Sunday, November 8, 2009

A random poll, because I can.

Good idea?? not such a good idea?? you be the judge...

Friday, October 9, 2009

When I grow up...

Recently Todd and I went out for a nice dinner with some new friends.

[At this moment I'd like to pause for a formal apology to the previously mentioned 'new friends'. You are now part of a club that some consider a curse. You are now in the "I've Been Mentioned In iamjakz's Absurd Blog" cartel. May your mention in this ongoing drivel be short and anonymous. It's just better that way. And feel free to send me $19.95 so I can process your membership and send you your cartel ID card and commemorative t-shirt.]

We were having a great evening, random conversations, laughing at the Ducks extreme lead in the game, until we were presented with some wonderful sushi. And more sushi. And still a little more. But that isn't the point. As the conversations progressed, I was asked a thought provoking (yet simple) question.

[Right now I'd like to take a breather and point something out, perhaps explaining my predicament? I'd like to state for the record that, my lack of an intelligible response wasn't because I was without answer. Rather, I was suddenly inundated with the possibilities of so many correct answers. And since I don't like responding with incorrect replies, and I couldn't decide which was right, I really just shrugged it off. And that made me feel, well... less than brilliant sums it up nicely.]

So, what could've given me this headache? What thought has plagued my mind for almost a week now, creating a need for me to publish this predicament? What...what was the question exactly? Honestly, I can't quote it word for word, but it was along the lines of this...ugh, and truly even now, my head is spinning with possibilities of answers and ideas and correct responses.

Okay, here goes...

"If you were to go back to work, what do you think you'd do?"

What occupation would I choose? How would I earn my wages? How would I use my precious hours in order to help increase my worldly worth?

I decided that since I failed so miserably in the verbal test, maybe I'd be able to earn back some credit with my written response. Without further postponement, here's a partial list of pursuable professions I might consider.

Option 1- I'd like to be a dentist. Yes, I know it would take years of school, and I'd have to deal with people and their bad oral hygiene issues. You could say I want to do this because I believe firmly in a healthy mouth, or that I want the world to have better, brighter smiles. You could say that, but I wont. I want to be a dentist so I can be in the group of '9 out of 10 dentists prefer'. And I want to be the one that doesn't.

Option 2- I do enjoy writing, and am fond of random (somewhat useless) facts. I like sharing this with people at rather off-the-wall moments. I feel my wisdom that should be imparted to the masses. Journalism? Fiction? Should I write general knowledge or how-to guides? I'm actually thinking more in line with being a fortune cookie writer.

Option 3- As embarrassing as it can be to admit in certain situations, I actually enjoy playing a round of golf. My wii calls me a champion golfer, and in real life I do have a trophy to attest to my skills (sadly, the only trophy I've earned in my life). But, being a professional golfer takes hours of commitment and practice and determination and being around other golfers... Yet, I love being out in the green glory of the courses. My optional employment? I wanna drive the little car that picks up the golf balls on the range, but with one stipulation- I get to have a giant bulls eye painted on it.

Option 4- On the somewhat serious side, I still think about possibly opening a cafe & baked goods kind of place. My own little cheesecake factory, perhaps. I'm just afraid that the name alone would cause people to not want to enter, especially those embracing a South Beach diet, for example. What possible name would I call my business that would make people think twice? A name dear to my heart for reasons I cannot pinpoint. "Fat and Happy's", with the motto being, "making you fat and happy since 1999".

Option 5- I like reptiles. But I totally don't wanna have a house full of them, being a breeder or something (no offense to those who do). And I really don't like pet stores. I don't mind a little danger, so I was thinking about becoming a snake milker. The problem is, I have no idea how to break into that market. And I'm not sure there is much of a market around here, in that the only milk I typically see for sale is cow, soy or possibly goat.

Option 6- I thought it might be fun to be a mascot. Then I remembered the days that I used to dress up in a giant pink gorilla suit for work. Enough said.

