Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
that is based on the John Denver song. I bought it without "testing" it out (meaning reading it to my daughter to see if it gets the yeah or nay vote) primarily because it is a song that I love so much and think is fun. My kids are so into music that I figured they’d be receptive to just about anything.
When we got home I started reading (singing actually) it to my kids. I think I sang the song close to 50 times in the span of a few hours. They asked for it over and over again. (The pictures in the book are pretty hillbilly funny too) The kids love it and my daughter has already started memorizing some of the words. It feels like things have come full
circle when she is rocking out to the same tunes I did when I was her age.
My next goal is to learn to play it on the guitar (I’ve already mastered Puff, the Magic Dragon and a few James Taylor songs, among a variety of others). It’s funny how songs I haven’t thought of or heard in decades are suddenly such a prominent part of my life and the lives of our children. My husband and I love music: all types. We listen to things ranging from the popular to the obscure, from oldies to up and coming, virtually anything. I’m glad that our children, our daughter especially at this point, have adopted that same receptiveness and curiosity and interest in a variety of types of music. They don’t care what it is, just that they can groove and dance to it. (Yesterday my daughter asked me to put in Johnny Cash. Hard to believe considering Cash was my maternal grandfather’s favorite artist and now his great-granddaughter asks for his CD’s by name). So, on that note I better start figuring out how to play this song so I’m prepared for the day we decide to have a family ho-down.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Sure, he is inexperienced and he doesn’t have the "record" that McCain has. However, I feel, just based on my own personal observations that Obama is more open minded and would be more receptive to the input and ideas of others. I don’t get that impression from McCain. He seems like a "My way or the highway" type of guy. That type of attitude serves no one in present day politics, especially after suffering through that arrogant attitude for eight years with Dubya.
I have watched much of the DNC this past week as I will watch much of the RNC next week. I listened to Obama’s speech and was thoroughly impressed with him, as I was four years ago when he spoke at the DNC as an unknown Senator. He is a gifted orator and I believe a truly sincere and nice guy. However, I do worry about Obama. He does not seem to be one to offer specifics on policies. His answers are vague and often unclear. He seems to speak in broad generalizations. He certainly speaks to the hearts of people. There is no doubt he can stir the emotions of even the biggest naysayers, but is he really saying anything of substance? The verdict is still out for me.
I think that even though he is inexperienced he would probably surround himself with a staff that would be knowledgeable and experienced to compensate for any weakness he may lack. I think he would listen to opposing views and seriously consider them, whether those views come from Democrats, Republicans, or any other political party. I think he stands the greatest chance of unifying the polarized parties of our country. I also think he would be an asset in diplomatic dealings.
Conversely, I have a bad feeling about McCain. I don’t like a lot of his politics for starters. I also don’t get the impression that he is one to heed the advice of others too often, especially if that advice is different from what he thinks or feels is best. He seems to be quick-tempered and rather unpredictable. I reiterate that this is just my personal feeling and not based on anything more.
Last week at the DNC Jimmy Carter said that if Obama were elected President it would mark the end of racism in our country. I am by no means naïve enough to think for one minute that that is anywhere close to the truth. Nor do I think that if McCain and Sarah Palin were elected it would mark the end of sexism or ageism. We have come a long way, though, that is for certain. It is pretty cool when you stop to think that either way history will be made. We will either have a black President or a female Vice President.
The cynical side of me thinks that is why McCain chose Palin. I am sure that she is probably qualified to be Vice President, but is also greatly helps McCain’s image that he is "progressive" enough to buck traditional DC and pick a young, inexperienced, woman for the second highest job in the land. I think he is trying to send the message that he too is capable of being a catalyst for change; that he went against he stereotypical GOP VP nominee and chose Palin. I just have such a hard time believing that she serves any greater purpose than being McCain’s token. His choice also seems to undermine his criticism of Obama’s inexperience. That point now seems fairly moot and void of any substance since both campaigns now have an experienced DC insider paired with an inexperienced DC outsider. I guess over time we will see how this plays out and if I am just being too cynical.
On a personal note, about five years ago my brother, who is now a lawyer, did an internship for Senator McCain in Arizona. He was rarely at the location my brother worked out of, but when he did make an appearance one of his aides suggested that he go over and meet his interns and thank them. Well within earshot (and view) of the interns he told the aid that he didn’t have time to meet them. In the same amount of time that he stood there telling his aid that he was too important to rub elbows with the hired help ("hired’ being used very liberally here as it was an unpaid internship), he could have gone over and met the interns. That is seemingly something minor but it rubs me the wrong way that he couldn’t take five minutes to meet the young men and women who were working tirelessly for him. I wonder how much that says about how he treats others around him or those that work for him and how he would in turn treat the people of America if he were elected.
So, what are your thoughts? Was Palin a good choice? Was she chosen merely because she is a woman? What did you think of Obama’s speech?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Me: I love you so much and am so proud of you. You did such a terrific job at dance class today.
Daughter: Thanks. I love you too. I'm tired from all that dancing.
Me: You must be. You were a dancin' fool.
(silence for a few minutes)
Daughter: I love you mommy and am so proud of you.
Me: That's so sweet. Why are you proud of me?
Daughter: You are such a good mommy and such a sweet mommy.
Me: Oh, you are such a sweetheart and I love you so much.
It is conversations like these that assure me our daughter is being raised right.
* My daughter walked into her bedroom and took a look around. She saw her dolls all over the floor, puzzles everywhere, and all of her play food littering her bed. She exclaims, "Holy toledo my room is a complete disaster."
* She and my husband were picking up her room when she stops, points to another area that needs cleaning and says, "That area needs a little attention too."
* My son is the source of my daughter's frustrations at times. When it becomes overwhelming for her she says, "Mom, he's just being terrible. He's a terrible little guy."
* Daughter says, "What are we going to do with my brother? Should we sell him to the zoo? No, we're gonna kiss him and hug him and love him."
We managed to salvage all of our food from our fridge/freezer breakdown. My husband called our appliance repair man at 8 am and he was at our home by 8:30. Fortunately, it was something that could be fixed and only ended up costing us $120. (We were bracing ourselves for the possibility of having to buy an entirely new unit) Disaster averted.
