These days it’s almost compulsory to keep your political views on the down-low at work in order to maintain harmony with co-workers. We stick to weather and requisite questions like “how’s the family?” to avoid revealing just how misinformed our co-workers may be about politics. Of course that’s thrown out the window when it comes to sharing our inner-most thoughts safely behind a social media keyboard.
I’m curious the number of Facebook friends that have become “unfriends” this political season. According to CNN’s Howard Kurtz, also a writer for The Daily Beast, a high percentage of unfriending is because of those “surprised to learn that the political leanings of others were different than they imagined.” That's putting it mildly. Personally, I only hide posts from certain individuals who take advantage of my social media page, using it as a platform for repetitive whining and outbursts, and it's not usually political.
When it comes to both my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I prefer Miriam-Webster’s definition of social - a pleasant companionship with friends or associates. I know my friends come from both sides of the political aisle and I respect their opinions without prejudice, mostly. It’s when they don’t respect other’s that bothers me, especially if children are repeating the same hostilities.
My son came home last week saying, “Obama is an idiot,” which shocked me because we’ve never referred to the President that way, at home or otherwise. In our house, we have respect for the office that the President holds and try to teach our children to do the same. A few days later, my son’s friend asked me who I was voting for - right before saying “I hope it’s not Romney, he’s an idiot.”
Hmmmm....really? Do explain your position, strictly as a Jr. High student, of course.
When it comes to government, we want to ensure our kids understand what’s at stake with each candidate. I think it’s essential to keep an even keel when discussing politics with kids overall, mostly because an opinion about how asinine the concept may be doesn’t help with a child’s clarity. And let’s face it, sometimes you need to be a political scientist to understand the intricacies of politics anyway. I chose an English major…
This past weekend saw our first presidential rally and it was for Mitt Romney, who was accompanied by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. My kids were fascinated with the bombardment of vendors offering Romney/Ryan buttons, t-shirts, and posters, not to mention hearing the shouts by his supporters. Their excitement immediately died when they realized they had to stand because the seats were all taken. Oh well, we tried.
And to be fair, I got tickets for today's rally at UCF for President Obama, who was accompanied by Former President Bill Clinton. The only drawback was the rally website only allowed me to obtain one ticket, but the kids had school anyway. As it turns out his visit was rumored to be cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. I ended up not going thinking it was a wash, not realizing Clinton still planned on speaking. Again, I tried.
All this to say, for a child to make such claims that either candidate is an idiot probably isn’t because they truly believe it. It’s most likely that they are repeating what they’ve heard an adult say. Which I have to say, is a shame. How does this help future generations of voters make a rational decision on their country’s leaders? Well, it doesn’t really.
All great change begins at the dinner table. - Ronald Reagan
This is just a bit of advice for those of you who like to cook for your friends. We all have our favorite dishes, some of which are family recipes that go back generations. However, we tend to forget just how much taste buds vary until you are confronted with “this taste so interesting.” What?
Wanting to impress my friends last Saturday on our pot-luck ladies-night sleepover, I thought I would make Pastelón– it’s a delicious Puerto Rican lasagna that The Husband’s grandmother used to make. We really are a combination of cultures in our family with Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban ethnicities influencing almost every aspect of our daily lives. It seemed only natural to go with what I know.
The dish calls for a layer of sweet plantains, followed by picadillo (a Spanish ground beef hash is the best description), and then a layer of French-cut green beans. It’s topped with another layer of sweet plantains followed by pouring well-beaten eggs over it to seal the deal before baking. It seems some Pastelón recipes use cheese (yum) instead of green beans, but I wanted to keep it real, for family’s sake. Every step I took was done with care and naturally several taste tests as any good chef will tell you are essential to ensure the utmost quality. This was good stuff!
Now just the mere mention of its name impressed them, at first. But, I don’t blame the ladies for not gushing all over the dish as I recall not doing the same the first time I tried it. So what’s the take away? Keep it simple when you’re outnumbered by non-Hispanic friends? No. Maybe. All I’m saying is that when you want to impress the friends with your culinary skills and you aren’t too sure what their pallet can handle - go with Mexican.
