Friday, December 29, 2006

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I have been meaning to post my thoughts about laughter ever since I came across an article about it. I previously posted in my other blog about how I seem to laugh along with others even though I don’t really know the whole “joke” because it’s infectious (at least to me it is).

I always thought of it as a way for me not to look, well, stupid if I don’t laugh, though it does play a part. Sometimes just hearing someone laugh makes me want to laugh. Or watching someone laugh makes me laugh. I always thought it was a defense mechanism on my part. I don’t mean to say that I always laugh-sometimes when a joke is said and I missed the punch line, I will frown and ask for a repeat. (Sometimes this makes the person telling me the joke look at me like, “Don’t you get it?”) It’s not that I don’t get the joke; I just didn’t hear all of it. So that’s why I am not laughing. Other times I just pretend to hear it all and laugh. It’s not all that hard to do because I find it easy to laugh.

I believe, as it says in the article, “laugh and the world laughs with you,” is more fact than opinion. Many times I hear the audience laugh on TV (whether real or taped) and I laugh. It’s infectious. It doesn’t matter if I missed something.

I do believe that laughter is therapeutic, too. Just as the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine” implies. It relieves tension. It’s also a good ab workout if you make it a point to laugh often.

It is said that children laugh hundreds of times a day and adults only laugh at least 25 times a day. We need to let go of the worries that plague us. We need to bring out our inner child. I bet it would be a lot healthier for us, too.

I get goofy or just make a lot of puns (sometimes bad puns, but at least I get a chuckle out of it along with some eye-rolling.) My kids would look at each other and say, “Mom’s gone wack-o.” I don’t want them to look back and remember all the serious things about life. I want them to be able to keep laughing. Often.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Prayer Chain

Don't take things for granted. I always try to remind myself of this often. I try to be thankful for the eyesight and the hearing I do have. I try to remember the blessings from God my children are when I have reached the limits of my patience with them.

There are over 6 billion people in the world. There are so many lives out there that are so different. There are so many things going on that we are unaware of. We carry on with our lives not knowing that other people are experiencing anguish or joy. But when you do read about a mother's pain, it touches you. You want to reach out and give her comfort. I had tears in my eyes as she poured out her pain through words.

I came across this blog via "word of writer" and I feel for her. Go to A Walk in My Shoes (which by the way is a very apt title). All I can do is pray for her along with the rest of the world. With the power of prayer, anything can happen.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

I just thought I would pass on another reminder about what is really important. I need constant reminders. I can get stressed-out over the silliest things.

- 'Twas The Night Before Christmas...
- For Moms 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the abode
- Only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
- The children were finally sleeping all snug in their beds,
- While Visions of Nintendo and Barbie flipped through their heads.
- The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
- With a half-constructed bicycle propped on his knee.
- So only Mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
- Which made her sigh, "Now what is the matter?"
- With the toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
- She descended the stairs and saw the old man.
- He was covered with ashes and soot, which fell with a shrug,
- "Oh, great," muttered Mom, "now I have to clean the rug."
- "Ho Ho Ho!" cried Santa, "I'm glad you're awake,
- Your gift was especially difficult to make."
- "Thanks, Santa, but all I want is time alone."
- "Exactly!" he chuckled, "So, I've made you a clone."
- "A clone?" she muttered, "What good is that?"
- "Run along, Santa, I've no time for chit chat."
- Then out walked the clone - The Mother's twin;
- Same hair, same eyes, same double chin.
- "She'll cook, she'll dust, she'll mop every mess.
- You'll relax, take it easy, watch The Young and The Restless."
- "Fantastic!" the Mom cheered. "My dream has come true!"
- "I'll shop, I'll read, I'll sleep a night through!"
- From the room above, the youngest did fret.
- "Mommy? Come quickly, I'm scared and I'm wet."
- The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart."
- "Hey," the Mom smiled, "she sure knows her part."
- The clone changed the small one and hummed her a tune,
- As she bundled the child in a blanket cocoon.
- "You're the best mommy ever. I really love you."
- The clone smiled and sighed, "And I love you, too."
- The Mom frowned and said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal.
- That's my child's love she is trying to steal."
- Smiling wisely, Santa said, "To me it is clear,
- Only one loving Mother is needed here."
- The Mom kissed her child and tucked her in bed.
- "Thank you, Santa, for clearing my head.
- I sometimes forget, it won't be very long,
- When they'll be too old for my cradle and song."
- The clock on the mantle began to chime.
- Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time.”
- With the clone by his side, Santa said, "Good night.
- Merry Christmas, dear Mom, you will be all right."
- Source: Written By: Karen Spiegler (Originally published in December 1993
issue of Manic Moms)
One of the greatest gifts God can give is our children - just as God's greatest Gift came as a child. During these crazy weeks before Christmas, as you shop and bake and clean and decorate and mail cards. . . think of this as a reminder to take a moment for extra hugs and kisses and make sure your children know how much you love them. That's what it's all about anyway, right?
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Tribute