We spent the later part of the morning and the early part of the afternoon visiting with my grandmother. My sister and her four children also came by so the kids had a great time playing with their cousins. My daughter has really blossomed socially lately and seems to really enjoy being around her cousins and all of her new dance friends.
Since it's Thursday my daughter had dance class this evening. My husband was able to get off work a bit early to come watch. The teacher was kind enough to let him sit in on the class since he has not been able to come to one yet. Our daughter was surprised and very glad to show off her moves.
We capped off the evening by going to dinner with my mom and my sister and her children after dance class. I feel like we've been busy and on the go all day, but it was a fun day and the kids were great and my husband is off tomorrow which makes this evening more relaxing. Now, just looking forward to listening to Obama's speech.
How was your day?
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
So, who knows what is wrong with it. We don't have great luck with appliances. It is usually something major and expensive that needs to be done. We go all out when we break appliances. Nothing half-assed here. I'm guessing we'll be buying a new fridge/freezer in the next few days. (Although, I'm keeping my fingers crossed it is something that can easily be fixed) The worst part about this is I just spent $350 in groceries yesterday. I'm hoping to not have to pitch them.
He gets away with not having to say much because he points and grunts and first born daughter gets what he wants. Lately, I've been asking her to not do that so that he'll have to ask for something. So, yesterday they were playing and he starts his pointing and grunting and I watch to see what my daughter is going to do. She turns around and says, "Little man, you are going to have to learn to start talking. Tell me what you want." He shakes his head back and forth, says, "No!" and runs away.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
So, my husband, out of the blue, suggested I get a "sturdier" wedding ring for everyday use and wear and tear and use my original ring for occasions like church on Sunday, family gatherings, and other functions that don’t have me banging my ring around or nicking it on things. All I heard was another wedding ring and I was sold. I mean what girl needs convincing to have two diamond rings? We looked around a bit yesterday and found one we both really liked. The diamond needs to be mounted and the ring needs to be sized, but if all goes as planned I should have it in a few days. My husband said he was having "a surprise" added as well. I love my original wedding ring, but it is certainly exciting to have something new to alternate with. I’m just hoping I don’t do as much damage to this one as I have seemed to manage to do to my original.
Monday, August 25, 2008
However, it seems like the past few months things have really fallen into place. There has been little stress and just an overall ease of life. My husband has been doing really well and just secured a corporate client who buys a lot of cars every year (and picked last month to get started). The kids are both at such fun ages that things seem to have suddenly gotten easier. We still have our trying days, don’t get me wrong, but they are fewer and farther between. And for whatever reason I am at such a peaceful and blissful stage in life. I don’t know if it is a feeling that comes with age and security or as a result of positive changes I have made in my life: personally, physically, and mentally.
I am under no illusion that this will last permanently but I am thankful for all we have been blessed with and for the peaceful waters we are currently floating on.
As I watched my kids play and laugh it occurred to me how wonderful things have been lately and I want to hold onto that and cherish it. (See upcoming post) We packed up before it got dark and headed back to town in time to grab a quick dinner. While it was really relaxing I am now exhausted and just want to crawl into bed.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
My complaint is that Jon and Kate treat each other horribly. I would never treat my husband that way and expect to remain married. It's disturbing that so many find their poor treatment of each other to be entertaining. I've heard so many say, "Kate is so mean to him. It's hillarious." Really? I also find them both to be money-grubbing whores who exploit their children. There, I said it. That is what this is really about. I would never put my children on TV to earn my paycheck. Having cameras in your house all day long, every week obviously changes the dynamics of what is "real" in your house. These are children for God's sake.
I started working on a post for this a month or so ago and kept getting so angry as I was writing that it came off sounding like the crazy rantings of a mad woman. As I was researching information on Jon and Kate I came across an article that could not have said it better. I've attached the link below. She has hit the nail on the head. (You will need to scroll up to the top for the article).
That being said, what is up with celebrities and their baby names? It seems like if you are part of Hollywood these days you are obligated to give your baby the craziest name you can think of. Case in point? Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale, the newest member of the Gavin Rossdale/Gwen Stefani family. Are you kidding me? It sounds like some celestial formation or ancient Indian tribe. That poor kid is going to have to carry this name for life and there will be no shortage of jokes when he gets to school.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
This is the third year I have lived through this event and to be honest I was expecting a horrible week. I was expecting grouchy kids compounded by a tired and overworked mommy. The week turned out to be quite pleasant instead. Our daughter was fantastic. She was well-behaved all week, great with her brother, and a huge help to me. She was patient even though her brother required a bit more attention than usual, which meant a bit less for her somedays. Our son, while super clingy and a bit whiny, did pretty well overall. I think he missed his daddy and the change of routine threw him off a little.
We had a great time running errands, reading books, visiting museums, a few extra trips to see grandparents, and just "lazy days" at home. While it was exhausting for me it really could not have gone better under the circumstances. It was nice to have all that time with the kids....not that I don't have all that time anyway, but it felt different this week.
It will be great to have my husband home tomorrow before he begins another gruelling week (hopefully with less hours though). I'll be thankful to have him around and I know the kids will be excited to have his attention since they've had so little of it these past six days.
All in all, things were good. Husband was very successful over the week, the kids were fun and well-behaved, and I survived another year of these crazy sales weeks.
Beyond what he has done over the course of his political career I admire him more because of what he has overcome in his personal life. When he was elected to the Senate his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident. His two young sons were injured badly. He was actually sworn in from their bedsides. He then commuted everyday to DC and back so that he could care for his two sons, a habit he continues to this day.
He has obviously since remarried and had a daughter with this wife. I think it shows a great amount of courage for him to continue on after something so tragic. He had only been married 6 years at the time he lost his wife. They were young. I think about my husband and if I were to lose him or one of our children. He and I are about to celebrate 6 years of marriage in October. It would be utterly devestating to suffer such a loss. I have such an enormous amount of respect for Senator Biden because of how he conducted himself in the face of such tragedy. I respect him because he made his two motherless sons a priority.
I don't know as much as I should about him politically, but I know as a parent and a wife I admire him and respect him for the type of husband and father he is. A lot of times, even in politics, that really should count for more than it does.
A friend who also suffers from migraines told me that she started seeing a chiropractor for her migraines and so far it is working. So, the plan is to find out if my insurance will cover it and start going if so. I'm desperate. I'm willing to try anything in the hopes of getting some relief (as long as it is legal).
