Thursday, June 28, 2012

On Your Mark, Get Set, Cheese!

The family wanted to watch the Olympic trials. They complained and grumbled because I preferred to watch Secret Civilizations, a show about Mayan culture.  I squeezed the remote to get a better grip on it. Ambushed! Believe it or not, they actually cheered after they wrestled the remote from my sweaty hands.

My taste in TV shows doesn’t always please my family. You can’t deny that my choices inform and entertain, although we tend to disagree on the definition of “entertain.”  I usually bypass most TV sports, but since our family has two sports enthusiasts plus another child who sides with them—I’m outnumbered! I do plan to watch the actual Olympics and if I found a show about one of these events, maybe we would all watch it:           

The video’s number one sports event, the cheese roll, is outrageous! Someone created a “sport” where participants chase a wheel of cheese down a hill. What’s the prize—cheese? I’d willingly give up the remote if any one of these events showed up as a TV sports show.  What do you enjoy about watching or playing your favorite sport? 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Facing The Past

Last week I saw a TV show that I hadn’t seen in years. You could tell it was filmed a while ago because of the film’s dreamy quality and actors’ clothing. After doing some quick research, I discovered that the show first aired over thirty years ago. Time passes so quickly!

ALF, which originally premiered in the 1980s, featured a witty, fuzzy, brown, sarcastic alien as the star.  Prior to the popularity of today’s reality shows, ALF aired when TV had an entirely different level of innocence. Old shows always contained a bit of spiciness, but nothing like today. 

Just like an old TV show, a child’s school portraits, from one year to the next, indicate the passage of time. Some people believe faces reveal more than the passage of time.  Chinese face reading supposedly tells the kind of personality traits people possess. Here’s a bit of analysis:

I wonder if a scientific experiment would prove the credibility of Chinese face reading?   I can see how our responses to life’s experience might become etched on our faces. When you look in the mirror, what experience does your face reveal about your past?   

Note: Former video exchanged for a more family-friendly one.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flying the Coop

What a gift it is to have such a wide variety of bird life in our community.  At any given moment, we can glance outside and see enormous robins (who ate well during our warm winter), cardinals, blue jays, even woodpeckers and humming birds. I enjoy regular sightings of the neighborhood blue jay as its cautious mate perches nearby. Our house cat seems to enjoy seeing the pair, too. Simply seeing the birds together prompts me to run for the camera.

Last week, I went to the curb to bring back the garbage can and discovered a small collection of feathers littering the area. I wondered what had caused a bird to lose so many feathers. Was food in such short supply that a bird and raccoon tussled over the garbage? Not likely. The plot thickened after I found a second scattering of feathers a few feet away. Then, tucked beside the curb, I spotted a motionless blue jay lying on its back. The poor bird probably went looking for seeds and now, somewhere in the trees, its mate waits for food that won’t come and a mate that's gone.

Speaking of gone, June is the time of the year when students make plans to “fly the coop.” High school students graduate and prepare to move from their parent’s homes into dorm rooms. College students leave the security of dorm life and go out into the real world. The end of a school year feels like a time of change. Some people greet this season with excitement and anticipation of the future, while others harbor melancholy thoughts about the life left behind. Here’s an amusing video of a little boy girl with a big personality and even bigger plans for the future:

When kids move from one level to the next, we often feel a combination of apprehension and excitement. We wonder if they are adequately prepared for the future. Rest assured, they usually are and if not, they figure it out. In general, what are you feeling about your future?       

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cutting Chocolate Cake Corners

I’ll eat one more forkful. Yum! Earlier this week our children made a delicious chocolate on chocolate cake. I helped with the set-up and clean-up but, they did the real work. Thank goodness they did because if I had mixed and baked that cake, it would have been inedible.

When the recipe said to cream the butter, I wanted use the microwave instead of the hand-mixer. When the recipe said to use three cake pans, I thought two would do. My corner-cutting  would have produced a crunchy-on-the outside, gooey-on-the-inside disaster.  But, since the kids used wisdom, exercised patience and followed the directions, the cake turned out deliciously moist and fluffy.             

The right dose of patience can yield outrageously great results or a hot mess. Check out this guy’s funny advice on cutting corners:

Good commercial. He must know how I roll. Give me the quick-fix as often as possible so I can move on to the next thing.  In our fast-paced culture, we often miss out on the best by settling for less (e.g, our fast food choices). When you’re ready to slow down, do it right and eat well, try this: best-ever chocolate cake recipe.  

What corners do you cut and what are the results? 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Giving More Than a Party?

Our cat had a birthday last week.  We didn’t throw her a party and I’m not sure she wanted one. She received extra attention and a little bit of tuna; fortunately, she doesn’t require much.

I like celebrating birthday and holidays however the fun diminishes under the weight of commercialization when ads push me to purchase expensive cards and extravagant gifts. The spending frenzy causes too much pressure.  Sometimes we believe that buying an expensive gift symbolizes the depth of our love. How much better would our relationships be if we treated one another well and simply made guilt-free gift purchases? 

 Conversely, we can be guilt-free and still pull out the stops on our gift-giving. Watch how this pet owner demonstrates her special connection to her dog:

The dog looked confused. He probably expected a bone. Selecting the best gift means focusing on the birthday person’s desires, even if we would never choose that item for ourselves. So, if a friend knew you really well, what perfect gift would they give you?