Looks like I should have moved up the timeline in The Third 20 or 30 years.
From The Third
“The cooler’s not working,” Ransom said as he fished around in his wallet for the right change and his ration card.
“It needs coolant,” the clerk answered as he rang up the soda and the bottle deposit and punched Ransom’s ration card with perfunctory motions. “Ordered some a month ago. Has to come all the way from Reno. No telling when it will arrive.”
Harden stood in the entrance of the bakery to watch the boys, but the crowd moved forward. He had to apologize for running late and shut the door again. Then he hurried back to the counter and retrieved a loaf of bread from the shelf. He set it in front of Ransom, but put his hand over it before Ransom could touch it.
“Sorry, but I can only give you one loaf,” he said. “My flour ration was cut last week, so I’m only able to make half of what we
Article from The Telegraph (UK) Monday, November 29, 2010
Cancun climate change summit: scientists call for rationing in developed world
Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are calling for Second World War-style rationing in rich countries to bring down carbon emissions.
[Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research], said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last “time of crisis” in the 1930s and 40s.
This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models. Food that has travelled from abroad may be limited and goods that require a lot of energy to manufacture.
“The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face,” he said.
Thanks to everyone who sent in their holiday widower questions. I’m working on answering them all of them personally while addressing the most common topics on the blog.
By far the most frequent holiday that found its way to my inbox was about widowers who get sad, depressed, or moody during the holiday season. One woman wrote that she was dating a man who had been widowed for two years and felt like the entire holiday season was going to be spoiled because he’s become more distant and doesn’t want to participate in planned holiday activities.
I want to have empathy for these widowers. I really do. I know that holidays can feel empty without their wife by their side. I couldn’t wait for my first Christmas without her to be over because all I could think about was that she wasn’t around.
The problem is that these widowers have willingly become involved in a committed relationship. If they’re willing to commit to someone, they need to man up and make the holiday season enjoyable for the new woman in their life. That might mean trying out a new tradition, spending a day with her friends and family, or just enjoying some alone time with the new woman. It doesn’t mean sitting at home sulking or becoming withdrawn and uncommunicative.
My gut says that widowers in a committed relationship who become overly withdrawn during the holidays or other special occasions aren’t ready to move on. Talk to the widower about what’s bugging him, but unless he can find the strength to man up and make you number one, plan on having more holidays and special occasions ruined.
Q: What’s the difference between an English major and a large pizza?
A: A large pizza can feed a family of four.
The above is a joke was one that was often shared among my friends during my last year of college. As our graduation date neared, all of us were nervous about graduating and entering the real world because, unlike those with degrees in accounting, business, or chemistry, we had no sure job prospects. Aside from teaching, no one really knew how to turn their English degree into a full-time job.
I was reminded of this after reading an article that Hit Coffee posted about English majors received advice on how to make the move from college to the real world.
English majors at the University [of Illinois] received real-world advice from an alumus and author about making the transition from college to career. On Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Robert Prescott delivered a presentation to over 35 people called “Hiring Humanists: Strategies for Cooperation Between Humanities Departments and Career Services.”
To choose the English major is to embrace uncertainty,” Prescott said. “The humanities do not directly train you for one specific job. They are giving you a skill set and then you have to determine out of all of that forest which tree you’re going to climb.”
Though I think getting advice on how to make the transition from academia to the job market is helpful to those pursing English and other worthless* degrees, I think they’d be better served if you had someone with real world experience talking to them. According to the article, “64 percent of English graduates work in business, 10 percent work in the government and 27 percent work in education, with less than 1 percent holding Ph.D.’s.” Yet they two people they have talk to them is an author and someone with a PhD in English—statically the least two likely occupations for English majors. It would be much more useful to these students to have someone who works in business, education (not at the college level), and government tell them how they used their skills to get their current jobs.
I suggest this because it sounds like the advice students are getting isn’t very helpful.
According to Prescott, an English major teaches students analytical, oral communication, interpersonal, writing, research and computer skills. These skills help students grow as people and citizens by giving them the ability to project themselves into a situation, state opinions and argue and build empathy and collegiality.
Try telling an employer that you can protect yourself into situations, state opinions, argue and build empathy and collegiality and see how far it gets you.
