Friday, December 26, 2008

You Are Here

I went into a mall today to get my hair cut for the 4th time in 3 months (got a VERY bad haircut and I'm still trying to recover). Anyway, after the stylist cut off the big hair flaps on the side of my head that made me look like I could take flight any given moment, I was strolling out and the family sort of led me to a Chick-fil-a to get something to drink. We ordered 4 drinks and a kid's meal for the kid. We were all standing right there, yet the cashier hands me the drinks in their trademark styrofoam cups tucked inside a paperboard cup carrier with a nice handle. All to walk a whopping 20 feet over to the tables. All I could think of was WASTE, and how all of that stuff we'd been given, save the liquid, would wind up in a landfill. Or worse. Styrofoam NEVER goes away, ever. It'll be here until there is no here. Until the world blows up. And even then it's little particles will be floating through the air and seas. I've been reading this book and I have to say here that I think all who read this should get that book and read it too. I'll loan you my copy! It's titled, You Are Here: Exposing the Vital Link Between What We Do and What That Does to Our Planet, by Thomas Kostigan. Or you can go to Did you know that there's such a thing between California and Honolulu called the Eastern Garbage Patch? It's a place in the ocean where trash collects from all over the world. And that it's twice the size of Texas? And that there's a Western Garbage Patch too? A full 80% of debris that is in the ocean originated on land. Don't flush anything down your toilet but poo. Take shorter showers. Don't throw trash out of your car window. Recycle everything that you possibly can. And don't buy water in plastic bottles - get a refillable bottle and wash it after each use. Did you know that fresh water on our planet (the kind we must drink) is only 1/2 of 1% of the total water available and that we waste water constantly, when we could be working harder to get some of the clean fresh water to underdeveloped areas where people are dying because they don't have enough? One child dies every 12 seconds from lack of clean water! That's inconsciousable!
Some of you might be thinking that I'm a liberal nut. Maybe so, but we can't just continue to ignore the pollution of our land, water, and therefore health. Think about how much stuff you buy, how much stuff you actually need, and how much stuff you throw away. Think about living with less. Think about giving the stuff you don't use anymore to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or some other charitable organization that can get more use out of it. Don't throw batteries in the trash. Start a compost for your leftover food scraps if you can. Plant more trees. Take action and do something in your own home or neighborhood. Read more about this issue or just get this book. My child is 4 years old. When she's 30 or 40 or even 50 I don't want her to have to wear a mask to go outside, or die of cancer because of some toxin from plastic that got into the fish she eats. Okay, the rant is over for now. Don't just take it from me. Inform yourself and go do something!


Okay, okay. It finally got to me. It's Christmas Eve night and Sarah is suffering from sleep loss induced mania. She's had no nap all day and she's tired, but gosh almighty, Santa's coming to bring her presents! I decide to hop on the LIE train and use the handy dandy internet to pull up the NORAD Santa Tracker. What a hoot that was. Once she figured out what it was and we watched a few "videos" they had shot of Santa as he flew through places all over the world, she was enthralled. She sat there in front of the map, waiting for Santa to "move" to the next location. We talked about how he brings presents to all the little children in the world (that's the worst part of the lie I think) and how he'd find her even though we weren't in our house. Then we had to rock her in the rocking chair - the going to bed process wasn't easy. But finally, after an hour of asking questions and cuddling and santa tracking we stuffed her in the bed and under the covers, her little eyes twinkling in the dim light of the computer monitor.
Then WE go nuts. Perhaps it was our own lack of sleep. I said to Hal, "Hey - let's put her presents out and then we'll run into the bedroom and wake her up and tell her that she JUST missed Santa Claus! Then we'll see her little face light up!" My rationale was that she'd get up before us in the morning and we'd miss the look. That awesome look of suprise and delight on a child's face that would be our reward for spending all that money on her presents. Hal's response: Yeah, let's do that. So we did. We pulled out the presents, arranged them by the little tree, and WOKE THE CHILD UP! She ran into the room and said, "where's Santa"? Thank you Santa Claus!" She just nutted up. She pulled candy canes and silly putty out of her stocking, then she unwrapped a toy, then she'd stop for a second and exclaim, "look at all my presents!" and grab up another one to unwrap. I think we got in bed around 1:30 AM. She took the silly putty and the yo-yo with her because she wanted to sleep with them. It was great.
Today, after we woke up, we had something like buyer's remorse. We kept asking each other, "do you think we got her too many presents?" And then, "well we'll set a limit next year" and "she shouldn't need any more toys this year." But it's all just talk. We both know this child has us wrapped around her little finger like (silly) putty. So, in a nutshell, all this business about Bah Humbug was just Schumbug.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time off begats neuroses.

Today I was in a Target store, which means that I did finally buckle a little and buy some presents (matter of fact, I have spent way more on the kid than I thought I would). And after I had made my selections I was waiting on others I was with to finish shopping - just browsing around looking at the shelves with all sorts of stuff on them, when suddenly, to my great astonishment I realized that I had been SORTING. Yep. The games were all out of whack - monopoly all up in the chutes and ladders space, balderdash sitting sideways two shelves up from where it was supposed to be, puzzles in the wrong space, tag reader books lying on the shelf or hanging in the wrong spot altogether. There's no telling how long I had actually been "cleaning up" before I realized it. Actually it wasn't until another shopper, a woman, asked me if I worked there because she needed help with something! Seriously. I didn't even have a red shirt on! I was proudly wearing my black NKOTB concert shirt. You know, even after I realized that I was sorting out stuff and putting stuff back -- I KEPT DOING IT! What does this mean for me? Time off is too much time for my brain. I have four days off now. I traveled the first day, rested the second, started waking up yesterday, and now I guess I'm looking for stuff to do! I do have a few things to unpackage and a few batteries to install...muh ha ha ha!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bah humbug!

No matter what I do, I just can't seem to get the Christmas spirit this year. I'm not spirited at all actually - I'm better described as a mediocre ho hum. I went to look at Christmas trees but walked away empty handed. Now I don't even care if we have one or not. They were either too tall, too short, too fat, or too skinny - too sparse or too thick. They came with lights, without lights, with pinecones and berries and just plain old pine. The Santa that I saw in the mall the other day even made my nose turn up. We were walking by and Sarah is going nuts shouting, "looook Mommee, it's SANNA CLAWS!" He barely waved at us. If Santa only gets excited when folks throw money at him, than he can stuff his bowl full of jelly belly right up his...chimney. You know what I mean.
And then there's the gift giving. This year I actually had a slight increase in my budget for the holidays, but I could care less. The only thing I want to shop for is New Kids on the Block memorabilia off Ebay. Something about it soothes me. Nevertheless, I tromped around Target for two hours one night and watched Sarah prance around the toy section playing with things to get a better idea of what old Santa could bring her after he finishes with all the mall photo shoots he's got going. All my other relatives might be S.O.L this year simply because I don't care if they get a present or not! It's bad. I can't say this has ever happened to me. Shall I call it Christmas Apathy? It's like after we moved up to Maryland where we actually have a snowball's chance in hell (pun definitely intended) of having an actual white Christmas (or at least something white on the ground in the same vicinity as Christmas) I seem to have been stricken with a crappy attitude about the whole thing!
If it weren't for the 4 year old living with me, I'd probably just try to ignore Christmas until Janurary when I'd probably become depressed all over again that it was gone and I didn't do anything to celebrate. But since I have this child, I'm trying to figure out how to get into the swing of things. I purchased the New Kids Christmas album from years past and that worked for a few days. We played it over and over. We bought a copy of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and that had a never before felt effect on me. I actually could see where the old Grinch was coming from. To hell with their Who-ville celebrations! To hell with all their presents and their roast beast! But in the end his heart grew the two sizes and the rest is history. The Grinch came on board with the Christmas thing because something was so moving it actually made him stop and think. That's what I need. One of those stop and think moments. Like maybe Grandma would almost get run over by the reindeer and it would be a harrowing experience until some sort of Christmas angel would swoop down out of the clouds, shimmering in the moonlight, and rescue Grandma from the road. Something like that. Eh. Forget it. I think I'm a lost cause this year. I'll just blame it on the economy...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Welcome (back) to Maryland...brrr

I went home for a visit, and I came back. Took forever to drive the truck back, but we did it. At least gas wasn't upwards of 3.50 a gallon this time!
Thanksgiving in GA was nice, although I worked for part of it. Right when we stepped off the plane we started shedding our jackets and gloves - ah yes, the deep South. It's like being hugged by the sun.
But I did come back, and it's still cold here. Still freezing. So now I'm working on ways to get warm. Any suggestions?