Agi and I are completely convinced that doing a good job with your kids -- constantly teaching them and organizing their schedule, etc -- is much more tiring than working a "real job" in an office and on a computer. To be a good parent you've got to stretch your brain to choose words kids can understand and also have serious endurance throughout.
After a good workout this morning, I'm convinced the positive chemical/physical reaction that occurs -- a feeling of energy and optimism (endorphins probably) -- is also similar to the effect of a number of other things, including: finishing a project, having a stimulating conversation, traveling, reading an excellent book, cleaning up. Probably, a person's personality affects their specific list.
Working from home has a number of perks and also some downsides. On the positive side, I recently noted to Agi that I've been selecting one of my two fleeces depending on what's scheduled for my work day: important conference call: the serious black fleece. A day with no official meetings and lots of playing outdoors w/ S., that's clearly a blue fleece day.
I'm appreciating well designed stuff more. This coffee company's colors and logos on the simple cylinder canister makes me feel good every time I look at it. Also, I recently got a burr grinder and have been thoroughly enjoying making a double shot half decaf very short americano nearly every afternoon.
Have been reading an excellent business book: Double Double by Cameron Herold. He gives great advice about a number of things, including keeping a clear boundary between work and family time. He used vivid imagery to humorously describe how checking your iphone while supposedly spending time with your family basically dulls and desensitizes everything and you end up not doing anything well. OK, he said that checking your iphone during family time is like wearing a big body condom all day long. Effectively gets his point across.
This afternoon, I especially enjoyed not having a commute (besides the one from the downstairs office to outside). I took S outside to play in the new sandbox, cranked up a playlist via the apple tv and sent the music through our rockin downstairs stereo. I worked on putting some new Ikea chairs together in the sun while watching my boy play happily. Domestic, enjoyable multitasking.
We watched this documentary the other night and I'm convinced every American needs to see this. The clear lesson for me is that no one in a position of power or authority can or should be trusted -- in fact, it's best to assume that everyone will be tempted to use whatever power they have for their own benefit and many will actually do so. The Founding Fathers understood this and thus set up checks and balances in our branches of government. Economic conservatives the last several decades have been putting way too much faith in the "self-regulating" power of markets. What actually happens is that smart, selfish people abuse the free market to make themselves rich at the expense of others. This occurred in the Gilded age when big monopolies were employing American women and children in sweatshops and it's happening in the world of high finance today.
Our oldest boy will be two next month. Here's a few things I'd like to remember: - He loves lawn mowers but hates getting his hair cut. So after he started crying when we pulled out the scissors a few days ago, we told him we'd pull out the "hair lawn mower" (electric clipper) and he loved the entire haircut.
- After dinner we've been having dance parties to the "toddler" station on pandora. Surprisingly good music for the entire famiy.
- Been very encouraged at how quickly he is learning both Hungarian and English and can switch seamlessly. We think this is very good for his brain development and recent articles (NY times and others) have been describing how helpful it is for kids to be bilingual at the youngest age possible. In fact, I was happy to realize today that the smartest kids at my fairly elite high school in Silicon Valley were nearly all bilingual: speaking Japanese, Farsi, and Chinese at home.
This needs to be added to the list: friends Jason & Kaytee brought over a meal yesterday and told us about two awesome sailing trips they've taken. The first was a sailboat among the cayes of Belize with four cabins. The captain and first mate were a couple from Britain and Sweden. Lots of scuba and snorkeling. (Agi and I have been to Belize and would love to go back). The second small boat trip was somewhere in the Caribbean with only our friends' brothers and sisters and even a kid as young as one year old. It is doable. (Also, I read that Bear G. has a houseboat on the Thames, how cool is that).
After a year off from the blog I'm persuaded I should pick it up again. Last summer I was thinking that I need to be focused more on doing than writing about things, but the downside is that I don't remember what happened months or even weeks ago. So the plan is to do more of both. I need to keep things brief(er) too. So a quick update on the year:
- Moved into our first house (rather than a condo) last October here in NW Portland. It's great having a yard for our growing family.
- Our second son B. was born this past Sunday! Agi did great and he is a healthy, strong bambino.
- My parents moved up here a few months ago and Agi let me go with them on an awesome Rick Steves tour to Italy in April. My sister is now traveling in Spain for the summer and hopefully all of next year. I enjoyed helping her get an iPad and keyboard as a laptop replacement just last week.
- I'm pushing ahead with my web business and spending lots of time with the family. Have been reading a bunch of great books (on my kindle and from Audible). Am currently very inspired to get outdoors a lot more with the kids and emulate (kind of) my new idol: Bear Grylls. Teddy Roosevelt meets James Bond in the wilderness. Just watched a second episode of his last night.