Instead of spewing academic gobbledygook at them, get some real world professionals in front of these kids who can give some useful advice. I guarantee someone in the business world could tell them how to turn their skills into real experience than someone with a PhD who sounds like he has little, if any, experience outside the confines academia. It’s one thing to tell students that an English degree teaches certain skills, but it’s something else to hear about it from someone who’s actually turned those skills into something an employer will value.
For example, if I had to talk to a room full of anxious English majors, I’d could tell them how started out as a technical writer, made the transition to a marketing/copy writer, what employers look if they want to consider these options as a career path. And for all the wannabe authors, I could tell them that an English degree doesn’t matter that much when it comes to getting published or having a successful writing career. Some friends I graduated with could tell similar stories.
Of course any degree only goes so far. Your future is what YOU make it. And as you get along in your career, you’ll find that most people don’t care what your degree is in. Still, advice from real world professionals might make the transition easier as students with an English degree leave campus and step into real world.
* To be fair, a bachelor’s degree in English is worth more in the marketplace than a bachelor’s degree in sociology, women’s studies, art history, psychology, philosophy, music therapy, Star Wars studies, and religion.
Back in my comic book reading days I was always more partial to the DC Universe. Most of the reason for that was that I was such a big Batman fan. But part of it came from my dad who really liked Green Lantern, Superman, Aquaman, and other DC heroes. I have many distinct memories lying on the floor of our living room and my Dad pointing at the pictures and reading Green Lantern and Superman comic books too me. (Green Lantern must have made a real impression because other day when I was going through a box of my comics, I found ten Green Lantern comics from the mid-1990s when the series was re-launched.)
Despite some good superhero characters, DC has done a horrible job of turning these characters into blockbuster movies. (Anyone remember that horrible Superman Returns movie that was released in 2006? Yeah, I don’t either.) The lone exception is Batman. Marvel, on the other hand, can turn most of its big-name characters like Spiderman, Iron Man and the X-Men into entertaining movies and win a new generation of fans.
So when there was some buzz about the upcoming Green Lantern movie was leaking out of Comic Con I tried not to get my hopes up. Then I saw the Green Lantern trailer when it was released on Wednesday. And you know what, it doesn’t look too bad. (Watch it below and decide for yourself.)
Granted those who make the trailers can make any movie look good and I’ll reserve final judgment until I actually see the film. However, it does give me hope that DC has learned that you can’t sell a movie on the character and his or her superpowers alone. You need strong script writing, human but strong superheroes, compelling villains, and a great plot and awesome special affect to make something worth watching.
I really hope DC has upped their storytelling a notch or two. Any more movie bombs and I’ll have a hard time passing on my love of DC characters to my kids because they’ll equate the characters with horrible movies.
Because I didn’t have any living children when I dated Marathon Girl, I’m always a bit hesitant to give advice to women who are dating widowers with minor children still living at home. (I define a minor child as anyone 17 and under. For suggestions on dealing with adult children, read this Widower Wednesday column.) Still I receive lots of email on the subject I’m going to give out some general guidelines that might help.
Beware of widowers who are just looking for someone to help out with the kids. I’m amazed at the number of emails from women who have turned into fulltime, unpaid nannies whose main job is to take care of the kids and have sex with the widower at night. Unless you marry the guy, never forget that his kids are his responsibility—not yours. That doesn’t mean you can’t help out on occasion but it shouldn’t dedicate your life to raising them unless you become their stepmother. Never become an unpaid nanny with benefits. If you do, odd are the relationship won’t work out.
Don’t expect the widower to take down all the photos off the late wife. Generally I prefer widowers to remove photos/shrines/memorials to the late wife and replace them with photos of the new love. However, I generally make exceptions to this rule when minor children are home. The kids are probably having a hard enough time seeing dad with someone else. They last thing they need is all the photos of their mom removed from the living room.
Realize that widowers with minor children living at home might not be able to spend as much “alone time” with as you both may want. Widowers who work to support their kids often find themselves with limited time to be a dad. This means wants to spend time with you, your dates may involve going to his children’s soccer games or other activities. One-on-one time is important in any relationship but it’s harder to come by when kids are at home. Besides if you marry the guy, odds are you’re going to spending most of your time with him and his kids. Better get used to it.
