Posts Tagged ‘family’

Easter Egg Dying Isn’t Just for Kids

I have a problem lately with school work. I can’t concentrate on it.  Call it me having ‘too much on my plate,’ call it senioritis. Call it whatever, but it’s bad. So I think from now on, or until I catch up with stuff, if I post entries about my “personal life” I am going to just keep it to mostly photos and cut all the back story out. I will still post about what I learn–food system related, etc–but there has to be a way to streamline things.

By the way, are you aware that I write really funny photo captions? You can only see them if you hover the mouse over photos and they are only funny if you think I am funny regularly though. That’s the catch.

These are pictures from the weekend, which I spent at my sister’s in Virginia.

Don’t they look great, though? Very modern and bold and original. Or, as Katie says, “They are really graphic…”

“It’s just so amazing how they all come out different!” – Me, caught up in the magic of egg dying apparently, speaking hyperbolically, genuinely

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We spent ours at John’s (Katie’s boyfriend) brother’s and sister-in-law’s in York, Pennsylvania. They have two little girls so that was cute. And if you don’t celebrate Easter I hope you had a wonderful Passover. Or whatever it is you celebrate…

PS! Has anyone seen these scanner things at the Giant supermarket? Apparently they have them in Virginia. I have yet to see them in D.C. Talk about taking the personal-ness out of shopping! :-/


What are you to do with all those gifts?!

This morning, I woke up at 6 am like a 4-year-old. I think Christmas is the one day a year you are allowed to act like a 4-year-old. I went outside on the lanai (my parents live in Florida, so I get to enjoy a warm holiday season free of snow-shoveling) and chatted with my mom for about an hour. We talked about how everyone working at stores and what not this year is saying “Merry Christmas” instead of the usual “Happy Holidays.” My thought is that the companies must have done some sort of market research that showed most people would rather be wished a “Merry Christmas.” Even those who don’t celebrate Christmas must not mind when it is said. Maybe not all, but I would say most. I know plenty of non-Christians that celebrate Christmas. Christmas has become on a non-religious holiday over the years. I won’t make any calls as to whether that is right or wrong. It is less about just Jesus’ birthday in a religious sense, and is about more getting together as a family. Sadly, it has also become more about gift-giving and commercialization.

Christmas started taking on a new meaning for me when I was 13 years old. My grandma passed away five days before Christmas and my family spent the holiday season driving out to Michigan and going to her funeral. We tried to make the best of it, but Christmas was never the same after that. No one cared about their presents that year. And every year following, presents began to matter less and less. Christmas was about getting together as a family, eating food and making memories. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. In fact, while that Christmas was a low point, it has gotten easier every year. The holiday has been cheerier, my sister and I have grown up more, and less presents have popped up under the tree, which I have enjoyed personally. Less presents means less stress each year.

This year I bought my parents one of these Soda Stream machines, so my mom doesn’t have to run out and buy my dad Coke Zero all the time, and my dad will never run out, AND it’s good for the environment 😉 I got a couple other little things, like some LUSH products for my mom and sister, but that is about it.

[To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t bought any presents until about a week ago, when my sister was talking about things she had bought my mom and dad. I told her I thought we weren’t exchanging gifts–then I guess I felt a little guilty I hadn’t gotten anything to give my parents. Furthermore, already she has found there were a couple things she got for them that they already have and she will have to return. See? Gift-giving and receiving is stressful.]

Anyway, this morning I came across a picture someone had posted online of their Christmas tree, surrounded by about 300 presents. Pretty much their entire living room floor was stacked with presents. The caption of the photo said this person’s parents “used to get just one or two presents on Christmas and they didn’t want the next generation to ever feel the same heartbreak on Christmas day.”

I just find it ironic when people “Thank God” for being so “blessed” with things. Being blessed isn’t about things. It’s about people. Remember The Gift of the Magi? In the end, both of the gifts that the man and woman get for each other are useless and serve no tangible material value, but they represent how much they love each other, and that is all that matters.

Giving a few gifts that you know will bring happiness to another person is one thing, filling a room with an excessive amount of material objects is unnecessary and in my opinion, really sad. To expect or even appreciate this kind of superficiality is sort of childish. Christmas should be about spending time with the people you love, not spending money on people you love to show them you love them. I feel grateful I have a family that realizes this.

Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season, including all the people who woke up to a boatload of gifts. I hope you’re all spending the day with good food, good fun, and most importantly, your family.

I’m off to watch A Christmas Story with mine. =)

When parents try to be career advisors

This is my friend Mike’s graduation invite. He’s off into the real world now.

For the average freshman, sophomore, even junior in college, going home for Christmas break is relaxing. A full month off to mess around and do whatever (sleep, eat, sleep, repeat, etc.)

Everything changes senior year and in the 5-10 years after (or until you have children of your own and parents find a new place to focus their “advice-giving”). The average college student at this time returns home only to be bombarded by the inevitable question, which takes many different shapes and forms, but in my house it typically goes: “What the hell are you going to do with the rest of your life and why aren’t you doing that RIGHT NOW?” This will without a doubt serve as the segue into what they truly intended to tell you, which is: “Well, this is what I think about the matter…”

I see this question/follow-up “advice” already causing some of my closest friends to tear out their hair. And I am going to surmise, based on the singular fact that I don’t have ALL that many friends, that this is a conversation had, in whatever shape or form, by every parent with their early-20-something son or daughter. Right at Christmas time, right when all we want to do is eat snickerdoodles and watch Home Alone on the sofa with the dog (or cat).

