Things I learned today

You should pee before you get stressed out. This is not to infer that I peed my pants or anything, just that I was nervous and stressed out, and once I peed, I felt so much better.

It’s possible to throw a fork, and have it disappear into thin air. Apparently.

Christmas is all about gods in other worlds and centaurs. No it’s not.

Froggy hats are acceptable for all occasions.

There are stories out there in the void about my son’s closeted rage issues. I’ll just say this…do not hog the elevator!

Swallowing 7 pieces of gum (four of them on accident) does not count as a meal.

I can’t hear “Carol Of The Bells” too many times.

There are a lot of people I’d like to send a Christmas card to.

I have always wondered what instrument makes the doorbell sound. I still don’t know what it’s called, but I do know what it looks like.

Furnaces are important, and it’s a special kind of fear when yours stops working. Also, it’s cold.

My daughter will, very likely, never eat Thanksgiving dinner again. Or dessert.

Origami is Spanish for “goose”. No it’s not.

A Fake Holiday, Balloons In Cars, and Rotary Phones

Today is my favorite holiday of the whole year! I remember when I was a kid, we’d all gather around the computer, and my dad would go on the internet and buy Christmas gifts. We’d search for hours online for just the right color for a new sweater for Grandma, or just the right books for Uncle Billy. We looked forward to Cyber Monday all year. Sometimes we’d get free shipping, or a big discount, but we always had a great time. Cocoa, popcorn, Christmas music playing on the iPod in the background. Ahhh…the beautiful memories of my childhood. :) *laughs at own cleverness*

Can you imagine that this will be the story our kids tell their kids? I cannot even dream up what will come after this, but there will be something for our grandkids to tell their kids…something totally different.

What I really remember is going to see my mom at work and having to put on a parka in July because the computer room (yeah…a whole room) was about 30 below 0 all the time. I remember when Atari came out. I remember when it was still a big deal to get your ears pierced…and anything else was verboten. (My mom’s mom used to use that word all the time…I love it!) I remember ice cream shops in pharmacies and grocery stores. I remember being able to play in my front yard without armed guards to keep me from getting attacked, shot, or kidnapped. I remember when there were two kinds of coffee: regular and decaf. I remember Sanka and Brim.

It’s so amazing to me that in less than 37 years, so much has changed. So much has happened. Is it better? Yes. Is it worse? Yes.

Our cars are safer*, but it’s not safe to walk on the sidewalks anymore. We can choose from 31+ flavors of ice cream, but now instead of a smile, you get a crabby teen who thinks they’re not getting paid enough. ($7.25 is a lot more than the $2.10 you would have gotten in 1975) Minimum wage was $4.25 when I graduated high school. My first job was $5.50/hour and I thought I could buy the moon. The cost of living back then was so much lower. Gas was cheaper…around $1.15 per gallon. Food was cheaper. Homes were less expensive.

I don’t want to go backwards…I love my Mac and my iPhone just as much as the next person. Probably more. I love the looks I get when I say that phones used to have a rotary dial and cords that attached to the wall. Then I love having to go Google “rotary dial” because they don’t know what that means.

I tried for years to keep an address book, and I have to admit, I finally gave it up. It was actually hard to keep it up. Paper calendars are hard, too. Along with the ease and convenience of today’s technology, comes a responsibility.

You must practice keeping in touch. You must try to talk to people face-to-face each day. You cannot live your whole life texting, and calling, and emailing. Human contact is necessary. It keeps us sane. It helps us practice our manners and social graces. It reminds us that we’re not alone.

So I challenge you: Don’t text your neighbor. Go over. Say hello. Don’t email your co-worker. Walk over to their desk and ask about their day. Don’t conference call people in the same city/town…get together. Drink one of 74 kinds of coffee, and sit around a table together. One of my challenges for the coming year is to be more social. Not less “tech-y”…more social.

I am totally crazy about having everything I need for an entire day in the form of an iPhone, but I’ll go totally crazy if I rely on that for my sole communication. It’s beyond convenient that whatever I type into my phone “magically” appears on my computer via iCloud…and vice versa, but I still need people. We all still need people.

It kind-of makes me sad that there’s an entire “holiday” based around purposely not seeing anyone face-to-face. Yes, it’s easy, and there are great deals, and it’s just one day, but it’s also a scary trend that is happening more and more. We can work from home, order groceries to be delivered to our home, and shop online from home. I love my home…but it’s important to leave it and go have human contact. I’m not condemning anyone. I’m just stating my opinion. Which is totally right regardless of what you think.