It’s enough for me to handle two kids who bicker with one another, have selective hearing, run in circles (I wish I had that energy!), and whine, whine, whine.

It’s tough enough to be a parent and exercise discipline when needed. It’s not easy. Sometimes you go through the same cycle everyday. Privileges are taken away and groundings are issued.

Today I went along with my youngest to watch her and her classmates (1st grade), along with the 2nd and 3rd graders, sing Christmas carols. I volunteered to sign several Christmas carols, too.

Parents volunteered to come along and transported children to the local hospital and later to the Adult Day Care Center. Most of these parents had vans so they could fit up to six or seven children per van. I rode with another parent. The kids were so noisy in the back of the van. And since we were the first group to get to the hospital, we hung our jackets and all of a sudden it was chaos. Kids were running wild and screaming. I scolded my daughter and the others, “Shhh. This is a hospital. You cannot run around and make so much noise!” For a few minutes the children sat down and then got restless again. More children arrived. More noise and chaos. I kept giving my daughter the “evil eye” when I caught her running. She would calm down and sit down for a short time then “forget” and start up again.

Then the teachers arrived. The children were whipped back into shape.

It takes a special person, the right person, to be a teacher. I don’t think I could deal with a roomful of 10-15 students. (All the classes are small.) I wonder how teachers handle 30 students? I don’t think I have the patience. I can admit that.

I wonder if teachers took a lot of psychology, sociology, and child management-type classes in college? I think I could use some reverse psychology moves-they only work some of the time. (Making them think the opposite is true and in typical rebellious fashion they will want to do the opposite.) Or if you threaten to do something and they still didn’t listen or do what they were supposed to do-you have to act on those threats or they will catch on that “oh, mommy says that she will not let me watch TV or ride my bike for one week, but I still didn’t listen and she didn’t ground me from the TV or bike.” Don’t bluff. You gotta say, “Okay, no bike.” Crying ensues. Pleading. Whining. “Okay, okay! I’ll do it!” Then you have to say the hard part… “Too late. Listen to me the first time around.”

The teachers’ no-nonsense manner with the kids today was really an experience for me. I am soft-spoken and self-conscious. (I am working on it. I have been in front of classrooms enough times the last two years doing presentations-it’s getting easier. The sweat-induced nervousness still hits me. Maybe that will never go away.)

I was really impressed. Sure, it came from years of working with children, but still. That kind of calm authority works.

Let’s all give a round of applause to elementary teachers all over. They do have a tough job. Not only to teach, but to keep children in line.

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's No Ordinary Deer

Just dropping a short note.

There was a deer that was accidentally killed recently. This was no ordinary run-of-the-mill deer. It had seven legs and had both male and female reproductive organs. (Seahorses were the only thing I heard of that was both male and female at the same time.)

Interesting? I expected to see a picture of a deer with seven legs, but looked just like overgrown dew claws that grew in the wrong place to me. It was a young buck (buckette?) and if it grew to full size, the "legs" would have grown longer. Would it have looked like split legs-coming out of the shins? Would it have been even in length? It's hard to believe. I wish I could have seen it with my own eyes so I could get a 3-D view of it. Sometimes a picture just doesn't do enough justice. I wonder if it would go into "Ripley's Believe It or Not?"

Here is a photo gallery of this deer.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Some Comic Relief....

We all have embarrassing moments now and then, right? I can even laugh about them when I look back on them.

Let me share with you about one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

A few years ago, my husband and I went out with another couple. I never met them before. My husband worked with him.

It started out really nice. We got some drinks and stood around talking until it was time to eat.

I was shy and awkward with the couple. Then again, I am always shy.

