Friday, April 29, 2011

SLAP…We’ve Been Sold!



The grocery store makes me feel guilty for using paper.  Paper degrades.  But it’s costly to the store so they’ve made me think the thin plastic bags which take 45 to properly bag my order are better than 3 paper bags.

If you look around your house, or mine, it’s FULL of plastic. And here’s something that you’ve heard a million times lately (and if you haven’t heard it yet, I’m honored to be your first…) : 

NONE OF THE PLASTIC THAT’S EVER BEEN MADE HAS GONE ANYWHERE.          

It’s all still here. Sure we recycle (most of us) and that’s super spectacular, but wouldn’t a better option to be never having to find a different use for something SO permanent and so shortly used? Recycling is a costly endeavor where something is broken down and made into something different. And it’s an amazing thing to do when all the other options have failed.

But to leave a store without all the plastic in the first place is the first and best option.

This is a very difficult proposal because almost everything we buy is in plastic. And again, that’s because it’s cheaper. We drink water in single use containers. We send our children to school with school boxes full of one use products…sometimes the lunch box itself is single use.

I look around and everyone is paying exemplary lip service to the Earth Day mantra; being very hip with their canvas grocery bags that don’t quite hold the cases of plastic water bottles, two liters of soda, Ziploc bags and Saran Wrap (trademarked). So while the effort to not use the plastic bags at check out is a great first step, what more can you do? The talkey talkey about how much we recycle is a bunch of toxic garbage if we aren’t willing to reduce the recycling.

There is a theory swirling around that what the Mayans mean by the end of the calendar is:  a new WAY OF THINKING. I might just be showing my age, and my elders can feel free to call me out on it if I’m wrong, but I see a shift in thought. I see people asking more questions and looking to a broader goal. 



Our pals in the 60’s started a great ball rolling. And FINALLY the pendulum seems to be swinging to a more “normal” place where the love isn’t cheesy, and we’re not out for #1 *quite* as much. It’s time to embrace a lifestyle of less. TRULY less. In all ways.

Less packaging, less amount, less uber convenience. 

We aren’t so coddled that we can’t wash a container that holds our children’s sandwiches. We surely have time to rinse out a water bottle and repack it the next day. And maybe we tell manufacturers that the mayo should go back into glass. We have chances to tell companies what we want every time we make (or don’t make) a purchase. 

Here is a statistic, and if you like this rabbit hole, go further on your own. If every American household replaced ONE ROLL of crazed sex inducing Cottonelle (trademarked!) with a recycled fiber brand (and I know I’m starting out with a real hum dinger here since we all know sex is better with virgin tree TP),  “according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States could save 470,000 trees, 1.2 million feet of cubic landfill space, and 169 million gallons of water if everyone in the US traded one roll of regular toilet paper for a recycled roll. That’s just for one roll.”  -Toilet Paper World

Okay, so if we can make one teeny change in our bathrooms and save that many trees, what can we do by forgoing the plastic bags at checkout? And what if we DIDN’T bag up our apples in the produce section and *GASP!* let them roll free in the cart, then in the bag on the way home and then ultimately…the crisper?  WHAT THEN??  Can you even possibly conceive of a life where the apples roll free?  I bet you can.

How about just entertaining the thought of buying loose spinach that yes, I AM sorry to report, you’ll have to wash on your own…possibly twice…instead of buying the spinach in the plastic container.  If this is really abhorrent to you, perhaps you could do something twice over helpful:  hire a chef, buy the bagless spinach and get someone off unemployment.  That person can wash your veggies for you! I kid, but seriously.  Wash a spinach leaf and keep the plastic out of the equation.

In the name of convenience, we’ve killed Sam Walton’s dream to have big box stores selling only items “made in America” and we’ve slaughtered the ability to know what’s right or wrong to put in our bodies.  Kraft mac and cheese (trademarked!) is way cheaper than making real mac and cheese, because small amounts of flavor packed chemicals cost less than real, actual cheese. A box of baggies and a roll of foil seem cheaper and easier than hyper long lasting (and THEN recyclable) plastic containers.

I’m no paragon of this “no plastic” rule. I’m only talking about it after seeing the “Plastiki” story and it caught my eye.



Don't forget to check out the video!

Video

Be assured I don’t preach on high about the rampant and evil use of plastic because I’m looking around my house and it’s all I see! So what today means is I’m slapping my own face first, and then slapping the face of the person sitting next to me.

