Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving only a couple of days away, it reminds me of the lame answer I gave Sarah last year at Thanksgiving when she asked me what I was thankful for. I said something like family, friends, a job, and good health…not very specific, but absolutely true. So, here’s my more thoughtful answer.

I’m thankful for my parents. To begin, I’m thankful they have been married for over 50 years, an accomplishment in which they take great pride. I believe their strong marriage has had a positive effect on my marriage as well. I’m also thankful both enjoy good health and independence. So few people my age are lucky enough to have both parents well and together…truly something to be thankful for.

Next, I’m thankful to be married to my best friend. There’s nothing better than traveling, talking, eating, and just hanging out with the person I most enjoy being with every day. Now that doesn’t mean every minute of every day is perfect, but being with someone who always makes me number one is pretty special. How many people have a partner who is thoughtful, considerate, funny, and a hard worker? And to think he’s spent his entire adult life surrounded by “girls”! That’s no easy task, but one he wouldn’t trade for the world. And finally, few women are fortunate enough to have a husband who loves HER family as much as she does – parents, brother, sister, nieces, nephews, in-laws, as well as extended family. How thankful I am that my family is his family!

Of course, that brings me to the three of you. I’m thankful for each of you and for more reasons than I can count, but let me start by explaining what I’m thankful you’re not.

I’m thankful you just watch “Sixteen and Pregnant” instead of actually being sixteen and pregnant.

I’m thankful that you aren’t rude, obnoxious, or mean-spirited like Snookie or others on “The Jersey Shore”.

I’m thankful that you are Meghan, Emily, and Sarah instead of Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney. You may never make as much money as the Kardashians, but I’d much prefer daughters who are not self-centered, sleazy, backstabbing, spoiled brats.

I’m thankful you don’t wear clothing made of meat like Lady Gaga.

I’m thankful you’re not in and out of rehab like Britney or Lindsey or Paris.

I’m thankful you’re not suffering from eating disorders like the Olsen twins.

I am thankful you’ve avoided the desire to emulate the behavior of celebrities seen on television, movies, and featured in tabloids. Sure it would be great to have loads of money and everything you’ve ever dreamed of, but family and friends and good health…those are the things to dream of and to be thankful for.

I’m thankful you are healthy and have good sense, and the ability to avoid the crazy behavior popular in today’s society.

I’m thankful you want to spend time with family for the holidays. It must be miserable to have a family that dreads holidays and spending time together, but that seems to be a common theme in many families.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes this week to ask yourself, what are you thankful for?

143

Mom

Celebrity husband?

Yesterday, Emily and I attended a shower for a friend of hers. Of course, that meant playing “shower games”. Each of the guests wrote the name of her celebrity husband on a slip of paper. (The celebrity that she would like to have as her husband.) Then the bride–to-be drew the slips from a basket and attempted to match the name on the slip to the guest who wrote it. Two or three slips were drawn several times throughout the gift opening process for a change of pace.

Blake Sheldon? Bradley Cooper? Aaron Rodgers? All three made the list of an ideal celebrity husband. When the guest of honor pulled out a slip and read Robert Wagner, she struggled with matching the name to one of her guests. “Who’s Robert Wagner?” Someone reminded her that he starred in the TV show Hart to Hart, but since that show was on before the birth of the bride, that clue was useless. Another guest announced that Robert Wagner was married to Natalie Wood, which also resulted in a blank look. I used a great deal of self-control not to shout out, “Yes, and he’s under suspicion for her murder!” Who could possibly name Robert Wagner as a celebrity husband? Who is her real husband?

My choice? The actor who reminds me most of my real husband…Tom Hanks. However, I think the guest who really had it right is the one who just wrote, “the husband I’m married to”.  After all, who needs a celebrity husband, if you married the right person?

Family Recipes

Phone calls with questions like, “How do you make Key Lime Pie?” “What’s the recipe for potato salad?” or even “How do you boil eggs?” inspired me to write the recipes for a few of your favorite dishes. It seemed like a simple idea: make a list of the foods we eat and enjoy, write the recipes, print them, and include in a notebook so you would have your own copy of our favorite family dishes. Well, things are never as simple as envisioned. The more recipes I collected, the more I found. Then the recipes reminded me of family stories. I hope you’ll remember and pass on family stories as you prepare these family favorites.

143

Mom

 

How do you boil an egg?

