Delusions of Grandeur

I couldn’t come up with an actual title to this post, so you’re stuck with what’s above.  Sorry.  I wanted to get this down so I would have actually written it instead of just thinking about writing it and instead spending all of my time trying to think of what to call it.  Suggestions are welcome in the comments ;).

So it’s confession time, although not earth-shattering, juicy, entertaining confession time.  I have a serious addiction.  I love to buy books.  I almost never read them though.  My bookshelves are those cube shelves from target that are divided into 11 3/4 inch cubes in various configurations.  I’ve got at least four cubes full of books on writing.  I’ve read maybe ten pages total out of all of them.  I have 8 cubes of Judaica books, I’ve read two cubes worth.  I’ve got five or six cubes of business text books, I’ve flipped through some of them.  I’ve got a cube and a half of Harry Potter….okay, well, I’ve read all of those, all three cubes of parenting books and most of the Dave Barry cube as well, but those are really the exception to the rule.  But anyhow, you get the point.  I am clearly spending a crap ton of money on books that I feel compelled to own but to never actually open after I get out of the bookstore.

Obviously this is not a sustainable habit in our current economic environment (poor) and the likelihood that I will somehow magically develop the time to read any of these books dwindles at an alarming rate on a daily basis.  But habits are hard to break, and I think I read in a book somewhere (I’ve got a couple cubes of self-help type books too, haha) that the easiest way to break a habit is to replace it with a new one.  So now when I get the urge to go browse the shelves of Barnes and Noble (seriously, this stuff is like crack to me, but without the weight loss and SWAT teams) instead I pick a book at random and pretend that I’m buying it all over again.  I read the back, open the cover, browse the chapter titles and look at a few pages here and there and convince myself that I’m really going to use this book so I remove it from the bookshelf and set it next to the computer where I will supposedly faithfully read it every single day until I finish it….or, in reality, leave it in a scary tower that piles up until Elijah pulls it over and then I put them all back in their places to be found again on another day.

Today’s book was “The Lie That Tells a Truth” from one of the writing cubes.  I’ve read the first couple pages and remember why it is that I bought it in the first place.  I highly recommend it based on the first three pages, the chapter titles and of course the front cover, which is how all books should be judged ;).  It is currently at the top of my pile and I am sure that I will faithfully read it every day until I am finished with it and it has transformed my life…or at least until tomorrow.

So there you have it, my attempt to turn an idiotic addiction into a slightly less expensive, but no less idiotic, habit.  After all, I’m not sure that it’s possible to use the habit replacing technique if the two habits are not equally stupid, but I’m not sure because I don’t think I made it through the entire page in the book that talked about it….

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Take that not-quite-a-resolution, once a week blogging thing!  Not only did I not manage once a week, I haven’t even managed once a month lately!  Rather than taking personal responsibility I’m going to lay the blame entirely at the feet of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.  See, way back at the beginning of February we went on a family vacation on the Allure of the Seas and every last one of us, starting with Elijah, came down with a Norovirus.  I could give you a LOT of information on these types of viruses as I spent extensive time looking them up on the internet, but we’ll leave it at the following: highly contagious, extremely uncomfortable and definitely NOT the way you want to spend your family vacation.  Although, if you’re going to spend four days attached to a toilet, then I strongly recommend it be one that somebody else has to clean up, so in that sense getting sick on the cruise instead of at home was actually somewhat beneficial.  How’s that for finding a silver lining?

So yeah, back to why I haven’t written.  So post-norovirus I was extremely upset with the cruise line due to their lack of medical attention to Elijah, poor high chair cleaning procedures that lead to the virus in the first place and overall abuse and violation of CDC reporting measures.  I was completely unable to write a single solitary post that didn’t devolve into a bitter diatribe and rant against the entire cruise line industry.  Months later and I still get worked up thinking about the entire thing.  So rather than spew that vitriol onto the internet I didn’t write anything at all, or at least I didn’t write anything that I actually chose to post.

