Tag Archives: Family

How to be happy – a sidenote (via Today I’m happy…)

One of my goals this year is finding happiness in every day, and as part of that, I’m also providing some research, articles, thoughts, etc, on how to be happy on my other blog, DelightfullyHappy. Here is a post from yesterday, a recap of the Oprah show on happiness.

How to be happy - a sidenote What does it take to be happy?  Love?  Kids?  A good job?  Money?  Does what you do for a living make a difference?  What about where you live? This blog was started as a way to recognize happiness in every day, but I also intended to share snippets of wisdom, articles, and book reviews.  Today is the first of those “sidenotes.” Today, Oprah had Goldie Hawn on the show, and they were talking happiness.  It turned out to be a good all-around happi … Read More

via Today I’m happy…

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Emotional Math

Lots of future posts floating around in my head right now.  I’ll organize my thoughts and get to them all sooner or later.  In the meantime, I just read a wonderful post by IzzieDarling:

  • Just because … I can’t see doesn’t mean I don’t want to. Often times, we are irritated and impatient with others when we believe they are beating a dead horse, not moving fast enough, lazy, playing the victim. Guilty. Add compassion.
  • Just because … you find yourself “lost” does not mean you will not be “found”. Subtract despair, multiply hope.
  • Just because … you face the unknown on all fronts does not mean anything other than you may be at the doorstep of the best life you’ve ever known. Negative thinking is easy. Divide it into smithereens, erase, and add amazing possibilities to each and every half empty glass in your possession.

Read more here:  Just Because: Do the Math.

Ghosts of boyfriends past

Photo by katmere

I got a call yesterday on a job I had applied for last week.  I had a brief phone interview with a woman who I think was HR, because she said she was going to “resubmit” my resume to the hiring manager, and I may or may not get a call back for an interview.  Great news, right?

Here’s the bad news.  The office is literally directly across the street from my ex-boyfriend’s house.  You could probably see his house from the office.

Why do we attach so much emotion to things like this?  Like, where we met someone, or where we had our first kiss, or what we ate on our 49th date?  Why do we have places we can’t go to because they remind us of that person?

ABC Restaurant is just a restaurant.  I’ve been there a million times.  In fact, I’ve been there with at least 5 different guys.  So why is it that whenever I go there, I think of Mr. X?  I’ve watched XYZ TV show for years, since before Mr. X and I started dating and broke up.  So why do I think of him every time I watch it?  I’ve tied my shoes by myself since I was 6 years old.  Why does tying them now make me think of Mr. X?  (These are basic example, people, not necessarily my specific experiences.  I don’t actually think of my ex when I tie my shoe, okay?)

And it’s not even that everything makes you think of your most recent ex.  I think of my college boyfriend any time I go to the zoo.  I think of Colorado Boyfriend every time it snows.  I think of one of my high school boyfriends every time I eat fortune cookies.  I think of Soccer Guy every time I see his college’s emblem…which is the same college my last ex supported, so why would I attach it to a guy I dated 6 years ago and not to the most recent one?

We attach memories to things, places, foods, smells, songs, thoughts.  Then those memories haunt us.  Why?  Why do this to ourselves, why let these things have that much control over us?

And it’s not just exes!  It’s parents, and grandparents, and siblings, and kids, and friends, and jobs.  Some memories are good, some are bad.  Some make you smile through tears, of either joy or sorrow, and some make you want to rip your heart out so you can just stop thinking about them.

Yeah, a little Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind wouldn’t be so bad, on occasion.

What things have memories attached to them in your life?  Do the memories make you smile or cringe?  What have you done to get past those memories?

Age has nothing to do with being an adult

I recently spent the day with a friend of mine, a friend who’s been having some boy troubles.  Her boy troubles are not similar to mine, but they are.  I don’t want to get too far into her problems, because it would be a horrible betrayal of confidence, but let’s just say her “boy” doesn’t want to be monogamous, but he keeps dragging her back into this nasty little storm of his making.

