All too often we take for granted all the things that hold us together in life. Our family, friends, and even our pets are the ones that shape who we are and how our day will be. And, in dealing with all of them, we can decide how much power they will have over our mood. Your spouse may get on your nerves with their annoying habit of slurping their coffee because it’s just too hot, but he’s not patient enough to wait. Heaven forbid. This really isn't a valid reason to spoil your mood. Right? Or, when he guzzles down his water as if he’s been lost for days while hiking in the Mojave Desert
without a drop to drink. You know that sound - gulmp . . . gulmp. It should never get to me, I mean, you. Right?
Or, how about when your son doesn't finish his lunch that you carefully packed and leaves a half-eaten sandwich mutating overnight in his snazzy insulated lunch box. Funny how he has forgotten (repeatedly) that the dog will use his Jedi skills to pull open the zipper and ravage what’s inside. I’m only kidding, the dog doesn't use the force
, he ventures into the dark side
and actually chews right through the outer case until he rips what can be only described as an irreparable wormhole
, leaving bits of plastic scattered under the dining table. And, consequently, this leaves your son having to embarrassingly brown-bag it. But, it's not gonna
ruin my day, right?
Do you know why? Because, I've come to realize that my life is more than those annoying little moments. There are so many things I love, simple little things, that I began writing down yesterday. I carried a notebook around after I came to the conclusion that a list was warranted. And, to my delight, it simply grew on its own. As you read my list, think about the little (or big) things you love.
Just so you know, I do recognize that standard operating procedure dictates family and friends are at the top of the list, so let’s just say I’m starting my list right under that part. Also, keep in mind they are by no means in order of importance, but the first one was what made me take a moment to think how sweet my life is.
- the way my dog looks at me when I walk through the door
- laughing hysterically with the Husband after a simple comment that no one else would find funny
- rustic red
- the way my daughter laughs out loud
- when my kids are excited about a well-earned grade, or not earned for that matter
- watching old movies
- going to antique stores and imagining the person who may have owned the item in my hand
- falling in love with a character in a novel I’m reading
- old Hollywood glamour
- thinking about all the places I want to visit
- the beach
- Meg Ryan movies
- the way trees move in the wind
- Texas Rose yellow
- the nervousness that my son has about a girl he likes in school
- commercials that make me unexpectedly cry at the end
- road trips
- a friend’s success
- Thanksgiving meals
- memories of 4th of July camping trips in the 80’s (note: it’s the memories of said camping, when I didn't mind humidity and bugs).
- watching American Pickers on the History Channel with envy and appreciation
- anyone with a sassy sense of humor
- entertaining the idea I could jump on a Ducati Monster and hit the road
- taking photos of the world around me
- hating novels that leave me hanging, leaving it up to me to decide what happens to the characters
- a sense of accomplishment, no matter the task
- being totally in love with the actor in a movie I’m watching
- bacon (remember, no particular order)
- watching funny commercials
- debating (and, of course, winning) a good-natured argument with a friend
- being a volunteer for a cause I care about
- going to thrift stores with my friends
- exploring small historic towns and visiting their local shops
- watching my kids' excitement when they run into a friend outside of school
- trying on shoes at DSW
- making my friends laugh
- carrot cake
- hanging with my young, old friends who come to visit me
I could easily add more to this list and most grateful that it would come so easily to me. These are just a few of the things that give me a reason to smile and recognizing each one has been immensely therapeutic.
Are you making your list of the little big things things you love? If so, share a few.
This summer’s social studies assignment for my fourth grader included reading a biography, or autobiography, of someone they want to represent in an American History Wax Museum. The idea is that the kids will dress like the person they read about and be able to tell their story as if it were their own life experience. Gigi and I both sat down and made a list of usual suspects like Abraham Lincoln, Ben Franklin, and naturally, Elvis. I realized that my daughter would only select someone she was already familiar with so I decided to take the opportunity to expand her knowledge considering our history lends itself to so much more than the popular few. I came up with the brilliant idea to make a list that only included women who made their mark in American history. Image: NASA
I first offered Abigail Adams who gave her husband support and advice that even he didn't know he needed - “Remember the ladies”
letter comes to mind. I told her about Helen Keller
and, of course, Anne Sullivan
- favorites of mine when in elementary school. Helen for overcoming the odds of being blind and deaf to be an advocate for those with disabilities, and Anne for helping Helen realize that she could be said advocate. Both very admirable for using their traumatic childhood experiences to encourage others. I wrote down a few others who opened doors for women, such as Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, and as an English major, I selfishly chose Edith Wharton
, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction (some of you may recall Age of Innocence
, it's not just a movie).
I found it a bit of a struggle to make a soon to be nine-year-old understand the accomplishments of my choices. Or, at least understand enough for her to want to read more about these fabulous women to emulate them for her classmates. So what do we do when we need more ideas? We Google it. As a list of women filled the page I quickly scanned and knew immediately who would fascinate my Gigi to the very end, Sally Ride
- the first American woman in space! It couldn't possibly get more exciting than that, could it?
