Thankyou for the stars at night
Thankyou for the birds that sing
Thankyou God, for everything.
Please bless the food,
Thankyou for the food,
Those who were reading Killing A Fly back in early October 2008 just prior to the kitchen renovation might remember this blog post.
Mum was helping me put every item from my kitchen into boxes before the old kitchen was demolished and the new one was installed.
Today was my second day back at work. I am working on Friday afternoons while Mr de Elba has a Daddy afternoon at home. And as with many Mums of small children heading back to work, I am loving it!
Part of it is because I work in a wonderful office with three other great speech pathologists and a receptionist who does so many little things for me (and other people on the front desk who I don't see on my Friday afternoons.) Part of it is because the offices are so nice, so well outfitted and so professional. And part of it is because this whole deal is located about 700 metres from my house (0.43 miles) and it's less than a ten-minute walk away.
But I think one of the biggest parts is that I have s - p - a - c - e to think.
I have started slowly, with a few clients each day and long gaps between them. Once I have prepared for all the day's clients and even had a look at next week's, there's not a lot to do.
In my chair.
Think about ...
Answering nobody's questions.
Watching nobody doing anything and murmuring words of approval.
Not having to raise my voice to be heard over anybody's chattering.
and doing ...
Man. It's good.
Apparently, I can sew flat things. I made another apron today. Again, it's fully reversible. the other side has the same fabrics in opposite positions. And it's pretty neat too, except where the thread tension was unavoidably crazy (I think my machine needs a service).
I didn't actually set out to make Buzz and Jessie aprons. I set out to make ME one, but my small friends were not too happy shopping for fabric for an apron for MUMMY without shopping for fabric for aprons for THEMSELVES. In return for making them some aprons, I decided to do theirs first. I have to get my eye in.
Don't tell me that breastfeeding "shouldn't hurt." Once they start growing little knives from their gums, sucking vulnerable parts of another person's body across the knives hurts. Having dracula teeth adds a level of "sinister" to the whole thing. If you don't believe me, I'll let you have a go.
Jessie: What's that word I say when I burp?
Me: "Pardon" (in a French accent, for she excuses herself in French, which is mighty cute.)
Jessie: Ah, yes, pardon. (Reaching for her lemonade:) Are you ready?
(Jessie comes over to me with a brush, some hair elastics and a bottle of detangler.)
In my last post, I explained why Achilles will never catch up with a tortoise if the tortoise has any sort of head-start on the great warrior at all. It was very depressing.
Please enter the equally depressing never-ending world of my Laundry Basket.
From time to time, I find piles of dirty clothes on the floor.
But I can't put them into the clothes basket because ...
... it's full. and I can't make any room in there by putting some in the wash because ...
... the washing machine has a washed load in there
that has been waiting for at least six hours to be hung out to dry. But I can't hang anything out to dry because ...
... the clothes airers are full. Usually they are full of clean dry clothes
that have been waiting to be folded for anywhere up to a week. But I can't get them inside to start folding them on our bed because ...
... I already have an ever-so-slight folding project going on there as it is.
But when the folding is eventually done, you know what happens, don't you? Oh yes. The folded piles go back where they belong, we pull out clothes one by one, wear them, and then ...
It's enough to make you cry. Or at least put you in a blue mood with the futility of it all.
Instead of seeing this laundry problem as a finite but vicious circle motivated by our disinclination towards nudism, I have started thinking of my laundry basket as an infinite well of items to be washed.
Let's say my laundry basket is full. It's not that big a supposition. Now, I usually can't fit all the items in my washing machine, so I'll wash HALF the items in my basket, and leave the other half for later.
Heh. I like that. "Later."
While the machine is washing my clothes, I have some time available. I walk into the bathroom and find some clothes from bath-time last night, then I head into our room, Jessie's room, Buzz's room and Woody's room, collecting items that need to be washed as I go. I move into the kitchen and decide to freshen up the tea towels, the hand towels and face washers.
I then take the little pile into the laundry, put it in the now-vacant top half of the laundry basket, and realise that the top half of the laundry basket is no longer vacant.