There’s something about using the internet to whine, complain and rant that just bothers me and I’ve been trying to avoid doing it, although I am definitely not universally successful.  It doesn’t matter what the forum is: blog, twitter, facebook–I honestly can’t stand it when all you ever see from a person is complaining and arguing.  I’m not sure if it’s coming from a culture where you aren’t supposed to air your dirty laundry in public or if I just don’t like what a downer it is to read, but for whatever reason I’ve developed a pretty firm opinion on it.  That’s not to say that I don’t understand the occasional post where someone is obviously trying to work through things, after all, life is not entirely sunshine and daisies, but for the most part I would rather see the celebrations and triumphs in people’s lives.  Which is why, in order to avoid being too large of a hypocrite, I decided not to post my 2000 word rant about our cruise, leading to extended writers block and a completely inability to let the issue go.  So there you have it, I’m so stubborn that it literally took me two months to overcome the urge to post anything at all on here and STILL I couldn’t do it without at least mentioning the issue.  Hopefully that will suffice and now I’ll be able to move on and post normally and quit dwelling on that nonsense. 🙂

Here’s your laugh for the day via one of those emails that continually make the rounds 🙂

11 step program for those thinking of having kids:

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.

2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home.

4. Pick up the paper.

5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their…

1. Methods of discipline.

2. Lack of patience.

3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.

4. Allowing their children to run wild.

5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel…

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)

2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.

4. Set the alarm for 3AM.

5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.

6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.

7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.

9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out…

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.

2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.

3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.

4. Then rub them on the clean walls.

5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.

6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this – all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don’t think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.

Leave it there.

2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.

3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.

4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.

2. Make a small hole in the side.

3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.

4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.

5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.

6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you’re thinking What’s ‘Noggin’?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying ‘mommy’ repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each ‘mommy’; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the ‘mommy’ tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say ‘it’s all worth it!’ Share it with your friends, both those who do and don’t have kids. I guarantee they’ll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you’ll need when you become a parent!

*******************

Now back to me 🙂  Whoever thought this one up is entirely right, it IS totally worth it, but if you don’t approach this whole adventure with a sense of humor whatever sanity you started out with will probably abandon you within the first month.  Not that insanity is a bad thing, per se, just that people without a sense of humor seem to have a difficult time dealing with a lack of sanity so it could cause some problems 😉

I stumbled on this blog today via a long and convoluted route that I won’t get into right now, but this particular post, which wasn’t the first one I read, is one that I really felt needed to be shared.

#54 – Writing Hacks, Part 1: Starting « Scott Berkun.

It’s amazing to me how many things in our lives get put to the side because we can’t accomplish them perfectly.  I’ve mentioned this before, but since it’s something that I still get hung up on, even knowing that it’s a sticking point for me, I suppose that it won’t hurt to mention it again.  I truly think that if I can convince myself to let go of the need for perfection there would be so many more things that I would try.  If I didn’t have to do everything the RIGHT way, if I could just do them any way at all I can only imagine how many more experiences I would have and how much richer my life would be in general.  For example, I’ve been thinking about taking Salsa lessons for at least the past ten years (living in Miami will do that to you).  I’ve had plenty of opportunities but I haven’t gotten around to it.  Why?  Partly because of time, but mostly it’s because I know that I’m clumsy and uncoordinated and I frankly feel like an idiot on the dance floor unless there are large amounts of alcohol added the equation (at which point in time I STILL feel like an idiot, I just care a little less).

I wonder how many people never accomplish even half the things on their “bucket lists” because they’re afraid that they won’t be able to do them the “right” way, that they won’t be perfect.  Looking back over this blog entry I can see at least a dozen things that are driving me crazy about it and normally I would just scrap the whole entry and not end up posting anything for the day.  But in the spirit of cutting myself some slack and letting go of perfection a bit I’m going to finish this line and hit publish. 🙂

The topic today on the post a day/week challenge blog is to share something that makes you smile.  My little “show and tell” object is actually somewhat related to some of my previous posts and something I’ve wanted to share for a while, I just keep losing it.  In the back of the Mahzor that my Synagogue uses are some supplemental readings and home ceremonies which I always browse through when I’m not necessarily paying attention to the service (yes, there are definitely times I’m not paying attention, I admit it).  One of these has always stuck with me and I finally got around to asking our Rebbetzin to make a copy of it for me so I could have it.  It’s called the “Little” Resolutions and can be found on page 873, although I have no idea what the specific Mahzor we use is called.

“Little” Resolutions

A little less impatient with those we deem to slow;
A little less arrogant because of all we know.
A little less conceited since our worth is slight;
A little less intolerant even when we are right.