Option 7- Safety is very important to me and my family. We have very well-enforced rules about wearing helmets when biking, scootering, jumping off of roofs, etc. So what better way to help than get into the auto industry and help with their safety regulations? Almost everyone in America travels by automobile. Plus, it's most likely a government job, which would mean big $$$ and lots of benefits (doesn't every government employee now own their own submarine?). That being said, I wanna be the person that pushes the button and sends the crash test dummies flying.

Option 8- If my presence was requested, I would most likely allow myself to be employed as a mythbuster. It would be better to have a reason to blow things up (other than it's just fun!), and it would probably be a lot more legal.

Option 9- Christmas has Santa, Easter the bunny, Valentines has the ugly flying baby, er, Cupid. There's the Tooth Fairy and the Keebler Elves. Somewhere in the mix, there has to be a job I can do that involves dispensing random gifts in unconventional ways. Maybe something to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving, I could call myself Adephagia (after the Greek goddess of gluttony) and dispense tums to those saturated with turkey and gravy. Or maybe I could help the world celebrate Columbus day by sending out a message to every GPS showing the coordinates to a specific location where they would find a prize. I'm thinking perhaps a map?

Truthfully, I have no clue what I'd do. And the sad fact is, my days are numbered until both boys are in school and I can choose an activity to busy myself that doesn't involve cleaning toothpaste off of walls. But until that day comes, I'm going to decide to not decide anything. So, with apologies to the general public, I will continue on in life being me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

scared yet?


(That's the soundtrack of my week, in case you want to know.)

And now I'll dive into the great depths and true topic of this blog.

I wrote that the soundtrack for this week is I AM TERRIFIED because I've been listening to them. A lot. And their name is really close to the description I feel I need to share of myself. I am not terrified, but I am terrifying.

I really think people are afraid of me. Really afraid of me. Maybe I'm paranoid in thinking this. But maybe, *maybe* because I'm paranoid, people fear me? This might just be the beginning of a vicious cycle...

My self-perception of me is that I'm a pretty real person. Not too alien-like. I try to smile, but not in a fake way. I can be quiet or loud, but not because I've got a personality disorder and can't decide which voices I should allow to dictate my actions. I try to be aware of others, but not nosy. I don't think I'm an ogre, but I know I'm no leprechaun. Actually, I'm not really green... but I do have green ink. And my lip is pierced. I think I'm pretty darn average. With this odd exception- people seem to fear me.

I keep thinking that it may be the tattoo/piercing thing. Movies have done a darn good job of giving every bad guy on screen some tacky tattoos. That subconscious association alone could possibly cause some people to cower. But then my tattoos aren't always visible.

So what brings this all up? My lovely flat-tire incident. If you're a facebook/myspace/twitter friend of mine, you probably saw some of my random updates.

I was fortunate enough to be able to pull over at a rest area when I realized my tire was going flat. It was a really busy time of day there, lots of people out stretching their legs, walking dogs, sunning themselves. After I realized I didn't have a jack, I figured it'd be easy to find someone to lend one. One person offered to help change it, but only if I payed them *$$$*. He didn't have a jack, but did look like he was jacked up on something. So off he went. And then I waited with the spare tire outside of the car. But any time someone would start to walk by, they'd look at the tires, but avoid eye contact with me. After about 20 minutes of convincing no one to help me (maybe 50 passed, and after a while I started to think about lunging at them and saying, "BOO!"), one of the workers at the rest area came over and said he was surprised no one was helping me yet. I wanted to tell him that I thought people were afraid of me, but was afraid it might scare him off knowing others feared me like the bird flu. Maybe I'm even feared like the swine flu.

It was with this mans assistance, and after he bent the frame of my Jeep and I had to tell him the jack doesn't go there, that I was able to discover the fact that my spare did not actually belong to my vehicle. (insert some smarmy words directed to the car dealer that made this moment possible)

So, I called roadside and they sent the tow truck. About a 1/2 hour later, with one other person asking if I needed help during that waiting period, the truck arrived. And when the driver and other guy got out, they looked like they didn't want to approach. The assistant actually took a step back when I started to walk across the parking lot to their truck, since they weren't walking over. And it's not like I was foaming at the mouth rabid. A nice ride in silence led me to the next scared populace.

