Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love the One Your With... (or please don't text while we visit)

It's the final countdown! I'm about to embark on my annual trip to compete in the Women with Bait Steelhead Fishing Tournament with two of my great friends, Stacy and Laurie. This is our third year competing and I look forward to it all year long.

It's not that I'm an avid fisherwoman. To tell you the truth, I'm more of the "sit by the lake with a good book" kinda girl. It's that I love being on the boat with 5 really great women, a very helpful bait boy, and an entertaining guide. Add in some food to nibble on, some Crown Royal to warm me up, and a canyon that makes it impossible to get on the internet or have cell service and I'm in heaven!!

The first year we took this trip, I remember realizing that for an hour I hadn't thought of anything. Seriously. Other than the occassional "wow, look at that eagle" or "I hope I get to see the Big Horn Sheep" - not a single thought crossed my mind. I wasn't running through a checklist of things I needed to do. I wasn't thinking of the laundry I left at home or the dishes in the sink.

And to make it even better, my cell phone had not rung one time. I didn't feel the need to look at it to see if I missed a call because there is absolutely no cell service in the canyon. I didn't check facebook or my email. I didn't feel the need to "check-in" at this spot or that spot so that the world would know where I was.

My girlfriends and I laughed and visited...with eachother. In person. No texting. No perusing status updates while one of us tried to make conversation.

I've learned that this weekend is about the people I'm with. I think in some ways we're losing that as a society. We're so connected that we're disconnected.

Think about it. Have you ever left your cell phone at home? You feel like you've lost a limb! How many times have you sought a conversation with a friend via text? Have you ever sat in a room full of people talking all around you and you find yourself posting on facebook or texting other friends?

For example, this past week I went to Bunco. If you've never been, 12 girls split into groups of four to sit at three different tables and roll the dice. It's fun (and oftened referred to as Drunko). As I sat at the first table, two of the girls introduced themselves then promptly went back to texting. When it was their turn, they'd roll with the free hand, never putting down the cell phone. As I moved to the other table, one of the girls had her phone on the table next to her, open to Facebook. She was chatting with someone on it. I'd like to say that's where it ended but by the end of the night, these women were attempting to take eachother's phones and post lewd, rude comments on Facebook before the other person noticed.

I walked away wondering if I'm getting old. I like to connect with the people in the room, the friends I chose to spend my evening with. It's okay to text when it's necessary but this went on all night long. I won't even say much about posting on someone's facebook page. I'm only 36. I'd think that was behavior of a 15 or 16 year old. I might even give you some leeway if you're 21. But truth be told, my friends on facebook are a mix of personal and professional.

So off my soapbox, I've been doing pretty good marking stuff of my 37x37 list. Here's my progress so far:

I took Marcus to a concert. We went to Los Lonely Boys and I have to say it's in my top three for favorite concert ever. The acoustics were great, it seemed small and intimate instead of like I was in the nosebleeds and Marcus loved it!

I sent cards to friends. Once in January and once in February. Just to say hi, I'm thinking of you!

I've read six books so far (29 left to go). I have to admit my last three choices were less than review worthy.

I've also managed to work out at least once per week. Sometimes it's even been twice. At this rate, I should lose a pound this year.

And last but not least, I've actually managed to put $50 in savings and not touch it. Hmmm, now that I mention it.....there are those red high heels calling my name..........

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lessons for The Kids

Try explaining taxes to 28 second graders...that's exactly what I did last week when I volunteered for the Junior Achievement program. Every day last week, I visited Nate's classroom and talked about jobs, government, taxes, elections, and money.

On the first day, I helped the kids understand why adults have jobs (for the paychecks to pay for our needs and wants). Most kids grasped the concept and agreed jobs were important. Of course, there was that one kid...the one who basically called me out...he explained that his mom and dad don't work and they have what they need.

On the second day, we talked about production line and the kids made donuts. They raced to see which production line could make them the fastest. They loved that game. No complaints in the room.

On the third day, I gave them each $5 for making donuts. Then I took $2 away for taxes to pay for firemen, police officers, school teachers, librarians, and city maintenance workers. At the end of the day, they begged for a new game - they wanted their money back. (Gee, don't we as adults say that?? LOL)

On the fourth day, they elected a mayor. They chose the mayor that wanted to put in a skate park rather than the animal shelter or a toy store. The kids who voted for the other mayors were disappointed and the winners rejoiced. Hmmm, I've felt that once or twice.

On the fifth day, we passed a dollar around the room to show how money travels. Nate bought an ice cream cone from Alyssa (the ice cream lady) and she bought flowers for her mom from Tatiana (the flower lady) and that dollar went around and around the room.

All week long, the kids talked about how our "taxis" pay for services. Many of them decided they'd like to be a "taxi collector" because it appeared as though I made the most money doing this job.

In other news, Ms. Emily turned 12. We had a small birthday party at the house for her and helped celebrate her last year as a "tween." It's interesting to have a girl in the house, I"m used to being surrounded by boys. It brings back a lot of memories. 12 is a hard year. You're not a little kid but you're not a teenager. You're too young to date, wear lots of makeup, etc but you're old enough that you wonder/want those things. You have crushes. You worry about being cool and popular. Wow, I don't miss those days at all.

Maybe it's just me but I think it must be really difficult to be a twelve year old girl in today's world.

When I was twelve, girls who wore makeup were NOT the norm. Most parents seemed against it. Today, all the girls Emily's age are wearing makeup. And quite a bit of it.

When I was twelve, girls who wore short short skirts and even smaller shirts were not the norm. Today, there's so much pressure for everything to be sexy. Even the halloween costumes...you can't be a police officer unless you're the trampy police officer with the little skirt and tight shirt with handcuffs.

When I was twelve, we had crushes on the boys at school. We might pass notes back and forth. We might have held hands for a second on the playground. We rarely made the first move. Now, girls are the aggressors.

I remember some pressure to be pretty, look good, be thin and dress well. Today though the girls have pressure to be thin, wear revealing clothes, and be sexy.

I hope Emily doesn't grow up too fast. I hope she remains one of the nice girls and doesn't get caught up in the drama that's already prevalent at her school.

I hope she grows up knowing that she is a beautiful person - both inside and out. I hope she can see what a pretty girl she is but also how smart and gifted she is. I hope she knows that her self worth need not be tied into what clothes she wears and how thin she is.

Happy birthday Em!! You're a beautiful, talented, smart, and sweet young lady. Glad you're part of my life!