Diet Delusions

I recently decided to eliminate wheat from my diet, and seriously restrict other grains as well.  I also decided to “give up” sugar.  By “give up,” I mean reduce the amount I consume on a daily basis from 5 pounds to 2 or 3 pounds.  Don’t laugh.  While I am exaggerating, giving up even a small amount of sugar is really, really hard for me.  That’s because it’s addicting…REALLY addicting.  And I like sugary stuff.  Remember, grains are sugar in disguise, so I’m almost insanely sugar free.  Thankfully, there are some wizards out there who have come up with alternatives to the white stuff, and they are just fabulous if you have no taste buds, whatsoever.

The first would be fake sugar…Equal, Sweet and Low, Natrataste, etc.  These are shitty tasting chemicals that cause cancer,  digestive issues, the bubonic plague, hangnails and other icky things that people tend not to enjoy.  There is also Stevia, the “natural” sugar alternative that people like to use because it’s much better for you.  Let’s be honest though…it gives food a nasty aftertaste that leaves me feeling that it’s nothing even close to sugar.  Stevia is okay in baked goods, but it’s atrocious in a cup of coffee.  I love my coffee, and I’ve tried hard to like sugar alternatives in my coffee, but I just can’t do it.  I still drink my coffee with good, old fashioned, white table sugar.  If that makes me unhealthy, then so be it.  Nobody messes with my coffee.

Another love of mine is ice cream.  There was a time, not so long ago, that I could and would eat a ginormous bowl of ice cream with either hot fudge or chocolate sprinkles piled on top.  It really is my favorite dessert.  I never get tired of it.  I could eat it every single night for the rest of my life and die a happy woman.  However, in my quest to lose weight, feel better, and be all around healthier, I have seriously restricted my ice cream intake to maybe once every few weeks (except for the past 3 nights because I made the mistake of buying mint chocolate chip and I hear it calling my name from the freezer at approximately 10 p.m. every night until it’s gone).  This morning, I stumbled across a suggestion by another wheat and sugar eliminator, to eat yogurt topped with strawberries for dessert because it’s “just like eating ice cream.”  Um, excuse me?  What kind of delusional, crack smoking, half wit has the nads to suggest that THAT would be anywhere close to the same as eating a bowl of ice cream?  The only thing even remotely close to ice cream, is friggin ice cream.  End of story.

There are numerous grain free desserts that call for ground flax meal.  I was so excited to try a chocolate muffin-in-a-mug one night, because I was PMSing and I wanted some damn chocolate.  It was really quick and easy to mix up and pop in the microwave for two minutes.  They suggested topping it with whipped cream, so I did.  It smelled heavenly.  I couldn’t wait to eat it.  I took one bite of that atrocity and nearly gagged.  It was like eating chocolate flavored coffee grounds.  I tried to like it for several bites.  I decided that it wasn’t fit for the dog.  I don’t care how good it is for me, I won’t bake anything with flax meal again.

One food that is allowed and encouraged when you eliminate grains and sugars from your diet is chocolate.  However, it should be 85% cacao.  The antioxidants are really good for you, and it’s low in sugar.  VERY low in sugar.  TOO low in sugar.  In fact, it’s nothing like a Hershey bar, or Dove chocolate, or kisses, or M&Ms, or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  The “anti wheat people” claim that it’s such a wonderful treat.  They eat one whole square of it and are satisfied.  These people are freaks.  They shouldn’t be allowed to breed.  I will eat dark chocolate…the normal dark chocolate, thank you.  And I will eat more than one square.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am really enjoying the wheat free lifestyle, and most of the food is just delicious.  I feel great, have a lot of energy, and have started losing weight.  I don’t miss wheat, or other grains, and I’m okay with not eating most sugary stuff.  Sometimes, I fall off the no-wheat-no-sugar train, and that’s okay.  I’m not doing this to prove to anyone else that I can do it.  I’m doing this for me, and if I choose to drink my coffee with sugar, or eat a bowl of ice cream once in a while, or eat a Hershey bar with almonds one night, then I’m okay with that.  I don’t need to impress the non-wheat people, or the people in my life who point out that I’m not following my “diet,” or who think my way of eating is “just a fad.”  The point is, I’m a lot healthier, but I’m still enjoying a few of my favorite things.

