Friday, November 30, 2012

Fresh and New

“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” ― L.M. Montgomery

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." 
― Mary Pickford

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.”

 Lamentations 3:22,23 

"Every morning we are born again.  What we do today is what matters most."
 Buddha


November 30: I am grateful that every day when I wake up and draw breath I have the chance for a fresh start.  Yesterday's failures and disappointments are over and done and a whole fresh, clean slate waits for me to paint it.

Tonight I begin testing for my first degree black belt.  I am looking at three 2-hour sessions: 7-9 tonight, 6-8 a.m. tomorrow morning and again from 1-3 tomorrow afternoon.

For me, there's a bit of irony in the fact that the testing is taking place at the end/beginning of a month as I've always loved those two days in every month.  For whatever reason the end/beginning always gives me the feeling that I can lay aside the previous month's mistakes and get a fresh start with the new month.

Achieving the rank of black belt is also the end of one journey and the beginning of another.  While I do not have any clear feelings as to where I will go from here, I just know it will be different and there's a clean slate of possibilities awaiting me.  I'm looking forward to that.



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So ends the month of November and my 30 Days of Thanks. This has been a fun project! I have put together a page which is a tab at the top of the blog with all 30 days worth.  Some of the dates are clickable as there is more to the thanks, or a photo you might want to see.  I think it will be nice to look back at when I need to feel gratitude.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Happy Place

November 29: I am very thankful that I live on the shoreline with easy access to great beaches.

Sometimes when people find out that I live near a beach and also prefer to vacation at a beachy destination, it surprises them.  Why not ski they invariably ask.  Because the beach is my happy place and the snow would be the opposite of that.  Give me the sun, sand and some Coppertone and I am a happy woman indeed.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nothing Compares to You

November 28: I am thankful that I have been able to run for the last 10 years.  While I have not been consumed by racing like some people,I have been blessed to do several races.  And, except for periods of injury, I have run nearly every day.  As an adult onset athlete, I am proud of that.

Thanksgiving Day I created my own little turkey trot and went out and did 5K. To make room for the food, of course! Initially I intended to walk but ended up throwing in several running intervals.  While my foot still isn't 100%, it felt better than it has to date. When I got home and looked at my time I started laughing and thought just how much running is a matter of perception.  Not that long ago I would have been upset with the time I finished in. But on that day, with my foot that is still healing, all I could think about was how much I love to run.  NOTHING will ever be able to take the place of running for me.  And I was glad and thankful for all the running in my past and the slow 5K I was able to do that morning.

My new running shoes, recommended by my doctor- Asics GT-2000


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Ties that Bind

November 27: I am thankful that God saw fit to make me a mother.  Little Helen was and still is life-changing for me.

I never planned to be a mother.  In fact, when I married Little Helen's father, I said that I didn't want to have kids for at least 5-6 years.  Understandable as I was all of 18 1/2 years old.  9 months later, Little Helen was born and to this day I say it was an Act of God because God knew better than me what I needed.

I am not sure I ever really appreciated my own mother, until I became a mother myself.  It was (and still is) the hardest job I've ever had.  I know I screwed up plenty for sure.  Even now as she is an adult it can be challenging at times to strike the right balance.  But the bottom line for me is that motherhood, warts and all, has taught me just exactly what unconditional love is.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Disheartened

November 26: I am thankful for comprehensive car insurance.

I stopped by the grocery store Friday morning to grab some Kaiser rolls for leftover turkey sandwiches.  I was in the store approximately 15 minutes total.  When I came out, someone had keyed my car from the passenger side door, over the hood and all the way down the driver's side to the taillight. While you are reading this I am at a drive-through adjustment center having the damage appraised.  Honestly, though I am very grateful for our comprehensive coverage, I am very disheartened that someone saw fit to be so disrespectful of my property and the hard work I have to do to own my car.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Life

November 25: I am thankful for new life.  Nothing like a baby to remind us that hope springs eternal.



I got to hold this little guy yesterday.  Remember when I went to my flower girl's wedding last December?  Well, this is her baby.  He's a honeymoon baby!  He's just as precious, calm, and sweet as he looks in that picture.  As I was holding him and smelling that new baby smell all I could think about is how everything is fresh and new and possible for him!  Looking at him made me feel hopeful.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Apple Cares

November 24: I am thankful for Apple Care.

