A Woman Visible

Search for beauty. Search for adventure. Search for the visible you.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Man Day...Oops...Father's Day




Tomorrow we are having a very special episode of Going to Church with Jess and the Kids. See, tomorrow is Father's Day--that day when we celebrate fatherhood. Our church, in an attempt to be inclusive, has deemed this fine day "Bring the Men in Your Life to Church Day" by our worship committee, and "Man Day" by me and Gina.

I know that my church means well. I know that they look at this as a chance to get people to come to church. It's all good...really. I just am not sure they really thought out what they were doing here.

It is easy to assume a few things about this sort of "holiday:"

1. Everyone gets on with their father (or mother if it's Mother's Day).

2. Everyone has a man in their life that they can bring to church.

The truth of the matter is often not in line with these assumptions. There are children who would rather not celebrate Father's Day. Perhaps their fathers are deceased, or even worse, their fathers are not the sort of fathers you want to celebrate. What about the kids that have never met their father and wouldn't know him if he passed them on the street?


There are also people with no men in their lives. I actually have only two very close men in my life. My dad, who is a great guy, and Stuart, who is growing into his manliness at age 10. I do have other male friends, but mostly I only see them at work and school, and they are usually married and have other Sunday obligations. My own dad has to be at his church this Sunday for their celebration. So, how many men am I bringing to church? One--Stuart. He is at my side every Sunday, so I don't think he'll count.

Now, some would argue that it is my own fault I don't have a man in my life. It has been said that I am smart, funny, and rather attractive, so I should be able to have a man in my life if I really want him there. I'm not so sure, and maybe it's that uncertainty that causes me to be manless. Perhaps it's that same uncertainty that causes me to ache just a bit when we celebrate "Man Day" at church. Celebrating "Man Day" feels like someone is pointing out that there is no man in my life, which I know isn't really the case at all; no one would be so callous as to point out that missing component in my life.

I have tried to take a positive outlook on this whole episod
e. Maybe "Man Day" will allow me to meet some interesting men. Gina and Stuart, however, think that this take is rather, to put it in Gina's preteen word, "Pathetic." I don't think she's right, however. I really want to look at all the possibilties that are thrown at me.

Perhaps "Man Day" won't be so bad. At least maybe the view will be good! Now if I can do more than just open my eyes to the possibilities. I can look all day long, but I still have to open my heart to it.

Happy "Man Day" to all my male readers. If you happen to also be a parent (I know some of you are), Happy Dad's Day as well. Thank you for participating in your kiddo's lives. One day, not now, they will thank you for it.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

My Daughter Eats Sushi!

This week, Gina and I have spent lots of time together because Stuart has been at camp. As much as I've missed my little man, I have really enjoyed having time to have some adventures that only Gina and I could have. One of those adventures included sushi.

I'm probably one of the few people left in my generation (Generation X) who hasn't really eaten sushi before. It's a really telling thing when my own, twelve-year old daughter has eaten more sushi than I have. Anyway, there's this Asian restaurant close to our house that serves all sorts of food including sushi. I wanted to try it, but was scared of eating raw fish.

My brother happens to know the family that owns this restaurant and put me at ease. He told me that Mr. Lei runs the cleanest sushi bar he'd ever eaten at (Mr. Lei had a restaurant in Cherokee County, north of where I live, for several years. My brother lived there during that time). Gina was dying to eat some of his sushi, so I told her that while Stuart was at camp, we would try it.

We went on Wednesday afternoon. She went to work with me, and then we went to lunch. I had no idea how to order, but Mr. Lei helped me the best he could. We ordered a Japanese lunch box. The funniest part of the experience was when Mr. Lei asked Gina "You eat raw fish?" She looked at him in the eyes, almost as if the question was a challenge, and said, "Yes." He got a surprised look on his face and gave an amazed whistle.

The lunch box was amazing! We had California rolls, and five types of fish with rice. Gina and I went traditional and ate with chopsticks. My favorite things after the California rolls? The salmon and the tuna. Both had a clean, delicious taste. The salmon was especially good because even in a raw state it tasted like salmon should. Gina enjoyed the rolls and the crab the best.

What I loved the most about the whole experience was that we got to have an adventure together and had a really good time doing it. Will I eat sushi again? You bet!

If you are a reader that lives in the Marietta, GA area, you need to check out Li's Asian Cuisine on Dallas Highway. It is one of the finest Asian restaurants to come to our part of town.

