Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

When I am participating in one form of social media or another, would you like to know what I’m interested in seeing? How people are doing, pictures of their grandbabies or children, holiday vacations, posts about what’s going on in their lives, new jobs, new recipes, or new discoveries on how to stay cool and fresh during menopause. Updates on their cancer treatments so that I can cheer them on and help give them hope, funny stories about their children or their lives, and their love for their pets, bought or rescued.

What I don’t want to see, every single solitary day, multiple times by some, are the rage of selfies that seems to have taken over our lives.  Seriously, how many times a day does it occur to the average person that they need to stop everything, and take a picture of themselves to share with the world?

There are applications and programs just for that. Meaning, if you’ve signed up for an Instagram account, that’s what you’re asking for; pictures of people in all facets of their lives, with other people and without, randomly for some, every other hour for others. All dolled up, lips painted and puckered-up, in bright colors of the rainbow, hands on the hip; ready, aim, shoot. But you knew that going in, you knew it was a shared application for pictures; so join or don’t.

I don’t need to see that same type of thing all over my social networking programs, many of the posts are simply a duplication of what was on Instagram. I mean, how many “likes” do you need to have? How many times do you have to see someone post how hot, cute, or sexy they are before their ego is fed-full and it’s enough? Because by repeatedly posting pictures of yourself, and no one else, that is really your only objection. I get that that on occasion everybody needs a little ego-stroking, but every day? Now if you lose 15, 25 or 50 pounds, get an awesome new haircut/color, or a new car, or an 8 point buck, then yes, I would like to see that.  But I am tired of seeing bathroom/dressing room/rear-view mirror, short dresses (or more like long shirts) and cleavage selfies.

Maybe some would say I might just be a little jealous. Because it’s a fact; my arms are too short to hold the phone out far enough for a decent shot, and my hand is not steady enough to push the button, hold the phone still, and get my sexy on, all at the same time!
I’m not sure if it’s the generation, or these high-tech times, but when did we become so consumed with the need for “everybody to look at me and tell me how pretty I am”. We have become so self-centered and self-absorbed it’s worrisome. So do we need more humility in our lives, or more love; it’s really hard to tell anymore.  Please, take a break. Step away from the mirror and put the phone down.


Sunday Reflections

I woke-up to a big bright ball of yellow-shining heat, the birds singing melodies perched in my naked-limbed trees, and my multi-noted wind chimes providing all the background music. As I stood at the  storm door, through my reflection I immediately began to plot and imagine the day’s events, how it would all go, and in what order. Cleaning-out flower beds on my knees and ridding them of all the stray, dead grass and winter weeds that are littered about my lawn like strewn trash; or would I first be re-filling my bird feeders, a combination of both seed and humming bird sugar water? Scrubbing, bleaching/cleaning the front yard bird bath that hasn’t had company in months now, as all of its regular occupants have long since headed further south.

As it turned out, I would be doing none of that; for when I opened the door to greet the day, that cold blast smacked me right in the face, instantly reminding me, that it’s still winter, and certainly not time for any of that kind of fun-filled day. Instead, I would continue to stand at the door, watching my husband wash his truck in 55 degree weather, as I imagined his fingers and hands were cold enough and the color of blue enough that he too, was wishing for the times of warmer days.  

As I still stood at that door, my youngest son and his girlfriend pulled-up in the drive-way, having just gotten back from church, looking all grown-up in their nice Sunday clothes. With thoughts of how grown he actually looked, and how fast these times seem to be passing now, my mind wandered back to our two weeks of Christmas vacation together, what a wonderful time we all had, and I suddenly remembered I never told you all about all of that; and it’s important that I do, because just as I tell you the things that I think may help you in your own hard situations, I think I should share the good things that may also give you hope that things can change.

As I said before, my children are nine years apart, and as alike as they are different. For years they were so close they almost seemed as one, and then in the last few years it seemed they were always at odds and so very different.

During the holidays, somehow the switch of life was flipped and they were the people that I once knew all over again. My oldest son said it best one night when we were here alone and talking; he said “Zach and I have had the best two weeks together in a long time. I think the problem was I had to learn how to stop acting and sounding like a big brother/parent, because he’s almost twenty now himself, and start simply being a brother, a friend.” Whatever it was, it worked and they were inseparable, my house was calm, and life was as it should be again.  Here’s to sunny Sunday’s and more wins than losses.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Back To Real Life

Do you know what happens when you’re off work for almost two weeks straight, during the holidays, and both of your children are home from/or out of college? You do a lot of laughing, a lot of catching up, a LOT of cooking, and a HUGE amount of eating.

