Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Smooshie's Subway Account

My name is Smooshie. I am a delightful plush frog with delightful bright blue hair. I'm taking this chance while Kristin is busy to write about my adventures so you get the real story. I am the designated mascot of the Subway hike this year. Subway is a canyoneering route just outside of Zion's National Park. It involves rappels and swimming and many photo opportunities. I rode most of the way on Kristin's pack, but I got my share of the adventures.

First I would like to address my name. There was some discussion of what I should be called. I wanted to be called Captain Walker D. Plank. One of the humans had nearly smooshed a frog the night before and therefore I ended up with the ignominous name of Smooshie. To make matters worse, no one could remember it. I was often called Squashy, Squishy and sometimes just Froggie. I did forgive much of this trouble with my name because of all the nice kisses I received from beautiful women. Humans have a strange fairy tale about a frog turning into a prince when kissed by a princess. Therefore, I was fortunate enough to get kissed often throughout the trip.
The first rappel was quite exciting. I was nearly overcome with fear. Twenty feet might not feel like far to a human, but to a frog, it is quite the distance. After that first one I looked forward to the other ones. I grew to enjoy them very much. I liked that most of them ended in water. I love being in water!
I had a delightful lunch, but would have liked some flies instead of sandwiches and a fruit roll up.
The very best part was swimming in all the pools. I didn't appreciate all the splashes from the large humans, but I found some nice pools in which to lounge. In one pool I encountered a beautiful lady frog. We shared a soulful stare, but alas the lady declined to join me in my adventures and we parted. I will carry with me the beauty of her eyes and the charming hue of her skin. I believe I saw her blinking back tears when I left, after all I'm quite the dashing gentlefrog.
Over all I had a delightful trip. The loud bumbling humans took prodigious care of me even though I could have taken care of myself quite well.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Store of Choice

Women love to shop. This stereotype follows us around from marketing strategies to jokes to husbands grumbling about our shopping trends to his friends. This stereotype is mostly true, but the store of choice varies widely. Shoppers often choose their favorite stores primarily by cost. Are the goods inexpensive, in the middle or costly? This varies somewhat depending on what the individual thinks about the value of quality versus quantity. Some people may only shop high end clothing, but be content to buy their coffee maker at Walmart. Others buy everything at Target except for kitchen ware which is bought at Spoons N Spice or from their Pampered Chef consultant.
I like to buy my clothing at Ross, but will on occasion spend more to buy quality long lasting garments. My shoes, well they usually come from Payless and my purse comes from where ever I can find an inexpensive one that I like. I hate purse shopping. As for accessories I use what I have and seldom buy more. Clothes, shoes, accessories, hair products, home decorations, etc. I'm not all that interested in shopping for. I have my moments when I get excited about some of these things, but overall they have a small appeal.
There are two types of stores that I love. The first is book stores. I don't often buy books, but I love walking through books stores. My favorite stores are the ones that sell used books. They are a little dark and smell like moldering paper. The shelves are close together and there is usually a room with books stacked in piles. This is the bargain room where, if you have the patience, there is a fabulous treasure awaiting you for a $1.50. I also like the books sellers at street markets or garage sales that have books. It is an adventure in which you're never quite sure what you will come away with.
I love gear stores. REI, Patagonia, and EMS are just some of these wonderful stores. The atmosphere is relaxed and you can show up wearing grubby outdoor clothes. These stores feature quick dry and optimal performance clothing. In the winter you can find gear for all varieties of winter sports, but as summer approaches skis are replaces with bikes. One of my favorite sections is the camping section. I love just wandering around looking at all the gadgets to enhance your camping/backpacking experience. I read labels and debate whether a small foldable bowl is a better tool than a metal one. I contemplate the wall of water bottles with the new colors and tell myself that I already have at least five, I don't really need another one. I spend time with the spools of rope, feeling the different kinds. You can never have enough rope. I can spend quite some time wandering around these stores just looking. I was in REI yesterday trying to figure out how to spend my dividend. I decided on a camp chair, one that will be perfect for camping trips, ball games, the beach, or reading my book on my lawn. I exercised incredible will power and limited myself to that single purchase.
I have always viewed myself as being different from most women as I'd rather be comfortable than fashionable and I spend much more time comparing backpack specs than I do in choosing my makeup. But in the end I'm not all that different. You might drool over another woman's stilettos in the same way as I longingly look at colorful well designed backpack. I love shopping, it just has to be the right kind of store.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

You're an IDIOT!

Today while driving in my car, I was listening to an interview on NPR with a physicist discussing how in quantum physics the creation of something out of nothing is not only likely but a regular occurrence. Most of these creations spring into existence and then disappear, but something on a much larger scale happened to make the earth as we know it. The discussion turned to the place of religion and philosophy in light of this information. The physicist argued that there is no place for religion or philosophy in his view of the world, in fact the usefulness of these entities passed away a long time ago. While he talked about his views of religion as a myth held by people unenlightened enough to accept that their beliefs had been debunked years ago, I thought to myself, "Idiot!"
This physicist is more intelligent then me when it comes to science. I know next to nothing about quantum physics, but I know religion and philosophy has not lost favor with the general populace. I could look up statistics and prove that these subjects are highly important to a large percentage of the population. Even many people who claim to be atheist believe in spirituality of some kind. For these people questions about purpose and meaning in life are of value. I scoffed at this arrogant learned man, who published a highly controversial book, as being an idiot. He may know lots about his subject, but little about anything else. He insulted all religious people by saying belief in God or gods is the product of a lazy mind, too uninterested to come up with a better explanation than "God did it."

The more I listened, the greater my indignation. I created arguments in my head to prove to him that he is an arrogant idiot that knows nothing. I have been doing this for years, listening to other people's viewpoints solely for the purpose of punching holes in them when they did not align with mine. You can ask my sisters, they were often on the other end of my sharp words and unwillingness to understand them. I have matured since the days I used to obliterate my sisters in discussions. I speculated about my quick negative response. How am I any better than this physicist? He does not care to try to understand people with an opposing view, they are unintelligent, unenlightened, and lazy. They are idiots. I did not view this man as someone who comes to life with a unique perspective and try to understand him and his message. I labeled him as an idiot, thus putting myself arrogantly superior to him. The simple truth is that I felt threatened by his message.  I am religious and I enjoy philosophy. His beliefs called mine to question. I had to defend my world view because if what he said had truth in it then I would need to reexamine what I believe. In essence this was a challenge to me, can I still believe even though an accomplished scientist sees them as folly? Maybe this man felt defensive about his perspective on life so presented it in an antagonistic way? If he attacks first and harder then he can protect himself against the criticism of everybody else.

Aren't we all like this? Unwilling to try to understand a different perspective, belief system, or theory because of the danger it poses to ourselves. Can we step away from being arrogant idiots to seeking to understand others and by doing so care about them? If we really believe what we believe then no amount of new theories or scientific discoveries will shake that, then we can reach out and genuinely say to another, "I want to know you." After all isn't that one of the main things we seek in relationship with others, to know and to be known.