Mid-life Without the Crisis

It really isn't the destination, but the journey. May be cliche, but it's true.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Fun: Lists & More Lists!

As I mentioned previously, I kinda like lists.  I'm not sure why - I guess they just seem orderly and I like orderly.  Over on another online community I belong to, Sploofus, we've had some recent conversations about favorite movies, books, and songs.  It's very difficult for me to pick only one favorite, so how about a list?  How about 3 lists?!!

Favorite Movies
  1. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
  2. Dead Poet's Society
  3. Manchurian Candidate (The original, not that horrible re-make)
  4. Johnny English
  5. The Princess Bride
  6. Clue
  7. Rear Window
  8. Dial M for Murder
  9. Witness for the Prosecution
  10. Star Trek (the new one)
Favorite Books 
  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (there aren't a lot of books I re-read, but this one I periodically read again - it's just so good!)
  2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  3. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  5. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  7. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  8. The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston
  9. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  10. Everything Lee Child has written
Favorite Songs
  1. Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin
  2. Eyes of a Stranger by Queensryche
  3. Animal by Def Leppard
  4. Time by Pink Floyd
  5. Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
  6. Darkness, Darkness by Robert Plant
  7. Killing the Blues by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
  8. Promises by Def Leppard
  9. Cold Shot by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
  10. Sign of the Times by Queensryche
What would be on your top ten lists?

Monday, April 25, 2011

More on That Monday: Friendship, Part 3

This is the third in a 3-part series.  Read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

Making friends isn't always easy.  Especially once we're adults.  We still have all those same fears of rejection and they can keep us from reaching out.  I have found that there are two really good ways to make friends, though.  You should try them out.
  1. Re-define "friend" - I used to think my friends were only the girlfriends I hung out with.  In fact, friends are anyone you enjoy sharing time or communicating with.  My mom, husband, daughter, brothers and sisters-in-law are all friends.  The people I go to church with are friends.  The friendly people at the library are friends.  Former students who continue to share their lives with me via Facebook are friends.  Change your definition and suddenly you'll have more friends than you realized.
  2. Recognize your potential friends - I see the same people at the park when I go regularly.  We are all kindred spirits, pounding the pavement for personal reasons.  I've come to know some of them and though we only see each other at the park, they are my running friends.  Look around at the people you run into all the time and maybe that's your friends.
If all else fails, I guess you could always try the Friendship Algorithm.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Whatever Wednesday: The Ups and Downs of Being a Geek

This is quite a week for us Doctor Who geeks.  The down side is that we learned yesterday of the passing of Elisabeth Sladen.  Sladen played the investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who.  She first appeared with Doctor #3 back in 1973 and continued in the series until 1976, when she worked with Doctor #4.  Her character was so popular that she returned to the show several times and even got her own spin-off show, The Sarah Jane Adventures.  Sladen was 63 and died of cancer.  Sarah Jane was spunky, smart, sweet and funny.  I'll miss her.

On the up side, Doctor Who returns to BBC America on Saturday!!!  I am so excited about this.  My husband and I are working our way through all the old Doctor Who episodes.  (We're currently on the 5th Doctor's final season.)  We have enjoyed each actor's portrayal of the Doctor as each has had his own special way of playing him, ranging from Hartnell's professorial manner to Tennant's slightly manic, geek chic manner.  The newest Doctor, Matt Smith, plays the Doctor in a wonderfully wacky way.  He thinks bow ties are cool, he wears suspenders and pants that always seem slightly too short, and he laughs and smiles more easily than before.  But you still don't want to make the Doctor mad.  That has never been a good idea.  And now, the Doctor is coming to America!  How fun is this season going to be?  Very!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Motivational Quotes

I like to keep quotes around that keep me motivated and positive.  I post them on my crazy cork board, my magnetic white board, and cross-stitch them and hang them on my wall.  Here are some of my favorites.  What are some of yours?

  • You are a work in progress.  ~ Runner's World
  • It is not age.  It is not diet.  It is the will to succeed.  ~Jacqueline Gareau, marathoner
  • The vision of a champion is  someone who is drenched in sweat at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching.  ~Anson Dorrance, soccer coach
  • Pain is weakness leaving the body.  ~Attributed to Tom Sobal, snowshoer

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Whatever Wednesday: Book Review & Body Image

Saturday was a gorgeous day here in Southeast Missouri, so I decided to take a walk up to the library, which is only about 1/2 a mile from my house.  I browsed for an hour or so and picked up several books, magazines and movies.  One book, Body Outlaws, promised a look at women who were living happily within their bodies, no matter the shape or color; those who believe "self-acceptance is not defeat."  I thought surely this book would fit in perfectly with the view I try to bring to my life and to this blog.

