December 5th 2011

1. I started listening to the Naked Archaeology podcast. I like it, it’s got some cool features and new information. What I like most, however, is that the host, Diana O’Carroll, shares a vocal quality with Seventh Doctor Companion Ace McShane. I have listened to a LOT of Big Finish Audio Seventh-and-Ace audiobooks. When listening to this podcast I can almost hear Ace, leaning out of the TARDIS, talking about the digs and finds of archaeology.

I approve.

2. I have a tea tumbler with a built-in strainer. You dump the loose-leaf tea in, put the strainer lid on, fill with hot water, and put the other lid on. Voila. Steeping tea in a travel mug, with no messing about with the leaves. I knew that I would want a cup of tea at lunchtime. I brought some dried loose-leaf tea in a little bag, so I could fill up my travel mug at the cafeteria boiling-water-tap.

Let me just say, the last time I carried a rolled-up baggie of herbs in the front pocket of my jeans was a long time ago. A really long time.

3. My kids have been acting up a bit this weekend, it seems. In my opinion, they are doing the normal sorts of things school-age kids do. (This is not to say they aren’t in trouble; they certainly are. There are consequences to punching pointilist art into my bedspread with a pencil. Consequences.) I distinctly recall making these sorts of mistakes as a kid.

I remember understanding, very clearly and with no malice, that I knew how the world worked. I knew that if I could erase all the evidence of an action, it was exactly the same as if the action had never happened. This was NOT me thinking I could avoid trouble, no! I was a basically well-intentioned child, and did not do many things that I knew to be wrong. No, I actually thought it was true — that if I could restore the sheet I drew on in pencil to its clean state, this was functionally identical to having never drawn on it. Therefore, I was following the rule to not draw on sheets after I erased it.

It genuinely, truly did not occur to me that the reason one didn’t draw on sheets was because it was hard to clean them. I thought the rule was there because grownups didn’t like kid drawings on everything, which was fine with me. I would do my drawings, erase them, and all the rules would be followed and everyone would be happy.

Until I couldn’t erase the pencil.

Okay, add a new data point to the set.

This, I feel, is how M approaches the world. He knows so much, and he is vastly more sophisticated than he was a year or two ago. He is looking for the meanings behind rules, he is interpreting, he is expanding the boundaries of his world. I think he drew on my comforter because he was bored and didn’t want to do math. I also think that he genuinely did not mean to cause damage, and was startled when he had.

I’m a little more confused as to why K has been lying about overwatering a plant for five months. That’s an entirely different thing.

J is exasperated, I think, by the kids’ attitudes towards doing things they are not supposed to do. I find those things frustrating, especially the entire category of “wrestling around with your sibling while you are supposed to be brushing your teeth don’t you remember this always ends in someone getting hurt oh look exactly as I predicted and by the way we are running late would you for pete’s sake just get your shoes on.” But I also very, very clearly remember making incredibly poor decisions in utter good faith.

Setting fire to the back of a semi truck trailer probably caps that. (More so than getting arrested. When I got arrested I knew I was doing wrong.)

4. There are some things I can reason inductively, and others I cannot. Fashion is purely deductive for me. I don’t mean high fashion or runway fashion, I mean dressing myself and my son on a day-to-day basis. Sunday morning J says, “M needs to look nice for church.” I reply, “how nice?” She says, “clean clothes that match.” I reply, “is that it? Clean clothes that match?” “Yes,” she says from the other room, where she cannot see me and M staring into his clothing drawer.

When M walks into the office, J’s first remark is, “you can’t wear that to church.” I poke my head it to ask for clarification. He is wearing clean clothes, and they match.

J looks at me an a way I won’t presume to describe here. She informs me, gently, that children do not wear all black to church and that, moreover, a Halloween shirt is out-of-season. I point out that she did not mention those rules when directing us to pick out his clothes. With an indescribable expression she says, “it never occurred to me that I had to.”

5. Points 3 and 4 in this list are related. There is no predicting what well-intentioned, rules-abiding people will do when exercising their very best judgment.

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