My daughter hasn't quite realized that there was a time women couldn't do what they wanted, so this was a sort of awakening for her. We picked up Sally Ride: First American Woman in Space
from the library and it’s been a learning experience for both of us. Did you know that Sally was also the youngest American to ever be in space? According to the biography we read, Sally never considered being a female as an obstacle because her parents led her to believe she could do anything and be anyone she wanted, so she did. This is exactly what I tell my own daughter.
This isn't to say it was easy for Sally to soar above the clouds a little over thirty years ago as she was one of six women
chosen by NASA in those early days, but what an amazing bio to share with my daughter. Sally made it happen because she wanted it and worked hard to achieve her goals. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen, male or female, and I want that more for my daughter than I've ever wanted for myself. I want her to believe that being a girl doesn't decide her path, but her devotion to what she wants does.
When I read the line from the first chapter of the book, “This launching marks the first time in history that an American woman will fly in space,” I felt a bit emotional. In fact, I was surprised that I got a little choked up and I really can’t explain why. Maybe I feel gratitude toward Sally, or perhaps a bit of pride? I can only describe it as that same feeling that I feel when someone sings the Star-Spangled Banner, right when they get to the part where we “yet wave” and pause for a bit. I’m good until that line of the song and then . . . hot mess, every time.
I may be a bit more enthusiastic about Sally Ride and her accomplishments than my daughter at this point, but she did interrupt with all sorts of questions and observations. Some being silly, like “Why would Sally like Superman best when Spiderman can shoot webs from his arm?” And, more importantly, “What does it mean when the Challenger only reached a force of 3 g’s? What’s a ‘g’?” In case you were wondering, a “g” is one earth gravity
, the acceleration of the objects due to gravity on Earth. There’s more to it, but that’s a whole other blog.
Reassuringly, this means my ever-so-intelligent daughter was, at the very least, paying attention. Her inquisitiveness gives me hope that I’m doing my job right so far as she never seems to consider that being a girl is any reason to not be or do what she wants. I look forward to the day when my daughter decides what she wants to be when she grows up and rest assured that I will be there to cheer her on.
"Young girls need to see role models in whatever careers they may choose, just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs someday. You can’t be what you can’t see."
~ Sally Ride
Just a bit more about Dr. Sally Ride
Tastier than it looks
I, not unlike many others, have been wasting (okay, spending) valuable hours on Pinterest. In addition to that, I've logged many hours watching HGTV, DIY Network (Rehab Addict
baby!), and Cooking Channel. Why? I want to cook, redecorate, refurbish, and quite simply, create something new. It occurred to me that with the kids out of school and my not being employed (yet), there really is no reason why I can’t tackle some of the fantastic things I've been wanting to do. The dilemma is that now I've started no less than five different projects this past week and only completed one, a dessert recipe. Which, in all actuality, would be weird had it not been completed once started, so perhaps it doesn't count.
My daughter and I tackled the task of making a peach cobbler, which is a great way to get in some math in without her knowledge. It was also an exercise for me in practicing patience as my kitchen is minuscule and my tolerance for "what if" questions is extremely low. "What if I put in two tablespoons of baking power instead of one?" This pretty much went on for every ingredient and funnier (for her) every-single-time.. My answer for the hundred times she asked, "It will blow up, just follow the recipe." Oh, and by the way, she doesn't like peaches and wouldn't taste it. Eh, more for me. Next!
Coming to a Pinterest board
near you, and In no particular order, let's start with the nearly done project first. I reupholstered my dining room chairs, okay, only three out of six (guess it’s not nearly done after all). I bought enough material to do four chairs and quite frankly was a bit nervous, even after the great advice from the lady cutting fabric at JoAnn's
.. It’s never as easy as it looks when others do it, especially when you have to run the fabric choices by the Husband, who as we all know has an opinion about what to wear
, even if it’s furniture.
I was wrong, it was so easy! For starters, the Husband liked four of the six fabric options I presented, which are great odds considering, and surprisingly he chose the boldest, most colorful one - and my favorite. We both like warm tones and the fabric pretty much covered every one one of them.
Once starting the reupholstering I realized I had an advantage over the many people I watched in my video research, my staple gun is electric (estate sale bargain), rather than manual. It made everything a breeze and I got a little help from Son #2 who had no problem sitting on the cushion while I wielded an automatic staple shooter near his rear. Well, he was a bit nervous, but I let him try the staple gun as a consolation. This is how mom becomes an instant hero when she shares the power. Just don't do it too often. I’ll be working on my fourth chair today (maybe) and returning this week for more material to finish the last two. I pretty much feel like reupholstering everything in my house now. Muhahahaha..
