Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Learning from Annoying People

It is pretty obvious that we all learn from people we love. Starting with our parents, we learn all kinds of things from people who care about us and who we want to emulate.

Sometimes we also learn things we do NOT want to emulate. Not only am I a nonsmoker because my mom smoked, but I've learned all kinds of things from being around behaviors I dislike.

As I approach 50, I am amazed at how much I also learn about myself from seeing other people act like me -- and not in a good way. How often do we all think "Wow, that person is SO annoying!" If we really think about it, many of the traits we find annoying in other people are things that WE do ourselves!

This is not a totally new concept to me, but I thought about it recently. There was a person who was absolutely driving me nuts! I won't go into detail how this person was driving me nuts, but let's just say it was getting pretty bad. I was just about at my breaking point and was seriously thinking about how to approach it. Somehow that led to my thinking about the motivation on the part of the annoying person.

It was thinking about motivation that caused the "ah ha" moment for me. Suddenly it dawned on me that the things that were so annoying me are things I do! In fact, many of the things that other people do that bug me are also things I do! How do my friends stand me! (Obviously, they are much more patient than I am. I really dislike impatient people.)

The good news is, I'm only 49 -- I have plenty of time to work on these things and actively be less annoying. So the next time you are in the seat ahead of me on a plane, you should notice my being more considerate with my tray. And if you are driving in the car behind me, I'll be driving no slower than the speed limit and using my turn signals. And you will NOT find me talking on the phone while standing in line to buy something (tickets to a museum maybe?).

Wish me luck! I'm going to need it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sex or Ice Cream?

Sometimes my male friends have TMI moments. Yesterday, my friend Henry had one of those moments.

Henry is about 2 years older than I am. I've known him for about 20 years. I've been married that entire time -- he's been married about 10 years.

Somehow yesterday the topic of sex came up in conversation. I think it started when I told him I'm turning 50 this year and he said, "Welcome to the club!" Following that statement, he proceeded to tell me how things change after the big 5-0. A lot of it was positive -- until he brought up sex.

"When I was younger and single, all I wanted was sex," he said. He described going out on the weekends with the main goal being to meet women to eventually have sex. Now, he confessed, his testosterone levels aren't as high, which has had an affect.

He told me it has nothing to do with his wife -- she is beautiful and he loves her. "Sometimes, though, I'm thinking, 'Do I want sex or do I want ice cream?'" With a somewhat embarrassed look on his face he admitted, "Sometimes I would really rather have a bowl of ice cream."

No one ever told us about this in our high school sex ed classes!

Photo from:

Disclaimer: Obviously, the name was changed to protect our friendship.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Can't Open a Jar

I don't know how it happened, but suddenly I cannot open a jar! It used to be a little bit tough for me, but if I just hung in there I could do it. Sometimes I would just tap the lid. Other times I would run the jar lid under hot water. Years back, I would even get a knife and pry the lid just enough to release pressure and the jar would magically open.

Now, if I grab the lid too tight, my hands and wrists hurt. If I hold the lid too long, my hands and wrists hurt. I can't even grab the lid hard enough to get the feeling that with just a few more seconds it will pop. Using a dish towel or rubber lid grabber just do not work.

A few years back my mom gave me a weird contraption that looked sort of like a wrench, but had a piece of rubber that went around the lid and would tighten and get the lid off. I could never get it to work.

For the time being, I'm OK. I have a teenaged son and a husband, and usually one of them is around to help me out. But, if anything happens to them, I'm going to be stuck only buying stuff in cans. Thank goodness I can work my can opener!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Great Body -- But the Face!

The Arnold Sports Festival has been held in Columbus, OH for years. This is the first year I have ever attended any part of it.

While walking around the expo, one thing became abundantly clear -- though a lot of those body builders have really great bodies, their faces look really old! It's almost as if they completely forgot that tanning is bad and simply fried themselves.

Regardless, it was nearly impossible to determine anyone's age. Were they young with an old face? Or old with a young body?

Some of them have gotten smart and they now use spray on tans, which is cool. However, most of these women were orange. I don't mean they had a great tan with an orange tint, there were ORANGE and basically looked like large Oompa Loompas.

It's funny how when you get really involved in an activity that has its own culture, you want to dress and act like everyone else who is into that activity. Whether it is whitewater rafting where the guides wear Teva sandals and wool socks, or runners who wear their favorite race shirts at race expos, or even NASCAR fans who wear their favorite driver's number everywhere. You want to fit in and look like the other fans.

I understand the thinking. I especially understand that if you have worked that hard to have a great looking body, you do want to show it off. But who ever decided that orange skin is a great look really should be shot!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thoughts on Mommy Blogs

This may irritate some people, but it is not intended to.

Though I am a mom, I have never been a "mommy blogger." Truth be told, I even had a bad attitude about them. The average woman has so much more to her than just being a mom, that I've always wondered about women who define themselves strictly in relation to their children.

Despite that, today I followed a link to a mommy blog that really touched me. The writer discussed how difficult it is to be a mom, how there is a lot of self doubt and guilt. She even mentioned seeing a mom crying as she pushed her child in a stroller, and how she reacted to that mom.

I didn't quite capture the emotion of the blog, but I'll just say my first thought was, "Wow! I've been there!" I've had the doubt and the guilt (don't even ask me about the school production of Grease) and lots of tears. It can be overwhelming.

Recently, I apologized to my 22-year-old daughter for some things I have felt guilty about for years. To me these were pretty big parenting mistakes and I felt horrible. I honestly thought she needed to know I had not intentionally failed her.

She turned to me and listed her major accomplishments (so far), which included that she will be graduating from college this June. After the fairly long and impressive list she said: I think I turned out OK. YOU need to get over it.

She is absolutely right. I need to get over it. (She knew I was flawed long before I did!) Parents are human beings. For whatever reason, no matter how good our intentions, we make mistakes. And if we are lucky, the things we do right will outnumber the mistakes. And if we are REALLY lucky, our mistakes will just make our kids stronger.

So, no, I am not a mommy blogger and I never will be. But based on the writing of one mom, I have a new respect for the women who do it well. It's not easy being a mom and it isn't easy being a good mommy blogger.

Tomorrow I'll probably feel a little guilty about my initial comments in this post.

Monday, March 1, 2010

This is a Joke -- Right?

On some odd cable channel this weekend I saw a commercial featuring Lee Majors, best known as The Six Million Dollar Man. The product was the Lee Majors Rechargeable Bionic Hearing Aid. Yes, you read that right -- Bionic Hearing Aid! "It won't cost you $6 Million, but you'll think it is worth it!"

I'm not quite sure how to feel about this. Should I be surprised that Steve Austin is old enough to need hearing aids? (He did have enhanced hearing, by the way.) Is it meant to be funny, like the William Shatner commercials where he makes light fun of himself? Is it just sad?

Growing up I loved both The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. In the mid-70s when the show aired, I was about 14 years old. My friends and I would pretend to run in slow-motion and make the "bionic noise" -- you know the one. (Being that I had almost no athletic ability, the only way I ran was in slow motion.)

Even though Austin was just a TV character, he was a hero. He was cool! He saved the world! He was indestructible!

And now he is hawking hearing aids. What's next -- dentures?

I feel old.