If Adults Acted Like Kids

When hanging out with toddlers or pre-schoolers, people love to talk about how sweet and innocent they are.  They go through their days being spontaneous, not caring what anyone else thinks.  They immerse themselves in their experiences and live for self-pleasure.  I’ve heard numerous adults admire that about young children, and question when we lost that innate spontaneity.  I frequently watch young children and wonder to myself what it would look like if an adult were doing such things.  This is for my own amusement and entertainment.  I have spent a long time “researching” the behavior of little kids and what would happen if adults lived in the same spontaneous way that children do.  This is what that would look like:

 

At a business lunch:  Professionals and executives would be trying to seal the deal over chicken nuggets or spaghetti and meatballs.  At least one person would be blowing bubbles in his chocolate milk, while another stacks suger dispensers, salt and pepper shakers, and silverware in a tower.  Perhaps that would be the architect or builder of the group.  Yet another would be scribbling on his placemat.  Someone would likely have sauce rubbed all over his face and in his hair.  There may even be one well dressed woman crawling under the table, or flinging her legs over the back of the booth seat.  Never mind the potential for launching peas at each other with spoons.

 

At a business meeting:  Rolling chairs.  Think of the fun that can be had in a conference room with rolling chairs.  I’m thinking races around the table, and spinning each other until you can’t walk a straight line.  That sounds way more fun than watching some boring presentation on sales or marketing.

 

At the doctor’s office:  A husband brings his wife to the doctor.  She needs a physical.  She spends an hour in the waiting room, playing with the germ infested toys.  Once in a while, she stops to approach another woman.  She stands in her personal space, stares her down, and then looks her up and down, from head to toe, judging her by the way she looks.  Then, they start to play together…one puts a toy in her mouth, drops it on the floor, and the other picks it up, and puts it in HER mouth.  Finally, they get called into a room.  The man undresses the woman while she fights him the entire time.  Once she is in her underwear, she spins around on the doctor’s stool, climbs on and off the table until the paper is a shredded mess, plays lightning storm with the lights, and touches every last medical tool available.  The visit ends with her screaming bloody murder and fighting the nurse, the doctor, the husband, and six bouncers as they try to give her a shot.

 

At the grocery store:  Picture a mature couple walking into the grocery store.  They select a carriage.  The wife holds it still, while the husband climbs in to the back.  It would be way funnier if he tried to get into the little seat in front, but that would require a full on extrication by the fire department at the end of the trip.  So, let’s stick to the back.  She struggles to push him through the store because, as usual, she picks a carriage that only wants to go left, and of course, he weighs 200 pounds which makes it more of a challenge.  Five minutes into the shopping experience, he starts to whine because he’s bored.  He starts grabbing crap off the shelves.  He keeps standing up, so she has to continually remind him that he needs to sit.  He begs for some garbage food item in every aisle, and pitches a fit every time she says no.  The other shoppers give her dirty looks because clearly she can’t control his behavior.  Everyone thinks she’s a shitty wife.

 

In the car:  They leave the grocery store.  She tries to strap him into his seat belt and he does the whole “arching his back thing” while crying and screaming that he wants to go home.  Once they’re moving, he calms down and entertains himself by making faces at the people in other cars.  He might even suck his thumb.  Eventually he gets sleepy, and dozes off.  By this time, the wife notices a scent that indicates he needs his pull-up changed.

