Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dear 'Bored'

Dear 'Bored',

I have not had the indulgence to utter you (to describe my state of being) in, oh, at least ten years.  Or since the birth of my firstborn, to be exact.  Gone are the days where once obligations have been attended to, there were actual chunks of time that could be filled with pondering about what to do, or just doing nothing. 

In the first few years after becoming a parent, my life became All About Baby.  It was See-Baby, Hear-Baby, Smell-Baby, Touch-Baby, Taste-Baby Toes, Feed-Baby, Change-Baby, Rock-Baby, Nap-Baby, Sing-Baby, Dance-Baby, Smooch-Baby, and Snuggle-Baby.  A few years after that, we followed the directions on our shampoo bottle flawlessly: lather, rinse, and repeat.  Cuz we were lucky enough to have a second-born. 

I skipped putting on makeup as a part of my daily grooming routine during the entire first year of Dear Daughter's life.  It was for good reasons: 1) so I could plant face-smooches over her body all day long, 2) because who had time to stare at oneself in the mirror when she had to clean up her daily quota of Baby's projectile vomit? and 3) I simply did not care how I looked, because looking at DD was my gift after having wanted to be a mom for so long.

As it goes with subsequent children--where anything halfway is good enough--it took me less than six months to get back to wearing makeup again after having Dear Son.  One is more apt to "looking decent" after having lost four years of youth and about twelve hundred hours of sleep. 

Well, the kiddos got older, things got easier, and I started to gain little bits of time back for myself.  A few minutes here and there turned into a few hours.  Small projects became bigger ones.  I finally started to feel like I can have hobbies again.

Wrist warmers
One of my favorite things to do is knitting.  Rows upon rows of perfectly intertwined knit and purl stitches make an OCD person's heart--like mine--skip a beat.  To be able to craft an entire piece of garment from some yarn and two sticks is like pulling a rabbit out of a magician's hat, only better.  Because I created it.  To feel the yarn fiber between my fingers as I rhythmically move my hands to make loops and designs make me feel like a magician.  I have knitted countless things over the years, beginning before my babies were born.  I recently stopped because I started writing, and having dived head-on into that, the knitting came to a screeching halt.

Cable hat
But a few months ago, I picked up some yarn from my stash and completed a quick knit.  It was like meeting up with an old chum and chatting up all our favorite topics.  It was like we were never apart.  Soon thereafter, I was back online searching for patterns to use up my old stashes of yarn.  I picked another easy pattern to make myself a hat, but because I had been away from my knitting tools for too long, I had grabbed the wrong sized needles and my hat came out about three sizes too small.  DS was very happy about that.

And because of this reconnection with knitting, my new favorite thing to do--writing (and its blogging partner, cameraphone photography)--has had to share its "favorite" status.  You may have read about my zero sum theory of life.  However, with time, zero sum is not a theory, but an actual truth.  There are only so many hours in a day, so take away some and you're left with fewer.  There is no way around it.  And in order to right my own wrong and ensure that I get meself a hat, too, this blog has been quite impatient with me as of late.

Fear not.  Matching hat with DS, done.  Wrote a post this week, check.

11/22/63 by Stephen King
But the hobby list does not end there.  I've been an avid reader most of my life, minus the Babies Years.  So back in 2011, I decided to follow suit with Dear Husband and read a book a month.  I successfully read 12 books in one year and one week.  Not bad.  But in 2012?  It was a total fail.  I read The Hunger Games trilogy within the first three months of the year.  No big whoop.  Then I started 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  It is only 849 pages long.  I'm still nowhere near done.  (I am going for a Guinness World Record of Longest Time to Read a Book.)  I like the book.  I like the story, the characters, and the writing.  I just can't seem to finish it.  But I also don't want to stop.  Obviously, this is not the recommended way to read a book, as I've already forgotten many minute details that are important to the plot.  But, damn it, I am going to finish this book if takes me another year month.  I'll keep you updated.

Gettin' ready
And this brings us to one last favorite hobby--baking.  This one is the actually accomplished the least often.  It happens in spurts and according to my level of stress, availability of ingredients, and the cleanliness of my kitchen.  Except when it's the holiday season and I just go all out.

The other day, I came across a recipe inside a William Sonoma catalog that caught my eyes like truffles to pigs' noses.  I knew in that moment that I was going to make this Triple-Citrus Ginger Quick Bread as soon as I got my hands on the ingredients.  The combination of citrus, ginger, and sugar in cake form sounded just heavenly.  And I bet, if you got to this screen close enough, you, too, can experience the smell of these citrus peels and this candied ginger:

Freshly grated orange, lemon, and lime peels
Finely diced candied ginger

Because this is what you would have done, too, when it was all said and done:

Could. Not. Wait.

Well, today, DS was sick and stayed home from school.  And because we stayed in all day, I accomplished an incredible feat: I finished knitting my hat, read about 3% of 11/22/63, baked my Triple-Citrus Ginger Quick Bread, and wrote this post.  All, today.

It was a good day.

And, no, I don't usually have the luxury to do all these things.  Normally, we're talking a few minutes of knitting a few rounds between dinner and violin practice; a few minutes of reading on nights my eyelids are not struggling to stay apart; baking sweets between clearing old, dirty dishes in the sink and preparing for dinner; and tapping away on my keyboard into the wee hours of the night because sleep is overrated.  (Um, not really.)

