Friday, May 28, 2010

I Can Quit Anytime!

O.K. it's Friday again and it's time for another confession. I was watching a re-run of Dr. Phil recently and he was scolding a mom who was addicted to Farmville on Facebook. Her family complained that she was on the computer night and day, she would tend to her "crops" and not make dinner or let the kids go on the computer to do school work. The family had gotten to the point that they would unplug the router so she wouldn't have internet to get online. Dr. Phil asked her why the game was more important than her family. She said she felt needed, taking care of her farm. He then asked her why didn't she grow a "real" garden and share the time with the family and actually have something to show for it instead of wasted time. She didn't have an answer. That lady has issues!

O.K. onto my confession. I am addicted to taking care of my virtual pets. I have 2 frogs like the picture shown above on Superpoke Pets. I also take care of my daughter's monkey and husband's various pets he started so I could get more coins for my Frogs and buy more stuff. After reading the previous sentence, I do sound a little crazy. Let me explain. Everytime you play, feed, take care of or decorate for your pet you get virtual coins. Every time you play with your friend's pets you get coins. You can also plant a garden and harvest it and get coins. There is a shop where at midnight on Wednesday, you can shop and buy things, usually with a theme for your pets. Now, I admit, I would stay up till midnight most shopping days so I can get stuff for my pet and the other pets. But, since SPP is based on the west coast, the east coasters and people around the world got it worse because it's waaay later there. Starting this week, they changed the shopping time to 7:00 pm pacific time, which is more managable but I forget because it's so early.

I usually play with my pets early in the a.m. or late at night, but lately have been playing with them at work as well..shh. My family thinks it's a joke and my daughter has posted quotes of me saying that "Her monkey would be sitting in filth if I didn't take care of it". I enjoy playing with my pets and decorating their habitat. If you look at my scrapbook, you can tell what kind of mood I'm in by the decorating.

I have to say that I am not to the "EXTREME" when it comes to my pet. I do not actually use REAL MONEY to buy virtual stuff for my virtual pet. In the shop, they have GOLD items which are purchased with real money. Of course the stuff is amazing and animated and oh so cute, but I haven't crossed that line yet. I have been awarded gold items and kind people have gifted me stuff, but I have not purchased anything, nor do I plan to. I guess on that note, I'm not totally obsessed.

I also have 2 aquariums on Facebook. The Happy Aquarium and Fish World are my virtual tanks. You clean them, feed them, get them props and play with the other fish. In the Happy Aquarium, the fish are sad when they are dirty and not fed. In Fish World, the fish die and float around the tank. You can choose to flush them or have a friend revive them. I started an account for my daughter so she can revive my fish, I know it's sad.

So now you know my secret, but I do not let my pets rule my life. Check out Superpoke and maybe adopt your own bunny or pig, or dragon. Fish tanks make you happy, they also have soothing music that plays. Talk to my husband about Rock Star and Dead or Alive if you want to see someone obsessed! He can't judge me, I'm just sayin!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To All Girls Out There-You Are Beautiful!

I was listening to the radio this week and a mother called in, very distressed about her daughter. Her daughter was graduating High School and her parents were planning to buy her a car as a graduation gift. The daughter approached the parents and told them she didn't want a car, but she wanted to use the money for breast implants. She is 18 years old, her mother thinks she is beautiful and has never noticed any issues with her daughter's self esteem about her breasts before. She wanted the DJ's opinion on what she should do. The male thought she should wait till she gets older to decide and have the parents give her the car anyway and try to find out why this sudden need for the implants. The female has implants herself, but also thought she should wait a few years.

The photo above, shows Heidi Montag, a sad, insecure girl who chose to go through drastic plastic surgery to be the "perfect" woman. Instead, she went from a naturally beautiful girl, to a silicone monster! Her own mother didn't recognize her after her 10 surgeries at the tender age of 23. Here is a quote from Heidi's Playboy interview with her irritating husband Spencer Pratt, "If women aren't jealous of you, talking about you and cutting you down, then you're the nerd and I never want to be that." That is some message she is sending out. I really hope that "real" girls aren't looking at her as a role model.

