Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Make Mine a Double

How often have I heard or seen people apply a double standard to something and long to scream from the housetops: “HYPOCRITE!”

Here are a couple double standards that drive me nuts:

1) If you have enough talent in sport, music or acting (and sometimes other fields) then the law and other socially accepted norms of behavior and decency somehow don’t apply to you, or they are applied in a “slap on the hand” manner. I can’t even begin to name all the professional athletes, big time Hollywood & pop stars that you can read about in the paper having abused alcohol, drugs, & women (often all in the same night). But you rarely hear of the consequences for that behavior. They often get off scot free, or if they even go to court for such actions they rarely serve actual jail time. People still buy their music, watch their movies and attend or watch their sporting events. If anything the “scandals” only serve to get them more publicity which in turn often means more cash in the bank for them. Why does being a celebrity change the standard???

2) Women getting less pay and less respect for doing the same job as men. I know, I know; this one sounds cliché, old fashioned, and maybe even silly coming from a stay-at-home mom. But I still see it in the world around me. I have a friend who works as an architect who struggles daily to gain the respect that her fellow (male) colleagues enjoy. She often gets ignored when opinions are solicited, gets passed over for potential projects simply because they see her name and figure she’s female so she doesn’t know what she is doing. Too bad her mother named her such a girly name instead of Terry or Jean or something that was a little more asexual. She has started listing and signing her name with just her first initial so as to help avoid some of these problems, but the double standard is still there.

What are some double standards that drive you nuts?


Well, I would be a bigger hypocrite than I already am if I blogged about double standards and didn’t confess to having applied some very liberally in my own home. Does the fact that they are only applied at home make them better or more acceptable than my biggies up above? Maybe I am just seeking another double standard??
Here’s my quandary: I want my kids to do things and be things that I have yet to master in myself.

1) I don’t like to see my kids get angry, particularly with each other, and yet I have shown them a repeated example of anger to follow.

2) I never want to hear my kids swear, but I have been known to let a few @#$!* slip from my tongue.

3) I do not like to hear my kids criticize others with little or no feeling, but I proceed to do so all through television programs that we watch together. “What is she wearing? What was she thinking leaving her house in a get-up like that? She looks utterly ridiculous!” “He sounds like a dog choking on a bone he should stop singing and put us all out of our misery.” “He must be the producer’s kid because he is so ugly and definitely can’t act.” You get the idea. Somehow my saying it to the people on the flickering blue screen didn’t seem to be a big deal until I heard similar criticism from my kids aimed at each other or other “real, live people”. I was applying a second double standard in that it’s okay if they’re on TV but if they’re in person just smile and pretend you like it.

I am very guilty of teaching my children to do as I say but not as I do.

If you would heal the ills of society, begin in the home. I have heard this many times and know it to be true. I have decided to rip out my shaky foundation built on the “do as I say” and lay a more solid one of “do as I do.” I am trying every day to be a better person, one baby step at a time. Hope to see you on the same path of self improvement where I can learn from your example and someday when I grow up you may learn from mine.

I Survived School Break

My four oldest kids' three weeks of school break just ended yesterday. I do not think anyone could have said Hallelujah louder and meant it more than I did!

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids very much and am happy when they're around. School break however, puts us all into a temporary limbo where you can't do any major holiday things because it is too short, but the break is also too long to prevent boredom setting in. My biggest beef is that my life seems to get put on hold, and my normal roles as entertainment coodinator, taxi driver, cook, maid, and task master seem to become so much harder to manage.

For one thing the hours involved would violate any and all labor laws in any and all countries. Not to mention the incessant appetite of three teenagers and one preteen. Trying to keep my sanity when the video games, TV, and game boys were on concurrently and incessantly despite the number of times I personally turned them off and asked the kids to read a book. You know, all those musty, dusty things on the shelves in the living room and in every bedroom.

Yesterday and today have been very peaceful, and I have gotten everything done I wanted to. No distractions, interruptions or frustrations.

I have found myself again amidst the calm. How sad my respite is so short. Next week the two youngest start their FOUR week break! That should be outlawed!! No more school breaks longer than one week!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Is your one enough?

I read an article in the LA Times about a man in Nigeria who has married 107 women and fathered 185 children. WHAT IN THE WORLD?????

This Nigerian man is also a faith healer and will not allow his wives or children to go to the doctor or use any medicine when they fall ill. He claims the angel Gabriel told him to marry all his wives and that if God can give him all these wives and children He can also take them away when He wants to. Many of them have died of easily curable sicknesses.

