Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cool Down Needed

I recently realized that Global Warming hit right when I went through menopause. I’m just saying. An Inconvenient Truth came out like on the day my doctor said “Congratulations, you are past menopause.” The perfect gift. Thanks Al. Impeccable timing. I am doomed to be sweaty from now until the ice caps puddle out and the earth burns up in a massive fireball of combustible plastic and oil.

Yesterday it was 107 degrees. What is up with that? It’s almost October. I shouldn’t be raking up oak leaves in blistering heat. Or putting on my swimsuit to garden. Or using my hot tub without heating it up. In October. OK, well, almost October.

I don’t deserve this. I have done my part. I drive an extremely fuel-efficient car. I have been recycling since the McGovern Administration. Oh, wait, never mind, he lost to Nixon, didn’t he? Don’t blame me I voted for McGovern. Me and three other people, two goats, and a barn owl. I consciously reduce use of paper and plastic. I don’t travel much (those fuel-guzzling airplanes). I work at home, no commute. I leave a tiny carbon footprint. Shoe size 3. Yet things heat up right when my body thermometer gets stuck in the Mojave. Life is not fair.

I need a good investigative reporter to write a book about the conspiracy by large polluting, carbon-emitting corporations to make me hot. Pass the popsicles.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Solving the Problem

How often have you had the experience of suddenly discovering a simple solution to a longstanding or significant problem? One of those DUH moments, when you realize that you’ve been living with this difficulty that evaporates in an instant?

For instance, a few years back, I suddenly had something poking me in the bottom of my foot. It felt like a perpetual rock in my shoe. I lived with it for months until it made me crazy. I didn’t know which doctor to go to. Family doc? Foot doc? Skin doc? I finally opted for the foot doc. Wrong. This foot doc (and after this went down, believe me, I never went to that doc again) took X-rays and said I had something growing in my foot and he wasn’t sure what it was. He wanted to remove it surgically, which would require an outpatient hospital procedure, require me to spend a week on bed rest with the foot iced and elevated, and leave me on crutches for a month. I booked the surgery, dreading the ordeal. But I also called my dermatologist and ran in for an emergency visit. He diagnosed it immediately as a planter’s wart and removed it in his office for $35. End of story.

Here’s another example. One of my cats, Golda, is an orange tabby. Even though she’s a shorthair, she sheds like crazy. For four years I have tried to remember to pick her up only when I’m wearing house clothes, covered couches and chairs with easily removable fabrics (which I air fluff in the dryer periodically), often walked around covered in orange cat hair (when I forgot and picked her up in my going-out clothes), and didn’t pet her as much as I pet her non-shedding sister. Poor Golda. A few weeks ago, I bought a metal hoop designed to remove the shedded hair in cats and dogs. Every couple of days or so, I comb Golda with the hoop. Now her coat looks fabulous, she looks healthier (and happier), and she is no longer a shedding problem. I pick her up all the time and pet her. How simple was that?

These things give me pause. How many problems, big and small, would be so easy to resolve if only we could step back and take a new perspective, discover a tool for the job, get the right information, or use a different approach?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I ♥ Football

After I posted on FaceBook that I was sitting on the couch Thursday watching the first game of the season, several people expressed surprise that I am into football. I’m not just into football. I’m rabidly fanatical. Well, almost. I don’t paint myself orange. But I did once sit through a game in the pouring rain. It took me a year to save up for the tickets and I wasn’t about to leave. Now I watch from the comfort (and economic austerity) of my own couch, curled up with my cats. Perhaps I don’t seem like the football type because I’m a woman, pacifist, vegetarian, hopelessly uncoordinated, Jewish mom who forbade her boys from playing football growing up, or all of the above. Whatever the reason, I say to you: get over it. I ♥ FOOTBALL!

Football is not a gladiator sport, as many who don’t care for the sport seem to think. You do have to have some smarts to play, despite what anomalies like Terrell Owens may lead you to assume. I once heard a woman say that football is soap opera for men. There is a lot of truth in that statement, because a big part of football for me is getting to know the players, hearing about their career paths, their background, their accomplishments, and what is going on in their life. Then I watch them on the field and am often deeply inspired to see how they perform. Football is the only game that excites me as much as watching my own children play intramural sports. Football is personal.

Football has infinite life lessons. The game is a phenomenal teacher. John Madden often used to say, “Football is a game of inches.” So is life. One never knows what hair’s breadth forward movement will tip the balance and take you to your goal. Player strategies, coaches’ styles, choices made, efforts rewarded or failed. They can have more depth than just the game. When Tony Dungy became the first black coach to win a Superbowl, it was more than just a game. When Eli Manning broke free from a swarm of Patriots and threw the winning touchdown pass, it was more than just a game. When Donovan McNabb was pulled out by his coach and benched, then returned to play his heart out, it was more than just a game. I love the drama of football, the passion that brought the players to the field, the commitment that keeps them there, the effort that makes them win or lose. I love the life lessons inherent in the game and the analogies that can be drawn from even the simplest football plays. I am forever hooked on football. And this year’s season is just beginning!

Here's today's game schedule.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The President Will Be Televised in the Schools

President Obama (I still love saying that) plans to speak to schoolchildren during school via closed circuit television and the Republicans don’t like it. Many conservative families say they will pull their children out of school rather than have them hear Obama speak because he is recruiting children for the Democratic party, brainwashing children, campaigning under the guise of education, and speaking in complete sentences to very young children.

A friend asked me, “If Bush had decided to do the same thing, would you take your children out of school?” My first response was, “Obviously yes.” But that was a knee-jerk reaction (or straight up reaction to a jerk perhaps). My second response was, “I would let them stay in school to hear him if he was required to speak in grammatical sentences.” My real response is that all three of my children have close to double the IQ of Bush and they are independent thinkers, so there would have been no harm he could do to their tender young minds. He probably would have given them a good laugh. He certainly would have been talking down to them, because every one of them was wiser at ten years old than he will ever be.

So whom could Obama influence to be more receptive to his agenda by speaking to schoolchildren? The only children he would reach and perhaps influence are those who are independent thinkers, because children who do not think for themselves usually cling to their parents’ views (or whomever is the adult of note in their lives). He would not be likely to change their opinions one iota. The people who would pull their children from school are not likely to have independent thinking children. Not all independent thinking children are Democrats of course, not all of them are liberals either. But one thing is for sure: Independent thinkers will make up their own mind and no one will brainwash them. So, yes, I would have let my children listen to Bush. But he didn’t respect their opinions enough to speak to them. Obama shows that he values children, educators, and the public education system by this action. I think it is admirable that he is setting an example of speaking to young children as if they can think for themselves, even though many of them are being raised and taught not to do so.

Afternote: Today the text of Obama's speech to schoolchildren was published.