Anyone have any suggestions?
Friday, August 22, 2008
However, when they then want something they go to great lengths to make sure others respond promptly and don't relent until they get some type of response. It's mind-baffling really. I just don't understand how people can expect so much yet offer so little in return. Why are their needs, wants, and desires of greater priority than anyone else's? I don't know how their self-righteous indignation overtakes all common sense of courtesy and decency.
What are your thoughts?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I stood in the doorway watching her in her adorable leotard and tights, with her hair pulled back into a pony tail, listening to her teacher and following all the directions and I just thought, "How heartwarmingly cute." She was having so much fun and looked like such a little girl and not a baby any longer. She's only three, but somehow watching her in that class she looks and acts so much older.
After class she sang all the songs to me that they danced to in class and when we got home I got a complete reinactment of every dance and activity they did. My husband got the same reinactment when he got home. (She was beyond excited as she has not seem him in 3 days).
The good news is that she seems to really enjoy the class and has made new friends. She's come out of her shell as well, which is a neat transformation to watch. She told me today that her teacher didn't think a rag that was brought it was my daughter's. (My daughter has horrible allergies and instead of rubbing her nose raw with Kleenex, she uses her brother's old soft burp cloths as "snot rags".) I guess the teacher tried to give it to another little girl at the end of class. Apparently, my three year old went up and said, "Excuse me, Miss K but that is my rag." The teacher said, "Oh, sweetie I don't think so. I think it's so and so's" My daughter insisted and then once she got the rag back said, "Thank you very much." Just to hear her recount this story makes me laugh.
In any event, today's class was a success and my daughter is having a great time. I don't know if ballet will be something she'll stick with or outgrow and right now it doesn't really matter. I'm just glad that she is enjoying herself and making friends. She did tell me today that when she is four she wants to do karate....the way she pronounces karate, with a rolled r, is hysterical enough for me to ask her ten times a day what she wants to do when she is four. The fact that she kicks her foot and does a chop with her hands while saying "karate" with her rolled r makes me ask at least another five times.
I took my wedding ring to the jeweler earlier this week because one of the prongs holding my center diamond had chipped resulting in the ring getting caught on clothing and my poor children's skin. I picked it up last night not really taking the time to examine it closely. When I got it home something about the ring just didn't look or feel right.
This morning it still didn't look right and I finally figured out that they had not aligned the wedding band evenly with the engagement ring when they saudered them back together, thus creating a gap between the two that was uncomfortable and unsightly. Furthermore, the center diamond on the wedding band was now placed crooked. That part was not even supposed to be touched. Finally, I noticed that the ring felt really big so I thought they might have sized it incorrectly.
Long story short I had to take the ring back to the jeweler today. They saw what I saw and agreed to fix it. They measured my ring though and it was the same size 7 it has always been yet the ring was spinning around my finger and falling off. She asked if I had recently lost weight, to which for the first time in a long time I could answer, "Yes, actually I have." So, they resized my ring finger and it is now a 6 1/4.
So, while I was and still am frustrated by the half-assed job they did with the repair and rather angry that I had to go out of my way to drop it off again, not to mention will have to go out of my way again to pick it up, it was exciting to learn that I've lost so much weight that even my fingers have gotten skinnier.
In so doing, it has made me realize (not that I didn’t already, but certainly reinforced) what an important role a parent has. Children look for that structure and stability. Anyone who thinks a parent is immaterial or losing a parent or not having parents is insignificant has obviously not spent any time around children. You can see it in almost everything they do. They make sense of everything by establishing a parent-child dynamic.
Their parents, mothers specifically, are the centers of their world. They see themselves the way their mothers see them. They view the world the way their mothers view it. They treat others the way their mothers treat others. This is especially obvious with younger siblings. My daughter will hug and kiss and console her baby brother using the same mannerisms and words I use to comfort them both.
A parent is the most steadying and influential force in the life of a child. This is often times underrated and under appreciated. Just imagine the impact we have on our children and imagine those children who don’t have that influence in their lives. They are lost at sea. When I think about how my children view me, with such reverence and importance, the duty to raise and protect them almost become overwhelming. I want to make sure I’m setting the right example, treating them and others the right way. Judging by the way my children act and treat others I’d say so far my husband and I are doing a pretty good job.
When watching my children and the way they rely on me and seek my guidance and approval I become so much more aware of what other children are missing in this world and it is heartbreaking. I think about children going to bed at night, wondering if they are loved or children playing alone during the day wishing their parents would make time to play with them. I know I make mistakes with my children, but I also know that my children are loved. They know without a doubt that they are loved. They also get a ton of quality time from me, both together and individually. I wish every child had that. I wish every child went to bed at night feeling secure and loved. Maybe one day....
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
He will certainly be missed!
So when I read this article today I was shocked and appalled. I would venture to say that most parents, even ones who spank their children, wouldn't want others to physically punish their children.
What are your thoughts?
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
That being said I have feelings of strong opposition to football and cheerleading. Now, I admit that when I was in high school and even in college I belonged to the "athlete’s" crowd or the jocks. We did not think very highly of the cheerleaders and much of that was brought on by the fact that we didn’t consider them to be "real" athletes that participated in a "real" sport. They also had a tendency to be morally challenged, if ya know what I mean. (I’m not making a statement about all cheerleaders before all you former cheerleaders start an uproar. I am speaking specifically of the girls on the squad at my school) They fit many of the stereotypes of airheads.
I realize cheerleading has evolved over the years and has become hardcore in many circles. It is no longer just a bunch of floozies bouncing around yelling cute little rhymes. They train and condition similar to many athletes in actual sports. Despite the evolution of cheerleading I still oppose my child’s participation in either that or football, especially when they are still in fact children. Ironically, it is for none of the reasons I have mentioned above. (That was just a neat little side story)
It is for one reason only: safety. Football and cheerleading have the highest incident of injury (and I’m talking catastrophic injuries) and death. No other sport even comes close. Part of the issue with cheerleading specifically is that the stunts are becoming more risky and more dangerous and many of the coaches aren’t really qualified to be teaching or supervising these types of routines. As long as this continues we will continue to see the incident of injuries and fatalities rise.
