Monday, February 18, 2008
"Mom, they're so ghetto"
Why is it, the more expensive the item, the more it resembles cast offs from the Salvation Army 2 for one sale? Did I really go to college and get 2 degrees, just to pay for pants that resemble Kosovo, the early days? Is it every rip or every hole that adds $20 per leg to the cost on a pair of jeans? And when did plain tee shirts with the initials A&F take on the $85 price tag?
Yes, you guessed it. Wild Child grew again. I really must stop leaving 9 cup Tupperware bowls of spaghetti in the fridge for another family meal. We never get to eat them, he "snacks" on the food while deciding if he wants 4 hot dogs or 3 hamburgers to fill him up. Or is it the 4 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches he makes to eat during South Park? Is it legal to suddenly grow a shoe size after 2 years of relative peace in the foot area?
Wild Child is down to one pair of pants again. I am convinced the skateboarding industry is secretly run by the Big Sneaker corporations in tandem with the jean companies. The clothes just don't wear at all. Ok, maybe riding a rail in new jeans that split down the crotch (didn't that have to hurt?) isn't adding to the longevity. But these pants cost $60 each. The sneakers can run up to $110, with a "sale" price of $69 (with an extra $10 off if you buy 2! Wow let's go stock up now!)
Honestly, the whiter the boys from the burbs, the more the clothes need to resemble home locations in the inner cities. Underwear hanging out, and big footed sneaks. I show my age when I say we never tried to look like we lived anywhere other then the suburbs we grew up in. And just tonight, my son begged me to look at the latest skateboarding sneakers, Nikes. "Mom, you grew up in the 80's. You know the Nike's. They are so ghetto."
So Ghetto? For $60 on sale?
I have a novel ghetto idea for you. Best way to buy them. Envy of all your friends.
What Mom? Over the internet? What site did you find?
It's really ghetto. It's called getting a job, earning the money, saving up, and buying them for yourself.
Hard work. The original so ghetto idea.
Get some today. Please!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love. --Margaret Atwood
Trying to achieve a balanced life often gets tipped by the scales of love. We wake up with a set of goals for the day, a list of tasks which must be accomplished and a timeline to do them in. We rush around showering and multi-tasking in our heads the duties of the day, making mental lists and reminders for ourselves of the multitude of must do's like "get hamburger out for dinner, put in a load of laundry before work, pay gas bill, call dentist on lunch, clean bathroooms tonight, get dogfood." We plan and manipulate our time to the skin of our teeth, seldom leaving time for pee breaks, let alone time for ourselves. Once in a blue moon, in a moment of clarity, we rearrange our lives for some much needed down time, to chillax, to bounce to nowhere. We close our eyes and dream. Ah, the peace of it.
Then we wake up, and start our day. But the funny thing about schedules, is that they can always be changed for the things and people we love. At the end of the day, when it's all said and done, love and family come first. We can blow off work when we need to for a sick child, we can trek to the hospital daily for a seriously ill parent, we can rush to help a friend who's life has fallen apart. We fit it in. The schedule, written in air anyway, is erased and replaced. We place the importance on showing the love when the emergencies arise. We give the hugs and say "I love you, it will be okay."
But the deepest love happens without the words. Yes, it comes in the morning kisses and "how was your sleepy hugs," but it's also in the care packages we send to our children away at college or at sea for 6 months. It's in the endless meals of ramien noodles and macaroni and cheese . It's in the picking up of dirty laundry and cleaning of kitchens. It's in the endless hours of car pooling. It's in the sending of ads for jobs to friends who had a miserable day at work . It's in the inspirational emails you send to say 'you're really good at this, keep going." It's in the errands we run and the pizza we bring in case you are hungry. It's in the pats on the back at work to sad friends as well as in the happy smiles of our children when they have a good day or make a new joke we don't quite get. It's in the mundane details like buying apples for lunches, or keeping toilet paper on hand.