Next, we have a small, but arduous task of refurbishing a miniature cabinet thingy (not sure of the technical name) that I bought quite literally four years ago. I started this project recently to see if I like the idea of refurbishing furniture as it appears to be all the rage according to HGTV and Pinterest. The jury is out as I don’t have the space in our current abode or the help of electronic gadgets. That’s right, I’m manually sanding this thing (mostly) and working on it in the carport area. I am in the market for a palm sander
, especially if this works out and there’s income potential. I do have the help of a Dremel tool
, but the sanding bit
is limited to half an inch. As you can imagine, it really isn't such a great idea for larger areas. Let's just say, lots-o-divots. I must add that manually sanding the wood hasn't been at all disagreeable, so I can only imagine having a sander would make it a breeze. I’m on the next phase of getting some primer and choose a paint color. I'm thinking of going with a distressed look as it only seems fitting with my lifestyle. I'll keep you posted.
Side note: this could have been a great project for me as one of my neighbors set it on the curb, which of course translates to free-for-all. I just knew I could turn this dresser into something fabulous and I considered all the factors before deciding to walk away: sanding by hand would not be fun or fabulous, no garage to work in and protect it from the elements, and the Husband would probably not appreciate toting it down the street.
It was really just the last one.
Long ago, in what literally seems like a galaxy far away, I took up the art of sewing. I call it an art because the finished product, even if you follow a pattern, pretty much is your own little masterpiece. Oh yeah, and skill is involved. I took a sewing class at JoAnn's
right after my daughter was born a little over eight years ago. The bonus is that I already had a sewing machine my mother-in-law picked up for me at a garage sale and I had a guinea pig, I mean daughter to sew cute things for. I wasn't going to make a some pillow or hand towel, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I wanted to go big and the class was going to show me how anyway. It was so much fun and I may have become rather obsessed. at the time. I mostly made things for my daughter, but I did venture in making clothing for myself, quilts (which is a whole other animal by the way), one-and-a-half bowling shirts for my boys (son #2 never saw his, finished), baby gifts for friends, and pillows (it was okay at this point). My toughest challenge, and what I think was my greatest sewing accomplishment, was my daughter’s red coat as it called for lining and sleeves and a whole bunch of other advanced moves I had yet to master at the time. I think it turned out rather nicely, right?
Easter outfit complete with hat and bloomers
The famous Red Coat
So, here’s the thing, I found this great fabric (okay, so it’s a bed sheet) at an estate sale and knew I had to make something with it. A friend suggested an apron as there’s a demand for vintage everything and the sheet pattern screams mid-century, the last one that is. I already had the pattern since I made a cute little number for my son’s teacher back in the day. Shazam! Project! I haven’t officially started this one yet as the presser foot
is missing from my sewing machine and not having used it in 5 years, not a clue why it’s not there. I think it’s a plot from the Husband, who literally managed to roll his eyes to the back of his skull when I pulled the machine out of the closet. There’s no doubt it's some residual annoyance as the last time it was used I may have neglected him and the children, but it was totally sporadic neglect and they ARE all alive after all. So what’s the problem? Again, I’ll keep you posted.
Lastly (not really) is my crafty card project. This is totally Pinterest’s fault because of all those snazzy handmade cards people keep posting totally enabling me to do the same. Luckily, I'm well stocked with plenty of scrapbook paper from all those albums I haven't finished, yet. By the way, do you know how easy it is to make your own envelopes? Very. And, I have enough paper to make hundreds of little envelopes and cute, little paper cards to insert into them. Yes, I could buy them, but what's the fun in that when I could easily do it myself by cutting out a template, tracing it onto scrapbook paper, cutting that out, folding it strategically into a little envelope, applying glue to the appropriate edges, and allowing to dry for at least six hours. See, easy peasy, right?
I've actually printed out a template that assisted me in creating a lovely little dress that I may apply to the front of a card. It took way longer than I anticipated, but I did it! Disappointingly, I didn't feel like making another afterwards . . . or ever again. However, I have all this paper and will keep searching for new ways to be crafty with it.
Well, that about sums up my list of projects that I'm working on, yet oddly enough don't feel like there's too much on my plate. Surely I'm not alone in the whole juggling of Pinterest projects and I'm fairly confident that I have enough motivation within to see all of these to the end . . . okay, perhaps not the envelope thing. I'll keep you posted.
We've all done it. You know, ask the husbands, boyfriends, best friends, and even complete strangers in the dressing room next to you, “How does this look?” Do we really want to know what they think even though we liked it enough to try it on or thought about buying it? The answer is unequivocally YES! That, my friend, is why we asked.
But, what about those times we don’t ask? Usually it’s those moments after we carefully select each item of our outfit from top to bottom. The vintage earrings that highlight the colors of the new shirt purchased solely for the skirt you have yet to wear despite the fact it works well with the one pair of shoes you bought last summer because they were on clearance. That’s when your husband, who you've asked 1.2 million times for his opinion, decides to bravely offer without prompting, “is that the shirt you’re going to wear? I’m not sure it works.”
