Musing, Rants

Self Help

imagesI like to listen to books on audio and podcasts while I workout and do mundane chores.  It helps pass the time and I generally gain some knowledge or it gets the gears turning in my head and thus inspires a blog.  Here lately, I’ve noticed many of the podcasts I’m listening to have a self-help quotient to them.  I don’t think they are aiming to do that, I think it just happens organically.  Now that I think of it, I’ve noticed a bump in the self-help phenomenon everywhere – Facebook posts, Youtube channels, even just text conversations with friends about the latest self-help book.  It’s worse than New Year’s resolutions. It seems everyone is on a kick to make themselves into a better version of themselves.

I have nothing against bettering oneself.  One must do a certain amount of bettering oneself just to sustain – like eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise.  But, as of late, it seems like nothing is good enough.  It almost seems like we are encouraged to find something wrong and fix it.  This isn’t just our looks – that has been going on for generations. I see it more and more with personality traits and behavior.  There seems to be a desire to slap a label on everything and everybody and then once the problem is labeled it must be addressed.

For example, if someone had demanding parents which turned that person into a super overachiever that person is them somehow flawed. When did being a Type A perfectionist become flawed and how is that a problem?  Let’s say a person happens to be the last born in the family and a natural entertainer.  Why is it now a bad thing to be a natural born entertainer or a pleaser or a fixer?  One podcast I listen to is a husband and wife team. The husband in this duo has a medical condition – ADHD.  I love listening to him because I also have ADHD. It’s like I’m listening to myself only with a deep voice. The duo recently had some family therapist on the show telling the man how despite years of learning coping mechanisms so that he can better function in the “normal non ADHD world” he is still broken and he needs to change.  It was taking every ounce of self-control I had not to start yelling out loud back to the podcast.  Why does he need to change?  I understand how hard it is to keep one’s shit together with ADHD. I understand how life with a perfectionist can be hard to live with.  I get that being around the entertainer can be exhausting for those who just want to chill. But, having those traits do not make a person broken or in need of change.  If a person is happy with themselves and a functioning member of society why do they need to change in order to make others happy?  Where would our world be without the innovators, the free thinkers, and the overachievers? In today’s spirit of inclusion, why can’t we embrace that some people have certain strengths and weaknesses that others don’t possess? I can’t help but wonder if this is the modern version of the search for the meaning of life or is this our way of evolving?  Are we so interested in making everyone the same that if you aren’t the same you must be broken?

Photo Credit: Lifted off the internet. No copyright infringement intended. Blood/turnip. I’m broke and do this for free. Don’t sue me just ask me to take it down if it’s yours.

 

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Musing

Man Down

img_1750I’ve found one of the shittiest parts of getting older is watching the heroes and icons of your childhood get older and subsequently die.  Much like half of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I just read where Burt Reynolds has passed away. Two of my earliest childhood memories involves Burt Reynolds.

The first memory is sort of foggy. I remember my Mother talking about seeing Burt while he filmed a scene from a movie across the street from her work in Nashville, TN. If I’m not mistaken, the movie was W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings. She went on and on about how handsome he was.

The other memory is crystal clear.  My Mother took me with her to see Smokey and the Bandit at the local movie theater.  It was a night time showing. I was about three years old and it was way past my bedtime. In fact, I think I fell asleep shortly after this incident, but I digress.  It was during intermission. Yes, they still had them back then. And, we were standing in line for the ladies room. All of these women in line were going on and on about how good looking Burt was. I mean just really oohing and ahhing.  My Mother pipes up with, “Can you believe he wears a rug?”  Well, I immediately want to know what a rug is so I start asking, “Momma, what’s a rug.”  And. I. Won’t. Shut. Up. Of course, my mother thinks it’s a good idea to ignore her inquisitive child. I’m pretty sure that was a bad move on her part considering I wouldn’t stop asking.  After 30 seconds or maybe 5 minutes of me asking, “Momma, what’s a rug?”, she finally yells, “It’s a toupee.  A man wig.”  I remember thinking that was the stupidest thing I had ever heard. And, then I couldn’t stop envisioning him taking off said wig and putting it on one of those little white styrofoam heads.  It still boggles the mind.  The funniest part of the whole thing is that Burt admitted to the toupee.  God bless him.  He was real about being vain and a skirt chaser and a bit of an asshole.  And yet, the people from that era still loved him despite his flaws.

