A Party With Out the Bag

I have officially become a rebel. A square peg in a round hole. A non-conformist.

Call me what you want, but I am ditching the party bag.

ditching. the. bag.

Was that a GASP? Did you drop your coffee on your keyboard? Did you think, how could she?

Listen, my daughter is having a birthday party tomorrow. I booked the roller rink, sent out the invites, need to get the cake, etc. etcetera. RSVPs in. All set. And then.. BAM. I start having anxiety about the stupid party bag.

The dreaded bane of my existence. A little bag filled with a bunch of crap that almost never makes it out of the back seat of my car. And if it does, the contents more than likely end up in the dog’s mouth or underneath my foot, which of course is then followed by my cursing up a storm after having stepped on a very cheap, and sharp, plastic kazoo.

For the record, I HATE party bags. Always have. I see no point to the party bag. You host a party, shell out all the cash for this, that and the other thing. Give them cake. Ice cream. And experience. The pleasure of your company. Yada. And then  you are expected, even encouraged, to present your guests with something for coming to your party that you threw and paid for.

I don’t get it.

Of course, if the party bags were like the ones they give the Hollywood A-listers at the post Oscar celebrations, that’s a whole different story. Fantasy land this is not. Just small town Connecticut. No iPad minis or GoPros in these bags. Maybe some Pinterest-worthy party bag assemblage by some crafty moms. You know who you are. And we know I am not one of them.
partybags

Have you been there? The Love-Hate relationship with party bags and their breakable contents. The cute little temporary tattoos that no longer look cute when they are on your wall. The old-fashioned silly putty that was fun when you could copy comics from the paper but is no longer fun when you are waiting for the dog to poop out the neon green blob you begged your kids not to leave around for him to get. The little rubber ball attached to a band that you are supposed to hit with a paddle only it breaks the first time you try.

Am I right?

I am. It’s been a long haul with the bags.

I am taking this first step. A baby step if you will.

Come to the party. Roller Skate. Have fun with your friends. Eat cake. Go home.

And next year. No presents. I tried to convince my daughter that this year, in lieu of presents,we should have the kids bring donations for the local food bank. I told her all the other kids were doing it and that her birthday is so close to Christmas and all that.

“Next year Mom.” That’s all she said.

Fine. A little compromise then.

I told her that I was ditching the party bag. Her eyes welled up. Big brown blurry discs of pure sadness. I. Am. The. Meanest. Mom.

She didn’t even have to say it.

Eh. She’ll get over it.

And so, I am certain, will the 10 little 8 year-olds at the party tomorrow who leave. Empty handed.

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Miley and Hannah: A Lesson for a 7 year old, and a Mom, too

Now before I get going here, let me just say that before the debacle that was the VMA’s Miley and Robin Show, I didn’t know what twerking was.
Gasp! I know. I live in the sticks with my head in the sand. Or something like that.
But then, after the awards show, of course it was all over the place. I felt it was my duty to at least know what the hell people were all like OH. My. God. about.

So I began to watch a little of the video. Wow. I thought that move was something only I did in the privacy of my living room dancing to music. Didn’t realize it had a name.

Nah. I kid. I was pretty grossed out by the whole display just like the rest of the world.

Poor Miley.

And I mean that sincerely. As a parent, I cringed to see a little girl out there shaking her shimmy and wagging her tongue like an amphibian dressed to look like she wasn’t wearing anything. And she still IS a little girl. Regardless of the fact that she has made herself out to be something else.

That brings forth the reason for this post — trying to explain the vast difference between Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus to my seven-year old daughter who thinks she wants to grow up and be rock star. Like Miley.

I know the VMAs were like sooo long ago, but I have had several opportunities of late to discuss Miley/Hannah with my own girl. The first one, after she watched an old episode of Hannah Montana, she told me she really liked Hannah Montana. She also thought she wanted be like Miley.

Oh the horror, my darling girl.

I explained that while Miley Cyrus is Hannah Montana because she plays the part, Hannah Montana is nothing like what Miley Cyrus has become. My daughter was confused and asked why.

Here is my answer and I do hope it made a difference with her.

I told her that Miley Cyrus had a lot of young girls looking up to her as her character “Hannah Montana”, that so many of them wanted to be as funny or quirky or silly or talented as Hannah. (And Miley for that matter.) But then I told her that Miley Cyrus grew older and made her decision NOT to be a positive role model for all these girls.

