P3

Our grandson, P3, is visiting for about a month and we are so enjoying his visit. He is five and so handsome and entertaining. We have been anxious for our grandchildren to experience all that is Colorado but with school and cost etc. it wasn’t happenin’. His dad drove him up here for a ski trip and we are convenient lodging. Danny, P3 and his dad went downhill skiing for a dad and pop pop day. He looked so cute in his ski bib, jacket and one of my hats. He wanted to stay home with NeNe but there was no way we were going to let him miss a ski adventure. He told his dad and pop pop that he was not going to ski. His pop pop said, “I’m going to ski.” to which he responded, “I’m going to ski too.”

His father went on a side trip to Denver and most likely will head back to Texas from there. We are making a trip to Texas at the end of March so we will have our little man until then. He is in Montessori School so we are amazed at the words and knowledge that he spouts. But he has always been an intelligent kid, after all his dad is an Anesthesiologist and his grandfather is a brilliant Pharmacist so he obviously inherited the genes.

When we talked to him on the phone, he kept asking if we built him a snowman and, of course, we fibbed and said, “Yes.” and told him it was in the freezer. Danny and I kept reminding each other that we needed to build a snowman before P3 got here but since we had no idea how to go about it, we never did. When he got here, we told him the snowman melted so he needed to build another one. Yesterday I reminded him that he needed to build a snowman and he asked if we had done the “L” word to him about our having built him one. Danny said to me in an aside, “Why did you bring it up?” I just shrugged my shoulders because I have learned that the best way out of lie is to tell the truth. So I told P3 that we really hadn’t built him a snowman, that we were just “joking” and that I was sorry that we had lied. That answer was a “Catch 22” for him because he is always telling fibs and when he is confronted says, “I was just joking.”

He sometimes gets his emotions confused apparently because when his pop pop was teasing him about not getting a toy, he kept saying, “Pop pop you embarrassed me.” Poor Danny Darlin’ didn’t know what to make of that.” but I got it. I corrected P3 by explaining the difference between “angry” and “embarrassed”. Of course, he spent the rest of our day trip telling his pop pop that he is angry with him. DD should be used to it though, he has nine grandchildren. It doesn’t help that P3 keeps telling his dad and his pop pop that he loves me more than them. Makes me feel good though cause he is the only one that favors me over their pop pop.

I got the privilege of taking him to buy a toy, one of my favorite things to do. We spent quite some time on the Leggo aisle. I kept pointing out this one and that one and he would reject them. Finally, I showed him a Star Wars kit that he liked but he would not give me credit. He and his pop  pop put it together last night and he continued to play with it by himself at the table even after we left the room. This morning he informed me that Hans Solo is dead. On an up note, he gave me credit for picking it out with one hand and then added that he actually saw it first. Whatever…

We don’t have kid channels on satellite TV and He keeps telling us that we have to go to the toy store because we have no toys. We had so many toys before we left Texas and what their parents didn’t want, we gave away. So he’s right but the good thing is that he’s not so focused on toys and television that we don’t get to enjoy introducing him to Colorado and spending quality time.

P3 is well mannered, loving, funny, intelligent and mischievous. Works for me!

46735789-adorable-little-boy-with-teddy-bear-in-the-park-on-an-autumn-day-in-the-afternoon-sitting-on-the-gra

 

 

 

 

Yuck!

I was reading one of my favorite blogs – The Speckled Bean@Wordpress where Ally Bean delighted us with her post about biting into a piece of toast expecting orange marmalade only to find it is actually apricot preserves. I can identify as most of us can. It doesn’t matter whether we actually like Apricot preserves – darn it – we were expecting orange marmalade.47256738-orange-marmalade67234074-side-view-of-sugar-free-apricot-preserves-in-a-small-glass-bowl-atop-a-wood-table
The post brought back some shuddering reminders of OMG moments so I thought I would share a few:

When I was about 10, we were visiting in a family friend’s country home. As was the s-l225custom in the south, the ladies were in the kitchen preparing the meal and visiting so I was hanging around there too. I poured myself a glass of iced tea and took a mouthful. Upon discovering that it was actually apple cider vinegar, I spit it out on the floor. My mother was not only angry but totally embarrassed. She had no sympathy for my plight. You see, in the south, county folk would buy vinegar in gallon jars for pickling. When the jar was empty, they would use it to hold beverages such as punch or tea. I can still taste it.

