|SEE, I told you I could still fit.|
|When adults ride
- Rides you should avoid
- Anything that spins. That means rides like the “Tilt A Whirl” are out, unless you prefer to test the nickname for this ride (ie Tilt a Hurl).
- That big pirate ship ride. This ride is fine if you don’t mind leaving your heart up in the air while the ship careens downward with the rest of you.
- Roller Coasters. There is no reason why an old person should drop from a great height unless she’s escaping from terrorists on a plane.
- Rides with names including “fear”, “doom”, or “hammer”.
|More Your Speed|
- Rides you can go on
- The Merry-Go-Round. This breaks the rule of no spinning rides, because the spin is very, very slow, as in slow enough for toddlers. But for goodness sakes, do not try to get on the horse. Use the bench.
- That sky-ride that takes you over the park. It’s slow and does not involve long drops or sharp turns. At least it shouldn’t. Unless you somehow slide out of the seat. I’m starting to rethink this one.
- The choo-choo train. This ride is slow, has few turns, no spins, no drops, and is on the ground. Two thumbs up.
|Artist’s rendition of me on a trampoline|
|Don’t do drugs, kids|
`Who are YOU?’ said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, `I–I hardly know, sir, just at present– at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’
`What do you mean by that?’ said the Caterpillar sternly. `Explain yourself!’
`I can’t explain MYSELF, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, `because I’m not myself, you see.’
-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Who are you? A very good question, indeed. And, like Alice, not one that is so easily answered. I would have thought that by my mid-thirties, I would know the answer to this question, but I’ve yet to figure it out. If anything, I’ve only added more roles. Daughter, sister, student, teacher, girlfriend, wife, daughter-in-law, mother, serf, librarian, mental health patient, etc. It doesn’t help when you’re being questioned by a rude, smoking caterpillar. I hate those guys.
I could answer by name, but even that’s not clear, as I have more than one last name. Would you like my maiden name or my married name? I remember receiving a letter from the Social Security Office just after my wedding demanding that I change my card because my former self no longer existed. It actually said that. The old, pre-married me had ceased to exist, and now I was known only by the name of the goofball I’d just married. Curiouser and curiouser.
|An identity stolen by thousands in Las Vegas alone|
When do we form identity? Do we ever actually form our own identities? When my eldest daughter was born, the old Social Security Office was after us again. Where was her SS number? Obviously children are supposed to be born with this nine digit number tatooed on their foreheads. So we quickly labeled our daughter with a number so she could be like the others in the hive. But these numbers are hardly secure identifiers, as they can be stolen. Identity theft is very prominent these days. Yes, it’s not just the government that takes your identity, it’s Joe Smoe off the street who wants to buy 3,000 issues of Hustler and a burrito with your credit card.
All our lives, we struggle with this. How do we fit in our families? Are you the golden child or the black sheep, the baby or the eldest or the dreaded middle child? Did your sister get called the pretty one while you got the “nice personality” consolation prize? What about when you left the security of home for school? Were you a cheerleader or a football player, or were you a member of the chess team? And there’s work, too. Once again, are you the cheerleader, the smart one, the black sheep, or do you have that good old “nice personality”? Who are YOU?
It’s even more complicated after you marry and start your own family. Now you’ve got relationships in your first family (you are ALWAYS a kid to your parents, accept it), and in your second (sometimes I wish the word Mommy had never been invented). If you divorce, you get even more relationships and identities. A world of fun! Not to mention an adventure at Christmas time.
Yet with all these relationships, all these roles, with everything else removed, there is you. Who are YOU, and YOU alone? Do you like yourself? Do you want more from your life? Are you satisfied with where you are, with how you feel when you are all alone (if you ever get that lucky chance). It’s something many of us don’t ask until it’s almost too late, and we realize we’ve lived only for these other roles, and never for our own. I don’t want that to happen to me.
|How’s about a girl’s night out where we LIVE???|
So who am I? I don’t know yet. But I’m finding out. It’s a journey, and one that I can only hope involves girlfriends and road trips – though not of the Thelma and Louise type.
Eat me! Drink me! Drugs. Where would we be without them? Drugs have radically changed our society. Penicillan has helped millions (unless they are allergic to it – hello – and then it just makes them swell up). But generally speaking, Penicillan was a lifesaver.