 

There are many scenarios involving children that would be way more entertaining if adults were the key players and not the kids.  Picture an adult stripping off his clothes and running naked through the playground.  Wait, that would just be creepy.  Bad example.  Picture adults playing in the dirt, or tossing stuff in the toilet and swishing it around with their hands.  Picture them running everywhere, and falling on their faces like a two year old.  Picture them riding the dog, climbing on the furniture, having a tug-of-war over a toy, or sticking a metal object in a socket to see what happens.  You can switch the players no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  It really is funny.  Next time you’re stuck in a board meeting or some mind-numbing adult activity, switch the players.  It might be a social faux-pas to act on these ideas, and you would likely appear to be mentally ill or at the very least socially immature for doing any of it.  But nobody can condemn you for simply thinking about it, and honestly, as long as you’re entertaining yourself, that’s all that really matters.

How Not To Raise An Unlikable Kid

I’ve worked in an elementary school for the past 6 years.  It’s probably the single most entertaining job I’ve ever had.  Kids crack me up, and I am that person who is likely to giggle for a little too long when someone’s little darling innocently makes some innuendo filled statement that only an adult would notice.  Kids can be adorable, and wise beyond their years…or they can be little dicks.  I’ve had multiple conversations with multiple adults about how disrespectful children can be these days.  You used to be able to count on one hand how many kids were poorly behaved and disrespectful.  Unfortunately, the tides have turned and it’s more likely that you can count well behaved, respectful kids on one hand.  With this in mind, I give you my advice on how to prevent your kid from being on the ugly side of that statistic.

 

1.     Teach them that it’s not amusing to be a little punk who ignores the directions of adults.  Believe me, we know they find it amusing because they tend to have a smirk on their face that makes even the most even keeled of adults want to slap it off their face and into next week.   It’s not cute, it’s not because they’re young, it’s because they haven’t learned to respect adults.

 

2.     Teach them that the adults at school are NOT blind.  When we see them do something right in front of us, it means WE SAW IT!  No matter how many times they say they didn’t do it, WE SAW THEM DO IT!   This might be a good time to start teaching them accountability.  When they punch a co-worker in the ribs in front of their boss someday,  they won’t get away with saying they didn’t do it.

 

3.     Teach your child some independence.  Show them how to open a friggin straw, or wipe their mouths.  For the love of all that is great and holy, teach them how to wipe or blow their nose!  It’s unbelievable how many kids need help with EVERYTHING.  It’s not because they aren’t capable, it’s because they never have to do anything for themselves.  I’ve seen parents come to school for parties or lunch, and they literally spoon feed their child!  PLEASE, let them do things for themselves.  They will be okay.

 

4.     Teach them not to be wimps.  Seriously.  Life is a lot easier when you can suck it up and move on.  There are so many kids who whine over trivial injuries, invisible cuts,  and act like they are crippled for life when they have  microscopic booboos.  Then you have the kids who suffer daily with hourly stomach aches.  A lot of this is for attention, so for everyone’s sake…especially your child’s…give them the attention they need.

 

5.     Teach them to be a good friend.  Nobody likes a tattletale, and there are kids who make it their job to rat out every other kid in sight, for even the slightest of transgressions.  Unless a classmate is going to get hurt, it’s usually okay to let things slide.  Teach your kids that manipulating others, talking behind people’s backs, ranking friends, and being visually disgusted when someone sits next to them, is not going to win them friends.  Teach them to be kind.  It’s not okay to be mean and hurt people’s feelings.

 

6.     Teach your kid that not every damn thing that is said and done “hurts their feelings.”  A lot of kids like to use that phrase to get other kids in trouble.  They tell the adults at school that so-and-so hurt their feelings, usually with an annoying smirk on their face. Refer back to rule #4.  Tell them to get over it.

 

Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list.  It’s just a starter guide, if you will.  It boils down to teaching kids that school is a place for learning, and that teachers and other adults are to be listened to, responded to, and respected.  Stop babying your kids, stop assuming they are always innocent, teach them how to do for themselves, and to treat other kids the way they want to be treated.   Ultimately, it will make your child a better member of society, a better friend, and a better person.  It will also prevent you from being the parent of the kid that nobody likes.  Don’t be the parent of THAT kid.