Don’t be jealous of the time and attention the widower pays to the kids. As far as I’m concerned, his kids (minor children living at home) should be his number one priority. If he’s managed to find time for a relationship, that’s great but the wants and needs of his kids should come first. If the relationship is meant to be, you and the widower will find a way to make it work.
If the kids hate or resent you, treat them kindly. You can’t control what others think of you. And seeing their dad with someone other than mom is probably hard on most kids. If they say unkind things toward you or try to push your buttons, respond with love and kindness. This is the same advice I give when dealing with others who may not approve of the relationship. It may not be easy to turn the other cheek, but, in the end, you’ll win more people over this way.
If you don’t like the way the widower disciplines (or refuses to discipline) his kids, don’t expect anything to change once you’re in a committed relationship, engaged, or married. Odds are the discipline (or lack thereof) will continue even after you’re the stepmom. If you can’t live with it, bail out before it’s too late.
And remember, Everything will go a lot easier if you’re able to talk to the widower about his kids and your relationship. Do your best to have open lines of communication. It will go a long way to solving problems that arise.
Dating a widower? Having issues? Send me an email and it might be addressed in a future Widower Wednesday column. At the very least, you’ll get a personal reply.
San Francisco recently banned toys in kids meals with high fat content in an attempt to help put the brakes on childhood obesity. This makes me seriously wonder if any members of the board of supervisors have kids of their own. Most kids don’t want to go to McDonalds because they can get a toy. Most kids (including my own) want to go because so they can play in the big play area and they like the food. They’ve never, ever asked to go to McDonalds or any other fast food restraint so they could get a toy. And, no, my kids aren’t an anomaly, research backs this up.
Losing weight is as simple as eating fewer calories. You don’t need fancy diets. You don’t need to exercise. Just use some self-control and eat less. Don’t believe me? Ask Mark Haub who lost 27 pounds in two months eating protein shakes, green beans, and twinkies.
The one thing that bugged me about the article about Haub was that they touted that his body mass index (BMI) “went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9, which is normal.” Normal? Never, ever use the BMI as an indication of health or being “normal.” Aside from the fact that everyone has different body types, the BMI measures mass – not health or ideal wieght. When I enter in my height and weight I come out with a BMI of 26.9. (That’s about in the middle of the overweight column.) The reason? I have a lot of muscle mass from daily weight lifting routines. I’d probably have a lot more muscle (and a higher BMI) if I didn’t run 20+ miles a week. Overweight? Not. A. Chance.
Speaking of people with weight problems, here’s one more reason to like New Jersey governor Chris Christie. I wish he was governor of Utah. (Hat tip: Half Sigma)
I’m about half way through NaNoWriMo and have mixed feelings about it. For all my author and wannabe author friends, I’ll post a summary of the experience after it comes to an end.
I managed to take my kids to 4 out of 5 Weber State football games this fall. Of course I missed the one game I really wanted to attend. But all the kids had fun and it was fun family time. They’re already asking when we can buy tickets for next year.
My Broncos are suffering through another ignominious football season. It would be a lot worse, however, if I was a Cowboys fan.
Marathon Girl bought some Christmas music the other day. As a result, it’s all the kids want to listen to. For some reason I just can’t get into any holiday spirit unless it’s after Thanksgiving and there’s snow on the ground. I guess this means I’d be a constant grouch if we ever move to Houston.
I’ve done a bad job of updating my blog roll. I checked it the other day and realized that a lot of the people I listed no longer blog or have changed their blog address. Anyway, I’ve updated it. Check it out when you have a minute. And if you have any blog suggestions, feel free to send them my way. I’m always looking for a good read.
Dating a widower is not only hard on the late wife’s family, but it can be very hard on the widower’s children. When I receive emails asking me how to deal with children, my advice differs depending on whether the kids are minors still living at home or legal adults. In this Widower Wednesday segment I’m going to focus specifically on adult children—those who are 18 or older. (I’ll focus on young children and teenagers next week.)
Seeing their father with another woman can be hard on his kids no matter how old they are. Many of them are still grieving their mother and can’t understand how dad can move on and “replace” Mom. It’s a natural reaction and I don’t blame anyone for wondering why their father wants to date again. If it weren’t for my own experience, I’d probably have a difficult time seeing my dad with someone else if my mom were to pass on.
