We all do it - wait until the last minute, or, as in my case, just a bit beyond before we charge into action. We are culturally conditioned to respond only to crises. They are the instigators - the motivators. Yes, absolutely, my life would be so much easier if I followed that antiquated but constructive adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Nonetheless, the most common refrains (excuses) that run through my head constantly are: I don't have time. If I don't give it my attention, it will go away. I need to rest, now - before I fall over in my tracks. It isn't that bad. Or the classic, I don't want to know, exactly, how bad it is.
My latest crisis involves allergy HELL. Yes, I am allergic to my cats (two in the house and now one at the Canton Center), floral fragrances, dust, mold, mildew, and spores from edible fungi (my husband grows mushrooms), leaf mold (I live in a forest), and pollen (see previous note). However, I can usually manage with minor-ish symptoms by taking a 24hr allergy med. But - it definitely wasn't cutting it this time around!
Then yesterday, I realized that I had not dusted or deep cleaned the bedroom - in a while (translated to a very, very long time). The main problem occurs in the summer. The heat and humidity cause the natural (not sealed or oiled) pine ship-lap to grow mildew. Last evening I sprang into action with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and rosemary oil in a spray bottle and sprayed the heck out of the wooden bedroom walls, the yoga mat, and dusted the furniture with a cloth infused with the concoction. It has an overwhelming scent that works and which DRC Peeps are now exceptionally familiar with. I have used it this past year as a homemade antimicrobial spray, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, etc., at the Center. Today, I will vacuum the floor and spray the bed and pillow with a peppermint oil concoction to kill the dust mites and then hang the things I can - outside.
A "clean" sleeping space, along with the addition of homeopathic allergy meds., will hopefully bring me back down to manageable-ish symptoms by Monday.
In hindsight, I am (of course) kicking myself for ignoring the flashpoint until it was far too late. At this point, I need more than a "pound of cure," and I will have lost an entire weekend to a snotty nose, post-nasal drip, scratchy throat, and itchy, watery eyes induced misery now compounded by allergic sinusitis and asthma cough. Not to mention - very little sleep.
Will I take this particular lesson into the future? That long list of excuses, above, combined with my history, don't bode well...
What are you ignoring? What has a good chance of becoming your next "flash point?" Will you do better than me at conquering the insidious cultural compulsion to wait for the crisis point before acting?
Thank you to the three people who offered to sponsor the registration plate for the DRC Little Free Library. Our library will be placed on the world map of Little Free Libraries. The additional funds will be used to pay subscription fees for online resources that the kids use often.
This semester we are deeply grateful to have twelve SLU Community Based Learning student volunteers join us virtually to facilitate classes and activities through our Discord Server. Those sessions have been added to the DRC schedule.
As mentioned above, Digby, a lovable, big orange cat, has joined the DRC Canton Crew. He will live at the Center full time. Sending a huge shout of thanks out to Little River Community Cats for connecting us to his former owners. They loved him dearly but needed to find him a new home. So far, he has bonded with a couple of DRC Peeps, hangs out in the bathroom sink, and hides in a bottom kitchen cupboard when he feels overwhelmed. (We have emptied it out just for him).
If I was to ask you right now, what would you say lights your fire? What are the things that make you happy, just by thinking about them? What would you do if you had the time? If given the opportunity, what would you explore deeply? If making money and earning a living were not a consideration, how would you spend your days?
Was it easy to answer those questions, or did you come up blank - no ideas - zilch, nada? If the latter is the case, you are not alone.
Every year, I ask these very same questions of all of our members - twice. Once when I meet with them (this year it was by phone) to write their Individual Home Instruction Plans (IHIPs) and again when we are all together on our first day to brainstorm two lists - one of classes and the other of projects and activities they would like to add to the schedule.
What I have discovered over the years is that, generally, the older the child is, the harder it is for them to answer these questions. And every year, I am devastated to find that jadedness, indifference, and pure apathy are showing up in younger and younger kids.
In my experience, every year a child is in the system - the longer it takes to deprogram them from their detachment to rediscover their love of learning.
Again I ask, what lights your fire? Think hard - then find a way to do that thing. Step away from your busyness for a while to experience - joy, satisfaction, enthusiasm, and passion. Your children are watching and learning from you. Explore all the possibilities and have a blast!
We spent our first week getting to know each other, both as a full DRC crew and within the two individual centers.