She shaved her head and decided to do some things I think are inappropriate for young girls to see. I told her that Miley is old enough to make her own decision about that (I think that is true) and maybe she might change her mind later. But for right now, I think Miley has probably disappointed a lot of the little girls who used to watch her Disney show.

I waited.

“Oh. Ok. So I can watch Hannah Montana, but not Miley Cyrus?”

It sounds so darn confusing. But that is the gist of it.

The next opportunity I had to discuss the matter was in the check out of the grocery store where Star Magazine or OK! or one of those kinds of magazines blared the head line about Miley and a paternity suit. UGH.

My daughter stared at the cover, pointed to a crazed looking Miley — with a shaved head and blood-red lipstick — and scrunched up her nose. I know it’s not about the paternity suit part because GOD help me, she’s 7.  I can only hope that it was the conversation we had recently about what has happened to a once really sweet little girl.

At this point, I don’t care if my daughter (or son) had talent that surpassed all others in singing, dancing or acting. I would do everything in my power to steer them away from the very short-lived limelight of child stardom and its ramifications.

Don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t think that all child stars are destined for this road. The Harry Potter kids seem to be well-adjusted quasi adults.  But I am old and I have seen enough of them take the wrong road. And because they are kids, who was driving the car? A long debated, hot button issue I am sure.

That brings me to my own personal view: I feel that society builds up these young talented celebrities, puts them on pedestals, and then watches them fall. They are booed at their concerts for being late. Pictures of them drunk and drugged up at bars they are not old enough to get into are snapped and plastered on every glossy magazine there is with “anonymous sources close to them” saying they need help. And then we sit back and point our fingers at them for being train wrecks.

Maybe if we stop doing that, 15 minutes of fame, whatever way it comes, won’t be such a draw for our kiddos.

Yikes.

A New Stage

Like so many things in which we dabble in our lives, some just sometimes get the back burner for a while. Such is this blog. I was passionate about writing and consistent with posting. And then, well, life happened.

And by life, I mean my second breast cancer diagnosis last November. It just kind of took the wind out of my sails, if I am honest about the whole thing. I found that when I wanted to write on my personal blog, or even take some time to write a few pages of a would be novel, all I could think about was that cancer sucks and it was getting in my way. I wanted to write about it, but then I didn’t want my blog, the blog I worked hard at to entertain the three people who read it, to be about that.

What I should have done was kick IT in the ass and continue writing. But instead, I concentrated on some other things, all the while thinking that sometime I’d get back to it.

And since I am at a new stage in life, almost one year out, my son in the beginning throes of middle school and my daughter all grown up in second grade, I thought I would try it again.

So let me re-introduce myself.

My name is Maria. I am a chocoholic, a romance novel junkie, aspiring novelist, stay-at-home mom to two awesome kids and wife to the most patient man on earth. I was a journalist, I won some awards for that back in the day and they are sooooo old that you can’t even find me on the New England Press Association archives. I didn’t make the cut because I guess it was easier to just dump microfiche with the names of the old reporters. What the hell is microfiche you ask? Don’t ask. It just means that I am too old for any of my awards to come up when I Google myself. (You know you have too, so don’t judge.)

I live in the sticks surrounded by pines and some of the nicest people I have met in my 46 years. Yes, I just told you my age, too. It’s okay. I am embracing it. If I say that enough I might believe it. We live with a black cat who thinks she’s the mother to our 1 1/2 year old Dalmatian. Now before you go and think that Dalmatians are high energy and hyper and all that stuff, would you say to a parent of a child — “I heard that children are high energy and hyper” if you didn’t have any? No. I didn’t think so. Children and Dalmatians are high energy and hyper and I can say this through experience. But it helps if you run them. I’m talking about the dog. The kids, well, I probably need to run them too. Actually Jackson, the dog, is really pretty mellow. Give him a chair with a pillow and he’s good to go.

I am also a habitual digresser when it comes to blogging. In my quest to attempt writing funny, which I am not at all sure that I do, I go off on silly tangents. See above.

 

In any case, here I go again. I have some more to say, what with all the new issues that come with being the mom of a middle schooler, of a second grader aspiring to be a fashion girl and that novel still hanging around. And I have a thing or two to say on breast cancer.

So, I hope you will welcome me back to your inbox, your RSS feed or Facebook status.

