Kindergartners would save the world, if we let them.

English: Beef

English: Beef (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are thousands of books on parenting and discipline, with techniques and tricks that range from time-outs to logical conversation. The ultimate goal remains the same. To teach our toddling dictators that the world is not theirs to plummet, toys are not rights but privileges, and we don’t bite our friends.  We spend a lot of time training toddlers that by the time they reach kindergarten they have the social and emotional skills required to function in school society.

I’m not sure what happens in the next 18 or so years, but apparently it isn’t good.

I listened to a report on NPR today that reported the solution to global warming is as simple as eating less meat. Apparently Americans consume an average of 200lbs of meat every year and that every aspect of meat production is an environmental disaster.  It made me wonder what it would take to get people to eat less meat. I quickly came to realization that there is not much we can do.  I picture a big man at a grill decrying the plea to eat less meat because, well, he likes it and he’s going to eat it. A lot of it.

If I tell a kindergartner that the meat in his lunch box is hurting the plants and the trees, he’ll most likely put it down.  If I tell him that meat is killing our world, he will probably cry and never eat meat again. He has been taught not to hurt his friends and, in his beautiful mind, the plants and trees are friends.  He has learned his lessons well and most assuredly ready to graduate to first grade.  Sadly, this young boy will probably grow up to be a grilling man, just like his dad. And eat meat. Lots of it.

What will it take to get people to eat less meat? A government nanny?

Maybe just a kindergartner in office.

Because we are all just children.

via German Federal Archive

In grade school, I had a teacher that would start to whisper if the class got too loud. A simple, yet effective tactic, since we all quieted down to figure out what the crazy lady was saying. And she was a little crazy, she was a nun.

I was reminded of this experience while checking Facebook and saw another impassioned, yet reckless, post about a polarizing political issue, demanding allegiance or face a de-friending.  Whether or not I agreed is beside the point, it hit me like a battle cry. Take up arms with me, or be my enemy!

When did we all get so worked up about everything, particularly political agendas? We have become a world of squeaky wheels, to the point that all we can hear is the roar of opinion. This land needs some oil – STAT.

I’m fine if you have an opinion that differs from mine. I will feel superior to you, but you feel the same about me, so it’s a wash. But what I am not going to do is run around screaming at the top of my lungs, “You are either WITH me or AGAINST me! Your choice!” Really, is that a choice? I DISAGREE with you, but I am not going to shoot you.

Stop taking aim people, it’s counterproductive. Quiet down for a minute, use your inside voice, and just tell me what you want and why. If you whine and scream at me, I’m just going to put you in time-out until you can calm yourself. Or hide you on my news stream on Facebook. If you want to talk about it, I will listen, but I will make up my own mind at the end of the day.

I’m switching to my whisper voice now.

Please stop acting like little children, and let’s have an adult conversation.

Thanks.

 

Time to burn the house down

I spent the morning watching my new little buddy wander aimlessly across my ceiling, circling and stopping at what I can only assume is a spidey stop sign.  Apparently he had a busy Monday morning, lots to get done.

He wasn’t my last visitor today, because when I stumbled groggily into my kitchen to open the blind, alas, another one of the eight-legged brotherhood had set up camp in the folds.  The window is going to stay closed for a bit.

You see, I don’t kill spiders, and apparently the word is out.  They are everywhere, my constant companions.  I leave them be, and in return they avoid me.  The only exception to this policy was the black widow that dropped off the ceiling directly into my wash machine full of clothes.  I considered that an act of war, so she was immediately heavy washed in hot water with an extra rinse cycle.  She forgot rule #1: Leave me alone.  She paid the ultimate price.

I don’t spare spiders out of any karmic duty or Buddhist belief.  Actually, the Buddhist belief that all life is sacred is pretty appealing to me, except for one small exception.  I get a twisted satisfaction watching ants feast on Terro, like a little flock of Kool-Aid drinkers and I am Jim Jones reincarnate. Creeps me out how much I hate the little guys, but again, they declared war first. At this point you may feel compelled to remind me that we encroach on animals natural habitats, then blame them for trouble. Don’t. Save that argument for more worthy animals, like ANY other animal besides ants.