Instead, I found essays by women so profoundly obsessed with their bodies and looks that I was aghast and disbelieving.

One woman wrote about her endless despair at her "brown face" and the perceived mystery behind it that seemingly allures and ensnares men.  For example, she is sitting in a restaurant crying to a friend about how men always stare at her while a man at a nearby table actually does so.  He leaves, comes back and tries to present the woman with earrings he has just purchased for her.  She just cowers and is flabbergasted.  "Oh, woe is me!  I'm so beautiful and mysterious that men want to get to know me.  Woe, woe, woe!" (Not an actual quote.)

How about opening up on this guy and letting him know that his actions are creepy and inappropriate?  Tell him proudly that your heritage is Indian and the Egyptian earrings he just purchased are not only way out of line, but way off in terms of ethnicity.  Tell him to get lost.  Have you ever considered that maybe you're just pretty and the ethnicity is part of that?  Be happy with your "brown face" and stop your friggin' whining!

Then there's the woman who goes off on Barbie dolls.  Sure, we've all met people who found these unnaturally proportioned dolls to reinforce negative stereotypes of women, but this gal took it to a whole other level.  She said Barbies "ultimately succeed where Hitler failed" by making people think that blond-haired, blue-eyed women are the ideal.  Wow!  There is just so much wrong with her thinking that I can't even begin to address it all.  Let me just say that she might want to seek some counseling to find out why she feels so insecure when comparing herself to a child's toy.

Then Body Outlaws continued on with essays about big butts, small stature, shaving and many other body image issues.  One common theme seemed to be that little girls learn at a young age whether or not they are pretty (read: important), and whether they are or aren't can scar them for life.

Maybe this is my age talking, or maybe it's that I never considered my looks to be my most marketable or lovable trait, or perhaps it's my inability to put up with shallow people, but here goes.  Get Over It Already!!!

To me, self-acceptance is not obsessing positively OR negatively about your looks.  It's about doing what is best for your health, making yourself as presentable and/or professional as needed for your job and your life, and getting on with things that matter.

In a world with a host of body image problems, Body Outlaws is actually just part of the problem.

Monday, April 4, 2011

More on That Monday: Friendship, Part 2

This is the 2nd in a series.  Read part 1 here.

When my daughter was little, she would often come home from school and tell us about a new friend she'd made.  She'd describe all the fun they had on the playground throughout the day, what they had for lunch, where the girl sat in the classroom - everything.  Then I'd ask what the girl's name was.  The inevitable response?  "I don't know."

I think we can learn a lesson from that method of making friends.  We need to approach the task with the reckless abandon of a kindergartner.  

Too often, we try to find friends who meet that pre-selected mold we have in mind.  That perfect fit.  When what we should really be doing is looking around us, at the people we encounter regularly, and seeing which ones we enjoy interacting with.  Which ones come to mind as you read that sentence?  Maybe she could be your new friend.  Who is it that you always share a joke with after church, or at work, or at the park?  Could she be a potential new friend?

Instead of expecting to find friends only in places that meet certain conditions, how about letting friendships occur naturally, the way they once did on the playground?

This week, see if you can make a new friend.  Reach out on Facebook, in the library, at the grocery store, at work, at the park, and offer to have coffee, take a walk, have lunch, or share contact information with someone new.  You might be surprised at your results.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Fun: Homemade Pizza

One of my favorite things about Friday is the new tradition (is that an oxymoron?) in our house - homemade pizza!  And what's going to make it even more fun today is that we'll be sharing with my wonderful mom, who is having her birthday today.

Starting your own tradition is easy.  Here's the recipe I use:

  • Add 2 cups all-purpose flour to your food processor.  (If you don't have one, you can do this by hand.  It's not hard, just the processor makes it sooo much faster.)
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Add one package of rapid rising yeast.  (I use Fleichmann's and I found out recently that the kind that is loose in the jar marked bread-making yeast is really the same thing.  So use whatever you have.)
  • Put on the lid and turn on while streaming in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  (If you don't have any, just use whatever kind of vegetable oil you have on hand.)
  • With processor still on, stream in 1 cup of hot water.  Dough will be very sticky (depending on the weather).
  • Open processor and add in 1/2 cup flour, process again.
  • Continue adding flour by 1/2 cup increments until it forms a ball when processed.
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed, until dough is soft and non-sticky enough to handle.  Usually this step only takes a couple of minutes.  Let rest while you make other preparations.
  • Preheat oven to 425 (Honestly, this is a guesstimate because my oven's controls are very iffy.)
  • Spread one tablespoon olive oil over large pizza pan.
  • Spread dough out on pizza pan, pressing rather than stretching, until dough is size and thickness desired.  (We cover one 16" pizza pan with this amount of dough)
  • Top as desired and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until desired level of brownness occurs.
  • Enjoy!