Forget September

In which I examine the quirks of my own mind and ask for the ones in yours…

Weird how our minds work. Take September, for example. For whatever reason. September is the month I forget. I want to go straight from August to October. MonthI writing the date numerically, I need to concentrate on what number represents September. I literally have to count every time. It makes no sense because I know the “sept” part means seven (just as the “oct” part means eight, the “nov” part means nine, and the “dec” part means ten) and I also know that we add two because Julius and Augustus added their own months in the middle of the year. But for whatever reason I forget September. Must be genetic because my daughter recently confessed she does the same thing.

Here’s another quirk: the spelling of certain words. For decades that word was “embarrass.” I finally, this year (no hyperbole), got it because I can remember “double r, double s.” Don’t ask me why it took so long. For Robot Guy, the word is “separate.” I have never claimed to be a speller. I never found that skill important. Memorizing how a word is spelled is a waste of brain space when in the real world you can look everything up. Clarification: I didn’t find it important enough to worry about it, but I do look up everything that I am unsure about. Spell check is a blessing to me, and, yes, I make sure it’s the write word I right when using spell check (See what I did there?). Because I also believe my work should be as flawless as possible (not in a blog–a blog is too casual). I will never forget my favorite sentence from a student paper: Huck Finn crossed the Mississippi on a fairy.

Here’s on more: I have a great sense of direction, but I can’t tell my right from my left without help. Seriously. If I go someplace I usually can find my way back. True story. I had a cousin who lived in a tiny town in Hungary. I visited there once with my parents, and my aunt who drove us and of course knew the way. Four years later, I was visiting again on my own and I found my way back to my cousin’s house without directions. I amazed Robot Guy with that feat (not feet–see how important spelling is; just not the memorization of spelling). But ask me if it’s a left turn or a right turn, and I have to lift up my hands, make an “L” from my fingers to determine which hand is left and then answer. Or I pretend to play piano and then I know which is my right hand.

People are weird. I love it. What quirks will you confess to?


Books I’m reading now:

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan


Time and Tide Wait for…

Well, not for me, that’s for sure. In which I reflect on the march of time, our need to think we can control it, and procrastination, without using that word.

Prague's Astronomical Clock
Prague’s Astronomical Clock

How did it get to be the end of August? For whatever reason, the end of July, regardless that it’s my birthday, has always signaled the start of sadness season for me. I don’t know why. I always liked school (Yes, I’m one of those types), and these days, the extreme heat of summer bothers more than it used to (although this summer has been pleasant–I’m betting September will be worse than July was), but August has always felt like a beached whale gasping its last breath (and if you knew how crazy I was for whales, you’d really wonder why I chose such an image) to me. September is worse. It feels like a month that has been tagged onto a year just because we needed more days. I always forget to count September–sorry to all you September birthday people. I mean October has Halloween, November is anticipation for the holiday season, and December reaches levels of hysteria that are fun to observe. And then we have the “new year” (which I don’t really believe in because time is so arbitrary–a man-made concept that we could change anytime we wanted to; okay, maybe not. Can you imagine the uproar if we decided to move to a ten-hour day for ease of calculations? It would be louder than the US finally adopting the metric system.)

I had so many plans and I’ve made such good progress on them all, but I’ve finished none. I have discovered that I just slowed down working on five different things at once. (Wait, I take that back; I have finished one of my important projects) I have read about the studies that prove multitasking doesn’t work (despite anything my students used to tell me), and I believed them, but because all the projects excited me, I didn’t want to focus. Now I have my own proof. I would have been better off concentrating on one thing at a time and getting it done instead of trying to finish five things.

So my vow is to focus on only two for the month of September. I’ve already decided on one of them. When I finish it, maybe September won’t seem so tagged on. See as I mentioned above, I don’t really believe in “new year”. I think you can make resolutions any time of the year.  Lists, if you will. And lists help me focus. I do have daily lists, weekly lists, and monthly lists. Then more general–sometime during the year lists. Nothing truly formal, but making lists helps me get things done. They give me the illusion of controlling time.

Because God knows none of us can. Control time, that is. My need to dye my hair again proves that.


Books I’m reading now:

Betting the Rainbow by Jodi Thomas

Beekeeping for Beginners by Laurie R King