The love happens outside of the word and deeds we call love. It's in all the other things we do and say for our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers, everyday. It's in the kindness. It's in the smiles. It's in the laughter. Sometimes we are too tired to remember this and even see that it is there in our minds and our behaviors. God shows us how to share it and spread it and make it multiply so that it fills our lives. We just need to slow down and feel the Wow of it. We need to see God's love in the minutia and in ourselves.
Maybe we don't need 52 words for love. We need only open our eyes and feel it.
Show your love today on Valentine's day, not only to your families, but to the strangers and helpers that fill our lives everyday. Make a random act of kindness. Smile. Laugh. Give someone the good parking space. Let them ahead of you at the checkout. Shovel the neighbor's sidewalk. Pay the toll ahead of you. Leave a gift certificate for a co-worker in need. Make the coffee when it's empty. Clean up even though it's not your mess. Scrape the snow off someone's car. Take the time to thank someone who really just simply does a good job.
Put it out there and get it back ten fold. Let God's love grow in you today.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Valetine's day this week. Yum, the treats. Hershey kisses with raspberry cream centers. Cutout cookies shaped like hearts. Russell Stover little candy heart boxes. Red and pink M&M's. If it's a candy holiday, the food is good.
Maggie had her friend over all day hanging out. Miss J goes to church with the twins now, and I pick her up and drop her off. After church today, the kids were so quiet, I drove home in a trance. Pulled in the driveway, and Luke teases me, "Hey, are you dropping her home?" Huh? you guys are actually in the car? I forgot all about you. Iguess she stays.
Of course, there is always baking when Miss J comes over. They were not overly ambitious today, so they just made a cake. And the frosting. I am upstairs listening to the frosting being made. Get the butter. Warm it up a little in the microwave. Add the milk. Add the sugar. Add the milk. It's too thin, add the sugar. It's too sweet, addl the milk. Next thing I know they are adding flour. When I come down to see how it's going, they are drizzling the chocolate syrup consistency mess all over the cake, and the counter. I could not help but laughing and remembering baking with my best friend, CK.
We loved making brownies and adding stuff to them. Mostly gobs of peanut butter. I don't think they ever actually cooked, but got heated through and quickly devoured. We would often get side tracked playing with makeup and forgot what we were baking. One time, her older brother made the mistake of falling asleep on the couch (ok, maybe not sleeping, maybe passed out from too much beer in Grandma's barn, like we didn't know) and we decided to be evil. We tried out the makeup on him. Full eyeshadow, blush and lipstick. Even did his fingernails and toenails with bright pink polish. Man, was he ever mad when he woke up!! But we already had pictures to blackmail him with forever!
Too bad we didn't have You tube back then! Boy the fun we could have had!
Now, where are those pictures....
Saturday, February 2, 2008
It's a cold dreary February day in Buffalo. Slushy snow, melting into rivers on the driveways, soaks us up to our ankles. Snow boots quickly remind us why they are not rain boots. The dampness permeates our guts and bones, making me feel like a little old lady in a rainstorm.
I crank the heat up. Get out the comforters. Throw on an extra sweater. Heat up the rice neck warmer in the microwave for 3 minutes. Still cold. I would really like 30 minutes of slow, deep kisses to warm me up, but its twin movie time, so I must make do.
Luke decides to make Apple Crisp. Does he pull out my recipe file and look for my version, handwritten in my 15 year old cursive? Does he go to my favorite baking bible, The Fanny Farmer Cookbook? No, of course not, that's old school. He goes to the internet, searches the Food Network and checks out recipes. Finds one, writes it out on torn corner of a piece of paper, and begins to cook.
I stay out of it, barely, as I answer the 95 questions. "Mom, how many apples should I use? Where are the measuring cups? Where are the teaspoons? Can I use this margarine? Which oven should I use? How big of a pan should I make?" And so on, and so on.
He peels, cores, cuts, mixes and stirs. "Mom, it's kinda runny." Hmm, add some more brown sugar and flour, and some walnuts, it should be good. Bake it. Pull it out. Smells delicious.
But it looks like soup. The whole 13 x 9 pan is under juice. The apples are barely visible. We quickly dub it apple soup and dig in. Wow, those apples were hot, but good. We take it back to the living room to watch the Disney channel. Maggie is buried under a blanket. She asked to be covered up, so I proceeded to give her the bake potato wrap. Had her lean forward, and I wrapped and tucked and covered her up. Pulled down the top so she could breathe. She looks like we could bake her.
Finally, all wrapped up like potatoes, eating their soup, watching TV together, there is a few minutes of peace and harmony. We all smile and feel good. It's nice. But then we finish.
"Take my bowl. No, you take my bowl to the kitchen. You. No You. It's your turn. Is not. Is too."
Yes, a normal Saturday night at last. The soup hadn't turned them into mini-adults. I can stop worrying now. Well, for a few minutes anyhow. I have bowls to take to the kitchen.
Friday, February 1, 2008
"In order to experience joy, you must first say yes to it."--me
In the autobiography, "The Yes Man," by Danny Wallace, the story begins when Danny must take the bus home one day when the tube breaks down in London. He sits with a perfect stranger who asks him how he is. And for once, instead of the standard "Fine" he answers with the truth, that life is not good. He remarks how he has just been staying in every night, not going out when friends asks, not really bothering with food, watching the telly day in and day out, not really bothering with life. Or course there is a girl involved in the despair and the joy sucking events that leaves Danny at home, but the stranger challenges him anyway on saying no.
"So start saying yes " the stranger responds. So Danny does. The resulting true story will make you check the forward constantly to be sure the events really happened. Danny makes the mistake of telling one close friend only what is going on, that he will say yes to whatever comes his way, and of course, the friend constantly makes his buy the beer and pay for the dinner. But in the end, Danny finds joy in a new career, and a new girl. The resulting adventure will bring you much laughter and joy and the need to read the book right through to the end.
My youngest son Luke has the happiest disposition of anyone you will ever meet. He just is really joyful from the minute he gets out of bed, until he goes to sleep at night. And he will do anything for anyone, because he likes to make people feel good. I think a large part of his happiness is that he says Yes. While his siblings bemoan the fact that they missed this deadline or didn't bring that home so they can join something, Luke has himself signed up to play wrestling in the house league 2 nights a week, to play intramural floor hockey before school, and to play in a town floor hockey league on Saturday. The child who often forgets one folder or another, and is truly sad that he does, keeps all his social activities at the top of his brain. "Now tomorrow Mom you get to sleep in, because my team doesn't play until 1030 this week. You can even read awhile before you need to drive me there. "
In a family that just doesn't get sports, Luke is a wonder. He manages to find things that fit into our time and our limited budget. He finds his joy. He says Yes.
Often as adults, it's easy to get stuck in a rut. We do the same thing week after week, see the same people, eat the same meals, watch the same things on TV, and then we wonder where our lives are going. Why we feel so empty. Why things seem to bother us more. Where the joy disappeared to.
Somehow, we want the life to be the same, but be more joyful. Stability is nice, but coming to a stop so people wonder if you are still breathing, is not. Take a risk. Go for coffee with a friend. Take up that hobby you always wondered about. Give yourself one night a week for something fun you plan. So no to the TV, and yes to interaction with real people. If doing the same things, in the same job is sucking the life out of you, take a right turn and don't look back. Drive a new path, forge a new trail. Make a change. Read a new book. Listen to happy music. Watch some favorite movies and laugh. Plan a brunch with people you haven't seen for some time. Go to a new church. Change your hair. Change your underwear. Change you attitude. Say yes.
"Stability is nice, but coming to a stop so people wonder if you are still breathing is not."--me
If someone or something brings you joy, run to it. Make the time for it. Change your thinking on it, and you just might change you life. I have alway loved the saying, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." I like to add, the journey begins, when you say yes.
Where might you be in 60 days if you said yes?