Monthly Archives: May 2014

Grouchy Cranky

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Health scare this week and perhaps I might be feeling somewhat sorry for myself, but I DON’T CARE! My major disability is severe Vertigo/Imbalance/extreme Dizziness. That’s why I’m officially considered to be ‘handicapped’. Okay, I don’t like the label but I treat it as it is….just a stupid label. I’ve dealt with labels as my kiddies were growing up: ‘hyperactivity’, ‘ADHD’, ‘gifted’, ‘genius’, etc.. But all in all, I didn’t allow those labels to hinder my children to be treated any differently than other kids. Nor would I ever allow their teachers to do so either. So now that I’ve been LABELED, what a ‘pain-in-the-place-I-sit’ to go to the doctor and constantly keep finding out that there’s more additions to the list of medical maladies! I’m sick of it. I’ll give myself ‘labels’ instead: GROUCHY, CRANKY, DISGRUNTLED, PEEVED! Okay, that’s enough to make my point!

It seems to me that these doctors keep adding pills, while I was hoping to start lessening the amount of meds that I take daily. I’ve already conquered the asthma, YIPPEE!! I’ve not used the inhaler for more than a year, so I’m checking that off my list! I don’t think that I have sleep apnea anymore. I may snore a bit occasionally but no more breathing apparatus, no more waking up gasping, and my daughter hasn’t complained in many months (I do keep my bedroom door open). So I’m fairly confident that I can check that off, too! But now my Neurotologist has doubled dosage on one of my meds, another doc has doubled a dosage on another med plus added a med. A specialist is referring me to yet another specialist but I’ve not yet agreed because I’m stubborn! That specialist also is sending my lab results back to my Primary Care doc for adjustment of another med, I’m definitely not looking forward to another visit to my regular doc because last month she added another med too, grrrrrr! Plus I got sent to the Cardiologist for a ‘chemically-induced stress test’ because of an unusually abnormal EKG (lots and lotsa heart disease in my family); I thought that everything was fine since I’d NOT been called right away telling me of anything wrong. I went for my ‘follow-up’ appointment, and the Cardiologist had me scheduled for a Coronary CTA the very next day (2000+ images of the heart). So now I’m waiting, waiting, waiting. I’m NOT in a good mood and I’m having to stay home, right by my potty, drinking extraordinary amounts of liquid to get the iodine flushed outa my system so that I won’t have kidney problems to add to my list! Good grief!

Isn’t there a ‘Magic Formula’ to make me well again? Or something I can do have it all ‘taken back’? I’m just tired of pricking myself daily and checking my blood sugar. I’m tired of having to adjust my daily meals according to whatever those numbers were. I’m tired of having 2 arthritic knees that usually hurt so badly that I holler out in pain if I stand too long or walk much of a distance at all. I’m tired of being so dizzy during the first half of the day that I struggle to make it to the bathroom in time. Also, my dizziness has caused my walker to make lots of dents and nicks along the hallway of my daughter’s house from my bedroom to the kitchen. I’m tired of strange bruises that show up on my legs and arms and shoulders from bumping into things during these daily bouts of Vertigo. I’m tired of not being allowed to use knives or the stove for breakfast or lunch because it’s still too early in the day (being dizzy) and I might ‘hurt myself’ on the 4 or 5 days that I’m home alone. I’m tired of crying, usually late at night, when the searing hot ‘tinglies’ start to stab my feet in a hundred places because of the diabetic neuropathy. I’m tired of the numbness in my hands that takes over a few times daily and makes it so that I’m not even able to put on my own socks or can’t lift a jug off the shelf of the fridge. I’m tired of not having as much range-of-motion in my right arm because of the ever-growing pain in my right shoulder and am worrying how much longer I’ll have use of this arm because I am right-handed. I’m tired of having to depend upon another person. This sucks big-time.

Sometimes it’s ‘good to vent‘, or so I’m told. Tomorrow is another day; hopefully a good day. Or, in my case, at least I’m hoping that it’ll be a BETTER DAY! But for now….I’m gonna be GROUCHY & CRANKY and that’s all there is to it!

Teacher Hero

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Last night I was ‘playing catch-up’ on Facebook and I noticed that one of my high school teachers is having his 75th birthday today! I used this same cutesy little TEACHER HERO image to wish him a Happy Birthday. It may have been a tiny gesture that many of my former classmates might also see, but what they don’t know is the chain-of-reflection that started me thinking about Mr. B last night and how our teachers truly do influence our lives, some positively and others not so much.

