Screen Time

I just nursed my cat after she got into a nasty fight: her eye is very swollen and she seems quite sad. I drove to the grocery store to buy wine and soda and bread; as I drove home I realized how I want to organize my book.

About two weeks ago, a notification popped up on my phone to tell me that my screen time was down 30 minutes, or perhaps it was 30%, from the previous week. I was at 3 hours 35 minutes per day. I looked at the screen in disbelief. Surely this was impossible. How had I used my phone, no, looked at my phone, for an average of 3:35 a DAY? It was at this moment that I realized that if I want to make jewelry, make quilts, make clothes, write a book, start a business, and somehow get it all off the ground in the next 4ish years, I have to reduce that number from 3:35 to about 1:00 or less.

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Apple’s Screen Time Proves You’re Addicted to your iPhone

I wonder how I got to 3:35. Is it just patterns of behavior cultivated over a long and leisurely summer? Is it avoidance? Is it the power of distraction? Is it boredom and not choosing to do the “hard stuff” because it takes energy/time/it is hot outside? All of the above? (I think the latter).

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NPR

Tonight I was driving through the dark night streets of Elgin. I drove west on Central Ave, past the documentary filmmaker’s home and the Sawyer Foundation. I drove slowly past three cats who were playing in the street, unaware or ambivalent to my presence in a large, silver station wagon. I stopped at the stop sign and wondered if anyone else would also stop. (They didn’t). I drove further up the street and looked at the yard of pyramids of bricks, and the empty lot that is for sale for too much money. I noticed that the little yellow house on the edge of the woods has new lights that line the drive. I love that little yellow house. I wondered about the goats that play in the field, further down the street, and what their owners do with them, if anything. I noticed a scurrying in the grass on the right, and realized it was a medium-sized opossum, who promptly scampered across the road.

I went to HEB and saw a student and bought my groceries and used my coupons to no avail. I walked outside and saw my favorite guy who works at the liquor store who hadn’t had time to buy beer tonight despite the fact that he works at the liquor store. I find this very funny. There was an old hippie lady in the parking lot, smoking, who glanced at me. A man was complaining about buying a house with his girlfriend who has a kid. He said next time he would find someone without a kid, and the lady he was talking to said, “yeah, but that’s hard to do!”

In other words, screen time, for me, is distracting. I suspect it is designed that way. I use the built-in Apple app now to help me monitor myself and have brought myself down from 3:35 to about 1:30, so I am on the right track. I suspect this is where all the noting came from tonight. I suspect this is how the book idea came together. I was daydreaming, whilst driving, about cooking with Martha’s housekeeper Rani, in India, and about how I want to write a cookbook with her but I don’t know how. The radio was talking about counterfactuals and about how it is natural for our brain to invent alternative reality endings when bad things happen. I started to think about time passing very quickly and about how I will be 39 this year and there is no time like the present. I started thinking about the old post oak tree that has to come down in the front yard that has been growing there, probably, for almost 200 years and how it is just its time. Just its time.

Book time. Me time. Less screen time. You?

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Screen Time is Just As Bad for Adults

 

How to Not Get Lost

schooner headSchooner Head, Acadia National Park – February 1st

“When we come back down from the north it’s like coming down from a mountain. We descend through layers of clarity, of coolness and uncluttered light, down past the last granite outcrop, the last small raggedy-edged lake, into the thicker air, the dampness and warm heaviness, the cricket noises and weedy meadow smells of the south.

We reach our house in the afternoon. It looks strange, different, as if enchanted. Thistles and goldenrod have grown up around it, like a thorny hedge, out of the mud. The huge hole and the mountain of earth next door have vanished, and in their place is a new house. How has this happened? I wasn’t expecting such changes.”

Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

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If tomorrow morning the sky falls…

have clouds for breakfast.

If night falls…

use stars for streetlights.

If the moon gets stuck in a tree…

cover the hole in the sky with a strawberry.

If you have butterflies in your stomach…

ask them into your heart.

tumblr_l7istdozha1qbmt20If your heart catches in your throat…

ask a bird how she sings.

If the birds forget their songs…

listen to a pebble instead.

If you lose a memory…

embroider a new one in its place.

yardSale3If you lose the key…

throw away the house.

If the clock stops…

use your own hands to tell time.

If the light goes out…

wear it around your neck and go dancing.

If the bus doesn’t come…

catch a fast cloud.

If it’s the last dance…

dance backwards.

If you find your socks don’t match…

stand in a flowerbed.

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If your shoes don’t fit…

give them to the fish in the pond.

If your horse needs shoes…

let him use his wings.

If the sun never shines again…

hold fireflies in your hands to keep warm.

If you’re afraid of the dark…

remember the night rainbow.

If there is no happy ending…

make one out of cookie dough.

tumblr_l7issc0Qlm1qbmt20“I believe that man has three basic qualities: a sensitive and intuitive perception that can exercise itself in the world of the senses, an analytical capability that expresses itself in the abstract world of concepts and thought, and finally a prophetic capability that belongs to the artists, the poets, the creators, the inventors.

These three always integrated qualities exist in all human creatures and they are always directed toward the intelligent consciousness of others and of the world that surrounds us. That is why the most natural response to the question “Why are we here?” becomes: to know.”

– Gae Aulenti, Italian Architect, designed the Musee d’Orsay in Paris

“Be gentle on yourself. You have a right to be here.” If you find yourself lost, in the dark, take some time, take a deep breath, and keep moving forward.

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All pictures and poetic text is from the wonderful book “If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow” by Cooper Edens.