some of the questions that arise:

What exactly am I giving up?

At a minimum, I go 24 hours without watching a television or using a computer for personal reasons. Since my job requires me to stay on top of e-mail and to help patrons with online research, I can't really give up computers completely.

In addition, I try to keep from sending text messages. I don't listen to the radio or CDs in the car. As much as possible, I try not to be a consumer of media for that one day a week.

There are a few exceptions. I continue to read, and since I use GoodReads to track my reading, if I finish a book or start a new one, I still record that. That's why you might see something pop up on facebook or Twitter about what I'm reading. Also, in an emergency, all bets are off. I'll use whatever I need.

Why??

At first, the main reason was to challenge myself. Can I do this? Am I an addict, or could I quit if I needed to?

The reasons that I continue to do it are more esoteric. A good friend once told me he envied my ability to be by myself. He was impressed that I didn't have to be around people all the time. In recent years I've become aware that, even when I'm alone, I surround myself with distractions. Often I'm doing multiple things (watching TV, knitting, and checking social networks is pretty common) so that there's never a moment when I'm at rest. This has meant that my ability to be truly alone and introspective has atrophied. Turning off all that stuff and giving myself some silence has been helpful in this way.

There's also an element of mindfulness in all this. More about that next.

Am I adding anything?

Well, I'm continuing to read, knit, and crochet, so I do a bit more of that than I would otherwise.

The other thing is, when I feel the urge to pull out my BlackBerry and update my status, or check Twitter, or do any of the other things I usually do, I stop and think. Why am I doing that? What's motivating me? Am I feeling lonely? Is there something really interesting I want to share? Am I just bored and looking for distraction? Increased self-awareness has become an important part of this experiment.

Something else I've been doing recently is making those times an opportunity for prayer. Did I want to Tweet something cute that one of the kids is doing? Offer up a prayer of thanksgiving. Did I want to post a photo of something cool I saw? Praise God for the wonder of his creation. Am I unhappy? Angry? Lonely? Ask God for help and guidance. This is a significant change for me, as my prayer life is usually confined to specific events.

What am I learning?

I can do this. I can make the commitment, follow through, and stick with it.

I'm not as important as I think I am. The Internet is not going to fall apart if I don't participate in discussions for one day. :-)

When I need something, I'm learning non-technological ways to get it. If I do personal research at the library, I use books. When I have time at home with the kids, the TV has to be off, so we play and read and do other things.

So, that's all very long-winded, and probably boring to some, but I hope it helps the curious to understand what I'm doing and why. Thanks for reading it all!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fort Cute

The boys built a fort this morning while TS had breakfast. Once she was done she crashed the party, literally. BB rebuilt with an added blan
The boys built a fort this morning while TS had breakfast. Once she was done she crashed the party, literally. BB rebuilt with an added blanket so it was big enough for all three. They seem to be enjoying themselves.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My First Ponytail

Well, it's not MY first. That would have been sometime in my senior year of high school. This is TS's first, though. Isn't she precious?
Well, it's not MY first. That would have been sometime in my senior year of high school. This is TS's first, though. Isn't she precious?

Elmo is a Good Listener

LB decided to get out his guitar and try a few licks to show off for the Elmo puppet.
LB decided to get out his guitar and try a few licks to show off for the Elmo puppet.

Monday, July 06, 2009

LB Leaps In

The boys are starting swimming lessons today. BB didn't get in the water due to a scheduling mixup, but LB had a great time, despite getting
The boys are starting swimming lessons today. BB didn't get in the water due to a scheduling mixup, but LB had a great time, despite getting a bit nervous toward the end

Friday, June 19, 2009

One-Skillet Kraut Dinner

Kim can't stand sauerkraut. She won't even have it in the house when she's around, so it's traditional for me to make it when she goes out of town, because I love the stuff.

Since she and BB are on the campout this weekend, it's kraut night for me! This is how I did it:

Ingredients:
2# canned or jarred sauerkraut (get the best you can find/afford)
10-16oz kielbasa or other smoked sausage
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 small red onion
1.5tsp whole caraway seeds (may sub fennel or anise, or leave out altogether)
2T apple cider vinegar
salt

Prep:
Drain kraut thoroughly (I used a salad spinner). Slice sausage on the bias into 1/4" elongated rounds. Peel, core, and chop the apple. Halve the onion and slice thinly to create half-rings.