My first iPhone was the 3G model.  I kept it for 3 1/2 years, never had a problem with it.  Last year, I upgraded to the iPhone 4 when the 4S model came out and the 4's price dropped.  At the time, I decided to purchase a $69 Apple Care program which would extend my warranty and also offered replacements at no charge if I had a software issue.  Yesterday, my phone stopped making sounds - you know the sounds you hear when you get a text or an email.  Then the ringer sounded very low.  After trying everything, I called Apple Care and they made me walk through a complete restore (again, as I'd already done that.)  Finally they conceded I had some sort of hardware/software combination and they are sending me a new phone.  If I didn't have the Apple Care, it would have cost me $35 for shipping, but because I do, no shipping fees. So while I have to put up with a silent-ish phone for a few days, at least a new one will be here soon.

But why would that make me thankful for Apple Care? If I didn't have it, I'd be paying for repair or a new phone.  Also, because this is the FOURTH replacement I've had in the last year.  Sigh.  The iPhone 4 and me are not getting along very well.  So 4 x $35 = $140 which means I've already recouped the full cost of my Apple Care program.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nothing Else Needed

November 23: I am grateful that I have everything I need and many of the things I want. Because as crazy as it seems in our world of Black Friday and gross excess, there are those who do not.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22: I am thankful for football, family, and good food! (Even the family members who normally irritate the heck out of me.)




Thanksgiving

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thanksgiving 2012 Browned Butter Pumpkin Cake

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Short Shift

November 21: Today I am simply thankful for a short work week.  Looking forward to the next 4 days off!

Why is it that short work weeks feel longer than normal 5 day ones though?  Goodness I will be glad to pull out of the parking lot today!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Modern Convenience

November 20:  I am thankful that I was born when I was - in a time of great innovation, invention and development.  I sometimes hear people say they wish they could have lived in another era.  Not me.  While I wouldn't mind visiting some of times in the past, I am very glad to be living with my modern conveniences.


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A while back I was contacted by the folks at Chef's Planet and asked if I would review their non-stick oven liner.  As you know, I love to cook so any product that might make some aspect easier is something I'd be interested in. The timing of me receiving the oven liner could not have been more perfect - I had just cleaned my oven.  If this product could keep it clean, in my book it would be a winner!  

I decided to cook sweet potatoes in preparation for making my Sweet Potato Breakfast Cakes. Usually when I bake sweet potatoes I end up with a sugar drip on the oven floor unless I put them on a pan.  When I bake potatoes I prefer to cook them right on the oven rack.  If this product worked like they claimed, I would be able to do that and clean-up would be easy.

Because I have a gas oven, the correct use was to put it on the lowest rack in the oven, rather than on the oven floor.


Then I put the my potatoes in there directly on the rack and baked them for about an hour.

When I opened the oven door to get them out, this is what I saw:

Normally those drips would be on the bottom of the oven scorching and making the house stink!  The final test was to see how the liner cleaned up.  Once cool, I took it out of the oven and went over to the sink.  I didn't even have to use soap to clean it as the scorched sugars literally just wiped off!  This is the liner sitting on my counter just before I rolled it up and put it away.

What a great product!  I can think of so many things that I make that have spillage: Scalloped Potatoes, Fruit Pies, even an overfull casserole.  You can bet from now on this liner will go down before those dishes go in the oven.  While Chef's Planet gave me the liner, my hearty endorsement is all my own!

Now, here's the thing, if you would like to try to win an oven liner of your own, Chef's Planet is looking for messy recipes.  They are having a contest, which you can enter here.  Through Friday, November 30, they are seeking recipes that drip, crumble and spill. Submissions should include an original recipe – one you created – and a photo of your masterpiece. Submit main dishes, side dishes, appetizers and desserts. If you have a personal story pertaining to your recipe, please share it.

Ten grand prize winners will be featured in the special edition Chef’s Planet® 10th anniversary cookbook. Additionally, the 10 finalists will receive a Baking Basket from Chef’s Planet®, including our Nonstick Ovenliner, Universal Nonstick Bakeliner and Ovenglove. Ten runner-ups will also be featured in the special edition 10th anniversary cookbook and receive a Gadget Basket from Chef’s Planet®,  including the Nonstick Ovenliner, 2-Cup Measuring Colander and Preptaxi® Food Scoop. 

OR if you're not into that sort of thing, you can just buy one!  I think it's perfect timing for all the holiday cooking most of us will be embarking on.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Trifecta!

