Friday, November 23, 2012

Shop local this Christmas!

Thanksgiving this year was, for me, the most sincere version of the holiday that has blessed my life.  Beginning in early November, I noticed some Facebook friends posting "30 Days of Thanks," where each day they would mention something they were thankful about.  I took this idea and made my own "attitude of gratitude" by discussing the concept of being thankful with my children and posting the results of some of these discussions on my favorite social networking site. When we discussed thankfulness at the table, I was proud of my two year old son who said he was thankful for his life. We all agreed that we are thankful for our own lives, and for the lives of each other.

In addition to the numerous things I listed on my Facebook this past month, I am thankful for knowledge and critical thinking.  In honor of that I am celebrating Buy Nothing Day today rather than Black Friday.  Furthermore, I am creating a list of small businesses here in Rochester that are ready and able to offer us a great variety of goods and services to gift this Christmas.  Please let me know of any places you think I should add to this list, and I will continue to update this post.

Zak's Avenue
MAG Store
RMSC Gift Shop
Craft Company No. 6
George Eastman House Shop
Comics Etc.
Bop Shop 
Needle Drop Records
Record Archive
National Museum of Play Gift Shop
The Library Store 
Beers of the World

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

When I tell Vinny I am a librarian, he assumes I'm playing let's pretend.

Maybe I am just pretending to be a librarian.  It feels like that these days.  People post on Facebook, something inspires me, and >>whoot!<< I have imaginary patrons to cater to.  Bea and Vinny are my awesome patrons, too.  I find them stuff to do, research parenting, listen to their play and think about bringing them into a better future.  It's the bringing them into a better future part that is the tall order.  It's also the reason I wanted to be a librarian in the first place.

There are so many incredible ideas out there right now.  The world is ripe for change. I think people are ready to do the work needed to make things better for everyone.  Or at least some people think it is.  Maybe we are living in a time when things can change.  Maybe I am dreaming of an unattainable utopia again.  I've had a habit of doing that for a while now.  There is so much work to be done.  Look, here is a site that lists movie titles to encourage awareness of important social, environmental, and media related issues.  900 movies are available to stream, and many others might just be available at your local library.

There are so many people out there like me: young, educated, unemployed or underemployed, perhaps parents, perhaps not, maybe single, maybe gay, maybe married, and we value the future.  Our other values may conflict, but we are connected through social networking online, and we are talking about what we experience.  This is powerful.  There is discussion to sort things out.  These are the essential roots of change, and I believe it is reasonable to have hope as I press on in exploring the depressing, frightening truth of this hellish world in which we live.  We must not deny our fear.  It must be faced to be overcome.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thinking about exercise is easier than exercising

I was always taught that it is important to eat healthy and exercise.  Dad and Vanessa instilled a deep love of nature by traveling the world on horseback.  Horseback riding and caring for horses is a very enjoyable way to stay in shape, however is beyond my financial means at this time.  One day I hope to return to my favorite sport that exists, endurance riding.  This sport changed my life when I was in high school, and I received a nice scholarship from St. Lawrence University for an essay about what I learned from the sport.  Not familiar with it?  Here is a basic primer:

My mama also promoted exercise when I was a kid by planning outdoors activities like camping, hiking, mountain climbing, cross country skiing, canoeing, canoe camping, ice skating, and working out at the Y as a family.  These activities created many interesting memories.  I think my kids are still young for all that, but I plan to share these things with them when they are old enough.

At the present time, I would like to improve my life by making exercise a priority, and also passing that value along to my children. I have always been interested in Yoga, so I created a list of yoga DVDs that I think look cool for families.  I also have heard some things about hula hooping as a great way to build core strength.  My core...  needs work....  So here is the list.  I've ***marked the DVDs I think look especially cool.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reflecting on Lisa's wake.

My husband's cousin died three days ago.  Last night I brought the kids to the wake.  They sure had a lot of questions and their behavior began to fall apart after about a half hour.  We saw her body, said hello to a select few people, and went home.  Lisa Johnson was not someone I knew well, but I remember her as a kind hearted person.  She gave me a large gift at my baby shower.  She worked in education, and based on her Facebook page she had good relationships with her colleagues.  Many high school age students were present at the wake.  That was probably the most populated wake I have ever attended, though I have admittedly not been to many.  I guess I'm just lucky in that regard.

Lots of people die in my husband's family it seems.  It is a large family and most of them live locally here in Rochester and Monroe county.  Although their perspective on life is different than my own, they have always been very supportive to me and my children so I am thankful for that.  I think of them as salt of the earth kind of people. 

I will always remember the last sentence Lisa said to me the last time I saw her.  Someone else in the family was razzing me, asking me who my kids look like.  Bugging me, asking where Bea's curly hair came from.  The Colberts, they do like to pick on people.  Mat had been warning me about family bullying for years before it finally happened the day Lisa stood up for me. Mat had even tried to keep me from family events like funerals and picnics so that I wouldn't have to suffer the wrath of the Colberts.  The last time I saw Lisa was at another funeral.  I cannot hold animosity toward the banter of the bereaved.

The last thing Lisa said to me was, "Don't worry about it.  My kids didn't look like me either."

Yeah, it hurt that it was repeatedly suggested that my kids were too beautiful to have come from my husband?  Those kids are both a perfect cross of me and Mat.  Gorgeous.  Anyone with open eyes could see that.  One person was kind enough to take my side of this family event, and that person was Lisa.

Bullying is an important issue in schools today, and Mat's aunt brought this issue up with me at the wake last night.  She told me little Gabby, in Kindergarten this year, had already had a run in with a bully. The family made it clear to the school that this is not tolerable.  I am glad for that.  It is important to stand up against that sort of thing.  I'm glad that this is a recognized issue in education today.

But what do you do when you are an adult and the bully is in a position of power over you?  When standing up to it can really damage your life? You do nothing.  You sit down. You shut up. You deal with it.  Standing up to bullies is not always an option.  If you are Johnny Depp, you get a big rock...

What do you do when the bully is your child, your older brother or your father?  Perhaps even your mother?  How can you influence them to treat others with kindness and respect?  That is a question that each individual person who lives with a bully must ask them self to rid us of this social disease.