Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Entries from April 1, 2008 - May 1, 2008

Entries from April 1, 2008 - May 1, 2008


A Travel Treasure: Elder Hostel

While caboodling around the web, looking for travel information for “older adults”, I happened on to Elder Hostel’s site. Elder Hostel provides amazing opportunities for education and travel. The trips are very reasonably priced. Travel is both national and international. Elder Hostel schedules interesting trips in almost every state so flying is a problem, driving is an option. Meals, guides and transportation to sites are included in the price. Singles who are willing to share a room, will be matched up with a roommate and receive the double occupancy rate.

In North Carolina, I could hike the Blue Ridge, learn to knit socks or explore the coast, for about $750 per trip. Each trip lasting 5 to 6 days, meals included.

It sounds too good to be true and for now… it is. The catch, you have to be 55 to participate. I live by a college town. I am tempted to go buy a fake ID.

For those you who do not need a fake ID to qualify, this is an amazing opportunity.

Check out:

To see trips plan in a particular state:

Wish I could say, "I’ll see you there."


One Secret to Happiness

Chocolate. Did you honestly expect any other answer? There is something in chocolate that delights and thrills a woman’s spirit, quiets her soul, heals the pain in her heart. The downside of eating chocolate, especially milk chocolate, is once you have a few bites, it is hard to stop. No matter our good intentions mini, regular or king-sized, one bar equals one serving.

Regrettably, chocolate has a ton of calories; sugar and other health no-noes. The cravings to eat more chocolate can be an all day temptation. What should have been a little taste of delight was in effect a major obstacle to happiness.

Than: I happened across the true secret to chocolate enjoyment. Someone gave me a bag of Dove’s Dark Chocolate Promises. These little jewels are rich, creamy, melty, all that chocolate should be. At just forty calories apiece, they are the perfect size for daily indulgence. Here is the amazing thing, after one or two I am content. I don’t desire any more! Dark chocolate doesn’t create the craving I usually experienced after eating milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is satisfaction without guilt or cravings.

This is one secret to happiness, have a little dark chocolate every day.


Teens and Freedom

My teens have the right amount of freedom. We rarely argue about movies and other entertainment choices. When it comes to music, with the older teens, I have adopted a don’t ask but if I do, you had better tell strategy.

They do get grounded about every other month or when I can’t stand the mess any more. It is the only way I can get them to clean their rooms. While this system isn’t a parenting ideal, it works for me.

Whereas my teens have the right amount of freedom, it is our stuff that is being locked up. Not valuable stuff like jewelry, or personal stuff like shoes (although a nice pair of flip-flops did walk away last summer), it is the house stuff that lacks freedom in our home.

I started locking up the extra towels last year. When we had one teen, who thought a towel was a one time use object, that was a pain. Much talking and making him wash towels later, nothing changed. Now there are three of them who think a towel should be used once. Preferable 2 towels, because the hair towel must not be used to dry the body nor the body towel to dry the hair. I issued two towels per person, washed weekly graciously by me, the rest are under lock and key.

I buy in bulk. Bulk buying saves time and money unless multiple teens can’t be bothered to see if there is already peanut butter, shampoo, paper towels, cereal, razors, tissues, shaving cream, bar soap or house snacks already open. All these items are now incarcerated until I judge it is time to free them for personal use.

It seems silly to have had to resort to locking stuff up. Disciplining, yelling, talking, explaining, yelling, making the offender pay for taking another peanut butter out when one was already open, nothing worked. In the end, it is easier to lock the stuff up and let the kids go free.


I Gave Birth to my Sister’s Child

I look at my child and swear she belongs to my sister. I have a bunch of sisters and the one I am writing about has birthed no children of her own. She didn’t have to, I did it for her. Genetically this child is my husband’s and mine, however in spirit she is entirely my sister’s.

There is the same fire in their eyes when crossed. They are both smart and funny and not at all afraid to tell you exactly what they think. My sister’s language tends to be more colorful. There are times I can see my 13 year old daughter is thinking the words she dare not say. Neither suffers fools gladly.

My sister came out of the womb wanting to run her own life and my daughter is the same way. She will never forgive us for being born fourth in our family instead of first.

As I struggle to survive this child’s teenage years, I live in hope. My sister was a challenging teenager to raise but she is a great adult. The qualities that turned my mom’s hair gray during her teen years have made for a successful and interesting woman. I try to remember my kids will be adults a lot longer than they will be kids. The struggles now, hopefully, are useful building blocks for our future adult relationship. In the mean time, I am beginning to stroll though the hair dye aisle at the drug store.

Since I am graciously raising this child who is so like her, would it be unreasonable to ask my sister to pay for college?


Born To Be a Passenger

I hate to drive. I am in my car most days tooling around within 5 miles of home. I can get to the major city I live by, if I really have to. I should learn to make the 45 minute drive to one of my most favorite places on earth. For now, trips to Trader Joe’s will remain a date night event.
It is unusual for someone who likes to be in control to be a happy passenger in a car. Since MapQuest and Google Maps, I am a better navigator. I can look for signs with the best of them. If the driver doesn’t want my help, I‘m good with that also.
On our college trip last week, it was actually another mom who drove my car. She likes to drive, I don’t, we were a perfect match.
Letting someone else be in charge is relaxing. I like not being responsible. I am perfectly willing to admit someone else is the better driver, and let him, or her, have at it. When my son was 15 years old, he drove in rush hour traffic, on the Washington beltline, in the dark, to get to the hockey rink. He had an out of state learner’s permit. It was not until we were back home from that trip that I began to wonder if it was legal for him to drive in another state. The fact is he was, and is, the better driver.
I make hundreds of decisions a week that lead to hundreds of different actions. Admittedly, I make small, non-earth shaking, life shaping decisions. But make them, I do.
Sometimes it is nice to let someone else be in charge.

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