Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why I never achieve anything

Sometimes, when I read blogs written by wonderfully creative people who pour forth rainbow-coloured streams of quilts, aprons, socks and paintings, I wonder what I’m doing with my life. In my head, I’m quite creative. In my life, I prepare teaching materials, teach, mark students’ work, do ironing, wash the kitchen floor, endlessly tidy up… .

I always delude myself that the weekends are going to present great swathes of free time but they never do. For example, last weekend was more social than usual – so was nice – but was as ever filled with action.

Friday afternoon: a friend was coming to eat with us and to spend the evening, so I was leaving work in reasonable time when our son phoned, having arrived home to find Cassie catlet walking on three legs only, the fourth having changed from a little furry leg to a BIG FAT FURRY LEG. We wondered if she’d broken it. However, Son whizzed her to the vet, who diagnosed a wasp sting and gave her an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory injection, which soon eased the situation. (We never found the wasp. Did the kittens eat it? Seems fair.) These kittens are more stressful than babies.

Friday evening: I ironed while talking to the friend. She hates cats so wasn’t sympathetic to our little wounded pet – who was actually fine again. Then I went and spent the night with my mother, as I do on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Saturday morning: Daughter 2 and I went up town first thing to buy some presents for Daughter 1’s birthday the following day. There she is above with my mother and below with my father. He's reading to her, though by the time of this picture she could read to herself and indeed spent most of her childhood doing just that.

Saturday afternoon: I took my mother to the supermarket. I usually just do her shopping for her, but sometimes she likes to go too. She enjoys picking up and examining each of the 60,000 items of merchandise. We got back to her house at 3pm, the time I was supposed to be at another friend’s house, and Mum couldn’t find her key. We went to our house (only a couple of minutes’ drive away), got a spare key, returned to hers and found her keys down the side of the car seat. Having carried in her shopping and then taken mine home, I was at the friend’s about 3.30 and had a nice chat with her and another friend.

Saturday evening: I did some housework and prepared a birthday repast for the next day.

Sunday morning: we went to church and then, very interestingly, Daughter 1 and I went for coffee to the home of the parents of Rosemary, a Scottish blogger who lives in Southern California. Daughter 1 and she had exchanged comments for several years before realising that they had met when they were four and formed a friendship but had then been in separate classes and later different schools so had never really been able to get to know each other well. Rosemary was home for a holiday and she, Daughter 1 and the famous and fantastic Shauna of Dietgirl and Pussycat fame had met up on the Friday. Daughter 1 and I had SUCH a nice time at Rosemary's – what a lovely family.

Sunday afternoon: Daughter 2 and I finished preparing the birthday meal, and we had my mother and my aunt, together with the offspring and their significant others to dinner (most of these people come every Sunday, so this wasn’t much different, except that it was darling Daughter 1’s birthday. Twenty-eight! How time flies (etc)! Happy birthday, dear Daughter. I’m so proud of you).

Sunday evening: cleared up (with assistance) and prepared for the next day by marking work.

And that’s why I never seem to get round to making anything.

I wonder what Michelangelo’s weekends were like. Or Jane Austen’s.

Did they have kittens? Such as Sirius?

Or Cassie?


  1. Happy birthday to your daughter!

    So, you never ended up telling us what you did in your spare time on the weekend? :)

    How could anybody hate cats? Or any living animal (except spiders of course, but they are a freak of nature which nature will rectify in due course anyway).

    And especially, how could anybody hate your cats? Look how gorgeous they are, and cheeky!!

  2. Happy Birthday Daught #1!!
    Those cats live very adventurous lives, don't they?
    I was a little curious as to why S was in the hand basin?
    Retirement is the time you can begin to do all those creative things you never get time for now.
    Well, that is the theory anyway.

    The Southern City, on my blog, was Christchurch, in New Zealand.

  3. Happy 28th to daughter 1!
    I love to read your blog. Filled with detail. Spending time with other people is very important. Scarves, socks, sewing, etc. won't be remembered as time sharing happiness with others will be. :)
    And sending smiles via blogs about those infamous cats!! :) They sure make me smile...and I appreciate it! :)
    Hope all is well!

  4. I must be similar to you as I would like to do a lot more thant I do presently but time is always the problem.

    Those cats are cute and very mischievious!

    What a conincedence your son working in Nelson. They will love it! It's meant to be the sunniest city in NZ. Really is a beautiful place.

  5. "In my head, I’m quite creative. In my life, I prepare teaching materials, ..."

    Please don't sell yourself short. Preparing teaching materials is a creative endeavor unto itself, one that often isn't appreciated.