Now, I don’t really have any advice. Screw my advice, even if I did claim to have some. But, I can offer some words of comfort:

1. You’re not alone.
For example, here’s how a conversation might go down between my mother and I when it comes to my future. Note: this isn’t verbatim, but actually a conglomeration of separate nearly verbatim conversations she and I have had over the past couple months:

Me: I’m excited about my internship in January–it sounds like I will be doing a lot of hands-on work.
Mom: I still say you should have studied journalism, you were always such a good writer.
Me: Yeah. Wait, huh? Also, I mean, in PR all you do is write. Press releases, letters to editors, blogging…
Mom: OK, but when you start looking for a real job, you should really apply to federal jobs.! — I’m telling you that’s where the money AND the benefits are.
Me: OK so what happened to me being a journalist?
Mom: Well, I mean you should have studied journalism because you were just always a good writer, but if you want a job with great benefits you really should get a federal job.
Me: You aren’t making sense, mom.
Mom: Oh! What you should do is marry a man who works for the government.

I guess what I want you to get from this, other than my mom is a complete psycho (jokes, she’s actually a lovely, although illogical woman), is that you are not the only one frustrated and confused by all the “advice” from your family members. Just remember they truly do love you, and as much as they aren’t helping, they truly think that they are.

What “your future” comes down to is what you want to do and what you are capable of doing given you’re a) education/upbringing b) personal drive and passion and c) a little teensy bit of the freakin’ economy. Which brings me to…

3. Don’t let the economy bring you down. Instead, let it bring you around. So maybe you can’t find a job or the college thing just ain’t working out and/or you can’t afford tuition payments, like this kid. Instead of trying to do things the old-fashioned way, step out of the box and just do something you’ve always wanted to do. A best friend of mine left for New Zealand a few weeks ago. He saved up money for a one-way plane ticket and is off living in Mount Maunganui. He’s already landed a job as a prep cook at a Mediterranean restaurant there and in his free time he’s taking a couple online classes toward his degree and then y’know…living life. Check out that link for some explanation—let’s just say he’s not worrying about having to shovel snow from his driveway.

All I’m sayin’ is if things aren’t going peachy and job prospects are few by the time graduation rolls around, I’m not going to get stressed out. I’m going to get excited. It means I’ll have to get innovative. It means I might have to soul search a bit and take my own advice for a change instead of everyone else’s. It means I might have found my use for all the graduation cash: a plane ticket out of this country for a little while.

Just don’t tell my mom.

What 7-year-olds can teach us about living slowly

If you are a young person–still in college, just out of college, fresh into the workplace, on the job hunt, or whatever–you should read this feature story from the Post. To me, this story is about re-evaluating what is really important in your life, and mostly, it is about slowing down in your life and accepting that what makes you happiest may not be what other people are telling you should make you happy.

Today, in my Practical Environmentalism class, my professor asked us, “What does it mean to you to live your life slowly?”

Hands shot up, as they always do in that class, because it is the best class I have ever taken and everyone that takes it is in love with it, because it always just makes you think so much and learn so much.

For me, living slowly means living in the moment. Not driving myself crazy thinking about what I should have done in the past or what I am going to do in the future. Just being here, now.

Consequently, living slowly is better for your mental stability and your health, and the environment. I could write volumes on this, but I won’t. I may later. Not now.

That being said, I don’t live slowly enough. I don’t really live all that slowly at all. In fact, I feel I have become accustomed to a fast-paced life full of stress and lack of real intimacy, to the point where it is almost the only place I feel comfortable at.

Last night, I was spontaneous and went out for drinks on a Thursday with some girlfriends, something I never do on a Thursday night, or any night lately. It was fun, we played shuffleboard at Atomic and I am awful at shuffleboard so that was funny. Then, it started torrentially downpouring and thundering as we were leaving, and we saw someone’s hubcap scrape off on the sidewalk and another woman bump into two cars while trying to parallel park. It was like a movie, there was lots of laughter.

Then, I got home and found myself in the worst possible mood. I thought of all the work I wasn’t doing while I was out spending time with my friends for once, and I got mad at myself. I got mad at myself for trying to slow down and enjoy my life a little.

Tonight, I spent my Friday eating sushi from Mei Wah then watching Horton Hears a Who with the 7-year-old boy I babysit, Danny. I thought about working on one of the several papers that are due next week while he watched, but instead I shut my laptop and stuck it in my bag. I am really happy I made that decision.

I loved the movie. Steve Carell and Jim Carrey made it even more hilarious, obviously, but everything was just really well done and it was a feel-good movie that also gave you a lot to think about. It made me think about the state of our world right now. The Mayor of Who-ville is the metaphorical Al Gore, or, in reality, he is the entire collective of rational people in the world that can take the fact that it should not be thunder-storming in the middle of November in Washington, DC and come to the conclusion that something bad is going on and we must do something about it. There is more about kind of what I am talking about here.

My favorite part of the night was when I sort of accidentally said out loud, “This movie, it’s like a metaphor for our world today.” Danny just looked over, nodded, and replied, “I know.”