This is where that unsolicited advice gets tricky, or it may lend itself to thoughts of raging violence (not really...okay yes, really). Our first thoughts aren't heartfelt gratitude, but more along the lines of “Who the (insert favorite obscenity here) asked you?” What we should be is grateful of how this person is looking out for us, but nah...we suddenly despise their very existence (not really...well, maybe just a little). Here a little example of what I mean. I’ll set the scene.
INT. BEDROOM - DAY
The wife is wearing a fabulous turquoise shirt that has a small ruffle around the collar down to the matching fabric covered buttons. This amazing shirt is somewhat see-through so she’s wearing a cream-colored lace camisole underneath. The wife has fashioned several baubles and beads around her neck with matching earrings and looking rather fantastic. Even her hair is working, it’s all good. Enter the Husband.
I really, really don’t like that shirt.
It’s not flattering on you, especially the ruffle part.
But, I've worn this several times and you've never said anything.
Really? You have? I don’t like it.
Too bad. I do.
Camera zooms in on Wife’s face. She displays obvious annoyance and looks on the verge of saying something really nasty. The neighborhood woodpecker outside begins pecking a tree, distracting her as the Husband escapes.
That’s pretty much how it went before I stomped back to the closet, but notice how I waited until he quickly left the room - he’ll get no satisfaction from me. Well, hell. Now what? Do I comply or stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the opinion from the one person I continually seek advice? The person who stops me before I dare leave the house in $3 plastic flip-flops when a perfectly good pair of heels or sandals would look better. Honestly, I've only worn this shirt a few times and it's one of those items I always put on, then immediately take off because I'm not feeling it. What does that tell you?
It was a fashion conundrum I seldom find myself in being no fashionista, so I comply. Damn. How can I possibly wear this stupid turquoise shirt knowing he’ll be scrunching up his nose every time he looks at me? Did I do it for him? Not really. Okay, maybe a little bit, but after almost 20 years of marriage, who else would know what looks good on me? There is only one other person, but I know she wouldn't appreciate the vast media attention my blog posts attract. So, I’ll just say that I’m fortunate that the place I volunteer
weekly allows for not only a variety of fashion options, but managed by someone who is usually on the mark on what works for me. Her only competition - the Husband.
Sometimes these worlds collide and quite honestly, the clothes that cast a cloud of doubt in my mind usually get a thumbs down by the Husband. I’ll even venture as far to admit that I often verbalize how the Husband probably won’t like it. That is so very annoying I know, but helpful. So do I appreciate his bravery to tempt my mood when offering advice about my attire? Yes. Will I tell him that? Not a chance. It’s better to keep him guessing and somewhat fearful.
And by the way, if you have to ask a total stranger in the dressing room, who knows nothing of your personality or lifestyle whether the outfit you seemingly already questioned works for you, put that little gem of a dress back on the rack. Yes, even if it’s 75% off - I promise you’ll never wear it, at least not wholeheartedly. Those strangers aren't going to be willing to tell the truth anyway and we need that honesty to essentially confirm the doubts we already had.
But, if you’re still needing some advice, just ask my Husband. Apparently he’s working as the fashion police in his spare time.
We all have those times in life where we recognize just how fabulous the moment is. I had one today and felt compelled to share. Yesterday, the Husband and I decided to throw all responsibilities to the wind and go on a little adventure. We had the opportunity to tour the Spanish Navy’s training ship
for the very low price of nothing, so we went. The 45 minute ride to Port Canaveral was thoroughly enjoyable, mostly because we didn’t have three kids in the back seat screaming, “Stop it! (insert any child's name here)
is annoying me!”
The weather was perfect, around 80 degrees with blue skies and a cool breeze as we stood in line waiting our turn to tour the ship. The line was a bit long from what we could tell, but fortunately it weaved its way from indoors to outdoors, allowing us the illusion that just around the corner we would be next. Being the people watchers we are, most of the crowd seemed to be of retirement age, sprinkled here and there with families. But, like with any crowd of mostly septuagenarians, there’s always the ones bitching about everything - and lucky duck, she’s behind us. “This line is ridiculous”, “why is the AC blowing so cold,” and “I hear that we have to wait over an hour and a half!” We waited almost an hour, but it was FREE! Remind me not to be so grizzled when I’m old.
The Husband and I talked about everything but our children. Okay, so maybe that’s a lie. We did discuss how the teenager would be complaining about the wait until we were actually on the ship, the preteen would be excited about not being in school and staring at anyone with a deformity before asking aloud “what’s that about?” and the youngling, she would be asking 1.3 million questions that start with “what if.”
Being on the ship was amazing and our only grievance was that we were only allowed to be on deck. Well, I personally was consoled by the numerous Spanish sailors strewn about the ship, so no biggie really. Afterwards, we decided that we definitely had time to stop for a frosty beverage at our favorite place, Rusty’s
. You really must put this place on your agenda when visiting the Cocoa Beach area, not just because of the delicious food, but because the large deck overlooks the waterway as cruise ships pass. I swear you can reach out and touch them.
We discovered the Spanish El Galeon was docked nearby and being fascinated by all things historical, we took the time to admire it from the dock considering the line (of old people) and our time constraints. Not too shabby for being about 500 years old.
Sitting on the deck, enjoying a beer, and talking about nothing was the highlight of the day. The Husband mentioned wanting to live on a sailboat again, I laughed. He must be cray-cray if he thinks I want to live on a 30’ sailboat with a 13, 12 and 8 year old. Can you imagine getting them to do anything? It would go something like this...
Me: “Jimmy, help Dad hoist the mainsail.”
Jimmy: “Why do I have to do it? Can’t Ricky do it? I did it yesterday. I don’t want to.”
Ricky: “No you didn’t, I did it yesterday. He’s lying, as usual.”
Jimmy: “Whatever. I’m not doing it. This boat is stupid.”
Ricky: “You’re stupid....Mom! Jimmy hit me!”
Gigi: “Ha, ha. I don’t have to do it ‘cause I’m little...Mom! Ricky is looking a me!”
Not to mention I would be overwhelmed with anxiety that one of the kids would go overboard. Gravity does that, you know - picks ya right up and tosses you over the side. Now, if you give me a bigger boat, let’s say about 50’ and throw in some Spanish sailors to sail it and a nanny with superhero lifeguard/CPR skills, I’m in.
Once heading back, we knew the day had been a special one. Not to say those are rare, but taking time out to just be husband and wife seems to be a challenge when you have a house full of kids. We relished every moment and continued the experience by just lounging about after we picked them up from school. Just good old fashioned laziness that included totally ignoring the kids. I highly recommend it.
Sad, but edible.
Yes, I am totally blaming Twitter
, and this here website for burning my bacon. I normally consider myself an amazing multitasker, but when I was trying to retweet the funny stuff, stalk my friends, pin fabulous meals, maintain the blog expectations of my fan, make perfectly crisp bacon, and mediate the ritual Saturday morning battle between the kids on video game time violations - it was the bacon that suffered. As you can imagine, I was in disbelief that I could fall short of handling more than a couple tasks.
Thankfully, I have found scientific reasoning to comfort and rectify me. We all know you can’t argue with science (or your mother-in-law - another scientific fact).
According to an article on Sciencemag.org
, multitasking splits our brain and we only have two hemispheres for task management. So, despite what we women constantly appear to prove otherwise, the brain can’t effectively
handle more than two things at one time. Some scientists feel that you can add a third task, but it really depends on the task and the part of the brain it uses. Keep in mind, multitasking
is being able to switch rapidly between tasks, not performing multiple tasks at the same time.
“...people are remarkably good at eating while doing other things...because the practiced motor skills involved in eating don’t overlap too heavily with those that interpret visual cues, control language, or run other complex processes.”
And we all know that keeping up with our friends on social media, managing children, and making bacon all require complex processes. I can't blame the kids and I certainly can't blame the bacon, so...
I would venture to say that we women have the upper hand in the multitasking arena, but that’s probably a whole other blog post. Or, you could read this article
about how women spend 48.3 hours per week multitasking while at home compared to a man’s 38.9. But what’s really interesting is that the article states that men are more likely to be pleased with themselves for multitasking, where women were stressed.
Clearly, what this article is saying is that my husband should cook the bacon.
I’ve come to realize something about myself...I kind of like clutter. Not the hoarder type of clutter, but my-house-contains-a-family type. I promise, dear minimalist husband, this isn’t a ploy to get out of cleaning the house or purging unnecessary items. And, it isn’t that I don’t want to be organized, because I do. It just seems more appropriate that I refer to my method as organized chaos
. I want all the things I love about my busy life scattered about the house in a cleverly structured fashion I've designed. This includes my never-too-many books spilling off every shelf, the kids many drawings hanging on any spot available, and my craft of the month supplies exactly where I left them. All the many bits-n-pieces of what makes our house our home.
This self-realization occurred as I perused the Home Décor boards of Pintrest
the other night and found that although I appear fastidious in my selections, that isn’t what draws me to the photo. I may appreciate the color palette, the furniture design, an abundance of windows, and sometimes even just the layout of the room. Essentially, my pins all have elements of what I want in a home, but in reality, my favorites are those cluttered with all kinds of stuff
. Isn’t that more realistic anyway? Well, it is for me at least. Items strewn about on the ottoman and stacks of papers on the counter? Absolutely normal.
