Musings, Thoughts and Creations

written down

Love at 800th sight

This is long and gushy. I apologize, but I’m feeling nostalgic.

It’s a very romantic ideal to say that Rob and I fell in love the moment we looked at each other. Our eyes met across a smoky bar, sparks flew, alarm bells went off, and the rest was history.

More accurately we met across a semi-quiet classroom. But really I don’t even remember when we first met. Rob tells me we had freshman religion together, but I do not remember him from that class. Crazy to say that I don’t remember the first time I met the love of my life, but to be honest I don’t remember much of freshman year period. Probably not a good thing to have so many holes in my recent memory (it’s not like it was 40 years ago), but the strongest memories I have of freshman year are of my classes, the pain of losing friends and being lonely, and the joy of finding new friends and having someone to eat lunch with again.

I DO remember Rob from sophomore year. We had geometry class together and he and this other boy Kyle both had curly hair. They were kind of dorky and got in trouble for talking, once, a few times. Maybe I’m just usurping Rob’s memory of this class. That’s about it.

My first real introduction to Rob came at the very end of sophomore year. I remember that I was sitting on the metal picnic tables in the courtyard by the student store. Mr. Khoury, my biology teacher, introduced me to my partners for DART (Drug Abuse Research Team), a program we’d be at for a week that summer and all of next year. He introduced Rob and a girl named Lenore. And my first thought was, ugh, I have to be stuck with these nerds for a whole year? Yes, I’m not proud of it, but I was a judgy, little self-absorbed brat when I was 16.  If you could see some of the pictures of me from when I was a sophomore you will know that I had very little room to judge anyone, nevertheless…

That summer I got to know Rob a bit better. We went on the same high school trip to Europe for three weeks, and we spent 5 days in Sac State for DART training. I still thought he was a dork, but a funny, smart one.

We spent a lot of junior year together. We had a lot of classes together, we did DART work together, we now had the same group of friends so we would hang out together, we were in speech together, we went to formal together (not as dates, just in the same group), and I would hang out at his house after school a few times when we had AP Biology labs in the evening. Was I falling in love during all of this? No. At least, not consciously. But he was my friend.

It wasn’t until a few months later, during the summer when I realized I “liked” Rob. I hadn’t seen him for a while, and we went to Great America together with two other friends. After that day I couldn’t stop thinking about him, and I realized I missed him and wanted to see him again. When school started back up again, I did get to see him. But in the irrational way of teenage girls, I avoided him, lest he detect my feelings and vulnerability. If I had told him right away would he have reciprocated? Probably. But I did not, so that didn’t happen. Instead he got a girlfriend.

After that I tried to forget about liking him, and told myself that it was a passing crush. Over him. Moving on. That lasted for a few weeks… In October we were partners in a debate competition for speech (yes, I realized our nerdiness rating in high school was extremely high). All the feelings I had tried to shove away came back. And to make it worse, he was still dating his girlfriend, and I had a giant zit on my chin. After one of our debates, Rob high fived me and said, “That’s my girl.” I haughtily told him, “I’m not your girl.” Nice one Jill. That ought to win him over. It seemed the more I liked him, the more I pushed him away.

A few weeks later Rob and his girlfriend broke up. And a few months after that we went to the winter formal together. And it was on this night that sparks flew and alarm bells went off. And the rest is history. : )

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Obesity: Societal solutions vs. individual’s choices

A friend of mine posted this link on Facebook and asked for people’s thoughts. It sparked a big debate on whether people are obese because of the way our society has become, or as a result of their personal choices. To me it’s a little of both.

Let’s start with children and schools, because these are the members of our obese society that have the least personal choice.

Societal problem: We’ve eliminated a lot of physical activity in schools because of the lack of time and an emphasis on other more academic subjects. Societal solution: Extend school days to include 45 minutes of PE a day, taught by PE instructors (not teachers).

Societal problem: Children do not play as much at recess. They are not used to it. They play indoors a lot because of parental fears for safety. Societal solution: Continue to fund/improve open spaces and parks, especially in urban areas. Fund community activities that get people out of their houses. Fund open gyms like Natalie has in Amsterdam and I have in Benicia, safe places to bring children to play indoors and out. Make these place available in the evenings and on weekends too. Personal choice: Parents need to limit the amount of time their kids spend watching TV and playing video games. They need to say, “Here’s a kickball. Go outside and play.” I don’t know how to force parents to do this.

Societal problem: Children are being served processed and packaged food in the cafeteria. It meets the bare minimum of nutrition guidelines, but fosters a love for generally unhealthy foods such as burgers, waffles, pizza, and chicken nuggets. Societal solution: Increase funding to schools with the condition that it be spent on more food workers and on healthy ingredients so that every child is served healthy food everyday. Do away with 5 choices. A child has so many choices in the cafeteria and their both loaded with vegetables and whole grains.

Societal problem: Children eat the junk that they’re parents buy for them. Societal solution: Educate parents at the beginning of every school year about what their child should bring to school for snacks and lunch and ban unhealthy drinks and foods. Encourage them to follow the same guidelines at home. Personal choice: You cannot really make a parent feed their child healthy foods. Part of me wants to punish the parents of obese children, but part of me is repelled by the idea of that much government influence. I think the solution is just more education and creating an environment where it’s possible and even easy to feed your child healthy foods.

Can I make an adult eat less and exercise more? No. And I don’t think I should. They are an adult and they can make their own choices. But children do not have a choice, and all should be given the same healthy start in life. Therefore we do need to make societal changes so that those with the least power and control over their lives are given more of a chance.

To do this, we should:

– End government subsidies on crops that make high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and other obesity-promoting foods very cheap.

– Ban food ads on children’s television programs.

– Fund obesity fighting programs in schools and communities.

Here are some more controversial ideas that I’m not sure how I feel about:

– A tax on sodas

– Subsidizing organic farmers to grow more fruits and vegetables

– Health insurance discounts for people at a normal weight and who don’t smoke

– Special loans and funding for a new type of fast food restaurant that provides low cost, healthy foods or tax deductions for existing companies to offer healthier alternatives on their existing menus

– Mandating some healthy food/drink options at malls, sports arenas, and amusement parks

So while I think that a lot of the problem is caused by personal choice, it is also due to the environment we live in. We need to fix certain aspects of our society (starting with children) to make it possible for people to make better choices.

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Haiku about my day

I’ve done all I can.

Please just go play by yourself.

Here play in the fridge.

 

I don’t want to bitch about my day, I have it better than most. But when Lily was finally asleep, I was exhausted (Rob too I’m sure). I really want to write something, and this is all I can think about right now. This poem about sums it up.

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