Holidays are Survival of the Fittest

Every year the holiday season brings about new challenges. Some years you find yourself alone and fighting loneliness while other years you are surrounded by family (and too much of it). While plenty of family around squashes any thoughts of loneliness, you can forget about peace and quiet.

As this holiday season comes to a close, I wonder what happened to the 2 weeks of vacation I thought I was going to get. Entertaining kids and family members was more exhausting than I thought. I also thought I would have more time to exercise, hike, go to the zoo, see the botanical gardens or simply take a walk around the neighborhood. Somehow between the Christmas shopping, the post-Christmas shopping, colds, and planning for New Year’s the time just got away from me. I definitely forgot about work for 2 weeks, however, I am not sure I am well-rested and ready to jump back into work tomorrow.

Since it is a new year, I would like to make a resolution to have a more relaxing holiday season next year. There is always next year I say! Considering that most people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by mid-February the chances of me remembering this resolution by next Thanksgiving is not likely. All I can do is be happy that the holidays are over and I can bet back to some normalcy. Strange how so much of the year we look forward to the holiday season and now I am glad they are over. I hope everyone else survived the holidays and is just excited as I am about returning to the daily routine. Happy 2013!

Tradition and Making Sense of the World

Everyone has traditions for how they spend their Saturday morning, how they cook their blueberry muffins, or how they spend their holidays. Traditions are patterns in life that help us make sense of the world. With so much chaos and unexplained tragedies, we need stability. We need something to rely on. Something to count on every day, every week, or every year.

I recall reading in a parenting book that children need structure. They need a pattern to their day. Aren’t traditions just patterns for how we spend our holidays? Putting up a Christmas tree, hanging stockings by the fireplace, opening a single gift on Christmas Eve, lighting 8 candles, or spinning a dreidel. There are holiday traditions for whatever your religion or non-religion. This time of year should be about recognizing that humans are all the same and we need traditions regardless of our beliefs in Jesus, God, or Buddha.

If you have ever seen the movie or play Fiddler on the Roof, then you may recall the song “Tradition” where everyone has their roles to play. Everyone follows the traditions because that is what they do. Grown-ups follow traditions but really aren’t they just patterns and structure built-in childhood? This holiday season I look forward to creating new traditions with my new family. What my family is may take another whole blog, so for now let’s stick to enjoying old traditions, creating new ones and hoping our children find safety in both this holiday season.

Nit Picky…icky!

Do you know where the term ‘nit picky’ comes from? Recently I had some first hand experience picking nits and it is a challenging job! Most people with school age kids have heard about lice occurrences at school. In this case it was not my kids, but one of my friends who had the unfortunate experience of finding lice in her hair. When boys get lice they shave their heads. When girls get lice, they wish they were boys. I am just glad I didn’t have lice, because I probably would have shaved my head if knew what I now know about these divisive little characters.

Are you still trying to figure out what a ‘nit’ is? A nit is the egg that lice lay in your hair. They hang out there on your warm head until they mature and then lay new eggs. After a few weeks, there is a lot of lice and nits in there! Getting rid of the bugs is the easy part (they have a shampoo for that), but getting rid of the nits is painstaking work. The nits attach themselves to the hair follicle and have to be ‘picked’ off the hair. Actually ‘pried’ would be a better word.

To be a good nit picker you  need to get EVERY egg. Why? because if you miss one, it just starts the process again and you get more nits and more lice. Not what you want! Imagine picking 100’s of these off your head. Did I mention the nits are the size of a head of a pin? A special comb and some patience and you can get them, but it is VERY hard to get them all.  You thought being ‘nit picky’ was a bad thing, but in this case it is a good thing. You don’t want a bad nit-picker because you want to get rid of ALL the nits. Every last one. So next time you notice someone being nit picky, take note just in case you ever need someone to pick the nits for you.

Where is happiness?

The path to happiness to explore.

A smile, a grin, my open eyes,
I too can learn to be happy and wise.

The day begins and my heart is soaring,
I know that today will not be boring.

A chance to find my heart’s desire,
A chance to light my inner fire.

A feeling inside for a happy discovery,
I have the strength to pursue inside me.

A new day, a new chance to improve and grow,
I can find a new level of happy you know.

