Monday, August 26, 2013

Let's chat over coffee . . .

Every month, Abi of Creating Paper Dreams, hosts a link-up where people can sit and chat over a cup of tea.  Now that Clara has made it out the front door to her first day of school, I could invite you in for a cup of coffee (or tea, if you prefer).  Clara's taking an extra-early schedule this year, starting "zero period" at 6:30 a.m.! Although the predawn light made for a slightly blurry first day of school photo, she's happy to be starting her day with physical education because working out first thing in the morning gets her metabolism going and helps her concentrate in school.
After filling your mug, I'd tell you that I've been thinking a lot about how much time I spend being a parent. These thoughts have come into the forefront of my brain because many of Henry's friends have left for college in the last few weeks. (As an aside, I'd tell you that Henry is still asleep downstairs but not to worry about waking him; he won't crawl out of his boy-cave until around 11:00). He's not due to leave for University until September 21, but several of my friends have already taken their youngest off to college and are now describing themselves as "empty nesters." We still have Clara at home for another three years, but I can envision the time when both the kids are off at college, and I wonder at all the time which will be freed up.  Truthfully, I spend a huge portion of my day being a parent.  I know I won't stop parenting my children after they move out, but it will be a much less active part of my day-to-day life. 
I wonder at how much I have come to define myself as a parent during the last eighteen years. Although I am still a law professor, a blogger, an artist, and a wife, I spend more hours on being a parent than on anything else! And the sheer number of hours has affected how I see myself, the friends I've developed and the activities I enjoy. I'd ask you if you ever think about how you define yourself - is it by a role which you fulfill? Or something else?
After that philosophical discussion, maybe I'd offer you another cup and conversation would drift to other topics. I'd tell you that I got a bit "stuck" in my storytelling class I was taking. Mainly because I got caught up in the idea of writing a memoir and then realized there was no way I was ready to take on the project. Now that I have made peace with that idea, I do want to go back and finish up the last two lessons because I really have gotten a lot out of the class.  I'd tell you that I also want to get back to finishing up my "Passport to Art" altered book because I only have a few pages left to do. 
Maybe the dogs would wander into the living room, and I could show you some of the good behavior they've been learning at obedience class. I'd tell you that the trek over to class is always tough because poor Aria hates riding in the car, but that the class is worth it because the dogs really are becoming better household members, and it is so fun to watch Clara train Aria (while I work with Gypsy). 
Before you had to leave, perhaps we could exchange book and television suggestions. I could tell you I really enjoyed The Son by Philipp Meyer, and I want to finish up The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach before my book group meets next week. I think we plan to read Transatlantic by Colum McCann next. I've also heard good things about Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, and We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Plus I'm interested in Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and Home by Toni Morrison.  Have you read any of these or heard anything about them?   I'd tell you how much I enjoyed the first two seasons of Luther and how Paul and I are currently watching Broadchurch (both on BBC America).  House of Cards on Netflix has also been highly recommended, so I think I'll start in on that show next. Do you have any other suggestions? 
Finally, I'd ask you if you've ever participated in Shimelle's September class "Learn Something New Everyday" and whether you plan to do it this year.  I've done it several times and have always enjoyed it. I'm seriously considering doing it this year, in conjunction with a face drawing/art journaling class being offered by Dina Wakley.  I can see a journal full of messy, sketchy faces and lessons jotted down next to each one. Isn't that a cool idea?
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If you would like to link up at this month's tea party or see what others are chatting about, click on this link. 

28 comments:

Missus Wookie said...

Sounds like a very early zero period to me, but if I've made it to you I'd welcome a cup of coffee :) The amount of time I've spent being a parent and specifically a homeschooling parent is something I've very aware of. I regained 16 - 20 hours when both kids stopped, immediately filled them with other stuff of course, including teaching. But yes, it shapes your life in so many ways.

Sian said...

Wow, that's early! I'm not so sure the teachers round here would be easily persuaded into that, let alone the kids.

Yes, I'm sure we could talk for quite a while about our respective plans once our other child leaves home.

I think I might have read somewhere that Broadchurch has been recommissioned. Not sure how that would work, but I certainly enjoyed the first series. I liked how it was styled.

