Friday, October 29, 2010

Damn, I'm Prolific Today: Christmas Memories

I read a blog about Christmas shopping lists today. Since I don't keep a list anymore (Get the cards done, decorate, stockings filled, find out what video games, CD's, DVD's the kids like......maybe I should keep a Christmas to-do list), I didn't have an appropriate comment to make. But that didn't stop me from taking a trip down Memory Lane.

I should've paid more attention when my 4 month old baby spent more time playing with the ribbons than her toys. Yes, I not only wrapped the presents, but trimmed then with ribbons and bows (pre-made , of course). For a 4 month old. In later years, I hid down the basement on Christmas Eve, and did the wrapping on the floor, since we had not table down there, taking breaks when my legs fell asleep. (Yeah, I'm a last minute shopper). When my kids were teen-agers, I finally got sensible and tried buying big plastic bags with Christmas designs, and just threw their presents in, unwrapped. Can you believe it, they were disappointed? The next year they got video games , CD's or movies put in their stocking. One stop shopping for all. Now that was a Merry Christmas. No sore knees.

Proud of myself in a perverse way. On the one hand, this is my second blog post in one day. On the other hand, don't I have more important things to do today?

I Live in a Glass House and I Also Throw Stones

All my adult life, I have felt to be in competition with the “Centerfold”. To me, she did not feel human. I could not imagine having men I did not know or whom I did not consider attractive or even likeable masturbating over my picture while imagining doing all kinds of things to me. Yet on the other hand, by posing in these pictures that were so easily available these women were acknowledging the humanity of their male viewers. Which is something I did not do. I was the person who did not acknowledge the unattractive men while at the same time I would be nervous around the good-looking ones. I do what I criticized men for doing: I treated people differently based on their looks. Since I always considered myself to be plain looking, even when I looked my best, I had become the female version of the type of person played by Ernest Borgnine in Marty. I also did what he did, I got to know a really sweet guy, who was passably attractive, due to a combination of physical and inner beauty. In fact, he also had to go beyond the initial appearance with me and we fell in love.

Today I am a lot older and I realize that there are two types of women: the ones who care about who sees them naked and the ones who don’t. Feeling one way or the other does not make you a better person because it doesn’t define who you are. Sure, the women who are centerfolds, etc. are airbrushed,professionally made up and physically blessed. They also have to maintain their diets, exercise and, in some cases, have difficult surgical procedures to achieve their status. Again, I often felt that I was unfairly judged because of my age and weight. Then why do I make presumptions of the Playboy women? I consider myself to be a loving wife, mother, with a slightly off-beat sense of humor, watches horror films, love music, books, travel and could not survive without my spirituality . Many of the Playboy women, strippers, etc. are no different, I’m sure. Although I wonder how many have a comparable collection of Tigger dolls.(Don't judge me.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Supporting Your Friends

I realized today that it’s just as important for me to support my friends as it is for them to support me. Sometimes I don’t feel like going out when a friend invites me to an event. I think that I’m not in the mood. I used to be very shy as a child and old habits keep trying to come back into my life. But that’s not the point: how I feel. When you are an introvert, that is what you focus on. My friend has invited me to show support for her venture. That is what keeps a friendship going, that feeling of support. And I am always glad that I did it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Warning: I'm Rambling On and On (Again)

I was thinking about religion today. Well, first I need to make this clear that I don’t try to make other people agree with me. I guess what I really want to do is to straighten out my own thinking. I mean, I believe in God. But what is God, to me? Is he the Old Testament God, the nonpersonal God of Buddhism and Hinduism? Is he a synonym for the Universe? But do I really believe? I’ve always thought that there had to be a creator. But a few weeks ago, I heard a scientist talk about the existence of multiple universes that have no beginning. He asked why people have such a hard time imagining the universe without a beginning when they can accept a Creator that always existed. The Creator, who always existed: first of all, can I accept that? Can I accept a being who always existed and put deliberate thought into creating one (or more) universes? Or I can believe that the Universe(s) always existed in one place or another. But there was a big bang, where did the original materials come from and how did it start the process? And what is the Universe, anyway? Is it the stars, planets, etc.? Or is somehow every conscious being on earth, connecting to each other. In a way, I envy people who are atheists, they are so certain. Of course, I think they are too wrapped up in their criticisms of organized religion to be able to think it through. If there were no organized religions, I wonder how would they feel, about the existence of God as well as their own spirituality.

I must believe in something that exists out there, because when I do feel the need for prayer, if I didn’t believe in a God, who am I praying to? Another part of my problem, is that although I am interested in spirituality, I have noticed that lately I am not praying as much as I used to and I am also finding excuses not to meditate. If I am really spiritual , that would not happen, now would it? Am I someone who claims to be spiritual because I like that label? Am I a hypocrite? I think I am letting my spiritual practice backslide. Maybe, that is why I am feeling so empty lately.

