Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Confessions of a Candy Holiday Victim

It’s that time of year again, the season that makes CEO’s of candy manufacturing companies titter with delight. Yep, it’s the beginning of the candy holidays.
Halloween to Christmas, they’ve got us.  Candy corn to Cadbury Eggs, they commandeer our attention, and money.
Not that I’m complaining. Like most people,  at Halloween I dress my kid up and spend hours watching her siphon candy from the neighbors only to snag my favorites from her cheap plastic pumpkin holder once she’s in bed. 
And I’m know I’m not alone.
With childlike glee, we’ll rifle through their goods setting aside the Snickers or Kit Kats just hoping our kid hasn’t taken careful inventory of their haul.  With guilty pleasure, we’ll savor each sweet bite thinking all the while that maybe Halloween is our favorite holiday, at least until the red and green M&M’s hit the shelves in late November.
And isn’t the stolen candy a paltry payment for a forty dollar costume he or she will only wear once and then we’ll store for years because we feel guilty throwing away memories or money or both?
The ironic part is that we (us silly adults) could just go to the store and buy ourselves a bag of our favorite candy any time of the year. Heck, isn’t that’s why we went to all the trouble of growing up, so we could do whatever we wanted, and yet we rarely do.
Instead, we wait for the candy holidays to roll around so that we can fill our bellies with sugary goodness whether in our stockings or our children’s long since forgotten chocolate Easter stash. 
Yep, I’m a victim of the candy holidays and then when summer rolls around I always end up saying something stupid like, “How did I gain weight this winter?”
 So what about you? What is your favorite candy holiday and most of all, are you a candy holdiay victimJ

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


The color orange is indisputably the color of fall and you would think it would remind me of pumpkins and changing leaves on the trees…but it doesn’t. Instead, it reminds me of Home Depot, that dastardly place where I and I'm guessing a lot of you spend all your money. 

You homeowners out there know what I’m talking about.

It starts with an innocent desire to repaint something. You want to lighten a color or add drama so you spend hours looking at minute differences on tiny paint chip cards while your husband roams around looking at more manly things.   Then, in ignorant bliss, you paint a room and wow, it looks amazing and, you realize you are the master of change! You, with the stroke a brush can alter life as you know it, at least in that one room.

Don’t be fooled, painting is a gateway project and just like a gateway drug, it can and will lead you deeper into the remodeling abyss where all your time and money disappears never to be recovered, unless hopefully you improve the value of your home and actually sell it. At least that is what we tell ourselves at night as we mentally disassemble and remodel the kitchen in muted beige tones with striking granite counter tops.

After a few projects, you find yourself watching HGTV. Maybe just House Hunters at first when there is nothing better to watch. Before you know what’s happening, you’re in over your head,  hanging on every word that comes out of the mouth of the Property Brothers or cheering on David when they decide to “list it.” That’s when you know they’ve got you.

Me, I’m not hooked. I’ve just painted a few things, and planted in the yard, and well there was that amazing master bathroom that we put in, but I can walk away anytime I want. Maybe I will, as soon as I finish repainting my stairwellJ  Guess I’ll see you at the Home Improvement store!




Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lessons From a Small Town

This week, during an author visit, I had the privilege of spending time with the kids of Mogollon High. That’s in the thriving Metropolis of Heber Arizona.... population thirty five hundred or so.
This little gem of a town is nestled in the forested high country of Arizona and immediately, I loved it.
When I pulled up to the school, I noticed that there were fences defining the baseball fields and dugouts but High School itself, had no fences around it….not even little chain link fences.  Kids walked from the parking lot to the buildings laughing and chatting like they didn’t have a care in the world.

Recently, they built a new Jr. High in my neighborhood.  One day, I stopped by to meet the librarian. Before they would let me in, I had to show a drivers license and then they had to buzz me through a visitor going into prison. Once through that door, I saw a tightly built campus with high metal fences and concrete walls that did resemble a penitentiary more than a school.  So when I went to Heber High I found myself staring at their wide open vulnerability, even envying it.
Then I went inside.  I spoke to their classes. I was in awe of their lack of unpretentiousness. I sat with them at lunch, along with their teachers and coaches.  They all fit inside one small cafeteria.  I learned that they had elected a boy as homecoming king that wasn’t your average homecoming king candidate.
He was funny and kind, but wore glasses thicker than the window glass on the empire state building. His hair was sticking up everywhere in an uneven cut and he was unique in personality and look. 
He proudly and unabashedly pronounced to everyone who would listen, “I’m the homecoming king!”
Like the school itself, everyone was so unguarded that it was easy to get to know them.
When I left Mogollon High, I felt as if I were leaving my new friends.
Was it just this small town, or are people in most small towns less guarded, less harried by the world and the frenzied pace we keep?  I’ll never know, but I have to wonder, what if we took down our fences. What if we opened up a little and valued things that really mattered like what was inside a person instead their outward appearance.  These were the lessons I learned in a small mountain town in Arizona.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chanting like the Romans of Old

Earlier today on the radio I heard reporters talking about the public Feud between Miley Cyrus and Sinead o’conner. 

She said this and miley fired back with that. Who cares!

The most interesting thing I took away from the report was a comment, an aside that was completely glossed over or ignored by the others. 

One reported asked the obvious question, why didn’t Sinead just send a private email instead of addressing Miley in public. Then came the comment that I thought was actually far more important than all the Blah, blah, blah before.  Another reporter responded, “Isn’t that just the way we do things now,” or in other words aren’t all of our struggles and trageties, victories and vices played out in a public arena…aka on social websites.

I realize that's a broad, sweeping statement, but not without some truth. 

What we see on the internet reminds me of something that destroyed my neighborhood. A few years ago, a wife of one neighbor had an affair with the husband of the neighbor directly across the street.  When the story broke, that was all the neighbors would talk about. You would see them standing on street corners whispering to each other the latest juicy details.  Suddenly, My beloved neighbors that were once best friends, turned into drama hungry patrons. They reminded me of the citizens of ancient Rome that would stand on their feet and cry for blood when a innocent christian was thrown into the arena with ravenous lions.

In the end, the public drama Divided and destroyed my neighborhood and I believe watching people publicly sling mud  does the same thing to us a society… and clearly, we don’t need anything else to divide us!

i love social media and all the ways it helps us connect but I also think it can make us a more cynical, segmented and separated people  when everyone airs out their dirty laundry on it.

We are not the citizens of rome. I’d like to think that we’re better and we have the ability to build not just watch as others self destruct or are destroyed.

What do you think? I’d love to hear. Leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for stopping byJ