Upon arrival at Garner State Park in Texas, my aunt and my mother decided that the kids should drink the milk before it spoiled. Okay. So 33405931-child-with-painful-expression-after-drinking-milkfirst of all, I didn’t and don’t drink white milk but I was going to be a good sport because the weather was extremely hot. I was the first to take a big mouthful and found that it was too late, the milk had already spoiled. Yep, I spit it out but at least it was outside so I didn’t get reprimanded.

61128949-vector-logo-big-jar-mayonnaise-conserved-container-with-white-pale-mayo-with-blue-cap-and-label-glasMayonnaise. I hate mayonnaise and I don’t care what you label it – Miracle Whip, mayonnaise, salad dressing – I will not eat it. It looks nasty, smells nasty and taste nasty. When I was young, I pretended to be allergic to it. It was kinda tough to explain when someone asked what in the mayo was I allergic to. Oil? Eggs? Lemon juice? My sister also hates mayonnaise as do her two daughters. I didn’t serve it to my grandkids so PBJ it was. I don’t cook with it and only make sandwiches or potato salad for others with it when forced  It is such an issue that when deviled eggs are served at family get-togethers, my ex-wife-in-law or my daughter make mine with mustard. I recently found out that Danny’s brother-in-law feels the same way about mayo so he has begun sharing my deviled eggs.

My mother used to make a yummy rich chocolate cake with mayo as an ingredient (made it super moist). The cake was a favorite for me and my sister. Once when mom was making the cake, we took a spoonful of the batter thinking we would no more taste the mayo in the batter than in the cake. Wrong again.

25121770-young-girl-eating-chocolate-from-a-wooden-spoon

 

As an adult, I have had occasion to put a food in my mouth not knowing that it contained mayo. Once I taste the mayo in it, I can’t spit it out in company so I have to smile and try to get through it. I usually swallow it as fast as possible and follow it with a chaser. However, I have been known to slip out of sight and spit it into a napkin for disposal. When family and friends want to punish me, they will say something like “a spoonful of mayonnaise” just to watch me shudder. I’m shuddering just thinking about it. Brussel sprouts, spinach, liver – bring it on but never, never mayonnaise.

 

61868098-emotional-young-guy-eating-a-cheeseburger-on-the-nature

Beyond the Political Stage

Oddly, I found myself in tears as I read an article about how the Trump campaign had a plan to have 3 women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual improprieties towards them confront him on national television.

This is not the first time I have experienced this sadness throughout this campaign as I watch the negativity increase. I am very uncomfortable with the cruel remarks thrown at Hilary Clinton. I don’t know if it is because I have read her book and followed her personal life or if it is just discomfort at all she is and is not. I see her downfalls but I am able to set those aside and see her as a strong woman. I cannot dismiss all the positive she has done. There was a time that I saw her as a selfish manipulative woman when she and her husband left the White House taking the furniture with them.

Looking past her sense of entitlement I see the woman who I have found truly loves her husband with all his faults. She has been publicly humiliated so many times and has held her head up and gone forward. She has sacrificed her right to be seen as a mother, wife and friend in order to do what she has the talent to do to help her country and everyone in it.

Hilary is being criticized for the way she has confronted her husband’s infidelity and the women involved but I ask myself what it would be like to be in her shoes. Many women would behave as she did but they wouldn’t be in the public arena.

