Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Since I've had the house, cleaning has not been my strong suit. I've tried a number of ways to get myself to do routine cleaning. The most effective way has been to have a chore for each day of the week. I typically don't let myself get more than a day behind, and things have stayed much cleaner.

I prefer this method over doing once a week cleaning. When I clean once a week, I lost interest very quickly. I have to set the oven timer for 15 or 20 minutes and tell myself to just keep going until it goes off.

The new method of breaking things into days has only lasted about a month and a half. Even with this new method, I break things down into smaller parts: 'Fold 20 things each time you go downstairs', 'Dust the areas of the bedroom you dust with Windex now', 'vacuum now, sweep and swiffer later'. The worst is laundry. I do literally count the number of items coming out of the dryer, and for some reason get distracted going from the dryer to put things away. It can't all be done at once.

This has just become apparent to me, but I think I've always had this tendency. When I'm running, I have to have an amount of time to focus on rather than a number of miles. When I run for 30 minutes, I actually finish, rather than focusing on running a 5k- I always stop. Writing papers is the same- just get the introduction done, go get a drink.... finish two pages, leave the rest for the next day...

I guess as long as I'm aware of it, I'll be able to keep it in check. But it is weird.

**One other good way to keep myself cleaning is to get on the phone at the same time. I can get laundry done as long as I don't have to focus on doing it.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Orphan Trains

I've been keeping up with my reading blog much better than this one. I had to share a book over here because I didn't know that this was even a part of Michigan history. How did I miss this?

A Faraway Home: An Orphan Train Story by Jamie Panagopoulos
Genre: Children's Literature, Historical Fiction Rating: (out of 10): 8
While I've been doing research for my final project, I've discovered that there were orphan trains. I've been pretty fascinated by this information, and plan on teaching a unit around it this year or next. This book was interesting to me more because of the topic than because it was any great piece of writing. In the late 1800s to early 1900s, Aid Societies scooped orphans up off the streets of New York and Boston, cleaned them up, put them on trains, and shipped them out to the western states (Michigan largely included). There, the kids would get off the trains and families would come to pick out a child to adopt. They would largely help out on the farm. I just think it's fascinating.

Apparently about 250,000 children were moved from urban New York/Boston to homes in Michigan and other places!

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Last Lecture

Randy Pausch died today- he wrote the book The Last Lecture. I got his book for my Dad for Father's Day, but haven't read it myself yet. I also want to read the text of his actual lecture- available online: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams