Follow by Email

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pull Your Dress Down and GET UP!!!!

When I was in sixth grade, my friend Crystal was at my house one day. Her dad had gone to McDonald's and he was bringing food for both of us as well as her siblings. We played in my living room and kept looking out of our big picture window. When his van pulled into their driveway, we went flying out my front door to run across the street (yes, I was a foodie even then). She made it across, but in my typical clumsy nature I slipped on the gravel in my driveway, fell flat on my face, and landed on my arm. I later learned that I'd broken my wrist. Rather than regain some sense of dignity, I JUST LAID THERE. As Crystal kept screaming across the street "pull your dress down!", I laid there ruminating on how much I hurt, how the little pebbles embedded in my hand had blood around them, how mad I was that my fall was delaying getting my McDonald's, how embarrassing, etc. etc. etc. I didn't care that my dress was all hiked up and anybody outside could see London, see France, and see Sandy's underpants---I was too busy wallowing in hurt. Finally she came back across the street and like the general she was, she yanked me up from the ground and helped me straighten out my clothes.

It dawned on me the other day that this has become a metaphor for my life. And that's not a good thing. Too often I have fallen flat on my face and then just laid there. I bemoan all the wrongs done to me, how my situation was caused by somebody else, yadda yadda yadda. I examine negative situations over and over and over again, wallowing in self pity and oftentimes bitterness. And I act like the calvary is coming to rescue me. Guess what? There is no brigade of horses on their way to rescue me. The only thing that comes of this negative behavior is my problems are compounded by the lack of attention given to address them. Things often are much worse because of a failure to address the situation. Failure to act and procrastination cause us to lose sight of solutions and sometimes result in further deterioration in an already bad circumstance.

As this year rapidly comes to an end, I have decided that I can't continue to live like this. It's great to have a Crystal in your life to grab you by the hand and yank you back to reality, but Crystal isn't always going to be around. So as I say good-bye to what has been quite a lackluster year, I am looking forward to a new year where I will learn to pull my own dress down and GET UP!

Monday, December 6, 2010

OK, I love my girl Oprah (from time to time she works my nerve, but I pretty much am a fan. Can't get with all the new age religion stuff, though. Girlfriend lost her mind when she said there are many ways to get to God. Last time I checked Jesus Christ was the only way).

ANYWAY, here's my gripe----lately she has gotten loosey goosey with the clothes. The girls have just been making too many appearances!! Did she fire her stylist or something? And it's not just on her show. The other night I am watching the news. I was so proud to see our dear Ms. O as a recipient of the Kennedy Center honor. Adorning her neck is the lovely, colorful ribbon bestowed to all honorees. But wait--what's that above it? Is that a cornish hen laying on her chest? NO---it's her breasts! Popping all out of her blouse. At arguably one of the most significant award ceremonies of her life, Ms. Winfrey doesn't have the sense enough to dress with enough modesty to reflect her name without giving away her social security.

Alas, she is only following the way of today's society. And I admit that I need to be a little less dowdy, sometimes looking matronly though only 41. But really, we have an epidemic of cleavage that really needs to cease. It is time for women to put the girls back in their place, away from public viewing.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You Bring the Rolls

I am, regrettably, a last minute person. Procrastinating works for me...I love the adrenalin rush and get a thrill trying to make it under the wire. I realize, though, that just because I like waiting until the last minute doesn't mean it works for everyone else. So when we have holiday gatherings at my house, I do most of the cooking and seldom ask others for much. This isn't because I am a fabulous cook or I don't want their items at my dinner table---it's because I am too lazy to plan a menu until the last minute and don't want to impose on them to deal with my last minute decisions.
A recent conversation with a family member gave me an epiphany---my failure to incorporate others into my menu may have resulted in hurt feelings. My not wanting to inconvenience others because I wait so late to plan has been interpreted as "I don't want your food". The very person I'd wanted to spare of my last minute ways the most (because this person is a super planner who wouldn't be caught dead in a store the day before a holiday) may be the most offended; my assigning this person to bring the rolls may have translated into "your food isn't good enough".
This makes me wonder - how many times have my feelings been hurt or I have felt slighted by something that truly is a misunderstanding? On how many different occasions have I assigned ill-intent to something that may actually have been intended as a kind gesture?Probably pretty often. I have a tendency to take things personally and wear my feelings on my sleeve. SO --- I am resolved to work harder to give the benefit of the doubt, and not always assigning malicious intent to things said or done to me.
Bet you thought I was going to resolve to plan my holiday meals earlier and be more inclusive, right? Let's take one step at a time...old habits die hard :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Random Kindness

