Category: It’s all about me

Little Things

Last week was back to back insanity, just flat out nuts with a side order of completely off the deep end. It was like being at the beach at high tide in a hurricane. The waves were big and they just kept coming and coming. During those times, it is the little things that are life preservers helping you ride out the REALLY big waves. So, I bring you last week’s little things.

The Scarf – Wednesday night was by far the hottest and most humid day of the summer. It was also Cub Scout Family Fun night, the annual end-of-year celebration and recruitment night for the local Cub Scout Pack. While there I was gifted with a beautiful, hand made, scarf as recognition for work I did to raise funds to purchase t-shirts for the boys. We raised double the amount we needed, but that had more to do with the awesome generosity of the businesses in our town than it did with the letter I wrote. Still, I got teary. It was especially meaningful because the woman who made it for me is more involved than I am in local activities. She’s flat out too and she’s making a scarf for me!

'Valet Parking' photo (c) 2011, Britt Reints - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ Valet Parking – On Friday, I drove to Boston to take my mom to the hospital for a medical procedure. This promised to be a stressful day from start to finish. We were late arriving (not my fault). We opted to use the valet parking service to expedite thing but realized we forgot to grab my mom’s handicapped parking placard. When we pulled up, we were immediately assisted by 2 valet parking attendants and a greeter. When one of the attendants saw my mom’s wheelchair, he took back the regular valet parking ticket and gave me the discounted handicapped parking ticket even though we didn’t have the placard. As I got on the elevator to take my mom upstairs, I realized I was still clutching the man’s tip in my hands. Argh!! Eight hours later, post procedure my mom was resting relatively comfortably, and I facing an hour an a half drive.  It was time to search for my car. Valet parking was closed and I was directed to the parking garage across the street. I had visions of wandering the 12 floors with my key fob clicking the panic button looking for my car. But no, the kind valet parking attendant who didn’t get a tip, left my car right by the door.

Knowledge Sponge – When all was said and done, I grabbed some down time with my husband and daughter on Sunday afternoon. After some fun, we ended up visiting family, which resulted in an impromptu barbecue. Towards the end of the night I went in search of my daughter and found her inside watching Fox News. I pointed out that she could probably find The Disney Channel, but she said “No, this is interesting.” Closer investigation revealed she was watching “Millennials Speak Out”, a show where 20 somethings shared their concerns with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Man I love this kid.

A Low Vision Moment

Vertical photo of my perspective as I was walking down the sidewalk of the strip mall
Next time I was there, I took a picture, but of course the offending balloon was gone.

I do not see as well as most of the population. I am extremely light sensitive which has lead me to walk in to more than a few stationary objects as I’m blinded by the sun. I say “Excuse me.” only to realize I apologized to a parking meter or a trash can. I also have no depth perception. Most of the time, I do a pretty good job of faking it, but every once in a while, I have a coping mechanism failure of epic proportions. This is the story of one those moments.

Recently husband and I were having lunch at a local restaurant, nothing fancy, just the breakfast/sandwich joint in the only strip mall in town. This strip mall is home to a hair salon, a candy store, a gift shop, a contract postal station and the pizza place (small town living people). After we placed our order, I headed down the sidewalk to the post office. I could see the candy story had an a-frame sign out and beyond it, a woman was striding towards me carrying a yellow mylar balloon with a smiley face on it I could only see the balloon, no face. Being my chipper self, I said “My aren’t you smiley today”. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized she was NOT in fact carrying the balloon, it was attached to the a-frame and the wind was blowing in such away that it blocked her face.

With an annoyed smile on her face. She said, “Don’t even get me started.” in a way that let me know she wasn’t happy, but she wasn’t annoyed with me either. As she entered the hair salon, I tried to explain, but my words were a jumbled mess and she was on a mission.

Oops!

Ah, life with low vision.

 

The Creep

When I was a little girl, I was sexually assaulted. It seems like a harsh description for what happened, but when a man fifteen years older than you makes you touch his penis, what do you call it?

I heard The Creep go to the bathroom. I heard the door open, and his footsteps on the carpet as he walked to my doorway. I feigned sleep to avoid getting in trouble for still being awake. Then he was beside my bed, a shadow with scraggly hair blocking the glow from the night light across the room. There was an odor I didn’t recognize.

He took my hand and brought it towards his jeans. I brushed skin. I giggled, yanked my hand back, and rolled to the other side of my double bed. “Just touch me.”

I thought it was a game, like tag. I remember sliding off the other side of the bed still giggling. “Sssshhhhhh” his tone wasn’t angry. He spoke calmly, but quietly, using his voice to soothe me into doing his bidding. We played cat and mouse for a few minutes. Eventually, he gave up and went back downstairs. I still sucked my thumb and my hand smelled funny. I washed my hands and went back to bed eventually falling asleep.