I pay attention on airplanes. 




Helpful sites if you like the rabbit hole:
And even though I’m arguing from MY perspective and I want you to come to MY way of thinking…here’s the other side. A little snipit anyway: http://www.plasticsindustry.com/

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hair. And Other Nonsense.


Women shave their hair.  Some women shave, or have removed by other means, almost every hair on their bodies.  Here are some of the places women remove hair:  eyebrows, upper lip, chin, arms, armpits, bikini area, entire area bikini covers, and legs.  If there are more areas I don’t want to know them. Don’t tell me.

It’s crazy, because what do we do AFTER all this hair is removed?  Put on fake eyelashes, color in what’s left of our eyebrows, add extensions to our heads and cover ourselves with another animal's fur coat (fake hair I hope).

Why on Earth do we remove almost every hair on our bodies, only to add back fake hair? What are we thinking?



Here are a few other idiotic things we, as people not just women, do:

Peel bananas and put them in cellophane. Peel oranges and put them in cans with orange juice. Bleach flour of nutrients and then enrich it. Wean human babies from human milk so we can put them on a cow-baby’s milk. BUY water….(this might not seem silly to you if you don't live in the USA where most of the municipal water supply is fan-freakin-tastic, and FREE!)

Eww. This is FREE water. Gross.

Some of this makes sense when you think of the big picture and the notion that we’re feeding a gi-mantic nation. Canned oranges last longer on a shelf. But why do I shave my armpits so I can wear a fur coat?  And why do we feed our children the breast milk of another animal? Goats don’t drink cow milk, cows don’t drink ape milk, dogs and cats don’t drink each other’s milk but we drink bovine breast milk…..like, A LOT OF IT!

We’re such a weird species.



We BUY books on how to cope with and simplify our lives.  It’s a billion dollar industry, this “being happy and living with less” notion…BUY THE BOOK!!

We are the fattest gobs of humanity on the globe but we have a multi-billion dollar industry teaching us how to lose weight.  Honestly, we were healthier when no one gave us a pyramid or chart to TELL us how to eat.  How DID humanity make it past the caves without Dr. Adkins, or the Skinny Bitches??

And don’t even get me started on golf courses…digging up an area so we can plant grass and then chase a tiny white ball all over it? You’ve got to be kidding me.  (Apologies if Tiger Woods is a reader…)

We do it with everything.  Dig up those yellow flowers that pop up everywhere, and plant something different! Why, if it grows there by itself it must be a weed, a parasite… Don’t you find it strange that we’re such a God fearing and God loving culture yet we seem to think WE know better when it comes to natural things?

We forget that people ate before anyone told them how to, that it wasn’t gross to feed a human baby human milk, that trees and flowers were allowed to grow where they should, and HAIR grew where it damn well pleased!

Although, to be fair, I AM in favor of a well placed razor blade every now and then.

Insert photo of your choice here.

(I Google searched "razorblades" and got pretty skeeved out by the results.)
(Here's one.)

Do NOT try this
at home...
or anywhere else.

THE END.



*Photo credits: enviroblog.org, spencerart.ku.edu, yousaytoo.com, cheezburger.com

Friday, April 22, 2011

Politically Correct Slappage



Well it’s that time in our lives again everyone, when in 18 short months all the Americans will head to the polls.  Actually only about 50% of us head to the polls, but who cares about that. 

I can’t believe four years have gone by so quickly.  Except that four years haven’t gone by yet…it’s only been a little over two years.  So why in Sam Hill am I already hearing about The Donald, Mitt or T-Paw?  Why oh why are we again obsessing over a birth certificate or a certificate of live birth??

Incidentally, my state of Ohio issues a “Certificate of Vital Record”…and now I feel tragically bad for my sons because apparently they can’t prove they’re legal residents of the United States, due to the semantic short sightedness of my State’s legislature.

What’s more tragic is how vicious it’s about to get once again in this country. We all have our media outlets telling us what we want to hear because if you take one giant step back and look glaringly at every single outlet there is:

NOT ONE OF THEM IS FAIR AND BALANCED.

Not one.  And why should it be?  I’ll be honest and tell you I’m an unapologetic bleeding heart liberal.  Seriously…it rarely gets too liberal for me.  And if it was possible to attain TRUE socialism, true communism, in the purest senses of the words where we each take care of each other and everyone rises to the best of their abilities to care for the whole (which is completely impossible because we’re a marvelous invention full of free will) I’d be 100% on board with that model.