Cooking:
Heat cast-iron skillet five minutes over medium heat. Toast caraway seeds for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant, then remove and set aside. Brown sausage coins for 2 minutes per side, remove and set aside. Sweat onions in sausage fat with sprinkling of salt until softened. Deglaze pan with vinegar, cooking down until concentrated. Add apples and cook until they take on color. Stir in caraway and kraut. Cook for about three minutes to bring out flavors. Top with sausage, cover, and let all steam for two minutes to finish softening apples.

I ate it with chopsticks. :-)

Single Dad for a Day or Two

Kim and BB are at a Scout campout for the weekend. I've got the littlies. My only goal is to get out of the house once a day. Today we accom
Kim and BB are at a Scout campout for the weekend. I've got the littlies. My only goal is to get out of the house once a day. Today we accomplished that with some errands, including a stop at the Herman and Kate Kaiser Library, where TS made the acquaintance of the giant bunny.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crafty!

A few months ago I taught a crochet class to some folks on Wednesday nights at our church. When that was over, we elected to keep gong as an
A few months ago I taught a crochet class to some folks on Wednesday nights at our church. When that was over, we elected to keep gong as an informal crafting circle. I'm becoming good friends with the ladies in the group, all of whom are also in the quilting circle. They have some great stories to tell!

One of these days I might take a Thursday morning off and see if I can sit in on the quilting.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

BB is an acolyte

in the Lutheran church, grade school kids act as acolytes, lighting and extinguishing the candles. At the end of the service, they relight t
in the Lutheran church, grade school kids act as acolytes, lighting and extinguishing the candles. At the end of the service, they relight their tapers from the last candles and symbolically carry the light out into the world.

Ordinarily there's only one acolyte, but BB is in training, so his first time is with a partner. It's a pretty big deal. He's so proud!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fireflies

Tonight at the zoo there was a profusion of fireflies all around. BB and some other boys his age were catching them and letting them go. It
Tonight at the zoo there was a profusion of fireflies all around. BB and some other boys his age were catching them and letting them go. It made me think back to nights in Topeka as a kid, when Jay and I would do the same. I'm saddened that our boys so seldom have the chance to just play outside with no plan or structure. I want that for them so badly.

It really was a magical evening. Not just the fireflies, but everything. Good friends, the train and the carousel, baby lions and flamingoes... all wonderful. We don't get many nights like that in our lives. Cherish them.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Long Morning

It wasn't five minutes in the van after church this afternoon and TS was already zonked out. LB doesn't look all that lively, either. :-)
It wasn't five minutes in the van after church this afternoon and TS was already zonked out. LB doesn't look all that lively, either. :-)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Three Penny Upright at Ida Red

Went to hear a local band of some renown tonight. Anytime you've got little girls dancing and a lead singer with a washboard, you know it's
Went to hear a local band of some renown tonight. Anytime you've got little girls dancing and a lead singer with a washboard, you know it's gonna be a good night. :-)

I has a pretty!

Today I had a great teen program with members of the Oklahoma Bead Society, teaching teens to make beaded bracelets. We had 35 in attendance
Today I had a great teen program with members of the Oklahoma Bead Society, teaching teens to make beaded bracelets. We had 35 in attendance! I had a chance to make a bracelet, and I gave it to TS when I got home. She loves it. :-)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bangin' on the Bongos like a Chimpanzee

I continue to neglect my macro-blogging in favor of facebook and Twitter. I'm trying out a new service (well, new to me anyway) called Ping.fm that's supposed to make it easier to pull all these things together. <br /><br />Our local Parents As Teachers hold a playgroup on Monday mornings during the school year. I've posted photos before of the littlies playing at the elementary school where it's held. It's summer now, of course, but one of the regular parents is organizing some summer outings for the group. Here are TS and LB trying out the fire truck at the Mohawk Park playground.
I continue to neglect my macro-blogging in favor of facebook and Twitter. I'm trying out a new service (well, new to me anyway) called Ping.fm that's supposed to make it easier to pull all these things together.

Our local Parents As Teachers hold a playgroup on Monday mornings during the school year. I've posted photos before of the littlies playing at the elementary school where it's held. It's summer now, of course, but one of the regular parents is organizing some summer outings for the group. Here are TS and LB trying out the fire truck at the Mohawk Park playground.

just accidentally Ping.fm.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My -ism


It's been awhile since I've posted. I've been focusing my online time on facebook, and I also did a Digital Detox for a week. That was an interesting experience.

