Thursday, October 13, 2011

Carry On!

What Was Supposed to be in the Spinner
(From our garden)
 This morning I found an empty salad spinner in the refrigerator.

Which certainly beats finding an empty pot of rice in there as I'm frantically pulling food out for a last-minute supper.

All part of having a number of family members with ADHD (the real, tested-diagnosed-mostly-treated kind, not that metaphoric "Oh, they're just so forgetful").

Along with cell phones in the washing machine, prescription glasses buried in the garden (or, this morning, discovered in the chicken house), library fines that approach the national debt (OK, OK, some of those are mine), and the omnipresent wail, "has anyone seen my keys/my phone/my glasses?" ("Did you try the chicken house?")

There are many advantages to having ADHD around. Creativity, for example: innovative ideas seem to pour out like November rain.
It's the routine maintenance part that's so hard for an ADHDer. Those last boring details: take the Ipod out of the pocket before it hits the washer, put the finished library book in the car, the empty rice pot in the sink. ADHDers excell at coming up with projects, and if there is the exciting crisis of a looming deadline, can be pretty good about ending them.

It's the middle part, the slogging-through part, the soggy-middle-of-the-sandwich bit where they run into problems. And often give up.
But then I get bogged down in the middle, too.

This year, my winter reading is War and Peace.  There is a magic about opening a new book or starting a new course. Do you know it? Some hangover from our earliest school days, when the pencils are sharp, notebook paper crisp, and even the smells from the cafeteria seem mysterious and promising, not the boiled-cabbage and disinfectant, closed-in smells of the coming winter days.

Then you hit the second week. The middle pages.

Last year, I read--yes, and finished--Augustine's Confessions. I was so excited when I started it, and as I approached the end, so motivated to get to that last page. It was in the middle where I'd look at Confessions, look at the new mystery sitting on my bedside shelf, and--choose the mystery.

Right now, I've hit page 105 of Tolstoy. Only about 999 to go, more or less. (Quite a bit more, actually). So the initial excitement has worn off a bit.

Ditto with Biology: I am working through a college level Biology text and CD-rom AP course along with my tenth grade homeschooler. She's on week five; I'm still trying to finish the reading from week three. (Please don't tell her that.) Granted, there's a lot of it, 4 or 5 very dense chapters some weeks. Granted, I read fiction, not science. I'm not used to having to stop every sentence, every half sentence, to puzzle over the words to figure out what they mean.  Especially sentences like this one: "For atoms with valence electrons in both s and p orbitals the single s and three p orbitals hybridize to form four new hybrid orbitals. . . . "

Say what?

I'm in the slogging-through part.

So what keeps me going? I was thinking about this after talking briefly to my college son who is a bit bogged down with his senior thesis. He's in the slog part. And it's dreary. Hard. Lonely. That's when, with my senior thesis, I developed the lifelong bad habit of "stuck? a little bored? Go make some more coffee!"

What helps more than caffeine is something that's much harder to find around here than my coffee pot.


I'm reading War and Peace along with one friend in North Carolina and another in California. They don't know each other, but the three of us make up a no-pressure, long-distance "reading group." So that when I open up this very-heavy book every morning to read my few pages, I feel their presence. Not in a "you better read this or else" way, but in a "someone is sharing this, someone is doing this with me" way.

With Biology, I have my daughter to commiserate with. To encourage, and to be encouraged on by.

Just as with blogging, I have you, my readers, my fellow bloggers. To be cheered on by, to cheer on. To say, and to hear, in the words of one friend, "Carry on!"


  1. Well, the 5th time might be the charm. I need a book called *Posting Comments for Dummies*. Um. No. You’re not the dummy. Loved your essay. Tacked it up at my Facebook page. Need to check if we are friends there, too. Miss you.

  2. sorry Reenie! You're the second person who's struggled to post here. I'd give suggestions, but what do I know?