page contents

Saturday, November 26, 2011

When Kids Tweet Stuff

A bitter wind blows today.

Today my daughter tweeted: "My family is stupid. #Mad." She knows I follow her, so apparently she was sending a message. A hurtful message. On Alex's behalf, we barged into her room at the early hour of 8:00 am (ahem) to inform her that we were all going to the city for a holiday shopping trip. (We scoundrels.) Anyway, once I noticed the tweet, it was a fairly quiet ride.

A couple of weeks ago the New Yorker published a cartoon with a parent attempting to control his two boys fighting. The caption, "Now listen. I'm only going to say this a million times." That resonated. I showed it to the kids. They had no reaction. Not funny to them, I guess.

I hope my kids are kind to others. I hope they understand charity. Because if there is one recurring theme in our household, I'd say it's "disrespect."

The love for my children fills me with joy and terrifies me at the same time. But I wonder, does my love for them make me a competent mother? Much of the time, I'm awed by them. Then, stuff happens. And I think to myself, "Do I know these people at all?" Or, "What are they thinking?"

So maybe the holiday season isn't starting off so spectacular, but the optimist in me thinks it will get better. Good Housekeeping had ten prayers in December's issue. My favorite? Give Me Perseverance. Here's the first line:

People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.

Certainly, that is the creed of parenthood.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Give Food

“They had to go without food...because they ran out of food stamps.” This after-school story, about one of my daughter's friends, caught my attention. A friend went without food? Here? In Shelby County?

I think a lot about global causes. Africa. India. Those poor children abroad. I don’t want to diminish those veritable causes. But apparently there are plenty of needs not being met right next door. I feel a bit ashamed that I’ve easily taken for granted the meals I’ve never gone without. We actually have hungry people in this bountiful community of ours.

Rattled about my lack of knowledge, I emailed Dena Matthews, the Shelby County Outreach Coordinator, who obliged me with some pertinent facts. Did you know since July, the food pantry has helped 160 households and served 446 individual family members? And hunger has failed to discriminate across generations. It strikes children, single parents, single adults who’ve lost jobs, the elderly, the disabled, and even those who are working but struggle to make ends meet because of low wages.
Dena mentioned that specific needs of the pantry change because of the various donations received through the Food Bank for the Heartland. Currently, our pantry needs toilet paper, shampoo, boxed potatoes/boxed meals, breakfast items, tuna, and soups. Stop. Toilet paper. Have I ever had to worry about purchasing something so basic? The answer is no. And I wish I could report that I’ve always been mindfully grateful. Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive list of needs. A call or visit to Shelby County Outreach Center can provide you more information.

According to the US Census Bureau, 9.1% of our Shelby County lives below the poverty level. That’s over 1,000 people in a fairly confined radius. And our local food pantry has no income guidelines to qualify. They only need to live in Shelby County. Households can receive up to four pantries per year. 
When I was young, I remember complaining to my mother about supper. “We’re having hamburgers…again!” Her response? “I know plenty of families living on less than macaroni and cheese. Eat up.”  At the time, I didn’t believe her. But she wasn’t being over-dramatic, as I had assumed. And, as I found out much later, she was speaking from experience. She knew what it was like to skip a few meals, since she grew up below the poverty level.
I have never been hungry. Truly, the fact that anyone has to be hungry is an injustice. I am more than blessed. Now it’s my turn to share these blessings with neighbors in the community. I hope you all consider the same during this holiday season...and perhaps beyond.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How do you Rank?