I will freely admit that I have used Skype with Jessup while we were both home. Different floors, so it’s totally ok. Stairs are hard.

This is what was on my mind today. I think I’m going to head out and see if I can find someone to talk to. That is all.

*This is questionable. We’re all supposed to be protected by balloons instead of steel. We’re driving cars you cannot even hear. And don’t even get me started on the Smart car. Smart…Pffffffft! Only if by “smart” you mean “will be squished like a bug”.

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

You know how you’re really good friends with someone, and you want to be around them all the time? You want to go places with them, introduce them to all your other friends, and hang out with them.
Well, food was that friend for me for a long time. It was always there. Popcorn during a movie, a midnight snack when I couldn’t sleep, or a quick trip through the drive-thru on my way home. When I was happy, it was right there enjoying the moment with me. When I was sad, it offered a comfort that I thought I needed.
Both of my parents taught me about food.
My Dad taught me that food was a reward. Junk food was a treat. When I was growing up, I was rewarded with ice cream when I got good grades. It worked. I worked hard to get them. I remember lots of trips to Dairy Queen and later Baskin Robbins as I was growing up. Food was a reward for me when I was good and did as I was supposed to do.
My Mom taught me that food was not to be shared. The more the food cost the more of a hold you should have on it. When there is very little food, it should be hoarded. Hidden. Kept to yourself. She would get mad when I would share my lunch with a friend. She would get mad when my dad would make breads and homemade goodies to give as gifts at Christmas. She was always afraid that there wouldn’t be enough for us.
Sometimes food was a rarity in my house while I was growing up. When we had plenty, we ate all the time. When we had little, we ate when we could. We ate what we could. Sometimes it was even food from the food bank. My mom would always say, “Beggars can’t be choosers”, and I knew, from early in life, that we were poor (most of the time) and that I’d better eat all that was placed in front of me. I remember skipping meals when I was a kid. I remember eating the same thing a lot. I remember a lot of pasta and breads and very little meat. I remember eating weird combinations of things or having bizarre amounts of food in our house. I remember that our church had a donation room with freezers and refrigerators. My dad worked in our church, and at the end of each month our pastor would let my dad clean out whatever was left. This meant #10 cans of food. This meant 5 lb. blocks of bleu cheese. I don’t remember fresh fruit or veggies. Always canned. Fruit cocktail was my idea of fruit. Veg-All was my moms’ idea of vegetables. There were reasons we didn’t have fresh fruit around, but I won’t get into that here. Mostly it was a cost issue. Fresh cost more than canned.
Don’t get me wrong, I still like food. We still talk occasionally and text from time to time, but we aren’t best friends anymore. I miss food when it’s late at night and the house is quiet. It’s a fight to try to stay in bed (especially when I’m not sleeping) rather than get up and munch on something. It’s a fight not to pull into the drive-thru and get a burrito or burger rather than have something at home. I’m not perfect. I still call food and ask it to come over and play from time to time, but I’m feeling better each time I don’t call. Each time I realize it’s not hunger, and walk away. Or stay away.
My dad died before he was 60.
My mom died before she was 70.
Both were unhealthy. Both had a love affair (whether in public or private) with food. Both taught me lessons about food. Some were intentional. Some were not. Both died unhealthy. I want to change that. I want to be healthy. I don’t know how much time I have on this earth, but I want to be capable of taking care of myself and able to do what I want to do…what I feel called to do. Whatever that may be.
I want to set an example of smart, healthy eating for my kids. I’m really late. But a little is better than none at all.
Food is not a reward. Food is a necessity. The right foods are required by your body to live.
As long as the good outweighs the bad, I feel like I’m doing ok.

A Post A Day

I don’t write enough.

I’m going to try to write a post a day until the end of the year.

It might be funny. It might be stupid. It will likely be silliness.

It’s important for me to try. It’s important for me to write.

I made what could be called a “New Year’s Resolution” on Thanksgiving. I know it’s a weird time to make such a thing, but when the mood strikes…

So I vow…to try…to write every day until the end of the year.

After that, we’ll see if I still have anything to say.

P.S. I already have a couple things to get me started… See you tomorrow :)