My ideal desk, but with more books
I do have friends who not only prefer a spotless look, but actually achieve it. They have absolutely nothing at all on the coffee table that isn’t decorative or on their kitchen counters - I totally admire the dedication. And, I know deep down in places my husband would never mention after all these years for fear of impending death that he would prefer I be more like my OCD friends (again, I write that with sincere admiration). But, as I mentioned back in December, that's not me
. Admittedly, I do aim for model-home perfection when I clean my house. However, when my kids arrive from school and the living room instantly reverts to cluster of backpacks, shoes, and notebook paper, all hope is thrown out the now finger-smudged window. I guess all I’m really doing is removing some dust and simply minimizing the mess with routine cleanings.
Perhaps this whole revelation is a defense mechanism
to keep my sanity after having cleaned all day? Or, not ever wanting
to clean all day? Perhaps I've somehow rationalized that despite carefully organizing every single aspect of my home it’s just not going to stay that way. I have three kids and unless I’m willing to devote my entire existence to following behind each them with reminders to put things away, it’s not going to happen. I really don’t need another thing added to my list of things to bark at them about and would like to keep it narrowed down to homework and basic hygiene. Besides, they know what drives me batty - a forgotten 450-piece Lego project in the middle of the floor, overly sharpened pencils left on the leather couch or an empty granola bar wrapper on the side table next to their juice box.
I don’t want to live in a house where my kids can’t feel relaxed or more importantly, where I can’t relax. Now my husband, if he hasn't relaxed by now, he never will. So, call it whatever you like when you have to kick three pairs of shoes out of the way to close the door, or when you have to stack the endless amount of drawings and classwork your kids bring home, or when you have to throw everything into a plastic container until you feel like going through it. You know what I'm calling it.
I know I'm not alone in all of this because of the many "pins" on Pintrest about how to organize your home, whether it be your pantry, hallway closet, underneath your sink or even your filing cabinet. In fact, if you do a search on Pintrest for "organization
" you will find a hundreds of ideas that have been pinned well into the thousands. Kudos to those who are doers and not just dreamers - like me. Which one are you?
Love this kitchen, but the counters would only look like this right after it's built.
My hot topic today is diabetes and the issues that surround those that either have it or in danger of getting the disease. The question I have is whether anyone who isn’t
affected by it directly truly understands what it is? Presently, I have three people in my life who have Type 2 diabetes and I’m ashamed to say I truly don’t have a complete understanding of it. Ashamed because these people are important to me and I should know better.
I recently attended an event hosted by Healthy 100
, which is an organization that was "created by Florida Hospital
to educate and motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles.” The honorary guest speaker was everyone’s favorite Southern Belle, Paula Deen
. I must say, she is every bit as charming in real life as she is on television. Paula shared her story about discovering she was a Type 2 diabetic and learning how to maintain her diabetes through moderation, healthy eating, and medicine. Interestingly enough, she spoke some diabetic lingo that initiated applause from the crowd, but left me feeling clueless (I still clapped, of course).
So, I’ve done a little research since then.
Let’s first address the term Type 2 as it relates to diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association
(ADA) a total of 25.8 million people have diabetes and Type 2 is the most common form. Basically, what’s happening with Type 2 is that the body isn’t producing enough insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that allows our body’s cells to absorb glucose from the blood. Almost everything we eat is used to create glucose and it ends up in our blood to fuel the cells in our body that need it. It’s the insulin that regulates those blood glucose levels. Where Type 1 is a lack of insulin produced in the body, Type 2 is persistently high levels.
For those of you left saying, “whuuut...?” here is a handy video
to explain insulin’s job a bit better.
Okay, we should all now be aware that it’s insulin that takes the sugar from the blood to transfer it to cells and without it there’s an overload in our blood as it's not being distributed.
Back to Paula - one thing she mentioned, which caused a thunderous applause, was that her A1C
level was at 5.8 on her last doctor’s visit. My lovely friend I invited to come with me to the event, a Type 2 diabetic, was just about to explain when Marti White, who was on stage with Ms. Deen, elaborated what A1C meant. Essentially, this is a test that measures the average blood glucose for the past three months. ADA compares it to that of a baseball player’s season batting average as it illuminates a diabetic person’s success, in addition to making certain their treatment is working.
Based on some of the sites I’ve visited, the A1C, or hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), test on the average, non-diabetic person can range from 4% - 5.6% with anything higher indicating a risk, or actuality of, diabetes. My friend who was with me explained that number can vary as your doctor may want you to stick to a level based on your age or body type.
Paula also told a story of how her blood sugar level reached 139 about seven hours after a #2 cheeseburger meal, followed a few hours later by a fat-free yogurt topped with marshmallow cream. It was implied by her sudden pause and guilty glance toward the audience that the topping wasn't so fat free. But, in her defense she was on the go running errands and, as she so cleverly explained, the #2 meal is easy to eat while driving. Who hasn't reasoned their way into that excuse? The difference is that diabetics have to be more careful as this sugar level was high for her. However, she was delighted that after walking a mile she brought the level down almost by 100. What she clearly demonstrated was that exercise is essential for a diabetic as it brings down those high sugar numbers. What’s considered high? Glad you asked.
