- iTunes, Barnes and Noble online, and Netflix. I used to spend a lot of time looking for books, music and movies with no idea what I wanted. I made a lot of mistakes. Now with modern technology, my tastes can be compared to others and recommendations made for me based on our similarities. I may never have to watch a movie like Joe Versus the Volcano again, read a book like Echoes by Danielle Steele or buy a CD that ends up being a coaster. I’m not saying it’s never going to happen, just that the risk is minimized. And I won't have to wear that button that says DO NOT RENT VIDEOS TO THIS WOMAN to the video store again.
- The realization that I’m not going to have a clean and organized house. It’s really taken a burden off to know this and to say it out loud. Kathy’s tried to help and we did make some progress but the stress is overwhelming. Regis and I are not good at getting all like things in one place. Say socks, for example. It’s really not a bad thing to be disorganized and I think we’ll live a rich and happy life in our slovenly ways.
- The Minnesota Board of Teaching. I forget about my anger over the inequity of the secondary principal job market and stop ranting about it toward the end of every year, then I get the letter from the BOT reminding me that I haven’t paid the 75 dollar licensing fee (authorized by the MN legislature and in addition to the regular license fee) since I hold a principal’s license BUT NOT A JOB. I read the letter and it starts the fire all over again: 70% of high school teachers are women, more than 50% of students in ed leadership programs are women, and yet only 10% of secondary principals are women. Some dude at the school board association tells me that by law, school boards are required to hire the most qualified candidate and therefore it must be true. No need to say more.
- Technology. I love podcasts, my blog, digital photos, Picassa, and the Google/Picassa website. Think of what the internet will do for human intelligence. Ten years ago, if you had an idea, you could tell a few friends or write an article for a newspaper but very few people had much of an audience. Now I can send pictures or rants clear across the country in a matter of seconds. Even goofballs can have a national audience.
- Babies. Just when you think you’re too cynical to live, someone you know has a baby and adults who used to be reasonable sit around for hours and stare at it and think that everything it does is fascinating. We’re in the grandbaby age now and not only are these grandbabies, ours and those of our friends, the smartest and the cutest but we don’t have to be awake all night when they’re teething. All the joy and none of the responsibility.
- Sleep. I listen to people who talk with a sense of shame about sleeping in until ten, or better yet noon. If I sleep until 5 o’clock, I’m grateful. Most nights I wake up at 3 and have trouble going back to sleep. I’ve always been a champion napper, but now I get my best sleep during the day. Not at work, of course.
- Brain development. I read an article in Newsweek about how the human brain develops slower than what was previously assumed to be true. Right about that time, my son who had given me fits through his teen years, expressed a desire to go to school, moved in with his grandma, got a job where he is admired and respected, and became helpful and social. Yes! If that ain’t proof…
I might come back occasionally and add to my list but that’s enough for now. Of course, I’m also thankful for the usual things: my kids and grandbaby, my husband, friends, my dog, a warm place to live, enough to eat, enough to drink, and pants with elastic waists.