The ten-year-old boy in our house is incessantly surveying household members. No, not typically over matters like “who do you think is likely to lead the Republican polls this week?” But on issues concerning our preferences over artistic matters. Of sorts. And the boy won’t rest until he’s satisfied that we’ve provided him a well-thought response. “Yes, Cole! I like Harry Potter 1 better than Harry Potter 4. Yes, I mean the book. Oh, the movie? I guess I’d have to say Harry Potter 3. Or 7. The second part. Yes, the movie, not the book. But I loved the book too. It was my third favorite. What’s my second favorite? Uhhh. Harry Potter 6? I think?
We have a lot of ranking going on in our house. “What’s your favorite___” Cole can’t seem to ever remember that my favorite movie of all time is You’ve Got Mail. (Or perhaps he chooses to repress the idea. And yes, I have a bookstore fetish.) So, whenever the favorite movie question pops up, and I give him my steadfast response, he plows ahead with, “What’s your second favorite?” or “What’s your favorite action movie?” And so on. Of course, I’m not the only lucky recipient of these quizzes. My hubby and daughter also get to play. And once as we were all growing a tad weary of the interrogations, and wondering where does this crazy ranking system originate from, my hubby quietly mentioned, “Oh, I know where he gets it.”
Flashback to that magical night Doug and I met. Apparently, I impressed my future spouse with my elaborate ranking system of bands and MTV videos. Oh yes! As a matter of fact, I still have somewhat of a ranking system. Perhaps I’m not quite so...fanatical about it. But it’s still there in the recesses of my mind. Van Halen has dropped quite a few pegs. Replaced by none other than...Coldplay. U2 has remained stalwart since like 1985–yes, that long! Oh, I could go on. But my point? Certain minds like to rank. And others....prefer to think in a cloud. (Although, I’m quite anxious to get my gadgets lined up for that wave of computing. I would rate that very highly.)

Cole and his 2nd favorite Marvel character, Spidey. (Deadpool is #1.)
So, what's your favorite...thing these days? Got more than one thing? Rank it!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Moon!

How old do you have to be before the moon is no longer wondrous? Has anyone looked outside tonight?

Last summer our family took in a Twins/ Red Sox game.  Boy-oh-boy! It was an exciting game. Lots of action. Big Poppy hit a homerun. Thome was on the verge of his 600th home run. And the Twins ended up beating the indomitable (at that time) Red Sox. But the sight that bedazzled me? The moon that traipsed across the skyline. I still think about it.
No, the photo does not do it justice.
Okay. Maybe I'm not the most profound baseball fan in the world. Maybe that's why the moon so easily distracted me. But I think most everyone would agree that the ambience of an MLB game is fairly... enchanting. So...wonder how old you have to be when $10 beer and obnoxious fans will lose their charm?

Never, I hope. I've been starting to feel a little old. But then tonight, I looked at the moon. And I remembered last summer's ball game. I think there's a little life in me yet.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Lost Holiday

Wolverine defeats Vader on Beggar's Nite
Now that Halloween (see pics of my kids plz) is behind us, stores are really gearing up for the next big one. Thanksgiving! Ha! Just kidding. Poor turkey-day. No hoopla. No respect. Let's just get to the PRESENTS. We're such an ungrateful nation at times...

It seems once we reach a certain age, a few us will boast Thanksgiving as our favorite holiday–those who don't have to prepare a turkey or host guests anyway. What's not to love? A
Madhatter on Ghoul's Day.
day off to indulge! A day when gluttony is not only acceptable, but championed! A holiday when NO ONE can be upset about the gifts they did or did not receive. It's merely a day to be thankful. Speaking of thanks...

Oprah surveyed a few of her writers on gifts they had received in the past. (Noticed how I brushed through the holiday of thanks myself...on to Christmas!) It got me to thinking, what gifts was I most thankful for? Oh gosh...Let me preface: only child. Received many, many great gifts as a child. One gift that really stands out for me was a race car track. Yep. A race car track. Now, I was my Mommy's girl. We shopped. We read Little House on the Prairie together–every single book in the series. And despite the Bionic Woman Barbie, the pink fur coat, and the fancy Frye boots, the race car track gave me and my dad a reason to to hang out a bit. (I was never any good at helping him rebuild his motorcycles. My hands would get...dirty.) So, yes. The race car set. It was an interesting diversion from my normal tea party-like schedule.

So there you have it. A commentary on the lost holiday of November. But wait. What about Veterans's Day? Now there's an important holiday that way too many of us don't take the time to consider, other than to maybe shop. But maybe 11-11-11 should be more than a bunch of ones that line up together this year. Wait for another insightful post on that one.

And a happy birthday to my lovely mother. Another important November event!