Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Tooth Fairy

Elizabeth's bottom front tooth had been nearly horizontal in her mouth for more than two weeks so I had had plenty of time to prepare for any and all questions regarding the mysterious workings of the Tooth Fairy.
In fact, I readied much like I would if I were working for a client who needed to face the national press corp.
I began by listing typical questions that might be asked. Then, I put together talking points.
These included but were not limited to:
Q: What does the Tooth Fairy do with the teeth she collects?
A: She plants them in her garden where they grow into flowers.
Q: Does the Tooth Fairy know Santa and the Easter Bunny?
A: They went to college together in New Mexico.
Q: Why do some kids get more money than others?
A: The Tooth Fairy delivers treats based on each participant's tooth size and geographic region.
Q: Is the Tooth Fairy tax exempt?
A: The Tooth Fairy runs a 501C3.
But leave it to a creative child to think of the one question I did not.
"Mom," said Elizabeth after she carefully positioned her tooth beneath her pillow, "I have a question for you, you know, because you're a mom and all."
I braced myself.
"How does the Tooth Fairy get into a pirate's bedroom?" she asked. "They sleep with an eyepatch over one eye but keep the other open at all times. They would totally notice the Tooth Fairy."
I suggested that perhaps the Tooth Fairy had high-speed wings that made her travel at the speed of light similar to wireless Internet service. After all, we never see the computer actually hooking up to anything.
"No, no, no," said Elizabeth. "I'm so smart, I even see mosquitoes coming to bite me."
I tried again.
Maybe she disguises herself as a housekeeper coming to clean up the cabin?
"No, Mom, there are no really very tiny maids," Elizabeth said.
I began to grasp at straws.
Possibly the Tooth Fairy camoflagues herself and darts between hiding places such as overturned spyglasses or pirate pants left on the floor?
Elizabeth sighed.
"That's not it either, Mom," she said.
Well, I asked her, what do you think? How does the Tooth Fairy give one-eyed pirates the slip?
"I guess," said Elizabeth, "it's all just magic."
I suppose it is. For all of us.

Friday, July 24, 2009


This is the website for Food, Inc. They also have a companion book that I'll buy and share when we meet.

Add'l reading:
The Omnivore's Dilemma
by Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
by Michael Pollan

Bon Appetite!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Obama Administration's plan for Immigration Policy

Hi Ladies! Here are some links to articles and blogs that I thought were of interest considering our topic. This first one is some good reference material for how our current administration sees the issue of immigration...

Also, we all know that the economy has been at the forefront of conversations these last few months, but now with the swine flu outbreak how might people be changing their priorities when it comes to who comes into our country? As far as I know, people are only being randomly monitored as they enter the US, but this could change if our cases go up.

Okay, this last one might get your blood pressure up. Please don't think that I'm agreeing with anything that's being said, I just think that these will be interesting things to bat around when we get together...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Questions to consider as you read.

If you've lost the e-mail, we're reading "The Geography of Happiness" by Eric Weiner for the April Blue Moon and keeping personal happiness journals... While you're reading and writing, here are a couple of questions to ponder:

1. Which of these societies is most appealing to you? Why?

2. If you grew up in a nation unmentioned in the book, how is happiness defined? Now that you live in America, how do you perceive those ideas? Are they "better" or somehow more nourishing than those in the US?

3. If you grew up in the US but moved from region to region (or city to city), how did the notion of happiness change?

4. Are we as Americans now happy?

5. What is your personal definition of happiness? How has it changed as you've aged? As you're writing in your happiness journal, are you surprised at the things that do--and don't--make you happy?

your link to happiness

Here's the nonprofit dedicated to happiness that Weiner mentions in "Bliss:"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Name That Sin Game

Here's a little test to see if you have been paying attention :) Can you name that Sin?








Answers (A. Envy, B. Lust, C. Gluttony, D. Wrath, E. Sloth, F. Greed, G. Pride)

Still Wanting More? Ha ha... Here's Pride!

Pride: The Anti-Self-Esteem

We're supposed to instill pride in our children to make them stable people. But humility works even better.

