Irons in the Fire

My life is, as a rule, very busy. I always have irons in the fire. A lot of irons. My days start around 5am and ends somewhere between 9pm and midnight.

I work to squeeze everything in: family & friends, work, writing, reading, parrots, genealogy, The Red Sox, Sims, gadgets. Each piece of my life demands my full-time attention, well except, maybe, The Sims and gadgets–but they’d like to. My life is full; I could write whole books about each! If only I had the time.

Family; partner (1), kids (4. This of course does not include significant others – some I love, some I don’t even know, and some I wish I didn’t [don’t even get me going!]), grandkids (5—soon to be 6), mother (1. 84 and still working.), sisters (2. A year and 2yrs older than I am and not working.), brother (1), nieces (2. One I know and one I don’t), nephews (0, mercifully). Negotiating family is a dying art. I’d like to say it’s a carefully orchestrated ballet – each part flowing flawlessly into the next – but in reality it’s more like a circus; and I’m the clown juggling the plates. Chris needs this, Jamie needs that, Ian needs lunch money, Nick’s going to be visiting a friend—close enough for us to squeeze in a visit. Everyone needs a ride. There’s a band concert, an after-school program, tutoring, babysitting, groceries, church, recycling, broken cars, new cars, music in the kitchen, music in Ian’s room, music files to be moved from one computer to another – to a back-up drive. Parrots to be fed, cages to clean, horse, dog, cats to feed. The plants all died of neglect years ago.

And that’s just the family here. Make no mistake, I’m happy to have every moment with my family.

I call my mom, in Boston, while driving, so I can give her undivided attention. But, S2 is usually in the background insinuating herself into the conversation. My mother is usually stressed about something S1 or S2 has done or said. Usually something foolish, selfish—narcissistic. There are threatening phone calls at midnight (S1), belligerence, entitlement, meanness. My niece (the one I know) is worrisome in her own way; she is currently in a long-distance relationship with a young man, here in Virginia, we used to refer to as “that leg-humping-fool.” Yeah, I don’t see that ending well for her. I worry that she will follow in her mother’s footsteps. My mother is deeply entrenched in all of their dysfunction—so I call her less and less.  But, I don’t worry any less.

My friends are scattered across the nation. We email. There are occasional phone calls (usually while driving)… Like visits with Nick, I drive when they’re close enough to visit. Even my friends close by are seen in small doses…

Work consumes a large part of my life. I love my job, my coworkers, and my employers. I am doing something I believe in. I work with people dedicated to changing the world… one child at a time. I am proud of what we do, of each student individually, and all of my employees. My days are filled with satisfaction and laughter… One can not hope for more profession-wise.

My gadgets are my connection to it all. I have a laptop, a MacBook, Pro (for writing, email, blogging, facebook, genealogy, MP3, PDFs, Sims, etc.), There’s a Kindle for reading, a Zune for music, and 2 cell phones, the Evo and the Hero, both Androids. Both connect to my Kindle archive and gmail (one work, one personal). Both have GPS. The Evo acts as a mobile hotspot when I am away from any one of my connected networks. I have things floating in 3 clouds (LibraryThing, Dropbox, & Evernote [I recommend all three for various reasons]). I am involved in 2 google groups. There are various and sundry flashdrives, passports, digital frames. CDs, DVDs, Mp3s, Docs, Docxs, PDF, gedcom, php…

I have traced my family back to Ireland, Scotland, and Celtic France. I am a Celt, through and through. Mostly Irish. I have traced JL’s family back to…almost Adam…through more than 50 generations in 19 countries. There are 5000 people in my family tree at – and counting. I recently connected with a man in Australia who descends from the same Reidy line as I. This is exciting! Neither of us can move back beyond a certain point. Damn it.

And then I read and write. I devote all of my in-between time to these activities. This weekend, I read Much Ado About Nothing. No life can have too much Shakespeare. I am in the middle of March, by Geraldine Brooks. Both are for my writing retreat at The Porches in May. I am actually very excited about this trip. After ten weeks of writing (I have to have 20pgs by May 1–eek!), and reading (list to follow) I will spend a week in the mountains of Virginia with R & B (LOL). I am involved in The Midlothian Writers’ Workshop every other Sunday, and I am working on this MIT courseware “class” with another writer on the opposite Sundays…

And it’s baseball season! The Sox are down 0-2. And to answer a question from an earlier blog… No, Bostonians do not delineate the year in terms other than Baseball. Yes, there are other sports, but Boston is a baseball town.

So, other than the MIT pieces, what’s on the reading short list, between now and May 22 when I go, you ask?…

War, Sebastian Junger
Anatomy of a Rose, Sharman Apt Russell
March, Geraldine Brooks

Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare


The Inheritance of Tools, Scott Russell Sanders

The Fourth State of Matter, Jo Anne Beard

Blood and Treasure

Crazy Talk

After our May retreat we have a longer (and growing) list of texts that we intend to read and discuss… If you would like to see this growing list, let me know. I will likely post reviews to my LibraryThing.

Many of my irons in the fire are islands in my storm.

Word Count: 1004