jay: (flowers)
[personal profile] jay
I need to explore or find something different in my life... too much in the past couple of months (outside of work) has been quiet and dull. Lots of time on weekends spent cleaning and repairing and building things at home... granted, there's been a couple of years of deferred maintenance, but I miss going out and doing the occasional frivolous or recreational activity, or seeing friends. Or even doing activities with the kids... it has been three months of much work and little play. And being both the primary earner and able-bodied adult around the house leaves me often sliding into doing more caretaking than I'd wish.

The breaks, for me, have been travel... I'm really looking forward to going to Minneapolis in two weeks for the weekend for my 10th anniversary with Nancy. Or two weeks ago, when I went to DC a day early so I could spend all day Sunday with [personal profile] geekchick before my business Monday morning. Or going to Atlanta on business in December. I've held these out to myself as carrots and motivators... the problem with this is that it then sets my hopes and expectations really high, which can cause me to crash emotionally if everything isn't sparkly and fun when I visit for the weekend. Which in turn places an undue burden on my out-of-town partners and friends and family. They can't, alone, be my escape-valve or the spice in my life.

I'm really not much of a homebody, or happy retreating to a nest. I could be comfortable spending half my time on the road somewhere. And I don't watch DVDs, movies or TV, and rarely read anymore for pleasure, so there's not much to do at home *except* clean, cook or work on household projects. Except playing with the kids or cats? Any suggestions?

Date: 2009-01-25 02:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] weirdodragoncat.livejournal.com
are you artistically inclined at all? you could find some sort of arsty thing that interests you and play around with it for a bit.

Date: 2009-01-25 03:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brian1789.livejournal.com
Hm. My fine motor skills are so-so, although I guess if I can lay down a line of grout then I could glue stuff or use spray paint?

Date: 2009-01-25 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] weirdodragoncat.livejournal.com
that's the spirit!

Date: 2009-01-25 02:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hobbitbabe.livejournal.com
Do something with [profile] patgreene that she would like to do?

Study something?

Skating, geocaching, other kinds of social exercise?

Cook or bake with your kids?

Date: 2009-01-25 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brian1789.livejournal.com
I should skate more, but Kevin's been less interested and I haven't been successful in enticing someone local to go skating with me. Geocaching is a good idea, since I can usually get outdoors and bring along at least one or two kids... haven't been since [personal profile] cyan_blue moved in, ironically.

Cooking... I used to bake all of our own bread and buns, back in grad school. But in recent years I've stopped, because it messes up the kitchen, and it usually is already messy? By the time I've cleaned the kitchen enough to do baking (or homebrewing), I'm usually tired or edgy to get outside.

Date: 2009-01-25 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyan-blue.livejournal.com
I think it will be possible for you to do more baking and home-brewing if you like, now that we've got the kitchen de-cluttered, and now that we are in a place to implement that nightly-tidying-by-kids idea that we've been speaking about ;-)

You're right that we've been emphasizing long-term goals (home improvement projects) over short-term ones lately, and I think that at this point we don't need to consider ourselves on a deadline to finish any specific projects, so let's do start looking for more fun things to do with weekend time again. I know that K was in rapture the other week when I took him bird-watching along the shoreline, and you're right, we need to be doing much more of that with the kids than we have lately.

I didn't realize you didn't know of more hiking trails... they're all over the place in our region, and I'd be happy to work with you to find new ones to explore.

And if you want more skating company in your life... I can't do your usual Wednesday nights post-lessons, but am very happy to go twirl on the ice on weekends.

Date: 2009-01-25 02:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
Maybe family hiking days? You could teach the boys about natural history -- geology, botany, birdwatching, observing animals and insects, ecology, even astronomy. This could become an activity shared with friends and their kids. California has unparalleled natural variety and beauty.

When you have to work on household stuff -- carpentry, maintenance, cooking, laundry -- that's another activity to teach the boys.