Screened

I remember seeing this pretty great Christmas card. A family of four, all festively coordinated in their best holiday red shirts, sitting on their couch, next to their lit Christmas tree. All staring down into their iPhones, iPads, iSomethings. You can’t see their faces, but the dad in the picture is holding up his one finger, (the pointer) in a gesture of “wait one sec…”

I chuckled and said to myself, “that won’t be us.”

And it wasn’t. Because we were not keeping up with the Joneses at all. We had one lap top, one television and the wii. That was it. I have, and still do, a crappy phone, with no data plan and 200 texts per month. (And  I am almost there, so call me if you need me, kay?) My husband has his work laptop and his Blackberry. We were bare bones.

And, according to an article in Woman’s Day in October, really behind the times.

Panic set in as I showed the article to my husband.

The kids will lag in school! Their friends will make fun of them! They’ll be shunned from society! WE NEED TO UPGRADE NOW!

After I calmed down, we decided that it really was time to bite the bullet and get caught up with the rest of the world. At least partially.

So I did some research and we decided that Christmas would be a good time to introduce some technology upgrades to our household. I went to the ATT store and looked at all the new fangled phones that you could actually text on without sliding up half the phone to reveal the keyboard. Wow! (But there were too many choices. I got scared. So I still have my old phone.)

We  did, however, decide to purchase an iTouch for our 10-year-old son. It had been on his Christmas list for the last three years. Though oddly, he hadn’t mentioned it at ALL this year. I mean at all. (Though given he was in a phase, a World War II phase that meant EVERYTHING on his list had to do with outfitting him to be a reenactor of sorts.)

So I looked and found last generation’s model, which by the way I just don’t get. Even when you are trying to upgrade, you are still behind the times with Apple. The cool people have the new one. The uncool people have last generation. What evs. The iTouch 4 was cheaper and I am nothing if not cheap.

I also decided to get an iPad for the “family.” Although granted it was high on the list of my 7-year-old daughter’s wants from Santa, it would be for the family. I was certainly not going to get my daughter a piece of technology like an iPad solely because she wants it. I mean, we are behind the times, but going from 0 to 60 for a 7-year-old was out of the question. Right? Right?

ipad

I settled on an iPad (again, last generation — am I a glutton for punishment?) from Wal-Mart. I think I got a good price, certainly the best one I could find.

And boom! We are in the 21st century. Or sort of.

When I found out about my upcoming surgery, I figured an iPad would be just the ticket for me while I lay in bed recovering. So, since I was going to be monopolizing the iPad, I decided to get my husband a Kindle Fire. (Yeah, yeah, I know. I did actually blog that I would never get a Kindle. I meant for myself. I swear.)

Anyway, so I went to Staples, got the Kindle Fire HD and I swallowed hard.

We just bit the bullet.

So in the month of December, we tried to fish around with the kids about technology. My daughter was still firm on the iPad. But my son said he did not want an iTouch. At all. Great. Just great.

Anyway, fast forward to Christmas morning and everyone was thrilled with the new electronics under the tree. Even my son, who jumped for joy with his iTouch.

Over Christmas break, I walked into the living room where my family was. The cat and dog were in front of the blazing fire, the Christmas tree lights twinkled and the boughs of holly that hung gleamed bright over my window panes.

And there was silence.

My daughter, with her new pink headphones, was plugged into the iPad playing Temple Run. My son had his head buried in his iTouch playing some army game and my husband was fiddling with his new Kindle Fire HD.

They didn’t even know I was there. At all.

Guys? Guys? Family?

So I shouted, “Isn’t this bliss!” And got a chuckle or two, but no one raised their eyes from their iThings.

Okay then. We are now that family on the Christmas card.

I realize things are new, and I hope that the desire to be on the damn things constantly will dwindle.

It will dwindle, right? We won’t be that family that grunts answers to each other because we all have our heads buried in some screen will we?

I think I miss being blissfully under the technology bar.

Well, at least I have an idea for next year’s Christmas card.

Happy Screen Time.

A Brand New Day

When I was growing up, my mother was fierce and feisty about her particular brands. It was brand loyalty to the thousandth degree. Only I didn’t realize it then. It just was.

In our house, we only used Bounty paper towels to wipe up. Our spaghetti dinners were made with Ronzoni and Ragu. Our PB and Js were made with Skippy and Smuckers. Tide cleaned our clothes and Charmin cleaned our bottoms. Electrolux (along with my mother) sucked up the dirt. Tuna was Bumble Bee, cookies were Chips Ahoy or Oreos. We drank Coke or 7-Up and my dad concocted his nightly Greyhound cocktail with Smirnoff and Tropicana grapefruit. We were Welch’s grape juice people, Marcus Dairy milk drinkers and Pepperridge Farm bread eaters.