So, Dear 'Bored', it's easy to blame the kiddos for my lack of time to do what I want.  But, looking back two decades ago, those chunks of empty time were reflections of my inexperience.  I was still dropping too many stitches left and right to attempt knitting a garment; my kitchen was too small and too barren to bake up a storm; my bookshelves were still filled with textbooks to read for school; and I was busy writing for my professors in exchange for a letter grade.  And in the past decade, I gained all sorts of knowledge, experience, and wisdom and learned how to be good at things I liked to do.  It took ten years--and two kids--to be where I am today, enriched with enough loves in life that I don't have time for them all.  And I am grateful.  Grateful to have the snippets of time I do now to accomplish anything for myself.  Because they mean so much more to me now than when I had all the time in the world for them.

And now, every time I hear the kiddos mention you as they complain, "I'm bored," I think to myself, how little they know now, and how much they will learn and accumulate in the next decades to truly enjoy what they find fulfilling to them!

And I would probably be perfectly happy if I never mutter you ever again.



  1. Love it! To me it's those of us with the "Renaissance" souls that find ourselves in these situations. I cringe every time I hear my daughter say she's bored, because I rarely have time to do all that I want. We have to make time for the things we feel are important. Thanks for sharing

    1. Hi, Sean! I do the same cringing when my kids say the same thing! How unfair that we don't even *get* to say that anymore! We definitely have to make time for these little joys--they fill our lives with spurts of happy to live on when the skies are gray. Thank you for sharing my post!

  2. Love love this post. This last year I have struggled with making time to do the things I love to do. As soon as I sit down my brain engages and decides the bathroom must be scrubbed right then and there or I should use the time to catch up on work. Sadly my son has become so used to me always being busy he entertains himself to the point I never hear him say he is bored - instead he comes to ask me if we can do something together and that kills me because spending time with him is something I love. Over the last few months I have been able to find a happy peace with changing my home time to be whatever he wants to do first and everything else second. I may never get a book I started months ago finished and I am OK with that. It will always be there - eventually he will move on to his own life.

    I took a knitting class last year but the shop closed up before I learned how to finish a project. I just keep buying new needles and yarn to start another scarf or blanket and tuck the unfinished one away. I adore the wrist warmers and would love to learn how to make those for use here in the office.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Derpolina! It sounds like you have young son. My DS is 5, and he's always telling me he's bored (*sigh*). I feel so torn when I have a little bit of time to do something I like but he's wondering around the house aimlessly looking for something to do. We just have to define our priorities and be flexible at the same time, right?

      As for knitting, I *despise* unfinished projects, and I have my fair share of those, too (*shudder*). But I give up on books very rarely. I just need my closure, if you know what I mean.

      The wrist warmers are AWESOME! They are very easy to make, and I wear them all the time since I get cold so easily. I used double pointed needles and worsted weight yarn. Here is the link to the patter: and the name of the pattern is Toast. I hope you enjoy this quick knit. Let me know if you have any questions! And thank you for sharing my post!

  3. Proud of you for picking up old hobbies again ;) I think you are an amazing knitter, and seriously I will purchase some wrist warmers from you :) I like handmade things from my talented friends such as yourself! ;)

    1. Awww, thanks! I'll keep that in mind, Cassie! I'm on a roll for small project these days anyway. I just don't have the patience for whole garments! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. You're knitting looks great, perfect :) And mmmm that ginger orange zest bread looks awesome!!! You are right, from the moment they are born (esp the 1st), our lives are CONSUMED by them. And we let them consume us. It wasn't really until J was 16 mos that I felt I could leave his side to like do laundry, cook, or read a magazine...and it's even better now that he's 2.5 because sometimes he can play by himself or help out! So yea, it's weird to be "bored" at times, but it's also really nice to have a break.

    1. You are so right, Lisa! I totally let my babies consume me. 16 mos is good! I don't think I quite accomplished that feat so early. But for me, I feel like I live from week to week, trying to stay afloat, and still have no time to take a break or be bored. I have to sneak in those few minutes of reading/knitting/baking whenever I can. I really need more hours in a day! :) Give the recipe a try if you're "bored" one day (if those are flavors you think you'll like)!

  5. You are a multi-talented person! Knitting, reading, writing AND cooking...I don't know how you can do it all. That bread looks really god. I wouldn't mind having a bite :)

    I have a book I'm reading now that I may have to start over because it's taking me too long. It's one I kept at work to read during lunch, but I've been doing other things during lunch.

    My older son just told me he was bored the other day. I suggested he could start his chores early. He told me he figured out something to do and left. Of course he did!

    1. Hi, Janna! That sounds about right in the kids being bored department! Sometimes I wish I had the luxury of feeling bored, but the truth is, there is never any time. If it's not laundry, it's cleaning or dishes or something else.

      One of my pet peeves is starting a book over--I think I would sooner abandon the book than reread it. I hope you get to finish your book! Thanks for your kind words!

  6. Loved reading this. I always look at the kids like they have three heads when they say they are bored. My plate is always full, over-full it seems and one day they will understand what it is like to be able to put your legs up and do absolutely nothing or just the thing you love to do at the moment!

    1. Thank you, Susi! And it is always as soon as I attempt to put my feet up for a short period of reading or something that my kiddos throw me a request I cannot ignore. Isn't that just Life of a Mommy? :)

  7. I love the wrist warmers you made. I'm beginning to learn how to knit. Can't wait until I can make something useful!

    1. Thank you, Asianmommy! If you are looking for a simple project, start with these wrist warmers! Look or the link I left another reader in the comments above. You can always knit with two straight needles and sew up the seams, too. I love knitting. Good luck!