I learned something important today, or maybe I should say that something I already was aware of was reinforced today, and it’s this: Anytime you open your mouth, literally or metaphorically, your words always reflect on someone else, and usually a lot of someone elses. Just for the sake of argument, let’s use me as a test case. Anytime I say anything to anyone, although I may be saying it only as an individual, others may hear those words as a part of something larger. To that person, I may be speaking as:
Category Archives: Personal
… and that means it’s prime gift-buying time. Christmas is not my favorite holiday, but I do enjoy selecting gifts for the important people in my life. However, I don’t like all the commercialization that seems to have been added into the holiday itself; I think people can have absolutely wonderful Christmases without buying a bunch of imported plastic crap that keeps CEOs rich and poor people poor. To that end, I have pledged to buy all of my gifts from small businesses and independent merchants. I know it’s a little late in the game, but I’d like to challenge all of you to buy at least one gift from a small business or independent merchant. To that end, I’d like to introduce you to an awesome person who is a hero of mine, and invite you to browse her website for any last-minute gifts that you might need. She is “Surly” Amy Davis Roth, and she makes ceramic jewelry that is available at http://www.etsy.com/shop/surly.
I doubt this will come as any sort of a surprise to anyone, but I’m a pretty big fan of The Big Bang Theory. I’ve come to the somewhat inevitable conclusion that I am, in fact, Sheldon Cooper in non-fictional form, and for the most part, it doesn’t bother me. I guess I finally am coming to terms with myself.
As a member of the skeptical community, I know it must be difficult for you to deal with the fact that some people would rather seek medical advice from people who have not walked the hallowed halls of a traditional medical school. It must hurt your heart to know that some people who are sick may never get well because they put their trust in treatments that have not been proven to medical science to work. I know it hurts my heart to hear about children who are denied life-saving treatment because such treatment goes against the belief systems of the parents – and I’m not even a doctor! Right now, though, I’d like to look at “alternative” treatments that usually don’t involve life-or-death choices, such as chiropractic, offer some theories as to why people choose them, and give some suggestions for attracting these people back to your practices.
The more things change, the more some things seem to stay the same – so much so that sometimes I wonder if I really am actually “growing up.” I seem to fall so easily into patterns and modes of thinking that I had really hoped I’d outgrown, and it’s really becoming disheartening.
Some time ago, I was listening to NPR’s “Science Friday” podcast; the episode where Ira Flatow interviewed Jeff Potter, the author of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food (available from Amazon here). After excessive amounts of hinting, my wonderful husband bought it for me, and I slowly worked my way through it. I’ve never thought that I was a very good cook, since most of what I make is either easy to the point of being simplistic or comes in a box, bag, or can. One skill I am quite proficient at is ordering takeout, and we’ve been doing quite a bit of that of late. At least, until the money started to run out. Summer is tough when you’re a college student, because although financial aid does help pay for living expenses, they don’t give you any during the summer break. Therefore, I’ve had to be a bit innovative, which is not something I undertake lightly when it comes to food. I’m fortunate that my husband is a trained chef who loves to experiment and will eat almost anything, but after a long night of cooking for everyone else, he’s been known to neglect cooking any dinner for himself. This is problematic for two reasons: 1. He is a diabetic and should therefore not skip meals, and 2. He takes his diabetes and cholesterol medicine with his last meal of the day (which means that if he skips dinner, he doesn’t take his meds). After several weeks of nagging him that a granola bar was not the full meal he was supposed to be eating, I “blew up” one night last week and said, “You know what? I’m sick of nagging you to take care of yourself. Therefore, I’m going to cook dinner for you, and you will eat it, and you will take your pills, and I will not listen to any arguments.” And that, as they say, was that; I’ve cooked dinner every evening since that night. Mostly, I’ve been just tossing cut-up pieces of veggie burger patties on top of noodles (I’m convinced that Robert would eat almost anything if you served it over a bed of noodles or rice), but tonight, I wanted to do something a bit more. Here is the recipe I started with:
For my “Unca” Duane, on July 4, 2013 – what would have been his seventieth birthday.
July 13, 1994 – also known as my fourteenth birthday – was an unmitigated disaster, in the opinion of my poor teenage self. Less than two weeks before, I had been dragged bodily from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois and plopped down unceremoniously in a tiny town in northeast Oklahoma that my elementary-school classmates had christened “Hickville.” And with no movie theater, no shopping mall, no public transportation, and nothing worthwhile within walking distance, it certainly seemed at the time that my life was in a free-fall. To make matters worse, our planned celebrations had fallen apart rather spectacularly not fifteen minutes into the first event (which was, incidentally, a screening of the Disney film The Lion King, just to show how long ago this occurred) due to a bad thunderstorm that caused a power outage. There would be no movie, no ice cream, no music on the stereo, no pizza – I was crushed (today, less than ten days from my thirty-third birthday, I look back at that poor child and think, “How spoiled she was!” but I also remind myself that I was a hormonal teenager at the time, and probably worse than most due to the not-yet-diagnosed major depression). What saved the party was my Uncle (or “Unca,” as he always signed himself on birthday and Christmas cards) Duane. He came over to where I was pouting by myself and talked to me about turning fourteen, and what a big deal it was. I remember only two sentences of many: “I kissed a girl when I was fourteen,” and, “I played hooky from school when I was fourteen,” but the net effect was that I started giggling and forgot to feel sorry for myself. His calm way of sharing “secrets” raised my spirits in a way that jokes, silliness, or lectures never would have. I still won’t claim it was a great birthday, but it was certainly a memorable one. Thanks to my Unca Duane, I remember it with fondness, rather than just disappointment and embarrassment.
My Auntie Ruth used to have a plaque on the wall in her apartment – I think it was in her kitchen, but I’m not sure – that said, “Make new friends and keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” I haven’t been in my Auntie Ruth’s kitchen in years (nor will I ever again – she passed away in 2002), but that plaque has been on my mind a lot lately, for a lot of reasons.
The last thing I ever want to be accused of is nosiness for its own sake. Although I am frequently nosy, my nosiness is always based on a genuine caring about people and their lives, and a genuine curiosity about everything. I am not a busybody, and I do not gossip. Despite my insatiable curiosity about people, I strive to never ever make judgements – I’m a real “live and let live” kind of person. So, for example, if I was to find out that a friend of mine was cheating on her boyfriend*, I would urge her to do the honorable thing and just break up with him, but I would never spread the story along to someone else, because it’s none of my business as to what goes on in someone else’s relationship.