Friday, June 28, 2013

Lost fish

The thing about living in my house, is you never know what might happen. When it's just me, things are relatively calm (though there was that time Joe took a flying leap into the lamp shade chasing a moth), but when the housemate and/or kids are home - all bets are off.

So it wasn't shocking to me last night when I heard glass clanging downstairs, and then my housemate muttering, "How does this happen?" and "Seriously?!"

Then from the bottom of the stairs, I hear, "I lost a fish."

Now - of all the things I thought might have happened...that wasn't one of them.

Obviously, I wasn't going to let this moment pass me by, so I went downstairs to hear more.

Turns out, Chrissy had the fish bowl on the sink for cleaning, and the lone fishy in a small container filled with water. The container was shallow and uncovered - and the fish, which had been swimming happily just a few minutes before - was nowhere to be found.

"I shouldn't be allowed to be in charge of living things." Keep in mind, she's the parent in this scenario. She'd already searched the whole bathroom, but we looked again to be sure. She shook out the small rug, moved the trash can, and we moved all the items on the sink.
Maybe he'll make a friend once he gets to the ocean.

No fish.

The only explanation that made any sense is the fish jumped out of the bowl (Which has happened to me before - well, not me, technically. It happened to X, and I just happened to be the first one to notice.).

But even still, we should have found him. So, we've concluded that he must have jumped from the bowl to the sink, and washed down the drain (the water was running). Which works out, because that way he'll just end up washing out to the ocean, where he can play with other fish.

At least, as I understand it, that is what the kids will be told.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My thoughts on Paula Deen

Paula Deen uses the N-Word. Or, at least she did once, 30 years ago, in reference to a man who burst into a bank where she was a customer, and robbed it at gunpoint.

Here's the thing...if I was a customer at a bank (or anywhere) and some guy put a gun to my head and took my money, I imagine I'd call him a variety of colorful names. None would be friendly.

But none would be the N-Word, either.

Why? Because I believe it's wrong to use that word.

Using that word implies that the guy robbed the bank because of his race - and that any member of that race would do the same thing. Wrong. The guy robbed the bank because he was a jerk. OK - maybe he was someone in a desperate situation who made a poor decision...but most likely he was a jerk.

But Paula Deen admits she probably used the N-Word in that situation...and I would say if she could use it in that situation, she probably used it in other situations, too.

Yeah, sure...anyone could defend her behavior by saying she comes from a generation (1947) and a place
They have the video here.
(Albany, GA) where that's acceptable...blah, blah, blah.

At some point we all have to take ownership for our own mistakes. Ms. Deen is 66 years old; I think it might be time to stop blaming mom and dad for her actions and start apologizing.

But instead, she defended herself - by pointing out that nobody is perfect. Which tells me she doesn't think there's anything wrong in what she did, or her attitude, and she's not really sorry.

Lumping people together by race, and judging the whole group, is racist. Do I think Paula Deen is a racist? I sure do. Do I think she should have been fired for making racist comments? I actually don't. But...

I also don't think that's why she was fired. I think Paula Deen was fired for the same reason anyone else would be fired: She's no longer effective at her job.

I'm sure The Food Network doesn't care what Ms. Deen says in private conversations, and I bet they don't care what she said during a bank robbery 30 years ago. They do care whether or not she can make them money. If she's a bad public relations risk, and advertisers don't want to be associated with her, then she doesn't make them money. Period.

Not only that - if they renew her contract, the network has to invest time and money rehabilitating and defending her image - as well its association with her brand . So now, not only isn't she making them as much money - she's actually costing them money.

How many people do you know who could stop earning money for their boss, and cost their boss money at the same time, and keep their job? I bet not too many.

As far as the endorsement deals go...Smithfield and Wal-Mart and Caesers didn't enter into contracts with Paula Deen because of her bubbly personality or because they like her cooking. They did it because of her name recognition - which comes from her TV shows on The Food Network. But now she doesn't have TV shows anymore, and her name is tainted. So what can she do for them?

Not too much.

I used to work for Wal-Mart. Trust me when I say theirs is not a corporate culture of tolerance and inclusion. Privately, I bet they would applaud Ms. Deen's attitude. But publicly? It's about business. Wal-Mart has customers who will be offended by Ms. Deen, and her products will collect dust sitting on the shelves. Time to move them out of the way and make room for something that sells.

It's all about money. If she can't show them the money, any business is going to show her the door.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The truth about my life

One of the best things about Baking Suit is the roughly 8,452 blogs she follows. She finds the best of the internet, and sends it to my inbox. Which is how I came across this post over at A Life Less Bullshit.

The truth is a tricky little thing. It should be simple... but we spend so much time avoiding, denying, or straight-up changing the truth, it becomes kinda hard to recognize.
Eventually, the truth catches up to you, usually at the most unexpected (and least convenient) time. At some point, though, you have to face it - and though that can be a scary thing, it truly is liberating.

When Baking Suit sent me the link, she asked, "What truth would you tell?" I've thought about it...and thought about it...and then thought some more.

The truth is... I am not always happy in my life. Overall I'm happy, every single day. I can always find something to be happy about - and no matter what, I always, always look. But sometimes, it's hard to find a smile.

Lately, money has been my biggest worry. I can blame my financial woes on the economy, or divorce, or taxes - but the truth is, I like to shop. I use it as a distraction from reality and worries and responsibility.

But here's the rub... If money is the worry, shopping is maybe not the best way to manage.

That can lead to more more depression...which, for me, leads to poor eating habits. Sure, my gender, age, and a couple of health issues make weight-loss a challenge.

But the real truth is... I'm an emotional eater. When I'm depressed (as I have been recently), I eat to make myself feel better. Is that a healthy way to approach food? No. Do I know that needs to change. Yes. But it is an added challenge to the whole weight-loss thing. Add that to the fact that I find exercise boring and time-wasting, uncomfortable, and occasionally painful) and the truth is, losing weight is hard.

I know I need to change my truth. First I need to fix the whole money issue, and figure out a way to distract and entertain myself that doesn't involve spending irresponsibly. I need to figure out a way to fix the depression, and that will hopefully be the first step in fixing the eating habits.

I know that won't be easy - but I also know that admitting the truth is necessary, before I can ever hope to make a change. I'm hopeful this is a good start.

At the very least, maybe my truth will help someone else realize she's not the only one who drowns her sorrows in chocolate - or in the shoe department.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thanks Dad

I meant to hit publish on this the other day...technical difficulties. Not that it really matters - I'm thankful for Dad everyday.

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." Clarence Budington Kelland

That quote always makes me think of my Dad.

My Dad wasn't much for sitting me down and telling me stuff. He didn't lecture, or scold, or huff. He still isn't, though I sometimes deserve a good talking-to. He's quiet, unassuming, and will move mountains to avoid conflict. My Dad is smart, funny, successful, responsible, hard-working, and lives his life with morals and ethics that most couldn't even hope to achieve.

If you're smart enough to pay attention, my dad sets a tremendous example for how to live a wonderful life. He teaches by example, which is why that quote is so fitting.

Dads are a great thing (mostly - I know a few who are not so great). They provide for and protect their family. Traditionally, it's the dad's role to make sure his kids have what they need. I didn't grow up in a traditional household; my Dad was my father and my mother. So he had to make sure I had what I needed - plus everything else.

I didn't truly appreciate all that my Dad had done for me until I became an adult. I'm not even really sure when it happened. I simply came to realize how much he had sacrificed, how much he had taught me, and how lucky I was to have him for a father.

Thank you, Dad. Thank you for reading to me at night, even before I can remember, and for making me read words back to you. Thank you for letting me sleep with a night-light, and making sure I had a bed-time. Thank you for making sure I did my homework, but never doing it for me. Thank you for never letting me win at a board-game - even if we were playing Stratego and Othello when I was five.

Thanks for trying to teach me to play Poker - sorry that didn't take. Some things skip a generation. Thank you for teaching me the value of a dollar by giving me a budget to spend on school clothes. Thank you for also being very generous with that budget. Thank you, too, for all the bailouts and help over the years, when the whole "value of a dollar" thing has gotten a little fuzzy.

Thank you for teaching me how to work hard - and also how to work smart, so that eventually, I wouldn't have to work so hard. Thanks for teaching me how to drive - and then making me buy my own car. Thanks for coming to all those awful school concerts - and for listening to me practice flute at home, even if you did ask that I do it in my bedroom with the door shut.

Thanks for never snooping, but instead trusting that I would either make good decisions, or find good advice. Thanks for not laughing at me when I made mistakes, anyway, and for helping me out when I did. Thanks for being one of the first people on the planet to own a personal computer, and for teaching me how to use one before many of my friends could write their own name.

Thank you for dragging me to the cemetery to visit family memorials every year. Thank you for keeping in touch with our extended family, even after divorce. Thank you for teaching me the value of family, in its many forms.

Thank you for teaching me to love and respect, rather than to judge and hate. Thank you for teaching me that I'm not better than anyone, and if I think I am, that automatically makes me worse.

Thank you for everything that you did for me growing up, and for all that you continue to do for me now that I'm an "adult." I'm lucky to call you Dad - and even more honored to call you friend.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Best years of your life

Found here
For Christmas, my dad gave me a 365 day Things Cats Teach Us calendar. It's on my desk at work, and each morning I flip the page to see what cute kitty picture and inspirational quote will cheer me on to 5 pm.
"The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny." ~ Albert Ellis
Some people think the best years of your life are when you're a little kid. No worries, no responsibility, and everything is new and exciting. You're not jaded. You don't yet know about heartbreak or loss, and everyday is a great day.

Some people think the best years of your life are your twenties. You [probably] don't have too much responsibility, and your whole life is still in front of you. You haven't yet felt time start to slip away, and it feels all you'll ever have is opportunity.

Some people think the best years of your life are your thirties. You have responsibility, but you've also started to figure out what you want, and need - and more importantly, how to get it. Life has taught you some things about loss, and hopefully you've learned how to collect the lessons and push forward.

I've been told that the best years of life happen in your forties. You're old enough to know what you want - and young enough to get it. (I'm counting on this being true!)

I like the idea that the best years can happen during any - or all - of these times. It's all about you and your attitude and what you're open to learning and understanding. Your quality of life has nothing to do with the date on the calendar or what problems you face, and everything to do with your attitude and how you manage.

The best years of my life started the day I realized I didn't know everything. I opened myself up to the possibility that people have as much (if not more) to teach me as I have to teach them. My best years started when I let go of blame and anger, accepted my faults, and set out to fix them.

My years keep getting better because each day is a new chance to remind myself that I may not be perfect - but I'm not so bad, either.