Sunday, June 27, 2010

Do you concentrate on the toss that almost made it or the one that wasn’t even close?

While we were at the ball park a couple of weeks ago,  we encouraged my niece who has an above average throwing arm for an eight year old to participate in a pitching game. The object of the game was to throw a ball at a cutout of a catcher hitting his glove. Her first toss was too high, the second a little closer and the third almost made it.

What is the first thing she says when finished, “Did you see my first toss? It was terrible! I am so embarrassed it wasn’t even close.”

Of course we pointed out how good the last toss was, saying the first was just a warm up. Even the Brewers warm up. I couldn’t help but think how early in life we become self-critical and how this self-criticism tends to stay with us our whole life.

On a similar note, Molly of My Cozy Book Nook recently read Patty Digh’s book Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally.While taking notes on the book she found twelve passages that spoke to her. She was so taken by these passages she decided to meditate on one each week during her summer vacation.

Particularly fitting to this post is Life is a Verb: Week 2 which deals with perfectionism and a fear of failure. Molly repeats this passage from the book:
Something happens between the ages of five and eighteen and all of a sudden our sense of adventure and self-confidence dwindles. If we cannot do something well - I mean nearly perfect - then we tell ourselves that we can't do it at all.
So sad, but so true.

Do you concentrate on the toss that almost made it or the one that wasn’t even close?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life is about the moments

I don’t have children. This isn’t something I planned; I was never one of those women who adamantly announced to the world I am never having children. I just never got around to having them. My friend Amy (mother of two) recently told me most women are ready to start a family when they wake up and find themselves peeing on a stick. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not a Mom and don’t feel as though something is missing in my life. I do, however, sometimes feel as if my childfree lifestyle should be more exciting and my job more prestigious with all the extra time and money I’m supposed to have.

In saying that, I have this incredible niece Kelsey who was born shortly after my doctor told me if you don’t get pregnant NOW it will be too late. Because of the timing of that conversation, I made a big deal about being Kelsey’s Godmother; I wanted to be an important person in at least one kid’s life. I became her Godmother and it is true I am an important person in her life, but so are all her other aunts and uncles and that is okay.

Kelsey is now eight, smart, athletic and passionately interested in professional sports. She even watches ESPN highlights before school.

My husband’s company has (front row) season tickets to the Milwaukee Brewers. He was given four tickets to last Saturday’s game with instructions to invite a company consultant and his wife. At the last minute they cancelled, so we asked my brother and Kelsey to go in their place. On the way to the game we talked briefly about the Brewers and Kelsey mentioned her favorite player was Corey Hart.

From the minute we walked into Miller Park, Kelsey was mesmerized and so was I as I watched the evening play out through a child’s eyes. It was all so perfect it could have been a dream (accept of course for the Brewers disappointing loss). We ate at TGIF’s getting an outside table facing the ball park. We caught an hour of batting practice, a new experience for me, my brother and Kelsey. We then walked around the park making Kelsey partake in all the kiddie activities including having her picture taken with a Corey Hart cutout until she begged us to go to our seats. I’ll never forget the look on her face as we sat down and directly in front of her stood Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks. We were admiring the ball park, when I spotted Corey Hart to my right signing autographs. I grabbed Kelsey, her baseball and a marker and guided her down the row towards Corey. My brother snapped a photo as she got her autograph. If that wasn’t enough excitement, during the game a foul ball landed near our seats and the first base coach spotting Kelsey threw the ball to my brother. A Brewer’s backpack, a baseball signed by Corey Hart, and a ball from Miller Park previously touched by Prince Fielder; not bad for a night at the ball park.

On the way home the conversation was about baseball, Kelsey asking questions, my husband and brother answering them and quizzing her on what she had just learned. The conversation ended with everyone content in their own thoughts when I realized this is one of those moments. All of the noise in my brain about my unexciting life and boring career had been turned off and had been all evening. I was living in the moment and life was good.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

We can't measure our own spices!

I came across a new product in my grocery store’s spice aisle called McCormick Recipe Inspirations. I was drawn to its eye-catching package which includes six pre-measured packets of McCormick dried seasonings and a step-by-step recipe to make one of six dishes. The dishes include:

Apple & Sage Pork Chops
Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Potatoes
Garlic Lime Fajitas
Quesadilla Casserole
Spanish Chicken Skillet
Shrimp & Pasta Primavera.

Each package sells for $1.99.

I must have been staring intensely because a fellow shopper commented, "I am sure the spice you're looking for is there somewhere" as he passed. But I was no longer shopping. I was thinking:
“Has it really come to this? Are we this lazy and inept we can no longer measure our own spices. "
Here are the spices included with Shrimp & Pasta Primavera:
Garlic, onion, dill weed, black pepper, and thyme.

Black Pepper! Doesn’t everyone own black pepper? And Quesadilla Casserole comes with salt. Salt and pepper sold in pre-measured plastic packages ~ what a waste.

Supposedly, the product is designed for the newbie cook who doesn’t own a large variety of seasonings. Recipe Inspirations give them the opportunity to sample a more unusual spice to see if they like it before investing in an entire container.

I have a better idea. Take Spanish Chicken Skillet which includes:
Paprika, garlic, red pepper, thyme, and black pepper.

Why doesn’t McCormick give away a free sample of one of the spices as a grocery store giveaway, include the recipe and a coupon for a future purchase and call it a day.