So why would I seek a media outlet that speaks to conservatives?  I read Huff Post; I do not watch Fox News…that’s because Fox News makes me mad. I completely disagree with 85% or more of what they say and since I’m not changing their mind and they’re not changing mine, why battle?  And why should conservatives battle me? 

Here’s the deal in my opinion:  we each have supremely valid opinions. 

And both of us think the other is hellaciously, dead wrong.  That’s the beauty of our system. Every four years we have a complete regime change and no one takes to the streets.  We just bitch and moan in every outlet we can find until the next four years roll around and we switch it up.  Then it’s the other side’s turn to piss in the cornflakes for four years, lament how this country is going down in flames and will disappear like the Mayans.

And yet….YET….every four years here we are. 

I can go back to how Jefferson disregarded the Constitution he just helped write by buying the Louisiana Territory, but let me start more recently:  President Nixon didn’t tarnish “The Office of The President” beyond repair, President Carter didn’t leave us all living in wigwams, President Reagan and Bush I didn’t eliminate for all time the middle class, President Clinton didn’t do what everyone thought Nixon fell short on, and President Bush II didn’t ignite the very flames of Hell and bring them to bear on the Heartland.  If any of this had happened, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this.

President Obama is doing half of his job wrong just like every president before and after him because this country is made of two groups.  And those two groups will never merge into one.

Has anyone seen this ancient symbol?


BALANCE.

Equals and opposites.  And that’s what our drunk Founding Fathers made for us. It’s not in the media but if we think for ourselves, it’s the backbone of our democracy…you know, the one we ALL love so much we’ll send our children, spouses and parents into other countries to die for. 

Facebook, Twitter and the rest of media are soon going to be full of vitriol and spite towards the people who feel and believe the balancing opposite of our own ideals.  When it comes to politics, friends become enemies and we lose all sense of compassion and care towards each other.

What does this say about us? 

I believe it speaks to our short sightedness as well as our disconnectedness with our human nature.  If we look at this brave nation we inhabit, it’s had a history of success.  In the grand scheme of human history, the United States is still a teenager with cystic acne and teeth too big for its face.  But it’s been a healthy child who’s trying to grow into a loving adult.  No set of babysitters in its 200 years has murdered it or chopped off a leg.  There hasn’t been a Presidential infanticide yet.

So why all the rock throwing?  Why all the bullying and trash talking?

Where is the sense that we’re PARTNERS even in disagreement?  A good corporation has a balance and sense of equality among partners and SHAREholders.  A good marriage allows for growth among difference, and promotes each partner in their individuality as well as their union.  A parent loves a child and supports them even in the face of poor decisions.  There are blessedly few things in this world so truly irrevocable that they’re UNDOABLE, especially in politics.

There is no act, no law, no policy that cannot be undone and we’ve seen this for 200 years…yet we all cry that the sky is falling and the other 50% of the populace is to blame for our certain demise.  But these people are our friends when the topic isn’t government and policy making.  Why would they seek our death, or suffering?

WHY WOULD THEY?  They don’t. We don’t.

Yet we so close off to compassion and fundamental hearing.  We speak in dire terms and make grand pronouncements about how things are.  We close our minds and hearts to the breadth of knowledge and experience in the natural opposite and decide that the balancing half doesn’t need to be there anymore.

Think that through:  why do we assume one can exist without the other? What do we think happens to our equilibrium when the balancing side goes away?

I believe we need to speak kindly to and of one another.  We need to open our hearts and ears.  In our “other” lives, we listen to our friends, children, and spouses.  We don’t have to agree but we still listen. And listening doesn’t mean we condone; but it is a caring way to be with each other. 

In the next 18 months, if it seems right to you, try very hard to open your heart to understand that a differing opinion doesn’t mean the person who holds it is a vile wretch upon society, deserving of hate, contempt and condescension.  That person is your human sibling and your equal opposite.

Treat one another with an open heart and with care.  Maybe if we start speaking in friendship, we can open each other’s minds a little to our way of thinking and move towards a COMMON goal.

After all, the best part of the playground needs two opposing forces.




*Photo credit:  Taowayoflife.com, buzzle.com, cstoller on flickr

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Are Kids a Good Investment?

I don't remember this picture
being taken....

When I think of the richness that has been brought to my life because I had children I am suddenly forced to remember that, in fact, NO richness came with the kids…

In fact the richness is precisely what LEFT when we brought the child home from the hospital.

