Category: Observations about Life


My former garden had some incredible veggies!  That's a 55 pound dog for reference!

My former garden had some incredible veggies! That’s a 55 pound dog for reference!

I’m not fond of cooking.  The problem is that I like eating, I like knowing what is in my food, and I like high quality food.  When you add all that up, it means that I get to cook.  I really didn’t want to have to cook all the time, and fervently wished to eat other people’s cooking.

In the weeks leading up to my move, cooking got less and less feasible, as I was trying to make sure everything got done.  Then we drove to Texas over the course of two days.  By the time we pulled into Texas on Monday, I was ready to get set up and start cooking again.  The only problem was that my new refrigerator wasn’t set to be delivered until Thursday.  But I could live with a couple more days, right?

Then we found out that our fridge is apparently special order, and won’t be here until Tuesday!  So I have all of Labor Day weekend without a fridge!  We’ve been using a small cooler to keep a few things on hand, like coffee creamer and yogurt so that I have some breakfast, but I want salad.  And maybe some fajitas.  Lentil loaf with baked potatoes and asparagus sounds awfully good too!

I’m sorry I said I didn’t want to cook anymore, really.  I’m sorry I wished to eat food others made, really.  I promise, I’ll keep my mouth shut in the future!

(Okay, no, I probably won’t.)

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Being the Harry Potter fan I am, I’m fond of Daniel Radcliffe.  Yes, I realize he’s not really a wizard, but it’s hard to separate them.

You never hear that much about him, mostly because he seems pretty grounded and avoided the child star curse.  He’s just a guy who does stuff.  I read a recent interview with him, and the following quote really stood out for me:

“It’s an interesting thing: The internet isn’t about having a good time — it’s about showing people you’re having a good time. When you go out to bars and clubs, nobody’s actually dancing or enjoying themselves; they’re all taking photos of themselves at the bar so that later on they can say, ‘I was there, wasn’t it great?’ It’s crazy.”- Daniel Radcliffe

I’ve noticed this phenomenon before.  Every time I go on Facebook, as a matter of fact, I wonder for maybe a second or so, “Why is everyone having more fun than me?”  And I think I finally realized, maybe they’re not.  Maybe I just don’t take pictures of all the fun stuff I do.  I don’t update Facebook with: “I just blew through 50 pages of Man’s Search for Meaning, woo hoo!” complete with photos and the ubiquitous selfie.

I read an article that said that people are having more trouble forming memories because of the rampant picture taking we do.  By looking at things through a lens, instead of better remembering them, we remove ourselves from them.  In my house, we’re in the habit of no cell phones at meal times.  I’ve been trying to see something awesome, like when I’m hiking, and resist the urge to whip out my camera phone.  The picture never looks quite the same anyway, so if I sit there and drink it up instead of photographing it, maybe I’ll enjoy it more.

I love pictures as much (or more than) the next guy, but I’m trying to be where I am.  I try to just do what I’m doing without giving into the urge to document every step I take.  It can be hard.  I love taking pictures, and I have a nifty camera with me at all times!

I don’t think that picture taking is a positive or a negative.  I just think that we should strive to do all things in moderation, and picture taking is definitely one of them.  I love digital cameras because I can snap as much as I want to, but there comes a point when it actually intrudes on the experience, instead of adding to it.

So where do you weigh in on the whole picture taking thing?

 

 

 

Here’s this week’s edition of Feel Good Friday.  Remember to focus on what you want to see in the world.  That’s not to say to ignore the negative stuff, but try not to focus on it.

People pay MORE for coffee on the honor system.

Acid rain effects are reversing.

You can’t change what happens to you, but you can change how you react to it.

Celebrity employs the homeless to make jewelry.

Florida cop helps man in wheelchair.

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way, and not starting.” -Gautama Buddha

My new yard!

My new yard!  Very green…

Sorry for the lack of updates for almost a week.  As some of you know, I completed my move from Arizona to Texas this weekend.  My stuff moved out and into my new house two weeks ago (I’ve been camping in my living room) and this weekend, we moved the last of the things and the animals out.

We have six cats and two dogs, so the only logical and practical way to transport them is by vehicle.  So, we rented a minivan and I drove my Golf, and we took two days to drive  1,008 miles.  I had the two dogs and one cat, and the husband had the other 5 cats plus my plants.  Driving is not my favorite thing, as I consider it to be boring, so there were times on the very loooooooooong drive that I thought I wasn’t going to make it.  I thought I would just pull over to the side of the road and refuse to go any further.

Because we’re brilliant and organized, we didn’t leave until 5p.m. on Sunday.  We got to our hotel around 2 a.m.  Of course, because we got in late, we didn’t leave until late on Monday (noon), and got to our new home around 2 a.m. again!  Needless to say, between sleep deprivation, time changes, and a very long drive, I’m still tired and adjusting.  It’s going to take lots of coffee and naps before I’m back to normal (please note that I’m referring to my “normal,” not “normal normal”).