Tire store. My tire is flat (duh). My tire is under warranty. This time the tire is not under warranty. I ran it flat. And the tire people don't have a match. And I will have to buy my new tire. Insert best sentence to sum up my day, as I told them (with a smile on my face) that it's ok, at least there was no accident, it could've been a lot worse.

"That's a great attitude you have. We were really afraid you were gonna start yelling at us and be really mad."

I would consider that maybe my attire was provoking these fears, but I wasn't wearing any shirts that said "WILL KILL ALL LIVING THINGS IN SIGHT". And I wasn't wearing devil horns or chains, or carrying a sword or mace. I didn't even have any live grenades with me!

So, I'm left with this mystery. And it isn't just this week I've faced this. There are many occasions I've witnessed people's terror-stricken faces, just before they fled.

So this is where I call upon you, my dear reader. If you aren't too panic prone, and have some insight on my intimidation factor, please share. I promise I'll receive it with grace, unless you call me Jackie. Then I'll punch you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

inquiries, apologies and adieus....

I've decided, as of tomorrow, I most likely will be cranky for a few days. I may be irritable, irrational and some other word that starts with "i". Perhaps I shall be impossible. Ill-tempered, if you will. And what is the cause of this? What could possibly happen that would make me act in such a way, a way that hardly is different from any other day?

I'm giving up one of my 'bad habits'.

Constantly inspecting and re-inspecting life has led me to believe I have room for improvement. I have not yet attained perfection, so I must assess myself regularly. Perhaps too regularly, most likely, not often enough. But auditing my present state of being is habitual. (Not that I will be curbing that proclivity any time soon!)

Where was I? Creating a preemptive apology for being cranky.

So, what possible tendency could I deny myself that would cause me to become so irascible? Is it possible that I could really become so incensed over the loss of one impulsion? And why should I even try to relieve myself of this dependence, if it's only going to cause extreme ire?

So many irritating inquiries!

Perhaps I am choosing to deny myself this impulse because the impulse itself is daily causing me to be infuriated. Constantly I find myself imprisoned in its influence. Irked by its idiosyncrasy. Irate by its irrationality. I... I... I am running out of words that start with the letter 'i'.

All of this to say, I'm sorry if I behave erratically (I really wish that word was spelled 'irratically', that sentence would've been far more fun). I may seem out of sorts, perhaps disconnected, but I will try to behave. And eventually, the fog may clear and I'll have the ability to think for myself again, without the influence of this awful inclination.

So today, I say adieu. Adios. Farewell. So long. Cheerio. Ciao. Hasta la vista. Godspeed. Sayonara. Arrivederci. May the road rise to meet you... I shall miss you, but over time, the separation will not seem so severe. Tomorrow as I ingest my morning coffee quota, I will try to ponder new things. New thoughts, new ideas, have new conversations with my kiddos. And I will not miss my daily newspaper. I will not! And I'll try not to misbehave out of frustration from breaking my insipid routine. Really. You don't believe me? Wanna make something of it?!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Typing with a wrist brace is not practical...

Every store I shop in here in the good ol' Eugene has at least a few shoppers who have their own reusable bags. Walking through the aisles, you'll see them filling their carts with all of their favorite organic goodies (or perhaps several cases of Orange Slice soda), with their eco-friendly bags neatly folded and waiting. These shoppers with their own bags are everywhere. People of all races and ages, the young, old, really old, young but old looking... all waiting to use their neatly folded, pro-environment bags. My favorite in-store site is the new-to-using-earth-friendly-bags person who fills their bags in their cart, only to be emptied and refilled upon checkout. Perhaps it's a way for them to fulfill their secretive desires to shoplift without acting upon it, as they're tucking unpaid items into their own personal bags.

No matter what though, every time I see a shopper walking into a store with those store-branded bags waiting to be filled, I begin to question why I don't use them. Really, I care about our planet. I recycle faithfully, I would never litter and I even let my lawn die yearly to conserve water (or at least I use that excuse for its annual death). Until this point, I have even recycled the plastic (and paper) 'disposable' bags the stores use. But maybe it is time I take it a step further and actually purchase a reusable bag. Maybe I should care that much.