He came back. I remember the feel of the cool, jagged edges of the zipper on my fingers. Then I was abruptly, fully awake, touching him. Again, I yanked my hand back and rolled to the other side of the bed telling him to go away. He kept saying he just wanted me to touch him. This time, I jumped to the floor and landed with a loud thud. This scared him off and my mother came home not long after. Tired and not wanting to get in trouble, I went back to sleep.

The next morning as she was making her coffee, I told her the story of my night time visitor. She would later tell me that I was calm and matter-of-fact. I was annoyed that he woke me and I didn’t like the smell of musk my hands.

There were many conversations in the days that followed and a trip to the doctor. My mom and Dennis were calm and asked me to tell the story again. I never wavered. They found the money to fix the first floor bathroom. They told me he was wrong to be in my room. They told me that sometimes it is ok to stay awake. They told me that he and his girlfriend would NEVER stay with me again. They told me I was right to tell an adult and taught me what to do should I ever be in that position again. It was only then that I started to understand the seriousness of what had transpired.

This incident while a part of my history, does not raise a huge specter in my life. It was an isolated incident that didn’t escalate. I think the impact was lessoned because of the way my mother reacted. I’m sure she was dying inside, but to my face, she remained calm and collected. I told my story. She listened to me and made sure I felt safe. To my young mind, feeling safe meant I would never be left in the house alone with The Creep again.

Later, I would learn that my mother filed charges. The Creep wasn’t convicted because she refused to let me testify. In hindsight, I have mixed feelings about that. The adult in me wants the little girl to testify. But the parent in me understands why she wouldn’t put a child through that experience.

I was lucky. I told a trusted grown up, she listened to my story, heard my fears and worked to chase the monsters away. For me, they never came back.

I’ve hemmed and hawed about posting this story. In light of other stories of abuse, it just doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. Still, I was bothered by a discussion on Facebook about the charges pending against Jerry Sandusky and Penn State’s handling of the whole issue. The poster said “we all make choices, those victims have voices, why didn’t they speak up?”

Really?

Even Paterno’s bosses couldn’t get him to step down. He and his inner circle including Sandusky, weren’t just mere mortals. To those that worship at the alter of Penn State Football, they were Gods to be revered, idolized and most importantly, never questioned.

It was easy for me to speak out, The Creep was a stranger, trusted based only on association (he was the boyfriend of the substitute babysitter, the sister of a beloved neighbor). My relationship with my mother was solid and I’ve always been the kind of person who speaks her mind, even at a young age.

Like the victims of catholic priests before them, the boys of Happy Valley never had a chance. To an overextended parent, there is gratitude when a mentor reaches out to a child. I know both from the child’s perspective and the parent’s perspective. They knew no one would believe them. After we’re talking about The Jerry Sandusky, esteemed coach at Penn State Founder of The Second Mile Foundation. Behold, a God within our midst and he wants to spend time with YOU. Don’t you dare waste this opportunity. I guarantee, if it wasn’t said in so many words, it was implied. We raise these people to the status of Gods and then we’re stunned when we find out they are human. Not just once, but again and again and again.

Parents, listen to your children, when they talk to you and to their peers. Really HEAR what they are saying. Kids are kids, but if you pay attention, you can tell the difference between. Bratty behavior and the indications of underlying problems. It is hard work ensuring that your kids know they can always come to you. My mother tried hard, but she wasn’t perfect. Who of us are? Still,  she made the monsters go away and made sure I understood what was happening and that I had done nothing wrong.  She made the best of an awful situation.

How I Watched the Superbowl

In my glider, in front of the TV, feet up, laptop in my lap alternating between Facebook and Twitter.

In my glider, in front of the TV, feet up, laptop in my lap alternating between Facebook and Twitter. A-Man’s not a huge sports fan.  We tuned in because of Mim and the game was good enough we watched through to the bitter. end.  I had a blast watching the running commentary of friends and acquaintances (is that how you refer to someone you’ve exchanged a handfull of tweets with on Twitter?). I enjoy sports, but really only in a community environment.  I really got a kick watching the game with my virtual companions.

Amazon Mom

This blog post did not end up at all where I expected it too, thank goodness I have writing to help me get my thoughts straight.

A screen capture of Amazon MomAmazon is that company you love to hate right? Some things they do blindingly well (You can’t beat their selection, the Kindle is awesome and let’s here it for Subscribe and Save). Then there are those things that they fumble.

Have you heard of Amazon Mom? It is a savings program targeted at families with young children. The discounts can be significant plus, regular shipments of necessary items can show up on your door step with just one click? Awesome. Where was this 11 years ago when I was digging the least milk stained clothes out of the laundry so I could schlep to warehouse stores for diapers and wipes?

Despite the fact that we are long past diapers, wipes and formula, I still purchase one product regularly via Amazon Mom. The pediatrician, she tells me it is about biology, and that he’ll grow out of it. But, for me, it s about precious sleep and not having to change wet, smelly sheets in the middle of the night.