I decided to post today because I discovered my -ism! I've been drawing for awhile, and I've learned that I'm attracted to subjects with a lot of straight lines, a lot of rectilinear forms, crossings, architectural elements, etc. The photo above is an example. It's a sketch I made of the beamed ceiling of the Broken Arrow library, about three years ago.

Some time ago, I learned that there's a name for this. There was an artistic movement called "precisionism" that featured the same kinds of attention to detail and fascination with industrial and architectural subjects that I seem to have.

So there it is. I'm a precisionist! I also found a kindred spirit of sorts in the blogger behind six martinis and the seventh art. I found her through a google search for "precisionism", and found that she seems to share my aesthetic, though she finds images she loves in old films. There are some gorgeous stills on her blog. Take a look!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Snow Came After All

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Tulsa got slammed with more than six inches of snow yesterday. It was balm for my Minnesota soul. More photos at http://tinyurl.com/…geddon2009.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hailstones

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The threatened Oklahoma Spring Snowmageddon has not materialized, but evidently there was hail at some point overnight.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Independent Play

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TS is figuring out how the blocks fit together.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

It Begins

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TS kicks back with some littachoor. I can't read the cover very well, but I'm pretty sure that's either War and Peace or Foucault's Pendulum. I'll have to get a report from her later.



Photo by Kim.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Bubble Baby

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TS gets her first taste of playground equipment.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

It's Full Of Stars!

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The current issue of Library Journal has the results of their first-ever Index of Public Library Service. Based on 2006 data, it surveys more than 7,000 public libraries and gives Michelin-style star ratings to 256 of the best. You can see details at http://www.libraryjournal.com/…jindex2009.



Well, I'm proud to say that my employer, Tulsa City-County Library, is the only five-star library in the state of Oklahoma! It's a recognition of the great service we provide to our patrons, and of the appreciation they show us in return.



I'd like to thank the Academy... I mean LJ for this great honor. I'd also like to congratulate my Oklahoma colleagues in Kenowa and Stratford who made the list, and recognize some "home libraries" from my past: Hays Public Library in Kansas, KCPL in Missouri, and St. Paul Public in Minnesota are also Star Libraries. Hooray!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Crochet Earbud Covers

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I have two different pairs of stereo earbuds that have lost their useless little foamy covers, so I went looking for alternatives, and voila! Kim's reaction, and I quote: "You are such a dork!". Cool! Gonna start on the second pair. Maybe I'll knit instead of crocheting.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Muahahahahahahahahaaaaaa!

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"Now that I have harnessed nuclear fusion, the world is MINE!"

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Award-Winner

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BB accepts his "Best Paint Job" certificate from the Cubmaster.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Toy Box

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My folks came to visit this weekend and brought us some gifts. What was the most popular item? If you look closely, you can see LB's foot sticking out at the bottom.

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...And An 8.5 From The Russian Judge...

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I so want to Photoshop my dad out of this shot, but I don't have the skills.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Killer Ride, Dude!

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Here's BB's pinecar racer. Time trials are tomorrow. Wish him luck!

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Metablogging

TCCL (my employer) is running a Library 2.0 training series called "23 Things". Part of the assignment is for us to create a blog. Of course, I have one here, but I created a new one just for the course. I thought I'd link to it here. Due to the nature of the assignments, it's going to be a lot of metablogging, talking about what I already do or hope to do online, and trying out new things.

Snow Day?

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At the PAT playgroup this morning, TS had a good time with the fake snow the teachers made for the kids. It was her first time at this event.



Just a reminder: I can only really post one picture to these blog entries easily, but I often send more to my flickr photostream. You can see them at http://www.flickr.com/…s/yoyology.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

TS = Tiny Simmons?

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I swear I'm gonna build a baby KISS tribute band around this girl.

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Big Chair, Little Chair

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The weather today was perfect. This morning I took the littlies out on the porch and let them run around, and this afternoon LB asked if we could go for a walk, "Pretty please?" So he and I wandered the complex for about 45 minutes. We had a great time.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

My Sweater Gets More Exposure

There's a knitting blog called Zimmermania dedicated to the designer and knitting writer Elizabeth Zimmerman. I used her book Knitting Without Tears to make my sweater, so I asked permission to post about it, and they agreed. Take a look!

Oh, and I've also marked the project "completed" on Ravelry and added additional photos there. If you're a Raveler, take a peek.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

IT IS FINISHED!!!!!

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After months of sometimes boring, sometimes frustrating work, my first sweater is DONE! The collar is a little squared off, and the sleeves might be a touch too long, but overall I am very happy with how it turned out!

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Friday, January 30, 2009