Here's why we hate those family newsletters we get during the holidays: "It's been a great year for the Lamplighters! Greg had been hoping for a promotion, but what a surprise when the CEO came to his desk and begged him to take over the company. The whole office chipped in and gave the family a week in Paris to celebrate. Wasn't that nice?

"Of course Jeanne has been busy as well. You probably saw that news item about how she rescued a school bus full of children from a kidnapper, armed only with a plastic comb. Nice to think, too, that the poem she wrote for last year's holiday letter will be chiseled into the wall of the Library of Congress. The twins did so well at the state tap-dance championship that Spielberg is crafting a movie around them, while Greg Jr.'s science fair project was the topic of much excitement in the New England Journal of Medicine."

Pride: we hate it. When we look at the Lamplighters, we sympathize with the ancients who called Pride the chief Deadly Sin.

But here's a modern complication: Isn't pride a good thing when we're proud of our country or football team? Don't we want our kids to be proud of themselves? Isn't it lack of pride, low self-esteem, which causes people to make self-destructive choices in life?

The confusion stems from trying to stretch the little word "pride" over two far-flung meanings. What we dislike in the Lamplighters is narcissism--self-promotion, showing off, vanity. Let's call that Pride One. What we want for our kids is more akin to confidence. We want them to have a healthy, balanced sense of self that won't be tipped over by setbacks or peer pressure--Pride Two. This is a quiet, centered pride that is compatible with modesty because it doesn't have a fretful need to show off.

The difference between Pride One and Pride Two is that the first kind is obsessed with comparisons. Pride One is always asking anxiously, Am I smarter than they are? Richer? Better-looking? This isn't really pride at all, but a fragile shell laid over a pit of self-doubt. The reverse can also be true: a person who appears to have no pride, to be filled with self-loathing, may actually be so convinced of his superiority that he finds his normal human failures devastating. It's a shadow form of Pride One.

Pride Two, on the other hand, is content to refrain from comparative judgments, knowing how meaningless they are. Pride Two's strength comes not from measuring yourself against others, but against your own inner standards. These standards can't be based on arbitrary personal preference; many a bloody tyrant has slept with a tranquil conscience, because his homemade moral standards signed off on his behavior. Pride Two is never so complacent. It has a "workout" quality, as we honor the values of our faith community--honesty, generosity, courage--and keep pushing to meet them. Failures are taken in stride, because we didn't have an exaggerated idea of our abilities in the first place. We learn from mistakes, get up and try again, like a runner always trying to beat his best time.

Pride Two means self-respect, not rootless self-esteem. What's the difference? Self-esteem is like a happy-face sticker; self-respect is like a genuine smile. It can't be acquired by repeating over and over what a swell person you are. You earn it by seeing yourself, day after day, year after year, trying to behave like you believe a swell person should.

Pride Two people are not just admirable, but likeable. They are confident enough to care about others and strong enough to give themselves freely. Because they are familiar with their own shortcomings they don't draw attention to others' faults. They're both strong and kind. When we think about our kids, this is what we want for them--the gentleness that springs from self-assurance, and blooms into compassion.

The funny thing is, when you meet a person like this, you wouldn't think, "My, she certainly is proud!" Pride Two isn't really the right name for this; it doesn't seem like Pride of any sort. It's more like Humility.

Which brings us back to the Lamplighters. If you look at their holiday letter again, you'll notice that it isn't really showing off. They describe events straightforwardly, without embellishment or boasting. They're telling you these things because they thought you were their friend. If you are, you're happy for them and rejoice with them. Their joys do not detract from your own. Their success does not make you a failure.

It turns out the Lamplighters weren't exhibiting Pride One--we were. They simply recounted what happened to them, but we immediately began comparing ourselves with them and feeling angry and put down. A dark, snake-headed bitterness reared up the instant we started reading. We wished that somehow we could prove ourselves better and more important than they are, and see them reduced and humiliated. We judged them, hated them, wanted them hurt. This is why we need a Savior. We look so nice on the outside, but in the caverns of the heart vicious Pride is always brooding, ready to spring. Humility smashes our defenses, enables us to admit these dark emotions that frighten us, and admit we need help to be the people we long to be. No wonder Pride has long been called the great foe of spiritual health. No wonder they call it "Deadly."