Amy said...

Broadchurch is on here at the moment, it is very good. We are in the midst of watching Game of Thrones, we are both enjoying it but it is not for the feint hearted!

I think your topics this month would need a month to discuss, not a mere cup of tea or coffee!

I'm not doing LSNED this year - can you believe, I have not done one single online class this year!

Ruth said...

Zero Period is far too early!
I've done LSNED before, but not for a few years so I'm probably going to participate again this year.
I stopped watching Luther half-way through Series 1, far too scary! I liked Broadchurch, but found the conclusion disappointing; I actually shouted at the TV, "XX? You've got to be kidding me!" I've only heard good things about House of Cards on Netflix, but would also suggest that you try and find the BBC original.

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

That is a very early start. My girl would be fine with it, but my boy...not so much! I loved Luther. Broadchurch as well but, like Sian, I can't imagine what direction the second series will take. I'll also be enjoying Dexter and The West Wing on Lovefilm, frm time to time, once the kids go back to school. We're watching Game of Thrones too. I really enjoyed the first season, but have found the second a little disappointing as it starys further from the books, which I'm also reading on and off.

Cheri said...

I'd probably chat with you about how sending kids off to college - even when the youngest is gone - isn't really "empty nest" - it's more like a series of mini vacations from the kids. Usually not more than a month at a time. They'll be home for Thanksgiving, an entire month at Christmas, Spring Break, and then the entire Summer. Plus the miscellaneous weekends they come home. And when they do come home, you'll spend 2 or 3 days just doing all the dirty laundry and mending they bring with them!

I will probably participate in LSNED this year, although I'll be on vacation for part of it. I've been mulling ideas of how to structure it. Guess I should decide pretty soon! And I can't wait to hear your feedback on Dina's course. It is something I would consider trying, but don't have the time right now. I'm taking Tracy Clark's "Picture Everyday" starting 9/12.

Melissa said...

Clara is absolutely beautiful in that first-day-of-school photo!

There's a joke among my family and friends that I'm "just me." Not ever having children makes it hard sometimes for others to understand what/who I am, but I've always just felt like "me". Last year I had to write up a bio (THREE times!) and I joked with a friend that I probably couldn't get away with just writing "I'm Me." LOL So, now I have my scrapbooking bio, my Bible teacher/speaker bio, and my teaching bio . . . but I'm still just me!

I'll be in LSNED this year - prepped my divided page protectors yesterday.

Abi said...

Thank you for tea Rinda. It has been so nice to hear your thoughts on parenting. It makes me see life from my mums side and what it must be like for her when both me and my brother head off for uni in October. I am looking forward to seeing the results of those classes. A book of faces sounds so exciting!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

6:30 is when we get up for school! I'm doing LSNED again this year. Starting it anyway. We'll see how much I actually do. It's running concurrently with 30 Days of Lists so we'll see how it goes.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

We were just getting up at 6:30! I'm taking LSNED again and it's running concurrently with 30 Days of Lists which I am also taking. So it's all going to be done in the same notebook! :)

Flora said...

Kudos to Clara, I don't even want to get up that early for work, yet she *chose* to take a class that early. She's obviously ready to get on with the next level of her education.

Linda said...

Lovely picture of Clara! Well done to her for choosing such an early class! Interesting discussions, my 2 kids are both at home, 1 back from uni, the other has never left. I'm not sure I spend a huge amount of time parenting them now. They are both out to work for most of the day, and I only cook dinner for my son, daughter does her own thing!

I am not doing LSNED this year as for half of September I will be on holiday... actually that could be a really good time to do it!!!

debs14 said...

I think that maybe we put so much time and energy into parenting as you know that the time in which they need 'hands on' parenting is transient. Although you never stop being their parents, once they leave home it's inevitable that you have to take a step backwards.
Lovely picture of Clara, that certainly is an early start!

Karen said...

Parenting did consume the better part of my life for many years, but I'm surprised at how often I'm still in the parenting mode. As the grandchildren get older, I think it will be even more.

It is a lovely photo of Clara, and I hope her year is a very happy and successful one!

