Thursday, June 30, 2011

GOING VIRAL



What is not  "going viral" these days? A baseball catch, a baby cry, a puppy bark, a rude person...  The list is endless. Today it's a horrible email that a bride-to-be received from her future mother-in-law. There is, truly, no end to the rudeness that people will perpetrate.

Going viral doesn't have the significance that it aspires to have.

Why is it that obnoxious people and major accidents always seem to draw the audience? As yet I haven't seen a kick-ass lecture or a beautiful soprano solo "go viral". It's odd the things that people flock to view or to experience.

Just because a million people read Sarah Palin's emails today doesn't mean their roving interests won't be caught by what Avril wore tomorrow. People's interests are capricious and always on the look out for the next invidious moment of a friend or foe

Some people seem to actually seek attention on the "viral" front.  Which, ironically, makes them FAR less interesting than people who are more private. (and far more talented, as it happens.)

Anyway, my point is that I have heard of about ten things just this week that have "gone viral" and, so far, it hasn't made me stand up and take notice.
So, take THAT Good Morning America.

And so, on that morning when you ask me if I saw that funny beer commercial or did I watch "The Voice" or did I see that the pope tweeted, I will tell you emphatically, NO, I did not.
I'm not interested in what is "viral" today!!!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Letting Myself Go


If you're wearing anything ironed or matching, please skip to the next blog post.  This post will not interest you.
Now, for the rest of us, we've let ourselves go and I'm the worst in the bunch!

Somehow, between the birth of my first child and today I have done what I swore swore swore I would never do. I have Let Myself Go. I no longer "do" hair or make up. I haven't touched an eyebrow brush since the Clinton administration and my mascara has expired. I haven't worn anything higher than knee highs in years. Even as I type with my four long nails, five short nails, and one fungal nail, I realize that it was a fairly fast slide down the slippery slope.
I haven't used the word "primp" in relation to myself in over a decade.

I think Kirstie Alley looks fine!

The thought that I've "LET MYSELF GO" occurred to me the other day when I had to pick my daughter up at the mall. For whatever reason, I had to get out of the car to meet her inside. As I stepped out of the car, I realized that I was wearing yellow capris (not cute ones), my husband's T, and a slouchy pair of socks with those attractive blue rubber shoes. I won't mention the clippy in my hair, put there without looking into a mirror.
As I walked toward the front door, I saw a shadow inside the store see me and hide! Entering the door, I called, "Honey, I see you!  There, behind the push-up bras! Come out, Mommy is here to take you home!"

I was reading an article online the other day where Kate Hudson confessed that she had "let herself go". She's standing there with perfectly highlighted hair, silvery blue eyeshadow applied perfectly, and a gold necklace around her neck. I thought, if THAT'S "let go", I'm in trouble!
At least her white shirt (my grey one, used  to be white) shirt doesn't have food stains down the front and her cute little coat there isn't missing two buttons...
Her face looks clean...what's the problem?!
Still, I feel bad for the woman, having to go through life looking like that! And she doesn't even have access to Muscles, AHEM, Matthew McConaughey anymore? I can give her some time to deal with that one.
Sob.

So, I'm going to move this package of cookies aside, wipe off the crumbs, pull up my sweat pants, and hit the bicycle pathListen, I can do this! I even shaved below the knee last night! I have enough bras that I could change each day (or so) and I have a full bottle of my favorite dandruff shampoo.
I can't wait to recognize myself in the mirror again!

I'm going!  ...In a sec...as long as I can wear a ponytail...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Those Who Can't



Something that has been on my mind. You know the old (and untrue) saying "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."
WELL, I have observed some amazing people in the last few days and I would change that saying completely to: Some of those who can, do. Some of those who can, simply have to share their gift with love.
Thank You to the great teachers!

I'm not just saying this because my sister is about to get her teaching certificate. I'm saying this because my sister is about to get her teaching certificate and she is AMAZING. She can do her job WELL. She can do many things extremely well. She she wants to teach. Because she wants to share that with people who are interested in "getting " it. It makes me even more proud the woman that she is. She and I have, in the past, read books together and she has enabled me to see literature in a totally new and enlightened way. She is amazing!

Also, I'm saying this because my son is in a gymnastics class with some of the best instructors you can imagine! The last four men who have taught his various gymnastics classes certainly CAN compete and have competed. Each of them, in their own ways, are superior in their field. And they choose to teach, to pass their beloved hobby, skills, and passion on to the kids who are interested in it.

Also, one last person, my second grade teacher, MRS. BIESEGEL. She was such a good teacher that I STILL think fondly of her!
And so, I offer my new and improved axiom for teachers:
Some of those who can, do.  Some of those who can, simply have to share their gift with love.
And, speaking as a homeschooling parent, I can promise you, teaching is completely a labor of love.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grateful, Full of Grate?