Thanks to junior I couldn’t stand the thought of working and leaving him, so I quit my job. And then just when things were going back to normal, and I thought I’d get a life back, we made the jackass decision to have another junior.

Now I’m in the later part of my 30’s with nothing to show for it except a bunch of stretch marks and a negative bank account balance. 
 
Come back in 20 years, you schmuck.
 
Have the kids made me laugh over the years? On some level.
Have they provided entertainment on certain occasions? I guess.
Have they kept me snuggly warm on cold nights when they climbed into bed after a bad dream?  Fine, YES…they have.

And I’m woman enough to admit that they’re totally adorable when they’re sleeping…but are they really worth the loss of cash and freedom that took place when they came out?

When I think of where my husband and I could be in life if weren’t for our children, I’m astounded.  Just imagine what two incomes lo these last ten years could have done for us! Imagine the concerts we’ve missed, the Thursday night drinking we’ve stopped, and the solid browsing and reading we’ve missed when we go to the Art Museum!!  It’s insane.

I could know so much more about Renoir, Monet AND the ancient Chinese ceramics makers…if only I had time to read the placards….  The naked ladies and mummies are just so much more interesting to the little crowd, whom you can’t seem to shake after they’re born.

It’s really true that kids ruin your life from the top to the bottom.  Once they’re home, that’s it pal.  No more drinking eight or nine beers on a random Tuesday night, because it’s allergy season and your 3 year old might need a trip to Urgent Care for the asthma.  They don’t look kindly on drunks driving their kids to medical care.

You want that cashmere jacket?  GOOD LUCK!  Soccer sign ups are this week and your miracle needs new cleats for feet that don’t stop growing for 14 point 2 seconds. 

Don't you feel pampered?

And forget about that last minute airfare deal to San Francisco.  It’s easier to board the dogs than it is to find last minute childcare.  Wanna know why?

KIDS RUIN LIVES and babysitters know it!

Sure Grandparents are good for occasional sitting, but let’s face it, they’re getting OLD and they still think whiskey in honey is what you feed your teething 4 month old.  They can be so stupid!!  Everyone knows you don’t give a child honey until they’re a year old.

Kids create more laundry than you can shake a stick at, whatever that means (it means “occurring in abundance”), and they don’t know how to throw up. 

The throwing up thing is the most annoying because at 2am, when a burning hot child has gotten into bed with you and then sits up and barfs up everything since last Wednesday at snack time all over your bed?  You want to stick a poker in your eye.  THAT’S A PILLOW TOP MATTRESS JOHNNY!!  You don’t just flip it over and pretend it didn’t happen. 

And I can’t even imagine your pain if you have memory foam.  Best to just light it on fire, because it’s gone man….gone.


Don't let kid barf do this to you.

I tell you, if kids could be born knowing how to barf into a toilet the way God intended, things would be way different in this blog post, and on the surface of my mattress.

Finally there’s all the “artwork” that your precious bundle creates that you can’t throw away but  don’t know where to keep.  Some people suggest taking pictures of the artwork and then tossing the actual art itself.  Why didn’t anyone in the Middle Ages think of that?!  Think of all the golf courses Italy could have if it weren’t for the pesky museums housing the actual art!

You could head on over to any country with a rich and ancient culture, grab yourself a memory stick and peruse through some pictures of the David, or Mona Lisa…then you could walk through the site of the former Uffizi Gallery and hit up the Barnes and Noble there, or maybe into the “Made in China Dollar Store” that just opened.  That’s prime real estate being wasted on some former kid's “ART”. 

So toss anything that your savant makes because who cares?  It’s just clay and paint. No one’s ever gotten rich from that, and isn’t that why we all have kids in the first place?  So they can one day be richer than us and install us into the condo on the shore we’ve always wanted?

The answer is yes. 



*Photos:  realmofprosperity.com, passitonsoccer.org, ceoworld.biz, gothamist.com, artelite.org

Monday, April 18, 2011

I got nuthin'...


It's Monday in my part of the world and I have blessedly little to say. Nothing I'm working on seems to have any value today...ever have one of those days? My feet are in mud, and not the pore cleansing kind, just the regular old mud that may or may not have dog poo in it.

A few weeks back I wrote about a faux-Spring brain drain, in a post titled "Faux-Spring Brain Drain". I had a picture of a glory hole in that one, and I swear to all that's decent in this world there's nothing better than a picture of a glory hole when it's not the glory you were expecting! Scientists are so funny!

