(Round Two MAPLE XII) Mother’s Day

I am blessed to have a loving, supporting family, particularly with some of the challenges in Asperger syndrome that I faced as a young child.  I think that it all comes back to my parents, and especially Mom.  Let me see if I can find 10 things on which to comment.

1) Mom has been there to speak for me. In times when I was unable to voice my own thoughts due to being in my own Asperger world, or in times where I had no authority to speak for myself, Mom has masterfully helped me out.  This was especially true in elementary school, when Mom was able to set me up for success through talking with the teachers about my unique challenges and talents.

2) Mom and Dad make a great team in parenting.  In psychology, I learnt of three different parenting styles: permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian.  Though Dad seemed to raise us in more of an authoritarian style, especially with regards to chores, Mom gave us freedom to explore and make mistakes.  The combination of these styles was not confusing or disorienting, but rather worked well together in retrospect.

3) Mom has been the do-it-all in my family.  When my siblings and I were young teenagers, she was the jack of all trades, as chauffeur, chef gourmet, sports cheerleader, part-time worker, full-time mom, tutor, and more.  It is amazing all of the things that moms do that are under-appreciated.

4) Mom is my closest social contact.  Whether this is because I am very close to her or whether it is the “Jewish mother syndrome” on her end, she is my most frequent outbound and inbound number on my cell phone.

5) Mom has encouraged me to branch out.  This goes somewhat in tandem with #2, as I needed a lot of support when I was younger in order to even enter social situations.  This got me into excellent activities like musical instruments, academic clubs at school, and bridge.

6) Mom is a great friend.  There are some people who say that parents should be parents, not friends.  However, this oversimplifies the issue.  It is great having Mom & Noah as a “friend” relationship, such as when bowling, watching TV, or playing board games.  As I recently learned, I think that good parenting is much like “leadership,” which does NOT translate to management!

7) Mom understands our family.  The tight family bonds that I feel we have are due to Mom’s understanding of the whole dynamic.  I am blessed in this way.

8) Mom has few material wants (as far as I can tell, at least :)).  This has rubbed off on me as well, as what makes me happy tends to be more the presence of people, conversation, learning, and “doing”.  I don’t need a lot of “things” to make me happy.

9) Mom is able to be there for us.  After I was hit by a car while biking on November 22, 2011, Mom asked me if she could take the “emergency provision” and come to Chicago.  Thankfully, since I was going to Milwaukee anyway the next day for Thanksgiving with my cousins, it worked out even though I turned down Mom’s offer.  If they weren’t as physically close, I would have accepted Mom’s offer in a heartbeat.  

10) (Since brevity is the soul of wit…) Mom is Mom.  No other motherly figure could have gotten me to where I am today.

Mom & Noah Blue Jan 1 2013

–BACK MATTER–

Today is the twelfth day of MAPLE, for one week and five days.

היום שבעה וארבעים יום, שהם ששה שבועות וחמישה ימים לעמר

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(OCTOBER XXVIII) Biking for groceries

Ever since I have lived in Evanston, my main method of going to get groceries has been on the bike.  The other ways that I could do it, though, are carpooling, public transit, walking, or taking out a Zipcar.  (Personal vehicles are excluded from this discussion, since I don’t own one!  Similarly, this discussion is based off my personal possession of items that would facilitate grocery shopping.)  Each has advantages and disadvantages, of which I enumerate (no, make that itemize) and occasionally expand on below:

Biking.

Advantages:

* You can only carry a limited number of items, compared to when a car is available. This is a positive since it reduces the likelihood of adding impulse items to the cart.

* If the bike isn’t equipped with panniers, it encourages the cyclist to use reusable bags and/or a backpack.  Go green!

–> Corollary: It provides not only some leg exercise, but some resistance exercise for the upper body as well.  (Granted, this might not be so much exercise as it is dangerous strain.  With how I shop, will I need to eventually put a chiropractor on speed dial?)

* With a bike, unlike public transit, carpooling, or Zipcar, you have total freedom with when to go shopping.  Zipcar is mostly independent of time, but there’s a chance that the nearby car(s) are all taken during the time that you really want to go to the store.

Disadvantages:

* Cycling is more dangerous than the other modes of transportation, especially if the return ride is an awkward carry.

–> This is particularly true in the winter, if ice or snow is on the ground.

* Not only is there limited space to carry items, but some heavy and/or awkward items would be difficult or impossible to carry on a bike.

Public transit

Advantages:

* Since I use my rolling suitcase when shopping via public transit, it allows me to buy items that would not be practical to buy on bike.  This includes, for example, multi-packs of pop or big bags of rice.

* There may be some amount of walking involved, although this is usually trivial.

* Again, only a limited number of items can be bought.

Disadvantages:

* You are at the mercy of the schedule of the bus and/or L, and all the disadvantages of public transit on any other type of trip.

* The bus/train may be crowded on your return trip, leading to difficulty if you bought a lot of items.

Zipcar

Advantages:

* You can buy more items than you could when using public transit, biking, or walking.

* Similarly, it is the way to go when there are items that are “impossible” to take on bike, train, or bus.  (Canonical example: larger items from Target, like when I got the drawers).

Disadvantages:

* The most expensive alternative that I have listed here.

* The car may not be available at the time that you need it.

Carpooling

Advantages:

* Same as Zipcar.

* The person you are carpooling with is going to the store anyway, right?

Disadvantages:

* Might be the most inflexible of the alternatives.  You and your carpool comrade must agree on a time, which can be difficult.

* You might have to pay for gas.  (Not a major deal, of course).

Walking.

Advantages:

* Many of the same “green” and “exercise” advantages as what I itemized on biking.

* More practical to use a rolling suitcase here than when biking.

Disadvantages:

* The most time-consuming alternative.

* Although there are several stores within walking distance (i.e. <2 miles) of Engelhart, the sidewalks are not always great.  (Furthermore, I would rather bike!)

Of course, no matter what method you use to get groceries, it pays to know that there are often multiple ways to get around.   Though I love biking, there are times where it is better to use another method.

Today is the twenty-eighth day of O.C.T.O.B.E.R.  That makes four weeks.  (Three days to go!)