A little more forgiving and swifter to be kind;
A little more desirous the word of praise to find;
A little more eager to help others to rejoice;
A little more careful to speak with gentle voice.

A little more effort to see another’s view;
A little more determined to live faithfully as a Jew;
A little more willingness to extend a helping hand;
A little more commitment to our people and our land.

A little more eagerness to listen and understand;
A little more readiness to respond to God’s command;
A little more resolve to do what must be done;
And a greater understanding that, truly, “we are one!”

This may seem like an odd thing to make me smile, but picturing the world that would ensue if we all managed to do even a portion of the things suggested in this poem is something that could bring a smile to anybody’s face.

I’m pretty sure that there is some sort of law of the universe that makes it almost impossible to actually keep New Year’s resolutions.  I’m definitely not alone in my inability to stop biting my nails, to take more pictures, exercise more, eat healthier, live within my means, or actually post to this blog like I intend to.  I think the problem with resolutions is that they place an awful lot of pressure on us and like rebellious children we quickly find ways to shirk our duties and by the time April Fool’s Day is here, most of us have stopped feeling guilty about ignoring the resolution, if we even stop to remember that we made it in the first place.  So this year I’m not making any real resolutions.  I have a few suggestions for my own life, but that’s all they are.  Suggestions for things that may make my life run smoother and make me feel happier in general.  Little goals that don’t hover over me and buzz at me like pesky flies reminding me of all the things I am not accomplishing instead of allowing me to focus on the nice things I DO get finished.

With all that in mind, here is one of my “suggestions” for myself.  Wordpress is doing a postaday2011 and postaweek2011 challenge of sorts which I think I might want to participate in.  In previous years I would have determined that I was going to do the postaday challenge and set off all gung-ho and stopped posting by week two.  But in my more reasonable and realistic mind frame I’ve decided that I’ll try to get in a post a week, but if that doesn’t happen, just once a month would be a step up from how I’ve been doing, so I’ll view that as an accomplishment.  Overall I think it’s a pretty reasonable goal and it doesn’t have the pressure of a true resolution so maybe it’s something I’ll actually accomplish. 🙂

wow…..everybody tells you that time will completely disappear once you  have a child and at some point in time you will look up and realize you have a thirty year old.  Well, I’m not at that point yet, but I am wondering how on earth I ended up with a one year old.  Really, it felt like the first five months took FOREVER and I was ready to chalk all of that “pay attention, time disappears faster than you realize” advice up to nonsense, but then I blinked and it went from five months to a year seemingly overnight (although to be fair, it was one sleepless extremely groggy night!)

Looking back at the last year it seems like I’ve spent an inordinate amount of it worrying.  Worrying over colds and ear infections, when to start switching from breastfeeding to formula, what type of baby food to use, how often he should be eating that food, is he too hot or cold at night, why isn’t he sleeping through the night, is he still breathing when he sleeps for longer than usual, all of that stuff.  But most prevalently I’ve spent my time worrying about milestones.  Elijah has been in physical therapy twice a week since just before he was nine months old because by the time he turned eight  months old he still wasn’t sitting.

Several months of physical therapy later and he’s finally conquered sitting (although he’ll still occasionally flop backwards and slam his head into whatever happens to be behind him…ouch!).  He even finally figured out crawling on his birthday.  Everything I’ve ever read and pretty much every parent I’ve ever talked to warns against getting too caught up in when your child achieves various milestones, but at the same time there’s also that little voice in the background that haunts your nightmares telling you over and over that you’re missing something, that you’re letting something important slide and if you don’t schedule a doctor’s visit RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND then you’ll regret it two years from now.  It really is enough to drive you absolutely insane.  All you can do is hope in the end that you made the right choices.  Of course I can blithely say that, but we all know that I’m going to be like every other mother in history and look back and find six million things I could have done better/differently.

Alright, now that I’ve emptied my mind for the moment, here’s a recommendation for a great website for those of you who like to document your life either through blogging or scrapbooking or even facebook status messages, whatever….take a moment and check out http://www.logyourmemory.com.  The site is all about scrapping every day, real life moments, not just big celebrations.  As a scrap fanatic the idea really appeals to me.  Now if only I could find some time somewhere 🙂

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