On the weekends, or days we are not working, my husband and I generally eat two meals a day. We eat a late breakfast, or brunch if you will, and then 3 and 4 o’clock we eat the meal we call Sunch. Well actually, my kids and I nicknamed it Sunch a long, long time ago; it’s a combination of lunch and supper.  It works out great for us, we eat less and our last meal is late in the afternoon so we’re not lying down with a full stomach at bedtime.  

That schedule does not happen when young people are home, they eat three squares a day, as my grandmother used to say, and they eat BIG, full course meals, that you can watch expanding your thighs as you eat.

Now add in the holiday meals where you are preparing and eating every food category and every dessert known to mankind.  And you don’t just eat all that when the whole family gathers and breaks bread and calorie boundaries; you eat that meal at LEAST two more times afterward because of all the leftovers. And oh my grand, the desserts JUST WON’T DIE. They are everywhere, covered by a pie plate cover or a cake cover, none of which deters anyone, because we all know what’s in there just waiting to be finished off.

Since these holidays/two weeks happen during Christmas and New Year’s Day, those are your two big meals. Our Christmas meal is pretty much a duplication of our Thanksgiving meal, and all in all, it’s pretty healthy as big meals go. But if you follow tradition, the New Year’s Day menu is full of hog jowls, additional cooked pork of some kind, dried black eye peas cooked with bacon grease or more hog jowls, fresh turnip greens cooked the same way, mashed potatoes, whole kernel corn and cornbread; all the foods with their additional tasty additives that scream high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

I work for some of the most kind and generous people I have ever known; and their generosity and all the extra days off during those holidays to spend more time with my family is so greatly appreciated. But I told my husband this morning as we drank our morning coffee, that I honestly couldn’t wait to go back to work tomorrow. That I couldn’t wait to step back from the food table and have my mind filled with thoughts of nothing but what I do for a living rather than what I’m cooking for breakfast, lunch or supper.

The real trick is figuring out how in the world to force myself to shuck these sweatpants that have been my clothing of choice for two weeks and put on some real clothes! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2nd Time's a Charm

When I left you this time last year, my last words were asking you to try and pick something you could achieve in the New Year that was ahead of us, and to concentrate on just accomplishing that one thing. I asked you to stop making lists, or setting the bar too high, to not set yourself up for failure right off the bat; but instead give yourself a chance to achieve success and be proud of reaching your goals.

My personal goal was to get healthier, rekindle my walking program, and to hopefully lose some weight during my attempt. I wasn’t as successful as I would have liked; I stalled out a couple of different times because of fractured/sprained ankles that ended up in two months of boot wearing and I sure don’t mean those pretty fancy kind that women wear, and then there was the cold/cough that would take me down for about a month; but I did walk for long stretches of time and I ended up losing right at about twenty pounds.

Now twenty pounds is but a chip off the boulder that needs to go, but the point is, I was working on it, was dedicated to it, and was somewhat successful at it, no matter what happened in between to slow me down.

So do you know what all that means? Well, mostly it means, a goal not completed must be continued. The walks must resume, the stamina re-booted, and the dedication to success re-fueled. The craving for things I shouldn’t be eating derailed, and a healthier food diet followed. And I can do all of those things, I know I can; I just have to put my mind to it.

However, I am going to go against what I already said to you, the advice I already tried to instill in your thought processes; I am going to add one more goal to my New Year’s resolution list. It may not seem like such a big deal to most, but I am terrified to stay alone at night by myself. I just recently had to experience that and although I survived it, it was far from easy and my house was lit up like the Fourth of July all night long. Both my husband and my son just happened to be out of town at the same time, and as rare as that happens, it won’t be long before my youngest son empties the nest and those occurrences may be a lot more often than I like, as my husband’s job takes him out of town on a pretty regular basis.

I come by it honest; my mother tells me her mother was also a “scaredy-cat” all of her grown life. But I’m determined to get control of my paralyzing fears, and gain better comfort in being able to close my eyes in the darkness without the need for a lit-up airport runway in the middle of my home.

Happy New Year folks; make the goals simple and achievable, then make them happen.