Amazon recently sent an email announcing changes to the Amazon Mom program. For me, my 15% savings via Amazon Mom will go away because I didn’t join Amazon Prime. Small problem, I AM a member of Amazon Prime. My membership is subordinate to my husband’s primary Prime membership. We share the same physical address and everything I emailed customer service and was told “sorry, you have to join Prime to retain the savings.” Really Amazon, Really?

I’ll admit, I love Prime. Two day free shipping is a wonderful thing and moderately priced overnight shipping has come in handy a time or two as well. But really, the benefits such as free streaming don’t matter because we share the same geographical space and even the same electronic devices. There is just no point to having two accounts.

I emailed my concerns to customer service and explained that I would simply sign my husband up for Amazon Mom and because I do 95% of the purchasing, all the emails detailing specials etc. would be electronically round filed. Their loss. The reply was professional, but non-committal except to say that they weren’t currently accepting new Amazon Mom memberships and the program would reopen late winter.

As I write this, I’m it occurs to me that my complaint is kind of lame. Amazon is after all a business trying to make money and ultimately what it comes down to is that I’m only peripherally a member of the target audience for this program.

Ever have a temper tantrum about something and upon further reflection realize maybe you were wrong? Yeah, I’m 43 and still learning it isn’t all about me <grin>. I guess I’ll have to be grateful that I was able to get the discount for as long as I have.

Here we go!

Well, hello there! How are you?

Sorry to have been away for so long. Christmas was great and we had a great New Year’s Eve with friends. My 2012 began with a  7 year old sobbing my arms “I’m going to MISS 2011!! There are too many good memories.”

Santa brought me a new iMac and I spend much of last week getting that set up and my office cleaned out. It was one of the few rooms passed over in the great purge of 2011.

I took about an hour last Tuesday and completed this worksheet from Susannah Conway (Hat Tip to Jennifer Louden for the link on Facebook)  I found it provided a valuable perspective on 2011 and allowed me to plan for 2012. My word is commitment.

I have make three commitments to myself for 2012.

  1. I will lose ten pounds.
  2. I will build a writing practice (that will ultimately lead to a book). I did a good job in 2011 posting here regularly and I have several snippets of books in play. It is time to commit the time to finish the first drafts so there is something to edit.
  3. I will find a financial planner and get our retirement funds in order.

One week in I’ve made some progress. I’ve signed up for Sparks People, downloaded the app to my phone and started tracking my intake and exercise. tracking what I ate worked before, it is time to commit and do it again. I’ve also sent inquiries to a few people looking for recommendations for a fee-for-service financial planner. I don’t have a lot of leads yet, but it’s a start.

Today, I’m starting to build my writing practice. I’m trying to carve out the mornings for writing and afternoon for life management activities. Everyone knows that a mom’s life is not her own from 3pm until 8pm weeknights. It’s going to take some work on my part to put my writing first, but it is important to me so it’s time to make it happen.

That’s what’s new from here.

What are you plans for 2012?

 

 

 

I’m NOT just talking to myself. No, REALLY!

'Eden Through the Looking Glass' photo (c) 2009, Eden, Janine and Jim - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ I’ve been blogging in various forms for a few years now. This blog is my longest running endeavor yet. I don’t do it for fame or fortune (although those would be nice). I blog because I have things to say and sometimes it feels as if my head will explode if I don’t say them in one form or another. Writing them down gives me a way to share my thoughts. For better or for worse, I am usually passionate in my thinking. Sharing via the written word allows me to refine things (some attempts more effectively than others) and say exactly what I mean in a socially acceptable manner.

 

I know people read this blog. Google Analytics (software that tracks general information about who visits the blog, where they come from, what they read and how long they stay), tells me that most of the people who read this blog, already know me. 43% of my visitors come from Facebook. The second largest group of visitors is from the search engines. I take that to mean that I’m writing about topics people are interested in. That’s a good sign indeed. When I see people IRL (in real life) They comment on one of my posts, another good sign.

More than anything blogging is about community. Writers share information, opinions and experiences and readers add their two cents via comments.

“What do writers want most of all? They want eyes on their work and a response to their work. Bloggers crave traffic because traffic equals human beings all enjoying the words they’ve strung together. And they like comments because no one wants to speak into a vacuum. We want to know that our words were heard and know how the reader received them.” – Melissa Ford, The Gift of Comments

I’m grateful that you take the time to read and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment in the past, but at the risk of appearing greedy, could you leave a comment if a post strikes you? You don’t have to comment on every post, and you need not write a novel. Just let me know if I’m on the right track (I’m NOT fishing for complements, but feedback). Tell me if I’m way off base or suggest a topic for me to consider.

I’ll keep writing, but it would be great to show the world that I’m really NOT talking to myself.