It's the paradox of Achilles and My Laundry Basket. Forget the tortoise, I have bigger fish to fry.
I wash some of the items, but by the time they're finished, there are more to wash. By the time they're finished, there are more to wash. And by the time they're finished ... you get my point.
The way I see it, there are two ways to halt this insanity, both of them with less-than-satisfactory outcomes.
1. I wash everything. Since the infinite nature of my laundry dilemma is caused by my inability to wash more than half a laundry basket of clothes at any one time, I put in a massive effort and get it all done, perhaps with the help of a maid. Every item clean, dry, folded and returned to its place. That Utopian scenario will remain in place for three and a half minutes, at which point Buzz will wipe his food-encrusted mouth on his shirt, Jessie will spill a drink down her front and Woody will eat something. Anything. And lo, the Law of the Infinite Laundry Basket will again govern all things Laundry-Related.
2. I wash nothing. I stop bothering. I just stop. At some point, every item of clothing we own will be stuffed into the laundry room, and as a family, we will embrace nudism.
Both outcomes are, as I said, less than satisfactory, and while I'm on the topic of things that are less-than satisfactory, I will mention ...
... ironing. The number of shirts hanging there waiting to be ironed is my sister's fault. She was, for a while, coming over every Monday morning for an "Ironwoman Morning." She'd bring her ironing board, her iron and a pile of clothes and hangers. We'd iron in tandem, then she'd leave. It was great - so great that she hasn't come over for weeks now. And it would be completely beyond me to go to her house to iron, so there we are.
But I digress.
In closing, I wanted to share with you another of Zeno's paradoxes: "The Dichotomy." According to Zeno, in order to complete any journey, you first have to complete half the journey. Then you have to complete half the remainder. Then you have to complete half the remainder of that. Then you have to complete half the remainder of that. He said that logically, no matter how close you get to finishing your journey, there should always be some ever-decreasing distance left. (He then proposed that it was impossible to complete any journey, it was not even possible to get started, and that motion itself was impossible. Some of the recent philosophers who have studied this e.g., George Cantor, ended their days in mental hospitals.)
So, my next question is:
Through a random but fortuitous and perhaps inspired accident, I found myself the happy borrower of the following volume from the local library:
Mulling over the writings on the paradoxical nature of infinity has given me a great insight into my recent blue mood regarding my housework. Today I will give the first of a two-part explanation on how the concept of Infinity relates to my Laundry Basket.
The Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea had a thought. Perhaps he was in the shower at the time, perhaps he was "indisposed." ("In de what?" you may ask. "Indisposed. In de ... oh nevermind.") This is how it goes:
The Greek warrior Achilles was going to have a race with a tortoise. Because he was much faster than the tortoise, he decided to give the tortoise a head-start.
Zeno, through logical reasoning, proposed that Achilles was never able to catch up to the tortoise. The reasoning follows thus:
First, Achilles must reach the tortoise's starting point. But by the time he reaches it, the tortoise has moved to a point further on. And by the time Achilles has reached that point, the tortoise has moved even further on. By the time Achilles has reached that point, the tortoise has moved even further on, and by the time Achilles has reached that point, the tortoise has moved even further on.
Zeno said that it is obvious that the series is never-ending, and that there will always be a distance, however small, between the tortoise and Achilles.
Below is a nifty little fractal sometimes used to illustrate this paradox. Achilles has been replaced by a girl. The description on Wikipedia is:
The girl is assumed to walk three times as fast as the turtle, but whenever she turns a corner the turtle will, too. Even though she is faster, she will not see the turtle within a finite number of turns.
Of course, we all know that Achilles would catch the tortoise fairly quickly, but pointing this out does not refute Zeno's argument. Zeno is saying that Achilles must complete an infinite series of acts, and this cannot be done in a finite period of time. If we choose not to believe this, we must demonstrate where the fallacy lies.
A year ago, my sister blogged about borrowing random non-fiction books from the library and learning really interesting stuff.
