Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Ten Things I Could Have Lived with Less of in 2010

I secretly love the "Year in Review" or “Top Ten” lists the media puts out every December. No matter what the topic, there is always something there that makes me proclaim “Oh, that happened this year?” In celebration of the coming year, I decided to come up with one of my own.

[Insert drum roll here] Here is my Official Things I Could Have Lived with Less Of in 2010 list.

10. Ninety Degree days. This was one of the hottest year on record. I love the summer. But it’s no fun being stuck in the house with three restless children because it’s too hot to go outside. I’d rather it be cold than hot.

9. Non-Newsworthy News. Being so close to DC, I had my fill of stories about Tai Shan, the giant panda cub at the zoo. Especially when there were more serious things to report. The most recent: people are mad because all the tickets for DC newly-elected mayor’s inauguration ball are gone. Seriously?

8. Sports News. Americans are big on their sports, but I got so tired of a sports drama being the lead story on the news. So what Michael Haynesworth didn’t go to practice? Who cares that about Tiger Wood’s half-hearted confession? LeBron James? Really? Leave the sports in the sports section. That’s what we have it for.

7. Twilight. Being the mother of a teenage girl, Twilight has been the bane of my existence. Robert Patterson is not cute and Kristen Stewart looks like she’s drunk all the time. And don't get me started about the book. I think they were horribly written. I wished someone would kill Bella so the books would be over. And some of the plot lines were beyond credibility (a vampire, who has no liquids in his body, fathering a child. Uh, no.) Sadly, I have to suffer through two more movies.

6. Endless Talk About the Recession. I understand that some people had it tough this year. But seemed like most the talk about the recession was just that, talk. Most discussions were filled with speculation and fear. No one really offered feasible solutions, just more talk about how bad it was. The old saying goes “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Well, I’m going to amend it: If you don’t have something constructive to say, shut up.

5. The Tea Party. Yes, we need government reform but the Tea Party is not the way to do it. But they get an A for effort.

4. Politicians Backpedaling. More than once this year we’ve seen politicians say something really stupid, mainly when they didn’t think anyone was listening, and then trying to offer a heartfelt apology. I’m not fooled. You said exactly what you meant. There’s no explaining that away. How about you be the person of integrity you’re supposed to be all the time? Be consistent. I would rather you be mean and spiteful when you know the microphones are on and the cameras rolling if that’s who you really are. Don’t be two-faced.

3. People grieving more for pets than people. The backlash from Michael Vick was unbelievable, but what about all the unidentified victims of murder this year. No one picketed and protested about that. Not to mention that the deaths of American soldiers got a twenty second blurb but cases of animal cruelty went on for days. For instance, my local news covered a story about a stolen pit pull, accompanied with video footage of the thieves. But then they gave a casual treatment of the death of a teenage girl found in a dumpster in DC. I’m not saying people should care about the mistreatment of animals. I just think we should care about humans more.

2. Sarah Palin and Kate Gosselin. Please, please, I beg of you with all that is pure and decent, GO AWAY! I don’t understand why these two are still news stories. I know there are some die hard Palin fans in the world, but she wrote her interview notes on the palm of her hand! Any high school student knows that if you can’t remember your points, you write them on note cards. Do we want that to run the country? I would run for president before I voted for her. I’m not into folksy charm. I’m into intelligence and efficiency, neither of which I’ve seen displayed in any great measure in Sarah Palin. She quit her job to do what, tour the country, do a reality TV show and promote her books. If she’s elected president, how do we know she won’t bail on the job because something more exciting comes along.

And Kate Gosselin isn’t any better. I’ve only watched Jon & Kate Plus 8 a few times, but seeing the way she talked to Jon, I can’t say I blame him for flashing deuces. No, I’m not condoning his actions either, but she continues to put herself and those poor babies in the media spotlight and for what? At least Jon had the good sense to disappear.

1. Stupid People. I don’t know if there were more stupid people in the world or we just had the pleasure of knowing about more of them. And I’m not just referring to people in the media or entertainment, I talking about people everywhere. Seemed like every time I turned around, somebody did something proving that stupidity is alive and well in America. I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “Did you think about that before you did it” this year. And I’m including myself in that, too. I’ve done my share of stupid this year. The slogan this year should have been: NO NEW STUPID! Maybe we can adopt it for next year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tea & Read: Called To Worship

Title: Called to Worship
Author: Vernon M. Whaley
Rating: Wall Target Practice

When I received my copy of Called to Worship by Vernon M. Whaley, I was in the middle of studying the principles of biblical worship. I was very excited about the possibilities of this book. On the cover, the author is named as the director of the center of worship of Liberty University. With the author's experience, and the book cover is claimed to provide a biblical foundation of worship, I thought this book would be the perfect supplement to my studies. Unfortunately, expectations were too high.