I cringe when I see little girls (5 to 13 years of age) participating in such a dangerous activity and parents downplaying the risks that they are exposing their children to. This week the results of a study were released to support my stance. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. I’ve attached the link to the article below.
I do realize that there are inherent risks with any sport and my child could get injured at any point. I hurt myself many times over the years playing basketball. Some serious and some relatively minor. Fortunately, I suffered nothing catastrophic or career ending or fatal. However, I also know those risks greatly increase with participation in football and cheerleading. The injury reports and data collected over the years support that. I realize that there are thousands who participate each year on football teams and cheerleading squads and go their lifetime without an injury, but I am just not willing to risk it when it comes to my child. I just don’t think it is worth it.
What activities/sports would you not want your child to participate in? What are the reasons behind that decision? If you do have children that participate in football and cheerleading do you worry about the risk of serious injury?
Monday, August 18, 2008
I wasn’t always fat. There were "chubby periods" of my life, but I was a college basketball player and always in pretty good shape. I started playing basketball as soon as I could walk and by the time I hit 4th grade I played year round. I played on travelling teams, local teams, National All-Star teams, and Junior Olympic teams. This was during the off-season. Obviously, during season I played for my school teams. By the time I finished college I had been training and playing year round for a minimum of thirteen years. I wanted a break. So, I did nothing. I quit lifting weights, I quit doing anything for my cardiovascular health, and I quit playing basketball. I coached a Varsity High School basketball team my first two years out of college so I played once in a while with them, but nothing close to the level I was used to. Slowly my weight crept up.
Then I started having children. I lost the weight really quickly after my first child, but after I had my second I didn’t lose the weight. It just got redistributed. I had started many diets before and failed; I had also started working out many times before but would quit after a few weeks. I just couldn’t find the motivation.
Finally I figured out the key. You have to be really sick of being fat. If you are okay with it or refuse to acknowledge how fat you are you will never be motivated enough to lose it. I just got sick of having to buy bigger sizes of clothing, having things not fit right, and just carrying around extra weight was exhausting, not to mention hard on my back and knees. So, I started going to the gym everyday for the first month. I spent an hour there each time. I’d spend 30 minutes doing something cardio and then 30 minutes lifting weights. As I started losing weight I tapered down to 5-6 times a week. I alternated the type of cardio I did because after a while your body starts to acclimate and it quits working as hard, thus burning fewer calories. If I stopped losing weight for a week or two I knew I had to change up the routine to jump-start my metabolism again.
In addition, I also had to change the way I ate. I didn’t do anything revolutionary. I did get rid of candy and chips and any other processed food with sugar and starches. But basically I just ate less. I didn’t deprive myself, but I did have to sacrifice cravings. I am not dieting. I hate the word "diet" because they never work. It has to be a lifestyle change. You have to learn to eat differently and not feel like you are missing out on something.
I share all of this, not to brag, but to encourage. Anyone can do this. It is just small little changes that can add up to a lot of pounds over a relatively short amount of time. I have certainly worked hard and am proud of myself for all the work I have done day in and day out but I haven’t starved myself or deprived myself and as a result I will have an easier time keeping this weight off. I’ve conditioned myself to eat differently. I no longer even crave the "goodies" I used to eat on a daily basis. I don’t even think about what I’m missing. Going to the gym is routine now, something I just get up and do without ever really considering otherwise. I’m just glad to be in this new body where clothes fit better, I’m comfortable and I have so much more energy to play with my kids.
He is currently in sales and it has been a sacrifice. The hours are unpredictable and long, the demands placed on him are ever increasing, and there seems to be very little time remaining for him to spend at home. The flip side of that is that he has been very successful and aside from the long hours, really enjoys it. I think that surprised him initially.
Admittedly, I had a really rough time the first year because I was alone a lot, had a one-year-old and was pregnant with our son. I felt like a single mom and still do a lot of times. I have gotten used to the fact that he sometimes works 16 hour days or that sometimes he won’t get home until close to midnight as he is finishing up a sale, even though the dealership is supposed to close at 8 (they’ll stay open as long as someone’s buying). It is a decision we as a family made and we all have made sacrifices to make this work. I run errands alone with the kids, shop with the kids, and attend family and other functions without a husband present. It’s hard to make plans because while my husband may be scheduled to only work until 4 PM on a certain day at the last minute something always comes up and he ends up getting out hours later. So, nothing is every really set in stone. For me that is the hardest part. I am very Type A and I plan out everything. This job has made that virtually impossible to do. The good news though is that our financial situation has changed for the better as a result of this job. Just having that constant stress eliminated makes a huge difference.
People have this pre-conceived, stereotypical view of car sales men as greasy, slime balls who are just out to screw you. While they certainly exist most are hardworking, honest people who are just trying to support their families. Most are trying to get you the best deal possible while still making enough money to feed and clothe their families. No one, unless you are in car sales or your spouse is (yes, there are female car saleswomen too), truly understands the type of commitment and sacrifice involved.
Many jobs require long hours and personal sacrifices, but a vast majority of those jobs also have built in respect and a contracted salary. I think if people knew how long and hard these sales people worked, often times for free, they would not be so quick to feel like treating them with a lack of respect is okay. My husband has worked 16-hour days and had sales fall apart. He goes home with no money. Nothing is more discouraging. There is no guarantee he will get paid. It is entirely up to him and what he sells. That’s a lot of pressure.
My husband has been there for 2 years now. He is well liked and well respected by both his colleagues and his customers and that says a lot. He has worked hard to earn the trust of his customers and it says a lot when they become repeat customers and then refer their family and friends. He has gotten a lot of business that way. This job is not for everyone. So I respect my husband that much more for working hard, making sacrifices and becoming consistently successful at something a lot fail at.
**Disclaimer: There may be a lot of frustrated, complaining posts this week as husband is working a huge sale for the next 6 days and will not be home.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Then this week a good friend found out she was having a boy. It’s her first child and so I went out to buy her some baby clothes. As I was in the store going through all the cute little tiny baby outfits I started thinking, "Oh, I want another baby this small to hold and cuddle and smell."