Picking random books from the non-fiction shelves has educated her on topics like dogs, conspiracy theories, etiquette, the Hindenburg disaster and syphilis.
I was at the library tonight with little Jessie, and I decided to do a similar thing. I now have "Don't Fence Me In - from curse to cure: leprosy in modern times" which I'm actually excited to get into!
Unfortunately, due most probably to the presence of the small Jessie, I discover now that I'm home that I also have this little volume to mull over during the next month:
I've enjoyed my daily Bible readings leading up to Easter. Some things have struck me:
1. The people who accused Jesus. How esteemed they were in their society! How religious! How righteous, how proper, how exalted! And look what they did! But would I have done the same? Especially if the crowd was hyping me up on emotionalism?
2. They accused Jesus of "many things" (Mark 15:3-4.) Oh my, what on earth else, I wonder? How many trumped-up charges? Some ghastly accusations that didn't make it into the Gospel accounts? How humiliating for an innocent person to bear!
3. One of my recent readings asked me to "Spend time now enjoying what Jesus has won for you - an intimate relationship with God." It struck me anew how easy it is for me to just pray, and how that easy access to God was won by Jesus' death on the cross. As I was marvelling at that, I heard my son Buzz praying out loud after he finished his bedtime stories. A huge wave of thankfulness swept over me as I realised that Jesus didn't just win this for me, but for those Mr de Elba and I love most in the world. That He gave that gift to them, our little loves. Wow.
4. Mark 15:40-41 tells of a few women who had followed Jesus and cared for His needs. That sounds like my sort of job! I love cooking for people and caring for whatever 'needs' need caring for. Imagine getting to do that for Jesus. How cool. I hope I would have done that if I'd been there.
5. Joseph of Arimathea ... now I've been meaning to blog about the name "Joseph" for a while.
It's been bothering me how every second library book or TV murder mystery seems to have a "Joseph" for its antagonist. I think Joseph is a great name, and I am a bit miffed to see that it's getting sullied with all these murderers with that name. Come on, fiction writers! What's so evil about the name Joseph? Huh? HUH?
Anyway, I have been encouraged over the last few months by reading of some of the Biblical Josephs. Good blokes. Joseph with his technicolour dreamcoat whose story starts in Genesis 37, Joseph the earthy father of Jesus, and this guy - Joseph of Arimathea who donated a tomb for Jesus' body. A good guy, I think.
Although my readings say, "Joseph must have been tormented over his own part in the event that led to Jesus' death (Mark 15:43). As a "prominent member of the Jewish council" he must have been one urging for Jesus' death (mustn't he?) Why the backflip and donation of a burial site? Maybe he had a huge change of heart. What do you think? Goody, Baddy, or Baddy-turned Goody?
And now: three de Elba kids on Easter:
Mr de Elba: Hey Buzz, did you have a good day at school?
Mr de Elba: What did you do? Any craft?
Buzz: Yep. But I didn't finish it. I brought it home to finish.
Mr de Elba: What does it look like?
Buzz: Umm, it's a giant bottom. It turns into a card.
Mr de Elba: A giant -? I don't think -?
Buzz: Yeah! It was! A giant bottom, with an Easter Bunny on one side. It's in my bag, here, look!
Today I had a discussion with Buzz and Jessie about the various traditions people have at Easter Time. I told them about how people often eat fish on Good Friday, and I asked if that was a tradition we night want to hold in our house. We decided to look up on the internet to find out why people eat fish. And so we shall.
We talked about how we already eat hot cross buns on Good Friday, we talked about how people eat Easter eggs on Easter Sunday, and what those traditions mean.
Then, inspired by Tracy's recent musings, I said, "There's another tradition people hold around Easter time, and we didn't do it this year, but it's something we might do next year. It's called Lent." I explained about how people often give up something they love for Lent, and how they do it because they love God. I also said that during the period of Lent, people must often really want what it is they have given up! I explained how the yearning can lead you to pray and get deeper with God.
But Buzz was stuck at the concept of giving up something he loved. "I don't wanna do that," he said.