Monthly Archives: October 2015

When Life Was Simple

wpid-boston_public_garden_2.jpgI grew up in a suburb near Boston, Massachusetts. My father was a school principal and in the later years my mother worked as a bookkeeper. In the early years my mother stayed home to raise us and money was tight, especially during the inflationary period in the seventies, but my parents watched every penny and made it work. As a child growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, life was simple.

Necessities Were Simple

The home I grew up in was a modest, split-level home. Throughout most of my childhood I wore hand me downs or clothing bought at steep sale prices. If the clothes didn’t fit right my mother would get out her sewing machine and work her magic. We had all of our basic necessities taken care of. We ate three meals a day all made from scratch, and we didn’t own a microwave until I was a teenager. We also had a small garden in our backyard that provided green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lots of berries throughout the summer. I still remember my father sitting on the front steps of our house, snapping the ends off the green beans, and putting them in a large bucket of water while I played in the front yard.

wpid-id-100239665.jpgChildhood Was Simple

For most of my early childhood we didn’t have cable television. In fact, our television couldn’t have been more than 22 inches big with a thick brown frame and large rabbit ears that always pointed north. It did the job. For entertainment I was sent outside to play with the other kids in the neighborhood. We didn’t have fancy toys, but we had each other. We did have some board games and we got bikes for Christmas, but overall it didn’t take very much to make us happy. “Kick-the-Can” was our favorite game to play and it required nothing more than a soda can. Most of the time all we needed to have fun was our imagination.

Celebrations Were Simple

Birthday parties were easy. We would invite some kids from the neighborhood over and my mother would bake a cake and serve it with some ice cream. When we were young we played “Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey”. For decorations we would string up some balloons and buy some cheap party hats. Nothing fancy. For special events my parents would invite guests for a backyard BBQ and throw some hot dogs or hamburgers on the grill.

Entertainment Was Simple

For music we had a record player. My father liked to play Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary, while my mother liked to play Olivia Newton-John and The Beatles. One Christmas I got my very own record player that played 45’s. About twice a year we all went to the movie theater and I will never forget seeing the movie E.T. on the big screen. What a movie! We didn’t have a VCR until I was about fourteen years old. Back then VCR’s could only record one thing and it would be what you were presently watching. Not sure why we needed this thing. As time went by we started to see video rental places pop up and they quickly became our source for watching movies.

Communication Was Simple

Our phone was a corded rotary phone. We communicated in person or by telephone, and day-to-day business was conducted mostly by snail mail via the U.S. Post office. We used to order things from catalogs by phone, and in the second week of November my sister and I could hardly contain our excitement as we waited for the Sears “Wish Book” to arrive. If you’re not familiar with the Sears “Wish Book”, I would have to describe it as the coolest and biggest toy catalog on the planet! My sister and I would battle over who got to look at the catalog first, until we were eventually told by our parents that Santa wouldn’t come if we continued to misbehave. Both of us used to spend countless hours pouring over the catalog and perfecting our list for Santa.

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Technology Was Simple

The first video game console we got was Atari and our first game was Atari Pong. Picture a black screen with a vertical white line down the middle. We had a about a two-inch, small white line on both the left and right side of the screen that acted as the paddles, and a ball that moved horizontally back and forth across the screen. The paddles had limited mobility and moved up and down in a straight line. I’m embarrassed to admit that my sister and I would spend hours and hours playing this stupid game. My homework was done first on a typewriter, then on a word processor. Do they still have those? The first computer I ever saw was a black and white Apple computer that took up the entire table in my high schools new computer room. I took my first computer class as a Junior in high school and also got my very first F. Trust me when I say back then computers were complicated. At the time, it didn’t occur to me how life changing this new technology would turn out to be.

Things Are Different Now

Today families buy frozen, prepared meals and pop them in the microwave, or they stop off for fast food as they shuttle their kids back and forth from their expensive after school activities.

If they go outside and play, it’s free.

Birthday parties require a cake from the bakery. Ponies and bounce houses are rented, or better yet, professional party planners are hired to take care of all the details and make life easier.

Do those $600 dollar designer cakes really taste better than homemade?

We have high-speed internet, cable, and high-definition smart tv’s with theater systems that make you feel like you’re at the movies. For a few thousand dollars up front and a couple hundred a month, you’re all set. Movies and music can be downloaded at an instant for a small charge.

Don’t worry! I’m sure all that radiation and those electromagnetic fields we created are perfectly safe. Besides, you have spend your income on something.

We have five and six hundred-dollar smartphones with contracts that run a couple hundred dollars or more per month, which are used to communicate mostly by text.

People? What are they? And we definitely need the internet on our phones. How else are we to keep up with Facebook? We need to be able to report that we are getting gas and picking up some new underwear. If we don’t have texting, how in the world will we be able to tell our friends that we should both wear red socks today? This is important stuff! We’ll die without it!

Game consoles are so advanced, you would think you’re playing the game for real. Remember the movie Tron where a teen get’s sucked into a video game? Well it’s now a reality. With several hundred dollars for the console and a cost of $50 per game on average, you too can experience this mind-blowing technology.

