Saturday, April 14, 2012

10 things I learned from my mother

I didn't shower today. I spent the day in my gym clothes; I cleaned the house and and went for a hike. At about 8:00 PM I headed into the bedroom to fold clothes and remembered it was clean pajamas day. And then I realized I could NOT put on clean jammies without first taking a shower. I learned this from my mother. Saturday was the day we changed sheets in my childhood household, which meant we all got baths on Saturday, so we didn't crawl into our fresh sheets with dirty bodies.

Here are ten more lessons I learned from my mother:

 1. It is a waste to throw away moldy food or bruised produce. Try scraping the mold first or cutting out the bad part before sacrificing the food.
 2. Sticking your finger in hot candle wax is a federal offense, because it can burn off your fingerprints. And everyone is required by law to have fingerprints. (This is similar to the "Swallowed gum is never digested; if you continue to swallow gum it will eventually pile up in your body and pop your head off" lesson.)
 3. One isn't *really* sick unless one has a fever or is bleeding from the head. And then it is SERIOUS.
 4. Snickers are the most delicious of the commercial candy bars.
 5. Conformity is not admirable (neither are ostentatious displays of wealth).
 6. Charity - real or perceived - is admirable.
 7. Never pack a cooler for a day trip. Lunch meat, cheeses and other items get unappetizingly soaked.
 8. Be conscious of what underpants you are wearing under what article of clothing; patterned panties under light clothes is tacky.
 9.  Polite slang for a penis is a "horn." (You interpret this. My mom can't explain it.)
10. Homemade cookies are more delicious and virtuous than store bought. In fact, homemade anything is more delicious and/or virtuous than store bought.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bucket List, you're mine!

I have a vaguely defined goal of seeing all of the 58 official national parks in the U.S. So far I've seen eleven. And, by the end of June I think my life list will jump to fifteen. BMG and I are planning a stateside driving vacation in June - from Miami to Boston. Here is the list of parks we think we can hit:

  • After exhausting this national reserve, we hope to drive inland to hit the most popular park in the system, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which offers beautiful vistas of eastern Tennessee and the western Carolinas.
  • Shenandoah National Park - Classic forests in the Eastern US just south of DC - geocaching for geologic treasures is a featured activities.

From there we hit the metropolitan Washington DC region, which is rife with national monuments, landmarks, historic sites, battlefields and other locations that are dedicated to permanently sharing the natural history of the continent, and telling story of the America as she was settled by Europeans. Thank you President Wilson for creating the National Park Service.

If we can get through this itinerary, I can bring my national park list list to more than 25% of the parks (and all of the parks on the eastern seaboard). Bucket list, you ARE mine!


Have you been to any of the parks on the June to do list? What do you recommend we see?

Any parks you've been to that are not yet on my tic list. Which do you recommend I definitely make time to visit. Why?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I hate religious hypocrisy

I am not an actively religious person. I am an atheist on most days, and deeply and sincerely respect the religious beliefs of others. My religious experiences have been largely Christian, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist. I deeply embraces the values embodied in all gods and goddesses - loving kindness, respect for others & self, reverence for the power of people and the planet.

This preamble is intended to set the backdrop for why I was so INCENSED today - Easter Sunday - when someone on Twitter positioned himself as too respectful of the holiness of the day to have an honest discussion about a multi-year grudge he is holding against someone else. THREE tweets later (apparently not too holy a day to ignore me) this self-proclaimed righteous Easter celebrant said the reason he couldn't forgive was because the offender never apologized to him.

Hello hypocrite. Do you know the Christian message of Easter? Surely even the twice a year Christians remember the Sunday School lessons that taught us that Jesus died for our sins. And in so sacrificing His Son, God was forgiving us for the wrongs we had done to Him and each other. The very point of Easter is the spiritual wiping of the slate. No questions asked. All Christians have to do is accept Jesus in their heart and...voila! Forgiveness! God doesn't require an apology to forgive his believers. So this person's Twitter proclamation of it being in poor form to discuss another's sins against him - on Easter of all days - merely tells me this person is 100% missing the point of the holiday.

I'm not in a position to comment on the multi-year grudge - I don't know the back story. But simultaneously claiming religiosity AND a fundamental misunderstanding of Easter makes me wonder what other points the grudge holder is feeling.

That is all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

(Please don't die.)

BMG's surgery is tomorrow. I don't want him to die.

If I'm blessed and he doesn't die, I also want him to be completely cured of what ails him.

That is all.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Woof woof!

If I were a dog I think I'd be a Tibetan Spaniel. Or maybe a pug. I may just be saying that because I love pugs, but maybe I love pugs because I could be one. The American Kennel Club describes pugs as "multim in parvo" which means "a lot of dog in a small space." That COULD describe me. Look at this cute dog. They are longer than they are tall, have fluffy chests and bottoms, and described as intelligent and aloof. I COULD be a Tibetan Spaniel.

I've been thinking about this because I've had a body image breakthrough.

I haven't done any interviews, but I'm pretty sure that greyhounds don't ever wish they were chihuahuas. Because that would never happen. A greyhound is a greyhound and a chihuahua is a chihuahua. Period. They are both dogs, but their bodies are constrained by their breeds. Dogs can't change their diet, exercise more, or have a procedure done to become a different breed.

I think there should be different breeds of the human species. If there were I think it would help people like me, people who struggle with trying to make their bodies look like something they are not, understand that there is a limited range within which their bodies can change. That's not to say that a person can't be more or less healthy within her breed, but an apple shaped woman will never look like Kate Moss, and a woman of short stature will never look like Charlize Theron.

Unbeknownst to my parents, my experience of my childhood cultivated in me what I once thought was an inherent and permanent hatred of my body. In the beauty of my middle age I know this isn't the case. But it sure is easy to slip back into the old patterns of self-loathing.

I'm buoyed by the notion that I'm the human equivalent of a Tibetan Spaniel. Now when I see a person whose hair or abs or nose I covet, I assign them a breed. And when I do this I tell myself that I admire the breed, but I'm a Tibetan Spaniel and I'll always be a Tibetan Spaniel.

It helps.

What dog breed would you be if you were a dog? Visit the American Kennel Club website to learn more about dog breeds, and share your thoughts in the comments section below.