So we spent the day together, shopping, going to the Farmer’s Market, having lunch, and she asks me to stay for dinner and a movie.

lars and the real girl

Image by mandyseyfang via Flickr

We were watching Lars and the Real Girl, and there’s this part where Lars asks his brother how he knew he was a man, an adult.  And his brother, Gus, says, “Well, it’s not like you’re one thing or the other, okay? There’s still a kid inside but you grow up when you decide to do right, okay, and not what’s right for you, what’s right for everybody, even when it hurts.” Lars asks, “Okay, like what?” And Gus replies, “Like, you know, like, you don’t jerk people around, you know, and you don’t cheat on your woman, and you take care of your family, you know, and you admit when you’re wrong, or you try to, anyways. That’s all I can think of, you know – it sound like it’s easy and for some reason it’s not.”

I blinked at the TV, floored.  I started to say something, but stopped myself.  And three seconds later, my friend says, “Wow.”

You grow up when you decide to do right, not for you but for everybody else, even when it hurts.  You grow up when you don’t jerk people around, and you don’t cheat on your woman, and you take care of your family, and you admit when you’re wrong.

It sounds so simple.  But “for some reason it’s not.”

Social Problems, The Middle, and Popeye’s Chicken

While you’re in school, certain classes, certain lessons, stick with you.  You remember a particular person in history, or a particular formula or math equation, a certain poem you can still recite.  I don’t know why one thing sticks while so many others are forgotten – something about it sparks a flame inside your mind, and it stays lit for years.

One such lesson for me came in a community college course I took called “Social Problems.”  In that class, we studied sociological, economic, political, and environmental issues that we face, some of us daily.  I had a great professor, and I think that’s key in lessons sticking with you.  He was intelligent, personable – he was very much “one of us.”  He was young, and cute, come to think of it…maybe that’s why I remember him.  😉

Anyway, the one thing that stuck with me in this class was a film we watched.  In it, this couple, very poor, could not afford to feed their three kids and themselves.  They would periodically give up one or two kids to the foster system, so that they would be taken better care of, so that they could eat.  I thought that was very noble of them…until I found out that both parents were two-pack-a-day smokers.

You know what?  IF YOU QUIT SMOKING YOU COULD AFFORD TO FEED YOUR KIDS!

People struggle.  I can bitch and moan all day that I’m struggling, being unemployed, but I know that others struggle much, much more than I do.  I know that I don’t know what poor is.  I don’t know what struggle is.  I think most people who “struggle” also have no real concept of the word.

The Middle

 

ABC’s The Middle is about a middle class family in the Midwest.  It’s a cute little show, with the working parents, the academically challenged child, the socially awkward child, and the bright but quirky child.  They are the typical middle-class family, struggling to raise good kids, keep their marriage together, pay bills, work their jobs, and get dinner on the table.

In this week’s episode, the mother accidentally buys a $200 jar of eye cream, thinking it cost $20, which she already thought of as exorbitant.  She knows her husband will be upset, and he is, but, we find out, not because she made the mistake she made.  He’s upset because a $200 mistake means they both have to take a second job.  He’s upset because he doesn’t want to be in a position where that small of an amount, $200, makes that big of a difference to their finances.  He thinks they should be old enough, have learned enough and saved enough and be making enough, that $200 isn’t a big deal.

It was a great episode, and I think a lot of people, especially these days, are in the same boat, where a $200 mistake is a big deal.

But here’s where I tie all this together:  Being the “typical middle class family,” their dinner regularly consists of fast food.  The mother very rarely cooks, because, like the typical middle class mother, she doesn’t have the time or energy after a long day of work.  And I just flash back to that video of the smoking parents, and I think, Maybe if you didn’t buy fast food all the time, a $200 mistake wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

Of course, the fact that they were eating Popeye’s Chicken at the end of this episode, making me incredibly jealous because I can’t get Popeye’s Chicken where I live, has nothing to do with my angst.  🙂

Now I know where to go to get some action!

