Friday, October 29, 2010

It’s the Great Pumpkin, or is It?

By Mary Alford-Carman

It’s Halloween. There. I’ve said it. It’s not Harvest Time, Fall Festival, Fall Ball Time or anything else. It’s Halloween, for the love of too much candy and carved-out pumpkins. I don’t know who we think we are fooling. At my daughter’s middle school they have conveniently called this week “Spirit” week to show their support of their school. I find it a little odd it was held the same time last year and just like last year the kids were allowed to dress up. On Monday it was dress tacky day. Tuesday was retro day, and Wednesday and Thursday had their own themes for dress as well. Even our town council had to mandate that Halloween would be held on its true date which falls on a Sunday, and it created quite the controversy. Years ago, when my daughter was little, the same thing happened and the council decided to celebrate Halloween the evening before, on the 30th and not the 31st. People were so confused as to when to Trick or Treat that the numbers who went were so low the merchants complained, and households were stuck with enough candy to feed a small army.

The origin of Halloween was to honor the dead, mark the end of summer and, in some cultures, celebrations were held. The next day was spent in church, hence All Souls Day in observance of the saints. What on earth is so controversial about that? I realize some religions do not participate in Halloween, and I’m fine with that, but isn’t it an insult to their intelligence (and others) to cover it up by calling it something else and being politically correct? Why all this fuss over what many children find to be a joyful tradition?

What do you think? As for me…I say BOO!

Friday, October 22, 2010

What Diet Works for You?

By Dawn Tolson

In my review of the Dukan Diet, I self-confess to being a diet freak. I listen to adverts on the TV with more than the normal interest; I scan the current magazines searching for new tips on losing weight; but in reality, there are many people out there who would tell me I'm crazy. For what reason, you may ask? Well, the reason is that I am 44 years old, 5’5”, 138 pounds and a size 6. Truthfully, in many peoples' eyes I shouldn’t even be on a diet, but the reality is I am 10 pounds over the weight I feel happy with.

Weight is a personal thing--my 10 pounds may be like 200 pounds to the next person. I own and literally wear my 10 pounds every day, and it is to me a baggage around my ankles or thighs actually. I have come to the conclusion that it is a personal search for what diet works for you and I am still searching. I have tried ones that tell me to drink only coffee, eat cabbage soup or even salmon all day, and still every time I have a limited amount of success, and then Bam! I am back to my larger size as soon as I start to relax and eat normally. Some people can choose a diet, follow it for 10 months and lose a load; some like me spend years trying different ones and never achieve success. I have to wonder what I am doing wrong, or is there not a diet out there that caters to my category?

Please tell me I am not the only one who thinks this way. What’s your experience dieting? Is there an alternative? Did it change once you crossed over the 40 mark?       

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mourning the Loss of my Mornings

by Mary Alford-Carman

When I wrote “Life in the Fast Lane,” I couldn’t help thinking that as much as I look forward to Mother’s Morning Out for my three-year-old son, I don’t seem to get much of a morning out. Every other week there is a party, a breakfast or a field trip that I’m asked to attend. My son is only at the “school” three mornings a week from 9 to 1 p.m., minus the travel time for drop-off and pickup, which leaves me with 3 hours and 15 minutes a day or a whopping total of 9 hours and 45 minutes a week, alone. Those three little days are the only chance I get at sanity, an uninterrupted phone call, heck, an uninterrupted thought!

I often hear, “Careful, one day you’ll miss being with them,” and I want to retort, “But I need serenity now!” I noticed a few other Moms whispering conspiratorially when I told the teacher I could not come to this week’s harvest party. I almost stopped to tell them why I needed this time, but nah, if they’re already judging me, why should I explain? Is it wrong to want the service that I am paying for to handle its own activities without having to provide my own time and even more money for field trips and parties? Is it so wrong to want to have time for ourselves? Why do we feel guilty when we do get it? Am I the only Mama out there who could use a break and isn’t afraid to admit it? Do any of you ever feel more and more of your time is being taken away from you because of in-school activities? As for me, this Mama is taking her morning out!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Once Upon A Time I Had A Life, Too!

So why is it so hard for women to talk about themselves? When I wrote my first Goodness Gracious column, "Don't Expect Me to Talk About Meeee," it really struck me how many of my friends have a difficult time discussing their own accomplishments. We can talk about our children (which can be obnoxious in its own right), our spouses, siblings, shoot I've even heard people brag about distant cousins or being in college with Sandra Bullock (OK, that was me, and I really was in college with her - just never met her - Accounting and Drama majors didn't exactly hang together). But when it comes to talking about yourself and your own accomplishments we suddenly get the "goodness gracious, you don't want to hear about me" syndrome. So what do you think makes it so hard? And how do we do it without being obnoxious? 'Cause we all had our own lives...once upon a time.