Be A Quitter

Be a quitter.  It’s okay.  If you aren’t enjoying the book you’re reading, go ahead and shut it, never to pick it up again.  Really, the world won’t fall apart.  You could even go bigger than quitting a book.  You could quit the hobby you don’t enjoy any more, or quit hanging out with people who no longer have a positive impact on your life.  You can quit eating food that isn’t good for you.  You can even quit your diet.  How about your job?  Is it draining the life from your body and soul and wasting years of your life?

 

I recently made a decision to quit a certification program in surgical technology.  In the beginning, I was very excited to start a new adventure in the medical field…a field I always wanted to be a part of.  I yearned for it.  I quit a job that I loved, so I could do something new.  It was a huge risk.  My husband and I made the choice to live on a measly disability paycheck that he gets every month.  It was a risky move, but the idea was that I could ultimately get a better paying job, doing something I loved, within a year.  I enjoyed the academics of school, but when it came to working in an operating room, it slowly dawned on me that I didn’t like it…at all.  The operating room is very high stress, I found myself looking at the clock every five minutes while at the hospital, wondering if it was time to leave yet.  I absolutely dreaded going in to the hospital on clinical days. So many people were happy for me when I decided to go to school and it was so great in the beginning.  People would ask me if I love it and I would say yes, while thinking to myself that I didn’t think I did.  It took me awhile to admit to myself that this wasn’t right for me.  How could I spend the rest of my life doing something that I already dreaded?  Four months into the program, I quit.  I didn’t consult with anyone about my decision.  I made it myself.  It was okay to quit.  Guess what?  The world hasn’t fallen apart.  In fact, I’m at peace knowing that I no longer have to live with the regret that I never went into the medical field.

 

I left school with a game plan.  I would apply to substitute teach in the school system that I quit working for to return to school.  While doing that, I would look for something permanent.  Again, it was a risky move.  The job market isn’t great, and substitute teaching is only as needed.  So far, it has worked out.  I look at this time as a transition period.  I am working, and waiting for the right job.  I’m 46 years old and don’t want to settle any more for what’s available.  I don’t want to settle for a crappy job that bores me.  I don’t want to settle for a job that other people think I would enjoy or a job that I should take because I’m not working a permanent job right now.  I have three kids and a sick husband to think about.  While I need something that can pay the bills, I refuse to be miserable to do it.  Some people may understand that, some may not.  I don’t need them to understand.

 

I am now in a place in my life where I realize how short life really is.  This is MY life, and while it affects others, I am the one who ultimately has to live it.  I have responsibilities to my children and husband.  I would never sacrifice their well being in a selfish way.  It’s better for them to have a happy mother and wife, not a miserable one who is living like a robot, doing what everyone else expects of her.  I’ve spent most of my life, doing what is expected by others, all at my own expense.  I am now choosing to live authentically by doing what is right for me, based on my own feelings, desires and needs.  If I do that, my husband and kids will be better off.  I will have more energy for them.  I will be happier, so they will be happier.

 

I’ve heard so many people say so many times that they “can’t” quit something that no longer serves them.  They started a book, they don’t like it, but they feel they have to finish it.  They started a karate class, or learning how to knit, or training for a new job, and they can’t quit.  They are hanging out with someone who brings them down, or treats them as if they are only a friend of convenience, or they blow them off when something better comes along.  But, they can’t stop being friends because they don’t want to make them feel bad.  Really?  Obviously, people like that aren’t too concerned about your feelings.  Let them go.  My point isn’t to live selfishly with no regard for others.  My point is to be honest with yourself, see when something isn’t serving you, and let it go.  There are no prizes for finishing that book that bores you to the point that your eyes are glazed over.  Close it and get a new one.  The prize is much bigger if you quit that which you hate.  It frees up your time to do the things you really enjoy, that bring positivity to your life, and maybe give you a feeling of peace.  Life is too short to waste time on things that aren’t right.