Frankly, I never watched "The Hills" and never knew who she and Spencer was until all their shenanigans were showcased on tabloid television. I think if all these reality freaks were no longer put in the spotlight, it will kill their careers and they'll crawl back to their "normal" lives. I don't care about Lindsay Lohan and her problems. My daughter can't believe this was the same freckle faced girl in the Parent Trap, oh so less drama ago.

Thank goodness I've raised my daughter to have good self esteem and she is surrounded by people who love her exactly as she is. She is not very well endowed due to our Asian heritage, but she looks at the "plastics" and thinks it looks abnormal, so I guess I won't have to worry about having that graduation talk with her. She and her friends know that these larger than life people on television are an exception to the rule. They may want to emulate their fashion, or their movie/tv characters, but none of them are so blinded by the glitter that they believe the hype. And why is that you ask? Because of us, the parents. We don't tolerate society talking down to our children and do everything in our power to make sure our kids are alright. Yes, they are teenagers and they are going through the toughest time of their young lives right now, but in the end, you can only hope that you've done the best you can and be proud when your child shines on their own!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Doodle Dee Doo

I've decided that I was going to make Friday's blog entries, "Freedom Fridays" where I would confess something and then try to explain. Today's confession is that I'm a compulsive doodler! I draw little pictures on my pad at work, junk mail and any paper that happens to be lying around. I usually doodle vines and flowers and swirls, but I've been known to put a spiderweb in a corner or draw a repetive pattern. I like to draw fancy hearts and stars and usually add polka dots to everything.

When I was younger, I use to decorate all my letters to penpals and notes that I passed in class with doodles that covered most of the paper. I had a 5 color Bic Click pen so you could be colorful. I was also obsessed with fonts (I still am) and checked out fancy books from the library to try and copy the lettering.

My daughter and her friends have decided that receiving mail is pretty cool. I looked at a recent letter she received and her friend had drawn things on it and it made me smile. I'm glad that the art of writing on paper is not dead.

I found some sites that interpret your doodles. In the U.K. next year, they even have a National Doodle Day.

The next time you mindlessly draw something, take a look at it and try to remember what you were feeling or thinking about when you drew it. The subconcious is a magical thing!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Don't Fly Away Too Soon

In two weeks, my daughter is going to be 15 1/2 years old. She will be able to get her driving permit. In another 6 months, she will be able to get a job. Soon there will be boyfriends and dances and trips away with friends. Then High School graduation, college and moving away from home. My husband and I often threaten her that when she turns 18, her suitcase will be on the porch and we will be waving goodbye. But really that will be the first day of my heartbreak.

Having only one child, I am very possessive of her. She was always independent and free and never suffered any separation anxiety when she left us. In a way, that hurt my feelings but at the same time, made me proud. I want her to need me. She is needing me less and less during her teen years. I guess these are the years that parents don't feel appreciated. I know what kind of girl she is and I believe I am the reason for it. But I want to protect her from the big, bad world.

My family never protected me when I was young, I had to fend for myself. I did my best, but have many scars. I know that she needs to overcome obstacles on her own, but it will be hard for me to let her. I hope she knows that I only want the best for her and that she is my joy and my reason to live. I heard this song by Ingrid Michaelson called A Bird's Song. Click the link and you can watch a poignant slideshow to the song. I hope I can keep my bird close by but not locked up in a cage. Don't fly away too soon or too far from me!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dancing and Singing at 84!

On Mother's Day, my daughter's Show Choir performed at the CVHOC High School Benefit Show called "Give My Regards to Broadway", starring Dick Van Dyke. Our show choir performed a medley from the Broadway Show "Guys and Dolls" and they were awesome! Dick Van Dyke was the MC and he had so much energy! He danced, he sang, he messed around with the kids during their performances. When one High School performed a "Phantom of the Opera" medley, he came out with a cape, mask and a rose and gave it to one of the singers, then slinked off stage. When another High School did a "Chorus Line" medley, he came out and danced the choreography and then high kicked Rockette style! It's so inspirational to see such talent, and youthfulness at the ripe age of 84.

He really cares about the Arts in Schools and even took time out before they performed and visited the kids at their High Schools. This benefit brings in needed funds to keep the Arts and this was the 10th Year they've been supporting the schools. I'm so happy that I got to spend my Mother's Day, watching my beautiful, talented daughter and her friends, joyfully dancing and singing. Thanks Mr. Van Dyke and I hope to attend another 10 shows!!