Apparently all his wives are content and many of them are fiercly loyal. He has divorced twelve of his wives because of disobedience, and yet he himself is disobedient to the government and Islamic leaders who demand he divorce all but 4 of his wives, which is all the Koran allows. When he was arrested for his disobedience, his wives protested for his relaease and testified in court that he takes care of them well, and they are happy - so the government and church dropped the charges and he was released.

I have heard numerous men complain about managing with just one wife. Of course my husband is very content with me and never says things like that (to my face). How does this faith healer manage to maintain this household of almost 300?? Here are some of the elements of his success:

1) He has a 4-storey, 89-room home taking up a full city block (everyone has their space).

2) He has a large compound surrounding his home, in which his followers live and help run the household. This includes a large number of personal aides that do his every bidding and treat him like a god (lots of servants and blind obedience).

3) He has an intercom system where he can talk into his microphone and speakers on every floor and facing out into the compound and even the street blare out his words, requests, demands, etc. (easy means of communicating so all can hear and no one can claim they didn't know what he wanted them to do - I think I need an intercom in my house).

4) If a wife is disobedient he divorces her and simply finds a new one every week or so (anyone starting to feel like he treats his wives like Kleenex? Use them up, wear them out, make them obey, or get rid of them - whatever works).

I am a believer in "Live and Let Live" and am usually the type of person who thinks that if someone is minding their own business and their life does not break any major laws and they don't try to force me to do what they think I should, then I can mind my own business too.

But I do feel I have to say that I am appalled at the fact that he will not get medical treatment for his wives and children. I feel that God has aided and led many scientists and doctors to develop the medical treatments offered today; to ignore that is like saying you do not want a gift someone has offered you.

As to his numerous wives???: although I do believe in personal revelation I am extrememly skeptical, to say the least, that the Angel Gabriel actually visited him and told him God wanted him to take all these wives. I think that what he is doing is bogus and ridiculous, but if they are happy so be it. I am happy to let God be his judge.

So, what do you think about this man and his life and wives???

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Weelky Awesome Person

I have decided, like a friend of mine, to honor one person a week that I think is or was (death does not disqualify you) an awesome person. My friend has the coolest ideas.

This week I want to honor Milton Hershey (1857 - 1945), the creator of Hershey's milk chocolate.

Now that fact that he created one of my favorite fatties (see previous blog) is enough reason to honor him, but I have a better reason (one with substance). Milton Hershey suceeded at building his chocolate empire after utterly failing as a confectioner, not once, but twice. So Milton I honor you for your PERSEVERANCE.

It all began after years of struggling and failure in school, So his parents decided to apprentice to a printer at the age of 14. This too was a utter failure. He then was able to secure another apprenticeship as a confectioner. After learning this trade that he loved, he decdided to open his own confectioner's shop. He borrowed money from his uncles and set up shop. He struggled in vain to make a profit, and ultimately his business failed.

He thought that maybe he needed a change of scenery, and so he left his home in Pennsylvania and moved to New York. With more borrowed money from his uncles he set up shop again, and struggled and failed again. His parents told him to give up and come home; he could always work on one of his uncle's farms. Milton persisted, though and went to Denver, Colorado where he worked for a time at a large candy factory.

After his Colorado experience, he decided that what he needed to do was specialize in one type of candy so as to maximize his profits. He moved back home and went to see his uncles. They, however, told him they would give him no more money and to give up his dream. Undeterred, Milton convinced a local banker to give him a 90-day loan. He was on his way. He was going to build his caramel empire (that's right I said CARAMEL - not chocolate).

Milton worked hard and specialized in his caramels (which he had learned to make so well while in Colorado - I knew I liked Colorado.) He built a hugely successful business that he later sold in 1900 for $1,000,000 to the American Caramel Co. $1,000,000 back then was a vast fortune! He was set for life and could retire and travel the world. He decided, however, to start a new company and a town along with it: Hershey, Pennsylvania - where he built a giant chocolate company that makes the best chocolates in the USA and maybe the world!

Thanks for persevering Milton - the world is a yummier place because of you!

Cats vs. Dogs

Growing up I had always considred myself a "dog person"; I used to hate cats and take significant pleasure in their discomfort. I have no idea why this was the case other than the fact that they make me sneeze. Maybe it could also be the trauma assosciated with the fact that when I was a baby the kitten we had would sit at the end of my crib and everytime I moved my feet it would scratch them. (This is probably totally unfounded as I have no recollection of this at all and only knew of it because my Mom told me about it. Maybe it was even my sister that was the one getting scratched - can't remember.)