Mr. B was the best Algebra teacher in the world, as far as I’m concerned! I’d always thought that I was just ‘bad in Math’, as soooo many others also assume. I was a very good student, except for Math. I just couldn’t really understand why I’d need more than the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The rest always seemed like a waste of my energy and brain cells; and I was so very eager to LEARN too many other things but there just wasn’t enough time in the school day to fit in all of the classes that I’d hoped to take. So I was annoyed at having to have a Math class, plus I wasn’t grasping the concept of Algebra. The first few days of class were torturous for me….I felt like I was in a foreign language class. I was already taking Latin and this was just too much. Why were there LETTERS mixed in with my numbers? And why were there soooo many ‘story problems’? I tried to slump down into my chair and hoped that the teacher wouldn’t notice me. I couldn’t wait to take my book home and hope that Daddy could help ‘coz he was good with Math.

Daddy helped me ‘survive’ the first few weeks of Algebra 1, but with great difficulty. I’m so glad that my other subjects weren’t giving me a problem, with the exception of Typing (but the teacher was lenient since my left arm was in a cast). However, harvest season took over and Daddy got too busy and he’d not get home early enough to help with homework. So I had to get courageous. I was so scared as one day after class, I asked Mr. B for extra help. That was a first for me, I think I was shaking in my sneakers! Mr. B was so kind; he helped me over and over again, and always with a smile on his face. He was always smiling, that’s one of the things that I remember most about him (and his wife too). He smiled while teaching, he smiled while talking to a student individually, he smiled at us if we looked up at him while we were sitting quietly taking a test, and he smiled as he entered the classroom for each session. Two summers ago, I was visiting in my small Hoosier hometown and I briefly saw Mr. and Mrs. B in a restaurant, still smiling! I wished that I’d had the time to speak with them but I was having lunch with somebody else and we were leaving as Mr. and Mrs B were arriving. It was wonderful to know that they’re still the smiling couple of educators that made my high-school days most impressionable. I never ever ever got that feeling that it was burdensome for him to have to take extra time to help me out. He made me feel as if I’m important enough to make sure that I DO understand PLUS excel, not ‘just keep up’ with the others. At some point, Algebra ‘clicked’, and as I began to understand, I REALLY GOT IT. And I enjoyed it tremendously! All those years of thinking that I was ‘bad in Math’….only to find that it wasn’t necessarily true! Perhaps I just wasn’t properly taught! (That actually angered me in later life and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen to my kids; more on that shortly)

Unlike the way most schools’ curriculum path today, back in the early 70s, we had to take Algebra 1, followed by Geometry, then we could take Algebra 2. I was excited to take Algebra 2 but I couldn’t understand Geometry and did NOT have a very good teacher. I struggled. My younger brother was in my class, and it didn’t help matters that he was an excellent Math student (his only truly good subject) but he was ‘SUPER-JOCK’ and had zero time to assist me, although I had to drive him to and from football and wrestling and baseball practices! So once again, even though he wasn’t even MY teacher, I asked Mr. B for help with my Geometry. That’s what I call dedication! He is truly dedicated to the Art of Education and he is dedicated to his students.

Teachers like Mr. B are becoming more and more of a rarity nowadays. Even myself. I couldn’t make it. Of course, I opted out myself. I majored in English/Secondary Education. Daddy really really REALLY wanted me to be a teacher. I have always adored Creative Writing and excelled at all the writing classes that my college offered. My father was ever the practical guy though. He said that “writers are a dime-a-dozen” and that since he was paying for my college expenses, I was adding Education to that degree! (did I mention that I’m a ‘Daddy’s Girl’? hehehe) So I did. After a year of teaching Freshmen English to rich boys at a private Catholic high school, I took myself out of the profession. I felt that I could NOT offer to these students the excellence that I’d been accustomed to so I had NO BUSINESS being a teacher! My heart wasn’t in it. How could I teach these guys when I didn’t even really like them? This isn’t how I was raised; it’d not be fair to them. I had some not-so-good teachers in the past, and I would not want to be remembered that way in my students’ futures when they are reflecting back!

I did, however, have 3 excellent students whom I adored and love. That college experience didn’t go to waste after all! God knows what He is doing and my education certainly did NOT go to waste! A couple of decades later I got frustrated with the school system and took my children out of the public schools. I homeschooled them successfully for their last 7 years! What amazing fun we had! I learned a lot right along with them. I actually read everything late at night, made worksheets, and then taught the 3 of them daily as a group in all subjects except for Math (we did that individually). The joy of having 3 kiddies within 4 years shone through in all of our accomplishments. We didn’t have a lot of money for books so we went to library sales and college bookstore sales. So even though the kids were young tweens through teens, many of their Math and Science and History books were college material. If my children would’ve been enrolled in regular (public) schools, they’d have had 5-6 subjects. Mine had 14 annually. We didn’t get up until 9:00- 10:00 each morning, dressed however we wanted without peer pressure, and the best part was that we were able to take our vacations when everybody else DIDN’T! Each of the kids got excellent grades. We went to the theme parks so often that all of them ended up as full-time Disney Castmembers (2 are still there, have been for 10 years), and even though only 2 of my 3 kids have opted to go to college so far….not surprisngly their GPAs are a perfect 4.0!

