Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: October 2010 (page 1 of 5)

For every rule, there’s an idiot

It’s hard to tell why some rules and laws exist. As a youth director, I depended on the theory that for every  rule there was an idiot that caused its existence because s/he didn’t think about the effects of his/her actions. Why do we have to wear t-shirts? Because some girls didn’t know that “no spaghetti straps” meant them. Why do we have to have a checklist for cabin cleanup? Because some group didn’t take cabin cleaning to its intended purpose. Why do we leave at exactly 6:00SVT (Standard Verizon Time)? Because someone consistently shows up 24 minutes late and expects that we’ll stick around.

I fear that trick-or-treat might suffer from a similar epidemic.

Last night we took little H for a mini-treat excursion with his buddy Kyle to about 4 houses. Miss M went too, but no bucket in tow. You know, the lack-of-teeth thing. But as Jill doled out treats to several well-costumed youth, a few adolescents who were much too old to T’nT pounced upon Jill’s sweet nature and took advantage. (Why, you ask, do you think they were too old? Simple. They were too cool for costumes, a general pre-requisite for the treat).

Then there were the parents of children who were being toted all across the land in strollers, where clearly the adults in the family would consume a majority of the candy. Now I’m all for a small candy taxation from the young ones (after all, who purchased the costume?). I call it a delivery fee for getting them to the treating. But, in my oh-so-humble opinion, the number of treating adults using a small child as a candy pawn raised concern.

Because what happens when too many people take advantage of a system that depends on the generosity of a well-meaning neighborhood? Ordinances, that’s what happens. Soon there will be age and height restrictions, perhaps a candy-to-body-weight ratio and children will be required to report the loot before getting to consume one bite. And for all my luck, the authorities will only accept the Nerds and Sweettharts as payment for fine, leaving me with only a Bit ‘o Honey or those horrendous peanut butter kisses wrapped in black and orange wax paper, likely made in somebody’s basement, to skim from my kids’ loot. The injustices.

I’m saddened that we can’t depend on parents to make good decisions on appropriateness of participating in activities based on the kid and not based on “free stuff” or what’s in it from a personal gain standpoint. If you ask me (and you did, or you still wouldn’t be reading 5 paragraphs down), this is why our country has encountered so many problems as of late. We’d like to blame the elected officials, but in all honesty morality cannot – and should not – be legislated. We can’t force people to live in a way that seeks the social good over personal gain, and I kinda wonder if our country was founded on that principle. But because such a notion rules our thinking, we depend on other systems to legislate and decipher good and bad, right and wrong for us. Then, when behavior becomes obnoxious, we legislate it. A new rule.

I read up a bit today in a pre-voting effort. Sure there are distinct differences between candidates, but all want to give us jobs and make education better. They all want us to feel like we won’t pay more in taxes. And though I will still vote, I have difficulty believing that any of that matters in the trick-or-treat of it all. I can’t depend on my legislators to do everything in an effort to make my community a better place to live. I have to depend on my schools, churches, civic organizations but most of all my neighbors to do that (after, of course, I depend on myself to aid, or even lead, the effort). Everyone is griping and moaning about how the government is broken and politicians are crooked, but that’s because I think we’ve flawed our approach to the system and our expectations of its purpose. When we live up to our responsibility to contribute – and not just take – from a community, then we’ll begin to see progress.

Until then, we’ll just have to listen to awful political smear campaigns and buy extra Halloween candy.

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no mom, I said thespian

Yesterday at a visit to the midwife’s office (no fears, it’s not another baby, it was for that appointment) we talked about how things were going, how everyone is getting along, life with two children, blah blah blah. I told her how I quite enjoyed life and I was amazed at how smoothly it has went. And she says, “and you’re so laid back about it.” As I rehashed the story to KLR, she asked what the nurse over my shoulder looked like. Surely Bonnie couldn’t have been referring to THIS girl.

So, it turns out I may have missed my calling as an actress. I had her fooled by playing the part of calm, cool and collected.  And in fact this is the first I’ve ever heard reference made to me being a bit, ahem, dramatic. I guess the STAR Players don’t know what they’re missing.