The Lonely Sponge

The last two weeks have been crazy and also good. I have graded papers for my students, answered their frantic e-mails, and actually cleaned my office (both offices in fact--a miracle in itself). I also spent last week with my daughter, Gina, while my son, Stuart, was at camp. We had a great time being girls together, and I treasure the time we had with just the two of us. More about that later...

I've also been buying books like there's no tomorrow.

I do this. I go for months without buying a single book, and then---BAM! I practically live in the book store, and I go on a feeding frenzy. It's not that I lack reading material so much as it's I discover new titles that interest me. So, I was in feeding frenzy mode last week, and ended up buying two new books and the new O Magazine. I've bought five in a row now, so I guess I should consider either reading it online, or purchasing a subscription. As many of you know by now, this magazine is one of my guilty pleasures (dark chocolate and margaritas being the others).

This latest issue did not disappoint. I'm still perusing the magazine, and there is so much packed in this issue. Two things jump out at me that would be interesting to talk about here.

There is an article concerning lonliness called, "One is the Loneliest Number." It's supposed to be a "how you can help your lonely friend"sort of thing, but then there's a quiz attached to it. I took the loneliness quiz from the article (why would you need one if the article is about helping a friend?)and here's my score:



THE LONELINESS QUIZ Results


Your score is 27. The average loneliness score is 20; 25 or more reflects a high level of loneliness.

This can't be right. Still, there it is. I have a marginally high level of loneliness. I'm not so sure I really want to believe this. It makes me sound like a hermit. Can't I be somewhat sure that people around me don't often really understand what makes me tick, can't I feel like I don't get enough attention? I wonder how this quiz works on different days. There are some days I feel exceptionally lonely and other days where I feel exceptionally connected to everything.

After giving a score, the rest of the article contains some helpful hints on how to help your lonely friend. It's very thoughtful, and as I read through the hints, I find that, yeah, there are times that I need a shove in the social direction, or I need a friend to just drop an e-mail or a call. I also find that there are just as many times when I really enjoy being alone. It's a bit of a schizoid thing.

I think that my score is just reflective of the singularity I've been feeling for the last few weeks. Finals do that to you. Perhaps, the quiz should have a warning--"Don't take this if you are exhausted or just finishing the end of the quarter."

*************************

The second article of note, besides the drooly Hugh Jackman interview (you can actually listen to this) Oprah conducted (notice that she didn't let anyone else do this interview), is one I can really relate to. "The Sponge People" discusses how some of us are "spongy." Yes, my friends, it's true. Many of us are "spongy" (let's all join in a chorus of "Under the Sea"). According to author, Martha Beck, "
some people put out a lot of emotional energy—and others pick up a lot of it."

This is something I've known for a while. I know I'm a sponge, and I know that emotional states can be contagious. I have to be extremely careful, especially in the work place. If several of my work friends are feeling panicky or are upset, I will pick up the emotions and carry them around with me. Strong feelings are the worst, and sometimes if I have a similar emotion going already, my sponge works at taking in more of that feeling. So, I have to watch who I hang out with.

I think that's where "you are whom you associate with" really makes sense. I have that quote on my computer. Let me give you the whole quote:

Walk briskly away from destructive people. Find generous people to hang out with. You are whom you associate with.

This one quote has helped me time and again. When I find that a person continually feeds out negative emotions, and I can feel my attitude swerving due to my sponginess, I step back and examine what's happening. At first, that was very hard, especially when I had to examine a very long relationship with a terribly destructive person, but the reward was excellent. Now, it's not so hard. By knowing my spongy tendencies, I have learned the value of listening. Listening to the people around me, listening to my own words, and listening to my heart, which tends to tell me the truth. If I'm spewing negativity, I make myself stop (most of the time). If negativity is brewing around me, I try to get away from the center of it.

So, are you lonely or spongy today?




Friday, June 09, 2006

You turn your back for one second!

Well, it happened. I turned my back for just sec on this blog, suddenly, a week has gone by and I have nothing to show for it.

I apologize. Finals week got the best of me. I had 40 essay exams to read, and grades to post before my students self-destructed at my office door. Now that all of that is done with for a few weeks, I can get in some quality posting, I hope.

I have some good stuff that I want to talk about, and will probably begin posting again tonight. For those of your that keep up with my other journal, The Other Invisible and enjoy the Writer's Weekly Question, get ready, because I plan to post a new question tonight.

Bear with me. It will get better.