So, I guess the best I can say is that I am undecided. What I’m absolutely sure of though is that if we do decide on baby number 3 it will not be anytime soon. I’d like to retain what little sanity I have left.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Despite being a Christian, I too am not really into all the Christian-based literature. I feel like oftentimes that the stories are wrapped up too neatly at the end. Most Christian based literature ends with the theme of "My life sucked because I disobeyed God. Then I decided to listen to him, turn my life over to Him and miraculously my life got better and everything then became perfect." Anyone who keeps at least one foot rooted firmly in reality knows that regardless of your religious beliefs there is no guarantee to a "perfect" or "happy" life. Fortunately, this book doesn’t really wrap things up to where everything makes sense at the end just because the main character re-establishes his relationship with God.
To a lot of Christians who read this you have to be willing to get over a lot of the preconceived notions and common perceptions that standard Christianity preaches about God and the Trinity. This book is not theology or rooted in biblical doctrine. It is fiction, a parable to try to explain the nature of one God as three separate people. It also aims to explain the relationship between the three. If you can get over the fact that in the book God is a black woman, which for me shattered all impressions I had of God but by the end found it strangely comforting in the sense that the author meant to show that God becomes for you what you need him to be, then the other spiritual aspects won’t seem so shocking. God also appears as the traditional father figure with an explanation that we commonly perceive and refer to God as our father because oftentimes a strong father figure is what most people are missing in their lives.
The story follows a father grappling with the loss of his 6-year-old daughter. She was kidnapped while camping and is presumed to be dead. Understandably the father is devastated; the family struggles to move on, the surviving daughter blames herself and is becoming more distant with her family. The father calls the role God plays in their lives into question. That is the crux of the book. It attempts to make sense of why God allows unspeakable tragedies occur. It also attempts to answer where God is in this world of pain and why He doesn’t step in and interfere when things like this are about to happen. It illustrates in simplistic terms God’s love for us and the relationship he desires with us. It made me look at the idea of the Trinity in a way I had never before thought of. To obviously buy into certain aspects of the book there is the presumption one is familiar with the fundamental basics of Christianity. Believing those basics isn’t a pre-requisite to understanding or enjoying the book though.
There has been both overwhelming praise and criticism for this book. It sits among the top on the best sellers’ list and has for some time. I think both the praise and the criticism are a bit extreme. Yes, it is a good book. Yes, it made God seem more caring and real as opposed to some invisible man who sits in the sky watching passively as bad things happen in the world around us. Is it based on Biblical doctrine? No. It takes the general premise and mixes it with quite a bit of liberal interpretation. The story is told in such a way to try to explain in the most simplistic of terms what is truly an issue of faith, something that really can’t be explained or rationalized. The ideas, concepts, and experiences described in the book are used to illustrate what he perceives to be the type of relationship God desires with each individual and to also explain and demonstrate the relationship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have with each other. He takes the concept of the Trinity in keeping with Christian theology and attempts to demonstrate how they can be both three persons and one God at the same time. I would not tout this book as doctrine meant to be taken as a literal depiction of God. It is clearly not meant to be taken literally, but figuratively.
I did find it to be interesting and enjoyable despite the fact that much could be reworked to make it clearer and more concise. I think it is a good book for anyone to read but maybe especially for those who seem to be struggling with their faith or for those who have lost faith as a result of a personal tragedy.
Has anyone else read this? If so, what did you think?
Friday, August 15, 2008
I started seriously working out hard in April after close to a 3-year hiatus. The goal was to lose weight and become fit so I have spent a lot of time in the gym on elliptical machines and stationary bikes along with lifting weights. This week I decided to change my routine a bit and swim for 30 to 45 minutes as my cardio workout. It has been heaven (minus the fact that the initial weeks of swimming always kill my knees because of the mechanism of the kicking). There is something about swimming that provides such a solid sense of peace and calmness for me. There are very few times in my everyday life when my mind isn’t racing a million miles a minute or thinking about all I have to do. In the pool I notice I literally think of nothing. I simply swim focused only on my stroke. No other exercise provides for me that type of mental break.
So, what activity provides that type of mental break for you? Where do you feel at peace?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The teacher seems to be really good with them and was really reassurring to my daughter and the few others who were hesitant to participate. She gently encouraged them, but also told them (and all us nervous moms) that it was okay for them to just observe. It's our first class of this sort so I want it to be a positive experience for her. I don't really care, in the long run, if dance is something she sticks with, but I do want her first experience as being part of a class, a team, to be a positive one and an experience she wants to repeat whether it is dance class or some other variety of class.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I took him to the doctor so she could extract it. She wasn’t sure she would be able to, but said she’d try it twice and if she couldn’t get it she would send me to an ENT doctor immediately because she didn’t want to press the object further up his nose. Fortunately, she was able to pull it out on the first try. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. It required the aid of three nurses to hold him down as he screamed bloody murder. She then had to pry his nose open with what can only be described as looking pretty close to what an ob/gyn uses to prop open your woman parts during a pap exam. She then used extremely long tweezers to grab hold of it and pulled it out.
It wasn’t a Polly Pocket shoe, which pleased my daughter greatly, but a round piece of pink hard plastic that had come off my daughter’s jewelry box. Anyway, he is fine although we were told to watch him for a week for any nasal discharge or odor (I know, gross) which would indicate something else is still lodged deeper in his nose.
So, then tonight at dinner my son is sitting in his high chair eating. You would think he would have learned his lesson about sticking things up his nose. Apparently he has not. I look up and he is trying to stuff pieces of chicken up his nose. If this continues he really might send me to an early grave.
Yep, yep you do. You’ve sucked for a while and I keep putting up with it for the sake of my fitness and overall goal of weight loss, but you are really starting to piss me off. I’m sick of you changing the schedules of when certain facilities are available yet not telling your members until after the fact. Do you know what a hassle it is to load up two kids, drive to the gym, unload them only then to find out the that facility I came to use is unavailable? Apparently not or you’d quit doing it.
It would also be helpful it you were to employ such people that weren’t socially deficient and incapable of doing any more than merely scanning a membership card. It would be helpful it they were able to offer solutions to issues I as a member have or at least direct me to the appropriate person to discuss my complaints with. It seems like it must be some type of pre-requisite that in order to work for your gym you have to maintain a certain level of incompetence and social ineptness.
