Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I am increasingly amazed by what wonderful living conditions (most) humans in the United States live in. At what other time in history could you be perusing the local shops, hear a man cough 20 feet away and instantly put a magic slimy goo on your hands to prevent getting whatever it is that he is spewing? To the Ancients of 500 years ago, liquid hand sanitizer is essentially black magic. You rub your hands together and, voila! you are protected from (once again, most) bacteria and illnesses.

Protein Bars. Oh how I love protein bars! They come with chocolate in them, yet they still aren't considered a candy bar (at least not by me, anyway)! Anywhere you are, just unwrap and enjoy the energy boost. You can pack a hundred and they would probably sustain you up Mt. Everest. It's brilliant. I embrace the day that we all eat little flavorful pills like in The Jetsons. Protein bars will do for now.

It's true that you turn into what you are most afraid of. In my case, that is a person who cannot function until she's had her morning cup of coffee. Most mornings, I find it very tedious to fill up the water, throw out the old grounds and refill with new before pushing the little button and waiting for the pot to fill up. But when I really think about it, the coffeepot is another little bit of magic for our time. How much more grumpy would I be if I had to start a fire, go down to the river for water, and then grind my own beans before enjoying a cup of joe?

Finally, I wonder how ancients got rid of their trash. Did they have trash collection 500 years ago (Bring out your dead!)? And if they did, could it possibly have been any easier than what we enjoy now? Drop the bag in the can, push it to the curb and forget about it. Of course, I only forget about it until I read an article about how much we pollute, but still, pretty darn easy.

There you have it. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for hand sanitizer, protein bars, coffeepots and trash men. And a multitude of other modern magic that makes my life simpler. Thank you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just Be

Have you ever tried to meditate?

You sit there, free your mind of all thoughts and "Just Be."

I've always been the type of person that thought I was doing something wrong when I meditate. If I could just lock in on the right mantra, I was sure I could stop all the thoughts whizzing through my head long enough to get to the perfect "Be" state.

Now I realize that it's okay to let your mind wander while meditating; it's supposed to be unstructured play time for your mind. A pure thought-less meditative state is really just icing on the cake. However, it still bugs me. I think the reason I have a deep obsession with sleep isn't because I'm tired, it's because I crave the ability to be out of control of my brain.

I am beginning to think that the concept of "Just Be-ing" is somewhat of a crock for women (or at least women like me). It was very simple as a girl: I believed in the notion that women could grow up, have a fantastic, exciting job and successfully raise a loving, close-knit family. And I know that many women can both. However, I am beginning to think that they are the exception and not the rule.

This may sound cynical, but it's not. I think that either choice can be very fulfilling and I am happy with the choices I've made. But every so often I peek over that fence, check out how green the grass is, and think, "What would it be like if every day weren't filled with cooking, cleaning, and disposing of other people's feces?" (I'm sorry, I know I reference feces way too much, but it really has become a large part of my day)

A major part of life is accepting the things you cannot change. And I am now accepting that if I want that lovely, close-knit family that I dream of, I have to do some dirty work. That is just the mother's job. Cook, maid, chauffeur, tantrum-tamer, and fecal-waste collector are all just a part of my job description. In order to let everyone else in the house "Just Be," I (and also my husband, who probably does a lot more housework that I should be letting him) have to take on the taskwork.

And maybe some day, when my minions can do these things for themselves (okay, probably not until they move out altogether), I can get my turn to "Be."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Magic of Wonder

Today, I introduced my son to The Wizard of Oz. I began by getting him hooked on "Follow the Yellow Brick Road." Once that was firmly stuck in his head (and he had done his rendition for all the fellow consumers at the quick oil change place), we came home to watch the DVD.

I cried. I cried when Miss Gulch tried to take away Toto. I cried when Dorothy was stuck in the tornado (and what? They couldn't hear here banging on the darn shelter door?). I cried when the Munchkins set her off down the yellow brick road. I cried at just what a great actress Margaret Hamilton was.

Nostalgia and joy combine to create a certain force, that, when it hits you, all you can do is cry. I answered F's non-stop questions about the movie between great gulping sobs. Thank goodness my daughter was sleeping! If she had been at all delighted while Dorothy danced around, I'm sure my happiness sensors would have burst and I might possibly have gone on a marathon movie-watching schedule of Oz, Mamma Mia, and White Christmas for the next week. I would have been discovered as a sobbing wreak who could only mouth showtunes.

What is it about sharing something from our childhood with our offspring that makes us so joyful? My theory is that, while a bad mood spreads quickly (misery loves company and all that), so does a great one. Evoking the warm fuzzies through movie nostalgia brings about a truly great mood in me. Perhaps some of the best I've been in (Rosemary Clooney is my official therapist). It's one of the best ways for me to show my kids my happiness. And after seeing a million tiny Storm Troopers this Halloween, I think I'm not the only one.

What are some of your favorite movies or music that you like to share with your kids?