There were literally NO exceptions. No sale, coupon or low introductory price could keep my mother from her brands. Though on a few occasions after we beat her down, we did get Wonder bread PB and Js for a field trip. (I think the bread is still stuck to the roof of my mouth. Ick.) We stayed that way even on the occasions when my dad went shopping alone. He had to hightail it back to the store for the “right” thing.

I know my mother was just a little bit frustrated by the commercials on tv that had us clamoring for whatever new item (say Frankenberry or that PBandJ all mixed together thing) hit the stores. She stuck to her guns and alas, we never got them. Unless we went to a friend’s house. I remember tasting my first Little Debbie snack at a friend’s. I was in heaven. (We were Hostess snack people and that little girl on the package of the competitor over at Julia’s house made me want to try them all. Yeah.)

I did still love to accompany my mother on grocery trips. (Even in high school. Whatever. Geek.) There was no big super sized supermarket for her. She was loyal as a Beagle to her neighborhood independent grocer. So much so that when we entered the store, the store manager greeted her and we were allowed to go into the back to the butcher’s department so she could pick out her cut. I remember always being just a little grossed out by the bloody apron on the butcher, a superbly friendly man named Nick whose sweet smile seemed to make up for the fact that he was usually wielding a knife.

Even though the store is not there anymore, it’s now a CVS, I can still remember the aisles and see in my mind’s eye where things were on the shelves. Because we only picked certain brands, it was easy.

And so my mother’s four little apples really didn’t fall far from the tree. As younger adults, out on our own, we all pretty much stayed loyal to the brands we knew growing up. My sisters became unwilling participants in a forced brand choice when they went to California. Some brands just aren’t available west of the Mississippi and they had to take what they could get. My one sister still has my mother send an occassional box of Devil Dogs because she can’t get them out there in LA LA land.

Now for me, sure I was the product of my mother’s choices, too when I first headed out on my own. I stocked my apartment with the same brands as I had growing up (when I had money that wasn’t being used for more important things like wine and beer.)

But then I came to realize that there were so many choices out there, and most were easier on the wallet than the ones I was used to. So I ventured out. And now, well, it’s a free for all when it comes to brands I use. I think my mom just might be appalled looking into my pantry.

Sorry Mom. I eat Jif now. I still like Smuckers, but your grandkids’ butts are cleaned with generic t.p. and the stains on their clothes are treated with whatever detergent is cheapest. And the pasta in that yummy lasagna you ate? It was the Stop n’ Shop brand on sale for 88 cents. Though if Ronzoni was cheaper, I’d be sure to buy that. Just for you. (Ok, just cause it’s cheaper.)

I know that brand loyalty was certainly (at least for my mom) a sign of the times. I think many housewives had the same mind to stick with the brands they knew and loved. Companies loved them back for it. There are still die hard fans of some thing or another who never waiver, I am sure. (Mac or PC anyone?) I wonder how many still do. I think in our economic situation, you sort of take what you can get. Or there’s a buyout, and well then you have no choice if you want something in particular.

I suppose I could go on, but there really was a reason for the subject of this particular blog post.  I swear.

Here it is.

With the cooling weather around here, I had a hankering for a roasted chicken with some root veggies. So I got the chicken (on sale), the cheapest carrots and a loose red onion and sweet potato (or yam, not sure), buttered (Stop &Shop brand)  and garlicked the skin, sprinkled some IGA store brand coriander over the top and BAM! Into the oven it went. I dreamed of how good it would taste as the smell of fall wafted through my house.

When it was done, I had a ton of liquid in the pan in which to make gravy. Roast chicken needs gravy, no?

I turned the burners on, stirred the pan drippings and reached for my cornstarch. I knew it was cornstarch by the familiar Argo name I remember my mother used when I was a kid. So I diluted it with chicken broth and poured it in the pan.

It bubbled a little. And I said Hmm. Oh well. I stirred and stirred and well, it just didn’t smell like the gravy I was used to. But, hey. It will be fine.

So the rest of dinner was ready and I was cleaning up as I brought my gravy to a boil. I took my little container of Argo and happened to glance just a little closer. It was not cornstarch at all. It was Argo baking powder. Who the hell buys Argo baking powder anyway? I guess it was me. It was probably on sale.