The Excruciating Honesty of Children

Kids are hilarious.  They are hilarious in the most obnoxious, yet innocent way.  They say exactly what comes to mind with no regard for the feelings of the unsuspecting adults in their world.  They can reduce a grown woman to tears of laughter, and can even make the most self-confident of people feel lower than dirty toilet paper stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe.  I am the mother of 3 kids, and have worked in an elementary school for the past 6 years.  I LOVE to have conversations with kids, just for the sheer entertainment value of what they have to say.  Some of them have ripped me to shreds, but it never bothers me.  I love the innocence of it.

This blog post will be a little different.  Rather than drone on about how funny kids are, I am going to share some of my favorite “kidisms”  from the past several years.  They’ve been posted on facebook before, but I wanted to put them all in one place.  I hope you enjoy them, especially because a large number of them were made at my expense.   Here they are as they appeared on FB, in all their glory:

One of the 4th graders asked me today if I was born when Laura Ingalls Wilder was alive. Apparently, I look 100 years older than I actually am. Can anyone recommend a good anti-wrinkle cream?

——————–

Two kids at school made my day today. I was telling a 4th grader that when I was a kid, we didn’t go to computers because they weren’t invented yet. After asking me if TV was invented when I was kid, she told me I look like I’m about 20.  Then a second grader winked at me in the cafeteria, and told the kid in line next to him that “Mrs. Palumbo is my best friend.” So cute. The wink made me laugh though…I can see him doing that in a bar in 15 years.

——————–

One of the kids I work with a lot asked me a few weeks ago if I was retired. I told him no, but wondered for days if I look THAT old. Today, he asked me what my son’s name is. I told him, and he then asked me if he’s still alive. Apparently, I’m not only old enough to be retired, but old enough to have outlived my own kids. I’m left wondering who is more damaging to my self esteem…my own kids, or the kids at school? Between them all, I’ll be curled up in a fetal position in the corner, sucking my thumb, and crying by the end of the year.

——————–

So, I was playing “Go Fish” with a kindergartner today, and when I told him to clean up and hand me his cards, he said, “Here you go, Sweetie.”

——————–

 I got a “Rico Suave” wink, and eyebrow raises from a 5th grade boy in the lunchroom today. I looked at him like he had lost his mind, and asked him what he was doing. His reply (in a Rico Suave voice) was “it’s all okay,” followed by a thumbs up. You just can’t make this stuff up.

——————–

A 4th grader asked me today if paper was invented yet when I was born. I told him no, and that my mother carved my birth certificate on a rock, in the cave I was born in. Sheesh.

——————–

School isn’t the only place that I hear these charming little nuggets of love. I get it at home from my own spawns, too.  If they aren’t directing their drama at me, they direct it at themselves or each other.

My daughter called me despicable today because I wouldn’t let her stay at her friend’s house for dinner. When I looked at her with shock, she asked me what it meant. I love 8 year olds.

——————–

It’s a sad day in a mother’s life when her almost teenage child says, “Mom, can you please stop singing? It’s embarrassing.”

——————–

You’ve got to love it when you ask your 11 year old son to do something and his response is, “okay, sweet cheeks.”

——————–

“Why did you have to bring the devil into the house?!?”  Hannah, Drama Queen Extraordinaire, when she saw that we are having a roasting chicken for dinner.

——————–

Conversation in the car on the way to get a Christmas tree: 
Lucas: (singing LOUDLY and off key) “Cause you’re amazing, just the way you are.”
Hannah: LUCAS! SHUT. UP.
Lucas: (in a soft voice) I’m sorry madam, did I get your knickers in a tweet?

——————–

So Lucas was playing around and called Arienne “Areola” this afternoon. He had NO IDEA what he said, and I wasn’t about to tell him because that would have only encouraged him to keep saying it. *rolls eyes* I just told him to stop calling her silly names. Yikes.

——————–

Apparently, I put “the devil’s spawn” in tonight’s soup. That would be broccoli…according to Hannah.