What do I feel about Bill Clinton? He has also done a lot for our country but he has a sickness that I find repulsive. There was a time that I thought Hilary only stayed with Bill because they had a deal, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” I don’t know if that is the case but I think that she loves him in a way that he is not capable of returning.” Having had the opportunity to show his love for her, he only lifts her up as a humanitarian and politician. He doesn’t show or express his love for her in a way that would show the soft side of her. Has she just been a means to an end? He is like a child who has to be controlled and when he is let out to play, his lack of finesse shows. To me, he’s like the husband of a friend that you just put up with for her sake.

Hilary is in a “no win” situation with regard to her personality. If she shows her soft side, she is too soft to be President and when she shows her business side, she isn’t soft enough. When she missteps, the world is there to see. Am I voting for her? I don’t know but I know that as tempted as I have been with all Trump’s promises, I cannot see past him as a person. I can’t see myself voting for him for anything. I have never admired him throughout my life so why would I support him?

Why the tears? I think perhaps all this brings up the sadness of my childhood involving infidelity and chaos. Additionally, it is because when we dismiss political correctness, we are left with such ugliness and lack of compassion, anything goes. I am starting to see the days of chaos and no credible laws of the Roman Empire returning.

It is my belief that the reason the USA is desirable is that we were at least organized and had a sense of decorum. The Unites States was seen as a strong country and I see it weakening on all levels as every day goes by. When anything goes, will we survive as a united country?

Taking the Time to Consider

beautiful-girl-28049732.jpg

I recently read about a 15 year old girl who had a premature baby in her bedroom. The baby was born alive, weighed 2+ pounds and the girl threw the baby out the window. The baby died.

I find myself trying to assess blame. Do I blame the 15 year old girl for being heartless and not taking responsibility for having gotten pregnant? Do I blame the father of the baby for getting a 15 year old girl pregnant? Or, do I blame the parents of the 15 year old girl who had not built a relationship with their daughter based on trust. A relationship that would enable her to turn to them  when she is in trouble. A foundation that would ensure that their daughter would know that though her parents would be disappointed and upset, they would get her through any situation.

The truth is that I don’t know the intimate details of the story or even the parents side. The reporter wasn’t interested in writing about the human side of the story or may have been prevented by the girl’s age. Was the girl molested by an adult, was the father an older boy, were the parents aware that she was pregnant, had plans been made for finding another home for the child, did her parents plan to raise the baby? The publication only seemed to care about the shock factor and I rushed to judgement based on the little information presented. It is good that I waited a couple of days to write this so that I have had time to ask myself the hard questions. Who am I to judge, where is my compassion, what were the circumstances and the really hard one – what made me read the article?

I wish I could tell you that I won’t read such articles in the future but that would not be the truth. I know myself well enough that there is no doubt that I will continue to read articles pertaining to child abuse, neglect and murder. I must admit that the shock value attracts  me as it gives me a thrill and a target for my outrage and anger. But there’s something else it gives me and that is insight and compassion. I come into contact with young girls who desperately need someone to talk to and they are very much afraid. The reasons they are afraid vary but they don’t feel that they can talk to their parents. These girls need encouragement and reassurance that they can get through any situation. Talking with these girls builds compassion and dampens the rage and anger because I can do something to help.

I write a lot about my mother and how her alcoholism affected my life. What may not get across is how very much I appreciate her as a mother. I did not have to hide anything and could always turn to her. Did I know she would be angry and/or disappointed? Yes, but that did not stop me because in the end, I knew that I did not have to go through anything alone. My mother is all about unconditional love and understanding. My parents allowed me to make important decisions about my life even though they did not always agree. They taught me independence and self reliance. My mother worries about me because I am the middle child who expresses her deepest emotions and she sees that as a weakness. She is only late in life coming to understand that emotions are healthier when they don’t have to be hidden. She doesn’t have to worry about me because thanks to her and my dad, my core is solid, emotional but solid.