I read somewhere once, that spiders were good for the environment, and that has stuck with me.  I think they eat other pest insects, which I find  appealing since I grew up where mosquitoes are the size of condors.  I also like spiders because no one else does. I am a sucker for the underdog, the down-and-out, the lepers of the world.

Until today, I have been OK with my decision to not kill spiders, but things are starting to get a little out of control at my house. It’s like projectX was posted on BugBook and my life is never going to be the same.  Spiders, ants, mice, you name it, they got the event invitation. You can read about my mouse party here

I think it’s time to burn the house down.

The universe is at it again.

Photo: Bresson Thomas

After getting Slapped by the Universe recently, I thought she was done with me.  But here she is again.

Like many people, I have friends on Facebook that I haven’t spoken to since high school. I am naturally curious, and pretty open, so if I get a friend request and I remember you,  I will accept. I don’t mind that we may not have been close back in the day, or may never see each other again, I genuinely like most people I have met in my life and happy to see them again if only in photos.  In most cases, I know them better now than I ever did.  In some cases, I am drawn to their updates and stories and find them fascinating individuals.

A year ago, a series of posts caught my attention and it has been captured ever since.  The poster, someone I went to high school with and haven’t seen or talked to since, has been telling the story of his 6-month-old daughter’s diagnosis and battle with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy).  Typically babies with SMA Type I will not live past the age of two.  It’s a beautiful story of love, advocacy, and struggle, told bravely. It’s not the first time I have born witness to a person’s open struggles through social media, but there is something about this little girl, Braylin.  I feel compelled to help in any way I can to further SMA awareness, and help her family with the financial strain.

Like most people in this Great Recession, we have limited funds and a strict budget.  I wish I could support every cause, every walk, and every girl scout cookie seller I come across, but it’s just not possible.  Instead, I have selected a small number of causes that are close to my heart to support, giving what I can.  One organization I support is the Alzheimer’s Association, since the disease took my father just 2.5 years ago.  Sadly, SMA is not on my list.  And strangely, it has really been bothering me.

It’s as if the universe felt my struggle.

“SMA research offers a ‘collateral benefit’, meaning that scientific discoveries in the field of SMA will be strongly translational towards a host of other serious conditions; this also means that progress towards treating and curing spinal muscular atrophy will directly strengthen that same progress within numerous other medical categories. Advancements in the field of SMA research might therefore offer hope to not only members of the the SMA community, but also to the wide range of patients, families, and friends who have been affected by many other serious illnesses. Among the diseases and disorders that benefit from SMA research: Alzheimer’s…”

via An Important and Beneficial Aspect of SMA Research | Spinal Muscular Atrophy Blog.

The NIH has determined that SMA is closest to a cure out of 600 other disorders, and well known researchers have determined that a viable treatment for SMA is possible IF the research is funded. There is a lot of hope among the SMA community, and all the communities collaterally benefiting from their success, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s  and ALS/Lou Gherig’s Disease.

Once again, universe, well played. And thank you for not slapping me this time.

I’m not sure how this message from the universe will manifest yet, but I have added SMA to my list of causes as a subset of Alzheimer’s. Consider this your introduction.  You may not have any knowledge or been directly affected by this disease, but clearly the research is important to many of us.

Beyond the diseases, this experience has reminded me that we can find inspiration from anyone at any time.  It’s important to stay open the amazing stories happening around us and continue learning from the people that inhabit our world.  What began as a story that tugged at my mother’s heart, is ending as a larger message about listening to the universe and what she is telling us.  My gut was telling me that Braylin’s story was important to me, I just had no idea how our stories would intertwine into a shared goal of a cure for neurological diseases.

To meet the little girl that inspired this post, you can find her at StrongHeartWeakMuscles.com. Braylin’s parents are fighters, and they do everything they can to give her what she needs. Please consider contributing to their fund to help offset the astronomical cost of care. Just the initial set up for in-home equipment is over $20,000 with future costs over $100,000.

You can learn more about SMA at Families of SMA.

It just so happens that I am still here.

I wake up every morning and plan my day. My day, however, often has other plans.

