Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's Hip to Be Square

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit! (That's southern for "I'll be a monkey's uncle!").  Steve Jobs and I had something in common.  According to a recent New York Times article, Mr. Jobs was a low-tech parent.  Contrary to public opinion and vivid imaginations, Steve's home was not high-tech heaven--with touch screens on every wall and an iPad on every nightstand. In fact, he emphatically noted that he and his wife set boundaries on the amounts of technology used by their kids at home.  What?

The piece goes on to say that many technology CEOs and venture capitalists report that "they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends."  They are quick to point out that with age does come increased accessibility--coupled with accountability and responsibility.  Their kids complain loudly; but, these techno-savvy parents are aware of "the dangers" of saturation--content issues, cyber-bullying, and the potential for addiction to the device and/or the media are on their forefront of concern.  The device-dependency is what engenders the greatest pause among the parental units.  "I've seen it {addiction} in myself", says Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired and now one of those Techno-CEOs.  Wow.

As you might recall, I own a Motorola Razr Flip for which I can re-coup a whopping $.12 on a trade-in allowance.  It makes and takes phone calls.  My Philosopher has a tablet, useful for reading heady articles (Him), playing Words with Friends (Me), and watching Seinfeld re-runs (Us).  There are no televisions or any other screened items, other than windows, in our bedrooms.  And, we can thank our local Cub Scout pack (and their popcorn sales) for rewarding "He-who-is-now-taller-than-I" with a small apple-emblazoned device! 

We don't have cable television.  It's not a weird home-schooler thing--it's David (Me, again!) doing battle with Goliath (a major cable provider that is teamed up with AT&T--ahem) and "winning" after a rather interesting dispute and gobs of misinformation.  But, seriously, between NetFlix, Crackle, and the rest, we manage to survive.  I know, I know.  The dinosaurs are playing in the backyard--next to the outhouse.  

But, guess what? We do just fine.  We read books.  We play games.  We play outside--or rather, I lay in the hammock, reading books, while they play outside.  And, we do set limits on their daily computer usage.  I will openly confess that I need to be better about not checking my e-mail every 15.2 minutes.

Of course, when we go out to eat, and there's a flat-screen tuned in to ESPN in the restaurant, we lose the boys for awhile.  Their blissed-out gazes just scream, "I'm techno-deprived" and meanwhile, we can talk about their Christmas presents and they have no clue. And, thanks to the kindness of some dear friends who (1) enjoy a good football game and; (2) enjoy themed food menus, we have yet to miss out on a major football event.  

It always makes me sad to see a couple--or a family, for that matter--seated around the table at some local eatery, together, but not really.  Each one has their own device--from the preschooler with the iPad, the 'tween texting their BFF--to the adults chatting on their own phones (with different people, of course).  Then, they all pause for the perfunctory picture--which is posted, texted, Tweeted, and Instagrammed for all the world to see.  Proof that they are out having fun.  Together.  Yeah.  

Do I occasionally pine for the convenience of a "smarter" phone?  Yes, I would love to have instant access to my 40% off Hobby Lobby coupon or be able to add a book to my "Want to Read" list on Goodreads while browsing in my favorite bookstore.  But, I know myself and I could easily get lost in all of the other "life management" tools available.  I'm an extrovert, for goodness sake, how could I not answer this life-altering text about lipstick colors?  Many folks tell me that once my guys are teenagers, I'll be singing a different tune. And, they may be right.  I may be crazy.

But, for now, I'll just stick with Huey Lewis.  It's hip to be square.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"She's A Bad Mama Jama"

"Shake It, Senora".  "Feel the Moment".  "Pegate"--with a side of "Royals".   That is the soundtrack of Zumba, my friends.  While my Philosopher loves to tease me and say that Zumba is "just Jazzercise with cooler music" (picture Judi Shepard Missett in hot pink leg warmers), it's more than just sweating to the oldies.  Zumba combines funky dance moves with a cardio workout.  Sometimes, the ever-familiar "grapevine" finds its way into a routine.  But, it's usually accompanied by a little sass.  Perhaps, more than a little.

By dictionary definition, Zumba is "an aerobic fitness program featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed primarily to Latin American dance music."  Thus, this 80s-loving, crooner-happy chica finds herself grooving to tunes actually made in this millennium.  Now, that is an accomplishment within itself.  And while Pitbull isn't necessarily the most creative lyricist to come along, he does know how to get a party started.  This is world-wide.

I started out about four years ago, thanks to an invite from a sweet friend.  By nature, I am not inclined to subject myself to exercise that I don't enjoy.  Nor am I inclined to long periods of solitary workouts; thus, my past training for the St. Jude 1/2 was truly a labor of love.  However, if you put me in a class with fun folks and some decent music, I can get happy about exercising!  My first Zumba experience in the Bowld at Union University had me hooked.  The peeps were fun, the music was booming, and our instructor was full of energy, sass, and mischief--the perfect combination.  Of course, she was nearly half my age, as were a good number of the participants; but, I could do it.  And, there were a few of us who had actually birthed a child and had lived in the decade of which their prom themes were made!   If I could keep up with the co-eds (or even outlast them!), I was good.  Motivation comes in all shapes and sizes.

Inevitably, our Zumba-licious days in the Bowld (yes, you even develop a new vocabulary) came to an end--and there was no joy in Mudville.  Thankfully, another friend, knowing of my deprivation (and likely tired of hearing about it) recommended another class, just up the road.   I must confess, I went with a bit of trepidation. You see, we Zumba-holics, are quite loyal to our instructors--and with good reason.  But, I quickly learned that there is life after Zumba Lindsay!  Shocking, I know.  And, let's just say that the age demographic swings a bit more in my favor.  Yahoo--and let it be known that there are some ladies in my class who are slightly more "chronologically-gifted" than I who could out-groove the best of 'em.  Inspiration and aspiration.  And, a little bit of perspiration.  

And, there are no mirrors.  That is a beautiful thing.  Let's be honest, we are prone to comparison and competition, it's in our DNA.  Without a mirror to make you self-conscious or fearful, you simply let go and "have a real good time"!  Don't let those faux stained-glass windows of the church fellowship hall fool you--it's ZUMBA Time!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hump-Day Hilarity: Courtesy of Mitford

In honor of Jan Karon's newest Mitford release--which is a lovely surprise given that Ms. Karon declared a decade ago that she would leave the "rest of the Mitford story" to the imagination of her beloved readers--here is one of my favorite Uncle Billy jokes, as told by the dear man himself.   Uncle Billy, a Mitford fixture, is an octogenarian who hails from the Appalachian mountains--blessed with a perpetual grin and delightful spirit.  He is slowed down a bit by "Arthur, don't ya know"; however, his wit is quite up to speed.

"Wellsir, this old feller an' is wife was settin' on th' porch, an' she said, 'Guess what I'd like t'have?'".
He said, 'What's that?'
She said, 'A great big bowl of vaniller ice cream with choc'late sauce and nuts on top!'
He says, 'Boys howdy, that'd be good. I'll go down to th'store and git us some.'
She said, 'Now that's vaniller ice cream with choc'late sauce and nuts. Better write it down.'
He said, 'Don't need t'write it down, I can remember.'

Little while later, he come back.  Had two ham san'wiches.  Give one t'her.  She looked at that san'wich, lifted the top off and said...

'You mulehead, I told you t'write it down, I wanted mustard on mine.'"

P.S.:  In case you're wondering who Arthur is, it's arthritis, don't ya know!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"There Are No Ordinary People..."

"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may, one day, be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare...

It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.

There are no ordinary people.

You have never talked to a mere mortal."

~C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hump-Day Hilarity

"It was more like a full-body dry heave set to music..."
I laughed and I laughed.