I think and I wish that our country had an abundance of TEACHER HEROES like Mr. B! Imagine how fun it’d be to go to class knowing that we were going to learn something that we’d actually understand! Because of homeschooling my own children, I still have several Algebra books on my bookcases. Often, just for fun….I take out 1 of those books and a notebook and do a few problems because I like to see if I can still do them. I especially get the biggest smile when doing a problem that takes an entire page! Thanks, Mr. B!

Beautiful Mama

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Often it wasn’t easy having such a pretty Mama when I was a young girl. I was awkward and preferred to wear baggy well-worn comfy clothing, while Mama was quite fashionable, even if we did live in a very small town. She liked to entirely change out the wardrobe in her closet with the changing seasons, complete with all the accessories, but I hated having to buy new clothes at all at any time. Our annual shopping for school-clothes in August was drudgery for me but Mama enjoyed it tremendously….probably because she knew that I hadn’t any choice but to go along with her wishes at least once yearly! The only other time that I was forced to shop was for my fancy Easter outfit for church. Now that I think of it….my sweet ‘beautiful Mama’ must have been quite disappointed NOT to have gotten a ‘girly-girl’. Instead she got me as her only daughter, plus her sons after me.

I never did like shopping. She tried so much to get me interested but I only wanted to NOT have to try on clothes, unlike Mama. I’d just rather order from the catalogs, like usual; that’s the reason Mama and Daddy had told us to write our names upon the items that we liked. Back then we ordered from JCPenney, Sears Roebuck, Aldens, Montgomery Ward, and Spiegels catalogs. Daddy used to order our Christmas presents from these catalogs in the autumn. I think this also was the only time he’d even bother to open up the pages of these catalogs because it was always so very humorous to hear him exclaim “Oh, for crying out loud….between you kids and your Mom, I think most everything has names written upon them so big that I can’t tell what they are! Maybe I should’ve told you to write on what you DON’T want! Then I can read the descriptions.” We always got a big laugh, but it was the same thing every year. We knew he’d say it….we’d wait for it….we’d all laugh….but Daddy DID know what we wanted for Christmas (and birthdays), so his system worked!

Mama and her younger sister were raised by their Mother, my loving Gramma, in the hills of Tennessee and were extremely poor. When they weren’t living in a tiny one-room shack, they had to live with their grandparents while their Mama would go to Baltimore to find factory-work with her brothers. So my Mama and my Aunty spent a lot of time as youngsters on a tiny broken-down farm laden with so many children that they often forgot who was their cousins and who was their young Aunts and Uncles and who were neighbor’s kids! Everybody had numerous chores to do in order to get the whole bunch of them fed. In my mind, it’s an absolute wonder how Mama ever developed any kind of a fashion sense at all. Her clothes were an assortment of hand-me-downs. I heard her talk of clothing even being made from flour sacks! But when she & my Aunty were teens, Gramma married an older man and they left their kinfolk in Tennessee to move to northern Indiana to try a new kind of life. Somehow, in her new high school, my Mama figured out how to sew, how to apply makeup, how to make friends, how to lose the hillbilly accent, and how to put together well-coordinated outfits. She must’ve taken her education seriously because she graduated as Salutatorian of her class! She’s also an amazing Interior Decorator, without ever having taken any courses.

When I started getting chubby in elementary school, I hated shopping even more. Mama would buy fabrics and make simple cotton dresses and tops. Sometimes she’d buy an entire bolt of material and make a dress for herself, for me, for her sister and for each of her 3 girls….then if there was leftover fabric she’d cut squares. That’s how Mama got started making quilts. Around northern Indiana she’s kinda known as ‘The Quilt Lady’. She made her very first quilt for me out of tiny little squares that were the size of postage stamps. Much to her dismay, I still have that quilt, although now it is about half-a-century old and ragged. She begs me to throw it away and I keep hiding it whenever she comes for a visit because I’m afraid she’s gonna dispose of it! She has made numerous quilts for her family and friends, as well as sold very many. Last September when she made my niece’s wedding quilt….I think she said that was her 325th quilt! That is quite an accomplishment! All are made by hand; no machine-quilting involved at all. I’m very proud of all the lovely quilts that she’s made for me and do cherish them. I’ve never even owned a bedspread!