Last time we moved, the cats seemed traumatized, hiding and acting weird for weeks.  This time around, everyone is exploring, jumping on boxes, and generally having a great time.  Attitude makes a difference, even in cats!  We bought the dogs a tennis ball launcher yesterday, so they, of course, are perfectly fine.

Wish me luck unpacking!

Welcome to this week’s edition of feel good Friday.  I think that if we constantly focus on the bad news, that’s all we believe happens.  I’d rather feed what I want to grow, so I feed the good news (the flowers) and neglect the bad news (the weeds).

4 normal looking guys recreate underwear ads.  Way to go body acceptance for men too!

We’ve heard about all the bad stuff happening in Ferguson, but what about the good?

99 year old woman sews a dress a day for African girls.

Homeless vets build homes for other homeless vets.

10 cops caught helping others.

Kids dance to Pharell’s Happy.

Kindness isn’t as rare as the news and Facebook would have us think.  There’s kindness everywhere, and good people waiting to be kind.  The problem is that when we focus on all the awful stuff, people forget that kindness will mostly be returned with kindness.  Not always.  The world isn’t fair, and the there are people out there who will hurt you, usually because they’ve been hurt and don’t know how to deal with kindness.  But you can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution.  Which will you choose today?

I don't need a reason to post a picture of a puppy!

I don’t need a reason to post a picture of a puppy!

I’ve been thinking a lot about age lately.  I’m turning 37 today, and the major problem is that I don’t feel 37.  I don’t feel like I’m on the shady side of 35 or approaching 40.  When I was in my 20s, I knew I was aging only because I saw the numbers creep up.  I didn’t have that awful time when I hit 30, and I’m not quite sure why.  I know I look younger than 37 because I get told that from time to time.  But even if I do start to look my age… so what?  Why is that a bad thing?  Age isn’t the enemy.  As long as I can still do the things I want to do, I’m good.  I know someone who’s hiked the Grand Canyon in his 50s, so I’m not out yet.  Sure, I have some aches and pains, but nothing that holds me back.

This partly came to mind because of my birthday, and partly because I read an article about Gwyneth Paltrow going through a painful process to look younger.  Well… she looks great, and I guess if your job is your body and face, then it’s important.  But that sounds awful to me.  I’m not willing to suffer for beauty; I just hope I’m one of those women who ages gracefully.  Luckily, the women in my family don’t wrinkle!

In any case, I’ve started applying more lotion, especially to my face, than in past years.  I never tanned, but I’ve been careless about sunscreen.  I now take care of these things and also try to wear a hat outside.  I’ll do things that are relatively easy, but painful, weird, chemical things to my face?  Uh… no.

I recently read Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, and he talks about how a life well-lived is more valuable than youth.  Youth still has to find meaning and purpose in life, whereas someone with a life well lived has already found it.  My life isn’t about how I look, so why focus on it?  I’d rather focus on the things that are important, like being a good person and enjoying my adventures day to day.  Enjoying those adventures means I’m going to get bumps, bruises, scars, and age spots.  And that’s okay.  If I have a day when it really matters, I’ll wear make-up.

I’d rather be interesting than beautiful.

What lengths are you willing to go to for beauty?

 

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, Canada

I’m only sharing one thing today because it’s a 15 minute TED talk, but it’s amazing.  I laughed out loud at times and got teary eyed at others.  This is what happens when you treat people with respect.  Please take the time to watch it.

Teacher increases school attendance from 40% to 93% using the power of vegetables.

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

         -Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

Humans aren't the only ones with hoarding issues!

Humans aren’t the only ones with hoarding issues!

The first time I heard this term, I was working for CPS, and one of the foster parents and kids said that this was one of their favorite weekend pastimes.  I heard “yard sailing” and thought, “What is that?”  This particular foster mom was one of those who barely breathed when she talked, so I had no time to ask what she meant.  I eventually figured it out from context clues, but until then, just nodded and smiled.

We recently held our first yard sale.  I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it.  Usually I just give things to Goodwill, but I wanted to see if we could make some extra money, and we definitely did.  I read a little bit online for advice before I did it, but I learned a few things as well.

1.  Start early: We scheduled for 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.  6 a.m. to noon would have been better, or even stopping at 11 a.m. would have been fine.  The buyers, the ones who do this on the weekends get there early.  Everyone after 10:30 was mostly browsing.

2.  Wear sunscreen: seriously.  Put it on before you start.  You won’t have time to put it on later.

3.  Don’t bother to sell on Sunday.  No one is going to come, not unless you’re on a very main road.

4.  Be ready to bargain.  No one pays full price for things.  (But since I was going to give it away anyway, all was good.

