Tuesday, November 12, 2019

November Puttering and Reflecting and Working Toward Traction. . .

Before we had the Four, the Almost-Seven, and their Dog for the weekend, I was over on "the island" taking a two-day Drawing from Nature workshop, and the days before that were busy as well (visiting old and new friends, entertaining an Almost-Ten, watching live performances -- Ballet BC, Rufus Wainwright!!). . . .

so today, I'm giving myself space to putter. . . I've been sidling towards my desk with stops at the couch (Tea and a book -- I'm reading L'Art de Perdre by Alice Zeniter, a powerful, moving, very human novel about one family's life in France after their uprooting from Algeria during that country's War of Independence).  A few sessions at the dining table where I've spread out my knitting, trying to decide the best treatment of the collar. . . and reluctantly ripping out and beginning a remake of the ribbed hem (far too narrow for my comfort, and I should have guessed that from the vagueness of the pattern and the photos of finished versions which leave those contours equally vague). 

While I knit and ripped and checked the pattern, I listened to a French podcast, but I haven't yet tackled the homework I'm supposed to complete for tonight's class. In fact, I'm thinking quite seriously about playing truant, just this once. . . .

Just now, I've finally opened my sketchbook/illustrated journal, played there with scissors and glue and pencils and pencil crayons, written a few lines. . . .

And, since this seems to be a sorting-it-out, moving around, puttering morning, I've popped over here to say "Hello."

I have some plans for a post or two (Annie asked for my apple pie recipe after I posted a photo on Instagram of the one I made the Almost-Eleven last week). . . and I've been thinking about the flip side of those "mean inner critics" and preparing to write something about their positive aspects. . . .

But today's a puttering day . . . I'm sure to be flitting off any minute now, working my way toward some kind of creative traction I haven't quite arrived at yet. . . .

If you'd like a bit more substance, though, might I direct your attention to Edna St. Vincent Millay's reflections on November? I first posted this sonnet and my brief commentary back in 2007, and then I revisited it a few times over the autumns we've spent together, you and I. . . .  The last time was in 2013

And looking back for that sonnet, I remembered that last year about this time I was heading for Edinburgh whence I "sent" you a postcard. . .

I've got some travel plans for this Fall as well, but not for a few weeks. . . .more on those soon. For now, I've dallied long enough here and it's time to sidle over to my desk again.

But while I'm there, perhaps you can tell me if you take a similar approach after your schedule's been disrupted. Sometimes I can plunge right back into work that's been set aside, but sometimes this more scattered approach (although still a fairly productive one) suits me better, seems to rock me back on the tracks. What about you?

14 comments:

anonymous said...

Hahaha! Yes, I've also left French homework until the last minute and been tempted to play truant but, fortunately, always manage to get it together. I'm sure you will, too. This morning at the school bus stop, I introduced myself to a new neighbor of my grandson's, the mother of another student at his school. She said she had previously lived in the Netherlands, and before that, near Lyon, France. She is originally from Senegal. We wound up having a lovely conversation "en francais". I was so pleased to have a chance to practice my conversational French. You never know how your day is going to turn out or who you might meet!

slf

Taste of France said...

What is the name of your podcast in French? I am an avid podcast listener, but I haven't found many I like in French. I listed to La Poudre for a while, but ... not for me. And I tried some of the news outlets--BFM, Dans l'Air by France TV, Le Goût de M from le Monde, and one by a food blogger who podcasts self help, also not for me. The news podcasts are too focused on experts/pundits talking over each other. I listened to no fewer than three about the terrible plight of the exploited SNCF workers, who are being expected to work longer, until age 61 instead of age 52 (no sympathy from me). I do enjoy $plash (splash), with two economists, who present topics 180 degrees different from what I hear on my US podcasts. I'd like to find something in French that tells stories, informs about culture. Like "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, but in French.

Sylvie from Nantes said...

Peut être pourriez vous écouter certaines radios comme FRANCE INTER. podcasts sur différents sujets. it might help...

Sylvie from Nantes said...

Bonjour France. What do you learn in French? which French podcast do you listé to? Tell me moreabout your French class, la façon dont elles sont conduites, la façon de faire de votre prof. ça m’intéresse !

Eleonore said...

As I just found out, I need much more than just a day to recover from a very busy period. After two weeks which included overlapping guests, an authors' meeting for a history textbook, a friend's birthday party, two visits with two different lawyers (concerning two different conflicts), all topped by my short trip to Bremen to see the Paula-Modersohn exhibit, I tried to just go back to my usual routine, but was painfully called to order by my body (headaches, dizziness, two days in bed, and missing an Italian class). Looking back, I think it was the social overload which brought me down. I am probably more of an introvert than I used to think.
So take it easy, don't push yourself.

