People Thoughts


So, I am not a huge reality television fan, unless we’re discussing Top Chef, Project Runway, Top Design, or What Not to Wear.  I have little patience for most of the variety of reality television going on.  Recently, there has been a minor “uproar” over Jon and Kate plus 8.  The couple is sadly getting a divorce.  I find myself having the same reaction I did when I heard that Jessica Simpson and her husband were divorcing.  It’s the same reaction I have when I see couples getting slammed in the grocery aisle tabloids, TMZ, and other media forums before, weeks or months later, separating. 

Sometimes the world does not need to watch.

Honestly.  How many intimate relationships suffer because a camera crew is always there, a host is putting a spin on the situation or the pressure of “being ‘on'” all the time pushes one or both partners too far?  Even shows like Housewives of (name that city), which my best friend loves, or any number of the “bachelor” competitions show friendships, morals, and boundaries stretched past all limits.  Even in my favorite shows, like Top Chef, you see contestants doing things behind the scenes that they admit are out of character.

From borderline cheating to anger management issues, I wonder – is that what these people are really like on a daily basis?  Then you see them at the reunion shows or in an interview recap months later and they are mortified by their portrayal.  Family members say, “I don’t even know who that was.”  Is it any wonder marriages end and families fall apart?  In the case of Jon and Kate, don’t you think having 8 children to raise is stress enough on a marriage?  Did you really need a nation following your every move, judging your decisions, and tempting you to forget why you married and had a family to begin with? 

I think the answer is a resounding no.

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So, here’s a huge catch-up post.

Friday:  First day of the sinning

I had veggie quiche cups for breakfast with bacon.  Cheese for midmorning snack.  I completely can’t remember what lunch was, but I’m certain it was a salad of some sort.  Afternoon snack was cucumber slices with tuna spread, but I didn’t eat but one or two and left the rest for later.  Dinner.. ah.. dinner.  So we were all “on our own” and I was invited to a wine party.  Now, I had made chicken and veggies for dinner but I didn’t eat it.   (Because I’m a complete dork)

So I ran around with some errands and end up at the wine party rather late – where they are having chocolate fondue with the associated dipping items (cheesecake, fruit, etc.)  and I had already decided I was allowing myself a little taste of things.  I literally had a couple bites of cheesecake (1/2 inch by 1/4 inch maybe?), piece of pineapple, two raspberries, couple apple slices and one piece of bread (not for dipping) but that rounds out the starches I ate (most of which were dipped in dark chocolate, but only a little).  The rest were veggies, meat and cheese fondue.  Which I can have.  So I sinned a little ….

Saturday:  The sinning goes on

I missed breakfast.  I had trouble waking up and felt really sluggish.  Bad carbs!  After I did get up, I went with my mother and brother to Arlington to visit my Dad for Valentine’s Day.  It was my brother’s first visit since the burial.  It was tough.  Afterwards we took my mom to lunch at Jaleo, a tapas restaurant, where somewhere in my brain I thought I could eat relatively healthy if not cheap.  Not only was it costly, but laden with starches and sugar, but darned tasty.  I didn’t gorge myself, having a tasting of all the different tapas then pushing away.  I didn’t eat any of the bread and oil they kept refilling.  I was actually pretty pleased with myself. 

My mother and I spent the rest of the day at IKEA and the movies, so I never ate dinner.  When I got home I was kinda noshy so I had a bite of the grilled sausages I had made for lunch that day but never ate and a bottle of water and went to bed vowing to do better the next day.  Did I mention my mother gave us boxes of chocolate for Valentine’s Day?  Yeah – those are in the freezer for now.

Sunday:  And sin no more… riiiight…

Let’s see, woke up and got on the scale – have lost 11 lbs.  Roommate has lost 14.  Hot damn!  Made a broccoli, turkey sausage and cheese omelet for us for breakfast.   Drank water and planned the grocery shopping so I could cook for this week’s meals. 

A and I were going to Costco together, but he decides he is starving right before we go and we end up at an Indian buffet.  I had actually eaten my leftover dinner from Friday night for lunch and said I wasn’t hungry.  He taunts me until I cave and get a plate with some chicken, lamb and salad on it.  I push the naan bread away.

I cave on the naan bread about halfway through.  A starts going on about the desserts and goes so far as to bring back two bowls full of rice noodle pudding (a personal favorite), honey balls (too sickeningly sweet I discover), and carrot mash made with brown sugar (which was too yummy and I ate about 1/8th of a cup).

Boo!  Sinned again.  So, we shopped and I ran around the rest of the day.  I didn’t really eat a solid dinner, but nibbled a bit as I cooked.  Then a friend invited me to her place…

Turns out it was for fondue.  Chocolate, white chocolate and caramel fondue.  I went, I ate some, including cookies, chocolate meringue bites, apples, berries, etc.  I just enjoyed myself and vowed that starting the next day, I was back on schedule.

Monday:  Repentence

Eggs for breakfast.  Cheese for midmorning snack.  Leftover sausage for lunch.  No midafternoon snack, I was cooking and nibbling on veggies as I cooked.  Dinner was supposed to be turkey meatloaf and mashed cauliflower potatoes, but I wasn’t hungry.  Drank water and had a no-sugar added fudgesicle.

So, ok… we’re getting back on track.  Going forth now to sin no more.

February – isn’t that a funny word.  Y’know, phonetically speaking.  That “r” after the b is a real treat and yet you find yourself wondering – what made someone decide that the second month of the year should be called February.  Frankly, this question can be asked of all the months.  I’m sure some genius somewhere has the answer on the history of the words, but I really don’t care. 

That’s right, I’m asking a question to which I really don’t care about the answer.  Welcome to “polite society” and “the American Mainstream Media”.  This is not a complaint, it’s a fact of life – we all do it.