——————–

I was traveling with my kids in the car and they were asking me incessant questions about everything under the sun.  I was answering as best I could in a way that they would understand. My preschooler proceeded to ask me how I knew all this stuff.  I replied, “Because Mommy is really smart!”  She responded back with, “Noooo, that’s not it!”

There are more profound comments where these came from.   As I collect funny stories and insulting comments I hear from kids, I will share them as a periodic blog post.  Maybe it’ll become a series.  Maybe it won’t.  Either way, I am just going to continue to enjoy children and find the humor in their words.  Meanwhile, if anyone knows of a good anti-wrinkle cream or face lift surgeon, let me know.

Gag Me With an Herbal Lollipop

It’s Oscar night.  The night when rich celebrities gather in their fancy duds to pat each other on the back for their stellar performances in movies half the world probably didn’t see.  The audience will enjoy the hilarious antics of the Oscar host, watch nominees smile and act humble when they are announced in their category, and then enjoy the shock on their faces when they win, take the stage and give a 40 minute prepared speech, even though they NEVER thought they would win. *rolls eyes*

I probably sound a tad bitter.  Honestly, I love the movies as much as the next person.  I think awards shows are fun to watch.  However, this year, I stumbled across a story on the internet that announced what the nominees will be taking home in their gift bags this year.  Gift bags?  Why the hell do these people need gift bags?  They go to some fancy dinner after the show.  What ever happened to raffling off the table centerpiece to the person with the closest birthday?  These aren’t ordinary gift bags, people.  These are $85,000 gift bags…for the celebrity who has everything.  Because clearly, they need this stuff.

I’m not going to go through the extensive and vomit inducing list because frankly, I’d like to get to bed before Tuesday morning.   Let’s just say there are some beauties in those bags, and I’d like to highlight a few.  My favorite by far is a vagina rejuvenating injection that assists women in having orgasms.  It’s worth $2700.  What woman doesn’t need vagina rejuvenation?  I’m sure Dame Judi Dench can’t wait to try it out.  They say it gets rid of dust and that pesky tumbleweed we all deal with as we age.   It’s called an O-Shot which sounds like something you’d order from the bar.  Frankly, a shot from the local dive  sounds more rejuvenating than an injection in the old hoo-hoo.  But that’s just me.

There is a little bit of irony in the bag, too.  They have included a $6.95 drain wig.  It’s an adorable little gadget that you put over your shower drain to prevent hair from clogging it.  When it’s full, the precocious little darlings of the stars can fashion wigs from Daddy’s pubic hair for their Barbie doll.  Not really, I made the Barbie thing up.  In contrast, there is a $5000 gift certificate for laser hair removal.  Do they really need both? Yes, they do, as a matter of fact.  Because in addition to a drain wig and laser hair removal, there is $16,000 towards a hair transplant.   They’ve also included a $15 do-rag.  I mean, honestly. Who are the unstable half-wits who chose these items?

Thankfully, there are other awesome gifts included for the impoverished movie stars of Hollywood.  There are five vacations, including a $15,000 walking tour of Japan.  Haven’t they heard of limos in Tokyo?    There are free sessions with a personal trainer for the rare actress who weighs more than 90 pounds.  There are herbal lollipops, electronic cigarettes, luxury condoms, and mace guns.  There are even things for celebrity pets.

Perhaps, you’re thinking, the green eyed monster of envy has visited me this evening.  That would be a big, fat no.  In fact, the blue eyed monster of disgust has visited.  Actually, I don’t know what color that monster would be.  I made that up, too.   It’s disgraceful that such an excessive amount of money has been spent to provide the well-to-do with a token of thanks for being nominated for an award.  I’m sure that the honor of being nominated, as well as the exorbitant salaries they earned for performing in these films, is enough of a prize for these people.  Goody bags should be obsolete once you’re past the age of six.

