Where Is The Playground For Me

YSome days are made for rain, others for sunshine. Some days are made for violent winds and others for gentle breezes. And some days, well some days are made to not be an adult. Or at least days that should be made for adults to shed the adult responsibility and get back to the simple and pure pleasure that can be found in the freedom of play.

I wanted one of those days today. I mean to enjoy the moments, savoring the fun. But alas being an adult got in the way. Because the car needed to be filled with gas. Because the bills don’t need to be any higher than they already are. Because there are bills that need paying which means money needs finding. Which means work. And work sometimes just isn’t about fun and freedom.

Sure work affords me fun and freedom when I’m not working and that’s a choice I made. Just as I make choices to travel here and there. And I made a choice to have a car, a house and all sorts of wonderful technology. Some of these are choices I have made and don’t think for one moment that I am not aware of this. And I’m not really complaining about the cost of the choices I made. I’m just not wanting to be all responsible today. Is that such a bad thing?

If we shed our responsibility now and then, not in an habitual way and certainly not in a way where we shed the most serious of responsibilities, is it okay? My doctor seems to agree that now and then we need to get away from not just work. But life’s daily grind. He has prescribed this lovely notion of something called relaxation in the past. As in dropping your worries and responsibilities for a period of time so that when you pick them up again, you are refreshed and therefore they do not seem heavy.

I needed one of those days today, only it was the wrong time. So I did what a lot of us do. I complained, did some minor day dreaming and soldiering on being the responsible adult. But I promise you this, when I find a playground with swings big enough for adults, slides built for adults…I’m taking a sick day or two. And I’m just going to play. Because we all need a playground now and then.

Stressing Tests

While getting much needed coffee the other day with a friend, we couldn’t help but overhear university students discussing how stressful final exams are. One of the students went so far as to say the exams really are a form of inhumane torture and should be removed, because school is hard enough as it is. The other student not only agreed, but added the observation that exams don’t prove anything really.

I can’t say that as an educator I give exams to students for the sake of giving exams. I have requirements to test my students’ knowledge and ability to grasp what I am teaching. I have requirements around assigning marks based on a set of rules and policies within my institution.
The institution has a set of standards that students must meet in order to receive a degree from the institution, and part of those standards involve passing courses by proving the students have learned the material to an adequate level. Which takes us back to the reason for the exams.

Perhaps in some fields of studies exams could be removed and students could prove mastery of knowledge through lab type application and assume that the theoretical portion of the learning has been completed. In some fields of studies it would be near impossible to show learning without mechanisms such as exams, papers and other assignments. Regardless of the means used to show the learning has taken place, the stress level would still be present because the stress is based on proving you know the material and can display that knowledge.

If there is no need to prove the learning has taken place then perhaps the exams, papers and other such assignments would cease to exist. And educators could step back and allow the students to make and take of the learning what they would. This has been tried before, sadly with outcomes that were not intended. Since the learning no longer had to be proven the students only had to reach their own personal desired level of learning and determine their own competence with the subject. When those same students went forward with their learning, they discovered their learning was not adequate or the focus of their learning was in the wrong area. Some of the students involved in this exercise expressed increased stress at having to take the full responsibility for determining how much they needed to know, how well they needed to understand and apply what they had learned.

Perhaps we should cease to focus so much on the emotional response to things like exams. Perhaps then people wouldn’t feel so stressed. But I doubt it. Because as humans we tend to stress, we’d just find something else to stress us out. Such as someone cutting in line and thus delaying us from getting our much needed coffee.

Because You Were Told Not To…

It’s human nature, the experts say, to want that which we cannot have. Tell someone that they cannot touch something and they will be compelled to do exactly that. Let a person know they can’t move for a period of time and suddenly the person develops an uncontrollable twitch. It is, after all , our nature.

Perhaps that is why it isn’t uncommon to hear about coworkers stealing other coworkers’ lunches out of the staff room. No matter the business, the location, the profession this seems to be a thing. Maybe the other person’s lunch looked better than yours or perhaps you forgot your lunch. The reason doesn’t matter as much as the action. Because that action means someone is going to be without lunch.

It appears that a lunch thief has recently appeared in Beloved’s place of employment. After the Head of Human Resources had his lunch stolen for the eighth time, he decided it had become a matter that falls under the Human Resources jurisdiction. To this end memos were written, policies developed and procedures set in place. Stealing another person’s lunch is strictly forbidden. To show that Human Resources means business, if you are caught stealing someone’s lunch you will be suspended for one day without pay and have to take a half day training course upon your return to the workplace. (No word on what the half day training course is about, maybe how to be a better thief. Or perhaps how to make your own lunch.)

On the ninth day, the day after all of the documentation had been delivered, the Human Resources Head went down to the lunchroom sure his lunch would be safe. And of course it wasn’t because they had never caught the person taking his lunch in the first place. So cameras were set up to see if a person could be identified.

On the fourteenth day, by this time the Head had started bringing a “backup lunch” just in case someone was going to steal his “A lunch”, a typed note was placed where the lunch once sat. The note was a request, just a small request, for the Head to buy a different brand of yogurt.

To this day the lunch thief is still at large, the Head has taken to bringing a lunch he can leave in his office and the rest of the employees have had a good laugh at the whole thing. But the truth is, when you happen to be the one who it happens to, it probably isn’t’ all that funny. Although even the Head now admits he may have gone overboard with things, and thus has had the cameras removed.

