Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Standards.....Best practices? I just want RULES!

I am one of those people that do so much better when I understand the rules.  Who is with me?  I remember when I was in third grade, Mom asked for a yellow chiffon blouse for a gift (birthday or memory is not THAT good).  I thought this blouse was beautiful and it was understood between Mom and me that when I was old enough - and of a certain "size", I would be allowed to wear it.  Of course, by the time that day came, I would no sooner wear my mom's clothes than hang out with her friends.  RIGHT???  Those were the "rules".  There was a certain standard and everyone understood how it was.

Even the Archie comics (Archie, Reggie, Veronica, Betty, etc.) liked everything opposite of their parents.  This would be called a best practice by the time I was a teenager.  Most of us liked rock and roll while our parents still liked country but it wasn't unheard of, if an occasional song was played and enjoyed by both.  Obviously, you didn't brag about it, but everyone could sing along in the car.

Growing up, there were certain things that went without saying:   You fly on a plane - you dress up.  You go to church - you dress up.  You go to meet your boyfriend's parent's and are unsure what to wear - you wear a skirt because you can NEVER be overdressed.  (I still remember a friend's mother telling me that).  You go to work - you wear a dress.  You go to school (right up until 7th grade for me) - you wear a dress unless it is 15 degrees or colder and then you may wear pants under your dress.  Where ever you went - there most always was a rule book to follow - work (employee handbook); school (school handbook); church (church directory with introductions, instructions, etc.); airplane (you went to a travel agent, silly).

Now, when I fly on a plane, while I am grateful that I don't have to dress up, I may be the only one dressed.  It is amazing what some people feel comfortable flying in.  Apparently it is frowned on to stare or take pictures with your IPhone while pretending to take a "selfie" so that you can send same picture to your sister.  This much I have been told.

Church - I am old school and still like to wear a dress but I am just glad to see other's join me in worship, regardless of attire.  One thing I have been noticing lately is that others (over the age of 2) beside the Pastor are bringing drinks in during the service.  I don't mean alcoholic drinks (other than least that I am aware of).  The occasional water bottle didn't surprise me (I have often longed for one during my marathon hymn singing) but more recently I have seen canned soda.  Again, I have been discouraged from 1) bringing in my Sonic and asking for a cupholder; 2) setting up a concession stand near the entrance of the church even though I thought it could possibly be a fundraiser for the offering plate and 3) asking everyone to pick up their trash around the pew before they leave.  FINE.

Work - yes as recently as 1992 (and most of you can figure out where I was working) it was required that I wear a dress to work.  The CEO at the time said to one of the ladies "you don't want to look like a boy, do you"?  Same CEO kept liquor in the cabinet but that is another blog topic.  There were only three of us that were female working there at that time and two of us were single mothers so we just waited until he retired.  It's not always as equal out there as one would think.  Now, dress codes are vague at best and I was once criticized for undermining diversity by asking that our employees present a clean and non-threatening appearance.  Interesting......

Finally - there is nothing concrete about our rules anymore.  They are as fluid as the Internet.  You must be vigilant about checking on-line for changes because that is where you will find employee handbooks, school expectations and church affiliations and beliefs.  AND IGNORANCE OF ANY OF THE ABOVE IS NO EXCUSE.

My shirt.
And may I say one more 17 year old, Madison (along with my two adult daughters, Megan and Marissa. who will remain ageless to protect my vanity) have never understood the rule about "mom" clothes.  Apparently my closet has and always will be a FREE FOR ALL.  And nothing is sacred....I MEAN NOTHING!

She is even wearing my glasses!
Just the other day, Madi noticed that I had on her basketball shorts.  The conversation went something like "are those my shorts....yea...why do you have them...because you have my sports, you have my sports bra....I have it because I want mine back......

I think you get the gist.  I have resorted to retaliatory methods but the best was when she couldn't find her workout spandex shorts.  Guess who was wearing them?

Until next time -

your pal,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

She has my eyes, and your split personality!

It all starts out so innocently.  And really very much a territorial type thing.  You finally have a child of your own (or grandchild) and quickly everyone starts claiming attributes. You are keen to determine who the baby looks like, pulling out pictures of other children, siblings and perhaps even your own baby picture.
The original

 I remember when Marissa was born, much arguing was going on as to who she looked like, when I already knew she looked exactly like me.  Always being one to prove my point, I slipped my newborn picture in the mix.  My mother-in-law (at the time) picked it up and said, "oh, you have a new picture of the baby".  HA!  Needless to say, case closed.  

Need I say more?
The the children get older, and it becomes less about looks and more about expressions.  Comments are made such as "when she furrows her brow like that, she looks just like you".  So now it's not so much about nature, but about nurture.  And I don't know about you, but these can even be self expressions, ones you "felt"  at times, even as you are projecting them.  For me, all of a sudden, something will happen and I will have a certain resigned look on my face that almost simultaneously signals an image in my head of my mom with that same expression.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, Mom.