It made me think about my career pathing. I never knew how that first job out of college played an important role in getting you a career in the field in which you were trained. Instead, I became Vice President of the Not Using My College Degree club (KLR was president because she had 2 degrees that sh did not use… I may demand a recount now that I have a second degree that is not currently being utilized for a paid position). Then I moved onto yet another position nowhere near the land of journalism. But let it be said, I’ve enjoyed both of these positions.

So, now that I’ve been blacklisted from the journalism and professional public relations world, I’ve created a list of the careers that perhaps I should now seek out. I can feel freedom to venture into far off lands of positions that suit me perfectly.

1. Head lettuce-tearer at any given salad bar. I owe gratitude to my Grandma Mary for this one, she always wanted it as a retirement job, thus now I seem to have an appreciation for proportionately trimmed lettuce.
2. Office organizer. At any office. Not that I want to work schedules or answer phones or anything of that [practical] nature. I just want to make sure the stapler is correctly placed to the left and slightly above the copier as it’s supposed to be. This position would also afford me the luxury of wondering the office supply aisle of Target and indulging on someone else’s dime.
3. On the side , I would contract out as a kitchen cupboard organizer. My specialty would be move ins. Is there any glee greater than that of efficient spice placement? And how will they know the potholders must be placed in the drawer to the direct right of the oven if someone does not tell them?
4. Office information disseminator. Who has time to keep up on what’s happening with their coworkers? And who even reads the company newsletter? Allow me to station myself at the coffee pot and chitter chatter with my colleagues. No worries, I’ll bring my own mug and creamer. Payroll will fall under “company morale”.
5. Speaking of offices and coffee, my next business venture will be the indoor doughnut cart, complete with decent coffee (read: name brand that doesn’t start with an F and end with an “olgers”) , seasonally themed creamers and a delectable assortment of sweet carbohydrates. I’d only come twice a week so customers would justify it as a “treat” and “splurge” from their “diet”. 

I shouldn’t really limit myself to these best options, they’re only the ones that readily come to mind. What did I miss? Where did you miss your calling?

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 A few simple truths have guided me in my general parenting principles: a) everyone is happier when they’ve eaten. b) everyone sleeps better after a bath.

The first one is a gimme, but sometimes it goes without saying that you need to keep a spare bag of raisins in the diaper bag and always take a banana with you when you go places where you can’t devote 100% of your attention to your child (such as, like this morning, the doctor’s office).

However, the bathing thing came unto realization more recently. My mother-in-law led me this way when we were having baths before bed… “it gets the wrinkles out” she said. I know my levels of comfort increase dramatically after a good soak and the same is true of my kiddos.

Turns out, the same is true for your whole wheat carbohydrates. Who knew?

I was first turned on to the concept when I was trying to master beans and rice (still a work in progress). I read in The Art of Simple Cooking (recommend!) that you should rinse the rice and run it through your hands until the water turns all cloudy. Drain, then add the appropriate amount of cooking water. Guess what?! No more crunchy, chewy rice. It was light and fluffy like a pillowy cloud. Then I randomly bought a bag of barley on sale (don’t ask, I have no idea), but I tossed it in my vegetable soup following a similar procedure: success!!

Today’s magic dish was a whole wheat pasta with homemade pesto (thank you KLR), sundried tomatoes, and the last of last week’s roasted chicken. The water was just starting to boil when I saw a cloudy residue. Quick! I thought. To the sink! We must rinse! 

After such a close call we got that water boiled (whew, I lead a rousing life), topped it with delicious pasta coverings, and the chewy-factor that typically accompanies a whole wheat pasta- even after boiling it to a near lifeless pulp- had vanished. I had the bowl inhaled in 5.2 seconds.

And to you who are sitting there saying to yourselves, “well, of course you rinse pasta before you boil it” I say, WHAT KIND OF FRIEND ARE YOU ANYWAY? You didn’t tell me these things as I’ve ranted about my failures as a pasta boiler. You even sat idle as I recapped my lost arguments with husband over the virtue of whole wheat pasta over the white. Shame. Shame on you for keeping me in my ignorant state.

As for me, it’s time to make a vat of spaghetti. When you’ve got a skill, flaunt it- right?

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