Place eggs in a pan and then put enough cold water in the pan to cover the eggs by about an inch.

Heat on high until the water begins to boil.

When the water begins to boil, place a lid on the pan and remove from burner.

Let stand 10-15 minutes. (The larger the eggs the longer they need to stand.)

Cool under cold running water and then place in the refrigerator.

Did you know the reason you get that strange, ugly, greenish ring around the yolk is because the egg has been cooked too long? While it’s completely harmless, following the directions above should eliminate this problem.  By the way, hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated for one week.

I think this is a logical place to start since it is such a basic recipe. After receiving the second call asking how to boil eggs I realized I hadn’t done a very good job of preparing you for the world of cooking. Hope these recipes help.

Permission Granted

After reading an article in the local paper on Mother’s Day, 2011, I asked my daughters what bits of advice I’d imparted through the years had been the most helpful. Sadly, they could not respond. Of course, when they turned the table on me asking what words of wisdom my mom shared with me, I too, drew a blank.

In the following weeks, I tried on several occasions to think of advice I’d given or should have given, even making lists of these little pearls. Finally I resolved to send a weekly message as a way to rectify my failure to provide that motherly advice. My Mother’s Day Resolution – write a message every week for one year,  and thus, Mom’s Monday Memo was born.

Since these messages belonged to Meghan, Emily, and Sarah, I asked their permission before posting on a blog. (Although I must admit I bought the domain name and set up a site before sending the email that follows.)

Over the past 75 weeks I’ve written Mom’s Monday Memos to you. These have only been shared with the three of you. Dad even complains sometimes that he’s been left out and accuses me of writing bad things about him!

However, after attending the Sanibel Writer’s Conference, I’d like to do more with these messages. I’d like to use them as a basis for a blog, Mom’s Monday Memos. The blog would pretty much be just a compilation of these messages – posted weekly. Although I do have some other ideas that could be included since the blog workshop encouraged posting daily! I would not be able to use all of them – no one wants to know about your family health history – but I would use many of them. Of course, you’ve just seen the rough drafts since I would have to polish each piece to actually publish it on a blog. I would also carefully edit references to you, although I don’t think I’ve said anything in any message that would be hurtful or embarrassing – if so, I’m sorry, that was not my intent.

Before, I pursue this idea further, I feel I should ask your permission to continue with this project. After all, these were suppose to be just me talking to you. If you allow me to use these pieces on a blog, please feel free to add comments and suggestions. For example, do NOT include #?…or these are my favorites…or you really should change this part…etc.

Let me know what you think!

143
Mom

A few minutes later, Meghan responded:

Go for it.

I got a tweet from our friend who was at the SIWC who said he saw you’re on twitter and thinks he unknowingly met you yesterday. He asked if you write us regular memos. I said yep, that’s her. We’ve received one every Monday for over a year now.

Shortly after, Emily sent this message:

Blog away! I think this is a great idea. Plus, I’m pretty sure we were all planning on publishing these in a book after you died anyway.

Meghan:

This way we won’t have to fight over the royalties. 🙂

Then Sarah chimed in:

Works for me.

So now with permission granted, Mom’s Monday Memo has found its way to the web.

Election Results Aren’t the End of the World!

Baseball season, football season, even basketball season is preferable to election season, especially since the turn of the century. Campaigning, debating, polling, and constant phone calling makes the election season unbearable. It’s been nice watching TV the last few days without hearing the words “I approve this message”. But even as the results have just been finalized, I received an email requesting a political contribution in an effort to start building a war chest for the 2014 election! Give me a break!

 

From a letter to the editor in today’s Ocala Star Banner:

Record examined. Votes cast. Ignorant and uninformed ruled. Incompetence continued. Spending uncurtailed. Debt assured. Young people burdened. U.S. future dimmed. Greece mimicked. Depression abounds. GASP!

 

Remember, the world will not end if your candidate lost the election nor will all of our nation’s problems magically end if your candidate won. Don’t cry, don’t post angry comments on Facebook, don’t write hateful letters to be published in the newspaper, and don’t  threaten to move out of the country regardless of how disappointing you find the election results. On the other hand, don’t gloat if you find yourself in the winner’s camp. I assure you things won’t be as great as promised. In fact, you’ll probably be disappointed.