Recently I went through the drive-thru of Potbelly's for lunch. I had a five and a ten dollar bill in my wallet. The total was $5.83 so I took out the five and then went to get change. After rifling through my coins I discovered that I had more pennies than anything, so I decided to forget giving exact change. I sat mindlessly, listening to the radio and getting lost in my thoughts when the cashier opened the window. I handed her the money in my hand. She paused, then asked me if I had the change. "How did she know I planned to give exact change?" I thought to myself. I told her "Not enough to worry about". She looked puzzled, then nicely said "OK, don't worry about it. Your order will be up in a minute". I wondered why she said not to worry about it, but then didn't give it another thought. What would there be for me to worry about it? But I would appreciate my change, I thought. After a few seconds, I began to get a little antsy, wondering what was taking her so long to give me my change. As the seconds continued to pass, I couldn't imagine what was the problem. Suddenly my brain decided to function and in a panic I looked into my wallet, where a lone $10 bill sat. I realized that the cashier didn't give me change because I shorted her by $0.83! I'd forgotten to switch the $5 for a $10 when I discovered how low I was on change. I frantically search the bottom of my purse and dug up 83 cents. I try to get her attention, but she was busy. Finally she opens the window and with a broad smile hands me my order. I clumsily explain my misunderstanding, apologize, and thank her profusely for being nice enough to overlook my "lack" of money.

This little event made my day. Number one, I had to laugh at myself and how I must have come across to the cashier. What an idiot? And I had the nerve to be impatient (in my mind) with her. Then I was struck by her kindness. Not once did she seem annoyed or irritated, though she had a customer not giving her enough money and then saying that it wasn't enough to worry about. If I were in her shoes, I probably would have politely recommended removing the drink from my order since I couldn't pay. But most of all, in an age where people are rude and uncaring it was refreshing to have someone be so nice. I left there with a resolve to do something nice for someone else.

How about you? What is one thing you can do to brighten someone elses day?

Friday, October 8, 2010

F bombs and other obscenities

My 14 year old and I were enjoying a casual stroll down the street this evening, on our way to her favorite eatery. A truck drove past and a very audible "you're shi@!ing me" came from the window. As I shook my head, I couldn't help but reflect on how frequently I've noticed what a profane society we've become. I don't think I have become one of those old, intolerant individuals---at least at 41 I hope not to be considered old. But it seems that every which way you turn, people have no problem launching obscenities. A recent visit to a college campus illustrated this point perfectly. Every corner you turned, you could hear f bombs being launched as easily as one might say "good morning".
I don't think my forty-one year old sensibilities are prude. And truth be told, I can be known to launch a few words from time to time myself. But whatever happened to the day when saying damn was strong language? Or when teens might sound like drunken truckers amongst themselves, but wouldn't dare use obscenities in the presence of an adult. These days you can hear teens curse and not bat an eye. I have had the opportunity to observe this in various settings and conclude that this phenomenon is no respecter of persons--it crosses both genders, all races, social classes and economic groups.
I am not naive enough to believe that we will ever return to the days of Andy Griffith or The Brady Bunch. Hopefully, though, we can turn the tides a bit. There was once a time when use of vulgar language and profanity was a class distinction, and those with "proper upbringing" wouldn't dare to publicly use such language. Now, though, it's a national pastime but it makes our society look bad.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

People in Glass Houses...

Flipping channels on the t.v. tonight, a clip from The View caught my attention. Barbara Walters asked "why is Bristol Palin a celebrity?". She went on to assert that Bristol Palin is not a celebrity, but a 17 year old who got pregnant and wasn't married.
I happen to agree with what she said, but I found it to be a bit ironic. Isn't Barbara Walters the woman who released a memoir a year or two ago, and admitted to an affair with a married Congressman? And now she's a moral authority? I had the same reaction to Bill Cosby's "Come on, people" rants throughout the nation a couple of years ago. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Cosby's urging blacks to take personal responsibility, make better moral choices, and reclaim our families and communities. However the judgmental tone, mocking, and self-righteous manner in which he beseeches the black community amazes me. Am I the only one who remembers about a decade ago when a woman accused Cosby of being her dad? And we held our breaths....what? No, not Dr. Huxtable; say it ain't so! And it wasn't ---turns out it was a hoax. HOWEVER, it was true that he'd had an affair with this woman's mother. Where's the personal responsibility here, Bill?
I am not saying that we can't have our opinions. Nor am I saying that personal failures exempt us from expressing them. All I am saying is that before we pontificate, at least admit our own failings. We could even talk a little about what our failures cost us, to be a teaching moment. But we must make sure that when we are hurling judgments, we have examined ourselves and don't give the impression that we are without fault.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cute to be so black...

