Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Today's Mental Gymnastics

Happy New Year!

  Yes, you read that right.  It is January 31 and I'm saying "Happy New Year."  Ugh.... I feel so behind.  I had the best of intentions to get our office "holiday" cards in the mail at a "decent" time.  We specifically looked for and purchased New Year's cards, because our firm didn't actually start up until January 1.  As I sit here now on the 31st, finally putting them into envelopes and stamping them, I wonder if it is too late.  Why did we not get them out sooner?  Because the graphics guys working on our post cards (which have our contact information) forgot to grammar check and they had to be reprinted, setting us back a week.  Grrrrr.  Needless to say, I was not very happy with that.  Of course, in looking back over the cards, I realized that they say something like "Happy Holidays and all the best in 2013" - but since the "2013" is the biggest thing on the page, I'm hoping everyone will gloss over the "holidays" stuff.   I'll try and do better next year.

Waste Not, Want Not.

   I've been struggling lately with the idea of "waste" in my kitchen.  When I was a kid, we spent the summer growing lots of fruits and vegetables, the autumn was spent canning and freezing all of our fruits and vegetables, and in the winter, we ate them.  (In the spring, we went back out and tilled the ground to replant.)  I can remember my mom making dinner each night, something in a pan or pot, enough to feed a family of 5 (one of which was nicknamed the "hollow leg" and another known as the "Human garbage can.")  Every few days, or once a week would be "left over night" and she would heat up and serve all of the little pieces and parts of the dinners from the week that had not yet been finished.  I do not remember throwing out food that had gone bad, or meat that had sat in the fridge too long before being cooked.  We went to the store once a week (or once every two weeks) and loaded up on food to get us through.

   The reason I'm struggling with this lately is because I find myself throwing food away and it drives me crazy.  I try to make dinners in smaller portions, so that we don't have too much in the way of leftovers, but we sometimes do.  I faithfully put things in containers and into the fridge, but will inevitably toss them out a week (or two) later.  I buy lettuce and it sits until it turns brown and then I cringe as a I toss it.  I'm not sure if it is because I'm buying the wrong things, or just buying too much.  But I struggle with this.  No, I don't expect you to have an answer, I just want you to shake your head in agreement and tell me that you understand.  Moving on.

My Right to Bare Arms

   Yes, I realize that I spelled "bare" the way I did.  I believe that we all have the right to bare arms, when the weather is good and you don't have any tattoos that are misspelled.  Seriously though - I have said it before and I'll say it again - I try not to get too political on my blog or my Facebook page, because generally speaking, I don't have time to keep up with the legal wrangling on either side of the aisle and half the time, I cannot follow what people are arguing for or against.  These days, there has been a lot of talk about gun control, especially after the shootings at the elementary school.  I will say that as a parent of a 2nd grader and one in preschool (at a Jewish Day School, some of which have also been targets of shooters in the past), I cannot even imagine the horror and pain that those parents went through.  I will also say that if someone standing post with a gun all day in front of the building would mean that my girls come home to me safe, every day, then I am all for it.  But at the same time, I think this situation calls for the most outspoken 2nd amendment protectors to take a step back and consider the whole situation.

  I grew up in a house with guns.  My dad was a Vietnam veteran and we lived on a farm.  The combination resulted in several pistols and rifles around the house.  I don't remember seeing them all that much, Dad usually kept them out of the way, in the garage or in the barn.  Many of my friends growing up were hunters.  There was never a problem of children playing with guns and shooting themselves, because at a young age, kids were taught to respect the weapons in the house (and how to clean them, and how to shoot them.)  In any event, I only recall a few times when Dad would bring a gun out - usually when there was a large rodent or pest of some kind to chase off, and once or twice - I think - some wild dogs running around out property. 

  There were no "assault" weapons or machine guns, no "Uzis" or guns that shot countless bullets in a short period of time.  The guns that I grew up around were not designed to wipe out dozens of people with one swipe. 

  These days, Facebook and other social media are rampant with photos and posts about gun control and how it is wrong, and posts about the 2nd amendment and our right to bear arms and how the new proposed legislation is stomping on those rights.  But again, I think that the argument needs to be put into perspective.   When the 2nd Amendment was added to the bill of rights, the Founding Fathers were armed with muskets that could shoot 1 bullet at a time (in the shape of a ball), and that took some 30 to 60 seconds to load. (My time might be off, but you get the point.)  If the powder was wet or if the gun was loaded improperly, it did not shoot. 

But let's look closer at the amendment, which states:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

   If you Google the 2nd amendment and its origins, you will find that it dates back to the 17th Century in England, when men owned guns, and sometimes were even required to, because the King did not have a standing army. In times when soldiers were needed, the King would call up his male subjects, who would report for duty, carrying their own guns. When the settlers arrived in the "New World," they brought guns because they did not know what dangers awaited them. The "right to keep and bear arms" comes from an understanding that a militia might be needed from time to time, to protect the individuals, or in some cases, to protect the kingdom. These days, there is no King demanding that his subjects muster together with their guns to protect his lands or holdings.  Instead, we have an army and the wars they fight are on foreign soil, with guns that are provided to them.