The cornstarch, I came to realize later, was in the little white and yellow box in the pantry, a Stop n Shop brand I bought on the cheap.

Yup. I got tripped up by the old brand thing, now didn’t I?

I think my mom is probably laughing at me, drinking her cup of Lipton tea as she pats her own box of Argo cornstarch.

It’s okay. My gravy was never as good as hers anyway.

I Blog. Therefore I Am.

It’s that time of year. Kids are back in school. The leaves begin to fall. The weather here in New England gets a little nippy.

And people start wondering what I am going to do with all my free time.

Exact words: What are you going to do now that the kids are back in school all day?

Exact reply: The Bon Bons are certainly not going to eat themselves, now are they? No. They are not.

Har. Har.

If I was a different kind of person, maybe one uncomfortable with her own self, I might take issue with this comment. After all, one could take it to mean something along the lines of “get off your lazy butt and get a real job.”

Hey. I blog, remember? That means I attempt to entertain the masses with some witty prose I’ve come up with ALL by myself. For free. Cause I want to. For free. Kay?

Maybe I could have reminded this person that sometime in the recent past, “they” said that us stay-at-home moms should earn about $250,000. I don’t know who the “they” are, but hey, 250 thousand clams is nothing to sneeze at. Being a stay at home mom is a pretty good gig worth that much. Isn’t that like more than our president makes? And he doesn’t even do anything.

(Sorry. Had to.)

But since I have no plans to quit — the little people who I work for really are nice and they have a lot of hugs and kisses they throw my way –I’ll continue to work for the going rate of Zero.

I won’t dare delve into the Mommy Wars. That ship has sailed. We’ve beaten a dead horse. Use whatever colloquialism you want. Why can’t we all just get along? I’m happy. You’re happy. We’re all happy, right?

Whatevs. Doesn’t even matter.

The point is, I have a blog and I can share if I wish. Sometimes I wish and have lots of stuff to write about. Other times, well, not so much.

But today I will, just in case you were waiting with bated breath to see just what it is that I am doing with all the free time I have now.

So get ready. Turn up the yawnometer and have a seat.

Yesterday I had my head in the toilet for a number of hours. I wasn’t sick or anything. No nothing like that. It was just me and a can of Bon Ami tackling really mean toilet stains that have accumulated in the three bathrooms here over the last few months. Now don’t go believing that my toilets are dirty or anything. They are clean. Ish. But I do have children who think flushing toilets must be someone else’s job. And I don’t always know that the kids have gone off and done some business.So the two johns on the second floor end up with.. Let’s just say that toilets under a sunny window are no fun. So yeah, me, a pair of rubber gloves, a can of gritty cleanser and my daughter’s Disney Princess toothbrush did the job. (Please don’t tell her I took it. It was the first one I saw.)

Activities such as dance and soccer require things like cleats, ballet skirts and three different kinds of  shoes for tap, jazz and ballet. And since I forgot to measure the feet of my children before I headed out to make purchases like these, I spent a lot of time guessing and second guessing sizes. Sure. I could have waited until they got home from school to measure, but then they’d be the ONLY ones without the proper equipment for their activities and we all know that being the ONLY one without something pretty much equals future life disaster. So I guessed. And I took a lot  of time with it so I can tell my children that I spent hours trying to get it right. A guilt card thrown their way can sometimes trump their lack of proper equipment/attire dilemma. Sometimes.

Speaking of soccer and dance. My daughter has one hour dance classes at 4:30 and 5 on the days her brother starts soccer at 5:30. His goes to 7. So since they get off the bus at 3:30, I need to make sure they eat dinner before. And this, my friends, is quite a task. Who the heck can think of dinner at 3 in the afternoon? Well certainly not me. Well at least not before. So now I panic and head to Trader Joes for prepared meals try to cook a well-balanced meal and feed them right when they get off the bus.

And this week I also donned a HAZMAT suit to tackle my 10 year old’s closet. I kid you not. Head to toe I covered myself. I did not want to take any chances. We haven’t seen the floor of the nice closet we gave that boy in six years. Six. But I came out unscathed. But there are some items that may need to go to the DEP or FEMA just to be on the safe side. Now before you ask the question “Why didn’t he do it himself?” let me tell you. We had this discussion and I threatened no computer games if it wasn’t done. So like a good little man, he marched up and did the job. Well, it wasn’t THE job, but it was A job. Let me just say the kid is really good at burying the evidence. I stared at the half clean floor knowing full well that the rest of the crap was buried beneath a sleeping bag and a body pillow on the other side, and looking at that beautiful kid, well, I just had to smile. He’s good. And somethings require a kid at school and a garbage bag.