Stuff I Ate as a Child

 

As I was preparing my breakfast of 12 grain toast with Cheez Whiz spread upon it, it made me think of some of the strange foods and food combinations I ate mostly as snacks as a child.

Unfortunately, my mother never forced me to eat vegetables. I discovered in my early twenties that I love vegetables and will eat a package of frozen cut leaf spinach for lunch or dinner by itself (of course I nuke it and add lemon and butter, spinach in a frozen state doesn’t appeal to me). I will share a few of my faves with you:

  • Cheese Whiz on Toast
  • Braunschweiger (liver pate’ comes in a plastic chub) on crackers.
  • Sugar sandwiches
  • Catsup sandwiches
  • Cheese toast
  • Fried potato sandwiches
  • Canned peas
  • Canned corn
  • Dinner rolls for breakfast
  • Mac and Cheese with catsup
  • Mashed potatoes with catsup
  • Scrambled eggs with catsup
  • Hot dogs with wieners that had been split, cheese inserted and Worchestershire Sauce poured over it.
  • Bologna sandwiches accompanied by any kind of bean
  • Bologna sandwiches, bologna sandwiches, bologna sandwiches
  • Peanut butter and syrup on bread (not my fave, my grandmother served it to us) I shudder to think of it.

I remain a catsup-a-holic to this day but not just any catsup, it has to be “Heines”. However, I no longer eat it on bread, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs. I think it was just an excuse to eat catsup.

What kinds of strange foods did you eat as a child?

 

Hotline List

Hotline List

Resources when and where you need them.

We’ve Got Friends Who Can Help

Worried about a friend? Dealing with some issues of your own? There are trained people who can help.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local police station.

General Crisis Support by Text

Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741 (24/7). Our trained counselors can discuss anything that’s on your mind. Free, 24/7, confidential.

Other Hotlines

Depression & Suicide
The Trevor Project Call 866-488-7386 (24/7) Live Chat with the Trevor Project (Fridays 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST)

Dating Abuse & Domestic Violence
loveisrespect Call 1-866-331-9474 (24/7)
Chat Online with loveisrespect (7 days/week, 5:00 PM to 3:00 AM EST) or text loveis to 22522

National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) Email the National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7)
RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Call 1-800-656-4673 (24/7) Live Chat with RAINN (24/7)

Child Abuse
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Call 1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
National Safe Place Text SAFE and your current location to the number 69866 (24/7)

Runaways, Homeless, and At-Risk Youth
National Runaway Safeline Call 1-800-786-2929 (24/7) Live Chat 7 days/week, 4:30 to 11:30 PM CST
Home Free Family reunification program provides free bus tickets to eligible runaway and homeless youth.

Marriage Myths Six

MYTH: YOU MAY REPEAT YOUR PARENTS’ RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS.

How you carry your childhood baggage is more important than the fact that you have any. “Nobody escapes childhood without some crazy buttons and triggers, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a great relationship,”John Gottman says.

Tom Bradbury, PhD, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, coined the phrase enduring vulnerabilities for these historical triggers. Certain words and actions might dig up old feelings and provoke a reaction. Make sure you and your partner understand what sets the other off, and avoid those weaknesses.

Circumstances from your past could also prompt what psychologists call projective identification- an example is taking something from your childhood and applying it to your partner. If you had a distant cold parent, for instance, you might assume  your partner is being distant and cold too. Instead of blaming your partner’s character, explain how the actions make you feel and what he or she can do to help you feel better.

I knew a man who was so eat up with his emotional baggage that he ran the gamut from tears to violence. He used braggadocio and alcohol to cover his feelings and built a very high wall believing he it would protect him from emotional pain. One never knew what would trigger his anger and/or violence. While I understood how his background played into his emotions and actions, there was nothing I could do to change it. While I was somewhat of a balm for his pain, he often saw me not as myself but as his mother.