I think I will pop in Smokey and the Bandit tonight after dinner.  My oldest loves the movie as much as I do.  I waited until he was older than three to let him watch it.   And, just like my Mother, I’ve informed my kids that Burt is wearing a “rug”.

Photo Credit: I totally lifted this photo off of Facebook. Everyone I know has this photo on their page right now. I don’t know why every news outlet picked it to attached to their story but whatever.  No copyright infringement. I’m not making any money off this thing. Blood. Turnip. I’m broke. If you took it and you want me to take it down let me know.

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Musing

Beware of Old Ladies

28911a13b78de54a8c8c2bc3f32fb245I don’t plan to get old. I’m fighting it pretty much kicking and screaming. In all seriousness, longevity genes do not run in my family. My Mother was 45 when she died and her Father was 55 when he died. Although I know they had risk factors I don’t have, it’s still unnerving to look at how old they were and realize how old I am and think, ‘Damn, I may only have a few good years left.’ It is that thought that makes me fight getting old. It also helps that I’m a big kid in an adult human suit.

In contemplating old age, I have made a bucket list.  I also have a mental list of things I have to start doing should I make it to 80. For example, if I make it to 80, I’m going to take up smoking – bonus points if they’ve outlawed cigarettes by then.  I plan to be very ostentatious and obnoxious about it. I’m gonna get me one of those long cigarette holders like Morticia Addams.  I’m going to wave it around and gesture with it. I’ll leave my ashes everywhere and not clean up after myself.  I’ll even light up in places where you’re not allowed to smoke. What are they going to do to me for breaking the rules?  Kick me out?  Bodily throw an 80 year old lady out of a place of business?  It will be awesome.  I can’t wait.  I’ll probably take up skydiving as well. I’ve got big plans.  However, I know I can’t be the only person who feels like getting old might be a good time to thumb my nose at the universe.

So, when I get the following text from one of my besties I knew two things – my spirit animal exists and I am not the only person in the universe that has weird things happening to them.

Friend: I’m at JC Penney digging through the clearance racks when I notice I’m blocking a little old lady (like 80+) looking at the clothes. So, I say, “I’m sorry. Let me get out of your way.”

Old Lady: “Oh, it’s alright, sweetheart. I’m just over here shoplifting.”

My friend: Smile and a nervous laugh

Old Lady: “I’m telling ya they never suspect a sweet old lady and at my age, I gotta keep it interesting.”

My friend was stunned.  I was in awe.  How fantastic is that?  While I don’t want to become a felon, I admire that old lady’s spunk.  She probably really does feel like she only has a few years left in her so why not burn that candle.  I’m with her.  At that age, why not, put me in jail at least I get three meals a day I don’t have to cook and I get medical care.  Let my kids sort out my crap and claim the body when I die. It’s kinda brilliant. You wanta know what else is crazy?  This is not unheard of thinking.  Japanese prisons are bursting at the seams with old ladies.  Don’t believe?  Read it here from a real news source.  As I see it, I’m just planning ahead.

Photo credit:  This photo has been floating around the internet for years with about 1,000 memes attached to it.  I just did a google search old lady drinking at the gym.  This is what I found. No copyright infringement intended. If this is your photo, I will kindly give you props. Otherwise, I aspire to be the old lady at the gym day drinking.

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Musing, Rants

Why Is This News?