5.  People might get insulted if you say no.  Someone offered me a price I thought was way too low, and when I said no, she rolled her eyes and got huffy.  The item didn’t sell and is currently on my Goodwill pile, so maybe I would have been better off selling to her, but I didn’t like her attitude.  Which brings me to the next one…

6.  If you’re a buyer, be polite.  I bargained with nice people way more often than with less than nice people.  I had one guy get something that was marked $20 for $10 because he was persistent and polite about it.

7.  Have fun.  After all, if you’re not having fun, what’s the point?

Words to live by!

Words to live by!

I HATE the new “chain letters.”  Remember, back in the day, you got these chain letters, and if you didn’t copy them 437 times and redistribute them, your head would fall off and crows would pick at your mangled body?  Yeah, well Facebook has the new chain letter.  And instead of threats, it comes with a hefty dose of guilt.

I want a cure for: cancer, diabetes, animal cruelty, male pattern balding, menstrual cramps, stupidity, egotism, and etc.  I want children to feel beautiful and people with mental illness to be accepted.  But I don’t necessarily think that sharing some cutesy picture with a catchphrase and “Repost if you hate whatever.  I bet 99% of you won’t” is helpful.  Some doctor is not going to come along and say “Oh, because I’m getting all this encouragement from Facebook, now I’ve found the cure!”  I don’t repost it; I am the 99%!  But I feel a nagging sense of guilt when I don’t.  Because, after all, I do hate herpes and brain rot (I just made that up).  I just am not sure why I need to remind all my friends of this 1,371 times a day.

Sure, there are some things I share because it’s important to raise awareness.  We’re not going to find a cure for depression anytime soon, but talking about it can de-stigmatize it.  A lot of parents aren’t aware of how rampant bullying is, both in school and online (and adults get bullied these days too!) so sharing information about bullying is important.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t share things on any and all issues, and I’m not saying that awareness isn’t a helpful tool in general.  What I am saying is that I hate that feeling of being manipulated, like I’m a bad person if I don’t share this stuff, or that I don’t care.  I care.  I just am not going to repost it.

Recently, there have been a lot of songs and videos coming out about natural beauty.  There’s also been a push toward acceptance of larger body types.  Part of what concerns me though, is that the discussion seems polarizing.  When we say that bigger is okay, we don’t just say it’s okay, but better.

Like this!

Like this!

This is the kind of thing I see on Facebook all the time.  It takes the shaming from the fat girls and transfers it to the bony girls.  I had a friend in high school who was super skinny, and the truth is, she was just built that way.  I don’t know if her body knows how to build fat.  But she was a pretty girl, and more importantly, one of the kindest, most interesting people I’ve ever met.  When I think of her, I don’t think about her body type first, because it’s not the most interesting or important thing about her.  The same way that my extra weight isn’t the most interesting or important thing about me.

I did an experiment in my group.  We were talking about body type and how weight gain can lead to relapse on drugs.  I asked the group members what comes to mind when they think of me.  They said things like “kind,” “smart,” “teacher,” etc.  Then I asked, “Does anyone care about my weight?  When you thought about that, did the fact that I’m fat come first?”  The room fell dead silent.  One of the people in my group whispered, “I never thought about it that way.”  We place so much weight (pun intended) on body type, but not on what’s really important.

In All About That Base, Meghan Trainor declares “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.”  Here’s the thing.  Skinny isn’t better.  “Curvy” isn’t better.  They both just are.  I’m overweight, and I’ve pretty much always been.  But I was also pretty gorgeous at one point, and looking back, I’ve realized that I should have celebrated my body type instead of envying my skinnier friends.  When I look in the mirror now, I try to see the things I like about me instead of picking out the flaws.  I need to lose a few (dozen) pounds now as I am way too overweight, but I’m never going to “thin.”  My BMI is never going to be in the range it’s “supposed” to be.  I have hips and a large chest, and I’m okay with that.  I focus on eating fruits and vegetables, hiking, and playing with my dogs.  That’s what healthy is for me.  I’d like to lose weight more for health reasons than aesthetic ones (mostly).

For you skinny ladies out there: your shape is your shape too, and you shouldn’t have to be ashamed of being naturally thin or athletic.  You don’t need a diet (you’re not fat) and you don’t need to put on weight (unless your doctor said so, in which case then do what your doctor says.)  You look great the way you are.  All different body types make the world an interesting and beautiful place.  We need to celebrate our differences, not say that one is better or worse.  Sure, some people find one type more attractive than the other, but one person likes chocolate, another person likes vanilla, and a third person likes Rocky Road.  My point being that my love of mint chocolate chip doesn’t mean that cherry vanilla is bad; it’s just not my thing.

Focus on improving your mind and your character.  Be giving and loving.  We like looking at gift wrap and bows, but at the end of the day, no one cares about that.  You’re a gift, and it doesn’t matter what you’re wrapped in… it really is what’s on the inside that counts.

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