Monday, June 27, 2011

Beep me... my love/hate relationship with technology

My love/hate relationship with technology(namely cell phones) goes WAY middle school. The year was 1995 and I had just earned a pager after a summer of baby-sitting. I was pretty stoked about it, since pagers were the "new thing." They were a much better option than the giant "Zach Morris Cell phones" available at the time.

My pager was a shiny, light-blue shade and it allowed me to receive archaic text messages from friends. Now, I would know who was trying to get a hold of me and I could call them back (sometimes from a pay phone). I loved the freedom of people being able to reach me when I was not at home. And, as a 13-year-old, I often was not at home.

Since I did say this was a love/hate, let me tell you the hate part. Not only could my friends track me could my parents! And, I was expected to call back when they beeped me.

This relationship with technology continues today, but now it is much more extreme than a simple beeper. People can now contact one another ALL THE TIME! While this is sometimes really cool and helpful (when you are lost trying to find some body's house, during an emergency, etc) mostly it is just annoying.

Two of my favorite memories were when I traveled through Europe. Obviously the trips were amazing but so was the lack of technology. When I was there I did not have my phone. It was heaven. Nobody could reach me and I could only search the web or check email from the REALLY OLD computer in the hotel (MOTEL/HOSTEL) lobby. And I survived. Thrived even. No cell problem!

Since I cannot always use the excuse that I am in Europe, I know have to purposely leave my phone at home when I am running errands, walking Teddy, or out to dinner. This gives me just a piece of the technology-freeness (not sure if this is a word, but oh well) I felt in Europe.

Since obtaining a new cell-phone last year, I now have a new issue...the Internet. Now that the Internet is available on my phone, I often find myself online and randomly searching the web. I will check facebook, look for Groupons, "Google" things I am wondering about. Not only is this rude to the people I am with (or unsafe, if I am in the car) it is flat-out annoying to me too!

Don't get me wrong, sometimes the Internet is fabulous to have at your fingertips. Sometimes it cures the boredom of sitting in a waiting room. Mostly though, it is absolutely not necessary to be online.

Another irritant that cell phones and technology have brought upon us all... people now assume one should be able to reach anybody, at anytime, in any format (text, call or email) and said recipient should either answer or respond immediately.

Is this fast-paced society we have created more effective? Or just more annoying? The jury is still out on that one. I do no that once in a while, we all need a break from being connected at all times.

So, I challenge you... go "retro." Try leaving your phone at home when you are out running errands. It will be just like back in the 80's and 90's. You know, when you could only be reached AT home and everybody just had to wait until you returned to reach you...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Getting the artificial stuff out of my life...

Growing up in the 80's, I learned that sugar was bad for you. This was reinforced all the time (low-sugar cereal, reduced sugar juice, etc).

It was only natural that I was drawn to all things artificial... if they contained less sugar or fat (or none)the assumption was that they must be better for me, right? I regularly searched out all things fake...syrup for pancakes, whipped cream, creamer, ice cream (yuck, I know)and Popsicles.

Two of my main addictions, used daily, were spray butter and sugar-free sweeteners (for my coffee). In fact, until I made the decision to stop using "fake food products" I could not even recall the last time I had used REAL butter. On anything. Seriously.

For those of you who are wondering, "what hell is spray butter?" I am not even sure how to describe it properly. I guess you could call it: a mix of chemicals that are combined to mimic the flavor of butter.

Oh, and you can spray the chemicals right onto your knife required. This in itself should have scared me. I was literally spraying chemicals onto my food! My husband was particularly not a fan of the spray. He thought it sounded like I was putting cleaner on my toast.

My other vice was sugar-free sweetener in coffee (splenda, syrup, equal, etc). Not just a little bit either. I would unload the stuff in there, pleased that I was cutting out 100 calories and making a healthier choice. Or was I?

A couple of weeks ago, I started getting headaches at work. Like, REALLY bad ones. Bad enough that I had to take Advil nearly every day. This was not normal, so I decided to pinpoint the cause. A friend had mentioned once that she could not use "fake sugar" as it gave her pounding headaches, so I decided to cut those out.

