Monday, July 30, 2012

Is there any must see TV?

I'm headed on vacation this week (a.k.a. a visit to my in-laws in Western New York), so I'm putting readers in the driver's seat for the week...let me hear ya. I hope everyone is enjoying the Olympics (assuming you share my obsession)!

My TV time has dwindled dramatically in the last year and a half (although my knowledge of Sesame Street and other PBS Kids characters has hugely expanded), but I still appreciate some mindless tube time at the end of a day when I can get it. And yet I still often sit down to find my DVR empty (except for my husband’s shows from Discovery and History channel) and I end up tuning in to a repeat episode of House Hunters. And so I wonder, what’s out there that’s worth watching?

The truth is, I don’t find a lot of time to watch TV, which is why I’m even more interested in quality over quantity these days. We recently considered ditching cable in our household altogether and spending less on a hulu subscription (since we rarely watch anything live anyway), but a couple of weeks ago we gave in to a good deal on Direct TV, so now we have lots more channels…and I still don’t have anything to watch.

My media-savvy hubby read that there are a bunch of new comedies coming out this fall, which has me hopeful (though I anticipate being greatly disappointed with at least 90 percent of them). My repertoire from the last TV season often includes Parks & Recreation, Survivor and Amazing Race, Modern Family, Parenthood, and currently, So You Think You Can Dance. And that’s about it. Returning blog readers will notice I finally let go of The Bachelor, Glee, and Dancing with the Stars. 

So, what are you watching? Or renting? I'm looking for a few good shows! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A dangerous trip down the aisle

My health care communications role often requires me to consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on information I write for my organization. (Remember H1N1 flu?) It’s good that we have these public health experts to help us prevent a Contagion-like scenario. But I was surprised to see that their latest public service to us was providing a Wedding Day Survival Guide.

My first thought was that someone at the CDC clearly has too much time on their hands (or, is probably planning a wedding themselves). Let's give these people another international health crisis or something. SARS? Avian flu? I just don't see how wedding day survival stacks up. And they try to convince me of this guide's importance by adding that "many of us here at CDC realized that planning for a wedding isn't that much different from planning for a disaster." Well, if that doesn't make me want to get to the altar…!

While the CDC seems an unlikely source, I'll admit to being intrigued by the concept. Actually, having been single throughout the years when most of my friends got married, I wonder if there's more value in a wedding guests survival guide to include things like tips for buying wedding and shower gifts without going broke and how to survive the completely awkward bouquet toss (brides: seriously, just don’t do that to your single friends!). 

Type A planner that I am, I'm sure many of these tips would undoubtedly be covered at my wedding thanks to my emergency-management experience (I'm now a FEMA-certified Public Information Officer)—and a carefully recruited personal attendant. 

Of course, my poking fun at this survival guide almost certainly ensures that there will indeed be some kind of disaster on my wedding day. I know we had a close call at Jen's wedding when our bridesmaid dresses arrived at the last possible minute--due to them being made at a Texas facility that had shut down during Hurricane Ike. And I recall another friend's cake disaster that required a call to the police to open a bakery that was closed on the wedding day. I guess these stories add to the adventure—an adventure that I hear is certain to continue way beyond the wedding day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I’ve enjoyed a slightly slower pace in recent weeks and it has given me added time to reflect (scary, I know). So as I was driving by a neighboring new housing development the other day, I thought about all those new homeowners. All of them built a home in the last year. For most of them, I presume, it’s a house where they plan to spend many more years. I couldn’t help but envy them just a bit. Why? Because I truly have no idea what the next year will bring (despite being a planner at my core). For the most part I’ve found peace with that.

You may recall a post I wrote just over a month ago about some potentially big changes. That specific change to which I was referring didn’t pan out (a change that would have moved me and my family across the country…and it was serious enough that we were driving through neighborhoods on the west side of the Rockies scoping out available real estate). And while I was excited about the opportunity, I’m 100 percent ok with it not happening. I learned a heck of a lot from the whole experience, and my faith was stretched more than it has been in many recent years. However, the cliché is that when one door closes, another one opens, and that’s what my family and I have been seeing lately. So once again, we walk through the open doors and wait to see what God will do.

So in the next year… Perhaps we’ll move away. Perhaps we’ll add to our family. Perhaps my husband could make a 180 degree career change. All of the above or none of the above, it’s all unknown...along with most everything else in life. While there is no answer key, the Bible, of course, has proved (as always) to be a great place to turn. My husband also has wisely reminded me that it is not up to us to seek the answer, but to seek God (who knows and controls it all). So I’m trying to focus not on the waves, but on the One who walks on them. If you have any tips for “the wait” I would love to hear them, as I imagine all of us are waiting on something.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lazy days of summer

I'm back from a July Fourth extra long weekend up north and I've got the mosquito bites to prove it. Hanging out on the Iron Range toughened me up a little though. By the end of the weekend I thought "Meh, what's a little sunburn and 30 more bug bites… bring it on." And "Who needs indoor plumbing anyway?!"

But the best thing about getting away was the lack of things to do. And by that I mean that I needed some tranquility, some time to be a little lazy.

I’ve been reminded a lot over the past year or so about the importance of rest. It's hard to rest at home when the to-do lists of errands and housekeeping (along with my Type A personality) are always looming. Add my rush-hour commutes, deadlines and the constant barrage of depressing news headlines and it's easy to feel stressed about not only my life and that of my loved ones, but also the world around me.

So while there is no easing back to work this week as I catch up on what I missed and head into my busiest quarter of the year, I'm thankful for time to disconnect from work, media and the routine to spend quality time with good people, enjoying God's creation, laughing and prioritizing some good rest. I hope you're taking some time this summer to do the same!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Swimming lessons...for mom

Chances are, wherever you are, it’s hot outside (unless the far southern hemisphere is well-represented in my blog readership). It’s probably the perfect week to stay inside with air conditioning. However, it’s also a holiday week and the ideal time for enjoying summer fun, so undoubtedly at some point this week I’ll be heading to the pool with my little boy as we’ve done a few times this summer already.

In preparation for this summer activity,  my toddler had his first extra-curricular activity this past spring…parent/child swim lessons at our local community center.  My husband and I took turns in the pool with him getting him used to being in the water. Connor did really well; I think it’s safe to say he’ll probably be a good swimmer as he grows. It shouldn’t be surprising since the hubs swam competitively in high school.

But there was also a chance my son would take after me. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should just tell you: I can’t swim. I was always a bit embarrassed to say that growing up, but now I might as well fess up. Oh, I tried mind you (or rather, my parents tried to get me to learn, and I fought it kicking and screaming.) I can jump in the deep end and get myself to the side of the pool, and  I could float if I needed to, but I wouldn’t completely trust myself being in waters deeper than five feet with my child.

So don’t tell Connor’s swim instructor, but those lessons might have been for me as much as for my son. And it’s quite possible one day my son will save me from drowning.

I hope you're also finding fun ways to stay cool this week. Have a safe and happy Independence Day!