Maybe this all goes back to examples versus requests.  The old - "do what I say, not what I do".  I remember when we were kids we used to think it was hysterical to ask mom if she was in a good mood and she would scream back "YES I AM IN A GOOD MOOD"!   Back then, we were entertained quite easily.  Now, when kids get older and examples of behavior show up, it's a rare few, that smile and say "Oh, she gets that hateful attitude from me" like we did when they first opened their beautiful eyes.  This is when our more generous attitude of parent sharing kicks in and we are more likely to let the other parent enjoy some of the limelight.  When any of the kids would come to me, upset, for example, because they couldn't run as fast, jump as high....(fill in the blank) as the other kids, I would pull them up on my lap, smooth their troubled brow and whisper, "I am so sorry.  You must get your lack of (fill in the blank) from your dad.".   Then we would give each other a half-hearted smile, a shrug of the shoulders (what can you do?) and move on  from there.  I say...let the chips fall where they may.
Some things just carry on!

Now the grand kids come to visit and you recognize traits that have been passed down to the NEXT generation.  And some of them are more familiar to you on a personal level than a parental level.  HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?  My dad used to tell us when we were young "I hope you have five kids (because there were five of us) and that they are just like you".  I always thought he was being complimentary until I was much older.  Apparently, these things can skip generations.....I didn't know.

But this is what I do much as I love being a parent - being a grandparent is even better.  Even if some suspect behavior has been passed down, now time limits are in place.  Full time love - part time responsibility. And all my kids look like me - either by expression or naturally!  So what if the 10 year old grandson is a little OCD.   If he wants to count steps during dinner time, he has a goal to reach:  10,000 steps a day - YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT!
Oh wait, that is Colten with Kelsey (she's not real)

Until next time,

your pal, Kari

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What lies between a Noun and a Verb is apathy

If you read last week's blog, you will have noticed, I HAVE A NEW GRANDDAUGHTER.  And I love her.  I say it, I believe it, but when it comes down to it....what does love have to do with it?  As a noun probably not much.  Because so many times, in today's is not enough.

Even the word "love" is overused or maybe overrated.  (As a noun, anyway).  How many times do we casually toss the word around?  I love Sonic (my example).  What does that mean?  Would I go to the ends of the earth for my Diet Green Tea, with a splash of peach, extra ice?  I think not.  In fact, there are days, (and I know some of you will find this hard to believe), that I make a choice not to go to Sonic.  That doesn't sound like love.    I am not going to focus on the things that love will not do.  That is something all of us are all too familiar with.  Let's talk instead about what love could do.

So, what is love?  I believe love only becomes alive as a verb.  When it takes action and evolves into something that is an extension of the intense feelings that love evokes.  Love is not just fathering (or giving birth) to a new baby, but putting that baby's needs before your own.  Not just when the baby first arrives. but as the baby grows into a toddler, a child, a sometimes not so lovable teenager.  Love is providing a stable home life (as best as one can) with examples of love being shown so that a child can imitate that love to his friends and future family by sharing and caring.

But can we trust that children should learn that love at home?  Watch the news on any given night and you will have the answer.  Whether it be choice (and not by the children) or circumstance (not by the parents), many of our children - our FUTURE, are living in poverty conditions, some abused, some neglected and in many cases, someone knows.  It could be a family member, neighbors, school teachers...but someone knows.  And yet these conditions look like "child's play" compared to children in other countries who must wake up to the sound of bombing, air strikes and the cries of those wounded and dead around them.

What can we do?  We must do what we can - every day.  Every time.  Take the judgement out of our eyes and put out our hands.  To lift someone up who needs help; a bag of groceries; a ride to the doctor.  Volunteering our time, treasure and talents.  And we shouldn't wait to be asked.  We know where we are needed.

Love is never a noun.  Let your love take action.  And it will lead you to a new level.

Until next time,


your pal,

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Taste buds and love unite!

I love to bake!  It has been one of my favorite things to do with my daughters over the years.  And through the years, we have added to our repertoire of  items we "make and bake".  Many things we have made, everyone loves.  Taste buds and love unite!!!!  But other things, in fact a couple of my favorite things, have not been a favorite with my very own family.  How can we be related?  Do you ever wonder that, when something (or someone) you love does not win the heart of another person you love?

Or what about when your own  "taste changes".  When I was growing up, I remember eating macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and one particular tuna casserole with potato chips on top.  Ring any bells?  I can tell you that I no longer wish to eat these particular foods; my "taste" has changed.  By the same token,  I did not like olives, any type of fish (other than fish sticks) and also would not eat food that had "touched".  I will eat all types of olives now, try most fish and am not adverse to mixing and matching food on my plate.  Tastes change.

That happens with love, too.  The divorce rate didn't reach the heights it has soared too from a few simple bad choices.  Like a five course meal, love is complicated.  Which tools do you use?  There are a ton of recommendations but no book of instructions to ensure success in any relationship.  Human love is shallow or deep, complicated, conditional, (or not), ever changing, overwhelming  and necessary.  How can anyone survive that?    Our taste buds aren't much different.  They are sensitive, particular, discerning, ever changing and necessary for satisfaction.  Just like love, we are lucky if they last our lifetime.
This is LOVE 

One person's soul mate is another person's nightmare.  Your favorite dish is your child's punishment.  It's good that we are all so diverse but so interesting that we are all so diverse.  These thoughts all occur as I have been spending quality time holding my latest grandchild (first girl) and marveling at this thing called love, how quickly it presents itself, how you can see and feel the results of  love in the face of your grandchild.

I think I will go get a Sonic!
Match made in Heaven!

Until next time

your pal,

Look past the water stains

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