Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm Home!

It feels like forever since I've last updated the blog, but I feel like moving into a house is a justifiable excuse. The days leading up to the move involved cleaning, packing, taking care of final legal details, and renovating the bedroom within hours of gaining possession. And while I have now been living in my house a full week, I only just regained the internet a couple of days ago. But I am here!

The move went really well. I have an amazing community of friends who all pitched in throughout the day. By mid-afternoon we had actually finished moving things in and had begun some unpacking. I have been continuing the task throughout the week in the evenings, and am now almost entirely out of boxes. There are some things I am waiting on until next weekend, mind you, when the new carpet goes in throughout the house. No point putting all the books onto bookshelves if I then have to move the bookshelves out of the room.

I love my house (granted, I have yet to receive my first heating bill). I absolutely love coming home after work! ...Not that I didn't like going home after work when I lived in my condo. But the feeling is different. I can't really describe it. I guess it has to do with the fact that, even though my condo was mine, it wasn't fully my personal little space. My house exudes Gina-ness. My condo suite did, too, but then the guy next door would turn the bass up on his stereo. Or someone would drop something upstairs. Or someone would run down the hall. Those external little things still impacted how much my space felt like mine. And I don't think I fully realized that until I got here. This space is all mine. Inside and out. And is therefore all me (and what's not yet will soon be).

I love my house. And I think it loves me back!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Most Important Thing I Learned This Week...

Soft Bubbles by gina.blank "...play-deprived childhood disrupts normal social, emotional and cognitive development... limiting free play in kids may result in a generation of anxious, unhappy and socially maladjusted adults."

Taken from an article published in Scientific American, February/March, 2009.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Reflections From the Other Side

I sat on the other side of church today. I generally sit on the right side, near-ish the middle aisle. It was where I sat when I first started attending, because the two people I knew at the time also sat in that area, and it just kinda stuck. Having grown up in the Anglican church, I have many times heard the joking cliche that Anglicans don't like change and therefore sit in the same spot every week. Personally, I feel this has less to do with being Anglican and more just being a creature of habit. Still, it's true.

This morning, my friend suggested that one Sunday we should try shaking it up a bit and sit "over there" (sweeping her hand in the general direction of the left side of the church). "We totally should!" I agree, "Let's go!" In a split-second of spontaneity, I make 'one Sunday' today, and we find ourselves sitting on the left side of the church (and a bit closer to the front, too). It was great!

There's no structural pillar on the left side to potentially block the view of the screen (which displays the worship lyrics) or the pastor when he delivers his sermon. And for whatever reason, about a half dozen people came up to say hi to my friend and myself, which has never seemed to happen on the other side. The music was the same. The message was just as good. I s'pose it was quieter--not as many people seem to sit on the left. Overall, the service was not drastically different because we sat somewhere different. But it was definitely refreshing somehow.

I heard somewhere several years ago that when driving to places you visit frequently, like driving to work, it can keep your brain stimulated (and therefore more alert) if you take a different route every now and then. Apparently this makes for better driving cuz your brain's not bored. ...Perhaps it's the same with church seating. ...Perhaps it's the same with everything.

JM and I had contemplated a walk for today, and when she texted, she inquired about a walk vs. a bike ride. Having only ridden my bike two or three times this summer, I jumped at the opportunity to bring out the wheels on such a nice day. Again, refreshing. And not just physiologically. But given as I go for walks with my friends quite regularly, this made the excursion a little different.

There is definitely something to be said for routine. In my work, we often create regular and predictable routines for our children. The predictability of what's happening lowers stress, can enhance social interactions, and facilitates learning. Still, when I talk to coworkers about play routines, I often emphasize that while it is crucially important to keep the routine the same, it is also important to have regular variety within the activities that make up that routine. Otherwise the child gets bored. New activities are refreshing; fancy that.

Balance. It always seems to come back to balance. Here it's the balance between enough predictability in our routines to minimize stress and chaos, and enough variety to keep it interesting. Today I am balanced.

Perhaps next Sunday I will sit in the middle.