Don’t Want To So I Won’t … Or Maybe Not

We all have to do things we don’t want to do.  We all have to do things we don’t like to do.  These were things my parents told me when I was younger.  I assume it was a means of answering a child’s moaning answer of I don’t want to do this.  I also assume, at first, my parents thought this would be the ideal answer and said child would simply get on with doing whatever the request was.

Sadly my parents were given me as a child.  Perhaps the universe has a sense of Humor as I never really accepted answers such as the ones provided. I’ve been told my response was somewhat along the lines of I’m not doing it and stomping my foot.  What my parents failed to do, probably from shock or anger, is that we can avoid doing things we don’t want,  but there are always a consequence to this.  Fortunately for me as a headstrong and somewhat willful child, my parents never really went down that avenue when I was younger.  That changed when I got older though.

As I watch some of my friends deal with this very issue now with their children I notice that unlike my parents, my friends have decided to find a way to help their children avoid doing what they dislike.  One friend went so far as to explain to teachers that her child should never be made to do anything.  This changed recently when her son decided to skip his chemistry and physics classes.

He told her he didn’t want to do any more stuff in either class because it wasn’t fun.  He’d sooner go home and be on his computer.  Because, as he patiently told her, he is going into computer sciences when he goes to university and it would be better for him to just focus on that.

Now if that had been me, I’m pretty sure my parents would have left me on my own to figure out university and such.  My friend however has not done this.  Instead she told him he will be going to those classes and applying himself, because she said so.  We shall see how this plays out!

In keeping with her son’s logic, I don’t want to pay taxes or go to work.  But old like to still get paid as if I did go to work.  And I’d like all the benefits that taxes provide.  Because I said so.  I will keep you posted on how is works if I actually chose to not do it.

It’s Gift Time…Getting Into Practice

Over the course of my life, I’ve received numerous presents.  Some have been exactly what I’ve wanted, others were what I wanted however I didn’t know that at the time.  Some have been gifts of the heart and others have been ones of obligation.  There have been expected presents and surprise gifts.

Some gifts are the kind you don’t even realize until something happens.  Such as the passing of a loved one.  That’s when you learn things like the gift of unconditional love.  Or the gift of what it feels like to be cherished, valued or adored.

And then there have been real stinkers.  Like the dead animals the four-footed companions have dropped off for me.  Or the rotten vegetation that seems to find a way into my house no matter what I do.  I mean those a real stinkers that sure are a surprise, just not of the wanted variety so to speak.  But they are gifts all the same, it is just a matter of how you look at it.  I know, I keep telling myself this each time I step on something unexpected and squishy in the middle of the night.  Because a gift is a gift after all.

A Taste Of Something Extra

When I was younger I used to sneaky cookie dough.  To eat raw.  My mother was agasht by this behavior because a) raw eggs and b) did I wash my hands first?  I always washed my hands before sneaking cookie dough because if I got sick, I’d know it was from the raw eggs.  But I never got sick from it.

As I got older I discovered is wonderful dish a pasta dish with this lovely name of carbonara. Very very delicious.  And apparently there is a concern again about how well the egg is cooked in the sauce.   Some people say it is cooked through the heat of the Other ingredients and others say it is just warmed, but still rather raw.  Again, I’ve never gotten sick consuming this delight dish.

I also discovered sushi and sashimi.  And yes I enjoy it as well.  Yes I know, raw seafood. And yes I know there are concerns around that as well.  I have always been careful with raw seafood, and have never gotten sick.

Sadly all now raw eggs and seafood are al official on the list of items I cannot have any longer.  My new medication combination is partially to blame for this.  As is a sudden form of paranoid worry from Beloved.  He has become a believer of the whole you can get sick if you eat these things raw theory.  He has found recipes for eggless cookie dough and eggless pasta carbonara and used smoked fish for sushi rolls.

The cookie dough isn’t too bad  it it’s missing the something extra that comes from sneaking it when you clearly aren’t supposed to have it.  The taste of that which is forbidden seems more robust.  The pasta carbonara was okay, as were the sushi rolls. But again the taste of slightly risky is a bit more pleasing to the tastebuds.  And for the record, yes he has found a Cesar salad dressing without raw egg.  He just hasn’t made it yet.

Is it just me or does the risk and  se of something being forbidden add a little something to the taste of food?

When Abnormal Is Normal And It Shouldn’t Be

A touch of this, a dash of that.  A careful swipe followed by a swirl until it’s all blended together.  A lesson in decorating a cake?  Hardly.  Just another sad attempt on my part to disguise the red patches across my cheeks.  Oh and highlighter or brightened to hide the dark marks below my eyes.

Some women wear makeup to enhance their looks.  Others as a form of battle paint so to speak.  Me?  I use it as camouflage, as part of my quest to look normal.  I mean who wants to see flaming red cheeks, dark circles under the eyes and exhaustion walking around among the healthy? So I try to blend in.

Some days I’m a little better at it than others, but of course it’s never fully successful. I mean you can’t hide the pain and exhaustion lupus brings.  You can’t hide the limping from sore joints and sometimes thinning hair cannot be artfully arranged enough to hide the thinner spots.

Make up never hides the turning down of invitations at the last-minute.  The apologies over and over again about how I just can’t do x right now.  Make up and clothes can’t hide the last-minute cancellations or having to leave early.

But still I try.  Because it’s important to feel normal, to be normal.  Although why I’m not sure.  Because normal varies from person to person.  Because lupus is not, nor will it ever be, normal.  Nor should lupus ever be normal…healthy should be normal.  The same can be said about cancer, chronic illnesses of all kinds.