When I met Danny, I was shocked to find that he was very much in touch with his emotions. He would let me know when I hurt his feelings rather than do the “macho” thing of acting like nothing bothered him. I fell so in love with this man! I felt safe with him because I didn’t have to guess about how he was feeling and there was no fear that I would unknowingly touch off a spark that would cause him to physically harm me.

Eventually, Danny grew tired of all the analyzing we did through counseling and discussions. That was when I began learning to lighten up in the realization that both of our lives had been so full of drama that it was stifling our relationship. We both still have things that can trigger a negative response but the truth is that we cannot judge each other with our individual pasts.

Enjoy life with your spouse! Don’t judge him/her based on your past, instead see them for the person you know them to be. Look for the good and give him/her a pass when they exhibit human behaviors. No one has a perfect marriage but we can come darn close.

IMG_1047

Marriage Myths Five

MYTH:  GENDER DIFFERENCES ARE BEHIND YOUR MEGA FIGHTS.

Men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus; we’re all from Earth. As it turns out, “men are just as in touch with their emotions as women,” Julie Gottman says. “On the other hand, some women are very reluctant to express their negative emotions. So it balances out. There are more similarities than the culture generally believes.

A study in Cognition and Emotion found that when women thought long term about their lives, they reported themselves as more emotional than men. But when participants rated their emotions on a moment-to-moment basis, the gender differences disappeared. Your cultural upbringing and family environment have a much bigger influence on your willingness to express your emotions than your X or Y chromosome, the Gottmans say.

When I was single, I fell in with the old double standard that women were sluts if they slept around but men were expected to. However, I had male friends who informed me that men don’t like to wake up alone either.

While my divorce was in progress, I had a situation with a fellow student. I was so angry but when I talked with the instructor about it, I couldn’t stop crying. What I learned that day is that women who have been taught that to show anger will get you labeled as a bitch will cry rather that exhibit anger. I also had a mother who could not deal with emotion so she always said, “Stop crying or don’t cry.”Then when I looked back at my then marriage, I realized that men are taught that it isn’t “manly” to cry so they exorcise their tears with anger.

Thank God both women and men are slowly “coming out” so to speak. Men are claiming the right to be in touch with their emotions and women are claiming the right to show  anger. I have found that I have been saddled with gender beliefs passed down from generation to generation. Its difficult to blame your parents when they were subjected to the same beliefs.  Sometimes I see the roles exhibited by our parents but more I see Danny and I working together for a common goal.

A_Black_and_White_Cartoon_Two_Children_Walking_To_School_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100713-145833-444053

 

Daisies and Dad

My favorite flower is the Daisy. One morning I walked out to the creek and this is what I saw…

IMG_0611

Then in a few days, we went for a drive and this is what I found.

IMG_0586

And every day after that until the last week or so, they were everywhere!

The thing is…I have loved daisies since I was in junior high school. All my corsages were daisies and my 9th grade prom dress had daisies around the high waist. But the best thing was that my dad painted a perfect 6′ daisy on my bedroom wall. I didn’t ask him to and he never told me of his idea, he just did it.

Every new experience I have and every family get together, I wish my dad could be there. He never knew Danny or our kids or grand kids. He would have loved them all. And to see Colorado in all its glory…would have been a great gift to him. So every time I saw the daisies, I believe it was a sign that my dad is indeed here in spirit and it brings me comfort. I don’t care that daisies are considered a weed here.

 

 

Unreasonable Fear

I grew up fearing African Americans and before you judge me as a racist, read my story.

When I was in Junior High School, schools became integrated. The African American students would stand in large groups blocking the sidewalk daring whites to try to get though them. I avoided the sidewalk. There was a small girl named Sharon who started making fun of me and I did my best to ignore her. I was not that outcast who gets bullied, I was fortunate to have many friends both male and female.

