Friday, January 29, 2010

My Rose-Colored Glasses

Last night my husband and I went to a Relief Society dinner. There was a guest speaker who was a clinical psychologist dealing primarily with marriage and family. He talked about paradigms, the way we see the world, and about two main paradigms, the agent vs. the victim. As he compared the two, I remembered a poem I once wrote, about 11 years ago. I wanted to share that:

My Rose-Colored Glasses

I am missing my rose-colored glasses
They fell off somewhere back there
And I can't seem to find them anywehre
It's hard to see with the dark ones on.

I've found my rose-colored glasses
But I don't want to put them on
Wearing the dark ones
Gave an excuse to not see the light.

--me, August 1999

I think that sometimes we do this, we choose to not see the light because it's easier to wallow in our misery. It may not be more fun, but it can certainly be easier than trying to find happiness when times are rough.

I admit, I tend to veer to the side of the "victim" paradigm. Pathetic, yes, but it is harder for me to focus on the good instead of the bad. Last night made me think that I should try harder to be an agent rather than a victim. It might be really difficult, but seems like it would make life a little better.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The value of homework

Homework. If your kids are in public, or even private, school, they all have it. These days, even kindergartners bring it home, possibly even preschoolers.

I think most of the homework given is ridiculously stupid. I think reading is essential and should be accounted for too, but I don't think that everything a child reads at home should be assigned. I think they should be able to choose their books and not be required to do a story map or book report for everything they read--that sucks the fun out of reading.

We have a HUGE selection of very good books, both picture and chapter books. I HATE that he spends what little reading time at home he has reading the stupid books that the teacher sends home. I know teachers do that to make sure the child has something to read at home, since there are parents out there who do not have a home library. But I do, and I wish that I could tell the teacher he has plenty to read at home. I'd like to start him on Harry Potter but we just don't have time with the reading she sends home to read that also.

Other homework should be small assignments, or leftover classwork, that reinforces what they are learning in school. Otherwise it's just busywork and teaches them nothing. Especially when they don't get home from school until after 4 pm (I'm sorry, but whoever thought of the 9-4 school hours should be shot--yes, I have very angry feelings on the matter of my child being gone those hours--I would much prefer 7-2, if you ask me).

What do you think? What are your experiences?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Being Slender

I recently read an article in the local newspaper here. It talked about a study done on thin people and what their lifestyles were like. Did they exercise a lot? Were they food Nazis, eating only whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies and never touching ice cream or other treats except on rare occasions? What the article said, and it highlighted several people who were and had always been slim, was that generally they just didn't overindulge. They would go to the movies and get the large popcorn and share it and then not get a refill (I know, no refill, crazy, huh?). They drank water most of the time and ate a well-balanced diet consistently. Often, they came from slender parents, but in all the cases, they pointed out that they ate the same way their parents did.

I am a skinny person. I'm one of those people that others hate because I'm slim and haven't had to put forth much effort losing the "baby weight", etc. I related to the people in that article because I've been told so many times, with a jealous tinge to the person's voice, "Oh you look so good for having four kids!" or "how do you lose the weight so fast, what exercise program do you use?"

I gained 45 pounds with each of my pregnancies, but my pre-baby weight when I was first married hovered at just around 100 pounds. I haven't gotten back down to that yet, and my old clothes certainly don't fit me the same way, but being small can be discouraging. It's very difficult to find inexpensive clothes as all the large clothing chains don't carry sizes smaller than a 4 for women and even that's a big 4. People always act so jealous like I'm trying to make them feel bad because I'm slender. I once knew a girl in high school who was larger than me. I happened to wear the same skirt to school one day that she was wearing, by coincidence, and she got on my case about looking better than she did just because I was skinnier. I never wore that skirt again, even after moving far away, because I felt so bad about it.