Based on the information from the ADA
website, before a meal, the blood sugar should read anywhere from 70 to 130. After a meal, the number can reach up to 180 on the glucose meter. Yet remember, the levels are based on what a health care provider has recommended based on A1C percentage and body type. I have experienced both high and low blood sugar levels with two family members. The side effects of either of these can be very disconcerting and downright scary if you don’t know what’s going on. Going with the baseball theme, first up to bat is the low blood sugar scenario, also called hypoglycemia
I’ve had numerous occurrences with one of my in-laws who, let’s just say, isn’t meticulous in regulating his blood sugar – at all. He rarely tests his glucose level and the blood sugar lowers to numbers that essentially make him incoherent. He gets confused and slurs his words – to put it plainly, it seems as though he's intoxicated. This was extremely scary for me in the past, as well as for others around him (outside of family), as it was confusing as to whether he required sugar or had too much. Again, ignorance on my part despite the frequency of this happening. Eventually, it was understood that he was in desperate need of sugar, therefore orange juice was always on hand.
And like with anything in life, there’s a yin with this yang, where the glucose levels are too high, hyperglycemia
. My mother, who had not been previously diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (but warned) fell into a diabetic coma because her blood sugar levels were about 1200. Seems rather high does it? Well, it’s a little over a thousand where it should be! Her factors for getting diabetes were exceptionally poor diet, obesity, and lack of exercise. It was thought she wouldn’t live because she didn't come out of her coma for almost seven days. The list of her immediate health issues was super long, but for the most part she has made a full recovery, aside from now being a diabetic. I wish I could say she's consistently been receptive to treatment by watching her diet, checking her blood sugar levels, and exercising, but she's not. We'll call it a work in progress. You can only take them to the water so they say...
In all reality, it’s up to the individual to be responsible with their diabetic condition, however as a friend, or better yet, family member, we should all be informed and at the ready to help if needed. Considering the overwhelming amount of people who have diabetes, one must also know the myths associated with the disease as we don’t have to just be overweight or have a poor diet. Here are a few myths
from the ADA website:
Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Although these are factors, other risks include family history, ethnicity and age.
Myth: Eating too much sugar will causes diabetes.
Fact: Type 2 is caused by genetics and lifestyle, so that combined with excess may contribute – particularly sugar-sweetened beverages because they raise blood glucose very quickly with just one serving. **Sorry, New York**
Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat sweets.
Fact: If sweets are combined with a healthy diet and exercise, there is no off limits – just portion control.
I can’t say this is all there is to know, but I think it’s a start as understanding the Type 2 diabetes that affect those important me is absolutely essential. And, armed with this knowledge, I recognize that not only are my children susceptible, but so am I. Fortunately, we’re already aware that a healthy diet and exercise are an important part of our lives, so we’re slightly ahead of the game. We encourage our kids to try new foods (this by no way, shape or form means they eat them) and try to keep our kids active.
I'll leave you with Paula's thoughts about our kids and lifestyle today compared to yesteryear, which actually applies to my childhood. This is a video I recorded at Florida Hospital's Healthy 100 event on March 11, 2013.
Sites to both help with your understanding of diabetes and live a healthy lifestyle. If you have more to share, please do!
We are all filled with little memories of our childhood that somehow pop into our heads for whatever reason, but how much do we really remember? And if you do, how accurate are your memories? I can’t remember last week, much less what happened twenty-something years ago - but, in reality, we really don’t remember things exactly as they happened anyway, just how we imagined they did. It’s one of those scientific factoids
This last Christmas, my dad and brother took all of our old VHS home movies and converted them to DVDs as a gift. I have to say it's been the best gift I’ve received - ever. The videos date back the late 80's when I was sixteen and have brought back moments that occasionally flow through my middle-aged brain. What’s remarkable is watching so many events I don’t even recall having the opportunity to remember. There are a lot of “I was there?” questions as I scrutinize each video.
There are about twenty DVDs in all that have captured not only the mundane moments, but the hilarity of many events that are only made funnier by tight acid-wash jeans and pointy shoulder pads. And what’s really amazing, if you can believe, is that the Husband wants to sit down and watch every single video with me. Yes, my Husband wants to watch home movies from my childhood. This alone could qualify him for sainthood, but sadly all the other things he does to get on my nerves nullifies it.
We did begin dating in 1989, a few years after the timeline of the videos and he’s actually in a few of them, but that’s not why he watches. He, like me, is fascinated with how much has changed over the years with family, clothing, cars, our voices, and most importantly, getting another chance to see those who have since passed away. However, my kids can't find me behind the oversized, plastic eyeglasses that are fashionably partnered with the silver braces on my teeth that I once wore. They have refused to watch more than a minute and seemingly don't want to acknowledge that I ever had a life before them. Ironically enough, I had forgotten that I did have said life and most grateful for the reminder.
