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October 2011 (174 posts)
The shameful truth of me and candy corn is that I cannot eat it fast enough, and the whole time I kind of hate myself. I will eat until my molars audibly beg me to stop. What does it even taste like? I don't know. I just know that I will plow through an entire bag and within an hour my tongue feels like it has a chemical burn.
The line at CVS had of course not budged, allowing me a moment to look at the bag of plasticky candies in my hand and then down at my daughter in her stroller. I thought of last Halloween, when she had her first ever piece of candy. It was a Hershey's Kiss, given to her by a sympathetic neighbor in an attempt to distract her from her abject terror at the preponderance of masks around town. My daughter stared at the silvery treat for a good half an hour before we told her (why? she was perfectly happy with it as a toy!) about what happened when you took off the wrapper. She unpeeled the paper, tentatively licked it, and then her eyes bugged out with joy. The next few days she spent begging for "piece tandy? Piece tandy?"
As much as I claim to love candy corn, I don't think I've ever enjoyed eating anything as much as my child enjoyed that little morsel of chocolate. And it made me think. What kind of person do I really want to be? The one who devours handfuls of something that, realistically, I know is crap? Or someone who carefully selects a hunk of chocolate, or a favorite poem, or a piece of beautiful music, and then just truly, slowly, soulfully enjoys it? Even if it takes slightly more mental energy to slow down and choose, say, writing a letter over watching hours of reality television?
It's a lesson I'm trying to live every day-- not to rush through the cheap semi-pleasures, but rather to be patient enough to experience each moment, to examine it and then truly enjoy it. Piece tandy, indeed.
More on enjoying the little things:
Little ways to be mindful every day.
Quiet the mental chatter.
“Just because you’re hurt doesn’t mean you’re broken.” Scuba diving provides unprecedented healing for veterans suffering paralysis and PTSD.
Like every Italian grandma, the books each have their own ways of doing things. Here's some of their most valuable advice:
When it comes to beef, sirloin (93% lean), ground round (85% lean), ground chuck (80% lean) are most popular. Rodgers likes ground round because it stands up well to long simmering. The Meatball Shop's Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow use chuck. If you're using ground chicken or turkey, make sure it's a mix of dark and white meats, with skin. Breast meat is so lean, if you use it alone, your meatballs will be overly dry.
I hadn't until recently. The makers of a new web site and app, SlaveryFootprint.org, want to help consumers understand the connection between the stuff we buy and the people who may have been forced to make it against their will. (An estimated 27 million people are working under unfair conditions on almost every continent.) When I took this survey on the site, I learned that electronic devices, including smartphones, are made with a superconductor called coltan, and some coltan is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where forced labor is a huge problem. I was also informed of my “slavery footprint” (think carbon footprint), which is the likelihood that forced labor was involved in making the things I own.
The project was designed by an anti-slavery non-profit called Call + Response in collaboration with the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Justin Dillon, the CEO of Call + Response, says that the intention of the site isn’t to stop people from buying things they need or to boycott manufacturers. “Most big companies probably don’t even realize how they’re connected to forced labor,” he told us. Instead, the campaign was designed to make clear the person-to-person connections within the massively complicated global supply chain.
The hope is that after we get our score, we’ll take action by either talking about this issue with our friends, sending a message to corporations asking them to step up awareness of the issue, and eventually downloading an app that will help us make better decisions while shopping in stores (that app is still being perfected). Instead of making me want to throw up my hands at the injustice of it all, performing these small actions helped me feel like I'm at least doing something--albeit small--to advocate for a more free world.
It is a strange side effect of today’s constant streams of texts, tweets, and G-chats that we are now survived by our daily conversations. It’s a phenomena Rebecca Armendariz understands all too well: as she wrote about in Good, she often searches her own Gmail account to reread her chats with Clark, her former boyfriend.
This young couple hadn’t even been together a year when Clark was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma and given a bleak prognosis of 4-14 months to live. About a year later, he was dead at 33. As Armendariz writes, “My Gmail is a priceless hoard of us making plans, telling inside jokes... This is a history of our relationship that we didn’t intend to write, one that runs parallel to the one authored by his uncontainable illness.” (If you're not already misty, the last line of the essay is a total heart-breaker. )
It’s not the eloquence of the exchanges that makes them so poignant. These are not exactly the love letters between John Keats and Fanny Price. Actually, what's so moving about these exchanges is precisely this, that they aren’t love letters. The chats reveal two young people arguing, making up, teasing, flirting, bantering about the mundane, calling each other pet names, dealing with Clark’s illness, and above all, living. Seeing the words through the filter of loss serves as a reminder treasure these tossed-off exchanges, the casual back-and-forth that creates the fabric of each day. After all, these are the archives of our lives here on Earth.
More about dealing with loss:
How to handle losing a mate
Searching for meaning in the mysteries of death
Heal your grief
The weekend is within reach...let these little splurges make getting there more fun.
Laptop Decal Sticker, $7. We love that a scene from one of our favorite children's books—The Giving Tree—comes to life when you power on.
Aqua Stop Grace Rain Boots, $48. Splash through puddles in style with these lace-up black wellies that are anything but basic.
Chu Shu Shoe Liners, $16 for a 3-pack. These ultra-thin liners, infused with antimicrobial silver-based technology, fight odor and absorb moisture so that your flats won't smell when you go without socks.
Under Armour Charged Cotton Storm Hoody, $60. This sweatshirt is worth the extra cash. Not only will the extra-soft material will keep you warm during an early morning jog, but it repels water if you get caught in the rain.
It may seem strange, but Mrs. Obama and I actually have a lot in common. We are both very busy. She spends her days promoting her Let’s Move! Campaign to get kids to exercise and eat good food; I spend my days trying to get my toddler to eat any food that’s not a Cheerio. Mrs. Obama meets and greats foreign dignitaries; I often welcome strange people into my home for play dates. We both have husbands who work a lot and two kids, and you know what? We both need to get away from it all sometimes.