Anonymous said...

I love puttering days....such a luxury and much needed rest for body and soul!
Dottoressa

Annie Green said...

When disrupted, I shelve stuff without much of a qualm but afterwards I generally potter about for a while, taking refuge in simple tasks. You will often find me tidying a shelf or sorting out a drawer, doing the hoovering or emptying the laundry basket. My brain needs to filter things before I get back to a project. And when everything is literally tidied away and cleaned up, I can settle down and give it my attention. Like ripples after a big splash. Rushing or trying to carry on as normal just results in things being done badly or not at all, to the accompaniment of yelling and upending of my huge trunk of swears. Looking forward to the pie recipe.

Sue Burpee said...

I love a puttering day. A not going to put on makeup, or even shoes, not going anywhere day. I need them at least once a week. I don't have the family commitments you do, so it's easier for me to schedule a puttering day. The only commitment I make on those days is to exercise. Maybe I'll do a bit of housework, maybe not. And I've worked hard since I retired to give myself those days without feeling as if I should be doing something more "productive."
P.S. Interested to hear about your travel plans. Coming east any time soon? I could be persuaded to venture down to TO or out to Montreal. Just a thought. :)

materfamilias said...

slf: I have to admit that I didn't make it to class, but I did read quite a few chapters in my French novel, and I also listened to 45 minutes of podcasts. Still. . . I love your anecdote about meeting a French speaker and being able to chat with her. It's such a special pleasure, isn't it?
Taste of France: The podcast I listened to is below your level -- it's aimed at Intermediate speakers, and it's really helping me with my aural comprehension (which is a particular challenge given my compromised hearing). But I also listened to a Radio-Canada podcast, "Ça s'explique" -- much faster speaking and on an interesting variety of current topics. Radio-Canada. You might find something you like among the "Balados" at the Radio-Canada site (ICI and/or ICI Première. . . .
Sylvie: Oui, je fais ça maintenant avec les balados de Radio-Canada -- c'est difficile, mais j'arrive (au fur et à mesure ;-)

materfamilias said...

Sylvie: Je dois écrire un post sur le sujet. . . c'est une bonne idée, merci!
Eleonore: This is so much like my experience -- The activities were all ones that I enjoyed, but as has happened before, I forget that doesn't mean they don't tire me out. And yes, the social toll is especially tough. We introverts!
Dottoressa: And they're really a necessary luxury sometimes!
Annie: I skew to a variety of small and useful and formulaic tasks (although not so much to housework, I must admit, except laundry and baking) Especially if my spirits are a bit low as well as my body fatigued, some small accomplishment brings the endorphins while stilling the mind. . . So you have a huge trunk of swears as well? (although I tend to keep the favourites close at hand -- back pocket)

Unknown said...

I absolutely .love puttering days and find since I have retired that I am indulging in puttering often. I especially need a few puttering days after traveling or when I have been off to a dog trial for 2-3 days in the hot sun or freezing cold. I seem to need that time to decompress and to rest and give my brain and body a break. I don’t even feel guilty anymore and see it as part of life now that I am older and my brain and body don‘t have the stamina that I used to have. I have the luxury to indulge, as I live alone with no family near.by. It is often the trips to see family that I am recuperating from- despite enjoying the time with my kids and grand kids immensely, I find i need time to putter to get back on track.

Madame Là-bas said...

Quels podcasts? I listen to a lot of BBC but I should really listen to French. I did not pick up the phone today when my dispatcher called. I need to putter until I get bored.

Mardel said...

It seems to me that I need to putter more than when I was younger. Or perhaps I always needed it, but in the arrogance of youth I did not give in. I do think that part of wisdom is learning to listen to our bodies, and that health both physically and spiritually/psychologically/mentally means giving ourselves more latitude than we are perhaps trained to allow.

materfamilias said...

Unknown: Yep, you describe it perfectly, although I still work on the "not feeling guilty" -- I'm getting better, though, partly because I'm beginning to see there won't be a choice if I want to stay healthy. I just can't do what I used to take for granted, stamina-wise.
Mme. The podcast I've been listening to daily is designed for Intermediate students, and it's called Inner French -- half an hour of well-researched information about a topic spoken in very clear French. I've also been listening to CBC's Ça s'explique, just fifteen minutes, on something topical.
Mardel: I couldn't agree more. I'm definitely having to learn this wisdom . . .

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