300px-Barnum's_animals_examplesWhen one looks back at the discoveries and advances we as a society has made in the past 100, 50 or even 20 years, it quite literally boggles the mind. And, then I see articles like the two I’m going to talk about today and I’m left wondering if all hope for the future is lost. Have we really devolved so quickly?

The first one comes from the Today Show (link here) but can be found at all manner of sources.  Apparently, the Nabisco corporation felt the need to change the picture on the front of animal crackers to reflect the animals roaming freely instead of behind bars. Why are we hearing about this and how is this news?  It’s not. It’s just cookies and it’s just a packing change. Let’s face it packaging changes every five seconds for most products – every couple of years at least. This is not important.  It’s not even real animals. And, yet this change comes apparently because PETA had to make a giant federal case about the issue and pretend to be offended about the poor drawn animals behind bars on the box of Nabisco’s Animal Crackers.  Are you freaking kidding me?  This dear reader is fake news because it’s not really news at all. We shouldn’t have to hear about this. We should all just roll up into the Walmart, reach for a box of Animal Crackers and say to ourselves, “Hum, they changed the package.” No need for a PSA. No need for a Today show article. No need for any hoopla whatsoever. It’s just freakin’ cookies, people.

The next I can’t believe I am seeing this comes from a feature story I saw on Texas news station. However, a quick google search trying to find the link for said story yielded similar stories in Chicago and other cities and are being carried on nationwide outlets like CNBC and The Guardian.  So what was this feature story about? Apparently, not only can you hire a tutor for math and sports for your child but also for video games, specifically Fortnite.  I find this more outrageous than the animal crackers thing. While there’s no doubt computers and augmented reality is rapidly becoming a day to day thing, I don’t for one second think getting my kid a tutor for video games is going to help with anything of substance. Coding classes, design and technical skills and the like will certainly help my children down the road.  But, the ability to kick, username gamer4life’s ass in a game is not doing anything but line the pockets of the tutor. But, God bless that tutor for putting their shingle out there and offering their services. I guess there really is an idiot born every day.

Okay all joking aside, its these sort of stories that really have me questioning what this world is coming to and why are we hearing about this stuff. A million years ago, I was a Communications major with an emphasis on Journalism. I took courses on how to write a story that engages the public, media ethics and the history of journalism. It was drilled into our heads that we were the voice of the people. We were not only reporting the news of the day but reporting the important and influential issues of the time.  We were discouraged against sensationalism and the trivial. We are the informers.  Oh, a feel-good piece is always welcome but keep it just that – feel good drivel.  How in the hell are Animal Crackers and Fortnite tutors important or influential?  Someone, please enlighten me. Maybe this is why I changed my major from a Journalism emphasis to a general Communications degree.  I always thought it was because the head of that department was a mean old asshole and I didn’t want to deal with him. Maybe the Universe knew if I had pursued true journalism this is where we’d end up – talking about video game tutors and packaging for a cookie.  And, that I would end up quitting my job to write a blog (for free) focusing on topics that interest me and hopefully my readers. Now I understand, it was all apart of a bigger plan. (Cue Circle of Life from Lion King)

Photo Credit – I just googled animal crackers and tried to find a picture without a logo. This was it. No copyright infringement – blood/turnip, you know the drill. I’m broke and I write this blog for free. If this is your photo let me know and I’ll give you credit.

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Motherhood/Parenting, Musing

Last Days

backyard chain grass parkI’ve always been fascinated by time but as I have become well and truly middle aged, I’ve become acutely aware of how quickly the years seem to pass, how short some days seem  as opposed to how long others seem, how some moments feel like just yesterday when in fact they happened 10 or more years ago. As July draws to a close, I know we are in the last days of Summer. Yes, I am well aware the temps are in triple digits and many in my state of Texas haven’t seen a drop of rain in over a month. But, according to my school district and the email they just sent out, Summer will officially end in a couple of weeks.  I’m not ready –  not in the least.