And then, someone scheduled all of my kids’ doctor’s appointments for this week. Okay. It was me. But I don’t know what the heck I’ll be doing a year from the time we were there the last time. Anyway, my mistake I know. One that had me picking children up from school, driving many miles to see doctors and then taking the children back to school again. Sort of like a cab service.

So with all that tiresome work under my belt, I decided to finally take my good friend up on her offer to join her at Zumba. I thought shaking my booty would do me some good. And shake it I did. Zumba is hard. I rattled and shook my booty so hard that it actually fell off. Ok, not really, but my poor body feels like it did. Zumba is hard.

But I do like it. Maybe I will go back. Or maybe I will continue trying to figure out what exactly “homemakers” are supposed to do.

And of course, I will blog too. When I don’t have my head in the toilet, of course.

Because I blog. And therefore I am.

 

Hear It Today, It’s Gone Tomorrow

Maybe it’s the end of the world scenarios that seem to crop up every couple of months, or a pending storm that has everyone hunkering down and buying up the last of the milk, eggs and bread on the shelf because this is the “Big One.” Or like yesterday, where international news was that we are all being slowly poisoned by the arsenic in our rice.

It amazes me that the whole world can be scared to death, running in circles because of a news report, where some part of the truth may be there, albeit under a mountain of misleading or false information, rumors and facts completely blown out of proportion. And then, in a New York minute, it becomes yesterday’s news, buried beneath the publishing of the Duchess Kate’s topless photos or Lindsay Lohan’s latest escapade.

Here today, gone tomorrow. Or rather, hear it today, it’s gone tomorrow.

What an emotional rollercoaster. And it’s hard to explain it to my kids.

My 10-year-old came home from school yesterday asking about the rice thing. He was worried because his mother, that would be me, has recently found a store in town that makes killer rice pudding and I had brought some home for the joyful consumption for my family. I am not punning here. This rice pudding is the best darn thing I have ever tasted. I called it killer rice pudding and now, with the FDA coming out with these scary statistics about rice and arsenic, well, shoot. I wasn’t trying to be literal when I spoke. It was just damn good. To die for even. Sorry. That was punny.

Well now he is scared because the kids in school are saying “you’re gonna die if you eat rice!”

It was hard to try to explain to him that the media sometimes shoots first and then asks questions later. Don’t eat the rice, it’s poison. Well, not really but here are the facts…..

Same thing happens every time the media plays up the end of the world scenarios or the big storms. And then when they don’t happen, my kids are just a little bit more confused.

When I worked in the news, many moons ago, I remember times when my editor took a very small part of any news story that was provocative and made that the shout out headline. I would try to argue that it wasn’t the meat of the story, that this other part was. Sometimes I would win. Most times I did not.

Provocative sells. Sex sells. Life is boring and no one reads boring. That was what I was told as a green reporter. I certainly didn’t agree with it and don’t now. I realize that in a world of thousands of news outlets vying for the same story, competition is fierce, but blowing news out of proportion is just bad journalism.

I wish they would stop.

As a parent, I feel for my kids. The challenge of trying to make heads or tails of the world news in a time of instantaneous consumption of it is nearly impossible. And the elementary school playground can be a free for all, a cacophony of points of view depending on which network or website from which their parents get their news.

All I can say is Yikes.

I remember when I was a kid. We had one tv, maybe six stations and I only read the newspaper when I had to bring in an article for current events. Every place was a far away land. We didn’t hear about children gone missing, school shootings and hostage situations. Celebrities were worshipped, not followed around with cameras everyday to the point of wanting restraining orders. When there was an emergency, it was a real one. You hunkered down or evacuated before a hurricane. You didn’t stay because you were sure the news was “wrong again.”

Sometimes I think life would be easier as an oblivious non observer. I would sit blissfully listening to the sounds outside and not think about the ticks giving me lyme disease, the allergens in the air or a mouse that may or may not be carrying a 14th century disease.

I could eat that huge bowl of rice pudding, and I surely wouldn’t know if it was laced with arsenic because I’m not paying attention.

Don’t worry. I won’t bury my  head in the sand. For my kids’ sake.

But I am gonna eat that rice pudding. Arsenic or not.