The Husband has also made a valid point that because these home movies are decades old (mind you only two-ish), rather than just last week or last year, it intensifies the desire to watch each moment with fervent fascination. It’s hard to be nostalgic about your kid’s last birthday party video if you still have that red balloon string stuck in the ceiling fan, right? The very definition of nostalgia is a wistful yearning of some past period. In other words, how can you recognize the novelty of a special moment captured on film if it simply looks like yesterday?
With that in mind, I realized that I haven’t been videotaping any of the mundane or exceptionally special moments that my kids could appreciate twenty years from now. I have no excuse when you consider how easy it is to make videos now compared to when I was young. Here is the inexcusable truth when it comes to the ease of filming these days.
The 9 lb camera my parents took everywhere.
The half pound camera I neglect to take everywhere.
Even my current video camera is outdated with its 3" mini-discs compared to the a tiny memory card held by cameras these days. And, like most parents with multiple children born just before digital cameras were cool, I have tons of video tapes and photos boxed away for my first and just a few less for my second. When it comes to my third child, born in 2004, I have to pull out the computer as she came along right before I switched to a digital camera. All her video moments as a baby are essentially broken down into 1-3 minute snippets I "filmed" and stored on a computer’s hard drive, along with her photos.
This is not the same as twenty minutes of listening to stories told by grandma, hearing laughter from jokes being told by Cousin Jack or watching the joy in my parent's eyes when my brother walked for the first time. Those little snippets I took may still be special, but capturing the essence of the moment by extending the film time to include the atmosphere of the moment would make it immensely better.
I'm aiming to do a better job as the family historian having just recently finished watching the last of the DVDs my dad sent. Yet admittedly, I still fail to even use my fancy-schmancy 1080dp video slash 12.1MP photo camera
that weighs virtually nothing. I may carry it everywhere with me, but I simply grab my iPhone so I can immediately bombard my family and friends with instant photos and video via email or the social media of choice. Does this mean all I have to do is tell my children to snuggle up to their computer and check out my Facebook page when they grow up?
Not if I can help it.
There are a few things that annoy me, okay maybe a lot of things annoy me. It can be little things such as people who smack their lips when they eat or big things like lack of basic human kindness from a complete stranger. However, one of the biggest things on my list of annoyances are assumptions - a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. I know we are all guilty in one way or another, like my assumption that hundreds of people will read this blog. But, more specifically, when it comes to people, I can honestly say that I strive not to first assume the worst in them.
I'll wait a bit.
Having said that, I will not first assume that the bitchy guy who took my coffee order hates my mere presence, but is probably is having a bad day and unable to control his emotions. I will not first assume that the obnoxious teenagers hovering around the electronic section at Target weren’t taught any manners by their momma, but in teenage fashion have no presence of mind to realize how their behavior affects others. To put it plainly, I will not first assume that I know what someone is thinking or their motives without further inquiry. I mention this because time and time again, people assume to know what my motives are, or worse, my kid’s.
I hate that....with a passion.
Okay, maybe hate is a strong word, but when it comes to, let’s say, someone in my family who wrongly assumes to know the meaning behind my comment. Then yes, I’m just a bit annoyed because they should know me better. This especially applies to a friend, one of whom I may confide in and make myself vulnerable. They would probably know more about me than a family member might and if they're mad about something I said or did, don’t ignore me assuming I meant to be spiteful. That drives me batshit crazy. Use the big girl words and talk to me! If their way of handling the situation is to not respond to my calls, texts or emails (because I will try), it won’t be just an assumption our friendship meant very little. It would be proven.
As mentioned, on that short list of great annoyances is when a person assumes they know the motives of my child. Never assume you know my child because you’ve been teaching for decades and have come across similar circumstances. Never assume you know my child because yours did something similar. Never assume you know my child because you yourself behaved the same when you were young. Always give my child, any child, a chance to prove your worst assumption wrong by simply asking them the right questions and with the right tone.
Gone are the days when kids are to be seen and not heard, although I must admit that does sound like a really
good practice sometimes. How are we to teach the concept of compassion and understanding to our children if we don’t apply it to them? On the flip side, I regularly play devil’s advocate when my kids make an assumption about a friend or a stranger. I give them something to think about and broaden the notion that someone may or may not have it better than them. If society is indeed cyclical
, let’s try to make it a positive one.
Again, I’m not without fault, but being aware and trying to change is progress. Isn’t that what we do with bad habits? You won’t find me commenting on a situation I don’t know about or a even a stranger/celebrity/elected official that others may feel free to disparage. It doesn’t make me better than those that do, it makes me mindful of how my words might easily hurt someone whose shoes I haven’t walked in.
I must say though, I really don’t care about that old saying when you assume. You know the one where it makes an “ass out of u and me?” As far as I can tell, there’s only one “ass” in that word and I try not to be one.
Any thoughts on assumptions or stories to tell?