November 17: I am thankful that as I age I have learned that not any one thing defines me in whole.  A bad scale reading does not mean I am a bad person.  Another person's opinion does not have to be my truth.  It only took me 50+ years to get here but I'm thankful and glad to be in this place.

I got on the scale for the first time in 17 days on Saturday.  I honestly had no idea what to expect but felt for sure I'd be down since I'd spent the week eating really well.  Imagine my shock when it said I had gained 2.4 pounds.  What?!  But the truth is, since I really do feel like I lost weight, it made me wonder what my reading would be had I weighed myself last week as well.  I'm certain it would have shown a loss.  In any case, I did not let that make or break my day or my spirit - the number was just a number and not a measure of the hard work I've been putting in towards my health.

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November 18:  A simple thanks that I finally won the football picks last week and got to go to my favorite breakfast spot, When Pigs Fly.  Love a Sunday morning brunch!

My choice: a breakfast quesadilla that was stuffed with scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, avocado, and cheddar cheese then grilled.  Served with sour cream and salsa.  I skipped the salsa and opted for Cholula hot sauce. And I had a peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream on it too!




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November 19: I am thankful that I found the blog Bye, Bye Pie.  June and her adventures with her 2 dogs, 2 cats and Ned, her boyfriend, make me laugh every single day.  

Go read this post from yesterday where she simply describes her weekend: Party in my pans. It really is a gift to be able to write like that.

Friday, November 16, 2012

TGIF

November 15: I am thankful for my women friends of "a certain age."  While I love all my women friends, there is something to be said for having friends your own age who have been there, done that and really understand.

My best friend at work, Karen, turned 50 yesterday.  We didn't get much work done as we partied off and on all day - so fun.  Her personal birthday party is tomorrow night - looking forward to that.  Cougar Club in full effect!


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What a week!  I am sitting here typing this and proud to say I went to the gym every single day this week.  This was a huge adjustment for me - back to getting up at 4 a.m., and also the fact that I had to get in the car and drive 10 minutes to get to my workout.  I have been tired, but pleasantly so, with the bonus effect of sleeping like a log every night, which I haven't done in a long, long time.  

While I am still anxious to get back to running, I am ever so happily feasting on the feel good that I have been getting from these little workouts.  Another bonus is that I'm getting my sweat on and my foot doesn't hurt at all.  Will be an even better bonus if I've lost some weight...

November 16:  Today, I am simply thankful for Fridays.  There is something about them that has always made me happy but especially this week, I am thankful because it means no gym until Monday lol!



Gratuitous Fashion Shot:
Tahari black leggings with a grey-blue woven sweater.  Franco Sarto shooties.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Long Haul

November 14: While at times it can be frustrating to not see immediate results, I am grateful that I have the ability to be in 'it' for the long haul.  Whatever 'it' may be!

My BIF Shelley has told me many, many times that I'm too hard on myself and that I need to relax the all or nothingness that I tend to fall into.  The whole progress, not perfection thing you know.  It's hard for me in most instances.  The one exception I can think of is when I used to regularly train for distance racing.  Especially the marathon distance.  Anyone who has run 26.2 miles will tell you that no two miles are the same and so the runner has no choice but to just progress to the end.

I've often seen other bloggers buy themselves a little something as a reward for making a goal that they've met.  I don't usually do that because often even if I somehow make my goal, I'm dissatisfied with how I did it.  Another thing Shelley has fussed at me about.

The other day, I saw something that slapped me right upside my perfectionist head and I knew I had to have it.  Though I've even said these words it was like a lightbulb came on.  Probably because of the whole boot thing and then being out of the boot and still not completely healed and ready to go.  I'm having to accept that these things take time and time is what I have.  Progress not perfection, I am in it for the long haul. So I bought it as a reward for waiting out the boot and I'm wearing it everyday right now, as a reminder about so many things.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday Ten

10. Saturday morning I went out for my first deliberate exercise since my foot imploded.  I did a 3.1 mile walk.  It felt sooooo good to move, but boy-oh-boy do I have a lot of work to do!  I hope everyone who keeps telling me that I'll bounce back faster than I expect is right.

9. While my brain was feasting on the endorphins, at the end of my walk my foot wasn't happy.  That was pretty discouraging to me. Did I mention the doctor said he couldn't believe I'd not been in an accident based on how my MRI looked?  I know it's going to take however long it takes but I just want to be better!  Finding it hard to be positive about this right now, especially with my black belt test looming.

8. Saturday evening we were invited to an engagement party.  Mr. Helen worked with the young man for 5 years at one of the karate dojos.  He recently left the martial arts to pursue another career but we've stayed in touch as he always thought of Mr. Helen as a mentor/father-figure.  The invitation said, "Cocktail Attire" and was being held at a yacht club, so I told Mr. Helen he needed to either wear a shirt with a tie or he could go tieless if he wore a jacket.  When I showed him the dress I was wearing he said, "Why so fancy?"  Uh, because this dress is what cocktail attire means.  Do you know that man googled "Proper cocktail attire for a man?" Then he came upstairs and told me I was right.  Yes!  Here's a self-portrait.  The full length shot was blurry, taken by Mr. Can't Take a Picture Helen.

7.  So off we went to the engagement party in our cocktail attire planning that we'd stay a couple hours then go home.  Of course we knew most everyone at the party - lots of our martial arts friends - so we were enjoying socializing, and the food was good too.  We had been there about an hour or so and decided to get a plate and take a seat.  As we sat there chatting with friends, the bride-to-be's aunt came towards our end of the room and said she had a couple of announcements and asked everyone to take a seat.  The next words out of her mouth were: "M&S decided that since all the people they love are here right now, there really isn't any reason to wait for a wedding, tonight's the perfect night."  And just like that we were in the midst of a wedding!

6. Needless to say, we did not go home.  We spent the next 4 hours partying and dancing and celebrating!  What a fun, fun, night.  Mr. Helen was really glad he'd worn the proper attire.  He's a handsome man if I do say so myself but I especially love it when he dresses up a bit.  Here he is in the midst of the Senseis who run three of the dojos.   They're all really special to Mr. Helen because he's known them since they were 11, 12, 13 years old. The guy who got married is second from the left.

5. Debby said she'd be interested to see how I felt about the elliptical.  I already knew that I'd like it as I've been on one before.  Those machines are probably about as close as you can get to simulating running without actually running, so what's not to like?  Well, maybe the monotony of being on a machine in a gym is not to like but I'll deal with it for now.  I also like the Arc Trainer which is sort of a cross between an elliptical and a stair stepper.  I'll be using that too.

4. Sunday I did not do a work out, but I definitely got worked out as I shampooed carpets.  What a job that is - moving furniture and hauling the Rug Doctor back and forth.  Normally I wouldn't even have considered doing that this time of year but our temperatures went up to 60 over the weekend so it sort of felt like a last hurrah to get it done.  I'd intended to get to it all summer but in the summer the beach seemed more important.  I have to admit by the afternoon when I finished I was questioning my decision to do that chore without Mr. Helen around to help.

3.  After walking Saturday, dancing and partying Saturday night, shampooing the carpets on Sunday, and doing the elliptical on Monday, I felt my age and then some.  I'm pretty sure maybe my teeth were the only thing on my body that didn't hurt a little bit.  Not only is it a long way to Tipperary, it's a long way back to fitness.

2.  The weekend I had Gracie, she became completely obsessed with the dress I wore to Em's wedding.  She told me I looked like a princess. Then she told me later on that when she got bigger she was going to wear that dress so I should save it for her.  Off and on throughout the day she talked about that dress.  When I took her upstairs and she saw it hanging in the closet I thought she was going to faint she was so excited to see it.  She asked me if she could touch it, so I let her.  Later on I was cleaning up after dinner and she needed to get her pajamas on so Uncle Mr. Helen went with her.  As I wiped down the table, I heard, "Aunt Helen, look."  I lifted my head and saw this and my heart absolutely swelled with love.

1.  November 13:  I am thankful for reminders that real love never ends, whether the reminders be big ones like a wedding, or small ones like a little niece who wants to be just like you.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Today

November 11: I join many in being so very grateful for our Veterans.  I thank them for the sacrifices they make to insure my freedom!