But just like Penicillan, all drugs have side effects. Some are dangerous if taken too often. We are learning all the time. Like, for instance, it’s not the best idea to give your child narcotics for teething pain. (Don’t believe me, check out the newspaper ads from the early 1900s.)
So we’ve come a long way. Eventually we got the FDA, or the Federal Drug Administration, to regulate this stuff. Which meant, for starters, actually labeling what was in the bottle. (Something more than ‘drink me’ was usually preferred). Granted, the FDA isn’t perfect. And even approved drugs have their nasty side effects. So now we have people afraid to take so much as an aspirin.
But does that mean we fear all drugs? Even drugs that can save our lives? What about drugs that help regulate the brain? Now there’s something that really bothers people, especially Scientologists. Do people need “quick fixes” like antidepressants? Do we need a nation of people on “happy pills”? I don’t know about you, but I’ve yet to have a “happy pill”. A “somewhat normal and doesn’t want to jump off a cliff pill” is really quite okay with me. And that is what is in your average antidepressant. If you get REALLY happy off antidepressants, chances are you’re manic depressive. Here’s a quick test. If you managed to paint the house and reshingle the roof in one night, you probably need a little help in that department.
Anyway, antidepressants are obviously not for everybody. And they aren’t the only solution. Diet and exercise are always beneficial. But for many people, antidepressants do help. Antidepressants can give people the will to eat and exercise. They don’t make one “happy” and they are far from a “quick fix” as most take at least two weeks to either work or let you know that they are definitely not working. And most come with side effects. It’s a matter of what risks you prefer to take. I prefer “drowsy” over “suicidal” myself.
And if someone has a problem with that, well, they can “eat me”.
|A standard work meeting|
Yes, that’s it,’ said the Hatter with a sigh: `it’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles.’
`Then you keep moving round, I suppose?’ said Alice.
`Exactly so,’ said the Hatter: `as the things get used up.’
– Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Workplaces want more than just nose-to-the-grindstone workers. Oh, sure, they want those too, especially if these workers will also work for bread crumbs and nose insurance. But to really succeed in almost any business, you have to show you’re involved. As in, you need to join clubs. That’s right, you just thought you left high school.
But it gets better. Just like no one ever threw a pep rally for the Honor Society, so people are more impressed with those who volunteer for extra activities. It shows you are a “team player”. Instead of volleyball practice, these activities invariably involve meetings. And the meetings almost always involve committees, which involve sub-committees, until you are effectively always in some sort of meeting. That has nothing to do with your actual job. Ironically, the more you do this, the better your job outlook.
And so, lately I have been quite involved in an Activities Committee. And I’ve been in a lot of meetings. I help plan birthday parties, and parades, and fundraising walks, and Chili Cook-Offs and of course what we shall serve in the coffee shop (I don’t actually work at a coffee shop, by the way). This can’t be done by just anyone. It involves a lot of deep thinking involving whether we should use fancy toothpicks or little wrappers for samples, or how to dress up a float (would voodoo be out of line in a conservative Bible-Belt town?), or stupid team names (don’t make me repeat these). Like I said, important stuff.
I’ve missed several blogging days. I’ve been busy. In meetings. One must always have these, because little gets accomplished in the other meetings, which calls for another. But it’s like this in all things – as soon as you get used to something being one way, it’s time to change, and another meeting to figure out how to do so. New cup, move down.
|Q of H – a real people person|
`Would you tell me,’ said Alice, a little timidly, `why you are painting those roses?’
Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two. Two began in a low voice, `Why the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been a RED rose-tree, and we put a white one in by mistake; and if the Queen was to find it out, we should all have our heads cut off, you know. So you see, Miss, we’re doing our best, afore she comes, to–‘ At this moment Five, who had been anxiously looking across the garden, called out `The Queen! The Queen!’ and the three gardeners instantly threw themselves flat upon their faces. There was a sound of many footsteps, and Alice looked round, eager to see the Queen.
Finally, we get to the real star of the book, the Queen of Hearts! At least that’s what she tells me and I’m inclined to agree with her. How many of us have known such a queen? I certainly have. She went by the title of “director” but I’m fairly certain she saw herself as queen, for her employees were most certainly treated as serfs.
|My former fellow employees and me|
I picked the scene of the card employees painting the white rose bush red for a reason. What’s so ironic about this is that when you work under a tyrant, sometimes the least useful thing for the company is the thing you must do to survive. The bush is still a white rose bush, but it appears red, and that’s enough to keep her staff’s heads on their shoulders, so that’s all they care about. When you’re trying to avoid fury, the last thing you think about is how well the company is doing. After all, you’re only one tiny, small peg in the wheel.