My absence from BME is pretty representative of the way life is today.  How many of us have stopped watching the news, or more importantly the stock markets?  Sometimes it’s OK to just check out, pretend that the real world is far, far away.  In fact, I recommend it.

All good things must come to an end, and better things await us when we are ready to jump back into reality – ready to work, ready to remedy the past that ails us.  Running indefinitely away takes us only farther away from what we need to be doing, and it makes us really, really tired.  Taking a jog, on the other hand, is good for your heart, health, and mind.

We live in a chronic state of fatigue, with seemingly no end in sight. Checking out may seem like a luxury, but only if you are reading “sleep all day” in that directive.  I still have to work to pay my bills, my kids still need to have their meals made, laundry done. My bills demand attention, along with the dogs.  I needed to check out, so I did. I stopped reading the news, perusing blogs, and writing my own blog.  I can’t afford to run away, but I can stop doing the things that eat away my time to relax, despite being things that I enjoy.  Even if I enjoy something, it doesn’t mean it is relaxing.

The news was making me panicked, the stock market was making me sea sick.  Reading blogs just nagged at me to get back to my own, despite being cleverly written gems that deserved Huffington Post publication.  This precious space, BME, seemed more deserving of quality versus content, and I just got too tired to marry the two.  So I took a break.

If you find you need to check out, take a look at your time.  Other than the bare necessities, what are the things that eat into your day? Do you really need to cook a full dinner every night or can you dial it in for a few days – or maybe a week? Even if you love cooking, sometimes you just need to sit on the couch and rest. If talking to friends and family on the phone is fun, but you end up involved in more drama, take a week off.  Maybe your social schedule has gotten a little to packed, or your golf game is so far off you are just practicing your hazard shots, whatever it is, it  maybe not giving you the pleasure you need to feel rested and happy.

Work and responsibility take a toll, don’t let your “free time” become anything other than what you need, even if it’s just sleep.

My hiatus is over, and I am ready to play again.

PTSD = Pretty Tough, Sad Deal

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you read the news at all, you know that PTSD is actually Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but what does it really mean? I don’t think the general population can truly understand, and it becomes a diagnosis, a thing that soldiers get, a Pretty Tough, Sad Deal.  We all agree we should help those suffering with it, but since we don’t get what it is, it’s hard to say just how much tax-payer money we want to invest or how many days of leave this disorder deserves.

I took my oldest to swimming lessons yesterday and was enjoying conversation when I looked at the pool.  We all keep an eye on our little ones since the instructors work with each child individually, and the waiting students don’t always stay on the step as directed, goofing off as kids will do.  I realized I had not been very attentive in the last few minutes, and looked to where my daughter was dutifully hanging on the wall.  It was then I noticed the little boy swimming in circles away from the wall.  It took me a minute, but when I realized that I was watching a child in distress, things moved quickly.

The child was quickly assisted out of the water, clearly scared, but seemed to be fine. As a precaution the mother was asked to take him directly to the doctor in case he had inhaled water, which causes dry drowning even when things seem fine.

The mother thanked me as she left the pool for being the one to spot the serious trouble, and we all left the lesson. It was our last day, and we will probably never see each other again.

Last night, as I lay watching the LED lights of my clock, I was haunted by the image of the boy. Swimming, lost, in danger. I thought about my reaction, which seemed delayed, in retrospect, given the seriousness of the situation, like a delay in a television program when the mouth moves, but the words come out later.  I worry about the boy despite knowing that he went to a doctor.  I worry about the mother, who will worry well past this day.  I worry about the swim school, comprised of an amazing group of people, and what it might mean for them.  I worried for hours, running the scenarios of what might have been if my reaction had been faster, or slower, or if the child had been mine.

I rose this morning, neither rested nor in a much better place than the night before.  It was in deliberation that I came to the conclusion that I was having post-traumatic stress.  Not the same as PTSD, but I think it gave me greater insight to what may be going on in the disorder, particularly in the case of our military.

I had done everything right, but I still felt like there was more I could do, or that I could have done things faster or better.  We ask our military to do things in the name of right, and we train them to do it better than the rest.  But does telling them they did the right thing well take away the nightmares and sleepless nights when they return home to their beds?