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Lost Art of Customer Service

I feel a little cranky today, so I thought I'd touch on a subject that is near and dear to my heart, customer service! A long time ago in the 80's I worked in retail. Customer service was really the priority in every job I had. It didn't matter if the customer wore the item, if we didn't even HAVE the item, if the customer yelled and screamed, we gave them what they wanted. It was MANDATORY! We greeted everyone, asked if they needed help, was there to actually help them when they needed it and we rang them up with a smile and said have a nice day.

Now you can walk into a store, no one even looks at you. You can stand at the register for an hour before someone bothers to ring you up. If you ask them a question, they say they don't know or we don't have anymore, because they're too lazy to look it up for you, or call somewhere else. I know I'm pigeonholing, but 89% of the time, this is the case!

Another thing is that people don't listen. Today, I went to Taco Bell for lunch. I told him what I wanted and told him the order was for here and I needed a cup for water. He then proceeded to ask me what kind of burrito I wanted, after I had said chicken and I told him I didn't want sauce in it. He asked me you didn't want sauce right? And after I said again, chicken burrito with no sauce, he said what kind of burrito? Now, I do not have an accent, I didn't have a cold that day, I'm pretty sure I enunciated correctly, why couldn't he understand my order??? Then he asked me was it for here or to go, after I had told him when I first ordered. Yes, I get grumpy and sarcastic when I encounter these people because I remember the good old days of customer service. Oh, and if they really wrong me, everyone and anyone will hear about it. I even review places on Yelp and post complaints. My husband calls me the squeaky wheel, and boy do I squeak!!

I always like to reward GOOD customer service. Whenever I get good service, I always make it a point to tell the manager and/or employee that I enjoyed their service, or thanks for being efficient, or understanding my order/situation, etc. I'm hoping that if enough people get the good customer service bug, then there will be less cranky people in the world and we can all walk around smiling, with butterflies and rainbows following us wherever we go. Hey, a girl can dream can't she?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Where is the Art??

I just came home from a wonderful day of celebrating Art and Volunteerism at an elementary school which is named after the author/illustrator of one of my favorite books, Maurice Sendak. Usually when I volunteer at festivals I encounter what I call "free loaders" who go there to grab anything that isn't nailed down, have poor manners, bad attitudes and let their children run amok. I was worried that I was going to deal with these people today, since the school is in a low income part of North Hollywood, but I was pleasantly surprised. The children were in the most part, well behaved. The parents were grateful and the event was nicely organized. The school was promoting Big Sunday which is a weekend where people give back to the community. In addition to the art projects that were being offered, people helped plant gardens at the school, cleaned up and Girl Scouts helped serve lunch that was free to the participants.

It was such a nice feeling to see that people still care about their school, their kid's education and art. The lovely projects I saw being done were so inspiring that it saddened me to think that possibly in the future, these children may not be able to express their creativity because the budget cuts always chop Art and Music first. As an elementary school student a long time ago, art and music were part of the curriculum and much to my mom's dismay, I was always bringing home my "creations" from school for her to display and/or keep. In fact she still has a lot of the christmas ornaments, frames and flower pots that me and my siblings made as children. To me, that's a good mom. I suppose I got my keepsake gene from her, because I SAVE EVERYTHING! Yes, I have all my daughter's artwork from kindergarten on. Luckily I only have the one child.

The school system is so caught up right now with test scores. There is a battle between schools on who can bring in the highest scores. Yes, it's prestige and a way to get more students as parents are convinced that higher test scores make for a better school. But what about the children who express themselves more creatively and not as much academically? Are they destined to fail because they can't pass algebra, but no one bothers to see that they can paint beautifully, compose symphonies, or express themselves with dance? And when we finally get schools who are specifically for these children, they are the first to be on the chopping block.

I'm worried about the future of my grandchildren and great grandchildren (I can dream!) that they will have to paint, compose and dance in secret because society will only acknowledge the academics and not the poets, dreamers and creators. I hope I will be long gone by then, because if not, it will break my heart!