This is why the authoritarian style NEVER works. I don’t care whether you’re a spouse, a parent, a teacher, a preacher, a boss, or a queen. People will respond to fear – but only enough to keep from getting into trouble. If you want them to actually help you, help the business, help the family, help the kingdom – you must treat them with respect. But too many use the authoritarian approach because it’s easier. As an aside, is it just me, or does the Queen of Hearts remind you a bit of Michelle Bachmann? Maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, I did manage to finally escape my Queen of Hearts, and now I work for a new kinder, gentler queen. And I work hard for her, harder than I ever did for the other, because I genuinely want to please her. If I planted the wrong bush, I wouldn’t cover it up now. I’d admit I goofed, and I’d plant another. And more than likely, this queen would pick up a hoe and help me do so. No more painting the roses red. And, thank God, no more threats of “Off with their heads!”
While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly hear the words:-
`I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!’
-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
What a lovely nursery rhyme! Okay, so the Duchess would not be considered parent-of-the-year material. In fact, the whole shaken baby thing would definitely get her a day in court, unless the child were to turn into a pig, in which case she’d only have to worry about PETA.
But what makes the “perfect” parent? Obviously we don’t want to beat children for sneezing – not when there are so many other reasons to smack them. Not saying that I do, of course, but I doubt there’s a real parent on earth who hasn’t thought of it at least once. This is why television is such a lifesaver. Without the occasional use of the boob tube babysitter, I bet there’d be a lot more sneezing beatings.
But of course you’ll get the parents who know more than you do. Nevermind that thus far, you’ve managed to not kill your kids, a very awesome success in itself, these people are certain they are doing it better than you are. Their precious child never had a bottle, never watched a second of T.V., never threw tantrums, never ate anything but organic homemade food, never had a second of unstructured time. They did learn to speak, crawl, and walk earlier than other babies. Also, their children prefer the taste of spinach over chocolate, and eat it all the time, and are involved in every type of sport, and also make straight As. And then, of course, they wonder – what do YOU do?
I am a slacker mom. I used to be embarrassed about this, especially around the Stepford wife crowd, found anywhere, but especially known to congregate in churches. But now I look at my kids, and I realize that they’re not perfect, but they’re happy most of the time. They weren’t breastfed for years, but they have fewer allergies than their breastfed peers. They didn’t always walk and crawl and talk right when the book said they should, but my eldest hummed “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to herself at less than a year.
Her little sister was more the scientist type than the artistic – at about 17 months she discovered through personal experimentation that super glue was, in fact, not a poisonous substance. And this was after quite a few hours of the dreaded Clifford the Big Red Dog, Teletubbies, and Big, Big World, a show that would make the staunchest environmentalist want to burn down a rain forest. But they did learn from these shows, and as far as I can tell, haven’t lost brain cells because of it. I might need to tone down the Disney channel, though, because I’m fairly sure I’ve lost some from it merely by secondhand exposure.
Sometimes I get mad at my kids and shout at them. Sometimes I’m too tired to play. Sometimes I have to GET OUT before I go completely insane. They aren’t in any structured activities save church and Girl Scouts. But thus far they haven’t written a tell-all book about me. And my eldest even wrote an essay praising my good qualities, including showing them vidoes on Youtube. Which might have made the teacher wonder. But, ah well. When I’m feeling down, I remember that at least I don’t beat them for sneezing. So, with any luck, they won’t grow up to be pigs after all.
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
At the end of it all, I am fortunate to have enough energy to bathe myself and flop into bed. Except then I have the elusive free time, which I can use to keep myself up longer and thus make the next day even harder. I am always running, it seems, just to stay in place. Often I think that I don’t really do anything, as the house is in constant disorder, and I’m always forgetting stuff like appointments, library books, and the location of my glasses. But then I get sick – as I am now – and I realize that I do stuff. I stay in place. When I’m sick, I fall a few steps back, and I see that the house can look worse as it edges toward getting us a guest spot on “Hoarders”. Oh, my husband helps, but it takes two, especially when one also has things to do, like play with tools. So I am hoping that the doctor, after relieving me of that burdensome 30 dollars, will cure me so that I can once again stay in place. And maybe, just maybe, I can run twice as fast one day, and get somewhere else.
I wonder what that place might be?