Okay, so it's so four weeks ago to talk about Tom Cruise and his midlife crisis. But here's the thing... midlife crises are somewhat of a myth. I'm reaching into the depths of my brain archives, so some of the information may not be exact (and all my school notes are packed away). However, the original study on midlife crises came about from a study of about 50 male, Caucasian, Harvard graduates... not quite a representative sample! However, it likely grabbed the media's attention, and thus became a part of our vernacular and beliefs. So, are midlife crises valid or are is it an easy out for someone to explain poor behaviour and choices? Well, when a man walks away from a marriage of 20 years, buys a new sports car, and dyes his hair blonde... I think he's choosing to live a hedonistic life rather than a responsible one. And then he can say in a year or two "oh, I think I was going through a rough time, a midlife crisis of sorts." Poor excuse for poor behaviour!
This brings me to another point... media is so quick to pick up on and distribute catchy studies with interesting findings, which is then disseminated to the public. What is often left out is how the study was conducted, the rigor, and sample size. Thus, very often the general public is duped into believing ideas and findings that are simply flimsy at best. The "beauty" of statistics is that researchers can most often make something out of nothing! And the media seems to love nothing.
So, the next time you hear that someone jumps the couch, be a bit more skeptical of the real reason behind it.
So I read somewhere that Tommy Lee was doing a reality show. I figured that a series with former Motley Crue drummer, ex-husband to Pamela Anderson, and friend to Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, had to be incredibly stupid. Even the premise seemed to call out for mocking. However, after watching Tommy Lee Goes to College, I have to admit I enjoyed it (quite a bit actually). Sure, there are the typical set up moments, the cheesy voice over narrator, and self-promotion.... but Tommy was surprisingly endearing. His facial expressions were a crack-up, and watching him play in the marching band was priceless. So I'm saying it loud and proud "I'm not ashamed that I will be a repeat viewer to Tommy's escapades at University of Nebraska-Lincoln."
In Maryland, a person receives postcards with a stranger's secret. These secrets are then posted on PostSecret. I found this site quite intriguing. Individual's are able to anonymously share a secret they have never shared with anyone. Some of the postcards are quite creative, some humorous, some touching, and some are just plain ridiculous. Definitely a site I'll return to.
Marriage has been on the brain as of late... not by choice but by circumstance. I have sat through approximately 3 hours of discussion on the topic at church. I've come away with all sorts of "insights". One lesson, when discussing how single women can prepare themselves emotionally and spiritually for marriage, one woman proclaimed that we should all be drinking more milk to prepare our bodies for pregnancy. Yeah, for a non-lover of milk, except for the chocolate variety, I think I'll just keep eating my broccoli. That comment just about put me over the edge for gut-busting laughter... thank goodness for clapping one's hand over one's mouth!
However, all this talk on marriage reminded me of a paper I had to write in my master's program, in marriage and family therapy, about the qualities of a successful and enduring marriage. It required theoretical research, as well as interviewing a married couple. It was very enlightening for me as I interviewed Ted and Diana, a couple who had been married for over thirty years. It's been over two years since reading that paper, but upon doing so, I found some quotes that nicely articulated the subject of marriage. Also, for a good read on this matter, I suggest you check out my 'marvelous' friend, David's, blog.
Ted said "We come to a marriage with unlimited potential, but initially we are handicapped by our own nature. In our emerging adulthood, free from the draconian influences of parents, we have taken great pleasure in developing our personal autonomy of selfish interests. Now we must somehow integrate that independence in a compatible way with someone who is constantly breathing our oxygen and inhabiting our space. This can be a glorious sharing or a begrudging treaty hammered out one hard fought clause after another. In attempting to understand this complex creature with whom we now share unspeakable intimacies, we must learn nuances and subtleties that seem to change on a daily basis. That can be rewarding and exasperating. And this is only the start, when only two personalities are vying for their place in the family hierarchy. These are the easy years when love and novelty should overcome any challenges. Children really mix things up. Now it is not just our own egos we must protect, but there are more ongoing deliberations as two individuals try to be one in raising those precocious little souls, who oddly, becoming trying teenagers." A theme that I found over and over when counseling with unhappy married couples, was one's lack of patience with the other's differences. As Ted said, it is learning your partner's nuances, and integrating your differences.
Diana's advice was more to the point, but just as thoughtful. She said "Friendship is key. Passion, etc is all very important, but it's more important to be good friends and really care about the other person as they are and not what your idealized view of a perfect partner might be. Be unselfish. Be prepared to make sacrifices to support your partner in his goals and aspirations. Don't loose sight of who you are and your own unique goals and aspirations. Be friends with the people your partner values and loves. Have fun together." Selflessness is key in a relationship, but taken to the extreme can also be problematic. I have seen many women in therapy who struggled to answer "What are your interests?" I believe, like Diana, that successful relationships are built on a balance of selfless care and concern for your partner, as well as developing your own talents and interests.
As August 22nd approaches, Ted and Diana will have been married for 37 years. I have only witnessed 27 of those years, but continue to hold their relationship as my standard for marriage. I'm sure they have endured rough patches along the way, but there is a mutual respect and commitment to each other and their family that transcends all of that.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!
***The inscription on the back of the above photo says "June 1986. To Dad, I love you..... Love from your daughter Aislinn. P.S. You're a lucky man to marry Mom." I was wise beyond my seven years.***
While I was flipping through the book The Gas We Pass, by Shinta Cho (popular author of "Everybody Poops"), I came across this picture. I don't have photoshop, so this is the best you're going to get (the pic's are supposed to be together). Anyway, my eyes stopped on this picture.
I'm not sure what was more disturbing... that a kid that age was still having a bath with an adult or that neither of them did anything about the other letting one rip! I'd be high-tailing out of that tub before you could say "excuse me." I guess a toot isn't as bad as my 2 year old niece, Parker, leaving a chocolate surprise while bathing with her big sis. Yeah, Avery freaked like nothing else... but who can blame her?
My brother, Ted, brought a box full of books to our family dinner tonight. They were books from his in-laws that no one wanted. I found a real gem of a book published in 1964 (trust me, the date becomes relevant) entitled "So Well Expressed." It's a handy little thing, where one can find quotes on such subjects such as beauty, persistence, service, truth and war.
On Democracy: "Be thankful that you are living in a land where you can say what you think without thinking." (George W. ring a bell?)
On Education: "Too often a college education goes to the head rather than to the mind." (Didn't he graduate from an Ivy league school?)
And this is where the quotes get really good (note thick sarcasm)... like this one on men and women:
""A woman will always cherish the memory of the man who wanted to marry her; a man, of the woman who didn't."
"It is a woman's business to please... the woman who does not please is a false note in the harmony of Nature." (attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes)
and for the humdinger of them all... drumroll please...
"The average girl would rather have beauty than brains because the average man can see better than he can think."
The latter quotes reminded me of a document I had seen on the Internet that supposedly came from a 1950s home economic textbook that covered the topic of "How to be a Good Wife." Lest you think I'm just a raging feminist (you'd have it half right), I'm linking to a page that does question the authenticity of the article. Read Away
I was attending school in Utah when the war in Iraq broke out. It was strange being a "non-resident alien" during this time. Canada's government had chosen to keep their troops out of the conflict, and I agreed with the decision. Prior to the war, my friends and I engaged in many heated debates. Soon people that I was acquainted with starting having friends, boyfriends, or relatives called to active duty. Out of respect to their situation, I shared my opinions only with like-minded individuals. Two years later the debate about the war rages on. Yet, it is easy to forget that there are real men and women out there... living this life day in and day out.
Yesterday I read a fascinating article about milbloggers, military bloggers, in Wired Magazine entitled The Blogs of War. My blog is for my random opinions, basically a form of entertainment. But for many in Iraq, the blog gives friends and family instant relief that their son or daughter is still alive. The milbloggers are able to instantly connect with loved ones.
I read some of the blogs after reading this article, and I found this one the most poignant. "It was a privilege to work with these soldiers, but there wasn't a day where I didn't long to return back home to where the rubber meets the road. To those not acquainted with the cloistered world of the Infantry this might seem like an unusual wish in the middle of a warzone. It's not something I can easily describe, some things exist in the shadowy realm eternally out of phase with the conscious mind" (from 365 and a Wake Up). Regardless of ones opinion, these men and women are away from all that I often take for granted, like driving my car... potentially living their last day.
How many parents still let their children walk the three or four blocks to school alone? Do you really see little kids under the age of ten playing alone at the park?
My sisters and I were reminiscing about the "crazy" things our parents did when we were young. When I was seven, and my twin siblings were 10, they sent us alone to England. That was not the original plan, but when my grandma kelly became very ill they felt it best to stay with her and send us on our way. Really, it was only an eight hour journey to a foreign country! Then my oldest sister Danielle recounted a time when she was in grade two or three and my mom sent her on a bus downtown... where she told the busdriver which stop my father would be waiting at. My mother and I were also having a debate a few months back about the distance I walked to and from elementary school. We were close to our old neighbourhood, so we drove from our old house to the school and clocked the distance. It was about one kilometre one way, which my mother said "see, that wasn't too bad." Considering we walked home for lunch, I was clocking four kilometres a day... and when you're six, your legs don't move too fast! The only upside to walking to and from school was the clandestine stops at the macs store after school to buy candy. My brother invented a genius way of making money... charging kids 25 cents to watch him eat an ant. I jumped on that bandwagon when I saw the dough rolling in.
However, the children of the next generation aren't privileged as we were to come and go throughout the neighbourhood as they please. Parents who would send their young child on a bus downtown alone would now be considered neglectful or "stupid." My sister's local school is chock-full of cars in the parking lot at the end of the school day, and all the kids live within walking distance.
Is the world more dangerous or are we just more cautious? There is likely no official answer... but I do want to hear what other "crazy parents" did when you were growing up.
If you're in Canada it could be "husband and wife" or "husband and husband" or "wife and wife." The marriage law was hotly debated in the country, especially in my home province of Alberta. I was never opposed to the law, so felt enormous amounts of frustration by the emails sent to me to "do my Christian duty and protest this law that would be our country's moral downfall." The people sending me these emails assumed that because I was affiliated with the same religion, I also shared their same feelings on homosexuality and gay marriage. (As an aside... people really need to know their audience before sending out mass emails). To say that gay marriage would bring about our moral decay is neglecting the decades of heterosexuals doing just fine in that area... affairs, dispensible marriages... is this any better? Then there were others who believed that homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals, but that it should be called something other than marriage, like a "civil union." It's just arguing semantics, isn't it?
On July 20th the bill became law, and there's not much that can be done by those that oppose it. A poll was printed in my local paper today. The poll showed that 56% of Albertan's were still opposed to gay marriage. What irked me about this article was an idiot MLA, Paul Hinman, who said that "Alberta's redneck roots have led to an unwavering opinion on gay marriage... We are considered rednecks and that means we're independent and we don't buy into the rhetoric." Independent, really? I usually think of rednecks according to this definition "A white person regarded as having a provincial, conservative, often bigoted attitude."
Is this how Mr. Hinman wants Albertan's to be perceived? I suppose so, seeing how he portrays himself as a classic redneck. Thank goodness there are still 44% of us that aren't in line with Mr. Hinman. The rest of them would do well to take a line from Ben Folds and find those hundred ways to cover their redneck pasts.
A friend and I went to see the movie "The Island" the other week. I had no clue what the movie was about but had seen some brief clips... and from what I saw I thought it could be a promising flick. The ads gave it sci-fi feel and I thought "maybe this one will have an interesting concept." One hour into it, I kept checking my watch to see how much time was still left in the 138 minute movie that I still had to endure.
First of all, the movie had the most blatant advertising. I know this has become common practice in television and movie, but typically it is done subtly. This one had huge in your face shots of playstation, aquafina, msn, and puma to name just a few.
Secondly, the sci-fi bit of the movie really only lasted for a short time. The bulk of the movie consisted of your typical summer blockbuster chase scenes, with grand effects and over the top moments. Why do they mislead consumers in their marketing schemes? I don't think I would have wasted my money if I knew it was just going to be a chase movie. And seriously, why is it that the good guys always manage to dodge every bullet and never fall off the edge of the building? Are the bad guys that inept?
My third rant involves the very obvious rip-off of a highly successful sci-fi film. Seeing human bodies in these gelatinous pods seemed oddly reminiscent of, oh.. the MATRIX. There was also a part of the movie where it was apparent the screenwriter or director (whomever responsible) got his/her idea from the concentration camps during the holocaust.
I will condense my fourth and fifth rant to just one paragraph, as they are related. I tired of seeing Scarlett Johansson make this pouty face... seeming so innocent and helpless! But don't worry, there's a big, strong, brave, and smart man that will figure it all out and save the day. Does hollywood need to persist in making movies that show the man always the hero... the one that will take care of the damsel in distress? How about showing the man and woman on equal footing, or better yet... a woman that figures it all out for the dim-witted guy. But wait, then it would be a comedy and everyone would laugh because that's not real life, is it?
The only upside to seeing this movie was that I had delicious ice cream and a good chat before the movie began!
Just a few weeks into my dad's first year of law school I was born. I entered as the fifth addition to the kelly clan. It was no small feat that my mom and dad were able to parent our little army, while putting my dad through school. It speaks volumes of their character.
Prior to his life as a lawyer, my dad was a newspaper journalist. In celebration of Alberta's centennial my local paper, the Calgary Herald, has been reprinting 100 of its historic front pages. Yesterday the printed page was from December 21, 1974. What makes this of interest to me is that the column was written by my dad. Obviously the page was printed because of the story involved, not because of my dad's impressive writing. Nonetheless, I'm proud of my poppy. I've always admired his literary skills... and await his bestseller!
As I was driving back from a weekend away with my sister and her family, I began singing some of the beloved songs of my childhood, such as "worms after the rain" and "clear the tracks." I believe only a privileged few have ever heard those songs, as they were from a record we bought from artists that sang at Silver Springs Elementary school. I'm not sure how widespread their recognition was... but those lyrics kept me singing then and even now.
This triggered a conversation with my sister about a Christian record she and my older brother listened to. I don't ever remember hearing it, but there was a song on the record about telling the truth and avoiding white lies. I don't remember the record, so I tried in vain to find it on the internet (if someone out there reads this and can actually find the song based on my very limited knowledge of it, please let me know). However, googling something of this nature was bound to bring up many amusing sites. Although I consider myself a Christian, I have never really understood the whole Christian music scene. Sometimes the lyrics make me uncomfortable... like the ones that sound like a love song, until you realize the person is singing about Jesus. Yikes!
Then there are the songs with laughable lyrics that are more of a disservice than a help to those who actually do enjoy religious-based pop music. For instance, comparing life without Jesus to a donut. I really don't want to trash on the donutman, a.k.a Rob Evans, but to say that "life without Jesus is like a donut because there's a hole in the middle of your heart" seems rather ridiculous. Granted it is a song for children, but simplifying religion does not have to equal silly similes.
Feel free to check out the site yourself. The whole song (and a clip from a show) is further down, so make sure to scroll all the way down and look for the title. Feel free to weigh in...
I'm glad I don't like donuts, because if I did I'm sure I'd want to fill my Krispy Kreme donut with a round pastry donut hole.