The book was a disappointment. I expected that the book will provide in-depth examples on our mandate to worship. Instead, it lacked a unique treatment on the subject. The book lacked the seriousness needed for a treatment on the subject. Most times, the author often told jokes or quoted poems. In instances where he gave used biblical examples, there weren’t more than a surface explanation.

I found myself struggling to complete the book. The text seemed more like a retelling of events connected to worship and not necessarily an instructional book on our mandate to worship. Also, the author unexpectedly includes a devotional reading plan.

On the plus side, the book was well written; the author definitely has a command on the English language. The author is clearly knowledgeable about the subject, even if his approach was less than to be desired.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Friday, December 10, 2010

...But Our Toys Were Cooler

Tonight, I had the displeasure of watching an episode of Ben Ten with my children. I normally enjoy…maybe enjoy is too strong a word. I normally can pleasantly tolerate the TV shows my children watch. But tonight, my displeasure had more to do with the difference between my generation’s childhood experiences than the show’s unsatisfying ending.

Never before had I realized how big the difference is between the toys of my day and those available today. I guess the difference sticks out to now me more than normal because I’ve been shopping for Christmas gifts. All I have to say is that I’m glad I’m not a kid right now. The toys are senseless and random. The worst of the night was the fake hamsters you could dress up like princesses. Huh? And let’s not talk about the American Girl’s dolls. No, she is not like Barbie. At least Barbie had a job, house and car.

The toys of my day were so much better than now. Remember how much fun Operation was? How about hours upon hours of a cutthroat game of Monopoly? And I can’t forget Uno (of course you had to play pile-on. If you’ve never played pile-on, you haven’t lived). Throw in a game of Boggle and you had the prefect evening.

We didn’t have Silly Bandz. We had rubber bands that we streatched over of fingers and had a contest of who could shoot them the furthest. Or we made a sling shot out of them. We weren’t worrying about the buttons on our Wii remote not working; we were looking for spare buttons to play hopscotch with. Oh, the fun things you do with a piece of chalk and an open stretch of sidewalk.

Now I’m not knocking all the toys available now but I’ve noticed that most of them are lacking. Our toys were sneaky. You learned valuable life skills while you were playing. Uno taught you how to strategize. You knew how to count money after you played a couple of games of Monopoly and could calculate (in your head, might I add) how much rent someone owed you.

Scrabble taught you how to spell. Even something as bland as green army men stimulated your imagination. With our games, you had to think. Fun wasn’t about mindlessly pressing a button or having an electronic pet (that one still boggles my mind). Fun was about winning a game and knowing you honestly won because you were the best, not because you could press the button fastest.

The young folks may have better graphics on their TV shows, but we had cooler toys.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


This year, like last year, I went to the Outer Banks for Thanksgiving. There was a lot of work involved in packing up everything we needed for the week long stay, but being a block from the beach, at anytime of the year, was worth it. I was also in walking distance from a library and added another library card to my collection (I have one from Currituck County, NC and Beaufort County, NC).

Unfortunately, I caught a cold while I was there. I’ve spent the past two days in bed with headache, congestion and dizziness. I’m not happy about it since it’s so close to Christmas and I haven’t even gotten my tree yet. Not to mention I wanted to finish working two proposals I want to send out and a gift I'm knitting. Being sick severely decreases my productivity.

So today, I decided that I’d suffered enough and it was time to make a doctor’s appointment. I don’t even know why I bothered. Of course I didn’t get one. It is so hard getting an appointment at Tricare, the military health provider. I don’t understand how a clinic can have no open appointments for days at a time. The tech gave me three options. Call again on another day (so you can tell me that there are no appointments? No thanks.) Go to the emergency room (and sit for eight hours? I’ll pass). Or the worse of the three options: Urgent care. Ha!

Urgent Care is clinics outside the Tricare system available when there’re no more appointments. And if you use Urgent Care, there is an co-pay that the techs at the appointment line don’t tell you about. The biggest problem with going to Urgent Care is you have to turn around and go to Tricare anyways.

For instance, my right thumb has been giving me problems for a while and when it got particularly painful, I took went to an Urgent Care clinic because there were no appointments with my regular doctor. Boy, that was a waste of time. They examined my thumb and told me that I needed x-rays and a possibly a cortisone shot, but they couldn’t do either. They told me that I would have to make an appointment with my regular doctor. They recommendation was to get voice recognition software so I didn’t have to type as much as I did. Yeah, right.

The military has been in the news a lot because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. As a military spouse, I think that’s a joke. There are so many quality of life issues that need to be addressed, that need a public exposure. Like how about someone make sure that military families get the care they need, especially since we can’t afford any other health insurance?

So if you don’t ask me when I’m going to get a doctor’s appointment, I won’t tell you that I have no idea.