Has anyone stopped to think what some of these games might to doing to the minds of children?

Modern day vehicles are now computerized. Instead of a steering wheel, a gas pedal and brakes, cars now have computers that entertain us and give us directions. With all of the new devices, automakers have made it easy to hook everything up so we can talk and text. Nowadays most people do just about everything while driving.

Soon to be released on the market are self driving cars. Now people will be able to cook themselves breakfast or paint their toenails on their way to work. Does anyone out there know how to read a map? Remember those?

Where Does It Stop?

Cashiers are disappearing as we automate the registers. Waitresses are disappearing as we automate the ordering process. Banks are disappearing as we do most of our banking online. Receptionists are disappearing because we automated our phone systems. Customer service is disappearing so we can talk to a computer. Tax professionals are disappearing because new software has allowed all of us to become experts. Office workers are disappearing as we become paperless. Retail stores are slowly disappearing as online purchases continue to grow. And thanks to this new cloud technology, many more jobs are expected to disappear. Who’s next? Will drones replace our delivery drivers?

We suffer from a lack of employment, underemployment, student loan debt, credit card debt, and there are many who are barely able to save a dime. Crime is at an all time high, our schools are plagued with violence, family units are broken, and we live in a nation of people who grow angrier by the day. With a nation either at war or heading into war, carrying a national debt load of  $18,155,729.727.216.00 with a population equal to 321,663.649 to pay it off…what comes next?

Even though I grew up with rose-colored glasses, I still miss the simple life.

Image of Boston Public Garden courtesy of Erin McDaniel, Image of Retro TV courtesy of Wittaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Inside Out

Also Posted on my other site: Homeschooling the Minds of Tomorrow

600full-inside-out-posterThis weekend, we rented the new Pixar movie, Inside Out. And while I enjoyed the movie just as another great flick by the studio, I couldn’t help but relate it to very real emotions in everyday life.  I know that sometimes (especially in the postpartum days!) I feel like there are different emotions in my head all fighting for control.  And some days, it seems as though Joy is lost (which is what happens in the movie).  Another interesting thing I found was how the happy core memories can become sad memories, if we are missing them, such as the case with the main character,  Riley. I have found this to be true many times in my life:  Something that was happy at the time now makes me sad to remember because I miss the time or the person.

Today, I began looking on the internet to see if I was the only one who had this thought.  It turns out, there is a website called the Helpful Counselor that discusses 20+ counseling themes found within the movie.  The website’s list covers details under each category, and also offers additional resources for helping children sort through the complexity of their emotions.  With babies, toddlers, in-betweens, a pre-teen and a teen, there are emotions all over the place at my house! I highly recommend the movie and the site.

Here is the list:

  1. Loss
  2. Sacrifice
  3. Personal Growth
  4. Core Personality (and the experiences that create them)
  5. Value of All Feelings
  6. We Have Many Different Feelings
  7. Change in Interests
  8. Feeling Multiple Feelings at Once
  9. Communication Skills
  10. Coping Strategies
  11. Problem Solving
  12. Creating a New Normal
  13. Safety
  14. Loss of Control
  15. Plans Don’t Always Work Out
  16. Keeping a Positive Attitude
  17. Finding an Appropriate Way to Let Out Big Feelings
  18. Never Give Up
  19. Train of Thought
  20. Loyalty
  21. We Need the Support of Others to Achieve Our Goals.

Siblinghood of the World Bloggers Award

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggersThank you, Simon, for nominating me for this award.  I look forward to your unique posts (and those designs you promised me 🙂 ).

THE RULES:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog in your post.
  2. Answer the questions that the blogger who nominated you has provided.
  3. Nominate ten other bloggers (or up to 10).
  4. Create ten questions for your nominees and notify them of their nominations.

GONE WITH THE WIND, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, 1939.

My Answers

  • What’s your favorite male character in a book and why?

Rhett Butler.  He invented tall, dark and handsome.  His personality is flawless!  I don’t think I’ve come across a more well-rounded character.

  • What’s your favorite female character in a book and why?

Scarlett O’Hara.  Maybe you are seeing a theme at this point… She’s also a survivor at all costs.  She may seem cold and uncaring to some, or the anti-hero.  But to me, she was courageous during a time I can’t imagine living through.  She was loyal to her home and her father.  There was nothing she couldn’t accomplish, until the end of the story 😦

  • What’s the one thing that happened in a book that you would like to do?

True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – I would love to be that young, innocent, beautiful English girl making the sea voyage home to her family, only to realize she is amidst a crazy captain and a crew out to get rid of him.

  • What would you do with a magic pen that any time you wrote with it, it created whatever you described (I liked this so I kept it)?

Draw doors that went into gardens.  Whenever I was a place I didn’t want to be, I’d draw a little door and disappear 🙂

  • What’s the book you couldn’t put down?

Gone with the Wind and Everyday Saints

  • Where in the universe would you like to go? Why?

I’m happy looking at the stars on the ground… Earth’s ground.

  • Who is your favorite author?

