Monday, August 15, 2016

And They're Back!

Good to know that some things never change.
The girls are home from camp. Every year, I like to see how they’ve grown and developed, to see what independence has done for them, to see how their ideas and their opinions have matures.
Apparently they think I’m as stupid as ever.
Me: I need to use the bathroom.
Princess: Don’t use that sink because it overflows (pointing to the sink that’s FULL of standing water—Zika, anyone?).
Or maybe it’s them?
Me: You need to shower as soon as we get home.
Either one (you choose): We’re not dirty.
Banana Girl was phone-free this summer. She did not forget how to use it.
Text: I’m hungry. What’s for lunch? [sent from her bedroom]
The camp language has snuck in with the dirty laundry. I’ve been asked for a week’s reprieve. I’ll try. Too bad it can’t get cleaned up as fast as the gross laundry I’m washing.
One kid is hot and wants the air conditioning at a blue-lips-making temperature. The other one is cold and wants the heat on. Both are being forbidden from touching the thermostat. Considering they’ve been in hot cabins (with one air conditioning unit that didn’t seem to cool much, in my opinion), I’m not sure why this is even a thing.
One kid is sick, of course.
Both are working on about an hour of sleep.
Princess came home with a dry-clean-only dress. I'm not positive it's hers, but I was obviously tired when we packed. That's not happening again.
I lost track of how many water bottles we lost, although I do know they are the nice ones that were requested—can’t seem to get rid of the ones no one likes (you’d think one of them would have “lost” those by now).
But neither fussed when my husband wanted to take pictures of them at camp. And it’s nice to have them both in the same house at the same time. And now, when I want to see them, I just have to walk into their rooms, rather than searching through blurry, dark or super-tiny photos.

Let the insanity begin in three...two...one...

Monday, August 8, 2016

I'm Getting Old

I am getting old.
I notice this even more as I’m watching the Olympics and realize most of the athletes are young enough to be my children, which makes the eye-candy aspect a lot ickier.
Other ways I know I’m getting old?
  • There’s the grumpiness factor, which actually enables me to be snarkier than usual—fun for me and the bystanders, less fun for the recipient.
  • There’s the “ouch factor,” which I won’t go into because people who list their aches and pains need a hobby. Or a nurse.
  • There ‘s the lack of sight, which I refuse to acknowledge. As long as there are bigger font sizes, I’m set.
  • There’s the “Holy cow how do I have children that old?” College planning used to seem very far away. Now it’s…not.
But the one that’s bothering me most right now is how getting old affects fun. I can’t go on roller coasters anymore. Apparently, as I’ve aged, I’ve gotten smarter. This has made my brain bigger and my head heavier. My neck no longer supports it when I go up, down and around on tracks created using physics. I suppose that wouldn’t be so bad if it were the only thing I couldn’t do. Except it isn’t.
My husband and my friends and I went to the movies last weekend. Actually, the movies was our backup plan. Our original plan was to go see the balloon festival, but there was a chance of rain and since we are all getting old, the thought of getting wet didn’t appeal. So we made the last-minute decision to go to the movies. I suggested Jason Bourne. I’ve seen the other movies in the series and they were fun and mindless. Followed by dinner, it sounded like a great plan. And it was. The problem was that since it was opening weekend and we were ordering tickets at the last minute, our only options were seats in the first two rows of the theater. We all agreed anyway, bought the tickets, went to the theatre and reclined in our comfy seats.
Then the movie started. Now, if you’ve been to any of the Bourne movies, they’re basically one long car chase from beginning to end, with a little dialogue thrown in just so Matt Damon has a reason to get paid. About twenty minutes into the movie, I started feeling weird. About five minutes after that, I realized why. The camerawork was making me motion sick.
Seriously? Who decided this was a thing?
Even the scenes—few and far between—when a character was walking caused problems because the camera bounced. So I spent the rest of the movie with my eyes closed or playing with my phone in my purse (so I didn’t disturb anyone around me), rather than looking at the movie screen.
Lovely.
Stop laughing at me, it will be your turn soon enough, everything hurts, I can’t see worth anything and GET OFF MY LAWN!






Monday, August 1, 2016

FOMO

My goal this summer has been to get out and do things. With the girls gone, my husband and I have packed our weekends with hiking and picnics and movies and all kinds of activities that have prevented us from crossing pretty much anything off our To-Do List. Fine with me; errands and household chores can be done anytime. Getting out, spending time together, talking and having fun are precious commodities that I have no desire to waste.

But as I’ve been outside doing things, I’ve noticed other people around me and what they’re doing. Or rather, let me be more clear: if they’re in front of me, I’ve noticed the backs of their necks. If they’re approaching me, I’ve noticed the part in their hair or their bald heads.