Unfortunately you are the closest gym and one of the few to provide childcare and it is for those reasons alone that I continue to work out at your facility. However, my days may be numbered as I am getting sick of paying money every month yet the services I’m supposed to receive and the facilities I am supposed to be able to use continue to decrease. So to sum up my frustration…YOU SUCK and I HATE YOU!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Case in point: the entire "Obama is a Muslim" email that has been circulating for months, maybe even longer. Whether you like him or not, whether you agree with his politics or think he will make a good president is your choice. I'm not here to tell you who to vote for. However, he's clearly not a Muslim and it's beyond annoying that generally speaking Republicans and the Religious Right have been trying to scare voters into believing that if they vote for Obama they are forsaking their Christian obligation and somehow supporting terrorism.
I've been thinking about what I want to say and how I want to say it and then I came across a post that said it perfectly. So, at the risk of sounding repetitive I will simply attach the link and you can read for yourselves.
I met this woman at the mall yesterday who I spent 30 minutes talking to. Normally I’m not a big conversationalist with strangers, but with her the conversation just led from one topic to the next pretty naturally. It was great. She was funny and the conversation was totally easy. It actually felt like we had been friends for years. She has one child a few months younger than my son and oddly enough, I discovered through the course of our conversation, her husband is a guy I went to high school with. However, I needed to get going so I kind of abruptly ended the conversation, told her it was nice to meet her and chat with her and left.
Afterwards I started thinking I should have asked her to go for coffee (I don’t even drink coffee), or have given her my number or something, but I wasn’t sure if that would be weird. So, what do you think? What should I have done?
Monday, August 11, 2008
The good news is that the longer I’ve been a mom the less I doubt myself. With each decision my resolve strengthens and my confidence improves. I quit being so hard on myself and so critical of my decisions. Being a mother is a constant learning experience. We will never know it all. We can only hope the decisions we make won’t mess our kids up permanently.
So far letting them stay up later than they should upon occasion, once in a while losing my temper and yelling at them, letting them eat fast food when I’m too exhausted to cook, and the myriad of other decisions I have made have not scarred them or turned them into bitter human beings. In fact, for all the mistakes I think I have made they are quite remarkable, well-adjusted kids.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
To add fuel to the fire, one of the French swimmers before the race said, "The Americans? We’re going to smash them. That’s why we came here." Well, lo and behold guess who won? That’s right! The good ol’ US of A. Michael Phelps was of course the big name winning the second gold of his possible eight gold medals, but the true hero of the night was Jason Lezak. The guy was absolutely incredible. I have never seen a guy swim a better leg of a race than he swam tonight. It will go down in history as one of the best Olympic swims ever.
While all four members of that team contributed and have a right to be proud, Lezak should be especially proud of the effort he put forth tonight. Truly, there are not words to adequately describe what he just did. Utterly amazing.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
In 1970, when the wife chose to stay home and be a stay at home mom, the average income for that family was $40,785. In 2002 when the wife chose to stay home the average family income actually dropped, in inflation adjusted dollars, to $40,100. However, two income families increased their average income during the same time period by 35%. This type of tax policy forces mothers into the work force.
There is also evidence throughout history that documents when the interest of big business collides with the interest of a traditional, one-breadwinner family the GOP almost always side with business. Prior to 1980 it was Democrats that actually were in favor of the opposite approach. They almost always sided with family interests.
It would be nice if real conservatives would spend their money working for real change in family law and in tax-code rather than spending their time on trivial issues like keeping "In God We Trust" in the post offices and on our currency. The Christian Right needs to focus its efforts on something that would actually help the middle class and the poor strengthen their families. They are the ones, after all, who claim to be so "pro-family."
I’m not giving Democrats a free pass on this. Both parties need to work to make things better for family. We are one of the few countries that do not pay women when on maternity leave. In many European countries it is standard for women to take a year or more and continue to draw 90 percent of their salary. Here, women are lucky to get 12 weeks of unpaid leave. I call out Republicans because they seem to be the ones always espousing the virtues of family values, but when it comes down to it they have actually done very little to promote or protect the value of the family.
** Statistics taken from research by Allan Carlson, President of the Howard Center and director of Family in America Studies Center
Observation A: I think it is pretty standard practice that most humans expect to be treated a certain way. We want to be treated kindly, with courtesy and respect. We want others to be friendly and never cruel. We hope that others are honest with us and in dealings with us display loyalty and integrity. Isn’t it funny though how often times we don’t extend the same courtesy to others? It seems that a lot of times the people who become the most indignant when treated with less courtesy than they had expected are the same ones who rarely treat others with respect and dignity. They set impossible standards for others and yet they themselves fail to live up to the simplest of their own expectations. It’s a double standard that most of the time they fail to see. They expect to be treated a certain way, throw a fit when they are not, yet do not treat others anywhere close to the way they themselves want to be treated. Interesting!
Observation B: Some seem to treat family and friends and people in general like they are disposable. Constantly recycling through relationships every few years or months even. Most times it is always because the other person is "crazy" or "needy" or "strange". It seems to me that if you are dissolving friendships and terminating familial ties at an alarming rate and for superficial reasons that the problem may not be with them. I’m just sayin’.
Observation C: Giving and receiving apologies is a lost art form. People seem reluctant to give apologies when they really should. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they don’t want to appear weak or admit they were wrong. Then there are the people who go overboard with the apologies. For me, a simple, "I’m sorry. It won’t happen again" is sufficient. The flip side of that though is that people do a shitty job of receiving apologies. Half the time the one apologizing is met with, "Well, that’s just not good enough." It seems like many expect the offender to experience some type of indefinite period of penance to atone for whatever infraction they committed. If someone apologizes and they don’t repeat the infraction it would seem to a rational individual that the person and apology was sincere. If they repeat the infraction I guess you could assume they are not. It seems like it would just be easier to assume the person is sorry unless or until they give you a reason not to as opposed to presuming to judge the sincerity of the apology without giving the person a chance to make right what was wrong.
Observation D: I don’t understand people who can’t make a decision without consulting with their spouse or mother or father or best friend or mailman. Are they incapable of formulating a thought or opinion or making a decision all by themselves? I don’t mean when you say, "Well, I’m not sure if we are busy Friday night, let me check with my husband." I’m talking about people who cannot tell you if they believe a certain thing, if they like a certain product, if they approve of a certain method, etc. without first consulting with some part of their "inner circle." It is like until one of those mentioned above are consulted and deem it to be okay or helpful or beneficial or harmful it is not so. Doesn’t matter how many other people have told them the same thing. It doesn’t become relevant until that chosen person has offered his/her thoughts on the matter. It drives me nuts. I like independent thinkers.
