Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hey, It's OK ...

It's been nearly 2 weeks since my last blog entry, guess my only excuse is that life has kept me busy. There was a new roof installed at our house, haircut appointments, piano lessons, marching band sectionals, back to work after a week long 'staycation', etc. Like I said, last week was a busy one, but that doesn't mean my mind wasn't always in its ever-observant mode ... always looking for new and fun things to write about.

Well here is what I came up with. We all know that I'm the master at making lists. Usually they are TO DO lists, and 'yes' I made those too (daily, sorry to say) - BUT this past week I gave myself an assignment to make a list of things that I think  are 'OK'  and 'NOT OK'.

Here it goes ...

Hey, it's OK ...

... to turn your cell phone off while at the dinner table OR when you have company over trying to engage in conversation.

... to sing in your car at the top of your lungs, even if you're off key.

... to cry during sentimental commercials (like when a military mom or dad surprises their child at a school assembly).

... to feel a 'little bit' flattered when someone toots their car horn at you. (It's only slightly embarrassing to look over your shoulder to see if there was someone else standing behind you.)

... to take a lap around the office to see whether people notice your haircut.

... to admit that you actually like the frilly bridesmaid dress. It can happen!

BUT, it's NOT OK ...

... to bring a plastic bag with you when you walk your dog through the neighborhood if you have NO real intention of ever actually USING the bag.

... to talk extremely loud in public places like the library, the bank, or the movie theatre. We REALLY don't want to know all of your personal business.

... to toss your butts or dump your leftover coffee out of your car window - the world is NOT your personal trash can (and NO there is not a maid in the car behind you just waiting to clean up after you).

... to take your opponent out during a game of 'flag' football.

... to flirt your way out of a traffic ticket if you're married (this one applies to both men and women).

... to use more than one parking spot for your car when yours is the same size as everyone else's.

... to be the girl who gets way too competitive about catching the bouquet. After all, it's a wedding, not The Hunger Games. This also applies to the overeager guys going after the garter belt.

These are just a few of the items that made my list. I'd love to hear some of your observations. What do YOU think it's OK and NOT OK to do?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What do you do when 'relaxing' becomes just another item on your TO DO list?

Today is one of those days. A day when I don't have to go to work, yet a day when I don't really have anything planned. This week has been a 'staycation' for me. Sure, it'd be great to have some amazing vacation destination to go to, but at the same time it's been nice to have a bit more flexibility in my days. I've taken early morning walks this week, ridden my bicycle with my daughter, worked in my flower garden a few times, been to the library twice, attended one college visit and have watched TV (Hallmark movies to be precise) a bit more than I usually do. I've also had erratic meals (some good, some not so good), which was clearly reflected on my scale this morning. As a disclaimer, I will say that yesterday was a holiday and while I did take a 2 mile walk in the morning before the heat got too bad I did end my night sitting on a blanket on my driveway and ate 2 toasted marshmallows while watching the neighborhood fireworks light show. I guess I will give myself a bit of grace then. After all I can certainly remedy the scale situation during the balance of my week.

I am so used to filling EVERY minute of my day with work, errands and schedules that when a day or even a week comes along that breaks up the routine I feel a bit lost and confused. The first couple of days I can sit on the patio and read and tell myself I deserve it because 'I'm on vacation'. Then the novelty wears off and the guilt sets in. Not really sure how to avoid it. I'll do a few quick projects so that I can justify to myself that I 'deserve' to relax. Wow! Do I REALLY sound that pathetic? How do you cope with staycations or even the occasional day off? Is there some sort of secret that I'm not aware of? What do you do when 'relaxing' becomes one of the things you pencil in on your To Do list? AND ... it's all the way down the list as #6 or 7?

Monday, July 2, 2012

'BUT ...'

'But' is nothing more than a 3-letter word in the English language, right? Wrong! True, it is indeed a 3-letter word, but it can take on a life of its own. It can have so much power for 3 simple letters. The word 'but' usually leads you into something else ... whenever a thought or sentence has more to say there's usally a 'but'. Like when you're 8 years old and trying to defend your actions to your parents 'BUT I didn't know we'd get burned if we touched the car lighter with our fingertip.' When you hear 5th graders talking behind someone's back on the playground and their response is justified with 'BUT I didn't think Joey could hear me.' Clearly, the actions were wrong, yet somehow someone thought they were justifiable because they added a 'BUT'.

Not too long ago I found myself in the midst of a very awkward conversation. What do you do when you're spending time with someone (and you're committed to hanging around for a while) and you suddenly find yourself feeling very anxious, getting very quiet and taking a step back to hear what is really being said? In the course of less than 10 minutes I felt as if this person justified their selfishness and lack of morals by using the word 'BUT' more times than I could even count. For example, 'I'm not poking fun at so-n-so, BUT did you see what they were wearing?' 'I'm not biased and don't really care what other people do, BUT I can't imagine ever doing anything that terrible.' 'I'm not saying that they're not smart, BUT I can't imagine that they'll get that job.'

Since when does a person become so smart and so superior that they can tear others down whenever they choose, simply by adding a disclaimer? I think it'd be wiser if people broke their sentences down in their heads first before they opened their mouths. The word 'BUT' is similar to the word 'AND' in that sense. Break the sentence down and see if the first part (before you add the 'BUT') or the second part can stand on their own. Can they? And do either parts convey the message that you really wanted to express when they stand alone?

There is a certain scripture (and I believe a commandment) that says 'love your neighbor as yourself'. It talks about treating others the way that you would want to be treated. Would your child (or you for that fact) feel hurt or betrayed if you walked in and heard people talking about you (unfavorably) behind your back? Would you just blow it off when they said, 'Oops, but I didn't know you were there'? Would that somehow make their lack of judgement acceptable? I know it wouldn't for me.