However, today I'm experiencing a real Spring brain drain. Nothing funny happened to me over the week end. I took my sons hiking and we found some Brachiopods (circa FIVE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS AGO!!! Take that Old Testament...) and my husband called our 9 year old over to where a giant snake was and our son scared the snake and it jumped off a hill into the creek...my son's reaction was pure hilarity, but you kind of had to be there.

When I see it typed out it looks mean, but trust me it was funny and the boy was in no severe danger....maybe a little danger, but that's what makes life fun, yeah?
Here's a picture of brachiopods so you'll
forget about the snake part of the story.



My six year old informed us that, like the new Rhianna song "S&M", chains and whips also excite him...because chains and whips can do cool stuff in video games. This story also sounds worse the more I tell it. If I want to keep the kid, I better shut up now.

I guess today's post is really an apology for not having a post. I considered giving you a really good recipe so there would be something of value herein, but when I thought about it I felt like that was just giving you a chore. Skip it....

As a last resort I'll share with you a story I keep tucked away for my second to most dire times (the thing I use for my most dire times can be shared on a later date when what we're lamenting isn't simply lack of quality content). The story I recount in my second most dire times comes from a friend, who saw the story on TV.

In this story a woman was born with a giant tumor hanging off her face. If you have TLC on cable you may have seen this episode. The tumor grows for the woman's entire life and she's basically homebound as a freak of nature. There's nothing else wrong with her; she is fully capable in the mental department and she has no other physical limitation.

Just that giant tumor hanging off her face.  (Bet you wish I had a picture...)

I tell you this because when you compare your second to most awful troubles to having a giant tumor hanging off your face....well....how upset can you be? At least you can take a walk or go shopping! You can eat an éclair or super sized fries. The poor tumor face lady couldn't do that, and THAT is why there was a show about her. Can you imagine not being able to eat fries?


No giant tumor keeping me away from these...

If it ever happens that you can't eat fries, I'll tell you what to do in those direst of circumstances.

But today, let's all just let this one go....I got nuthin' to say of any value and won't waste your time making you read drivel (too late!). As my apology, please remember:

At least you don't have a giant tumor hanging off your face.

Most Sincerely,
Liz

P.S.  If you DO have a giant tumor hanging off your face, please know that you aren't alone and somewhere out there is a lady who shares your pain.  Contact TLC.  I'm sure they can hook you up with her.  In the meantime, I AM SO SORRY I made you look at Mc Donalds french fries when you can't even eat them.... 


*Brachiopods courtesy of geology.siu.edu, fries courtesy of inflexwetrust.com

Friday, April 15, 2011

Slap...Now Let it Go.

Slapping Barbara Eden.
She's not even facing the right way for this to be believable.


I had a great blog written for today, by which I mean I had a first draft of something written, when for some unknowable reason my computer didn't follow standard protocol and restarted itself without warning me first.

ALL WAS LOST.

I was so mad I wanted to throw this stupid pile of plastic out my window and watch a car run over it. What I HAD BEEN writing about was children and how many rules they live with and under these days, about how I never remember having these rules and how adults didn't seem to mind the behaviors of children so much. When I was growing up no one was on medicine and we were allowed to tromp through yards that weren't perfectly manicured....

*poof!*

Gone.  And now I don't really care anymore about kids, lawns or rules.  Because I got too mad at stupid effing technology for ruining a perfectly adequate slap Friday post.

So here we all are today wondering what will spew forth from my brain and fingers...and all I can think about is how ridiculous it is that I got so mad about losing a half written piece on something probably no one cares about anyway.  I guess I was making a comment on society at large and how we're all so consumed with expectations and parameters...or something.  Who even knows?  And who cares?  It's gone.  Let's say good bye.


Now what I'm thinking about is how I shouldn't be so attached to these sorts of things, or much of anything at all, really.  Truly nothing is permanent so why get all jeeved up about things? Ideas and feelings are a renewable resource without end. There's no need to reduce and reuse them!  A couple of weeks ago I wrote about recycling and what I was going for was the notion that we need to give away our energy, feelings and ideas.

We need to recycle them, and send them out into the world, not hoard them in our mental closets. I guess it's a lesson I need for myself every once in a while too, because I get very attached to ideas and feelings, thinking I know what I think I know...assuming my judgement is correct and holding on to something I believe to be a permanent idea.