Mostly, there is only one obstacle keeping me from doing such a thing; which store brand bag do I choose? Is it permissible to carry a Trader Joe's bag into Wal-Mart? What about a Target bag into Albertsons? I want to avoid a tragic faux pas, but have yet to find an etiquette guide on this particular subject.

I almost gave up on the idea of trying to be more green, when I finally found the solution to my dilemma. A green bag, with no store brand that portrays the truth of the depth of my caring.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How To Become A Successful Blogger

The way the world works, technology is continually making 'advances'. Everyone is chatting, IMing, twittering and blogging. People want to share their every thought and idea through the newest way imaginable. But, with so many changes happening and so quickly, I have begun to fear that people may not be informed how to perform such actions. And though it's not new, I've decided I should try to help others understand how easy blogging can be.

To begin, choose a location to post your blog (myspace, facebook, blogspot, myface, facespace, spotonyourface, etc.). You will also need to choose your URL and/or your blogs title. It may just be your name, or you might want to opt for the creative. I personally chose "iamjakz" as my URL and the blog title "Life as I pretend to know it". I find them both to be an honest example of my lacking intelligence. I seem to lose my identity often (so I need the reminder that I am jakz). I lose my memory even more so. Therefore, I pretend.

After setting up the basics, choose a topic that you feel comfortable writing about. But please, if you only know only about boring stuff, perhaps you shouldn't contribute to the blog-world with your thoughts. No one really cares about the fact that you can successfully train your pet chimpanzee to say 'moo' every time you feed it a hamburger. Even the people at your local McDonald's are getting tired of your shenanigans. Remember, as much as you are seeking to vent your creativity, you're also posting to a public forum. And we, the public, have very short attention spans.

With your topic chosen, try to hone in on the specifics, and at the same time, remove some. If you just want to write about the day, perhaps blog your emotions, that's great. But please, we don't need to know at what moment you flossed your teeth. Those details are too personal, and quite frankly, disgusting. But, if you state, "I give up on finding a banana slug.". Please don't leave it at that. We, the readers, would like to know, "Why did you give up?" "Why were you looking for one in the first place?" "Did you know they don't actually taste like a banana?"

And speaking of the readers, it can take work to find them. You have to enlist them. Tell your friends, call your mom, email your co-workers, send out bulletins, put up fliers on street corners, run ads in your local paper, read it to your dog, pay strangers, barter (they read, you do their dishes or cook them dinner), put stickers on your vehicle with your URL, post stickers with your URL on strangers vehicles, make sure you mention your URL often when testifying in court for vandalism, etc. The list could go on, but no matter what, don't just do any of these once. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Become a thorn in every persons side until they read the masterpiece.

Anyway, once you have fine-tuned your written wonder (including utilizing the awesome, ever-helpful spell-check), it's time to publish. Just push the "Publish Post" button. It's okay. You can do it. Yes, we will criticize your every word, but don't let the fear of that hinder you. We, the wonderfully attentive readers may also have some kind words of encouragement. Possibly. Weirder things have happened. Maybe. Did you push the dern button yet? Good!

Congratulations on your first post! If you want to actually be a 'blogger', you truly need to commit to writing on a somewhat steady basis. At least once a quarter would be nice. And, if you've waited for more than a few months, a simple, "Wow! It's been a long time since I've blogged!" will not suffice. Pretend you're writing for a purpose (like your readers, or money) and you have deadlines that must be met. It may become a burden, but quite possibly it could be a driving force in coercing you to continue. If you feel that you are in a slump, don't forget, you can always write a 'how-to' type blog. It could be called filler material, but at least you've posted something new.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Is it me, or does this give a whole new meaning to Jesus being our healer and protector?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quote of the day

Okay, so it's more than a slight quote, but I haven't seen genius like this printed in our local papers in a while. This is just part of a letter that was printed today.

"Adult stem cells have treated thousands of patients suffering from more than 70 types of ailments, including cancer, leukemia, heart disease and spinal cord injury. No cures have been attributed to embryonic stem cell research.