Note: I did not use any of the recipes found on the links, but would gladly share mine. Just let me know.
One of three my three reasons for living.
So, it’s been quite a month for me and I’m only halfway through. On the surface it seems I’ve been proactive in my health and perhaps that’s true overall. I’d like to chalk it up to being more responsible as I'm getting older, but that's not always the case. What becomes more recognizable for me is the immense amount of family, friends, and extensions of those relationships getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes and unfortunately losing their lives to these illnesses.
As mentioned in my last post, I went to my second of what I hope to be many mammograms last Wednesday. Not because I especially like it, I just like the idea of living a lot longer. With my girls in check it was time to address a persistent pressure in my chest that started over two weeks ago. My extensive research online that no doubt qualifies me for a medical degree concluded it was stress related. However, I must admit that in the back of my mind I was worried it might be Coronary Artery Disease, the other option.
I went to my doctor last Thursday considering my dad was exactly my age when he started having chest pains. In fact, he was just shy of his forty-second birthday when he had coronary bypass surgery. It was because of his condition that my doctor highly recommended I go to the ER to get testing done immediately. I was petrified, but I went.
I decided on Florida Hospital Orlando and on the way there I saw a billboard advertising their phone app to check the wait time in ER –fancy that. It stated a four-minute wait time, however my care started from the moment I walked in. I received an immediate EKG showing no signs of heart distress, but they wanted to be thorough because of my family history. I ended up having what is called a CCTA, a snazzy CAT scan with the donut looking machine and iodine forced through my veins. Good times.
I’m delighted to say my ever-so-young heart was looking fabulous and those arteries were in perfect working order. The highlight, besides the good news, was seeing a color image of my heart. How cool is that? I must also mention that even after having three children, never have I encountered so many doctors, nurses and technicians so focused on ensuring that I was well cared for and comfortable. But I assure you, in the hospital is not where I want to be in the long run.
I still need to figure out why I get this tightness in my chest, but at least I know it’s not my heart. According to WomensHealth.gov one in four women dies every year from heart disease and it’s the leading cause of death for not only women, but men as well. I’m glad to not be part of that statistic and will encourage everyone to make sure they aren’t either.
So for continued life preservation, this week saw my yearly gynecological visit - always a treat. Did you know that little duck looking device they use in a pap test is called a speculum? To my surprise, they are now not only disposable, but made of plastic! Where have I been? Gone are the days where you are instantly reminded just how cold stainless steel can be. Did you know you can buy one on Amazon? But, I digress...get yourself checked out, you have a lot to live for.
It has been exactly one year since I had my first mammogram and Wednesday I had my second. Fortunately, going to the Winter Park Women’s Center was essential to a good experience because everyone, including the nurse, was exceptionally kind and thankfully, gentle.
I do have to say that I’m convinced they have this reverse psychology thing going on because first, they lead you into an ice-cold room where you remove everything from the waist up, eager to put on a snazzy little gown that opens in the front. Then they bring you into a dimly lit, toasty warm room lacking only incense and sounds of the rainforest playing in the background. I was instantly relieved, well...the ladies were still on guard, but I felt much more relaxed. It wasn't too bad really, but considering I don’t have much to work with, being a contortionist is vital. Next year, I’m definitely going to stretch first.
The nurse , let’s call her Sharon (because that’s her name), directed me…chest forward and butt out – just like Pretty Woman when she was “working it.” Sharon didn’t say that, but channeling Julia Roberts’ famous hooker role was my inspiration. Whatever works, right?
Nevertheless, I’m glad I did it. To have known someone to die from breast cancer, as well as someone to survive it because she was diligent in keeping her yearly appointment, makes me all too aware of the importance of yearly breast exams.
In September of 2012, BreastCancer.org states that 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. These odds are too small for you not to take the time to check. In fact, the National Breast Cancer Foundation makes it easy to create an early detection plan specifically designed for you.
If it's any consolation, it was far more comfortable to get a mammogram than the yearly visit to the gynecologist. I promise, not a stirrup in sight. So, whether you save the ta-tas or straight up want to prevent breast cancer, make that appointment.
My photo adventures in Florida