Friday, October 6, 2017

Proceed With Candy

When I am working very hard on a report, or trying to focus on a specific task at work, I stress eat. Mindless eating, really. I find myself munching away without any concern about actually being hungry.  I usually bring healthy snacks with me to work these days.  Pretzels, fruit, cheese are tucked into my lunchbox so I can blindly stuff my face with something that won't cause me to gain 10,000 pounds. 

And those are wonderful, brain craves chocolate.  Glorious, delicious, perfect chocolate.  I don't blindly swallow such wonderful items, however. That would be just wrong.  Such decadence must be enjoyed.  I put a piece in my mouth, and allow it to melt. I savor the taste, basking in the flavors. Then I get back to work, my minor irritations soothed. 

My chocolate eating could rightfully be considered mindful.  Mindfulness is the thing these days.  Be present in the moment, and all that. My moments with chocolate, however brief they may be, are mini-stress breaks, taken throughout my day to help protect my sanity.  I explained all this very carefully to my family doctor just the other day.

"I understand your point," my doctor said.  "However, your blood sugar is too high.  You need to cut back."

"No."  I crossed my arms in front of me, and stuck out my bottom lip.  I was not cutting out chocolate.  I was very firm on that.

"What about dark chocolate?" my doctor knows how stubborn I can be, after all these years.  Give the man credit for attempting to compromise.   After a little more cajoling, I agreed to make an effort toward lowering my blood sugar.  I would switch to dark chocolate, which does not have as much sugar as milk chocolate. 

"Can I finish the current bag first?" I asked hopefully.  I had just purchased said bag, and was being practical.  My doctor looked skeptical, but he just sighed heavily.  I took that as a yes. 

Now my chocolate breaks will be even more mindful, and maybe a bit mournful.  But still...chocolate!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Not My Proudest Parenting Moment

Zane and I were walking to our car in the school parking lot, as were several other parents who had picked up their children. I asked Zane about his day, just like I do every school day. My boy responded with the usual nonresponse that most kids produce on command.

And then...

"Oh!  I remembered my first bad word!" My boy said, loud and proud.  A few heads turned our way. Usually I would tell Zane to lower his voice, but I was in "tired mom" mode.  It's exhausting some days, to work 8 hours at a job and then work another shift as a parent.  It's completely understandable that I made a tactical error on this particular day. At least that is my story. 

"Really?" I said.  "What word was that?"  As soon as the words left my mouth I wanted to call them back. I winced, then looked around at the other parents in the parking lot.  To my surprise, nobody else was staring disapprovingly in our direction.  Whew! 

"'Sexy' was my first bad word!" Zane was out of the gate, his mouth running.  I just had time to register the thought that "sexy" wasn't a horrible awful word and then--

 "The NEXT bad word I learned was sh**!"  

Now those other parents were listening, and glaring at me as they tried to hurry their own children along to their own vehicles.  I smiled and waved at them.  I was winging it.

"Lower your voice, Zane!" I hissed, reaching over to grab at his hand. I frantically tried to get Zane's attention, calling his name, but he was going to finish his thought come heck or high water.  It was actually the longest time I'd ever heard him speak on a single topic that wasn't Nerf-related.  I might have been proud, if under different circumstances. Now I feared I would be getting a stern phone call from the principal about allowing my child to corrupt small children in the school parking lot.  I braced myself for the next word, certain it would be the most egregious.  

"...THEN I learned the word FOCK..."

Wait--what?  Did he just mispronouce the BIG BAD F WORD?   My child did NOT actually drop an F bomb in the school parking lot? I was not a terrible mom after all!   I couldn't help it--I giggled with relief.  I then made an effort to cover up my laugh with a cough or two.  As we got into the car, I reminded Zane that those words were not nice words, and that he should not ever say them at school.

Or in church.

Or in front of his grandparents.

Or in polite company.

Well, maybe when discussing politics.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cactus Selfies

I have always admired cacti.  They are fierce about their survival, facing the world with a prickly exterior that belies the soft, succulent inside.  Some cacti have names that tell you they mean business, like the needle cactus, or prickly pear cactus, or the dreaded and unfortunately not very rare "You Will Never, Ever Get All Of These Spines Out Of Your Skin For As Long As You Live" cactus.

I love cacti for their very prickliness, their refusal to yield, even an inch, without defending their turf. (My husband says that I am stubborn like that, too.) They may also seem lazy, at first glance.  In some ways cacti aren't very interesting, just standing there. Plain old green plant life, they say, nothing to see here, move along now.   They blend right in with the grass and huisache trees along the side of a road. A person might pass a cactus by every single day for weeks, and never notice.

Until it rains.

Then every cacti dons their finest  colors, fancy blooms bursting out of nowhere into the sky. All of a cacti's energy suddenly flows into creating the most stunning and eye catching blossoms.  It's as if the 'ugly' plant suddenly wins a makeover.

Here we are! Come and see!  Everyone notices the cacti then.  How could you not?  But if you blink, the blooms that were so brilliant in the sun are gone by sunset.  Then it is back into survival mode, hiding their colors away until the next thunderstorm. 

I love that. It's like finding hidden treasure while driving to work.  It puts me in a good mood, every time.  If I can, I stop for a quick photo opp, and save those ethereal blooms for times when I need a little sunshine in my life. 

And I'm sharing them with my readers, just in case one of you needs a little pick me up.