Since there’s nothing you can do about the thoughts or actions of another person, don’t concern yourself with whether or not his adult children like you or approve of their father dating again. You can always try to win his adult children by showing them love and respect no matter what they say or how they treat you. What you should keep a sharp eye on, however, is how the widower responds to his adult children’s childish and controlling demands.
For example, a woman recently emailed me about a widower she was in a committed relationship with. The widower’s adult children invited him over for the Thanksgiving but made it clear that she was not invited because it was too painful to see their dad being affectionate with someone other than their mom. Instead of telling his kids that the new woman was part of his life, the widower decided to abide by his children’s wishes and spend Thanksgiving with them.
In short, this widower chose his kids—who are grown and have families of their own—over the new woman in his life. It’s not a good sign if you’re looking for a successful, long-term relationship. Instead of giving in to his kids, the widower should have explained that he was in a committed relationship with someone else and would be happy to call them over the holidays since he can’t attend without this special woman.
You want a widower with a backbone—one who can say NO to unreasonable demands from his adult kids. Because if he can’t stand up to them now, odds are he’s not going to stand up to them when Christmas, birthdays or other occasions roll around. Instead of being at his side, you’re going to find yourself in the number two position time and time again.
Talk about it with him all you want but odds are at this stage in the game if the children are controlling of their father, it’s not going to change unless the widower put you first.
Finally, thanks to all those who submitted holiday widower issues. If you still have holiday some, please send them in. I’ll start answering holiday questions on November 24 and for several weeks following. If you have any other dating a widower issue you’d like to me address, send me an email.
My friend Phil noticed The Third is now available for pre-order on Amazon even though the book isn’t scheduled for release until sometime in April 2011. So for those who want to pre-order it, you can do it here.
A common issue that comes in my inbox is how women dating widowers should deal with the late wife’s family. Generally the widower is in regular contact with his late wife’s family and somewhat regularly attends her family events. This usually brings up two problems. The first is how to handle those related to the late wife are standoffish, rude, or vocally upset that the widower is dating again. The second concern is that many women feel like the widower spends too much time with the late wife’s family instead of trying to build a new relationship with her.
As to the first issue, there’s nothing you can do about the thoughts or actions of others. All you can do is choose how you respond to remarks or the cold shoulders others may give you. Kind words and loving actions are usually the best way to handle these situations. Love and kindness may not be the easiest response but they’re the ones that win people over in the long run.
Don’t take their comments or actions too personally. Those who have a hard time seeing the widower with someone other than the late wife are usually those who are still grieving the loss of their daughter, sister, or friend. They’re have a hard time accepting the fact that the widower’s is moving on.
The other thing you want to look for in these situations is if the widower stands up for you. If he knows how their treating you and does nothing to stop them, you need to decide if you can have a relationship “weenie widower” as my friend C calls them. If he can’t defend you with the late wife’s in-laws, there will be other situations where he won’t defend you either. Having a widower with a spine goes a long way to make these situations easier.
As to him spending time with the late wife’s family, you shouldn’t expect him to cut off contact completely with the late wife’s family. Unless he had a bad relationship with them when the late wife was alive, odds are they’re going to be part of your relationship with him—especially if he and the late wife had kids. Having the late wife’s family as part of your relationship with this is something you need to decide if you can live with.
Where I’d be concerned is if he spends so much time with the late wife’s family that you feel he’s neglecting your relationship. Often the late wife’s family will help him get through the tough times by watching kids or just being there for him. This can create a bond that is difficult to sever.
However, part of starting a new life means putting the old one behind you. A widower who is serious about moving on and starting a new relationship should spending less time with the late wife’s family and more time with you. If he had a hard time doing this, I’d worry whether or not he’s willing to fully commit to you.
As always, if you’re having difficulties with the late wife’s family or are concerned with how much time he’s spending with them, talk to him about your concerns. Couples with strong relationships all have the ability to talk openly and honestly one with another. Strong communication skills are vital if your relationship is going to have any chance to work out.
The holidays are coming up. If you have any particular widower-related holiday issues you’d like discussed on Widower Wednesday, send me an email. I’ll be posting holiday related topics staring on November 24.
NaNoWriMo begins….now. I’m off to meet my ambitious writing goals. I’ll post an occasional update but for those interested in keeping score, you can do so through the trusty widget above or on the side of my blog. Hopefully I’ll have a good first draft when the month is over.