  Another point to consider - as far as I know, nothing in the proposed legislation would prevent your average, red-blooded, American male, who drinks a few beers with his buddies on the weekend and goes hunting from time to time, from going to his local store and purchasing a new hunting rifle or pistol.  I'm pretty sure that if you keep your nose clean, no one is going to prevent you from legally purchasing a weapon.  Yes, you may have to wait a day or two or seven, but in the end, you will get your weapon.  It is my understanding that the laws being sought would prevent the sale of assault guns, which - in my limited understanding - shot a heck of a lot more bullets, much quicker than your average hunting rifle.   Correct me if I'm wrong, but most people do not go deer hunting with an Uzi.  Why kill a spider with a sledgehammer when you can step on it with your shoe instead? (To my friends who do not like spiders, I understand, but please focus on the point I'm trying to make.)

  Some of the posts have argued against a requirement of registration of guns, claiming that it is leading to "Big Brother" knowing too much about what we've got going on at home.  But when you purchase a car, you are required to register it and pay a fee to the state.  How is that different?  And if you really want to freak out about what the government has their noses in of your personal business, try reading some of the recent banking laws.

  But I digress.  Another post I've been seeing is about how the President supposedly said something about guns not being necessary to protect people (children?), but he is surrounded by Secret Service who all carry weapons.  Interesting thing about that.  The Secret Service (part of the Treasury Department) was not originally tasked with protecting the President or his family, or other politicians.  It was not until a few of them were shot (by people with guns) that someone in government decided it was a bag thing for our Head of State to get killed, and decided to protect them (with people who carry guns.)  Yes, it could be a circular argument, but in this case, I think the wackos with guns (the chicken) came before the bodyguards with guns (the egg).

  One final point and then I will leave you.  Based on the posts I have seen on Facebook, it seems to me that most of my friends who are up in arms (pun intended) about the 2nd amendment, are those who already have guns and who tend to use them for the purpose they were intended (hunting, protection of things close to home, etc.) and not those who plan to go out, buy an assault rifle and shoot up some place filled with innocent people.  So why are they so angry?  If the wackos that shoot innocent people are giving all gun owners a bad name, shouldn't the current gun owners, who use them for a lawful purpose, want the wackos to be limited or even stopped?  And wouldn't these new laws help stop the wackos, so that the law-abiding gun owners could go about their business?

  I honestly do not have an answer to that, because again, I have not looked that closely at the proposed legislation and have not taken the time to read up on both sides of the argument.  My comments are just meant to inspire thought, and possibly to highlight the idea that maybe neither side of the issue is as "black or white" as some might think it to be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sneaky, Sneaky....

There was a little bit of craziness at Casa Cohen this morning, something I don't think I'm prepared for.  It actually started this past weekend when B put a tank top on under her t-shirt, thinking she was hiding it from us.  Then again, yesterday afternoon when I volunteered in B's classroom, I noticed that she was wearing a shirt that I had not seen when she left the house.  I tucked the information away, not realizing that I would need it later.

This morning, she came into our room to say good morning, wearing a long-sleeve shirt and a t-shirt underneath.  Thinking something was up, I checked under the t-shirt and found the very same tank top she had worn yesterday.  After you get past the "ewwww" and "yuck!" factors, it gets better.  I then noticed that she was wearing the same jeans she had worn yesterday .... and several times over the weekend. 

Things went downhill from there, with parental demands that she change her clothes and tears (hers) and yelling (everyone.)  The basics that we got out of her, was that she "promised" her friend that she would wear that particular pink tank top to school again today.  I'm not sure why, but there you have it.  I'm sure she knew we would not want her to wear the same shirt twice (she plays hard at school and gets dirty!), and so she tried to sneak it.

I'm not ready for a sneaky child.  I thought that I might have to deal with this at some point, a child who hides clothes in a bag or keeps make-up in a locker because it is forbidden at home, but I did not think I would have to deal with it at age 7.  Part of me wants to shake her, to make her understand that this behavior is not acceptable.  Part of me is scared stiff of what she will hide in the years to come, if she is already hiding clothing under layers.  Where do children get these ideas?

Unfortunately, this discovery comes at a price to Mom and Dad.  Where we thought we could give her a little more freedom, to get herself dressed in the mornings, we now have to go back to the old ways of setting out clothes on Sunday for the whole week.  We now have to police everything that goes out the door, checking under layers and under coats to make sure that nothing is being snuck past us.  I would like to say that we will be able to trust her again, but it will be a long time in coming.  Maybe we gave her too much responsibility.  Once again, this parenting thing does not come with an instruction book, so we get to figure things out at as we go.

(I won't even get into the part where she was more upset about promising the friend that she would wear the shirt then she was about getting in trouble or about Mommy and Daddy being upset.  That's a whole different Oprah!)

Until our next adventure...