Growing up I would occasionally hear that I was "cute to be so black". I wasn't cute, but considering how dark I was, I was an OK looking little girl. Though this was always intended to be complimentary, even as a little girl I understood that embedded in this statement was an insult of sorts. Over the years, this statement combined with many others resulted in serious struggles with self esteem. "Cute to be so black" means that the darkness of my skin should automatically cast me into the ugly category, but somehow I manage to overcome my blackness to emerge with some degree of cute.
What and who defines beauty? Too many people, especially women, struggle with their identify and self esteem because what is seen in the mirror does not fit what society says is attractive. And why do we give so much power to other people, allowing the masses to decide if our clothes, hair, shoes, dress size, etc. merit ranking on the beauty scale? For all of us who have suffered back-handed compliments or merely struggle to fit into a cookie cutter standard of beauty, let's make a pact to shed other people's negative assessments and instead embrace self-love. No matter how tall, short, fat, skinny, light, dark or whatever we are, we will commit to providing ourselves with positive affirmation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nothing makes a mom reflect on parenting more than having her child go off to college. Suddenly 18 years flash before you, and you wonder if you have really done your job. Or you lament because you know you haven't done it well.

It's the eve of my second child's departure for college, and I have a myriad of emotions. Joy, sadness, the full gamut. I am painfully aware that once she leaves this house, our relationship will forever be altered. Never again will I have the same degree of influence in her life (though with her strong will, I never had the total control I wanted. She once scoffingly referred to me in a diary entry as "she who must be obeyed"). I'm overwhelmed with sadness for all the things I intended to do yet never did. I am not sure if she really understands the deep love that I have for her.

Yet I am joyous also. Isn't this what we, as parents, shoot for? We spend 18 years preparing them for the day when they can spread their wings and fly. And I know for sure that my daughter has the ability to soar higher than my dreams can take her. So for any parent who, like me, is releasing their child to the adventures of the collegiate world, let me offer these words of encouragement:
1. Remember that they really do hear the things we tell them. They know right from wrong, and will choose right more often than not.
2. We love them, but God loves them more; entrust them to His care.
3. Even if there are issues between you and your child, their entrance to adulthood offers
new opportunities to form rich ties.
4. Accept your mistakes but also be gentle; we do the best we can with what we have, and
somehow our children survive.

Hope this helps. Happy launching!

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's wrong with Parents Today????? and their Kids?

So, this is my first posting. I am starting this blog because I have lots of random thoughts and no one to listen to them :-) Also, I really do hope to share information that will help transform lives ---lofty ambition, right? But for right now, this first posting is not going to be life-changing---just observations from a recent trip to the store.

Here goes---I went to Target before going home after work one day a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't feeling well, I was really tired and just needed to go home and put my feet up. But we needed some essentials so I decided to stop at a Target Greatland. I am in the frozen food section when I hear a very terse "Hurry up! I need to get home and ice my knee!!!". I was a bit perplexed. The tone was very stern, yet the voice was a bit immature. I turn to see a girl, all of fourteen, standing next to a cart with a boy about five years old. I slowly turn to gaze in the direction of this girl's glare when I see a very petite woman, probably all of 5 feet and 125 pounds. At this point I am definitely not minding my own business. I don't even bother to pretend that I am reaching for my food items. Instead I glance at the girl, then back to her mom. I am holding my breath thinking "oh boy, here it comes---pow, right in the kisser!".

Now don't start sending me posts criticizing me for condoning child abuse---I don't. But I did have flashes of Jackie Gleason winding his arm and shouting 'to the moon'. No such thing happened though. Instead, Miss Petite quietly, very wearily, asked her daughter "what did you say honey?". I glared at the daughter, inwardly daring her to be snippy with her mom. She took on my challenge and not only repeated her demand, but added more attitude. Do you think mom gave this kid what she deserved? No! Instead weary mom sweetly said to her daughter to just give her one minute, she only needed a few more things. What?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I couldn't believe mom didn't reprimand her daughter.

Bratty girl looked at me as if to say "ha, I won!". I couldn't believe it. This poor woman has no clue what she is getting herself into. If she is tolerating this kind of bossy sassiness from a fourteen year old, what on earth is this kid going to be like at 18? 21? And what about her son? Surely if he is watching his sister treat mom like a doormat, he is going to follow suit. Then petite mom is really going to have her hands full, dealing with a defiant male when he hits adolescents.

I proceed to check-out pondering this family in my head. I stumble upon another kid, probably ten or eleven years old. He is muttering to himself: "thanks for helping me beat the crap out of that kid". Over and over he repeats this phrase; no one is with him, he is merely talking to himself. At this point I feel like I have entered the twilight zone. I start looking around for a hidden camera, wondering if this is some joke. Or maybe SuperNanny is starting a new tactic, where they look for families to rescue instead of waiting to be invited. But no such cameras emerge. Nope, this is just the state of kids today.

I pay for my items, get in my car and go home. In light of what I have encountered in the stores, those heathens that scream "mommy mommy" when I walk through the door may not be so bad afterall. At least not right now :-)