I believe that human beings are never disposable, whether in the form of zygotes, an embryo, a fetus, a neonate, an infant, a child, an adolescent, a young adult or a 90-year-old. Each of us exists as a remarkable biological continuum that extends from conception until death.

In 1940 Congress passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act which made it illegal to kill an American bald eagle. If you shoot one you face a big penalty. Destroy the egg of a bald eagle and you face the same big penalty. It is strange to me that some think more of protecting our bald eagle than protecting human embryos."
-Jack Pynes

I wish I would've written this, and I hope it inspires us. More people need to stand up and be a voice for the voiceless.

And if you have extra time, here's another great article. Be informed!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It all makes sense.

If you know me very well, I'm sure that the words you'd use to describe me would be numerous and a reflectoin of my obvious quirks. Those of you who have taken time to read my blogs may have a whole different set of words and opinions of me (ranging from 'funny' to 'I suggest trying shock therapy'). But no worries, I love all the feedback. And considering some of the oddities of me, I find myself wondering how I became who I am. Yes, God created me, but perhaps His creation was a slightly different version. Maybe through some traumatic instance my personality may have become slightly altered. Or...? I truly have many theories on this.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, proof arrived in a email. I'll share it here;

You won't know me but when you were just learning to roll over your parent's entrusted me with your care for a few hours. I myself, at that point , had no clue about babies... I put you down to nap on my bed, like an angel you slept. Unfortunately you woke up while I was at the Kitchen sink. I looked up from the kitchen sink and saw you happily rolling over and heading for the (carpeted floor). I started running to catch you, stubbed my toe on a kitchen chair, tore my great toe nail off but picked you up off the floor. You and I sat there crying and (me bleeding) until your Dad came to pick you up. I started crying again when I had to explain the rug burn on your forehead to your dad.
How is life now?"

(I will leave the writer unnamed, and hope they don't mind becoming the subject of one of my infamous blogs.)

This is the answer! There is positive proof in the memory of my one-time caretaker of infant me; I hit my head. Hard. And I got to sport some terrific rug burn, too! This explains my randomness, my obsession with exploding a dead whale, my frequent memory issues....

Although, if I'm being honest and if memory serves me correctly, I know this wasn't the only instance of bumping my head. But my memory isn't reliable. And perhaps my self-inflicted shock-therapy (think baby Jakz putting keys in an outlet) may have altered my growing toddler mind.

So maybe this truly isn't the answer. I'm suddenly not sure now. And speaking of answers, um, what was the question?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Uncertain Times

I've come to the realization that we are facing tough and uncertain times. Maybe it's because the stock market seems to be failing. Maybe it's because that's what the newspaper tells me. Perhaps it's what both the previous and currant occupants both have blathered incessantly about. But as the misfortune increases and the misery continues, we may have to decide to alter some habits in our lives. We may have to go without cable, or discontinue buying Super Premium Plus fuel for our Hummers. I myself may have to go without the luxuries of having a full-time chef, or I may retain my chef on limited hours and give the pink slip to my chauffeur. But no matter what I choose to sacrifice, at this point in time and in the current economic climate we're in, I know I will not be alone in letting some things go.

That being said, I would like to share some hopefully helpful ideas for these troubling times;

*Save plastic bags, the kind the grocery stores give you your purchased items in. Currently they are trying to change the laws to charge taxes on using them. Some cities and states are looking to fully ban them. Yes, they are horribly toxic, but keep in mind, if you save them long enough, soon they will be priceless. You'll have to explain to the generations to come what these bags were, and if you're lucky to still have any, you will be able to make an income on eBay with them.

*In the new fad of everything going out of business these days, from sporting goods stores, to banks to grocery chains, don't be surprised to see more and more newspapers disappear. That being said, take a second and think twice before recycling your newspapers. And before you start to assault me with flaming remarks about harming the environment by killing trees and not even trying to reuse them, let me finish. Newspapers are going to become another missing piece to our society, just another subject of history books, if in the future books will even be in print form. So, take a second to gather your daily news, bundle it with care and set it aside. Someday this could also become a source of income, not from recycling, but by having tangible proof of a real newspapers existence. People may offer to pay you just to hold one, or you may choose to sell your entire collection on eBay.