No LSNED for me this year. I have too many projects left over from the overly busy summer to complete, and one big project I'm thinking about starting.

Kirsty.A said...

Oh gosh yes, being a parent define me. I used to really struggle with that (being called "Mum" rather than Kirsty) but now I do it too, and my husband only answers it to "Daddy". I've read @A Sense of An Ending" - it was OK, but I didn't love it. I think I might just blog Learn Something new. September is manic for me and I won't have much time for crafting

alexa said...

I don't know you fit t all in, Rinda - I am full of admiration :). I might share a little of my own experience of bring an empty nester - which din't last very long, in fact!

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Carrie is still young enough that I remember all too well how it felt to have her move out. I did not like it one bit, but she loved it and she was ready. It did take some getting used to, and I still struggle with letting go and not telling her what to do all the time. She might not think I keep my mouth shut as often as I should, but I DO bite my tongue more than she knows. LOL

Love the photo of Clara, and I'm so impressed with her dedication to getting up early to get a jump start.

Thanks for the cup of coffee! xo

Fiona said...

Gosh that is an early start - not sure I would get mine out in time for that. Got another 4 years to go before my youngest sets off for college.

Sinead said...

Hi there, just popping over from Abi's for tea! Thanks for the morning coffee and best of luck to your daughter in her new year of school and very early start! LSNED sounds really good, I've never taken part before but haven enjoyed some of Shimelle's other classes so could be tempted!

bluebirdslivinginthemeadow said...

it seems we would have much in common, miss rinda...of all your titles i can only recommend house of cards which hubbie and i have completely loved...my husband is also a law prof, part-time...and your clara and my son must be the same age...cheers to you and i clink my lovely cuppa tea to you.

Gail said...

Zero Period?? Sounds way too early to me. :) Guess it's a good thing she likes it. That's quite the list of books. I haven't heard of any of them but I have heard of some of the authors. I've take Shimelle's class but never finished it and I'm not planning on doing it this year - I want to finish the ones I'm currently doing instead.

Eileen T said...

That really is an early start! Lovely to hear all your news and thanks for the list of books. I'll definitely be reading some of your suggestions.

Miriam said...

Gosh what a lot of stuff going on in your head Rinda! I so admire how you keep all those balls in the air.
I watched House of Cards years ago and have just bought the DVD's to watch it again, we both loved it.
Clare looks so beautiful in your photo, what dedication to anything to get up at that hour!. I hope you are feeling better? I am doing LSNED it is one of my favourite classes although I do tend to go along in my own way:) Thank you for tea and sharing your thoughts. especially on parenting. It took me 15 years to become a mother and from the day I did to this day I still love being 'Ben's Mum' It doesn't define me completely of course...

Miriam said...

Sorry Clara! you are Clara, not Clare, she is my sister in law!

Joan said...

Beautiful shot of Clara. Just finishing Home, and really got into it after a slow start. (I kept falling asleep.) Check out The Fosters from ABC family. I'm a sucker for family dramas (love Parenthood and Friday Night Lights)but finally with the Fosters can watch a believable lesbian couple with a big family.

Sandie said...

That is an early start for your daughter at school! Good experience though and exercise is also good to help us wake up and feel more energetic.
I'm looking forward to Shimelle's course - I have been thinking about how to make this years mini book.
As for my Passport to Art - I have finally done a couple more pages. I am still way behind but it is not a race to the finish and I will complete it when time allows. Like you, I take on lots of projects but that's what makes day fun!

Carrie said...

Hi, just popped in on my way from Abi's! Thank you for your hospitality :)
Wow 6.30 starts!! I am only just adjusting to getting up at 6.30 to start getting ready for work, I definitely don't think I would have had the dedication to choose to be at school at that time, so very well done to Clara and I hope she continues to enjoy it!

Beverly said...

Sounds like Clara has found what works for her and I hear maturity in her voice. Headed into year 4 of empty nesting and I still miss them. We have football season tickets so always see the Pirate a lot in the fall. Freshman year winter was a reality check especially for the Chosen One but you do have opportunities for yourself and your marriage that are a blessing. I'm excited for Henry and for you.