I still dislike getting ‘dressed up’. Come to think of it, in the last 2&1/2 years I have gotten dressed-up exactly 3 times: for my son’s wedding, for my nephew’s wedding, and for my niece’s wedding! I am soooo glad that fancy pantsuits are acceptable for weddings nowadays. Of course, even though I got ‘dressed up’, I still didn’t look as nice as my BEAUTIFUL MAMA, nor will I ever! But I’ve come to accept that. I think she’s finally gotten to the age where she’s not gonna try anymore to change me or mold me (or maybe she ‘gave up’ at last!). She loves me for who I am. Not only that, she honestly LIKES me too! No more dressing up for me! Now if I can just get these weddings to cool off for awhile…….

Lonely Slippahs

 

ImageIt’s been just 10 weeks ago that my baby boy moved away with his fiancee. He got a better job offer in Pennsylvania at a theater chain that he formerly worked for, so he gladly accepted this chance to be closer to his fiancee’s family for awhile. He left behind lots of things because of only being able to take along anything that could be packed into his small car, so naturally young folks nowadays choose their technology first: games and game systems, DVDs and players, laptop, iPad, and accessories were neatly packed into Rubbermaid tubs and stacked in the trunk and back seat. IF there was any extra leftover space, that was for clothing, soda machine, etc….those items got crammed in between every nook-and-cranny. (so glad they didn’t have a flat tire because the entire trunk would’ve had to have been unpacked on the side of the road just to get to the spare tire!) When he originally had ‘moved back to town’ last year, not only did he claim his sister’s Guest Room, but he pretty much ‘took over’ the Playroom/Library as well. He turned it into an exercise haven/computer room/TV room. When he left, lotsa stuff got left behind because they’d NOT fit into his car. Unfortunately for us, his big TV was the very 1st thing that he put into his car so we didn’t get to keep that! But the walls are still covered in original movie posters and there’s plenty of exercise equipment….hehehe, he left me a strict warning that I am NOT to use it to hang clothes on (but he’s not here, right?). His former computer desk is huge and has a built-in stone top so I added a ‘grow light’ and now am using it as my ‘Indoor Nursery’. Yesterday I decided that I needed to exchange my computer chair so I took the one that he left. That’s when I discovered his LONELY SLIPPAHS there under the desk.

Members of our family can’t wait, upon arriving home, to get out of our shoes and into our ‘slippahs’. For me it began when I was a college student in Hawaii. Nobody wore ‘flip-flops’. We wore ‘slippahs’ or we went barefoot, even to class! This suited me just fine and I hadn’t any trouble adjusting. I’ve always preferred being barefooted, or as close to it as possible anyway! Then when I became a Mama, my children always owned more pairs of slippahs than they did sneakers. When it was time for us to leave Oahu, from a military assignment, the 3 kiddies and I had not put on a pair of shoes for 14 months until we had to fly to Indiana from Honolulu in the middle of February for my Gramma’s 75th birthday celebration. What a shocker! I’d now had to get a size 8W instead of my usual size 7&1/2. Still to this day, even though my children are adults, after a day of working they wanna take off the work boots and slip those tootsies into slippahs!

I knew that I’d miss my baby boy, that goes without saying, but even though he’s 1000 miles away and we can communicate nowadays so much more easily than ever before….there’s still no replacing those hugs! It’s especially difficult when the youngest is the first to move the furthest. I live with my daughter and my oldest son lives with his wife less than 5 miles down the road.I still speak with my own Mama every 2-3 days and with my brothers nearly every week. It’s wonderful to have a close-knit family. Tomorrow I am undergoing Cardiac testing that will take a couple of days. That’s probably the reason that I am thinking about and missing my baby boy sooooo very much. I really wish that all of my kiddies were here with me because I am nervous and anxious about these tests because we’ve got a LOT of heart disease in our family history and it worries me. Praying helps, of course. My daughter will be in the waiting room while I’m having the tests, of course. My sons will be worrying, of course. It’s just not the same as knowing that they’ll all be right nearby just in case I need to get sent to the hospital; or just to have all of my sweeties to hold onto if I need to cry when I get THE NEWS of the test results….whether it be good or bad!

So the LONELY SLIPPAHS can sit next to Mama’s red slippahs. Am I gonna be all sentimental and pick up his slippahs and hug them? Good grief, NO! They’re probably smelly! But I betcha he has left a pillow or a couple of his childhood stuffed animals in his room……

 

Mama's slippahs