 

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.
— Ralph H. Blum

Gratitude means thankfulness, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging what you receive. It means learning to live your life as if what you are given isn't a...given.

What if everyone were to do it?

What if everyone were to be aware that they have PLENTY.  That people are there for them.  That the earth provides.  What if we began to notice the niceties of life?  The bagger at the grocery store.  The guy or gal who delivers your mail, rain or shine.  The person who restocks the shelves.  The kid who remembers to close the gate.  The spouse who cleans the hair out of the drain after every shower.  The child who remembers to call when they "get there".  That aunt who always remembers to send you a birthday card.  The kind stranger who smiles instead of frowns when you accidentally cut them off on the road.  That hydrangea that renews itself with the rain.

Studies show that being GRATEFUL can actually improve one's life by making it happier, by making one more resilient, by strengthening relationships, by reducing stress, by improving health!  It's a win-win situation.
It seems likely that having a positive approach to life, that expressing your gratitude, and that thinking positively is the key to living a satisfied and fulfilling life.


So, what about that child in your life who is NOT grateful.  They are the Eeyore we all know and love.  Certainly most families have an Eeyore.  The child for whom the glass is always "half empty".  The child who seems to see the gloom, the negative, the things wrong with their day.
If you have one of these children, you know just what I mean. You fear for their ability to enjoy life, to sustain, to persevere, to be happy!  And grateful.


Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water.
"Pathetic," he said. "That's what it is. Pathetic."
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.
"As I thought," he said. "No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that's what it is."
Winnie the Pooh

Eeyore doesn't WANT to be gloomy.  It is his nature to be so.
If you have a child in your life who has difficulty finding the gratitude, it IS possible to gently remind them to look on the brighter side.

It is true that, if you look for the positive, you will find it.  If you look for the negative, well, you will find that too.  Both are there every day.  The child with those grey-colored glasses will have a difficult time seeing the good, bright, happy, positive, sunny.  It is their nature.  Studies prove that some people are genetically predisposed to a lower rate of "happy".  
Therefore, we have proven, in our own family, that those who, by nature, have a difficult time achieving happiness can use these three activities to sort of short-circuit the negativity and deliberately seek happiness.


First, a child (or adult) who struggles to find sunshine can purposefully take the time to seek gratitude situations.  Certainly, this person will be able to identify the things in the day that were not pleasing.  With practice, this person will also be able to locate moments or events that are, truly, good.   Given the reminder, the displeased person can deliberately use their eyes in a new way...with the intention of seeking the goodness or the pleasantness.  It helps to have a guide.  
 With the child in our family who identifies strongly with this propensity to view the world through pessimism and cynicism, we have noticed that her ability to identify moments of gratitude have increased with practice, with assistance.


Secondly, when a child takes the time to think of others, they can't help but feel good.  I have noticed my child recently giving out compliments and smiles...of her own free will!  After doing so, she were heard to say "I feel great when I compliment someone!"
My beloved child learned that an improved sense of well-being came from this selflessness.  Ironic.

And, finally, expressive writing!  We have learned that writing about "self" creates a thoughtful environment for more reflection.  For a purposeful evaluation of the day.  For finding satisfaction with the day.  For goal setting.

All of these activities require a deliberate approach to "finding" happiness.  And, therefore, to "finding" gratitude.

I have a sign on the wall in our home that reads:  

Being happy is not the result of being happy.  
Being happy is the result of being grateful.


THEREFORE, the original point of my blog post today, giving assist to the difficult-to-satisfy person to locate SATISFACTION in life!  The solution is to live a deliberate life.  And to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Loving a person who has difficulty locating the pleasure and fulfillment in life is a day-to-day job of parenting deliberately.

I have to add one more thing about parenting this child.  Ever since I became aware of the "naturalness" of her negativity, I have learned to give her a great deal of freedom to express her moods, her dramatically swinging moods.  We frequently discuss the thought patterns that contribute to the gloomy moments.  In doing this, she has become aware that she is "allowed" to be the person she is as well as to assist her to find that person she wishes to be.  I try to truly LISTEN to her, even when she is one hundred percent negative.  Because that negativity is very real to her.  I remind her that her very strong feelings are valid and cared for.  I see the rare moment when the sun shines through..!  
And, most important, I am giving her the tools she will need as an adult dealing with these same issues.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

"They" Want "Us"

It had come to my attention that homeschoolers are being "wooed", "lured" if you wish, by the public schools.
My reply to this article was along the lines of "You can't put lipstick on a pig."
Article with public schools seeking to entice homeschooers to "sign up"