After we started talking about our children and jobs, I forgot about my shyness. Just a wee bit.

When it was time to eat, my husband grabbed my hand because he knew that the lights were too dim for me. I am almost night-blind. When my eyes get adjusted to the light, I can see. I don't see very well, but when there's a light shining on something or someone, I get by. I would still be bumping into anything or anyone that would be in my path, because there aren't any lights on the floor to help me see a path. This is why my husband takes my hand and leads me in and out of dark places so I don’t walk into people or tables.

I was not too impressed with the arrangement of the dining room. The dining area was crowded and tables were positioned too close to each other. I was glad my husband took my hand to guide me.

Then we weaved through the dining room to get to our table. Each light hung low above each table. The small beam of light the mini-lamp offered was enough to see everyone around the table. Only a little.

During dinner, I couldn’t follow the conversation very well, because it was too noisy. There was too much background noise. I could hear other people talking and laughing loudly. I was getting a little frustrated.

I felt I needed to inform them that I was hard-of-hearing. I wasn’t sure if my husband already told them. It didn’t hurt to remind them anyway, because most people need to be reminded when someone has a hearing problem. It is an invisible disability. It's easy to "forget."

The food was great. We had a good time. I still had problems keeping up with the conversation.

All too soon, we finished eating and got up to leave.

My husband was standing next to me so I reached for his hand. I thought that it felt rougher than usual, but I shrugged it off.

Suddenly, he let go of my hand.

For a second, I wondered why and immediately turned my head to give him a puzzled look.

As I looked at him, I realized that I grabbed the wrong hand. It was not my husband's.

Time picked the perfect opportunity to make itself scarce. Time stood still.

My heart stopped. I swear my hair shot right up. I could feel the temperature rise in my face. I wanted time to return so I could move on. I just wanted to duck under the table. Or better yet, step into a time-warp.

I couldn’t defend myself. Even my voice picked that moment to leave me stranded; it was too embarrassed. Why didn’t it take me along?

I wanted to say, “I’m sorry. It’s not what you think.”

My husband quickly explained my condition and how I couldn’t see that well in the dark.

We laughed off my embarrassment, but I still couldn't shake off my uneasiness.

After that incident, I wait for my husband take my hand first. I don’t think I want a repeat performance.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

One for the Road

A website was brought to my attention. It lists all the states and shows what limits of low vision (both acuity and visual fields) you can have before you really shouldn't be driving anymore, unless you can get it corrected. This is for the States. I don't know if there is one other countries. I imagine there's got to be some guidelines in every country.

I looked up Wisconsin and it states that your vision should be 20/40, with out without glasses. The visual field should be at least 70 degrees. Most states list over 100 degrees as the limit. I am shocked that I was even allowed to drive as long as I did.

My doctors never said anything. I am sure that they suspected that I was driving. I was alone when I went to see one of them. I admit did not see them regularly. I didn't really relish falling apart every time I went in there. I didn't like to hear that my dx (diagnosis) was RP (retinitis pigmentosa). There's no cure. All we can do it hope for one. I do know that I mentioned driving during the daytime to one doctor and he didn't say anything to me.

I probably shouldn't have been driving the past 10 years.

Moreover, it makes me wonder how many more visually impaired drivers out there aren't really supposed to be driving.

If anyone is illegally driving, and there's a serious accident, even fatal, it's lawsuit city if it comes out that you were driving with less than the state's requirement. Insurance would not help you. You would have to pay for damages and all the other hoopla that comes with it.

With the confidentiality and privacy laws the way they are, only in certain cases can doctors report things, such as communicable diseases or suspected child abuse, without the patient's authorization. Isn't this something that pertains to public safety, too?

I hope more people come to their senses and "hang up their keys" when they know that they are below the state's requirement for visual field and acuity.

Yes, it's very hard to give up the independence and freedom to hop behind the wheel any time you want or need to. I should know. I still hate it.

But the consquences just aren't worth it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Version of Corinthians 13

During the hoildays, we all tend to get caught in the rush of the holidays. There are so many things to do. Shop. Cook. Decorate. Stop. Smell the roses and appreciate what you do have.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of
Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and
arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing
home and give all that I have to charity,
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and
crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday
parties and sing in the choir's cantata,
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated
Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give
in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all
things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.
Merry Christmas and lots of love to you and yours!