But I need to let them go because I can always (always!) find another one. In holding on to our own notions, we nit pick each other and each other's ideas to death.  When all we can find fault with in another person is the choice of words they used to express a fundamentally correct idea, we're keeping some energy and idea of our own that's not quite right.

When we attach our notions of superiority to the tone in someone else's voice, or what we assume they must have meant by something, we're really just using that as an excuse to stay locked up in a hoard of a mental idea closet.

We see it all the time with politicians attacking each other at the jugular over a single word used in a 4,000 word speech, or attacking each other because of what they've decided another's intent or lack of intent was in a speech.  If we look at the many, many years of our nation's life we've always been okay.  We've always come out on top and we've remained a singular nation on earth.  We continue to be the country millions of people want to join.

Why is this, if every four years a full one half of our country thinks it's going straight into the bowels of Hell, fascism or socialism....communism or any other ideal that's distasteful?  We have never once been a country of Hitler, Mussolini or Satan.  EVER.

He's got your fascism, right here!

It's because it's all ideas, people...just ideas.  We don't actually change anything do we? Things morph a small amount from generation to generation but the final result is really just a bit of maturation, not a killing and rebirth.  We all need to calm down and remember that the Idea Store never closes, and it never runs out!!

We don't have to cling tightly to our notions and our ideas.  We SHOULD be open to recycling paradigms...to at least try them on for size.  If they don't fit: shed them and move on to what's next, because there is ALWAYS something next. 

That's the gorgeousness of the human mind. 

We're never at a loss for what to do next.  So what my post disappeared?  I seem to be spewing forth with plenty here this morning.  And if you don't like it, or you disagree, so what?  Maybe Monday you'll like what I'm writing.

Put it to yourself.  What are you hoarding in your mind-closet?  What's so special and dear in that brain matter that absolutely nothing and no one can possibly counter it with ANYTHING more valid, or more compelling?  Take stock. 

Some things are inviolable.  We don't hurt others, especially children.  We love our families.  We worship the God of our choice with vigor but with acceptance of the other names people attach to It.

These are the walls and floor of the closet, and they can stay of course.  But what else are you squirreling away in there that could use a little light of day?  What's old and out dated?  Go ahead and Spring Clean your conscience a bit.  You might find some old stuff you love and haven't seen in years, and you might find some things that are hilarious that you even thought them in the first place. If you're honest, there's a lot to throw away because very few ideas and notions are pure and complete. 

So toss them.  Let the ether destroy them and see what comes to take their place.  Maybe what you'll get is something better.



*Photo credit:  thundafunda.com, istockphoto.com, and random Google searches...slapping Barbara Eden is fun.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Do They Have an App For ME?


There’s an app for everything.  I really don’t think I need to give you a run-down on the apps out there, do I?  Because there are a lot, and we might be here for a while if you need that level of hand holding.

HOWEVER, there’s nothing out there for my total inability to play computer games, and this bothers me.  I recently downloaded a super cool game for my phone called Mr. Mixit.  Go download it in the marketplace for Android apps.  You help a robotic DJ play by putting record labels together for him on two turn tables. It’s got a cool soundtrack and everyone in my house LOVES playing it, including me! 

Except I totally suck at it.

And I’m not getting any better at it!! 

And I’m the only one of the four of us, including a 6 year old, who isn’t getting better!!

What’s wrong with me that I can’t play video games? I have the desire. I have what I believe to be some brain matter, and I can walk and talk, walk and chew gum, or change a diaper while talking on the phone and chopping celery. That I can generally multi-task is what the overriding theme of this paragraph would be... 

Right now I’m typing this, watching “The Simpsons” and eating a cinnamon bun…and yelling at my children while thinking about the kindergarten snack schedule that isn’t creating itself and periodically checking on my lab puppy who’s digging a hole to China in my backyard and swimming in the mud pit after the rain. See? That's a lotta tasking.

Yet…gaming completely and in all ways eludes me.  I can’t keep track of the button combos to make specific moves, I can’t remember all the rules and where the hiding things are…if I die once my patience has already started to wear thin. 

AND OH MY GOD
HAVING A TIMER CLICKING AWAY
MAKES ME WANT TO JUMP OFF A CLIFF!!

What’s wrong with me?  Do I have gamer-anxiety in addition to social anxiety or am I just really super stupid? Is my hand-eye coordination theoretical in nature rather than actual?