I do not compare my experience to theirs as equals, but simply as a moment of insight. It may not take more than a few days for my adrenalin and stress to abate, but this experience has made me more compassionate to those that have seen and done things I cannot even imagine.

There is no perfect plan for recovery. You cannot count the number of sessions it will take to restore order in a person’s life.  There is no perfect pill that exists that wipes away memories and leaves the spaces full with rich and rewarding experiences.  There should not be a limit set on how far we will go to help our returning military restore a balance in their lives. If faced with a decision to extend the military benefits, allowing for more treatment, extending coverage to families and loved ones, we should not hesitate.  PTSD is hard to understand, but it is real.

Using the stock market like a mood ring is dumb.

English: Phillippine stock market board

English: Phillippine stock market board (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mood rings were all the rage in the decade before I was old enough to really appreciate fads. Future generations, after much research, determined they were nothing more than body temperature indicators and novelty items.  Imagine looking at your ring, seeing red, and thinking “Wow, I must be really angry.  I don’t feel angry… but wait, now I am really MAD!!”

I think the mood ring is a good analogy for the stock markets today.  Most of us know how we feel about the economy regardless if the market number is red or green.

If I don’t have a job, haven’t found work in a long time, downsized to the point of meager existence, the markets jumping up 200 points in one day doesn’t really have a direct effect on my life. I still have to pay my bills and hit the pavement the next morning, like millions of others.

If I have a small business, I know if I have more customers this month than last.  I can look at the average amount of money customers are spending on items or jobs, and determine if I am growing, shrinking, or remaining exactly the same.  If I am in a growth cycle, I will hire. If I am shrinking, I will fire.

If I am lucky, gainfully employed, and the markets will affect my portfolio, then I will rejoice. I can provide the basics for my family, keeping food on the table, and roof over their heads.  I may not be able to retire when I want, or provide the Disney Christmas experience, but I can provide.  A market drop may be a reminder to simplify, but it won’t destroy me.  I will work hard every day at my job to make my company better and be the best asset I can.

If I lose my job, I will face the harsh reality of being unemployed. But I still need to get up every morning with the optimism that today is the day I will find new work.  I may need to look for assistance, face under-employment, or adjust my life to make my family my priority.  I won’t need the market to tell me that I have fallen on rough times, the bank will do a good enough job at that.

The only barometer I need for my life is me.  If I lose everything tomorrow, I will still have my family, true friends, and my ability to work hard to make a future life for myself.

When I see the headline, “Stocks see worst day of the year after weak jobs report”, it should only be a reflection of life as I am living it, not something to set my mood.  Journalists shock you, make you want to read more, incite feeling to elicit the “click” on their headline.  My advice, don’t freak out until your life tells you to. And if your life tells you to freak out, try to make tomorrow a better day, despite what the markets do, because at the end of the day, it’s all you can do.  That, and vote.

Many ways to lose a life in war.

When I was little, my sister and I used to hunt down our Christmas presents like trained bloodhounds for the entire month of December.  We looked in very dark corners, searched the untouched attics, and destroyed any closet in our way.  We should have looked in our mom’s trunk, but we didn’t learn that until it was too late.

On one of my treasure hunts, I discovered an old, dusty rifle case that, based on its weight, still had an occupant.  Too afraid to open the case to find out, I asked my mom about this find.

“Your dad was in the army. He went to Vietnam, but that was long before you were around.” And that was the extent of our conversation.  My dad never mentioned his time in the service, and would only offer up vague details when asked directly.  I learned more from the VA office when my dad got sick than I ever learned directly from him.

There are many ways to lose a life in war.  Even if you come back with a beating heart and lungs that contract and expand, it’s possible to have left your life behind. The son who played football every waking moment that comes home without legs, a father who can’t work because night terrors grip him every time he closes his eyes, the mother that always imagined being a Girl Scout leader and soccer mom who suffers a traumatic brain injury and struggles with basic tasks of everyday.

Lives given in the name of war are far more than the body count. The casualties include soldiers, parents, siblings, spouses and children. We do a great thing by honoring those who have fallen, but we have much more work to do.  We need to help our returning vets and their families stand back up.  Replacing their former life is not possible, it is gone, but giving them a fighting chance at a new one is the least we can do.