2 7 10 Bearman Cartoon Airport Body Scanner

Image by Bearman2007 via Flickr

 

I got into a debate on Facebook last night about the new security measures in place at airports in the US.  It started when one guy, Cowboy, posted to his wall that he had one thing to say to all the people posting articles and complaining about the new security measures:  “don’t fly.”  He said this is being done to protect us from terrorism, and as long as he gets a pat down from “a hot female with TSA,” he’s okay with it.

Both sides weighed in on this, and it was, for the most part, a cordial discussion.  I was actually quite surprised that no one started hurling insults.  Both sides stated their opinion and made points, and argued against the other side’s points.  There was only one issue, I think. 

I don’t think most people who were arguing for scanners and enhanced pat downs had any idea what they were talking about.  I will admit, when this was first instituted, there was an email discussion amongst several friends.  Two were very unthrilled with the new security measures, and one who went through the scanner said she “felt dirty.”  (I hope I’m quoting her correctly!)  My opinion, at the time, was, “Eh.  Whatever.”  I wasn’t happy with it, but I didn’t really see the big deal.  However, since then, I’ve read more about them, done some research, and read firsthand accounts of the “enhanced” pat downs.  And now I can say, with full sincerity, that I am not okay with this, and I am not looking forward to the next time I have to fly (Christmas).  In fact, I’m starting to get a little sick about it – not quite to the extent that Nicole  is, but talk to me again as the date gets closer.

Here are the main points brought up in the FB debate:

I agree with the original Facebook post – If you don’t like it, don’t fly.  Some people don’t have that option.  This can affect people’s livelihoods – do I want to continue working to support my family (by traveling, as my job requires) and give up on these civil liberties, or do I want to stand up against it and not fly (and lose my job in the process)?  Here’s the point:  DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.  Know what you’re facing the next time you go to the airport.  Have all the facts.  This is your body, your health, and damnit, the government has no right to tell you what to do with those two things.  Once you know the facts, then make an INFORMED decision based on your personal belief system.  If you want to debate the merits and/or faults of the new system with me, please have something more to say than, “TERRORISTS!  9/11!  The sky is falling!”

Wednesday, November 24th (yes, the day before Thanksgiving, yes, the busiest travel day of the year), is National Opt Out Day.  The organizers are urging everyone flying on Wednesday to “Opt Out” of the scanner and instead have the “enhanced” pat down.  They want people to understand what the pat down entails, and to determine for yourself if you are okay with receiving it…and if you’re okay with your spouse, mother, father, and children (the 15 year old girl, the 4 year old boy) receiving it.  

I was listening to the radio today, to some radio personality on AM radio (sorry, I couldn’t figure out who it was).  The guy was telling people, don’t opt out.  It’ll only slow everything down, and it won’t make a statement of any kind.  He was recommending, instead, that people go through the scanner and salute the TSA – with one finger (guess which one).  “Free speech!” he said.  “Make a statement!”

All due respect, but what exactly is that going to do?  I have nothing against the TSA agents themselves – they’re just doing their job (although, if it were me, I’d be looking for another job right quick).  Flipping off the TSA agent is not going to make any statement, other than, “I’m an immature asshole.”  Let me explain the idea behind Opting Out:

IT’S A FREAKING BOYCOTT!  Why do people boycott a business?  To make a statement.  To make the business sit up and take notice.  To make them realize that people don’t like what they are doing, people are doing something about it, and it’s going to affect the business’ bottom line.  This is what the Opt Out Day is for.  Although the organizers state that the intention is not to slow down air travel, it will obviously slow down the security lines if even half the people going through decide to opt out of the scanners.  It will show TSA (and the government) that we don’t agree with the scanners.  It will show other people that there are people willing to make a stand against them, which will in turn make others more likely to do so.  It will affect the airlines, possibly causing delays, certainly upsetting passengers when they miss their flight due to the long wait, who will demand some sort of compensation.  It is the American people, en masse, saying, “We are not going to put up with this.”  And just like with a boycott, if enough people do it, maybe someone will take notice.

I don’t think we’re getting the full truth.  I was going to do a summary of what TSA says about the scanners and what I’ve heard and found, but I’ve spent way too long on this post, and besides, this post does that pretty well.