*Have you had any water lately? And did you drink tap water? Presumably not, because we've been led to believe it's full of impurities. So what do we drink instead? Nice, refreshing, purified water and sometimes from a spring water, sipped pleasurably from a plastic bottle. But no more! Like our plastic bags, they are now taxing these bottles, hoping to discourage our consumer-driven-anti-environmental ways. And soon enough, I have no doubt they will try to fully outlaw the use of plastic water bottles. So what should our response be? Chain ourselves to the Evian display in protest? Pray for our Perrier to be protected? No, we continue to drink our precious bottled water, knowing times will soon change. And in protest we refuse to recycle the bottles. We choose to cling to them, knowing someday there may be scientists who would love to sample the plastic from previous eras. And hopefully, as a slight compensation for our inconveniences, would be willing to pay handsomely for these bottles on eBay.

I hope these ideas have assisted you in setting aside some hope for your future. Goodness knows storing up money in your IRA isn't gonna help you any. And if, after all the research I've done and all the saving you've made still hasn't worked, there is still a light a the end of the tunnel. Just start crawling through all of your bags, newspapers and bottles and try to find your telephone. Once found, call directory assistance and ask them for the phone number to a daytime talk show, any daytime talk show. Once you've reached the shows receptionist, kindly implore how much they are compensating guests who appear on their show that live in a self-inflicted landfill.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Departure from Embracing Evil....

I've never been a person to make New Year's resolutions. I think every day can be an opportunity to resolve to do something, not just January 1st. This year, as most years gone by, I didn't officially resolve to do anything different. But now I'm sensing the need to break out of my old habits and embrace change by making a declaration. So today, January 27, 2009, I resolve to try harder to embrace less Evil.

It all began thirteen years ago, I found myself drawn to Evil. It was magnetic, persistent. In a strange new way, it brought me joy. And, contrary to what would be expected, it actually became a bond that held our family together. The focus on this Evil being so strong, my entire family could spend time together in an odd peace. Perhaps we didn't perceive the deception in these moments. Perhaps it was our inner, human nature, the fallen man in us all, but Evil became our delight.

After a time, by the grace of God, we found new life outside of Evil. We began to distance ourselves from the cult-like entity, and thankfully we'd never found others who wanted to join. Distractions with schooling and friends and life drew us apart, and Evil lost its hold. Yet, no matter how hard we all tried, it still lurked in the shadows. It was as if it were a toy, long forgotten in a closet, but longing to be played with. It was still there, unseen but unchanged, waiting to be embraced again.

Years passed, years of peace, of joy. Life. Travel. Marriage. Work. Kids. And then it all changed. My mom called and asked if I could help her. Evil was calling, through her memories and all she wanted was to satisfy that desire. And being the ever-obedient daughter that I am, I couldn't justify telling her no. And I wanted Evil for myself.

I found myself searching, searching for what was right, searching for the perfect fit. And I went where my mother told me to go. I only wish I would've refused, as I have paid dearly.

I went to the website. I clicked on the item and went to the checkout. I purchased the movie, the cult-classic, Evil Roy Slade. And it felt good. But the evil-induced euphoria was short-lived. I soon found that, not only had I bought the DVD for a mere $.25, but they had signed me up for a free trial of their discount DVD community. After seven days they would begin charging me a monthly fee. I immediately went to the site, found a phone number and called asking my name to be removed and all accounts with them closed. No problem. No harm no foul. And Evil would soon arrive.

Within a week, I held the wondrous DVD in my hands, quickly deciding to share Evil with all I knew. It was a happy day.