And, what do you know...NO MORE HEADACHES! Plus, I found that when I used real sugar, I did not need to use as much.

My next challenge was to start using real butter...not nearly as fun to use, but probably much healthier.

Last Friday, I accepted the challenge and spread an English muffin with honest to goodness REAL butter.

It was delicious...and I actually felt more satisfied. Not hungry right away like I was with the fake stuff. The best part though? I could actually taste the English muffin. The spray butter's artificial saltiness had been completely overpowering the taste of the bread.

Even though it has only been a couple of weeks since my life-style change, I already feel much better. Headaches are gone, I can taste my bagels again, and I am not creeping Adam out anymore.

So, the moral of the story is: getting rid of the fake things in your life (whether it be people or food products)feels fabulous...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day! Or...Sh*t my dad says (and does)

Hi there. Long time, no see (or write). The reason? Well, as all of my teacher friends know, the end of the school year is quite a busy time. Plus, Adam has been using the computer for work...leaving me with only my phone to post from, which I have decided takes WAY too long!

I have had this post in mind for weeks now, however. Longer actually. Since my "Mother's Day" post, I knew I also had to honor my dad with a blog entry (although he will never see it, since he has not yet picked up on "The Facebook" of online of things I LOVE about him)

So, this is a list of humorous things my dad has said, done, or taught me throughout the years! Love you dad... We will begin with things he has SAID.

1) "Hit the fish over the head!" (said to me prior to me having a nervous breakdown over having to kill the fish. And, ironically, fish if one of my favorite dishes. I just could not stand to actually slaughter the little guy myself.

2) "Stay away from the Alderwood Mall. It is full of fat people in vans trying to find close parking spots." This is a CLASSIC line from my dad. blunt as he might sound...he was correct. The mall WAS in fact full of fat people, trying to find close spots. Thanks for the warning pops!

3) At L.A. Fitness last year: "Hey Allison, do you know ____________? (as he is introducing me to a teenage boy)He goes to Jackson High School and plays baseball there."

Dad...if I KNEW this 17-year-old boy, I would hope you would be HIGHLY concerned, considering that I graduated from Jackson over 10 years ago!

4) "I think it is fine that Teddy is spoiled. Dogs are supposed to spoiled and played with. They are NOT just pieces of furniture." Finally, somebody condoning the fact that we have a very spoiled puppy!*t my dad has done...

1) Once LA Fitness, in front of a sign reading "please keep your shirt on. No cell phones" I glance over and notice my father wearing NO shirt and talking on his cell phone! Classic!

2) My dad despises when people are late...but what is funny is that he is often late himself! When I call to say I am arriving late, he cracks jokes about how I am always late...completely ignoring the fact that he is also late the other half of the time.

3) Saying things TOO loudly is another trait my dad has. While this is sometimes funny, other times it is embarrassing. He will say things like, "boy is that server stupid" loudly enough for the server to hear. I swear, when I am with him at dinner, we probably get our food spit in half the time.

Important Lessons that my dad has taught me (besides to stay away from the mall):

1) My dad always encouraged me (and my sister)to be athletic and competitive. I thank him for the fact that I can throw a softball (HARD), not a rainbow throw. I also thank him for completely understanding the rules of baseball.

2) Never letting me use my size as an excuse. I inherited my height from my dad's side, but I never let it stop me. Even when I was cut from the Volleyball team, I still managed to play basketball for years!

3) To try to stay calm in all situations. I swear, I have almost never hear my dad raise his voice. He handled things rationally. One particular situation comes to mind where he had to pick me up from the Mill Creek Police Station (way TOO long of a story to explain here). Although, I did have to push his car up the hill in the snow...he still did not yell at me. Although, getting frostbite was most likely punishment enough!

4) My dad instilled in my to always be supportive of others. As I played MANY sport and participated in many activities throughout the years, my dad could always be found at all of them, cheering me on (or sometimes umpiring or coaching). When I switched from softball to tennis, I thought my dad would be disappointed. Instead, he came to as many of my matches as he could and complimented my playing, even when I lost! (even though you will not see this)here is a toast to you and all of the little quirks that make you the father that you are!