Some additional interesting links:

  • Ron Paul has introduced H.R. 6416, The American Traveler Dignity Act, to the House.  You can read about it here.
  • FedUpFlyers was started by a pilot, and has several first-hand accounts from crew personnel and passengers about the security measures.  I suggest you read them.  Yes, they are touching your genitals.  If you’re a woman and you wear a skirt, they WILL slide their hands ALL the way up to your panties.  If you wear skimpy underwear, your labia may be touched.  Are you okay with that?  Are you okay with your wife, your daughter being subjected to that?
  • WeWontFly – Act Now.  Travel with Dignity.

As a final note, let’s look to the people who do this for a living – the pilots and flight attendants who go through this daily.  Pilots unions are urging pilots not to go through the scannersFlight attendants have contacted the ACLU and may file suit.  These are professionals, and they’re not okay with it.  I’m not either.

***ETA – OMG!!!   I just found this online, and laughed hysterically. 

My life’s okay

Blog post in haiku:

My life’s okay,

Have Job, Home, Food, Health, Friends –

It could be worse.

Seriously. I realize that there are people far worse off than I am, and that my problems and issues don’t add up to spoonful of the heaping mess that some people deal with.

I’m employed, and have money in the bank, and can pay my bills and have some spending money. I own my own home, and don’t have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from.

I’m college educated, have reliable transportation, electricity and running water.

I am healthy, disease free, with no real physical or mental limitations.

I’ve never had a man hit me. I’ve never had to deal with date rape or unwanted pregnancy or a psycho stalker. I’ve never had to deal with divorce and custody battles and child support. I’ve never had to deal with the death of a child.

I have a loving family that I get along with quite well. I have friends who care about me, who would (and have) jump in their car in the middle of the night to rescue me from the side of the road, who would offer me a place to stay and food and clothes off their back if I needed it.

I know all this. Which is why I feel really bad when I have my “Woe is Me” moments. Oh, boohoo, I can’t afford a trip to Europe. Oh, boohoo, I can’t afford a new car. Oh, boohoo, my boyfriend cheated on me and dumped me (although, does it count as being dumped if he just disappeared?). Oh, boohoo, I don’t get to go out to eat as often as I would like. Oh, boohoo, some days I don’t like my job very much. Oh, boohoo, I can’t run 3 miles in 30 minutes.

Boo-freaking-hoo.

I get it.

Doesn’t mean I don’t want things to be better.

The head can say it all day long, yell and scream and shout through a bullhorn, but the heart, the soul, the core of you doesn’t always listen, or pay attention to reason.

Sucks, don’t it?

What do you boohoo about, even though you know it could be worse?

My Mama

My mom came in town this weekend to see me.  I know it was because of the complete breakdown I had while on the phone with her last weekend, but I’ll take what I can get.  I was house/dog-sitting for friends this weekend, so it worked out well.  

I picked her up at 8:45 Saturday morning, and we went to have breakfast at Amelie’s.  Then we went out to the Whitewater Center to watch some kayak trials.  Trials for what, I don’t know, but it’s always fun to watch when they host.  We went back to the house to rest up a bit, then had some FABulous sushi at Rusans.  Went back to the house, with a stop at Trader Joe’s for some munchies, to watch The Blindside.  As wonderful as everyone says it is.

Sunday we went out to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.  I thought it would be packed, since it was Easter Sunday, but the parking lot was only about a quarter full.  We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful day surrounded by Spring. 

Pictures of Saturday at the Whitewater Center here, pictures of Sunday at the Botanical Gardens here.

The weekend weather was cooperative, and we had a lovely two days together.

Now I just need to get her out during boat season!!

Gift Cards are the New Fruitcake

(title totally stolen from this MSN article.)

I have a love/hate relationship with gift cards. I love them. They’re great. They’re easy. They’re “free money” if I get them. I hate giving them, because I feel they can be a cop-out. That’s not to say I haven’t given them, I just don’t like to.