-Author Unknown

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Calgon, Take Me Away!! ®

Ever have on of those days when you just want to take a nice long soak to wash away the tension you have been dealing with? Great, inexpensive therapy!! After all that “me-time” is taken care of and the tension is draining out with the bath water, you feel refreshed and ready to tackle on anything. Or so you think.

I don’t need as many of these kinds of days as I used to. I have a light class schedule next semester. That helps enormously. I was a full-time (12 credits) student the past two years. I don’t know how I got through it. I guess you just “do.” Time and tempers were getting short. I wanted to work on getting the best grades possible while being a full-time “supermom.” It was hard to manage my time. I used to spend all day at school trying to get as much possible done without any interruptions. That helped somewhat. I was under constant pressure, at school and on the home front. I am proud to say that I have a 3.9 GPA. (The only class that made me lose my perfect 4.0 was a typing class. I couldn’t type 48+ wpm to get an A.) I still make typos. I have bad typing habits. The best I can do is about 40 wpm. It was not enough to earn an A. I don't know how some people can type 100 wpm. Honestly. With no errors!! I would be concentrating so hard on the finger placement on the keyboard, it would actually slow me down. I have a Typing Instructor software that is collecting "cyberdust." I should start honing my typing skills again.

I’ve put a lot of time into my homework and the hard work is starting to pay off. I would only want to work part-time when I am done. It’s nice being home when the kids get home. I used to work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There were times when I had to work overtime. Then the starting times would be at six or five in the morning. After a good 30-40 minute commute with a co-worker, it’d be past four o’clock by the time I got home. So, it was nice being home more.

I feel another “Calgon” moment coming very soon. It’s not for stress or tension, but just to pamper myself. There are so many facets to my life (mom, wife, student, dare I say it-maid, etc). I have to be a friend to myself, too.

I hope that there’s a job somewhere, preferably within walking distance, where I could just work from 8 (or 9) a.m. to 2 p.m. If I have to work three 8-hour days a week, I guess I will just have to wing it. One never knows what the hours a prospective employer has in mind when an ad says “part-time.” Not always. I do hope that my future workplace will be very accommodating and flexible.

I really don’t relish the idea of staying home. I have worked steadily for a good 19 years before I went back to school. I really don’t want to stay home all day. I like being around people. I would go nuts staying home. This is odd, really, because when I worked, I wanted to be home. I guess I want it both ways. Part-time work would be the perfect medium.

A song by Reba McEntire comes to mind. I know that it is more about a woman who never worked. She married young, took care of her family, and wants to get out and work. Some people love being stay-at-home moms. Some miss the interaction with other adults. Same idea.

Is There Life Out There
(Susan Longacre/Rick Giles)

She married when she was twenty
She thought she was ready
Now she's not so sure
She thought she'd done some living
But now she's just wonderin'
What she's living for
Now she's feeling that there's something more

Is there life out there
So much she hasn't done
Is there life beyond
Her family and her home
She's done what she should
Should she do what she dares
She doesn't want to leave
She's just wonderin
Is there life out there

She's always lived for tomorrow
She's never learned how
To live for today
She's dyin' to try something foolish
Do something crazy
Or just get away
Something for herself for a change

Is there life out there
So much she hasn't done
Is there life beyond
Her family and her home
She's done what she should
Should she do what she dares
She doesn't want to leave
She's just wonderin
Is there life out there

There's a place in the sun that she's never been
Where life is fair and time is a friend
Would she do it the same as she did back then
She looks out the window and wonders again

Is there life out there
So much she hasn't done
Is there life beyond
Her family and her home
She's done what she should
Should she do what she dares
She doesn't want to leave
She's just wonderin
Is there life out there

Is there life out there
So much she hasn't done
Is there life beyond
Her family and her home
She's done what she should
Should she do what she dares
She doesn't want to leave
She's just wonderin
Is there life out there

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Candy Cane

In the spirit of Christmas and the "reason for the season," I thought I would share this with you all.

The Legend of the Candy Cane

Look at the candy cane. What do you see?
Stripes that are red like the blood shed for me.

White is for my Savior who's sinless and pure!
"J" is for Jesus, my Lord, that's for sure!

Turn it around and a staff you will see-
Jesus, my sheperd was born for me!

-Author Unknown-