Monday, October 27, 2014

If I Had One Wish

If you had one wish, what would it be?

Have you ever been asked that question?

I decided to give this question some seriously deep thought. What would I wish for? Other than more wishes, that is.

Then it came to me. If I could have one wish, it would be to understand any language, whether it be spoken, written, or signed. 

I could go on and say "so I can do a world of good for mankind" but that wouldn't be the entire truth. I would be cool to truly translate ancient Egyptian writing, read the original biblical texts, and translate the new math, but if I was really honest? I just want to understand what multi-lingual people say on the bus.

You know what I'm talking about- those people talking to their friends (quite loudly) about some adventure or drama they experienced- and just when they get to the good part, they switch to a different language!

"Well I told Niko that he was crazy, and I wasn't going to put up with his stuff anymore. And you know what he did next? Gouda mezzah pala blork zazzer remmy snark!"

How rude! Don't they know that people are trying to eavesdrop? And you know someone else was recording it on their phone. Unfortunately my stop comes up before I can ask the video guy for his contact information, so now I'll never know what Niko did. Dang it.

God does fill many wishes, but I seriously doubt He would grant me that particular one- simply because He knows I would be using it more on the bus than to better the world. 

Still, it would be cool to know what people say- especially about me as I walk by. You know they do this when they stop speaking English, look at you and giggle, then switch languages when you get in earshot. Just once I would love to hear what they really said, and respond sweetly in their own language. Just seeing their expressions would be priceless. Just thinking about it makes me grin.

 Now you tell me- what would your one wish be?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Shouldering On

Once I had a shoulder. It was a nice shoulder, soft, flexible, and strong. Then I went to the gym and used an above-the-head weight machine. This is a machine I've used many, many times before, and my shoulder never complained. But one day it happened. 

My shoulder had enough and I heard a lovely little Pop!- and I could no longer use the weight machine.

A few months later it felt tons better, and I had to pack up a three-story house by myself. some of the boxes were 70 lbs. but I did it, and my shoulder never said a word.

At least until a few months after the move. It started out as a tiny whimper, a small whine, and infinitesimal grumble once in a while. I continued doing my mom, wife, and homemaker thing, and rested it when it started complaining a little too much, which wasn't often. That was two years ago.

Now my shoulder is a cantankerous, cranky old nag that refuses to leave me alone- and hinders me from doing the simplest of chores. Lifting a frying pan has become hazardous to my well being, and grocery shopping is torture. So I went to my clinic. I went to my clinic for over a year for the same issue, and they kept telling me the same thing over and over. It's tendinitis. Stop lifting stuff.

I am a mother, people. You know as well as I do that if I don't lift it, no one else will. But the pain got so bad that for a while, I did stop lifting stuff. So now I sit here, still in pain, and a house that looks like it was hit with a garbage truck.

I had had enough.

My next appointment warranted a slightly veiled threat to the intern. If you medical people don't stop looking at the outside of my shoulder and start looking at the inside, you are going to have one very large, loud woman to deal with- one who can sing very bad opera. The intern (I never get the resident doctor) relented and scheduled me for an X-ray. An x-ray. Two seconds ago you're telling me it's tendinitis, next you're setting me up for an x-ray. X-rays are for bones, you twit. Not tendons. Why give me an x-ray?

The clinic intern replied, "It's procedure. If we don't see anything, then we'll do an MRI."

Procedure. Translate that into "Let's waste even more time and resources doing something that might kinda-sorta tell us what might possibly be wrong before we do something that could actually help you" and you get the idea. Clinics have a lot of "procedures", hoping you'll get frustrated enough to go away.

But they underestimate me. I'm a very stubborn, large woman who has two teenagers. I have enough body mass and gumption to wait out your silly "procedures". And I'll sing very bad opera while I wait. 

Last week, I had my x-ray in record time. I think the intern told the tech of my opera skills. This makes me very happy.

My x-ray review appointment will be this week. Let's see what the pretty picture is and if in fact there is anything worth seeing- or will they finally break down and schedule an MRI?

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of "Shouldering On"- when I divulge the test results!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cook vs. Chef

I am a cook. My husband is a chef. Neither of us has been to culinary school. He's a natural, and I had to learn from others- and sometimes from him.

What's the difference between a cook and a chef? Allow me to break it down for you:

A cook makes simple meals with a few stocked ingredients.
A chef makes elaborate meals with five hundred thirty-six ingredients that need to be bought fresh that day.

