Not Your Most Conventional Career Goal

Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up and you may be surprised by their answers. Perhaps they want to be like Mom and Dad and have a job just like them, or maybe they dream of becoming a teacher, firefighter, astronaut, doctor, or superhero.

Bryce, being a child of the Internet age, has quite an interesting aspiration. He wants to have a kids teaching YouTube channel—complete with commercials. He was telling me today that his first episode will be about vegetables, and although there are already several videos teaching children about every vegetable from A-Z (that’s how a three year old was able to tell me all about fennel), Bryce wants to both inform his viewers about vegetables and then have his dad make a pot of vegetable soup.

He has also given a lot of thought to his first commercial. He wants it to be a commercial for his newest favorite sandwich restaurant—Subway. Similar to how a man named Jared lost 245 pounds by eating a six-inch turkey sandwich for lunch and a 12-inch Veggie Delite sandwich for dinner for eleven months, Bryce wants to show his viewers how eating Subway sandwiches can make kid grow taller.

It turns out that Bryce is not unique in his career aspirations. According to a survey of 1000 children, the number three dream job for boys under the age of sixteen is having their own YouTube station. Check it out:

What’s his next show, you ask? Bryce is already planning episode #2, which will be a show about marble races. Stay tuned!

She Knows About Fennel?

Our grandchildren are being raised similarly to the way our children were raised as far as food is concerned, which is to introduce them to all sorts of food—lots of ethnic meals, fish, and spice-filled dishes—at very early ages.

Therefore, I should not have been surprised when I was asked by three-year-old Lily, “Grandma, do you like fennel? I like fennel, but my friend Sophia does not like fennel.” I admitted to her that I had never tried fennel but I would find a recipe with fennel soon. She then went on to tell me that “fennel is a root vegetable.”

That was a surprise to learn that she knew that. How did she know that? I soon had my answer. While visiting her yesterday, she asked to watch some videos, and one of them was about vegetables. I remember hearing that while both kids were at the grocery store, they pointed to a few items in the produce aisle and informed their dad that they were root vegetables.

So this brings up a problem. We all know that both adults and children are too connected to their electronic devices and plugged into their televisions far too long at the expense of free play and outdoor time. The obvious answer, particularly in the case of very young children, is to severely limit their e-time. However, I look at what they are learning—identifying root vegetables,the names and capitals of the states, and  not only the names and characteristics of the planets, but the dwarf planets as well.

What is today’s parent to do? How much is too much—that is the question.

Nobody Was Surprised

Yesterday, I wrote on my other blog about my recent discovery that my dad attended intelligence school (aka the “Ritchie Boys” Spy School in Maryland) while he was in the army. If you haven’t seen it, check out “Daddy Went to Spy School.”

The reactions by members of my family were amusing considering the subject matter. While two of my siblings had not heard this, they were, like me, not surprised. I guess because of Grandpa’s Russian background and the visit by the FBI during the fifties, it was always a thought in the back of our minds that there was a lot more to him.  I think he would have elaborated, but most of us never asked him.

One of my sisters said my father had mentioned it to her, but she did not know any of the details, particularly why he never worked as a spy after having been trained as one.

Dad and Mark said they thought this had been a fact. It was not news to them. “Of course your father worked in intelligence. Didn’t everyone know this?”

I need to take another trip to the National Archives to see what else I can dig up about him.

Snazzy Yet Sensible

It is now a little more than three weeks until our big family wedding and I still do not have a dress. I think I have decided on an alternative outfit, which is the jumpsuit I stumbled upon while passing through Macy’s when I went to see if the spring line of clothes was finally available.

I like that little navy blue number, and I have received enough encouragement to make me feel confident that this is a good choice. Still, I can’t stop thinking about the trips to the loo, because there is no way I will not have a glass or two of wine and a sip of beer during the entire day. Sadly, there is no trap door in my jumpsuit.

So I made two trips to the mall as well as two to Macy’s and left without finding a dress, but I did feel better after seeing an abundance of jumpsuits, so at least I know this mommy/grandma will be stylish. Next, I needed to decide on the shoes, so since I hate to shop, I decided to see if my closet would save me a trip to the shoe store of torture.

My in-home shopping trip yielded five possibilities: 1 silver, 1 gold, and 3 black. All but one were opened-toed and open-backed.  Which to choose, which to choose since they are all comfortable?

We have been told that “it probably won’t snow during the last weekend in April.” Probably is not the same as definitely, and I would prefer to keep my toes warm. So knowing that the fashion police will hall me off to style jail if I am caught wearing pantyhose or knee highs with anything other than a closed shoe where I can hide my little tootsie warmers, I am leaning toward the closed shoes.

I have finally decided that, as my mother always says, “Who is looking at me?” I am a grandmother of two and am collecting social security. I am not far from collecting Medicare, I have a replacement hip, and more than one achy bone. When Bryce recently asked me how old I was, his response when I answered truthfully was, “Uh oh Grandma!” I am able to admit that that I am no longer young.

But if my outfit is snazzy, who really cares what I am wearing on my feet? And if I end up dancing the evening away, I may end up kicking off my shoes anyway. So it’s decided. I am wearing the groovy navy blue jumpsuit and my closed-toe shoes. Anyone who doesn’t like it will not get invited to the next wedding!

The Russians Love Lowe’s

As a country of immigrants, it is common to meet people from different countries and to hear different languages being spoken. I love walking into a restaurant of a country whose cuisine I have never tasted or experimenting with a recipe from a country whose food is unfamiliar to me.

I am accustomed to seeing signs printed in both English and Spanish, but I must say I was surprised with the sign I saw above the cashier during my recent visit to Lowe’s Home Improvement store. At the top, in bold white letters on a red background, were the instructions to “point to the sentence you can read,” followed by the same sentence in four other languages.

“That’s nice,” I thought, but as my eyes drifted downward while I viewed the entire sign, my thoughts changed to “That’s weird,” when I noticed the fourth language on the list: Russian! The others, in order, were Spanish, French, and Chinese.

Now I know Russia is all around us, and if we watch the news or even many television shows, we cannot go a day without hearing about someone or something Russian-related. But are there really enough people in my country, or my state, to warrant a sign at Lowe’s having Russian as one of the five languages on that sign? I decided to do some research.

The most commonly-spoken languages after English are:

South Carolina                                                             United States

Spanish                                                                         Spanish

German                                                                        Chinese

French                                                                          Tagalog

Chinese                                                                        Vietnamese

Tagalog                                                                        French

Vietnamese                                                                 Korean

Arabic                                                                          German

Russian                                                                        Arabic

Korean                                                                         Russian

Gujarati                                                                        African Languages

On both a state and national level, the census bureau puts Russia at #8 and #9 of commonly spoken languages, so are there, perhaps, more Russian spies making purchases of hammers, saws, vices, and toilets at Lowe’s than the average speakers of that language? And what could possibly be the reason that Russian beats out Chinese and Tagalog (a language spoken in the Philippines)?

This inquiring mind wants to know.