But then, today I found out all is not well. Evil persists in many forms. There was a charge to my bank account that I had not authorized, from the same company I had purchased the DVD. And when I called, they pretended they couldn't hear me, to the worst extent. After a real person came on the phone and asked my name, they took it, then when I tried to ask for help the non-American person who I had been speaking with quickly gave me this reply, "I'm sorry ma'am, we're experiencing a high volume of calls, please call back at a better time.". What? You can't tell me that! But they did. So, after talking to my bank, and finding multiple charges from the company, I have now forfeited my debit card and will have to patiently wait for a new one.

Some lessons have been learned.
First, Evil can come even through SSL secured sites and wreak havoc on bank accounts.

"Give me *everybody's* money back!" -Evil Roy Slade

Second, I probably shouldn't follow my mom's plans when it comes to online shopping. If this was only the beginning, I don't want to see the end.

"I learned a valuable lesson today. Never trust a pretty girl, or a lonely midget."
-Evil Roy Slade

And lastly, though I will still shop online, I may think twice before asking God for topics to write about. Sometimes answered prayers seem almost Evil, if you know what I mean.

"I ain't giving up. I've worked hard, it took me years to work my way to the bottom". -Evil Roy Slade

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I didn't know I had time for infomercials in my schedule.

Life is complicated. We're raised with rules. We're raised to believe that life necessitates morals. I think that most of us have grown up with this modeled for us. Parents give rules and guidelines. They help set paths so that we aren't led astray. As a parent myself, daily I'm faced with encouraging my kids to follow rules. I tell them it's to keep them safe, to help them learn to obey, to show respect, to... to do it because I just said so!

Yet, in life we also have this inherent desire to push limits and decide which rules should be broken. Children are constantly found testing limits, at least in my house.

"What's wrong with feeding the cat lunch meat on the brown chair?" Maybe it's because we don't even have a cat, that cat is the neighbors. And because that's the only piece of furniture that doesn't look like it's been attacked by rabid monkeys.

"Why wont you let me jump on your bed?!" I wonder if it's because that's how you got seven staples in your head in the ER? Did that head injury affect your memory, too??

"Can I get a new, real tattoo?" When you're old enough and you have a good idea...

This brings into play the "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. It seems inevitable that eventually those words will spill forth from our mouths, as we regret every syllable. But, as you run across the street to catch the dog without looking for cars, so it must be said.

Why does this all come up? Because, as child I was taught to not speak to strangers. Not to fear them either, but to be cautious. And, now as a parent I find myself thinking about "Stranger Danger" (thank you Berenstain Bears), and how to teach my kids. And I wonder how, after growing up and taking this lesson to heart, my mother never believed it herself.

My mom talked to a stranger, and not just any stranger, but a stranger that offered her chocolate. And then invited her to come to a house to get more "free" chocolate. Did she run? Did she flee? No. She, envisioning chocolate like Edmund envisions Turkish delight in the Chronicles of Narnia, wanted only more. Though, to her credit, unlike greedy little Edmund, she wanted to share the spoils. So, she invited me.

Words cannot describe the dread I faced as I approached the poorly lit house. And even after arriving and finding many familiar faces within(familiar only to my mother), I still couldn't help but worry. I kept envisioning triangles and pyramids and other random geometric shapes. To be sure, everything I feared came to pass. We sat through an hour-long preview of what will soon be the nations next leading infomercial.

"It's fun! It's FUN! I like FUN! I like cookies! I never knew it could be SO FUN!"

"And yes, it's true, she's even a doctor. A real doctor!. A real doctor endorsing this!"

"It cured my diabetes, my blood pressure, my hypoglycemia, ADHD, glaucoma, even my iron deficiency, mermaid syndrome, narcolepsy, baldness, irrational fear of bats, my asthma, my head lice and I even grew back one of my missing toes!"

To be sure, after our secret meeting was over, it would happen sooner or later. Someone would be the first to leak the info on this miracle drug. I decided that someone would be me. How will we make millions? How will we cure almost every disease? What is this wonder-drug? Chocolate.

Yet, as much as I wont buy what they're giving, I wont deny that I will continue to benefit from my own self-prescribed dosage. But, unlike as was recommended by these fun-loving strangers, I will not be eating my chocolate in the evening as a replacement for mouthwash. No eating after brushing my teeth is one rule I just can't break.