 

Although election season can be frustrating or disappointing, often bringing out the worst in us, elections are also the best thing about living in the United States. Even though we, as Americans, disagree on politics, even though at least 49% of voters are disappointed with the results, even though people are predicting doomsday scenarios and posting inflammatory comments on social media, when you woke up last Wednesday, the day after the election, it was business as usual. Students attended class in school. Businesses opened. People bought groceries, filled their cars with gas, celebrated birthdays, and continued working.

 

Protesters did not surround governmental buildings. Riots did not ensue. Soldiers did not patrol neighborhoods. Banks did not experience a run on money. Sure, the stock market experienced greater dips than in the preceding weeks, but there have been many similar fluctuations in recent years. Elections are orderly. Voters accept the results. Life continues. This is not the case in much of the world, but in the U.S. elections signify times of orderly change in our government and this is why election season is worthwhile.

 

It seems every  election is billed the most important decision of our lifetime. How can that be? Victoria Coates says it all in this quote:

 

Every election cycle someone–often many someones–solemnly informs us that this is the most important election of our lifetime. And so it is, although not for the transitory reasons any one candidate might suggest.

 

In fact each election is the most important because it means that contrary to basic human instinct, some might even say contrary to logic and reason, we are still having an election.  We are participating in the process. Our grand experiment has not failed us and we have not failed it.

 

I guess that means that this was the most important election of our lifetime…at least until the next time.

 

Finally, in two weeks we celebrate Thanksgiving with a large family gathering. That means a wide range of political views. My suggestion: avoid political discussions. No talk of election results. No talk of tax philosophy. No talk of abortion, or rape, or same sex marriage. Focus on what you’re thankful for and let your own family be a reminder that regardless of the gulf that divides us politically, we all love our country and want positive changes.  We just see those changes through different eyes so hold your tongue, change the subject, eat another piece of pie.

 

And remember, like your family, Americans throughout the country, of both political parties yearn for a country with good jobs, a strong economy, rising home values, cheap gas, and peace. If only we could exercise civil discourse in our efforts to express our opinions (and listen to those of others).

 

Elections results really aren’t the end of the world – at least not in the U.S.

 

143

Mom

 

Do More Than Wear Pink

Pink, a fall color? In recent years, orange and black of Halloween, and brown, gold, and red of fall have been upstaged by pink. MLB players wear pink socks or sweatbands; pink ribbons adorn NASCAR vehicles. NCAA and NFL players wear uniforms accented with pink. Pink flags substitute for the usual yellow ones thrown by the referees to signify penalties.  Did you notice both Michele Obama and Ann Romney wore pink dresses instead of their typical red or blue to the second presidential debate?

 

The pink ribbon breast cancer awareness campaign sends a far reaching, effective reminder of the importance of dedicating resources to research and early detection of breast cancer. However, all the pink is completely useless if all you do is where pink or buy pink ribbons or product packaged in pink with the promise a portion of the proceeds will support one of the groups involved with breast cancer awareness. What you really need to do is a monthly breast self-exam. This, in conjunction with regular exams by health professionals, positively impacts your health.

 

It’s easy to think these exams aren’t necessary until you’re older. Women in their twenties and thirties don’t get breast cancer. Well, that thinking is just plain wrong! Women in their twenties and thirties do get breast cancer. With early detection and treatment the prognosis  is good, but you are the key to early detection.

 

I find some of the breast cancer awareness slogans offensive. “Save the Ta-Tas”, “Grope for the Cause”, or “Save the Titties” may be cute, slightly off color ways to bring attention to breast health, but I would be offended if I had lost a loved one to breast cancer. The sexual appeal of breasts seems misguided when 40,000 people, both men and women, in the U.S. die of breast cancer each year. I know sex sells. These risqué slogans get attention and many believe any attention in good attention, but I’m going to pass on the cute slogans. I’m even going to pass on wearing excessive amounts of pink. No pink hair extensions, no pink shoelaces, no pink nail polish, no pink ribbons on the car. Instead, I’ll just do monthly exams and schedule yearly physicals and mammograms. When I donate to one of the organizations that support breast cancer awareness, it will be in a month other than October; and it won’t be for some pink product.

 

If you want to go crazy for pink, by all means do so! But please go crazy for a monthly breast self exam. You may even want to download the free Early Detection Plan: Breast Cancer app for your phone or iPad. It sets reminders for monthly exams and keeps track of mammograms and exams by health care professionals. Seems like an easy way to keep track of important health information.

 

One more thing to add to your to do list: complete a monthly breast self exam!

 

143

Mom