One day as I was walking to my friend’s house after school, a large group of African American students formed a circle around me. I was petrified because it was obvious that something was about to happen. Sharon moved to the center of the circle and started taunting me. She kept saying, “Push me!” over and over. I just stood still knowing that what usually happened in these situation was that if I made a move, the whole group would jump in and attack me. Another reason I wouldn’t make a move besides trying to avoid having my ass kicked was that I was appalled at girls or women fighting though I have to admit that I was a closet bully toward my sister. Luckily, one of the girls who was walking with us lived in the house in front of which I was confronted. Her mother came out and chased the group away. To be honest, I was petrified. I believe this happened because I was the only one small enough for Sharon to pick on.

Moving forward, where my friends and classmates might kid around with African American bully students, I wasn’t friendly or unfriendly toward them which was probably a downfall. In high school, a very large African American girl named Mary grabbed my windbreaker and ripped it off me which was not an easy feat. I said nothing. A small African American girl would tell me things like how she dreamed that my boyfriend’s car would get stuck on a railroad track and he would be killed. One night my best friend’s twin brother was beat with a baseball bat in the boy’s locker room after a baseball game by a group of African American students. I was friendly with some African American students but was still easily intimidated.

I had good experiences when I went into community college with fellow African American students so I started to get past my fear. Unfortunately, when I worked for a police department two African American co-workers claimed racial discrimination because I was transferred to the day watch and her friend was transferred to my previous watch in a move to separate the two friends in hopes of increasing productivity. Since I filled in a lot for people in key positions, it was considered a highly beneficial move by administration. I became stonewalled by the other clerical staff and when I asked someone why, they told me they could not go against these two girls and implied that they were afraid.

Because it was so painful to be ostracized, I requested to remain on my previous watch. The Sgt. was not happy because he told me that I was allowing myself to be bullied. The personnel manager and supervisory staff called a meeting of the clerical staff and a letter was read that one of the girls had written citing favoritism because I was white. They were upset because our administrative Sgt. used my work examples as the quality of work everyone should be putting out. In fairness, I had education and experience that was not the norm for the position. I took the job because it was something I always wanted to do. I never had to defend myself in this meeting because first of all the personnel manager offered to do some testing if they really wanted to know who was the best typist etc. Then one of my supervisors pointed out that I had been transferred from department to department continually and had never complained. There was no discrimination and it became clear in that meeting. After that meeting, things got back on a friendly basis because I didn’t hold a grudge. Shortly thereafter, one of the girls who caused the problem was fired for selling criminal records.

I worked a temp to perm job for a very difficult African American woman. She supervised six white Insurance Agents who had their own agency offices. She referred to them as “my white boys.” When I could no longer put up with her crude and rudeness, I quit though she begged me to stay. She made me uncomfortable by complimenting my looks in a creepy manner. An African American woman who had previously worked for her called me one day and wanted me to help her on her reverse discrimination suit. I declined. The agency had placed temp after temp in this woman’s office because no one would stay but I didn’t want the drama. I could have reported her for her racist remarks but I just wanted out.

These are prime examples of bullying yet I never recognized it as such until now. I saw it as being the target of anger for a past I had no part in. It is possible that these bullies were influenced by anger passed down from generation to generation and I did feel the fear that their forebears felt at being bullied by white slave lords. However, what purpose did any of it serve? It just repeated the same dance in reverse and did not solve anything for either side.

What I am learning today is that I cannot blame an entire race for the actions of some just as I am tired of being blamed for something I was not responsible for. We all just need to stop and do some deep reflection. We are allowing ourselves to be influenced by the hate groups and the support of their actions by the media putting it in our faces over and over again.

What if we just turned off our televisions in protest of being fed negativity hour after hour, day after day? What if  we stop looking at social media for a few days and depend on our own reflections? Its not like we haven’t seen enough to know what is out there. We are all being manipulated! Lets just stand up for ourselves and say, “Enough” at least for now and let things calm down.

PEACE AND LOVE