I know, it's unfair that I can lose the weight effortlessly and pretty much eat what I want. The point is, what I want to eat usually isn't fast food or tons of junk. I like to eat salads and lean meats and lots of sandwiches. I usually don't take seconds at meals. I drink a lot of water throughout the day. If I'm offered water or Coke, I'll almost always choose water. My husband will gorge himself sick with dessert after a meal and often I decline because, even though the pie or cake or cookies or whatever sound tasty, I know if I eat any I won't feel very good the rest of the evening. Not that I don't ever have that stuff--I certainly do, and I love to cook and bake all sorts of tasty treats. But given the choice between a bowl of strawberries and bananas drizzled with a little chocolate or a bowl of ice cream, I'll most likely choose the fruit. Not always, but usually.

And as for exercise, why is it that you aren't considered exercising unless you work out at a gym or train for a marathon? I run up and down the stairs at my house at least 30 times per day. The only time I'm ever sitting motionlessly is when I'm at the computer. Otherwise, I'm cleaning the house, baking up a storm, fixing things, washing and folding laundry, playing with my kids, or doing something that keeps me moving. And even when I am sitting, I can't hold still. My mom once told me that fidgeters tend to burn more calories and be skinnier than people who don't fidget. I'm a fidgeter. I try to sit away from people in large groups just so I don't bug them with my constant need to change positions every 5 seconds. I just can't sit still.

So, in a nutshell, I guess I do have healthy habits, I just don't take the time to pay attention to them. That's just how I am. That's why it's effortless. Because I've developed a taste for healthy food, which I prefer over lots of fast food, and I've developed a knack for keeping active even when I'm not trying to exercise. Like many other people, though, I can always do better.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Little Alarms

Why is it that I can spend hours of uninterrupted time watching dumb TV shows while my children play, or wreak havoc, but when I sit down to write something that I have in my head that to me is really quite profound, I can't get it out because I'm interrupted every 10 seconds with some problem someone is having with something?


It's like they have an alarm that goes off every time Mom is on the phone or just getting into something really good.

So that's all the brilliance I have today...can't remember what I actually sat down to write because those darn Mommy alarms went off.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Peeling the Orange

I hate peeling oranges. But I love eating them. Especially Little Clementines. Especially while they're in season (like right now). But I hate peeling them. The stuff gets up in my nails and my hands smell like oranges for hours. Not to mention how very cold the tips of my fingers always get.

I used to buy oranges but because I refused to peel them, they would sit and sit and sit and then go bad.

I've finally come to the conclusion that my husband is not always going to be there to peel the oranges for me. I have to do it if I want to eat that sweet, juicy fruit.

Sometimes, you just have to be the one to peel those oranges.

Ya know?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"be good to your daughters"

"So fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too"

When my daughter woke up this morning, too early as usual, I pulled her into bed with us. She lay there quietly for a minute, just looking at me and smiling. I looked into those soft brown eyes and at that perfectly beautiful face.

Does my daughter even realize how precious she is?

My daughter, who is 2 years old, is very confident in herself. She is happy and inquisitive, and simply beautiful, as all daughters are at this age.

But for a lot of them, something changes. Life whips it out of them. So how do I teach my daughter that she is indeed beautiful and perfect just the way she is while the world around her screams at her the exact opposite? How do I instill in her that confidence?

Perhaps there was a day, once upon a time, that I felt that true confidence in myself. When I thought I was beautiful, like my daughter, who tells me "I pretty", when I went about my day unafraid and confident in what I did. By my teens, I certainly wasn't that way. I don't blame my parents, but I wonder, was there something they could have done differently in raising me that could have helped with my confidence and self-esteem, or would it have happened anyway just by my personality and how I interact with the world around me? Is there something I can do to make sure my daughter knows she is a person of great worth, despite what the world may shout at her?

I mention daughters, not sons, only because boys tend to be less aware of the world, or at least less focused on it, than girls do. Not that they can't or won't be swayed by what messages they receive about body image, self-esteem, inner and outer beauty, but they seem less affected by it in the same way girls are.

What do you think?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Quote of the Day

"You're're just different."

"Thank you. I know I'm different, but from now on, I'm going to try to be the same."

"The same as what?"

"The same as people who aren't different."

Name that movie!


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