There are so many Americans struggling right now just to put food on the table.  There are people losing their homes.  There are schools struggling to provide the books, supplies, and teachers necessary to give students a basic education.  There are people dying of diseases, and others who are fighting unrelenting addictions.  Movie stars who have little want for material luxuries, are being gifted these extravagant presents as people freeze to death on America’s streets.  Perhaps, $85,000 for each goody bag could have been given instead, to food pantries, homeless shelters, rehab centers, hospitals, or schools where it could provide something vital to someone’s future.  I’m sure Sister Mary Sunshine would prefer it if money were donated to her orphans rather than  to rejuvenating Meryl Streep’s vagina.

Let Kids Do Nothing

It’s Friday.  The day the world rejoices because their work week is over.  It’s the only day of the school week that my kids don’t mind getting up.  Weekends are full of possibility and free time.  To me, the beauty of the weekend is sleeping in, and enjoying my time at home.  It’s also a chance to do laundry (just enough to get through a couple of days), clean the house (just enough to avoid a ‘condemned’ notice from the health department), and perhaps cook a meal that doesn’t involve french fries and the microwave.   Mostly, I just enjoy being home.  I am a homebody.  I like going out sometimes, but my home is my oasis from the craziness of the world.  I don’t need my weekends full of social events and gatherings.  In fact, being out and about all weekend would stress me out.

Unfortunately, my kids disagree.  Right after the school buses come rolling by to drop off my little darlings, the pestering starts.  “What are we doing this weekend?”  “I’m bored.”  “How can you stand being home and not doing anything?”  “Can we do something?”  Granted, it’s fun for kids to have places to go and things to do on the weekend.  And we DO do things.  They spend a lot of time with their friends, and we occasionally go out to eat, or to a kid-friendly entertainment spot.  But the incessant requests for entertainment from Friday night to Sunday night is a little much.

I tell them all the time that when I was a kid, we didn’t spend all weekend going to places to be entertained.  Once in a while we would do things like that, but for my generation, weekends were spent with friends from the neighborhood.  Our days were filled with riding bikes, going to the park, and hanging out at each other’s houses.  It was the 70s and an awesome time to be a kid.  Even when we were home, we did things like hang out in our rooms, playing by ourselves, drawing, or reading.  We even went outside alone, or with siblings, to find things to do.  I know it isn’t the 70s any more and times have changed.  But when did it become the norm for people to spend weekends, school breaks and summer vacations endlessly entertaining their kids?

On a very frequent basis,  my kids tell me about all the fun things their friends are going to do and the places they go with their parents.  I see it myself on facebook at the end of almost every weekend.  Many parents post multiple pictures of their kids out at restaurants, the skating rink, the trampoline park, the theater, hotels, rock climbing, bowling, the movies, etc…and these are people who do several of these things EVERY weekend. When are the kids getting time to just hang out and BE?

When did we turn into a society that makes entertaining our kids a priority every weekend?  How will these kids learn to cope with quiet and solitude? How will they learn to cope with being bored, and finding something to do by themselves?  How will they learn to be their own friend?  The need that so many kids have for constant stimulation makes me sad.  Having down time and finding creative ways to entertain themselves now, will be of benefit to them as they get older.

As they say, “to each his own.”  They also say, “everything in moderation.”  In my opinion, it’s important for everyone…kids and adults…to learn to stop and smell the roses.  Go out to that restaurant, or to a party, but save just a little bit of time for doing nothing.  Doing nothing sparks creativity, and gets the brain thinking.  It leaves time for imagination to be used.  It lets the brain rest.  The world still needs creativity, imagination and new ideas.  Doing nothing leaves time for those things.  It really is okay to do nothing.

The Corgi, the Chihuahua, and the Pit Bull

Facebook has been inundating my page with all kinds of quizzes.  Which Soprano are you? Which Family Guy Character are you? Which Seinfeld character? And so on.  I admit, they’re fun to take, and really pretty accurate for something so…corny.  The latest one I took was “What type of dog are you?”  I assumed I would get some cute, lovable breed like golden retriever, based on my penchant for chasing balls, eating cookies and looking cute.  But no.  I got Pit Bull.  Those of you who know my opinion on the killing, maiming breed will see the hilarious irony of that.  The description wasn’t so bad…it said that I am sweet and lovable, but misunderstood.  Thankfully, it left out my violent tendencies toward innocent toddlers.  But I digress.

