Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: September 2010 (page 1 of 5)

Reporting live

The other day, after two bites of one of the best salads in the world (thanks to recipe by cousin LBW), I was ready to share with the world of facebook the beauty of raisins and apples becoming friends in a green salad with a homemade poppyseed dressing. The walnuts joined and we had a party. Oh, how I love lunch when I don’t have to pack it in a box or a bag.

I realized, however, that the salad party I enjoyed might not be such exciting news to those who have not already hidden me in their facebook feed. After all, they might be stuck with a cold turkey sandwich with no mayo because it would make the bread soggy. Sorry if that’s your luck. Later in the day I had success with a cleaning goal and once again, I practiced restraint in posting the big news. Then I had a thought (like I usually do): Why in the world do I feel the need to give a step-by-step report of my day when I stay home? Rarely do I have the urge to give a status update from work, unless it’s at the expense of a candidate who gives a detailed account of the reason he was fired from a previous position.

I decided my hour-by-hour news stems from a liking of the idea of accountability. As a youth director, no less than 300 people made sure that I did my job correctly (ie, the way they wanted it done). At my current job I have several eyes upon me, from my PT manager and my account manager to the IT woman in the next cube who hates that I talk so loud. People care about how I spend my time.

So while at home, I have a tendency to think the same thing. If I’m not working, then someone wants to know how I spent my time, right? There has to be a Young & the Restless And BonBon Eating Police making sure that if I declare I’m home to take care of my children that they’re not running amok in the streets or strapped into their cribs. And because I rarely talk to anyone other than my sister and my mother, or the nurses who are in charge of reminding me of doctors appointments, FB seems to be the only other captive audience.

At times I worry that these accountability updates might be seen as a braggy attempt on my part, but I assure you it’s not. Much like the popular girl with no self-esteem, my status only tries to justify how I’m spending my time, finding worth in it. I may have opted out of opportunities to be functional in the corporate world, but I still retain value to my home world – even if only my children & husband’s reap direct benefit.

If I wanted to get all Freudian with you (which, clearly I’m about to do, or I wouldn’t bring it up), I’d say that it appears that I’m facing symptoms of an underlying doubt in my decision on how I spend my days. Even though I can tell myself all the positives and I can hear from others how lucky I am, the You’re Worthless Demon likes to whisper in my ear that homemade food and a regular nap schedule isn’t worthwhile. But I tell him, a fulfilled life isn’t calculated by the dollars you earn or the fancy pants you wear but the moments you enjoy. I enjoyed my time at work and now I get to taste a new flavor of savoring life at home. It’s like opting for sherbet instead of ice cream. Both are valid and tasty forms of frozen dessert goodness.

Perhaps I should report to FB that we’re going to the Dairy Queen….

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You know that it’s toxic

We’ve tried not to let the complaints about husband’s job fly around the house as we know it will just escalate everyone’s misery (in relation to that subject). Complaining about it does not change the situation. However, my sorrow over the whole ordeal has reached new heights.

I’m sad that the kids at his school have no respect for adults in their life, people who do wish the best for them and want to help. I’m sad that they have no respect for one another, fellow human beings who are struggling to make it on this earth just like them. I’m sad that they have no respect for themselves, allowing themselves to be washed up in escape mechanisms rather than knowing that their souls are worth fighting for.

I finally printed out the new pictures of the kids to hang in our living room (only 2 months late!). As a surprise, I printed off a 4×6 for husband to take with him to school. Something to bring light into a dark classroom. His response? “Boy, those are great pictures. I wish I could take them to school. I can’t… the kids will just make fun of my children.”

Ruthless. No respect. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something criminal to the whole situation. It makes my chest hurt.  It makes me sad for everyone involved. But it further solidifies the theory I learned in seminary: Hurting people hurt people. And I want them to stop trying to hurt my husband.

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sugar ‘n spice (and everything nice)

In celebration of fall – and because I had 3.5 baking pumpkins on my counter/in my fridge, and also in honor of a new cousin, Brooklyn, I made pumpkin cookies today. What mama-again (what do you call second time mothers? Don’t they need some pampering too, even if they have a bit of experience?) wouldn’t require a seasonal sweet when bringing home baby? Friends offered rave reviews on these cookies last season, so I decided to dust off the recipe.

As I was putting it together, I noticed that it called for 1 1/2 cups sugar and only 1 cup pumpkin. To me, that seems a bit off. I mean, who’s leading this parade? The whole point of the coming together of these ingredients is the pumpkin! So I decided to divide ways from my recipe, if ever so slightly.

We went with just 1/2 cup of brown sugar (because, and I’m not sure why, I believe in the supremacy of brown sugar in all things baking related if it has a seasonal fruit/vegetable involved. Banana bread, apple baking, zucchini bread – you get the idea). And after putting in the required cup of pumpkin, I just kept shoveling in the heaping tablespoons – I would guess another 3/4 cup. I added the other spices as required, and the 2 eggs and 1/2 cup butter (mmmm, butter). I just pulled one of these warm goodies out and sampled. Delish! It’s like fall is having a festival in your mouth. Because that’s what fall hosts – festivals, rather than parties.

By decreasing the sugar the pumpkin was able to shine. She took center stage and got a standing ovation. It made me think (as things usually do). Just because we think something is good, we tend to shovel it in by the barrel. Sugar is sweet and pleasant, so dump, dump, dump it in! But what if it’s covering up the beauty of so many other things?

I think this could be true of so many of the activities for which we sign up our kids (or perhaps even ourselves?). Baseball is fun, right? Why not have them play 3 nights a week? And if a little bit of studying and reading is nice, then let’s load up on the homework. But soon that which is just supposed to sweeten has instead masked the flavor of what life is really about. Something that was simply supposed to add to the mix has instead taken center stage. And too much of it causes a tummy ache.

Oh, balance, where are you in my life? I’d like to take the “just 1/2 cup” approach to our life – not deplete it of sugar completely, but I want a cookie that I can feel good to offer my kid, one that has more vegetable in it but is still a yummy treat. And the same goes for all the stuff, all the activity with which we fill our time.

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