And you should have some adult time -- dinner or lunch with friends occasionally. A concert or play.

Maybe these aren't the kinds of things that would be pleasant for you. But they may spark ideas that would.

Date: 2009-01-25 03:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brian1789.livejournal.com
Could you suggest any kid-suitable hikes, as a starter? I really don't know local trails except for Stevens Creek and around the Stanford Dish?

I tend to expect concerts and plays to cost $50 and require driving to SF? Are there better options?

Date: 2009-01-25 04:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
Some of the local towns have free summer concerts outside. You can check concert listings at insidebayarea.com or the SJ Mercury News website. Colleges often host concerts and plays, too.

As for hiking, check out the Bay Area hiker site. That's the kid-friendly trail page, but there are other pages ranking all the trails by difficulty. I've been to a number of the parks, and they're all beautiful.

Date: 2009-01-26 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deedeebythebay.livejournal.com
And further, as for concerts, check out the different colleges and universities. The band at CSUEB is superb. The choirs are pretty good too. They have had wonderful plays. All of them are reasonably priced.

Date: 2009-01-25 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stef-tm.livejournal.com
Things I do (which you may or may not find interesting)
- hike
- go to the gym
- explore the downtowns on the Peninsula or the neigbhorhoods in SF
- volunteer
- various activities with my spiritual community
- go to lectures (e.g. City Arts and Lectures)
- go to concerts
- art gallery openings

(edited to add the last bullet)

Date: 2009-01-25 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brian1789.livejournal.com
(smile) those sound good... and none of them happen at home. One difference between us is that I usually won't do things alone. And for historical reasons, I tend to cede church activities and groups to [profile] patgreene.

I'd like to hike and geocache (which for me is often a social form of hiking) more... I go to the gym at work.

Date: 2009-01-25 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyan-blue.livejournal.com
They can't, alone, be my escape-valve or the spice in my life.

I'm sure that you didn't mean that line to sound hurtful to your at-home partners, but...

In any case, my perception is that you often seem to wait for others to initiate entertainments, rather than planning them yourself (with some exceptions, granted). Perhaps you could identify some of the things that might sound fun on a weekend and suggest 'em? You're not the only one around here who likes driving trips, geocaching, trying new things. Me, I've also been looking for new things to try, and have found soap-making classes, drum circles, book clubs on Meetup recently. There are lots of online activities listings (Meetup, Craigslist community pages, etc). I often see lots of things listed that the kids might like (hikes, bird-watching outings, wii saturdays at the library).

We can talk more later on it...

Date: 2009-01-25 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brian1789.livejournal.com
I also feel like I can't just declare "I'm going to a drumming circle" or "I'm going to an art opening" without getting permission or negotiating the time spent away from home? Unless I'm on the road somewhere, then I feel in control of my own scheduling. Interesting contrast... we can talk later.

Date: 2009-01-25 06:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyan-blue.livejournal.com
Let's see if there can be ways for you to feel more freedom to say "I'm going to go do X" and be supported in that.

Relatedly, some of the impetus for me to begin looking for more outside activities for myself was the realization that I was relying more heavily on you than was optimal (for either of us) for my own social interaction. In retrospect, perhaps I ought to have made that process more explicit... at the time, it felt more like an "I need to clean up my own codependency" thing, so I simply set about taking care of it by looking to expand my own social and activity repertoire. But, it didn't occur to me that perhaps I needed to make explicit the parallel intention of "hey, it's ok for you to go do your own thing more" likewise. I know that I've been trying to encourage your time with other partners more in recent weeks; perhaps we need to make that encouragement more explicit in the realms of hobbies and your seeing other friends as well.

Ideally, you'd be able to take time to go do your own thing apart from the house more, and *also* collaborate more on cool new adventure-finding with those of us who you live with ;-) Sometimes perhaps there could be larger group adventures as well, with both house folks and friends. Let's do talk more later on how to bring more of this about.