Don’t answer those questions because they’re rhetorical, in nature and actuality. Since the New Year is long gone, I’m going to adopt a New Quarter’s Resolution and promise to work harder at getting better at gaming. 

My goal will be to first slay Mr. Mixit into musical submission (seriously go spend a whole dollar and play it for yourself if you think you're better...) and then move on to eventually best my 9 year old at Assassin’s Creed.  Like all Resolutions, whether New Year’s or New Quarter’s, I plan for this to fall apart in three weeks. 

In the mean time, don’t be bugging me.  Imma be mixin’ it hard core yo.


Look at that timer...why don't I just murder myself?

*Photo credit:  androidzoom.com

 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy Sesquicentennial!!


Yes, that’s right my peepers. This year is the sesquicentennial anniversary of the American Civil War!!  Of course I know you have it marked on your calendar and have been planning your events for some time now…after all, it’s not every day we can mark the 150th anniversary of something! (Yes it is, but let's not start arguing so early into a Monday post, m'kay?)

Especially as Americans, whose memories are seven point two nine seconds long, we should be extra proud of ourselves for marking this special anniversary and remembering all the facts we’ve never bothered to learn about a singularly defining moment in our nation’s youth. 

The Civil War, for my non-American readers, was fought between the north and south of the United States between 1861 and 1865.  Wait a minute...my non-American readers already know this.  Non-American readers take a wide world view and learn history, and geography, and math….so hang on.  Let me restart.

The Civil War, for my American brethren, was fought between the north and south of the United States between 1861 and 1865.  It’s why we see confederate flags on the sides of barns.  Making any sense?  Ringing any bells?  Here are a few other facts you might not know about the American Civil War.  (Aw hell, who am I kidding?  Here’s stuff I’m sure you don’t know…we’re Americans. Who cares?)

The Confederacy was made up of South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.  In 1861 they formed an unrecognized “Confederate States of America”, and elected Jefferson Davis as president.  Then four more states jumped on board. These were Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.  And in 1863 some Virginians got testy and seceded from VIRGINIA, to form their own state:  WEST Virginia. Then they re-joined the Confederate nation...which they just left.

Miss West Virginia 2008.
She would have been just a regular Virginian if not for the Civil War!

Now, I’m not here to speak ill off West Virginia….because I think they do a fine job of it themselves, starting with the leaving of a state only to join back up with a little moniker at the front.  That’s crazy silly and a waste of good quills to draw up the documents.

"Quills", readers, are what people used to write with before Blackberrys and touch screens.  Weird huh?

Another interesting fact about the Civil War comes from Oklahoma, where the “Indian Territory” was located.  The Native Americans living there were apparently slave owners if Wikipedia authors can be believed.  And why shouldn’t I believe them? Who cares if it’s true? If you want actual true facts about racism, slavery and civil war in America then wait me out for a Slap Friday post.  This here is Monday and I’m not into fact checking today.

Approximately 625,000 people were killed while fighting the 4 year war.  I say approximately because when I do that, you don’t have to worry about it being all the way true.  Pretty nice of me.  But that’s a wild number because in four years NOW car crashes kill about 155,000.  I’m giving you that statistic because it’s the one we like to measure by.  Everyone always compares your chances of dying in a car wreck to everything else.  Here’s another stat…in 13 years, only 756 people died of lightning strikes. I have no clue what any of this means to any of you reading. 

It’s all just stuff I found out.

So Happy Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War!  Celebrate by not doing something Confederatey today, like…DON’T buy a person, or support anyone who HAS made a recent human purchase.  Don’t wave a flag with a big X through it, unless you’re trying to get people to stay away from something hazardous.  Or if you want to DO something, then try doing Unioney things like firing a musket at something inanimate, or growing a beard, getting really tall and wearing a big top hat.  Also, set someone free if you notice they’ve recently been purchased.

If you want to bake a cake to mark the 150th birthday of a bloody and violent time in our nation’s history, might I suggest Red Velvet?


These colors don't run. Because they're cake...they don't have legs.

Enjoy! 



*Photo credits, because I have no money with which to defend a lawsuit:  artknowledgenews.com, a11news.com, whippedtheblog.com

Friday, April 8, 2011

SLAP! Handle With Care


Every once in a while we are reminded very powerfully of the nature and fragility of life. Sometimes the reminder is glorious and happy. It makes us giddy and opens our hearts to life.

These reminders are things like puppies, babies, gorgeous summer days with warm breezes and exceptionally cold beers, or crystal clear starry nights. We love these reminders and they leave us feeling energized, reconnected and restored.