My daughters saw this quiz while annoyingly reading over my shoulder while I was on Facebook last night.  Being dog lovers, they wanted to take the quiz.  They went through the questions and answered them as well as they could.  I’m really glad that neither one of them picked “sex” as their favorite exercise.  But again, I digress.  One of them turned out to be a corgi and one of them, a chihuahua.  The descriptions were relatively accurate, but they are irrelevant to my point.  My favorite question on this quiz was “What’s your biggest pet peeve?”  Both of my girls answered with, “People who are judgmental.”  That happens to be the same pet peeve I picked in the quiz.

I sat here as they finished taking their quizzes and thought about their intolerance toward judgmental attitudes.  I knew they both had a disdain for that particular character trait, and we’ve discussed why people are the way they are in the past.  My oldest daughter is always quick to come to the defense of someone she feels is being unfairly judged, and she has frequently called people out when they’ve been judgmental.  She also looks at the people in her life without noticing color, culture or sexual orientation.  I am incredibly proud of her for that.  It’s one of my favorite things about her.  People are proud of their kids for all kinds of things, as they should be. I am proud of my kids’ accomplishments and talents as well, but the pride I can have for good character in my children is far more important to me than grades or sports scores.  They will take good character and loving hearts with them through life, even as they leave school, grades and sports behind.  So far, my corgi and my chihuahua are off to a good start.

The fact is that we are all judgmental sometimes.  It’s just part of being human.  We are constantly judging other people’s choices and situations, not necessarily in a negative way, but more in a comparison of how we would handle the same situation or make the same choice.  It’s hard to judge someone’s situation without judging the people involved.  However, I think the world would be a better place if we could look at other people as doing the best they can in the situation they’re in.  If we could all just look at people as human beings…not their color, sexual preference, culture, clothing, tattoos, piercings, attractiveness, weight or intelligence…we could all live a little happier.

The corgis and chihuahuas of this world make no judgments and love unconditionally.  I will keep my judgments to myself regarding the pitbull.  I would prefer to be a golden retriever.

New Year’s Resolution

Anyone can make a New Year’s Resolution on January 1st.  I usually make some sort of half assed resolution that I forget about in a matter of days, if not hours.  I’m pretty sure the reason is that most resolutions are about self-deprivation, and who likes to deprive themselves of things they enjoy?  I’d like to lose weight, but that would mean depriving myself of chocolate chip cookies, french toast, and candy.  There are those annoyingly self-disciplined people who say, “You don’t have to deprive yourself of cookies, just eat one or two.”  What those perfect people don’t get is that I’m not satisfied with chocolate chip cookies until I’ve eaten 1/4 of the cookie dough before the first batch has come out of the oven, and that I MUST test a cookie from each batch to make sure it passes quality control.  Once all the cookies are baked, I need to have at least 3 with my cup of tea.  See how that works?  Satisfaction comes after about a dozen cookies.  So, the hell with that resolution.

This year, I decided to change tactics and come up with some resolutions that I could enjoy, but that would still be self improvement.  They include learning to knit, learning to create and interpret astrological birth charts, and to start doing more active things such as hiking.  My first resolution, and a long time goal of mine, was to start writing a blog.  Many people have been encouraging me to write.  I like to write, but it’s not an easy thing to put yourself out there by expressing your opinions and ideas.  People will disagree with me, some will take offense, some will take it personally, and hopefully some will relate and enjoy.  I’ve had a million ideas for blog posts running through my head.  Being the disorganized person that I am, I haven’t written down a single idea.  However, I think someone, somewhere, said something like, “You can’t get down the road unless you take the first step.”  Or something kind of like that.  So, this is the first step.

This blog doesn’t really have a theme.  Mostly, it will be based on my thoughts and observations of every day situations.   If you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy!