Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Mostly when I wake up, I go through the usual list of things - what day is it, what time is it, what's the weather like, what do I need to accomplish today, etc. Today, though, was different . It began yesterday when I was at the library during children's hour and listened in on their songs. So today I awoke with a couple questions - feel free to postulate answers.
- in the first scenario, a predetermined number of monkeys are jumping on a bed. Then, they are all seen to be lying down. The smallest of the monkeys insists that the group roll over and apparently this results in a larger monkey being pushed off the surface of the bed onto the floor. This act is repeated until all the monkeys have fallen to the bedroom floor. But wouldn't you think the monkeys would get back up on the bed?
I'm willing to believe that monkeys are jumping on beds. But when, and why, do they all lie down? Wouldn't monkeys sleep in a sort of pile, rather than lined up like forks in a drawer? And why would the junior member of the tribe be able to order the other monkeys to turn over, especially when it causes a presumably older and more powerful member of the group to be expelled from the bed? You'd think, too, after a couple rounds of monkeys falling off the mattress, that they'd stop obeying the wishes of the youngest monkey.
- Next question: Bunny FooFoo. He is seen hopping through the forest, harassing the local population of teeny rodents by "...scooping up the field mice and bopping on their heads." Why would a rabbit do this? One would think at first that the idea would be to render them unconscious so that they could be consumed, but rabbits are herbivores, so it must be out of sheer maliciousness. And why are the mice in the forest? Shouldn't they be, by definition, in a field? *FooFoo*??
And what about the fairy that comes to remonstrate with the bunny? In some versions of the song, s/he is concise in criticism, and the song ends, but in others, the fairy gives the rabbit three chances (apparently everything in fairyland comes in threes) to overcome his habitual abuse of the mice or else FooFoo will be turned to a goon. He fails, and is transmogrified, and the song ends with, "Hare today, goon tomorrow." My feeling is that FooFoo was intentionally set up, so the fairy can be clever with the spoken ending.
- One of the few songs geared towards small children that I actually enjoyed was from an episode of Veggie Tales, when one of the vegetables - can't recall which one right now - is looking for his hairbrush. Why a vegetable needs a hairbrush is never adequately explained, but I'm willing to overlook this. The vegetable goes on to sing: "Oh where is my hairbrush? Oh where is my hairbrush? Oh where, oh where, oh where oh where oh where (there may be more "oh where"s in there) is my hairbrush?" This song was taken up by my family and used ad nauseum, substituting whatever article was misplaced at the time: car keys, wallet, back pack, etc. Any two-syllable object was fair game.
I've done my best with the illustrations, but they don't give you a lot to work with here at SP.
We now return you to our regular programming.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
A couple days ago, I ordered two cord of wood to be delivered to tide me over til I get mine chunked up and split, and the delivery guy dumped it in the middle of the driveway instead of the carefully cleared spot next to the furnace. I was on my way into the house to call them to come back and move it to where it belongs - about 10-15 feet away - when I thought, “Wait a minute! When did *this* happen?”
What happened to this woman:
and when was she replaced by this woman:
and even though it says in my Gallery that this is at my heaviest, I think I put on about another fifteen or twenty after that.
I can list the tragedies, but unless you are living through it, it just reads like Life. Rotten Life, perhaps, but Life nonetheless.
The first photo is maybe 5 years ago, when I was working daily as a landscaper. I would - not happily, but I would - without hesitation shovel stone or wheelbarrow dirt for eight hours a day. I was about 150 and muscled up. And now I’m *telephoning* someone to move a pile of split wood ten feet??!? WTF???
What happened to ME?
I gained the weight almost imperceptibly - maybe a pound a month. The problem is that I did that every month for five years. I justified it by being too busy taking care of others to care for myself. “Being good to myself” took the form of another two fingers of Laphroaig scotch, or another slice of meatloaf with gravy, and resting whenever possible. A lot of the inactivity was unavoidable - sitting in medical/legal offices or spending precious hours with the bedridden loved ones - but there had to be moments I could have used to at least maintain my fitness; I just didn’t take advantage of them.
I realized that I had not only gained weight and lost muscle tone, I’d lost the idea that I had any control over what was happening in my life. People I wanted to live, died. Houses I wanted to keep, I was forced to sell at a loss. Children I wanted around forever went on to live their own lives (which is certainly what they *should* do.) I think I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Damn, not good” but somehow thought it was beyond my control, just like everything else. So I’d “try”, but I didn’t really get anywhere because I didn’t expect to.
Just this past week, I’ve been taking a hard look at that attitude. I’ve been making myself write, walk the dog, eat three reasonable meals, do One Minute Yoga, pay bills, take animals to the vet, and count steps with my armband. In other words, I’ve been responsible - to others and to myself. I think I’ve finally figured out what “Being kind to oneself” means - not causing your own imminent destruction by overindulging in every poor habit available and using stress as an excuse, but by supporting your body with love.
I may still call to complain, but I threw the wood over to the spot by myself, one piece at a time. I think I’m on my way back - to me.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Here's the link to PUDLCRAZY's original post:
I absolutely agree with your sentiments here. When I was a child, we were put outdoors after breakfast and basically not let back in until supper time - you were fed a PB on white bread sandwich at whoever's house you were near at lunch time. If you were thirsty, well, most houses had hoses. And this was year-round, in suburban Philadelphia. If it were raining, we were told we wouldn't melt. The only time we weren't outdoors was when it was sleeting, and even then we were probably out briefly.
If we were "stuck" indoors, we had to entertain ourselves somehow - board games (which I was at least twelve before I realized weren't "bored" games - things you did when you were bored and that were boring) or standing on your head (one broken arm, here, from that particular game.) People had television sets, but other than Saturday early morning, they weren't considered things for kids to use.
My daughters asked me what we *did* outdoors, and honestly I can't remember. I know we didn't play games per se, like baseball. I remember we did a huge amount of hunting for turtles and frogs and salamanders (then put them back, because none of us had aquaria or anything). Mostly, I think we just were outside, in woods or fields, seeing what we could see. And we were allowed to go as far afield as we wanted, as long as we got home in time for supper.
Now, of course, it's not safe to allow children to live the way we did as kids. If a parent didn't see a child from early morning until supper time, in all likelihood the police would be called, and lunch has to be arranged as a "playdate" hours or days in advance. No one would think of feeding another parent's child without asking.
When my daughters were 8 and 10, my husband and I decided that the area in which we lived didn't have enough play space for kids - as you say, it was always an organized adult-led trip to someplace to explore. The neighborhood was also doing a gradual decline in terms of safety. That was when we picked up and moved out to the country in central NY, where they could take a dog and a friend (or just a sister) and go explore to their hearts' content. We could do this because of the business we owned (a small, independent trucking company - we could live anywhere within reasonable proximity of major highways) and probably isn't feasible for most folks.
One idea that might fit more families is this: we took the children camping every opportunity we had - that was how we spent not only our longer vacations but also any weekend we could manage. As a result, they haven't seen anywhere near as many museums as I wish they had, but they did get to see a lot of outdoors "up close and personal." You can visit museums anytime, but childhood outdoors comes only once. Stay in a tent or trailer instead of a motel.
We also made sure that everyone had a decent bicycle and arranged ways to transport all four bikes to biking places so we all got exercise and outdoor fun. The Rails to Trails program offers excellent opportunities, but here again, it's adult organized and led.
I was a Girl Scout leader, so we did as many camping trips as I could manage to arrange, and any nature-themed activity I could come up with - and there are plenty, if you use your head and your local library for suggestions. There are books full of outdoor or nature-themed activities for kids.
If you're the type that can put up with it (and I was) one way to keep kids tuned in to nature is to have a variety of pets - feathers, fur, scales, fins, shells, you name it, we had it at one time or another (except tarantulas *shudder*.)
I loved TRULYVISIBLE's idea of scavenger hunts outdoors on her property.
One artist I know had a big house in Philadelphia and also had five boys. She turned her center hall, with its eighteen foot ceilings, into a small basketball court. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't quiet, but to my mind she had her priorities straight. Her boys grew up getting exercise and having fun.
On birthdays, don't give a video game - give a badminton set, and be willing to play, too (and likely be humiliated.) Look in the National Geographic catalog for gift ideas that focus on outdoor learning and play. Also - and I hate to say this - we have to be "good examples" and walk outdoors instead of on our treadmills, be willing to play frisbee and fly kites and all that good stuff instead of sitting here Sparking.
Now that we can't just pitch the kids outside the way our parents did, I think we need to be willing to devote a little more of our time and energy into coming up with ways for them to play outdoors. I'm sure it would have been much easier for you, PUDLCRAZY, to show slides (or whatever one does now) of igneous boulders than to take all those kids out to experience them, but you went the extra mile and got them outside. It's not automatic for kids to want to go outdoors anymore - not with the siren call of the computer and tv - so I think parents and teachers have got to take the initiative to take them out and show them how much fun and freedom there is to be had outdoors.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
One dog, three cats and $400 later, everyone is up to date on her shots, exams, worming, weighing and all that good stuff. We are now immune to everything, from rabies to other things too gruesome to mention.
But what I would like to mention is that mother cat and 4 kittens living under my deck and in my barn. These kittens are about eight, maybe ten weeks old and mom obviously has another batch in the oven. In a year and a half, mother cat has let me get from 1/8 mile down to about a yard away from her, but she warns the kittens off whenever she sees me, and they run like their little tails were on fire, so the chance of catching them, other than using big Havahearts, is slim.
Even if I could round up all five, and opted to neglect neutering the boys - a female in heat will always find a tomcat somewhere - say I just need to spay the mother and two daughters (2 out of four kittens might be girls - or they all could) - that's going to be another $400, (or, worst case scenario of four daughters, morel like $700) and more if the vet has to deal with abortion as well (just because it's a more complicated surgery.) After they all recovered from their surgeries, I'd have to let them go back to the barn, because a) that's their home and b) they all hate me, despite the fact that Ive been feeding the barn cat population for years. Spaying the girls, at least, is the right thing to do - it's also a mortgage payment worth of spaying cats that aren't even tame enough to pet, let alone love.
I live in an area that has summer visitors, and the number of cats wandering around my barns at the end of summer always jumps. People on holiday apparently get kittens for the kids as a summer toy, then just leave them, assuming they'll be fine. I have news for them: they'll be some coyote/weasel/fox/hawk/owl/dog's breakfast, or they'll be hit by a car, or they'll starve, and that's the sad truth. If parent's want their children to experience "the miracle of birth", let them rent a video; don't bring more kittens into the world than you are willing to be responsible for. Don't adopt a cat (or dog) you aren't willing to care for for fifteen or so years.
I don't know, yet, what I'm going to do about the mother cat and the four kittens, or the next batch that is clearly nearly ready to be born. I know I can't single-handedly deal with every cat (or dog, although not as often) that turns up in my barn, under my deck, or on my doorstep. I don't want to sound like Bob Barker, necessarily, but:
PEOPLE! SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS!!!
PS: I should add that I feed the cats that show up in the barn, not because I'm a soft touch or feel responsible, but because barn cats are hugely useful in keeping down the pigeons and barn swallows that otherwise make our barns dangerous (pigeon droppings) or unpleasant (being literally attacked by barn swallows.)
Monday, November 07, 2011
Still fiercely behind on my daily word totals for NaNoWriMo.
- i ate three actual meals today (still seems like an awful lot of cooking and cleaning up for one person.
- I met both my step (a modest 5000, but it means something if you've been sofa-bound for a year) AND my moderate activity goals today - plus found a weather balloon when walking the dog, which was a) one of my "other" goals (walking the dog, not finding weather balloons) and b) totally cool.
- I paid a pile of bills, which, to my way of thinking, let me off the hook for a bunch of other useful stuff. Plus, yesterday I was stung by a wasp when cleaning, so obviously that's too dangerous a task to be undertaken. >_>
- I made vet appointments for all the indoor critters, so I feel like a Responsible Pet Owner.
Not so bad for a total slacker. :)
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