Funny, I can only think of one who I didn’t like

  • Have you ever read a book that you didn’t want anyone to know you had read? What was it?

The Twilight Series.

  • What book has made you feel something the most intensely? What did you feel?

Gone with the Wind. I was just so upset that Scarlett and Rhett were over!

  • If offered the opportunity to visit a fictional world, where would you go and what kind of character would you become?

Does being a mermaid count?  Living in the Great Barrier Reef??  Otherwise, if it’s a book, I’ll settle for any fairytale princess.

My Nominees:

  1. Poor Prose – a very new site that has great potential.  The writing is great and I can’t to see what else he does with the site.
  2. Sometimes Silver Linings are Blue – Wow!  Carisa’s poetry is beautiful, provocative, and oftentimes, hits right to my core.
  3. The Lonely Author Blog – I just recently stumbled upon this blog. Another fantastic writer!
  4. Charles French – writer, book and movie reviews of the classics!
  5. My Two Sentences – Beautiful writing in only two sentences.  You won’t believe what he can do until you read it for yourself.

My Questions:

  • When did you begin writing for enjoyment?
  • Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
  • Why do you write?
  • What is hardest part about the writing process for you?
  • Do you find you’re bummed out when you finish a good book?

Your Life is Not Your Own

I love family related blogs. The crazier the day, the more fun it is to write about later. This site never disappoints!

nauseatingpalaver

A colleague sat down in my office yesterday to vent. His woman is going to bring a child into the world in 16 weeks.

“I am a little perturbed,” he said.

I’ll bite…”Why?”

“I find that I am spending all of my time doing stuff for others and none for myself” he laments.

“At work?” I ask.

“No. With my girlfriend. I have to go shopping for this baby. I have to convert my office into a baby room. I have to paint. I have to go to doctor appointments. I have to help her with this and that. It sucks.”

“Ohhhhhh. Well” I say, “You are having a baby, señor. Your life is no longer your own. But, I have to say, I assumed you would have understood that having a child means that your life as you know it is over.”

I mean is this not obvious? Do…

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Creative Blogger Award

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Thank you so much, Carisa from Sometimes Silver Linings are Blue for nominating me for this award. I really enjoy your poetry!

RULES FOR THE CREATIVE BLOGGER:

*Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
*Share 5 facts about yourself.
*Nominate some bloggers in return and notify them of their nomination.
*Keep the rules in your post so it makes it easy for everyone to know what to do.

My nominees:

I love nauseating palaver’s witty and colorful stories about his family.

Simon’s posts are always fun and diverse.

From one homeschooling mama to another, I really enjoy A Homeschool Mom’s advice and ideas.

Five facts about me… in memes 🙂

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1. I have seven kids. Why would you want to call me?? There’s no way we can have a meaningful conversation. Having said that, I use my phone for everything else – blogging, picture taking, web surfing, bill  pay, etc.

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2. I love makeup. I may have an addiction. But I’m not ready to admit that…

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3. I love food.

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4. My sister seems to think I’m a bad driver. But how could I be when I love driving so much? I have to get out at least once a day. Three times is preferable. And yes, I take my brood with me.

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5. What I remind myself of when my day was a disaster. And what I remind hubby of when he complains about being out of underwear.


Where’s My Flying Car?

Also posted on my site: Homeschooling the Minds of Tomorrow

back to the futureThe future has finally arrived! Let’s take a look at some of the predictions held by past generations:

smart classroomsAccording to littlethings.com, the people of 1899 envisioned these wacky “smart classrooms” in which Alice and Johnny’s thoughts were plugged in and read.  Yikes!

first computerIn 1946, the first ENIC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer was born.  Predictions for the future of computers were way off!  According to the March 1949 edition of Popular Mechanics, it was believed that while “…a calculator like ENIAC today is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh only 1½ tons.”

Lexus-HoverboardNow let me introduce something that is not just a fantasy of tomorrow: the hoverboard!  Lexus has been working on this bad boy and has had it “tested” by some of today’s skate boarding pros.  Did you know there is such a thing as a levitation engineer?! Me either!


When Mommy Gets the Day Off

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This was me, on my way to the Texas Renaissance Festival with the hubby, my sister and her hubby and another sister (was that confusing?). My parents  generously agreed to watch ALL SEVEN KIDS (yes, even baby baby) while we ran off for the day.

Men get to go to work and hang out with big people most days. But us mommies get to  try our hand at awkward small talk with the other park mommies. It’s usually an embarrassing explosion of attempted adult conversation interrupted by the policing of children.

So what happens when Mommy actually gets to go out for the day with adults and without kids?

First, we walked into Academy on Texas A&M game day, past fifty or so Aggie colored game goers… past the aisles of Aggie maroon everything and asked where the UT gear is. Ya, know, their biggest rival?  Just to shake things up 🙂 Ah the death glares!

We walked into the parking lot past  (I’m serious, and if you’re a Texan you know I am) Aggie maroon cars and yelled “Hook em horns!”

We left before being shot, thankfully 😉
I’m not really a trouble maker, as one lady suggested, just can be without my kids to keep me in line ♡

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