There are other reminders that sometimes find us however; these are the sobering kind.  The sucker punch to the gut we didn’t see coming that whips us around and faces us to what we forget every minute of every day: THIS ONE IS ALL WE HAVE.

It’s a cliché that I didn’t use a few posts ago:  Yesterday is over. Tomorrow hasn’t happened. All we have this minute.

Seriously, what a cliché, right? Live in the NOW man!!! Take away the Cheech and Chong aspect of that statement and truly consider it.

After this moment, what do you have? You can drive home from work and be lost to an accident. Strokes collect people all the time. Cancer grows without our knowledge. People fall victim to gunshots while doing things so mundane as grocery shopping.  Do you think anyone who went to a Tuscon grocery store remembered to tell everyone in their lives how very much they meant to them?

I doubt it.

We don’t live so PRESENTLY as to consider that each breath is ALL we are guaranteed.  All we have is this moment. Nothing of our future is truly OURS. These thoughts are travelling through my brain right now because last week a woman whose child is in my son’s kindergarten class died, at age 44. 

She got the flu, stumbled into complications and died…without a shred of warning and in the sum total of three days from onset to ending. She leaves behind a kindergartner, first grader and second grader. And she had no idea to say good-bye.

My brother in law died in the same week, having just found a place of peace and happiness in his life.  He became free in every sense of the word and didn’t seem to take anything for granted.  Everything around him had grace and beauty.  His kindness and soft soul had found a gentle resting place where I think his life would have been a pleasant place to be.  And then the cancer won.


I’m not advocating that we be prisoners to the fear of death.

I am actually telling you the opposite, because what this crystallizes for me is the belief that if we can accept that we WILL die, and stop living in fear of it, then we can LIVE each day to its fullest. There isn’t a need to say good-bye or “put our affairs in order” if, in each day, in each moment, we’ve lived with dignity, with gusto and with compassion in our hearts for everyone around us.

If we embrace a way of living that allows us to deepen our acceptance of the inevitability of our leaving then aren’t we freer to fully engage in this moment?  The goal should be to always live with our affairs put to rights. There shouldn’t ever be anything unsaid.

Telling a loved one that they are loved isn’t something we should take for granted that they know or remember. And holding on to anger or resentment doesn’t add anything to whatever time is here for us. The bad emotions detract from the love and the life that is all around us.

In our very last moments what will NOT be important is the number of arguments we won, or how many possessions we have. No one will remember the times we were righteously correct, the places we traveled, or the money we had.

What people will remember of us is the kindness in our hearts. The love we held and gave away. People will remember the way they felt in our presence.

Even after our flaws and failings what counts above all is the caliber of our deepest insides.

The truest challenge of our time here on earth is to make this place a little nicer in the time we inhabit, a little more calm and peaceful.  Possibly happier. And this is a true challenge.

Because it absolutely requires that we stop assuming we know what we think we know.



It requires that we truly let go of conviction of others, even though we may preach that God is the only One who has that ability, and allow people to live a life of dignity in spite of ANYTHING. The requirement is that we honestly and deeply decide that what we think is just our opinion and not anything more than that.

An open and compassionate heart means allowing those around us to live peacefully even though we disagree with their politics, with their choice of job, that we let go of judging what we think we know of their lifestyle or failings. The weaknesses and struggles of one person are no better or worse than our own though they may come in a different package.

Each soul on this earth has a right to love and happiness. No one has the right to take away that pursuit because they pass judgment.

What can we learn from the deaths of loved ones and acquaintances who are taken too soon? What can we learn when we see someone struggle their whole life and finally, upon reaching a place of tranquility and peace, have it taken away? It’s unfair.

The answer is that we take away discrimination and we learn compassion.

WE LEARN COMPASSION. We must strive each and every day to learn and practice compassion.

It is never our place to presume we know what we think we know.  Because the truth is that we never know the full story behind a person’s life.

That kind of knowing is for a higher power to discern and we can instead happily occupy our time with giving the very best of ourselves in each day and in each moment TO life.  Our job as human siblings is to give each day to the best of our abilities without malice, without hatred, without judgment, and with gratitude and open understanding.



There is truly nothing left of worth if you aren’t sharing a loving heart.




This post is dedicated to my brother in law, Bill, who loved the mountains.

*Photo credits:
Montanapictures.net, Fotopedia.com, Travellady.com, Wikipedia.com