overeducated & understimulated

"if you're going through hell, keep going …" -winston churchill

Welcome to The World October 1, 2011

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 12:25 pm

In three weeks, we’re leaving for Disney.  I am planning like crazy.  I have all the dining reservations booked, lists of attractions in the order we will visit them, and the kids have been working hard to earn “Disney Dollars” for months already.  Am I going overboard? Maybe.  Probably.  Okay, yes.  But I can’t just throw some bathing suits and sandals in a suitcase and wing it … I mean, that would be asking for disaster.

I didn’t know anything about Disney World when we decided to take the kids there.  But most people seem to have extensive knowledge and advice about Disney.  I wanted to learn, so I did what I always do when I want to learn about something:  I read a book about it.  The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.  854 pages.  Cover to cover.

Anxiety set in.  Questions were everywhere.  Should we spend two days at the Magic Kingdom, or one day each there and at Epcot?  If we do go to Epcot, whether to eat lunch at Coral Reef Restaurant or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall?  And should we pass on the overpriced Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or would it be the highlight of the trip?

Well, these are very nice problems to have.  But problems nonetheless, and I still felt like I didn’t know enough.  The biggest problem was how to move past all these questions and make some decisions.   I turned to the web.

There are so many websites dedicated to Disney.  It’s like the Bible: if you look hard enough you find evidence to support anything.  Soon I realized that recommendations are only as good as the person making them.  How do you know whether you even have anything in common with these recommenders?

Well, I figured it out.  It doesn’t matter what we do because it is all good — it has to be, after all, it is all Disney.

I am still taking my lists.


Last Monday May 19, 2011

Filed under: The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 9:35 am

I was supposed to call my mom last Monday to talk about her week in Myrtle Beach with my aunt.  They were shopping and enjoying the “historic” sites of Myrtle Beach.  I was looking forward to chatting with her and hearing about her week.  She probably had some news from my aunt about my cousin.  We could have made plans for the summer and she could have listed all the great bargains she found.  I missed calling her because I was too busy with my own stuff and with the kids and our neighbours.

This Monday, she called me because she knew I would want to know that my aunt and uncle were evacuated from their home in Canyon Creek, Alberta because of wildfires and that she really didn’t know where they were but that they were okay as of Saturday night.  We were both anxious and the conversation was almost in code as we telegraphed questions and responses to each other, despite not having talked in more than two weeks.

“Any news?”

“David got them last night.”

“They’re okay?  Where?”

So on the one hand, I feel silly reflecting that one week ago we would have had a completely frivolous conversation, dishing about shopping.  And this week, the retail offerings of Myrtle Beach are a distant memory as I fill my head with wishes for my aunt and uncle’s safety and  the safety of their home and community.

But on a less tragic level, I am also sad that I will never have that conversation with my mom.  Because life is changing every moment and you can’t go back — and it makes me think, why should I even gab about stuff like that when somebody’s house could be burning down?

It is all very serious.  This is the challenge: to enjoy frivolous activities yet constantly maintain the perspective that it could all be over any moment.  Maybe the whole point is that every undertaking is so important — doing the dishes, planning a Disney vacation, helping with homework, rescuing wildlife on the Gulf Coast, feeding starving children, or inventing a new renewable energy source — because, regardless of the consequences of the action, the action itself  it is so inherently fraught with the danger of ending.

So I am grateful for the moments I get to chat about seemingly meaningless things — those moments are already vital and imbued with meaning because I am living them.


Sally made me do it May 15, 2011

Filed under: The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 9:22 pm

People keep telling me I should write a blog.  It can’t be coincidence that, in one week, three different people who don’t know each other all thought it would be a great idea.

Do they really want to read what I have to say that much?  I don’t think so.

Am I especially insightful and entertaining?  Not really.

Are they after my stunning expert advice in multiple subject areas?  Doubtful.

No, I think they all just kind of thought I would enjoy writing a blog.  I guess I’ll find out.