(Acknowleging as well here that you and P might need to have your own conversations around these themes, which may or may not be similar to ours. In any case, you have my support for whatever she feels comfortable with in these realms).

Date: 2009-01-25 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brian1789.livejournal.com
(nods) I don't usually feel like I own my time at home, weekends and evenings, but that it first belongs to those who I'm responsible for supporting, i.e., the kids, [profile] patgreene, and lately yourself. If I can do something fun while still fulfilling my responsibilities at home, then it's OK, otherwise the household's needs come first in allocating my discretionary time. Too much of this, though, and I start getting burned-out and cranky.

The boundary between work and home, and the quantity of stuff I need to accomplish at either place, blurs the difference between them. Home really does often feel to me not like a refuge, but just another jobsite, albeit one where it is OK if I sleep...

Date: 2009-01-25 01:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elissaann.livejournal.com
Everybody has the right to "me-time." Even you.

Date: 2009-01-28 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dawnd.livejournal.com
Akien and I are having issues that sound somewhat similar to this. There's a balance point to be found somewhere between "I'm doing this, and you can lump it if you don't like it," and the other extreme of "Honey, may I have permission to go get a cup of coffee?"

Have you already tried having each person have a "day" that's "theirs," that they get to do whatever they want, without discussing it with the others in advance--or at all?

Self-Sourced Ideas

Date: 2009-01-25 09:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] araexists.livejournal.com
I've been spending time lately coming up with ways to enjoy life on my own. For me, a little journaling helps point out what I'm in the mood to do. And Meetup is a great source for ideas, either to actually go to the meetup or to steal the idea to go alone or with someone else later.

As far as things being expensive, I was able to find stuff by googling Free Events, Cheap Theater, Cheap Concerts, etc., in my case for Los Angeles, but I'm sure the Bay Area has it too.

And if you're interested and available, maybe you could check out Lori Smullin's dance class on Monday nights :) It's a whole community of loving, creative people, and dance is a great way to energetically hold your own space while connecting with others.

Take care!

Date: 2009-01-25 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] satyrlovesong.livejournal.com
Everyone who lives at your house (kids included) has a responsibility to help maintain it. You don't have to be the only caretaker, sweetness.

One thing that I've instituted is taking down a list of chores, then letting folks pick three that they really really hate. I cross post those, and *generally* find that someone is willing to do things that someone else hates. For example, I hate changing the cat litter, taking out the trash and vacuuming. On the other hand, I don't mind folding laundry, doing dishes, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting etc. H. hates folding laundry with a passion, and isn't much happier with dishes, but she doesn't mind doing cat litter, bathrooms, general straightening or making beds. I set up times for us all to clean together, and we negotiate breaks as needed.

Then we do something fun as a reward.

Date: 2009-01-26 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cyan-blue.livejournal.com
Everyone who lives at your house (kids included) has a responsibility to help maintain it. You don't have to be the only caretaker, sweetness.

The kids have chores that they do routinely, such as dish-washing, recycling, table-clearing, litter-box, and taking out the trash. The other adults also contribute to house upkeep, most often with laundry, tidying, grocery-shopping, and corralling the kids into extra tidying ;-)

One of the troubles we've recently identified is that not all of the house regions are assigned as chores... and so it's been nobody's job to tidy the living room (where everyone's clutter gets left) or to wipe the kitchen counters (where food prep items get left). That leads to big weekend tidying crunches, which takes away from the fun stuff. So, we're working on a new list of additional chores for the kids, that they can earn some more allowance money on, and that will hopefully keep the house in steadier good shape.

Date: 2009-01-26 11:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
Housework. It's the subject of the most difficult, emotionally fraught, and logistically complicated discussions in every poly household I've ever known. Money is right up there, too. Sex is a long way back.

People who think poly is a nonstop orgy should really sit in on a family meeting about determining an acceptable level of neatness and cleanliness in a kitchen.

May 2009

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