My uncle used to give me a gift card to Best Buy every year for Christmas. The only present from him to me was “wrapped” in a white business size envelope and placed on the tree, as if it were an ornament. It was usually a substantial amount – enough to buy a digital camera, or a DVD player, or stereo. My uncle (God love him) was…lazy. A gift card was the easiest thing he could do. I think one year he actually gave me cash, because he couldn’t make it to the store. And I always appreciated it, as I could get exactly the camera I wanted (which was his point – “I knew you wanted a camera, but I thought I’d let you pick it out”). But there was never the anticipation of unwrapping the gift, of finding out what he had bought that made him think of me. It was always very impersonal.

I actually enjoy finding “the perfect gift” for people. I can’t wait to give it to them. Sometimes I’m more excited to see their reaction than they are with the gift. (Quite the let down, by the way.) I buy them things I really think they will enjoy. Sometimes I’m wrong, but hey, at least I put the thought into it. I have bought gift cards before, but only for specific reasons. Examples:

  • My sister is 10 years younger than me and much more fashion-conscious. For her birthday this year, I bought her a shirt I thought she would like, along with a gift card from the same store. I figure she can buy something she likes for herself, and it would be better than me buying her more clothes that would probably just sit in the corner of her closet until she gave them to Goodwill.
  • I often give my dad a gift card to Barnes & Noble. I have no idea what he has read, or if he’s already bought the book he was talking about wanting to read two months ago (he’s notorious for this). So, the way I figure it, I put the thought into the gift by getting it for something specific (books) while giving him the freedom to read what he wants.
  • A few years ago I gave a friend a gift card to the USNWC. Essentially, the idea was to give him a kayak run, but you can’t buy a kayak run. So I gave him the card so he could get one himself, or ride the zipline or climb the wall. His choice. But it got him there to do something fun.

The point is, even though I may give a gift card to someone, I actually think about it and give them something I think they will appreciate and put to use.

Earlier this year, I was determined to do better about sending out cards to people, for birthdays, anniversaries, or just because. Not too long after that, I started making cards, just for fun, but now I’m giving more and more handmade cards instead of store bought ones. I think it makes the person feel even more special, because I made the card with them in mind.

It really is the thought that counts. A gift card can be thoughtful. It can also be crap.

Turkey? No Thanks.

I’ve spent many Thanksgivings alone, at least over the last six years.  Okay, so “many” may be four.  But whatever.  The point is, it doesn’t really bother me. 

What are the reasons people love Thanksgiving?  The Food.  Being with Family.  The Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Well, I’m not a huge fan of Thanksgiving food.  (Gasp!)   Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato pie, pecan pie – not a big fan of any of it.  I know, that’s completely sacrilegious.  Regardless, I can do without it.  I’m going to have veggie pasta today, and it’ll be yummy.  Lick my plate yummy.

Of course I would like to be with family.  But I’d like to be with them multiple times throughout the year, not just one day.   I love the idea of an “orphan Thanksgiving,” and I have often invited people in the past who have been alone.  I’ve gotten those invites, as well, and I’ve gone.  But at that point, it’s not about being with family, at least not your own.  It’s just being with people.  While I always appreciate the offer to come to someone else’s family dinner, it actually makes me feel even worse than just being by myself.  I’m uncomfortable, and I was thinking yesterday that the reason for that is because most of the people at dinner are strangers to me.  But I realized today that it’s more because everyone else at the table knows each other, and I am a complete interloper.  It’s actually harder being in a room where everyone knows each other but you know no one, than in a room where everyone knows no one. 

The Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Was it always as staged and promotional as it is today?  Actors plugging their tv shows.  Performances of Broadway numbers and Troupe Dances on the “stage”.  I simply don’t remember that from when I was a kid.   Give me the Parade of Roses any day.

Of course, the worst part of spending Thanksgiving alone is that people always ask, “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” or “What did you do for Thanksgiving?”  And when they hear that you’re alone, they give you that pitying look, “Oh, I’m so sorry.”  Really, it’s okay.  I’m fine.

Now, Christmas?  An entirely different story.  Christmas alone totally sucks

(And, thank you Mr. E., for the offer to spend Thanksgiving with your family.  I do appreciate the offer, and I know I would have been welcomed.)