Observation E: I often wonder how siblings who were raised in the same house by the same parents can turn out so differently. I understand the uniqueness of each as an individual, but I don’t always understand how some can differ so widely on core beliefs and values.
Observation F: There seems to be a lot of passing of blame these days. Very few seem capable of accepting responsibility for transgressions they have committed or feelings they may have hurt. It seems to be an epidemic. It seems that if you broach the topic with the person who hurt or offended you and try to explain the hurt or disrespect, they somehow find a way to dismiss your hurt and make it about them. They then find a way to manufacture feelings of hurt and conjure up all sorts of examples of how you are now disrespecting them by bringing up your feelings of hurt and disrespect. So your feelings are not only irrelevant and ignored, but now because you have brought to their attention your hurt you have now disrespected them. Hard to follow, isn’t it? Even harder to tolerate.
Observation G: When push comes to shove most human beings go to great lengths to help each other. You see this when tragedy strikes a community or in the instance of Katrina, which brought out the best and worst in human nature. I think we all have a natural instinct to help and protect one another when faced with extreme misfortune.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Me: Where are those pretty little legs? Let me see those legs.
Daughter: These legs wanna dance (as she starts moving her legs around in the air simulating dance moves)
Me: They wanna dance huh?
Daughter: Yep. They were made for dancing!
Do not ask me where she got this. I have no idea. Despite the severe case of "White Men Can't Dance" syndrome that my husband and I are both afflicted with she seems to have inherited some major dance moves from some very distant relatives.
I, in no way, am casting judgment on Elizabeth Edwards for the decision she has made to stand by her man. That is a personal decision that only someone in that situation can make and really should not be held up to public scrutiny or judgment from anyone else. If she chooses to forgive him and move on that is her decision and she’ll have to live with the ramifications. So, I want to make clear that I am not begrudging her for seemingly forgiving her husband and trying to move forward.
However, I was struck by something she said in her statement. She said, "I am proud of the courage John showed by his honesty in the face of shame." I guess I found it a little strange that in the context of discussing infidelity that she would issue statement praising her husband’s courage and proclaiming that she is proud of him for telling the truth. I just figured it was a common expectation to be truthful. The statement seems to ring false with me. What is she proud of? Proud that her husband admitted he is a cheating liar? Pin a rose on his nose. I guess I don’t get what she is so proud of or what she finds so courageous about him being honest. It would be one thing to say, "I’ve forgiven him, I stand by him, please give us our privacy" which she did say. I just think it was unnecessary and probably politically motivated to proceed with her praise of him for being accountable for his actions.
Mrs. Edwards must be incredibly hurt, angry, and embarrassed. To have to face a spouse’s infidelity I could only imagine would be devastating. To do so in the public eye under much scrutiny must be excruciating. I don’t want to come across as callous or one to kick the poor woman while she’s down. I just really was rubbed the wrong way by her statement. It just seems like an oxymoron: courageous cheating liar.
Honestly, I am stunned. I have always liked John Edwards. I liked him when he was running with John Kerry and I liked him when he was campaigning for President. In fact, I was hoping he would be the Democratic nominee. So, it is with an especially deep sense of disappointment that I watch the story unfold. I wrote a post the other day about hypocricy and the disappointment we feel when we find out that our expectations of someone does not match the reality. It is certainly disheartening that while he was proclaiming the importance of family values, morals and honesty as a part of his campaign he was lying to his wife (and the people of America) and having an extramarrital affair. It is even more upsetting to me that he was engaging in this behavior as his wife was battling cancer. Truly that is probably immaterial. Betrayal on any level is devestating, but to betray your wife as she is fighting for her life seems especially cruel to me.
Infidelity seems to be increasingly common among our elected leaders. I don't know if that is true or if more are just getting caught and coming forward. In any event, I feel that if you are serving in an elected position you need to be above reproach. Sure, they are human but they need to not be putting themselves in positions that cause the people they serve to doubt their credibility.
The punishment for his crime will be decided by his wife. It will be tried and judged in the press and the court of public opinion. Ultimately, it will be his wife who has to decide if she can move forward with this man or if the betrayal was too much to get over. As for me I am disappointed that a man who seemed to be different, a man who seemed to be sincere when he said his family was the most important thing to him and that he had the utmost respect for his wife, is a man who has admitted to being immoral and a liar. (Wait, maybe he would make a great President).
Today was different. Yesterday I added some different lifts (namely weighted lunges) to my routine and also this week increased the amount of weight I lift. Needless to say, that today I was very sore. My butt, quads, and inner thighs just burned. It hurt to sit, walk, stand, and basically even move. The last thing I wanted to do was go to the gym and have to move these achy muscles. So, I decided that I would take today off.
About an hour after we all got up my daughter realized something was different and started asking if we were going to go to the gym. I told her that we were going to take a break today because mommy was sore and tired. She insisted that I go exercise. After some hesitation, I decided that instead of spending the next hour answering questions about why we weren’t going to go to the gym today I’d be better off just going. Once I got there and started beating cheeks on the elliptical I was really glad I went. The soreness wasn’t as bad once the muscles got warmed up.
I guess that sometimes all you need is a little push. In this case a push from a 3 year-old who is used to her routine. Who would have thought that a 3 year-old could be so persuasive and encouraging? When I picked her up from the child watch and after she told me all the toys she played with she asked, "Aren't you glad you exercised mommy?" Yes, yes I am!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
8. People give up their seats for you. Doesn’t matter where you are. If they see you waddle by they are usually inclined to offer you their seat.
7. You can get out of a lot of housework. Everyone knows it is not good for a pregnant lady to inhale cleaners or lift heavy objects like the vacuum.
6. Husbands become much more willing to cater to your self-indulgent needs like foot rubs.
5. At no other time are you encouraged to pack on the pounds.
4. What better excuse to eat what you want, when you want? It can always be blamed on cravings.
3. Your wait time in lines usually decreases. Just breathing a bit heavier or loudly saying, "Ooh, I think that was a contraction" suddenly seems to shuttle you through the line pretty quickly.