No, I’m not worried about new outfits or school supplies. I’ve got that covered – sort of. I’ve bought two shirts and plan to buy the pre-packaged school supplies on orientation day.  I’m gonna be super slack ass this year. I’m not ready because I don’t want to send my kids back to school.  A few years ago it hit me that I really enjoyed summer time with my kids and I didn’t like it when it ended.  I think it all started when the kids became more self-sufficient – probably around age 7 or 8.  They could pour their own cereal without destroying the kitchen. They could do their own projects without me hovering over them or reading the directions. They could ride most of the rides at the amusement park. We were no longer working around naptimes and they knew to speak up and let me know if they were hungry, needed the restroom or were just bone tired without throwing themselves to the ground and staging an epic hissy fit. Essentially, summer time became fun again not just for them but for the whole family.

As this summer draws to a close I see changes on the horizon.  No, not the change of routine back to school. This change has to do with the kids.  They have been spending more time in their rooms alone, not out of punishment, out of wanting alone time.  My son asked for more music on his device. My daughter has been in her room reading. Beloved toys are all but forgotten – even timeless toys like legos only received a few days of play.  The days of “Y’all go play while I do X” is rapidly disappearing. The kids are growing up. I know this will probably be the last summer both of my kids want to hang out and do fun things with mom. Next summer I will have to come up with more creative ways to encourage both kids to engage in family time and not spend all their time on a screen, at a camp or with their friends.  I know this is yet another phase of life – all completely normal and expected.  Deep down, I know this. But, every time I get to one of these phases I find that I’m rarely ready to let go and move on to the next phase. In these last days of summer, I’m going to try to cram in a little extra fun. I’m going to try to have a few more days of childish whimsey, if not for the kids then for me. The days are so long but the years are so short.

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Musing, Random

Grown Up Crush

erik estaraDo you remember your first celebrity crush? Mine was Erik Estrada. He played Paunch on the 1970s cop show, CHiPS.  I was four and completely obsessed.  One time I threw an epic fit in the middle of a store over a poster of him. He was wearing a gold lamé speedo, a 1,000 watt smile and nothing else. The incident went down like this. I was scream-begging at the top of my lungs for said poster of a half-dressed man old enough to be my father while simultaneously ratting my mother out to the masses about her Elvis poster on her closet door. She was screaming back at me about how inaproriate it would be for me to have said poster. She would later drag me out of the store and give me the beating of a lifetime for acting like a dumbass in public. To this day I still say that beating was worth it even though I didn’t get my poster. I made my point, stood my ground and fought the good fight.

Fast forward 10 years and my walls are lined with Teen Beat pages.  Can you guess who I had on my walls?  Let me think.  River Phoenix for sure. Kurt Cameron. Kieffer Sutherland even though he was old. Definitely Rob Lowe and Tom Cruise. Yeah, they were old too but they were hot.  My 13-year-old girlfriends and I were just SO sure at some juncture we would move to L.A. and meet one of these dreamboats and they would magically fall in love with us.  Ah, the delusions of youth.

Now, my girlfriends and I are well and truly middle-aged and to my knowledge, none of us ever met and fell in love with a teen heartthrob. Although, one girl did marry a guy that had a hit country song. Does that even count?  But, I admit I still have a few celebrity crushes.  No, I don’t have pictures on my wall.  I may or may not have a Pintrest board labeled eye candy –  you know for inspiration when times are hard.  The funniest thing about being a grown up with a celebrity crush is who I fancy and my kid’s reactions to it.  Just the other day we were watching Thor and I just blurted out, “Man, he’s pretty.”  I was talking about Chris Hemsworth and it totally offended my kid’s sensibilities.  “Don’t you love Daddy?”  “Is Daddy not good enough for you,” they blurted.   While I was highly amused by their level of loyalty to their Father, I was also struck by their abject horror at the idea of their mother having any sort of feelings for someone other than their Dad. You could just see the wheels turning in their heads. How can this be they seemed to be asking themselves.  And, while the muscle-bound yumminess of Chris Hemsworth is very nice, I also love the everyman like Tom Hanks.  Speaking of Tom, he is a true grown-up crush in every sense of the word. He’s not someone you want to ‘be with’ (insert eyebrow wag here). He is the kind of guy you want to have coffee with or walk on a beach holding hands with.  This is no illicit roll in the sheets. No, sir. This is normal everyday stuff. It’s funny what flips your switch in your middle age.