“How are you today?”  is supposed to be answered with “Fine, yourself?”  (Ok, the grammar teacher in me wants to inform you all that the correct response is actually, “Well, thank you.  How are you?”   Well is an appropriate response to “how something is” not good or fine – you can’t BE good or fine in that context, it doesn’t fit the terminology.)  I digress… 

Anyway, we ask questions to be socially correct or to make ourselves seem intellectual.  “Did you hear the rhetoric regarding the Republican review of the President’s economic package?   Wouldn’t you say some of their ideals are detrimental to the overall fabric of democracy?”  (This is a true quote of a question asked by a coworker.)   Ok, so I actually have been half-way following this story.  I have some general feelings on the topic, but do I feel the overall “fabric of democracy” will be affected?  I don’t know.  I mean, offhand, probably not – No, I think democracy as an ideal is stronger than the economic platform on which it stands.  This country has been poor before and managed to survive and strengthen.  But, as it turns out, my coworker really didn’t care about the answer.  The question was just a starting point for him to espouse his personal feelings in an overly articulate manner that was intended to make him look exceptionally intelligent.

I personally got “pompous turd” out of it, but that’s just me. 

There’s actually nothing wrong with doing this – I know, I know “What am I saying?!”, but it’s the truth.  Intelligent conversation for the sake of discussion and conversation without actual investment in the outcome is not a bad thing.  It sparks debate and ideas that usually get back to someone who IS invested and appreciates the rhetoric. 

I just wonder how much our usage of this type of dialogue affects our ability to trust others and share genuine concerns.  How many times do we hold our tongue on the assumption that “they really don’t care anyway” and how many times does that thinking lead us astray?  Did the people in the housing industry have questions about practices in the early years that they never asked because “no one really cares anyway”? 

Not that I expect an answer…  I’m just asking.

I will not be joining the masses shopping Friday for a Christmas gift deal.

Why not? 

Because I have my doubts that there will be masses.  There are some pretty good deals floating around and if you haven’t visited www.bfads.net to check them out, get with the program.  However, there are also a lot of companies not giving out bonuses this year, cutting back hours, laying off staff and dumping their retirement programs matching gifts.  So far, my company isn’t one of them but I have to admit I worry. 

Budgets being what they are don’t generally contain a lot of room for discretionary funds when you are in a recession.  It just doesn’t make sense to waste what you might need for the real bills.  All that being said, I do have to wonder how many people will be seduced by some ridiculously low item they never knew they needed?  It’s such a tough time all around for the business owners, especially the small and boutique niche businesses and the consumer alike.

My advice is make a list of the items you’d like to get this year or need around the house.  Things you would have purchased anyway.  Try to find them on sale and enjoy the discount.  Make sure you bring your checkbook register along, however, and keep an eye on that bottom line.  I, personally, am avoiding any extra credt debt and only spending what I can actually afford.

Unless that 42″ Vizio LCD goes on sale around $600 – then I might have to rethink my plan.  Otherwise, I might come out for a few minutes – we few and frugal.  I don’t think there will be masses… just mini-masses.

So I used to think layaway was a great thing, kind of like credit.  You can’t afford it now, but if you budget you can have it in a few weeks.  The catch being you don’t really need the “program” to do the same thing – it’s called sticking to a budget and saving.  But in theory, it helps the less disciplined.

In theory.  But then I ask myself, why did they get rid of lay-away in the first place?  My opinion is that everyone became credit card budgeteers and charged it anyway, so what’s the point delaying paying it off twice.   The business is just slowing down their bottom-line intake.  But then the credit market hit a major bump in the road – they were lending to people who didn’t have a way to pay them back.  Oops.  And unlike lay-away, where you can pay down the principle without paying some ridiculous interest on top of it – the debt just grew.

So now Kmart is bringing back the lay-away and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I’m not sure if it’s a good sign or if it’s just pandering to people living outside their means.  In either case, the bottom line is you’re trying to get something you don’t have the money for.

So maybe you just shouldn’t get it?   More on this later…

I very deliberately try not to comment on specific political personalities, policies or partisan debates because most of the time, my voice isn’t necessarily that divergent from one group or another.  Why egg on a fight?  In this case, however, I feel like I have something different to say.

First I read this article in the Washington Post.  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/2008/11/obamas_impossible_high_expecta.html?hpid=topnews

Now, put aside the rhetoric on “what kind of paper” the Post is and take the article at face value.  After listening to many of my peers talk, I feel this article reflects a lot of the feelings his voters in the DC Metro area have.  I worry about it – greatly – because a pedestal that high is a long way to fall.

Asking President-elect Obama to represent the healing of massive racial issues in the country is like asking Jesus (whether you call him prophet or Son of God) to represent the healing of two warring nations that dated back to two women having sons by the same man and one of them not inheriting.  (Oversimplified for the sake of brevity – forgive me please.)  Pick up a paper, even that argument is still on-going.

The responsibility of healing the racial divides in this country belong solely to the citizenship of this country.  Regardless of race, social status or geographic location, we should all be working to teach our youth that everyone is equal and forgiving grudges of past hurts. 

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My family is Southern. That’s right, a capital S is required. Not only are we Southern, but our roots are the Southern Genteel. You know, the cotillion-having, who-are-your-people-asking, butter-wouldn’t-melt types. If we were white, we’d be rich to boot, but we are Creole and that’s a whole other ballgame.

Anyway, my family is Southern. Which means I was raised with certain tenets:
1. Do not wear out your welcome. (Friends, family or stranger alike – you spend a little quality time and always leave long before they start hinting for you to go. Always think about the fact that they may have other things to do.)

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