Today I read "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. I spent most of the time with both tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. It was uplifting, sad, funny, and overall- right on. The take away message in four words is- work hard, play hard. He speaks of 'brick walls' as opportunities to prove you really want and deserve something, getting tenure early because he was in his office at 10 pm on Friday nights and making sure to always ask (sometimes persistently) for the things you want. But also, he had a large collection of huge stuffed animals won at amusement parks, always took the optimistic Tigger view of life (as contrasted by Eeyore) and truly enjoyed all aspects of living. While doing this, he valued experiences over material objects, something he very much attributed to good parenting. One of the big purchases his parents made during his childhood was a full set of encyclopedias, and this very directly reflected the priorities in his household.
"Growing up, I thought there were two types of families:
1) Those who need a dictionary to get through dinner.
2) Those who don't
We were No. 1."
Times have changed a bit, but my dad's iPhone comes out regularly during family conversations because we need a definition or information.
In other news, weather is crazy so we have had basically no school: 4 day weekend due to ice storm, 3 days of school (one day I was an hour late due to snow), half day due to arriving blizzard, and 2 days cancelled due to blizzard (city streets offer insufficient space to pile snow while still allowing cars and pedestrians to travel). So, we've used 4 of our 5 snow days, and the first day of winter was only two days ago.
In all that time off I have had many accomplishments. I made lots of Christmas gifts and wrapped them without using anything new except a couple sheets of tissue paper. Every year we save bows, bags, ribbons, boxes and name tags. The name tags are especially wonderful since today I was able to affix tags with my five year old handwriting to gifts that I made at age twenty-three. That one small piece of paper which only serves the simple purpose of labeling to many people, now brings with it a deep history of past Christmases, and as we return them to the bag (with my 10 year old handwriting) it brings a promise of Christmases yet to come. I also made it to the library for the first time in months, helped dig someone out of her driveway, drove to CT and made up a new game (after my brother and I tired of playing with the usual rules).