2. It is a good excuse to get out of going places. A nasty bout of morning sickness and suddenly everyone is very understanding of your inability to attend whatever commitment you weaseled out of.
1. It is the only time where it is socially acceptable to burp and fart and people not think you are void of any manners. People are much more understanding of that when you are pregnant and suffering from heartburn and irritable bowels.
I’ve had an interesting year in that I have seen both the best and worst in people. Some offenders were not a surprise to me; it was only a matter of time. But others were truly shocking and disappointing. I was talking to my husband about my disillusionment and he said that oftentimes the biggest disappointment is not the actual offense but that our expectations of that person did not match up with the reality. He’s absolutely right! The offense itself is upsetting, but oftentimes immaterial. It’s the fact that someone you expected to be above that was not. It’s the fact that someone you held in high-esteem could stoop to such a level. It’s the fact that someone you thought you knew and could trust turned out to be quite the opposite and not at all who you thought.
So, what can be done? Nothing! I cannot control what other people think or do, as much as I would like to sometimes. I can only control how I react to what is done or said. I can choose whom I associate with and befriend. I can choose what organizations I belong to. I can choose whom I confide in and trust. Those are all aspect that I can control. Often times the best course of action is to not react at all or to simply remove myself from the situation. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I need to quit expecting something different because I am only setting myself up to be disappointed.
Is my view jaded and cynical? Maybe. Is it a result of both observing others in action and I myself feeling disappointed in others? Yes. Am I claiming to be free from hypocrisy? No. Do I wish more would recognize their own hypocrisy and take immediate steps to correct it? Yes. So, am I jaded and cynical? Maybe, but I am also hopeful. Hopeful and confident that we all can make small changes and rise above the hypocrisy in our own lives. Hopeful and confident!
I can be objective and for some of the shows I understand why they were cancelled. I can tell that the plot wasn't going anywhere, that they've exhausted a story line, they've set the show up in such a way where there is not a lot of options, or whatever. However, other shows I really am dumbfounded as to why it was cancelled. It makes me want to quit watching new shows because they all end up cancelled. Can I really have that bad of taste? (In my defense there are plenty of other shows I watch that have been on for years. So, I guess I'm not entirely tasteless).
So, I've compiled a list off the top of my head of the shows that I have watched that have recently been cancelled. I'm sure if I really thought about it i could add some more to my list.
Women's Murder Club
Men in Trees
Notes from the Underbelly
What do you think? Were you a fan of any of those shows?
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Today I was exhausted. I was literally falling asleep as I was playing with the kids. A car ride around 1 pm is a sure thing in getting my daughter to fall asleep (usually something we avoid). Today I loaded the kids in the car and ran a quick errand and sure enough daughter was sacked out. I came home, carried her to her bed, and then thought I'd nurse son, he'd fall asleep and I'd have a nice little nap. No such luck. Son would not go to sleep. Little stinker stayed up the entire day today. Wouldn't you know that daughter ended up napping for 1 1/2 hours. Argh!
Here's the strange part. In her email she says, "Please don't post these photos on any web site. We don't want (baby's name here) on the internet. Thanks for understanding."
Huh? You are aware that you just sent out a mass email directing people to a web site? On the internet? Where anyone can have access?
Monday, August 4, 2008
I’ve been married almost six years now and have rarely given an ex-boyfriend a second thought, but since seeing this particular ex I now have this morbid curiosity about what he’s been up to. I think most women wonder, whether we’ll admit it or not, what became of their ex-boyfriends, especially ones who were a significant part of their lives at that time, even if said boyfriends drove us crazy at the end.
So, what do you think? Should I have initiated a conversation? Or was I smart to run away?
Sunday, August 3, 2008
I am fortunate in that I get to stay home with my children while they are young, that there is enough money to provide food and shelter among other necessities and some luxuries too. I am blessed to have two remarkable and healthy children who bring me such happiness. I am lucky to have a husband who works hard so that I can stay home and while there will always be assholes among us I am very blessed to have great friends and a loving family. Often times in our day to day bitch fest we forget to be thankful for all that is good in our lives. If we stop to look I think most of us would find that the good certainly outweighs the bad.
Friday, August 1, 2008
In the world we live in with technology at the forefront and the internet yet another avenue of communication it seems that often times the intent or meaning of words are not properly conveyed through cyberspace. On the other hand, people need to chill out. It is ridiculous that we have let political correctness overtake common sense. We’re so afraid that we might potentially offend somebody that we quit saying anything and quit taking stands on issues we believe in.
With all writing, but with a blog especially, there is a certain poetic license the author is allowed. Reading much of anything these days, but certainly a blog, requires it to be read with a certain grain of salt and the assumption that some "facts" may be exaggerated for effect. In very few forums other than blogging does the audience feel so entitled to so much input as to the content of the writing. You would never assume an author of a book or magazine article and newspaper publication would take out vital portions of his/her writing because it might offend or ruffle someone’s feathers and you as the reader certainly wouldn’t ask them to. (If you insist that you would you do really have a complex issue and nothing I say in this post is going to change that). People really need to get over themselves.
A blog is a singular person’s opinions, thoughts, experiences, frustrations, celebrations, ramblings, etc. It is an outlet for that expression, much like a journal, just a public one. Being a blog it is asinine to think that the blogger should take input from others when it comes to the content being potentially offensive. It’s also interesting that so many have deemed themselves the elected ones to dictate to a writer what he/she can or cannot write about. What makes them so special that they think writing should be censored for their comfort? I would suggest that if people don’t like the views being expressed on a certain blog then they should quit reading it. Nobody is forcing them.
I don’t have any overwhelming need to edit myself for anyone else’s comfort. I don’t intentionally try to hurt, offend, or piss people off. But I realize that as I write about topics that people have differing views on and write about a topic passionately I am bound to offend a few. However, this is my blog. It’s my place to be free to express myself. If, as a reader, you are offended, I am sorry. But let me ask you, are you truly offended or are you conditioned to respond that way because we live in an overly sensitive society that is expected to rally to the defense of all those who have been deemed "weak" or "handicapped" or "a minority" (the list goes on) and that being so conditioned to respond to all things in political correct terminology we have lost our ability to look at situations rationally and without any bias?