My dad passed in 2009, and I honor his service today.  Not just the time he spent in the service, but the years he spent after, alone with his thoughts and memories that were not suitable to share with his children.   I honor the life he left behind, and thank him for soldiering on to be a great dad.

Hallelujah! MIT SuperMinds solve the world’s greatest problem!

I don’t know about you, but global warming, toxic chemical spills, and the nation’s processed food epidemic just doesn’t rate on my list of concerns for the future of the human race. There are just two world problems that I would like to have solved and MIT just smashed one of them.

Tonight I rejoice, and raise a bottle, to the masterminds of MIT that have spent the last two, grueling months of their incredible brain power solving the greatest problem on earth: The have discovered how to make ketchup flow out of a bottle.

Incredible, I know.

Just when I thought there was no hope for that last two tablespoons taunting my fries, the gods have answered my prayers.  Imagine all the ketchup that will be saved at diners across the country, neigh, the WORLD??  (Except in Europe, where they douse their chips in mayo and vinegar. Heathens. But even the heathens can rejoice, apparently this works on mayo too!)

I could watch this video all night long. And I probably will.

Isn’t glorious?

I’m no scientist, but I know the great minds of MIT would never produce an unsafe product, so I was relieved to hear that their secret formula remains under lock and key.

“As for what the slippery coating is made of, Smith isn’t telling, but he and his team worked only with materials that already have the FDA stamp of approval for use in food packaging, for ease of entry into the marketplace.”

via Stuck ketchup problem solved by MIT engineers – Technology & science – Science – LiveScience – msnbc.com.

Already FDA approved and it isn’t even on the market yet? Those clever gits!

Bravo, MIT, for your superior use of minds and resources. I will sleep easier tonight knowing that soon my shelf will hold a magic bottle that will release my ketchup down to the last drop without even the slightest tap.

Sweet dreams all, tomorrow will be a better day.

 

Are you laughing at me?

I worry about competing with Rosie O’Donnel over a woman.  I also secretly believe that Michael J. Fox is harassing me.  And my biggest insecurities stem from lawyers, girl scouts and obituaries.

At least I think that’s what this latest report means.

After reviewing the laugh responses to a video of a stand-up comedian, Robert Lynch, a doctoral student in evolutionary anthropology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, concluded that “Self-deceivers were less likely to laugh at the stand-up comic than those who were more honest. Lynch suspects that it’s because comedians often joke about taboo topics, and those who are lying to themselves can’t chuckle because they feel it would be too revealing.”

via The Body Odd – People who don’t laugh easily are only fooling themselves.

stand up comedian David Galle www.davidgalle.be

stand up comedian David Galle http://www.davidgalle.be (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just when I thought it was safe to say that the title of my blog is actually an ironic twist on the fact that I really don’t like the show “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”  The show that makes my husband laugh hysterically, like a small boy that discovers the perfect toy is actually attached to him.  The show that takes every chance circumstance and creates a comedy fit for a mad queen.

It’s annoying. It frustrates me. I can tell you with a certain accuracy just how the show will progress from random happenstance to full blown personal chaos, and it doesn’t trigger the funny bone in me whatsoever.  I’ve always thought this was an indication of my superior evolution, that my humor could only be provoked by comedic sophistication.

Apparently, I am just a fraud.

Apparently, I don’t laugh at this show because I am afraid to show who I really am.  I am deceiving myself, concealing my true self from the world around me. Something about this show touches a nerve in me, and triggers the insecurities I fight to suppress on a daily basis.

I belly laugh at nut shots, wedding dance blunders, and the damndest things my kids say.  I howl at disillusioned stunts gone very bad, really horrific karaoke, and stealth pictures taken at Walmart.

I guess that makes me really confident about the balls I don’t have, my talent as a triple threat performer, and my parenting abilities. Oh, and my fashion sense to wear the correct size clothing that hides both crack and muffin top on a regular basis.  Other than that last bit, I wouldn’t have called myself confident in any of these things.

So am I insecure? Or could it be that the stand-up comedian in the video just wasn’t that funny?

 

 

%d bloggers like this: