In Defense Of Television: Part #9,448,502

She gets this from her mother

I used to have a KILL YOUR TELEVISION bumper sticker on the back of my car. And I meant it. I used to openly proclaim my lack of cable and my disinterest in anything on television. I used to give my son “TV TOKENS” (Poker Chips) that would allow him the opportunity to watch certain video tapes we had, but in limited doses. I was, essentially, anti-television in all forms.

Needless to say…that is not me anymore.

A little over a month ago NikkiZ and I saw our first commercial for the movie, Princess Protection Program movie on the Disney Channel. Since Disney over-hypes their movies, this gave us plenty of time to get hyped up about it. Since then I’ve been answering the question, “When is that coming on again?” on a daily basis. To say she was excited alone would be a lie. Her excitement had me excited. We’d pause previews for the movie when we’d normally fast-forward through commercials. We’d watch the D-Com EXTRA behind-the-scenes spots and the music videos. Everything we could until it was to air on June 26th.

I woke NikkiZ up this past Friday saying, “Do you know what comes on tonight?” To which she screamed, “Princess Program Protection!” (That’s what she called it.) When she got to school she excitedly talked about how we were going to watch it that night. When I picked her up that afternoon she enthusiastically asked if it was on yet! We made pizzas, we ate ice cream, we put on our pajamas.

And then the whole family (sans AndyZ who was already asleep) congregated in the living room to watch the movie. She curled up on the couch with me and excitedly discussed each scene as it passed. Did I see that pretty dress? What about the worms? Why is she scared of lizards? We’re not scared of lizards! Are the bad guys going to get her? Carter is brave! LOOK AT THOSE PRINCESSES!

It was so much fun. We proceeded to watch it three more times throughout the weekend, as the enthusiasm finally began fading.

But we did it all together. It gave us one more thing to enjoy together. To talk about. To giggle about. TOGETHER.

Yes, I’m a lazy parent and often I use television to quiet the masses while I wash dishes or fold laundry. And sometimes while I do something really selfish…like bathe. But it also often pulls us together. Whether around Cat Deely on Wednesday nights or the Jonas Brothers on Sundays, we’re gathering as a family. (MrZ would like me to point out he is NOT watching the Jonas Brothers with us. He does have his limits.) It’s hard for a family of five with this range of ages to find unifying interests…television helps us do that. And that justifies my cable bill right there.

Being able to also drool over John Barrowman during the summers is just an added bonus.

Welcome Back, Zoot!

So, the last time we spoke I was in Knoxville, right? Well…that was an educational trip. And by “educational” I mean “confusing and frustrating and very overwhelming.” Luckily, the people at each bank I had to deal with were very wonderful. And by “wonderful” I mean “patience and understanding and not irritated over my questions.” For the most part I got everything done I needed to with the banks. There’s still an entire house to deal with…but that can wait. Or at least it will wait because it has no choice.

I had taken a four-day weekend to deal with that stuff and decided as soon as I got back to Huntsville that I was going to try to cram enough family activity into the remaining time so that we could all pretend we spent the four days together doing family stuff. So I can look back on my “weekend” very proudly. I didn’t vacuum and I barely finished the laundry…but we played in some fountains, in a creek, went shopping, and wore hats. We even cut hair! (You’ll have to break away from the feed reader to check out my sidebar if you’re curious about that statement. Sorry!) You can’t beat that on paper but you really can’t beat it when I show you the awesome photos as evidence.

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Best Big Brother EVER

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How was YOUR weekend?

Live! From Knoxville!

LilZ and I hit the road last night (after So You Think You Can Dance of course) and made our way to Knoxville. I have been needing to schedule a business day trip here to take care of some things I can’t do on the weekends, and coming in today gives me two days to play with if I need them. Although I’m hoping to get most done today.

MrZ called me just now to let me know how the daycare dropoff went and he had a great story. On the way to school, NikkiZ was chatting away like she does every morning. MrZ was wondering what AndyZ was doing and so he asked, “NikkiZ? How’s your brother?”

He’s fine. He’s just lookin’ out the window at the trees and the houses…he’s thinking, “What the Hell?”

HA!

MrZ maintained his composure and reminded her that kids shouldn’t use that type of language. He tried to explain that we shouldn’t even use that word because it just makes some people upset.

Yeah. I shouldn’t use that word because then the little kids will start saying it.

Yes. You, the 3-year old, should NOT use that word because the little kids might pick up on it. You, the 3-year old, should be the role model to these poor children.

I always miss the best stuff.

Finding The Joy. (But Not In Dirty Diapers. I’m Not That Joyful.)

I recently read Superhero’s take on the To Do List. This is a common topic in the blog world and often I walk away from the entries I read commiserating, understanding, but rarely enlightened. But this entry? Got me thinking. Is this TRUE? Am I stuck in this To Do List cycle forEVER?

Oh my. I think I am. I think she’s right. There will ALWAYS be something new on that list. ALWAYS.

I don’t mind the To Do List so much. (I act like I actually have one organized, which I don’t. But for the sake of this entry let’s pretend I do.) On the days I don’t make it to the end of my list I feel disappointed, but that’s EVERY DAY. I never finish everything so I just accept it. BUT – I always go to bed thinking, Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll do more.

But…she’s right. It’s never really done, is it? So why do I let it bother me? Why, on many days, do I let it overwhelm me? Why can’t I got to bed thinking, Damn. I did good today. A paradigm shift is right.

Which is another way of saying, let’s love each moment as much as possible. I can see how simply doing what’s in front of you, with as much mindfulness and joy as you can is a piece of the puzzle. Maybe we should trash our to-do lists and create some to-be lists instead.

Man. I love this sentiment. I love the idea of being in the moment. I often, as a Mom, wish I could be in the moment with my kids more. But I never thought about how that would benefit my whole life. What’s the point? What’s the point in taking care of my home, my job, my self? What’s the point if I don’t find someone way to enjoy it? I mean, I’m never going to happily scrub the toilets. Okay? I’m not saying that. But how amazing would it be if I could simply enjoy taking care of my family. Taking care of my home.

I’ve read book after book about putting the energy into the world that you want back from it. A basic karmic philosophy applied to everyday living. And this sentiment fits right into it.

This is the best thing about the blog world. Every day that I open my feed reader I open myself up for inspiration. I find inspiration for cool crafts, meals (Ha! Like I ever cook them…), decorating tips and blog topics. And some days? I find inspiration for even more.

I don’t know exactly the best way to try to shift my perception but I’m going to try. Instead of ending the day thinking about the things that didn’t get done, I’m going to wind down patting myself on the back. (‘Cause we all know no one else is going to do it! Am I right?) Instead of grumbling about putting up the shoes for the 10th time that week, I’m going to ask myself, Why do I care? If I’m doing something that makes me bitter, maybe I should make sure there’s a reason for doing it. If there is no good reason, maybe I can remove it from my To Do list. Or at least put it on someone else’s list. (Like the owner’s of the shoes!) If I can think of a reason I do something, like putting up laundry to clean up the clutter, then maybe I find a way to enjoy the clutter-free result. Bask in the product of my good work.

I love these type of revelations. These type of inspirations. These type of realizations that there are ways out of the rut. We’re not bound to these often frustrating patterns. If we’re open to the lives of others around us, different or not, we can find those ideas to inspire us. Thank you, Andrea. I need that kick in the ass out and out the doldrums.

Getting Out Of The Blog Dumps

For about 4 months, or so, surrounding my Dad’s sickness and death – I was in the blog dumps. For the first time since this blog was born in January 2004. It was a combination of things, but even as those things faded, I still found myself in the dumps. I just couldn’t get motivated to write. Now, for me? That meant instead of twice a day I was posting once every few days, which isn’t a huge deal in blog land. But for me? I felt like I had become the World’s Suckiest Blogger. I told Marilyn that I totally knew where she was coming from when she talked about her own blog flakiness. We’ve all been there, right? It’s just part of the cycle of a blog. Just like the river it has it’s eb and it’s flow.

(Hee. Love the overly-dramatic blog metaphors.)

I thought I’d share with you guys some of the ways I revived my blogself in case you find your blog in the same place. Of course, I’m no professional on blog advice, but these are a few things that worked for me.

  • Don’t write. (What? Seems contradictory?) For one night, instead of writing…cruise blogs. Start with a familiar one and start linking to others from there. Read entries everywhere you go. Click through links in the comments of the blog (because that will take you to other active bloggers) and try to choose ones you don’t normally read. Seeing new blogs, no matter how off-topic they are from your own, will open your mind to new blog topics. This will inspire many topics for your own blog, I guarantee it. Even if that topic is, “Why I Don’t Blog About _______.”
  • Continue the conversation on your own blog! I started emailing myself links from blog entries or articles around the web that I thought would give me good blog topics. Example? I emailed myself Marilyn’s entry linked above. Sometimes you read something and feel like you could respond with more than just a comment – but you don’t have time at that moment. Email it to yourself. Then, when you do have time, it will be there waiting in your inbox.
  • Carry a notebook around. Or maybe a piece of paper. Something small so that when that idea pops in your head throughout the day, you can jot it down. Sometimes, just the fact that we have something to document an idea with, aids in the idea being born. It will have you looking at things with wider eyes, scanning your experience for blog ideas. I’ve been amazed at how many more interesting things I observe now that the back of my mind is waiting for blog material. For example: There are THREE fire hydrants on my street between my house and the end of the road. About .8 miles. THREE. And I never noticed them before. WEIRD. Look on your street today…how many do you see?
  • Dig through your archives. Just sit down one afternoon and dig through some of your older entries. You’ll be amazed how inspiring it is because you’ll be reminded that it’s important you write. You’ll need those words later. Either to make you laugh. Or to make you cry. Or maybe just to make you wonder, “What in the hell was I thinking?”
  • Remember…unless you’re really trying to make money…this should always be simply: FUN. If it’s stressing you out maybe you need a break. If it’s not bringing you joy, why do you do it? There’s nothing that says you HAVE to do it. Some of the best relationships I’ve made blogging are with someone who no longer blogs. They don’t disappear, they just stopped blogging. No big deal. But remember, if you stop or take a break, backup your blog. You might want to start back and you don’t want to lose all of that hard work. The world would be a smaller place without entries documenting our stupid moments don’t you think?