Sleep, Interrupted

insomnia

I didn’t get much sleep this week; things just kept getting in the way.

On Sunday, I was distracted by a new book.

On Monday, I had a nightmare.

Tuesday was not bad. The dream I had was so fascinating that I’ll probably have to turn it into a novel.

Tree trimmers kept me awake with their chopping, buzzing and grinding on Wednesday and Thursday.

And Friday, a day I normally use to “catch up,” was interrupted by news of Leonard Nimoy’s death. Instead of going to sleep, I read obits and tributes and cried.

I have no big plans for tomorrow so I should be able to sleep in. I’m excited and grateful for this opportunity. Soon we’ll be moving the clocks forward and returning to a time when the daylight hours are long and brutal. Even though there’s still snow on the ground, I can already feel the summer grumpiness awakening from hibernation.

(Photo by Hurley_gurlie182)

Don’t be a giant squid of anger. Change the world

giant squid of anger

On a daily basis, many of my friends will post images/graphics on Facebook that blast politicians for doing something wrong. Conservatives and liberals may hold different points of view, but the one thing they share is unbridled umbrage.

These posts always seem to end the same way, too: “Share if you agree!”

Now you probably know that I’m all about sharing. I like to share information, recipes, jokes, books, food, hugs and cute kitty pictures. But if you really want to change the world, you have to move beyond online outrage and Facebook sharing. Instead, consider becoming an expert on a particular topic. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to come up with useful solutions.

You could also write letters to your lawmakers, launch or sign petitions, participate in protests, contact your local media, write a blog, form a community group, vote, run for office, donate money or volunteer for a charity that supports your cause.

Sharing a Facebook post tells people what you think. But if you really want to make the world a better place, you need to make it happen.

(Photo by lentolo)

Luckier than I thought

Jade and M

I’ve never been described as “lucky.”

Most of my successes have come from hard work and determination. I rarely win contests of chance. I don’t gamble. And my favorite carnival game is the one where you turn over the floating duckies and call out the number on the belly because everybody wins a prize.

When it came to finding my husband… well, I don’t know if luck or fate or coincidence was involved. Whatever it was, having M in my life has brought me more joy than anything else. More than books, more than cats, even more than chocolate.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my heart.

The “not all men are bastards” principle

french kiss

“All men are bastards.”

If you’re a fan of Meg Ryan rom-coms, you may recognize that line. It’s from the film, “French Kiss,” and it’s said, with utter disgust, by Ryan after her character is dumped, robbed and scammed by men on two continents.

Of course, not all men are bastards. The heroine of the film simply encountered a few bad ones and they gave her the impression that all members of the gender were scoundrels. But given her character’s limited experience, it’s understandable why she felt that way.

I’m reminded of this line whenever I hear a talking head or op-ed columnist declare “All XXX are….” Any such generalization is bound to be based on limited personal experience, and thus unlikely to contain much truth, let alone apply to huge swaths of people.

It is so easy to stereotype an entire group based on a select few (particularly when those few are the bad apples). Yet doing so is not only inaccurate, it reflects poorly on us, not on the group being labeled. Stereotyping is a trap of convenience, laziness and irrationality.

If we took the time to meet more people outside of our small social circles, if we befriended folks from other walks of life, if we broadened our horizons by traveling and reading, if we shared a meal or even a cup of tea with those who seemed so different from us… well, I wonder if we would view them in a different light.

Which is why I developed the “not all men are bastards” principle. It’s quite simple, really. Whenever you hear — or are about to espouse — a stereotype about a large group of people, stop and take a breath. During that second or two of calm, remind yourself that this is a “not all men are bastards” moment and reevaluate the about-to-be-presented point of view. Is it a wise conclusion based on years of study or merely an assumption drawn from a small sample size or single incident? More importantly, if the tables were turned, would you want others to pre-judge you based on a stereotype?

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about the film mentioned above, here’s the trailer:

2 scoops of Häagen-Dazs happiness

chocolate ice cream

Back in the early 1990s, I used to buy ice cream from a Häagen-Dazs store in south Miami. The tiny shop was always an air-conditioned oasis from the miserable South Florida heat and humidity, and just walking through the doors would put a smile upon my face.

Each Häagen-Dazs store offers different ice cream options — including flavors you can’t buy by the pint at the grocery store — and this one was no exception. My favorite flavor was chocolate chocolate chip mint, served in a bowl without adornments. The creamy bittersweet chocolate ice cream was filled with tiny shards of chocolate chips that were tinged with a refreshing hint of mint. I’d order a large, two-scoop cup topped with a lid, hide the container in my purse and then sneak it into the movie theater next door. Once the house lights dimmed, I’d surreptitiously pull out my treat and revel in every spoonful.

I haven’t been back to Miami in several years. I don’t even know if that store is still there. Nor have I been able to find that flavor in any other Häagen-Dazs shop. But I still dream of that delicious ice cream, and I hope that one day I’ll get a chance to taste it again.

(Photo by og-vision)