    "I wonder what Michelangelo’s weekends were like. Or Jane Austen’s."

    I've often wondered the same thing, and theorized that it's part of why there are traditionally so few famous female artists. I just can't imagine Michelangelo swabbing out a toilet or cleaning an oven.

  6. Happy birthday to your daughter and big pats to those cute kitties.

    You are achieving stuff, it's just not as tangible. Socialising, cooking, caring; these are all achievements. And photographing and makes them tangible! That's my rationale, anyway.

  7. Umm somehow the word "blogging" fell out of my last sentence. Could you just pretend it's sitting there between the and and the makes? Thanks.

  8. My secret: I knit *instead of* putting away laundry, and work in t-shirts and jeans so I rarely need to iron. Also, I have no children, and no relatives I help care for. I'm getting my recreational crafting in now while I still can. I have even considered pre-knitting a small stash of kids clothes in varying sizes because I am sure I won't have as much knitting time when I'm actually a mother.

    Wall-climbing kitty just made my day.

  9. Hi Isabelle. I've been pretty slack on the blogging and commenting but just wanted to let you know that I still read your blog religiously. I love the kittens and think you've chosen awesome names for them - although I am a big Harry Potter fan!

    Happy Birthday to your daughter and cuddles to the cats!

    Els x

  10. Happy Birthday D#1! And just look at those kittens - how can anyone "hate" any animal, especially cuties like these! "Pour forth rainbow coloured streams of quilts" etc. - LOL!!! Just love that description! I don't exactly pour forth, but I do like photographing my pretties and posting them on blogs.
    As for achieving things, I think it is all to do with priorities in a person's life. Being a teacher, you have to spend far more time on work brought home than most of us. And then you have an elderly parent, children, and grandchildren. You like to spend time with them naturally. I can well understand why you don't have time left for much else at the end of your weekends, but hey - you've enjoyed it, haven't you?

  11. Perhaps you could change places with Michelangelo (vicariously, of course). Didn't he spend years 'up in air' just 'lying around'? Sure, he'd done some pretty amazing paintings at the end of

  12. My big yallar' cat used to sleep in the tub when he was small and furry - and then pounce on my roommate's feet and bite her big toes when she started her shower (while ignoring the water pouring down on him!)

    Your two are lovely.

  13. Isabelle, redefine creative!

    I love sociable weekends .. particularly when I'm nowhere near my place so I don't see my kitchen floor, which could do with a good wash.

    I love the photo of Sirius in the hand basin. He's getting big! You won't be able to call them kittens much longer.

  14. You should submit that picture of Sirius to and however did Spider-Cass manage to get up there?

    I had a lovely birthday, by the way...

  15. Oh Isabelle! You always make me laugh out loud. Your creativity is clearly in caring for those you love AND in your writing. Your subtle sentences just make my day. Now, will you please let that poor little Cassie come back down to earth? Did you stick her up there as a punishment? 'Cause we all know that sweet little kitty would never climb up there on her own! ;-)

  16. I think you're being a bit hard on yourself. It would be hard for anyone to have much energy/time /space for creative projects with a f-t job, and giving that much of your time to your mum... Well done for achieving this blog, which is obviously much loved...

  17. Thank you for my LOL moment of the day. I love that little kitty tongue poking out. As for the climbing kitty, oh my! What a troublemaker.

    I usually start out Friday evening thinking that my weekend will be incredibly productive and end Sunday night wondering what happened. Heck, I still haven't finished the cross-stitch project I started 2 years ago when I was laid up for 10 weeks!

  18. Oh my, Isabelle! I know exactly what you mean, but the sense of humour will get you through practically everything! So, keep enjoying what you do. Maybe it's time to give away the school work? (What a silly thing to say to a dedicated teacher!)
    I don't think you would have cared for Michelangelo's extra curricular activities. Nor the times.

  19. "why I never achieve anything"...

    so, the passing on of a passion for literature, the nurturing of inteligent and lovely offspring, the creation and maintenance of the flowerfilled garden,
    the sharing of your lovely thoughts, the gracious home...

    ...isn't anything?

    And here was me thinking just how multi-talented you were!


  20. I'm exhausted just reading about your weekend. Makes life here seem very tame. Especially green at your Sunday dinners. Would love to be able to do that!

  21. Was on my last few mins. of computer time at the library when I dashed of that comment....Meant to also say----ditto to what Fifi and the others said----and happy belated birthday to your lovely daughter!

  22. Hi Isabelle... I have read your comment, and I know how you must be feeling. Here is my email address if you want to chat via email any time. You are more than welcome to moan to me! I am commenting on an old post so it is not really visible!
    Take care