A cook uses one pot to boil water.
A chef uses twenty-seven.

A cook usually uses no more than two pots or pans to make a meal.
A chef uses every pot, pan, baking sheet, mixing bowl, utensil, and kitchen gadget to make a meal.

A cook cleans the kitchen as the food cooks. 
A chef never cleans or rinses anything and tosses everything in the sink and on the counters.

A cook has a dirty apron and a clean kitchen when the food is done.
A chef has a clean apron and a kitchen that needs a HAZMAT team when the food is done.

A cook's food taste like it was from mom.
A chef's food tastes like we got it at a fancy restaurant.

A cook usually has leftovers.
A chef never has leftovers.

A cook, at the last minute, can make something edible out of hot dogs and spaghetti.
A chef, at the last minute, can use what's in the fridge to make a brand new, fantastic recipe worthy of publication in Food and Wine magazine.

A cook hates it when the chef accomplishes the above and complains to all of her friends.
A chef loves it when he accomplishes the above and brags to all of his and her friends.

I am a cook. I cook all week, sometimes twice a day. My husband is a chef who cooks twice a week, usually on the weekends. Thank You God that he doesn't cook more often- I don't think the kitchen (or I) could handle it!

Monday, October 6, 2014

School and Crossbones

What on earth are the schools of today teaching our children?

I grew up on Phonics. My kids are pushed through the school system and still have trouble spelling the simplest of words.

I could do simple math and add a column of numbers together within a minute. My kids are learning a convoluted five to seven step process that a nuclear scientist would have trouble deciphering, no less my simple-minded self. Trying to teach the kids my way? Teachers beat me out every time. Teachers know more than me, they say. I believe that's true- especially when it comes to new math- but at least I can add a column of numbers without needing a ream of paper.
One math teacher berated my son for trying to do a math problem in his head instead of using a calculator. His reason? "Because he took too long". Even though he got the answer right, he was disciplined by the teacher and told if he did it again (therefore delaying class) he would get a detention. (this was a few years ago.)

I know what real food, healthy food really is. The school system just allowed all kids to eat for free. Free food, everyone! So my daughter fell for it. The other day she told me she was hungry. Why? Because her lunch consisted of a bun with a slice of tomato, lettuce, mustard and mayonnaise. They consider this healthy?

I was going to suggest they start a school garden to help teach kids what good food is, but the government is starting to ban home gardens- would my petition even get through the red tape?

Health classes consisted of a few slides and a lot of giggles, blushes, and pointing, but at least we learned how our bodies worked. Now they teach about sexual orientation, birth control, and other things I won't even mention on this family-friendly blog. But none of it had anything to do with how our bodies worked. Why do kids need to know that from a teacher? Just teach them how stuff works, please, and let me do the rest, thank you.

And many schools allow kids to bring in movies to watch on occasion. Movies? Some aren't even appropriate for kids, no less in an environment for learning. The only movies we were allowed to watch were educational like Disney cavemen teaching about music, or serious documentaries about historical disasters- not Harry Potter and Sponge Bob! One lunch lady commented that she played a kids movie during lunches to keep the kids quiet- they made too much noise when talking to each other. This is possibly the only time in their day they get to talk and the adults want to stop it?

Schools teach kids there is no easy way to solve a problem, to always use a calculator instead of your brains, and eat what we tell you, because we say it's good. Why socialize when movies can be played, and yes, sex is okay if we give you birth control. Egad.

My question to the schools is this- where are the classes for economics to teach budgeting and being responsible with money? Where are the cooking classes, the sewing classes that teach you to make a simple meal or fix a tear or  put on a button? Where are the classes that teach how to build bird houses, bat houses, and "off grid" mechanics to help our lessen the carbon footprint on the environment? Those are classes the kids need!

We need to start shouting, sister and brothers of the school system. We need to start fighting for Phonics, simple math, and letting our kids use their brains and talk things out with each other. We need people in the system to guide kids when things get out of hand in the lunchroom- Teach them respect for others and how to get along without a screen constantly in their faces. We need to teach them what a serving is, what is good food, and how to grow it.

We can teach them a lot at home, but let's face it- the kids spend nearly eight hours a day in the hands of strangers under someone else's agenda. If we just sit back, they will take over and eventually we'll have no say over the matter. 

Either that or start a series of community home school groups!