volunteer

Today, I look like an organized and together person when really I am not

While ferrying around in my trusty Mommy Car today, one stop was for the Library fundraiser – I was to drop off blank name cards at a fellow volunteer’s house.  She is going to use her (as yet unsung) skill in calligraphy to transform these randomly cut cards ( so green of me, I used the back of a calendar).  I had a big piece of plastic to protect them from the rain but hadn’t thought to leave them for her in a nice package.  Fortunately, Mommy Car is loaded with stuff and I was able to find a rubber band (from my stack on the gear shift from the take out sushi from Whole Foods) and further searching revealed a post-it note (although slightly wrinkled, not written on save for the cute PMS  joke on it) and a (working) pen.  I wrote a note, thanking my generous friend, put in on the (now ripped to normal size) plastic  over the (green) cards securing it with the rubber band and dropped it on her porch.  It looked like I may have even thought to package it this way before I left the house.  Not so.  Oh, well, now she knows I am really a disorganized wretch that sometimes lands on my feet and is pleased as punch but sometimes feels so guilty for looking together that I tell on myself.

Return to work? School? Stay home? I want it all.

I have always loved libraries, the peace, the enforced quiet (sometimes I need to be forced to be quiet), and the books – so many books!  There is an application for Simmons college for an MLS degree in my inbox – it has been there awhile now and I almost don’t notice it anymore but I still think about it. 

I  get my library fix in a few ways these days, aside from just using it as the amazing resource that it is, I also volunteer for the Spring Fling, a wonderful annual fundraiser for the Newton Free Library (Tom Ashbrook of NPR as host)  for the Friends of the Newton Free Library (book and author lunch, book sales) and at my children’s schools (I do need that Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again button).  All of these groups are filled with lovely and intelligent women who are kind, supportive, level-headed and generous with their time and energy.  It is a pleasure to spend time with them.  There is a great (almost endless) supply of energy among these women. Whether it is a book sale, an author’s evening,  a school-wide fundraiser or Understanding Our Differences program, the dedication and talent of these women is remarkable.

That said, I am on the precipice of wanting to – gasp – Return To Work.  I know my skills are rusty or possibly non-existent, I know it is a horrible job market and I do value my time with my children at home (and volunteering) and still want to do that, too.  I also want to be paid.  I am glad that I have been home with my children and wouldn’t have missed it for the world (this is in no way a  judgement of moms who work outside of the home, it is just what worked for us).  But I still dream of those mother’s hours (10 am to 2 pm) and a fulfilling and financially rewarding career. Dreaming?  Unrealistic? How do you balance your life?  Let me know in the comment section.

Here are links to the Spring Fling, Friends and UOD

http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net/?sec=about&doc=sf10

http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net/?sec=about&doc=sf10

http://www.understandingourdifferences.org/uod_nps.html

Cooked – in a good way

Friends have a way of keeping you connected and grounded.  They can also teach you a great deal.  This week I learned how to make a delicious rémoulade, baked rice and that stuffing garlic butter and herbs under chicken skin isn’t so gross if you do it with a friend.  I co-hosted a PTO progressive dinner (not here – thank you, R & G) and spent a day prepping dinner, running errands and ironing table linens. My co-host (and an amazing cook) did that and much more.  I will post the full recipes under the recipe page. All wonderful.

My favorite part of the day was, well, all of it. Prep-work flies by when chatting with friends and adding special ingredients and fielding  a flurry of calls for add-on items while shopping keeps things interesting.  The connections are wonderful: a local florist, the fabulously organized friend (and the point person for last night) who delivered gift bags to the hosts on her bike, and the other interesting parents we got to meet and re-connect with last night.  There was a nice balance of quiet and busy time, I ironed while watching an old movie with my children and later our children and a family friend helped serve the dinner and clean up.

Connecting with the school community is more of a challenge when middle school years start.  There are no hallway conversations at drop-off, pick-up or on the playground so you have to make more of an effort to connect with other parents and the school community. Not to worry!  There are always plenty of volunteer opportunities, both large and small.  Help with a teacher appreciation lunch or Principal’s coffee.  Heck, if you have more time – volunteer more!

Stop me before I volunteer again!

I really look like this.

It is true.  I have a problem saying no and it seems pretty pervasive among my friends.  This results in over-booking (you know, sure I have to get the kids to school by 8 but I can still get that batch of cookies I promised for the teacher lunch in).  When the idea or project is worthwhile, which they all are, it is really hard to say no.

I remember saying yes to my first committee before I even  knew what a committee was.  My children were very young at the time and I was thrilled (!) to be asked to contribute.  It was a great experience and I met some amazing women. All of the other things I have worked on since have been wonderful experiences, too.  It isn’t about not wanting to help. It is about making it work for you and your family.  Here is my new intent – I will say “I would really like to but am working on quite a bit now, can I think about it and get back to you?”   It isn’t a no, it is a delay until you can truly assess what the time commitment entails (If I say this to you, you saw it here first).  I am working on the balance that I need to make good on all of my intentions and not over-book (a family tradition).

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