Weird things to notice, I know. But do you want to know why?

Because their heads are down, their focus on their screens. For anyone who is wondering, necks show age faster than faces. And ruler-straight parts seem to be a thing of the past.

Whether they’re texting or chatting or playing Pokémon Go, they are not looking around, taking in the scenery. Their cameras are used to take selfies (with or without the duck face, depending on their age), rather than the scenery around them. Their fear of missing out on what others are doing, or their obsessive checking of work emails, prevents them from taking in what’s going on around them.

I do the same thing—minus the Pokémon Go and the selfies—as my husband likes to point out, before going back to his game or his emails. We all do it. It’s hard to avoid.

But what if there was a way to shift that fear of missing out on the things that you’ve left behind, to what is going on around you? By not obsessively checking your phone, you can notice nature and architecture. You can people watch. You can learn things. And you can experience things that you can then tell your friends about.

Put down the phone. Lift up your head—it’s better for your posture, anyway. Take a look around you. Your friends will wait. Your work can definitely wait. And you might find something that interests you more than your duck face.



Thursday, July 28, 2016

History Is Made

I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Not because anything terrible has happened, but because a woman was nominated for President of the United States. Before you stop reading, please understand. This post is not about politics and certainly not about one particular political party. I’m not actually a fan of this particular woman.
However, I’m caught up in the history of the moment.
Because for the first time ever, a woman from a major political party has been nominated for the highest position in our country.
I wish it were a different woman. I wish she wasn’t the first, because there are women I admire more and who I think are far more deserving of the honor. But she has won the nomination, and as the mother of girls, I am proud.
I am proud that my girls have tangible proof, rather than my biased “mother-words,” that they can be anything they want to be.
I am even proud that my girls don’t recognize the historic moment they currently are living in—so many amazing other women have paved the way and made that possible.
It is shameful that it took as long as it has, that other countries have figured out what it took us so long to learn—but better late than never. We have a long way to go and there is much to do. But tonight, we are one step closer and our dreams are a little more concrete.
We are at our best when we support each other, raise each other up, and celebrate each other’s victories. Hillary Clinton has many who have helped her get here and many still whom she herself will enable in the future. But our future is brighter today because she has helped us reach this milestone. Like others before her, she has pushed the boundaries and with every step, let the light in.
"For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women."
—Elizabeth Blackwell



Monday, July 25, 2016

Facebook


Most people are posting this cartoon from The New Yorker regarding the news media. My problem, of late, is Facebook.

I’m the first to admit that I often exaggerate, especially on Facebook—my “bear” posts are a perfect example of that. Those who know me know that I’m joking. Those who don’t try to give me actual advice about bears, or sometimes camp--and that's okay, I'm happy anyone actually pays attention to me. My posts usually take a regular situation and focus on the part that I find funny. Or I focus on the one small part of the day that caused me aggravation and I talk about that.

But in general, my days are not nearly as funny or as frustrating as my posts indicate. Because my posts are a thin sliver of my life. While I have absolutely no desire to post about my breakfast or complain about the weather, I try—only sometimes successfully—to entertain myself and others with my posts.

However, lately, Facebook has become a lot less fun. Between politics and terrorism and each person’s reaction to those things, Facebook is turning into a magnification of all that is wrong with the world. Our lives, as represented on Facebook, are intended to garner a reaction from people, so we vent and we share without consideration of whether those things are accurate.

Political posts are skewed. Posts about terrorism are intended to pull out the greatest emotions from everyone. Like the news media of late, everything is biased, which sometimes makes reading a Facebook news feed painful.

As we get closer to the elections, I suspect my newsfeed is going to be cluttered with anti-candidate rhetoric on both sides of the aisle. I myself post some of it, although I do try to be careful with what I put out there.

But we’re all guilty of it to some extent (except for those of you who post your breakfast habits).

So this weekend, I took a break. Facebook is my water cooler, my entertainment break for the day—despite the fact that I leave myself signed in because, quite frankly, I can never remember my password, I’m not actually on Facebook 24 hours a day—and it’s supposed to entertain me. It hasn’t in a while. So I took Shabbat off.

It was difficult, as I found myself automatically clicking on it and then remembering and getting out of it again. Instead, I found other things to do. And I really didn’t miss it all that much. In fact, I found the break useful and relaxing.

I’m not giving up Facebook anytime soon. It’s fun and it’s useful and I’m not hiding under a rock. But I am cutting back.


Because with all that’s going on in the world, if my “breaks” are stressing me out, I’m doing it wrong.