We will begin our classes and activities on Monday. Find the ideas our members generated here in the DRC Fall calendar. To accommodate everyone who would like to join DRC, most of our sessions are hybrid - available to access in person or remotely through our Discord server.
They had a few other suggestions not in this schedule because we need volunteers who have the knowledge and skill to facilitate them - specifically voice acting and architecture. Please get in touch if you are willing to spend an hour each week sharing your skills and talents with kiddos who are excited to learn from you.
We are also looking for someone eager to teach/share Mohawk/Awkwesasne culture with several of our members. Ideally, the instructor is Mohawk for many reasons, but especially authenticity and representation.
Twenty years ago, this past week, I embarked on an adventure that completely changed my life. These two decades have been packed with incredible joy and intense pain (2013 was one for the books), and an abundance of every possible emotion in between, as well as an enormous number of (on-going) learning opportunities - that have combined to create an entirely new, unrecognizable, and ever-evolving me.
It all began in the summer of 2001 when I came to the abrupt and uncomfortable realization that Kenzie, my youngest, was headed off to Pre-K while their brother, Ian, began 2nd grade, and I would have no children at home. My primary role for the previous seven years had been "at home, Mom." The questions started piling up. What was my assignment now? How would I fill my mornings till Kenzie got home at noon? (I knew boredom would drive me to make some pretty awful choices.) In essence, what did I want to do when I grew up?
The dusty sixteen-year-old Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising Associate's degree laying at the bottom of my cedar chest was obviously not serving any purpose. So with all the accumulated wisdom of an almost 37-year-old, I decided to go back to college.
It was surprisingly easy to enroll. I don't know the reasoning, but the SUNY Potsdam Office of Financial Aid guided me through all the paperwork for FAFSA, and I was able to matriculate without paying a dime. I did get a loan my second semester to buy a new computer and my books. (I had been using a clunky, hand-me-down desktop with Windows 95 and dial-up that continuously crashed. The day it lost a ten-page paper while I tried to placate a fidgety, unhappy four-year-old was when I purchased the fancy new Dell.)
Going in, I had no idea what to major in. I like reading so I chose English Literature. Most of the credits I earned from my Cazenovia College degree transferred. However, my first semester still consisted of several 100 level classes required for a Liberal Arts degree - one being an anthropology class called Bones and Stones. Another of the five classes that Fall was within my chosen major. It speaks volumes that I do not remember the exact name of that class - all I know is that I despised it. The professor was a pompous A$$, and the material was beyond boring. It really is any wonder that I continued after that first few months - because I also had a math class designed for those who needed it to graduate but suck at it. It was literal Hell.
On the other end of the spectrum, I adored the Anthro class and the professor. A few weeks into the Fall (right after 9/11 - yes, that happened that year too), I went to her office and asked if I could switch majors. She was delighted to take me on as an advisee, and I was thrilled to discover my passion for studying people (past and present), solving problems, and writing.
My point? (I have two.) 1) It is only when humans are truly interested in a topic, subject, or idea, that they engage, learn, and grow. 2) I was incredibly late to the game. I drifted through my twenties, taking on meaningless jobs that in no way used my Fashion Design Degree, stayed home during my early and mid-thirties to raise my children (who, to be clear, are my heart), and then went back to school. Despite hitting a stone wall - hard(!) - (thank you, 2013) and changing direction a few times - I finally discovered my life's work.
Yes, as the Steve Miller Band reminds us, "time keeps slipping, slipping, slipping...;" nonetheless, new beginnings and fresh perspectives can occur at any time. I am the perfect example - as long as you are breathing, are willing to work hard, and have an open mind - it is never too late to explore all the possibilities.
Tuesday is our first day of the 21/22 academic year! However, you can become a member at any time during the year. Contact us to learn more.
All the parents trying to make the best decisions for their children during a global pandemic. Your greatest wish is for them to be safe. Your anger, resentment, and fear are justified.
The caring and empathetic policymakers who are simply trying to do the right thing - but suffer ridicule if they do and are damned if they don't. Your frustration is palpable and justified.
But most especially the children who are the pawns in a game, which has no rules and no foreseeable conclusion. One that the bookies, even if they tried, cannot create a spreadsheet (or formula) to predict an outcome. The mechanisms you employ to combat your anxiety, unease, inability to settle and concentrate are all justified.
I see you all, and I am here to listen.