November 12: I hate the gym but I have never been so thankful for an inexpensive gym as I was this morning.  35 minutes and 3.3 miles on the elliptical set the tone for a great day.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Puttering Around

November 10: Today I am so grateful for a full day at home.  It has been a few weeks and it was just so nice to be able to be here all day, even though it did include cleaning.  (Which happened to be immensely easier because I didn't have to wear my boot!) It felt so good to just nest and putter.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Re-Boot

November 9: I am thankful for advances in medicine.  When I broke my ankle 30 years ago I had to wear a plaster walking cast for 8 weeks, so while wearing this book was uncomfortable at times, it was nothing compared to the misery of that cast. Even though I've had to wear this boot for the last five weeks to heal stress fractures and torn tendons, I was able to take it off at times - to shower and to sleep (and even illegally to go to Em's wedding!).  And today, I got to take it off completely!


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Yes indeed as of 7:35 this morning I am boot-free!  

I met with my own doctor this morning and got the full low-down on just exactly what was going on.  As it turns out, not only did I have the two stress fractures and the torn Plantar Tendon, I also had severe heel bruising and my Peroneal Tendon was getting ready to tear. Or as the doc said, "I'm not sure how you did this but you really managed to mess that foot up!"

Today, the only thing I'm feeling is some tenderness at the back of the heel.  The doctor believes this to be continued bruising, which he says takes a long time to heal.  So, he told me to avoid things that would put pressure there.  For example, when I lay down to do crunches or ab work, If I put my leg so that I'm resting on the heel, I feel the bruising then. Therefore when I do ab work, I need to put my foot flat.

Of course this also means I still have other restrictions - i.e., no running.  But, the doctor did say I could do the elliptical, so this weekend I'll be off to Planet Fitness to join up.  They're even running a deal right now - $10 to join and $10 a month.  Can't beat that and at least being on the elliptical will help me to get my cardio endurance back in shape.

I also was not cleared for all the running I will need to do for my black belt test but I have to check back in with him in two weeks and he will make a determination then.  He said if I'm very, very good there's a chance he'll clear me for at least some of the running.


Hello matching shoes!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

House and Home

November 8: I am thankful for my house.  Even though we were late in life home buyers, we recently were able to refinance to a lower rate and shorter mortgage - so we have a bit of a chance to pay it off before retirement!  A lot of people would probably consider it too small, but it's just right for us.  My beloved patio is there for enjoyment from spring to fall, and in the winter we have our little gas fireplace that keeps the family room cozy. There really is no place like home.







Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not Ready Yet

November 7: Today I am thankful that though we have a nor'easter blowing through, we are not getting any snow in the part of the state I live in.  I'm just not ready for that yet!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Have Your Say

November 6:  This morning as I got ready to go and cast my vote in our national and local elections, I found myself, once again, feeling so grateful that I have the right to participate in my own government.  Whether by direct involvement or by choosing someone to represent me, my voice is heard.  There are countries the world over where, to this day, the citizens are silenced.  I hope I never take the freedoms and rights that come with being a citizen of the United States of America for granted.




Monday, November 5, 2012

Wondrous Weekend

It was an action packed but fun and satisfying weekend around the Helen household.  As I mentioned in a couple of my gratitudes, after the grey skies that Sandy left behind, the skies broke and it was gorgeously blue and brilliant.  Just so nice to see the sun, even though the temperatures have dropped.

Saturday morning I got up at 5 am because I had my black belt pre-test at 7 am.  While I had gotten a waiver for the run, I still needed to be there on time to cheer on my teammates and of course I eventually had to do the material.  When all was said and done, I passed, with the only recommendation from my sensei being that I work on my self-confidence.  You can see a few photos here.

After the test was over I hurried home to have breakfast and shower because we were hosting Gracie and Jacob this weekend while my sister had a kid-free girls trip.  They were so excited to come over that Gracie called the house almost the minute we walked in to find out how much longer!

We were trying to figure out what we could do with them as we didn't just want to park them in front of the TV for the weekend.  Of course there are always lots of things to do but finding things that don't break the bank is another story.  I looked in the entertainment guide and discovered that the museum literally a mile from my house has free first Saturdays and they had an exhibit about dinosaurs along with an arts and crafts time.  Score!  Once we got there we found out that the museum is always free to residents of my city.  It's probably terrible to admit this but I've never been to this museum before.  After going, I will definitely go back soon!

The Dinotopia exhibit was a series of paintings of dinosaurs and there was a scavenger hunt for the kids to look closely at the paintings to find items.  Gracie really enjoyed that! Once we were finished with that exhibit we looked through the rest of the museum before going to the arts & crafts area.  We were delighted to find an exhibit about our local area's involvement in the War of 1812 as well as a giant doll-house.  It was a very fun 3 hours! (Click on the photos to make them bigger.)

Dinosaur Sand Art & Coloring

Lots of these model boats - the kids loved them

Abigail Hinman, a native of my city, and a Naval Captain's wife who refused to leave her home when the British were trying to burn the city down.

Connecticut's flag in the War of 1812

Actual woman's dress and shoes from the 1800's

A citizenship certificate and an actual coat that was worn in the Battle of Stonington

A tea set hidden from the British!


Showing her Uncle her reading skills

Giant dollhouse with antique dolls


November 5: I am grateful that I get to be an Aunt.  There is something so satisfying about having children in your life who think you're the best and open your eyes to see things that have been there all along.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Thanks, Day 4

November 4:  This week after Hurricane Sandy has been grey and dreary - especially tough on those who didn't have power.  So today I am thankful that we are having a second day of brilliant sunshine and blue, blue skies. I am also thankful that I'm seeing via Facebook that the remainder of my friends and family have gotten power back overnight (especially since our temperatures have dropped into the 30s). Electricity and sunshine - good for the body and the soul!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Days of Thanks, Day 3

November 3:  I am so thankful that my black belt pre-test is over!  We started at sunrise - 7 am and 41 degrees. I passed!




Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Thanks

I've been so out of sorts lately - between my foot/boot and all the disruption of my life caused by that, and Hurricane Sandy,  I've been feeling tossed and turned and lost at sea.  This morning I woke up determined to find things to be thankful for and as such have decided I am going to write one gratitude a day for the thirty days of November.  Since I didn't post one yesterday, there are two today.  Enjoy your weekend, wherever you are!

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November 1:  I am thankful for my job.  Even though my situation is not ideal, it provides me a paycheck which in turn provides me with warmth, shelter, and food.  They gave us two days off with pay during the hurricane so there are good things amidst the difficult.

November 2:  I am thankful for friends.  Virtual friends like Lori and Shelley who checked on me several times during the hurricane, and in real life friends like Heather who has 5 children, no power for the last week, and is still being upbeat and positive.  People like this restore my faith in humanity.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Aggravated and Agitated

I have decided that Americans - or rather citizens of the United States of America - are spoiled rotten. Spoiled rotten to their own detriment in fact.

This past week has been challenging for many people on the Connecticut shoreline but honestly, except for a couple of areas that were really hard hit, it's nothing compared to what the people of New York and New Jersey are dealing with. In spite of the fact that homes are still standing, flood waters are receding, and the power is slowly but surely coming back on, the continual griping about every damn thing has reminded me why I don't like people very much and why I tend to get a bit hermit-y at times.

I do realize that it's hard to be without power for so many days in a row. I actually experienced 7 days with no power and a 7 year old during Hurricane Gloria.  I realize we've come to totally depend on it and that it's even harder when there are children around and school is canceled.  Still, shouldn't we be grateful that our family members survived and our homes are standing?  Shouldn't we sort of suck it up and figure it out because you know the power will be back on and schools will resume eventually?  Shouldn't parents be using this opportunity to teach their children?

Halloween - oh my goodness the uproar over this NON-holiday.  People were mad that their local government rescheduled it (how that is done, I'm not really sure and the whole thing so ridiculous I refuse to think about it); people were mad that their local government did not reschedule it; people were mad that local government said parents should use common sense and they'd leave it up to them.    The vitriol was so harsh that I honestly could not believe the things I was reading and watching on TV.

I tried to remember back to my own childhood and I'm sure there must have been times when the weather was simply not good so we didn't go out to trick or treat - and yet somehow I managed to survive that unscathed.  Not only that, I couldn't even remember an instance where I was so severely disappointed about Halloween.  I simply do not understand parents who just can't say to their children that there will be no trick or treating this year. Give your children the candy you bought.  My goodness, don't we have bigger fish to fry?  For example, children who currently have NO HOME because Hurricane Sandy washed it away!

Parents have become so afraid of "disappointing" their children they will go to any lengths, including being unreasonable, to stop it from happening.  It's as if parents are afraid to be parents any more because they have given their children such a sense of entitlement that the wagon (children) is driving the horse (parents). Why can't they see they are not doing those children a favor?

We are a nation in trouble if we don't start teaching our children some very basic things. Life is not always fair. It has disappointments and they can be small or they can be big.  But life must go on and we must stick to the very basic tenet of concern for fellow man over greedily grabbing for our own pleasure.