A note: I will never, ever, ever own a mouse with a "back" button on it (I'm on lunch at work). This marks the third time I have accidentally hit the back button and had to rewrite all or part of this post. Thankfully, I remembered to save one draft!
All is well in Leah-land, but it is busy and stressful. Work continues to be fulfilling, what with spending lots of time in nature with young kids. But it's also stressful, since I take over other people's jobs when they leave on vacation (and two people are out this week). I'm also just trying to find time to enjoy the beautiful summer weather.
Did you know that drowning doesn't look like "drowning"? This excellent article describes how to spot someone who is drowning, and I was surprised to find out that it's not at all like we expect. One of the best tips I picked up from the article is that drowning people are typically quiet. As they say, kids in the water make noise; if they're not making noise anymore, something is up. Definitely give it a read. I'd never heard any of this before, and I have worked with kids in and around water.
Vampire energy is the term for electricity that is used by plugged in equipment even when that equipment isn't on. This takes up a surprising amount of energy each year. When I signed up for renewable energy for a 101 things goal (near the end of the post), I also worked diligently at reducing power consumption. We did so by using power strips for all our electronics and turning off the strips when our microwave, TV, etc weren't in use. We managed to get out bill down to $15-20 per month for a two bedroom apartment, which was pretty awesome in my view. I must admit that it was a pain to constantly reach behind things to turn off power strips, but it did pay off.
Imagine my happiness in discovering that there are now remote-control operated power strips! There's an excellent review over at LA Green Girl about the Pratecol power strip. There's remote control power strips and power strips with foot pedal turn-offs. I am so buying a few of these when we redo our living room soon. Matt and I don't currently pay electric where we live, but we still like to conserve.
A new-twist on an old subject: 7 tips for dealing with a sweetheart who is crabby all the time. These tips focus on how you can adjust behavior, since you're the only one you can change. I really love the focus here, because it acknowledges that there are two sides to every situation. I must admit that I am sometimes (maybe often?) crabby at the end of a long workday, mostly because of the frustrating hour-long commute I do. Matt has been a gem, and I think he already does several of these tips. Recently, he's been cooking dinner for me, and it makes a ton of difference in how I feel. In return, I've started washing more dishes, and I even empty the dish drainer before leaving for work in the morning so that he has a clean kitchen to cook in.
What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were younger?
What I know now is that life is long -- you don't have to do everything at the same time. When I turned 30 I entered a ridiculously productive period -- I published five books in five years and had two children. Then I gave birth to my third son, and it all went to hell in a hand-basket (or, more accurately, a diaper pail). It was a number of years -- eight, to be exact -- before I published another novel. But during that period I learned a lot about life and love and other important things, and my writing -- and my life in general -- are better for it.
"Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds, do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire."
I find this difficult to do but of the utmost importance. It is far easier to lecture and spoon-fed; it is natural to want to be the gatekeeper of information. However, I find children show the most excitement and future learning when I merely direct them towards a pursuit and learn along with them. I like to think that I am not a teacher but rather a guide.