If we don’t try for more we can never see,
How much more happy we can feel and be.

One computer, two kids

One red Thinkpad for a family,
We have one computer but we need three.

The kids like games, I like Netflix
The noisy game music – it makes me sick!

So many electronic devices to cruise
Why a laptop everyone has to choose?

Tablet, Kindle, Droid we have,
but the old laptop is what they grab!

How am I to get anything done?
I can’t pay my bills or order from Amazon.

They say that laptops are going away
In my house it is the device to play!

With a bonus from work or with money from the sky
What can I see? More devices in my eye.

My laptop I bought for writing blogs
I’m resorting to paper, like an old ships log.

Today we time each person’s 30 minute turn
Don’t touch that timer, I got more time to burn!

Scheduling time to use an electronic device?
Instead we should all play Sorry! – that would be nice.

Clover is all over!

All spring I have been fighting weeds in my yard and in Arizona spring starts early (January?!?). Just when I think I have the weeds under control, they pop up somewhere else. Now I suddenly noticed something strange about my lawn. It isn’t actually grass any more, it is clover!

The clover is all over and I am now wondering how to get rid of it. The sad part is that the clover doesn’t seem so bad. It seems to have created a lush carpet-like surface in the middle of the lawn. Dare I say I actually like the invading clover? I am sure this is blasphemy for those who pride themselves on a weed-free, lush, green lawn.

As much as I like the clover, I doubt that it can survive the 115 degree heat of summer here in Arizona. So my clover enjoyment is fleeting. Should I kill the clover with some herbicide weed killer? I almost don’t have the heart. Can’t I just let the blazing summer heat do the job for me? Should I let nature take its course? It may come July and I will have a large brown patch of dirt where the clover once was. Either way, I am confident the clover will disappear.

Funny how sometimes things that we don’t like (clover on the lawn) we can actually grow to enjoy and we hate to see them go. The invader becomes loved. The annoyance grows on us, literally.

I will be happy to have all the other types of weeds disappear over the next few weeks as the weather heats up, but I will definitely miss the clover. Maybe it will return next spring because as much as it annoys me, I love it.

Love: When do you know?

When do you know you are in love? Isn’t falling in love easy? Unfortunately the logical part of relationships gets in the way of love sometimes. Too much thinking perhaps. I recently wondered if the love of youth is more rewarding than the love we find as we get older. Or is it two completely different things?

How did you experience love when you were 16? Did you worry about a boy having a good job? Or a girl being a good mother to children? No! Of course not! You thought he/she was ‘cute’ and you liked to sit next to them in class or at lunch. That was enough. You were 16, what more did you need to know? Why doesn’t love work the same when you get older?
As we get older and form relationships, it is harder. Too much logic and less spontaneity. Why can’t it be simple? We need to focus on the simple question and answer. Question: Do you feel love? Answer: Yes or No.

The other challenge, when do you ‘know’ that you are ‘in love’? In many relationships I knew immediately. Seeing the person across the room. Just one date, or not even a date – kissing them 2 hours after meeting them at the wine festival. (Who knew that kiss would turn into a 3 year relationship!). I believe that people have the ability to be attracted quickly because it is instinctual. I am just not sure everyone is listening to their instinct. If we just followed our instincts, it would be easy to find a mate. Is our lack of reliance on instinct making it difficult to find ‘someone’?

If we could spend more time listening to our instincts and less time thinking (and worrying) maybe we could find more loving relationships. Instead of ‘criteria’, we could focus on how we connect with other people. Watching behavior and listening to responses to canned questions on a date just can’t determine true compatibility. There is something else in the air. Energy. The energy is the thing that 16-year-olds focus on and maybe those of us over 16 should reconsider as we approach our new relationships.

I have experienced love, as well as loss of love. I experienced the immediate lightning strike of love and the slower buildup to a long-term relationship that also was love. The lightning is tough to beat, but sometimes it can also beat you down if you let it. Everyone wants crazy and exciting love because it is so hard to pass up. Others have told me their relationship started with the lightning, but over time it grew into a different kind of love. Regardless of how you get to love, the lightening or a long slow ramp, does it really matter? Should we stop wondering ‘am I in love’ and just love? What about you? When did you know you were in love?