Monday, January 25, 2010

Lunchbox notes

When the children were little, I used to draw on their white napkins before tucking them into their lunchboxes. Often I used the Letter of the Week for inspiration.


Ben rarely used his and so the napkins came home in his lunchbox just as neatly as they left. Sometimes I'd save them, especially those that took more than two colors to complete, as evidence of my devotion, should he ever question it. As a teenager, if not before.

This morning while I was packing his lunch, he said his friend pulled a napkin from his lunchbox last week to find his mother had written him a note on it. His friend held the napkin close so he could read it without his friends peering over his shoulder.

Then he smiled and said, "Oh, my mom loves me so much." Her message: Ride the bus home!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Was it really so bad? Yes, I remember it well.

Perhaps your childhood was much different than mine.

Maybe you loved going to see the pediatrician. You couldn't wait to breathe in those noxious fumes of rubbing alcohol, iodine and fear. Perhaps his nurse didn't lurk behind a half-closed door, feebly attempting to conceal a syringe filled with this year's vaccination. He probably didn't peer over his glasses and tell you the perils of a life spent in a wheelchair--where you were destined to be if you refused your polio vaccine. Again.
I'll bet you even loved your dentist. A deceptively handsome man who enjoyed torturing you with painful shots that presumably made the ensuing procedures only slightly less excruciating. You probably didn't attempt to grip his strong forearms with your comparatively weak, child sized-hands as he drilled into the lower half of your jaw, where nerves danced with blinding intensity.

Nope, you probably don't even mind going to the doctor as an adult. Or try to convince her that you don't need the tetanus shot she wants to give you after your foot needs stitches. Even though she admits to not ONCE seeing a case of lock jaw, she's determined you need the shot. You probably didn't mind in the first place.

And so, when you've run out of excuses for not seeing the dentist (yes, you do have insurance now--have for years), and finally make the call, I doubt you'd cringe when they have an appointment available in the same week, which leaves not enough time to stall or formulate an upcoming hair emergency that would take precedence.

Before you leave home, you wouldn't search the cabinet for something to self-medicate with--take the edge off but then decide to forgo the potential risk of increased blood flow or heightened sensations. It wouldn't matter that the kind woman you first met took your X-rays with gentle patience, seated you in a comfy chair and even gave you a blanket to cover your shaking legs. (She wouldn't mistake your nerves for low body temperature.) Nor would your blood pressure reading betray you and fall into the "not too bad" category while your heart raced to keep you conscious.

And when the dentist approached, not with dark glasses or menacing furry brows, you might not even have noticed her calm demeanor or care that she said your teeth look great, given the amount of time that has lapsed since you've seen a dental professional. Finally, after a friendly hygienist scraped away your daily tea habit, polished your pearlies and sent you on your way, you might not have even taken the shiny white bag they offered with a new toothbrush and sample sized toothpaste tucked inside.

But I'm not you. Someone not afraid of the dentist. Or the doctor. I took the white bag.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Every day for a year? Really?

Lately it seems en vogue to do something every day for a year and then share your findings with the world. I think it started with a group of people who decided to not buy anything new for a year. In an effort to cut down on expenses, save the planet, and determine where to draw the line (as in wearing someone else's underwear), these people set off to show us that you can scrounge around in a dump and find refrigerator parts instead of shelling out $9 for the same part NEW at Home Depot. Nevermind that said dumpisode had them at the emergency room getting a tetnus shot after stepping on a free used rusty nail.

I'm sure part of the rage is the lure of fame and fortune. When Julie Powell decided to cook from Julia Child's cookbook at the rate of one recipe a day for a year, I'm not sure if she knew that a book/movie deal was in her future. Perhaps she was just trying to prove to herself she could cook French food. But, alas, she proved to us all that blogs can make you famous. Or, perhaps she proved that her blog made her famous, but we can all dream.

Then I read the other day about a woman who went an entire year wearing the same dress every day. After watching about three minutes of the video, I lost interest. Maybe her armpit hair kept distracting me, but I kept thinking about the women in third world countries who do this year after year because they have no choice. They own one dress and therefore they wear it. It's not for self-awareness or an attempt to show others that less is more. It's a fact of life.

Yesterday a woman on the Today show explained how she spent an entire year following Oprah Winfrey's advice--from fashion tips to relationships, this woman was Oprahized. Honestly, I thought this had been done before by a woman named Gail.

So, this got me to thinking...all this slaving away trying to write the next bestseller when really, all I have to do is come up with something I can do for an entire year. I jotted down a list of possibilities.


1) Not shave my legs. Actually, I did this for a month during No Shave November a year ago and it didn't really bother me. But I can't see how this will prompt fame and fortune unless I get a product endorsement from NAIR.


2) Wear the same pajamas. I manage to wear them nearly every day until finally shedding them to take a shower and collect my daughter from school. But I'm pretty sure I can't get by with wearing them out shopping. Teenagers can, but not moi.


3) Read a book every day. I already do this. Not an entire book, but I read from a book every day. Still...not seeing the novelty here.


4) Talk to my mother and heed her advice. Nope. I talk to her several times a week, but if I talked to her every day and did what she wanted me to do, I'd have short hair and a perm, a clean house, a tidy laundry room, organized closets and all my clothes would be ironed. And my family would put me away because they'd realize: I'd finally lost it.


5) Eat at McDona--nope, been done, well, for 30 days, but that's almost a year in fast-food time. Eat at Subwa--nope, someone named Jared already beat me to it. Eat at Taco Be--nope, there's some woman on TV now, showing off her fast-food-waistline. Eat at Chick-fil-A? Can't. Closed on Sundays.


6) Knit a scarf/hat/pair of mittens. First, I'd have to learn to knit and then what would I do with all that cold weather gear in Texas?


Since I can't seem to come up with anything plausable/original that will make me rich/famous, I'm going to continue to brainstorm the possibilities. One problem: I'm not a big fan of making myself uncomfortable, working too hard, sweating, following other people's advice, cleaning or making a fool out of myself. I'll let you know a year from now if I latched on to something...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Out with the Old

If Daylight Saving Time provides a good reminder for changing batteries in smoke detectors, I'm going to suggest using the New Year as a catalyst for getting rid of expired stuff in the house.

Last night, after Middle Child decided he'd need something to help him sleep through his cough, I combed through the medicine cabinet in search for some Delsym. I found some and gave him enough to help him sleep plus plugged in the humidifier from his sister's room. (With explicit orders from her to return it.)

But while hunting for cough syrup, I realized the medicine cabinet could use a culling-through. I pulled out tubes of ointment way past their prime, expired prescriptions (that were supposed to be taken until gone) and nearly empty bottles of cough suppressants.

Now, when someone needs a little help getting through a period of congestion or some creme for a bug bite, I know everything in the cabinet is current--and what I need to buy next time I'm out shopping.

Next stop: The Pantry. Just how old is this can of Manwich?