Over time I have come to realize that I am not a dog person at all! My mother is a dog person and as such we always had at least one dog in the family. I thought back on this and realized that even while I was thus fooling myself that I was a dog person (simply because my family had always owned a dog)I never really liked most of the dogs we had. I even detested some of them. Yes Bonnie Bell, I'm talking about you!!!

Over the last year or so I had begun to fool myself again. I began to think I was deep down a cat person.

We have a very nice cat who eats all of our mice and is very useful. He usually keeps to himself and doesn't meow very much and will happily sleep outside and as such I have had little or no trouble with cat allergies. Recently, however, he has started to assert his "rights" a bit more. He will meow louder for food when hungry, he will constantly try to stay inside all day long, and will most annoyingly walk right between my legs when I walk. He has never been taught to be an indoor cat so if I forget he is in the house he usually leaves us a present somewhere. Beginning to irritate!!!

So I get to thinking again. Am I a cat person or a dog person? I have spent time pondering this (since it is such a weighty matter you know). The result? ... wait for it ... I AM NEITHER!

It was an epiphany for me. I realized that for the most part, I dislike animals. Kind of like when I had another epiphany a few years back and realized that for the most part I dislike other people's children. But that's a different story.

So when I see our cat, I smile at him because he eats the mice but am freed of the burden of thinking I have to like him. I think back on the "dog years" and of enduring face-lickings, and not being able to play in the back yard for fear of the silent, squishy, stink-bombs hidden in the grass and I smile because there is nothing that would EVER make me get a dog. And that's okay.

So I say to the world: You don't have to be a dog person or a cat person. You can happily and gratefully be neither. Come join the ranks of the animal tolerators, and know that your home is a slobber-free, poop-free, pet-hair-free zone and breath a deep satisifying breath with me.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Of Yoga and Kids

I was recently introduced to Yoga by a friend. I have always been amazed by people who could do yoga and still be in one piece afterwards. My friend was very sold on the benefits of yoga so I tried it with her a couple times and then I dowloaded some yoga workouts from the internet and tried it out on my own. I have found it quite refreshing, rejuvenating, and enjoyable, but I have a tendency to feel highly self-concious when doing yoga. Here's why:

1) I am overweight, out of shape, and accident prone.

2) I have always found it funny to tease or joke about people I would call "granola" or "crunchy". This includes (but is not limited to) those who: are vegetarians; wear sandals in winter; use recycled or recyclable anything; anyone and anything associated with saving the whales, the planet, or whatever is the current endangered fad; and ... those who do yoga. My kids are very quick to pick up on my hypocrisy and it is only a matter of time before one of them teases me and calls me "granola" or "crunchy."

3) One morning my youngest woke and quietly tiptoed into the room where I was doing yoga and sat silently watching me. When I was in a particularly exposed pose trying hard to keep my balance and focus, my son says cheerfully, "big butt coming thru," and slaps my rear end. Before you gasp in shock at his behavior, you need to know that I taught him that phrase by jokingly saying it whenever I squeeze my way into or onto something (like when there is no room on the couch but I want to cuddle between my boys so I say it and force my way in.)

So, now I do my yoga when my husband is at work and the kids are all at school. I close all the curtains, lock the doors and get crunchy!

What Books Are in Your Bomb Shelter

I recently read a friend's blog where she asked what books would we put in our bomb shelter. If I were to have to retreat to a bomb shelter (as if there are any in Samoa) it would presumably be because of an end of the world type of scenario. I thought about this and determined that it isn't just about me, but about my kids and future generations right??? What would I deem valuable enough to save for myself and future generations?

Here's my list:

1. My scriptures.

2. The Laura Ingall's Wilder Books (I love history, especially American history. I love the stories of the American frontier and all of her practical pioneering info.)

3. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (Like I said, I love history and her book is such an inspiring one about loving our fellow men even when faced with the horror of the Holocaust.)

4. Little Women, Little Men, & Jo's Boys all by Louisa May Alcott

5. Helen Keller's The Story of My Life

6. Best Loved Plays of William Shakespeare (mostly for posterity and because so many of his words are woven into our past and present culture. To understand ourselves we must know Shakespeare.)

7. Cheaper By the Dozen & Belles On Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (wonderfully funny and practical.)

8. James Herriot's books about his life experiences as a vet in the highlands of Yorkshire.

9. Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Pride & Prejudice, and Persuasion all by Jane Austen

10. Harry Potter series (we all need some magic and fantasy in our lives).

I would also make sure I threw in a good Dictionary so I can continue to say, "Look it up, the dictionary is right there" when my children ask me "what does that mean?" and "how do you spell that?"

So, I will pose the same question my friend did: What books would you have in your bomb shelter?