So, dear readers, how many of you have celebrity crushes? Who was your first crush?  Do your kids know? Are they horrified? I hope so. It’s kind of fun to shock the kids. I try to shock mine every chance I get. However, it will probably come back to bite me in the form of my kids ratting me out in public but it probably won’t be over a guy in a gold lamé speedo.

Photo Credit: Just some picture I lifted off the internet in a google search. No copyright infringement intended. I get no money off of this. I’m doing it for free. Blood/Turnip you know the drill.  I’m just sorry I couldn’t find a picture of him in a gold lamé speedo.

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Musing, Random

Closing Time

img_1217“I don’t wanna grow up. I’m a Toys R Us kid.”  I can still sing every word of the song even though I haven’t heard it in years.  I’d be willing to bet at least half of you can too and immediately started singing it in your head when you read that line.  According to news outlets, all Toys R Us stores close their doors today, Friday, June 29 2018.  If you go to the store’s website you’ll see the picture on your left.  When I was growing up, half of your Christmas or birthday presents came from Toys R Us. You always begged for a gift certificate or you just took the money you got in cards to the store and spent it  You would have sold a kidney for a real shopping spree.  The idea of being cut loose in that store for 10 minutes was the stuff of many daydreams. I know I had my fair share of items from Toys R Us.  My Cabbage Patch Kids came from Toys R Us and I still have them.  I still remember test driving my first grown-up bike down the aisles of  Toys R Us. My children’s baby furniture, stroller, and car seats came from their affiliate, Babies R Us.  While my kids have outgrown most toys, I still managed to go in a couple times a year.  It had become a tradition to walk the aisles and make a Christmas wish list now that lookbooks are pretty much a thing of the past. I’m not sure what we are going to do now. I guess we’ll walk the aisles of Walmart and Academy Sports.  I’m pretty sure those stores will survive the rest of my kid’s childhood but what about their kids?

I have said for years Amazon is nothing more than Sears was back at the turn of the last century.  It’s low cost, one-stop convenience shopping.  In 1918, one could order ready made clothes, toys, furnishings for your home and even the house itself from Sears.  It came complete with plans and materials shipped by railcar – assembly was up to you.  Today, Amazon is doing the same thing only instead of opening a catalog we open up an app. Low cost retailers like Walmart and Amazon have not only killed the mom and pop stores but also highly specialized stores like Toys R Us. And, we only have ourselves to blame.  We the consumer are so focused on low cost, more for our money and above all convenience that we have sold our souls to the lowest bidder.  We’ve all done it.  Show of hands, how many times have you been in a real store to find the item you are looking for is sold out or more expensive than you thought so you immediately look for it on Amazon or some other low cost retailer (cough Walmart)? I know I have.  And, stood there in the middle of the other store, using their free Wifi and ordered it from their competitor.  Yep, I’m guilty.  I’d wager a guess most of you are too.

While most in my age group are sad to see Toys R Us go, I doubt any of us will think much about it until Christmas comes around and we are scrambling for a toy. I’m curious to see what brick and mortar institution will be the next to fall. My money is on Sears and JC Penney.  They’re barely hanging on as it is.  Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder what’s next in the world of consumerism.  I have my doubts Amazon will be the retail superpower Sears was for 100 years.  In our fast-paced culture, I’ll give Amazon another 20 or 30 years tops before something bigger and better knocks it off the top of the heap. Forty or fifty years for a company started by some guy selling books out of his garage isn’t too shabby.

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