Sorry if this looks like I’m rambling on and on, but part of the reason I keep a blog is to help me to sort through this stuff.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bullying Gay Kids

People under the age of 21 are greatly affected by peer pressure. More so today than when I was a kid. (I was picked on, too). The ones who are gay already receive a message from society that they are not as good as everyone else. Look at DADT, adoption rights, gay marriage. Television often shows gay stereotypes, when they show gays at all, There are many people who think they don't know any gay people because so many are afraid to come out. This is the world that they are going to live in and that is scary enough without bullying them

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Minor Accomplishments

I once read a book by Harold Kushner (not the Why Bad Things book). He talked about the Bible story of Joseph, you know, the one with the colorful coat and nasty brothers. He mentioned a minor character in the story, a shepherd. Joseph asked him something like, ”Have you seen my brothers?” He responded by telling Joseph where to find them. Now, this was the interesting comment: What if the shepherd wasn’t there that day? What if, for some reason, Joseph could not find his brothers that day. How much would that have changed the Bible? The Jews would never have been in Egypt. Moses would never have led the Chosen People? What would have happened to the Ten Commandments?
We don’t know the name of the shepherd, but by doing that small thing, he was able to ensure that today, we have the Ten Commandments. No matter what faith you have, or none at all, this has had a major effect on the world.

Sometimes, I am concerned that I am not accomplishing anything that someone else would consider important. I just hope that in a small way that I will contribute to a more positive world. That is the most that the majority of people can hope for, anyway.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Best Night Ever - Unplanned

I am a person who needs to make plans for vacations. I research hotels, attractions, and restaurants. I look up the hotel on Google Maps so I can check out the neighborhood. But sometimes the best memories come about all on their own.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I spent a long week-end in New York City. One day we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and stopped by Strawberry Fields. We were lucky that a photographer was there, who decorated the memorial with roses. He didn’t mind if we took pictures and we now have a treasure that we will never forget. We got off the train at 42nd St. (my husband loves any kind of train), walked up the stairs and realized that we were hungry. Looking across the street, we saw B. B. King’s. Walking in, we saw signs that Burt Bacherach was performing. After our dinner arrived, we spoke to the server about seeing the show. Our plates were carried out to the theater. It was funny, it looked like a small parade and people were staring at us like we were important. We sat at a table, which as luck would have it, was occupied by several women in their late 20’s who were Burt Bacherach fanatics. It was like being with the cast of Sex and the City, but no conversation about sex. The show itself was amazing. He sat at his piano, backed by a small orchestra and several singers. Every song performed was a classic. Occasionally, he would take a break and talk about his childhood, his daughter,who was finally impressed with him due to his appearance in the first Austin Powers movie, and his concerns about the health of his former partner, Hal David. A special guest appeared, Rufus Wainwright, Jr., to sing his version of “Message to Michael” called “Message to Martha”. I was a little familiar with him, because he sang in the movie “Aviator”.

After the show, all the girls at our table but one went home because they had to go to work the next day. One girl went with us to have a drink at the Hard Rock. Next thing we knew, they were announcing that they were closing. I think this was the first time in a long time that I closed a place. After she went home, my husband and I took a cab back to our hotel. I remember looking out the window at the lights, just like I have seen in many movies. Thinking that this night was a one-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Adventures with ADD

My daughter has ADD and OCD. We realized she had something going on when she was in Kindergarten. I didn't know anything about ADD. I wasn't sure if it was a lack of intelligence or self-esteem that caused her to rip up the homework papers where she had to circle one thing on it. When she reached third grade, we met with the teachers, counselor and the school psychologist. The teachers talked about how difficult it was to deal with Laura (she daydreamed) and that they could not do that and handle the other students. The psychologist suggested a school for children with learning disabilities. The counselor mentioned ADD. A neurologist who specialized in ADD diagnosed her and wrote a prescription. Unfortunately the counselor felt that children should not get ADD medication, which caused my daughter to refuse it. She got all the way through high school by the skin of her teeth.
She never bothered to take the SAT. I assumed ,at the time, since she was interested in changing her hairstyle frequently, that perhaps she would want to be a beautician. To my surprise, she wanted to be a CPA. She took the entrance exam for our community college and failed it by a two points. I rarely have seen Laura cry, but she was heart-broken and sobbing. She started taking the remedial courses and realized that she needed help.
I found a therapist for her who prescribed the medicine she needed. She and her doctor (we have gone through several) have had to play around with the type of medication and dosage because of the side effects. She has suffered from lack of appetite (she is a size 1), constant sleepiness, insomnia, depression and anxiety. She needs to monitor herself constantly to deal with this. Her situation changes from day to day.
But now she has her Bachelor's in Accounting and is trying to go for her Master's while working. People do this all the time, which is what I tell her when she gets discouraged. But this is harder for her than for other people and I am proud of her accomplishments. She will reach her goals because , with the OCD, she is too stubborn to fail.