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Showing posts from 2014

Taking inventory before taking control (allegedly)

When I was seventeen, I worked at Woolco Department Store (no longer around), in the cosmetic department.  I also worked the front registers when it got really busy.  Once a year, the store would close for 24 hours and we would take inventory.  Back in the dark ages (mid 70's) this was done the old fashioned way with everyone actually counting what was on the shelf.  This gave management a way to do a check and balance of where they were at "real time".  Now of course, everything has bar codes and is tracked whether it is on the shelf or in the mail making its way to your home.

Today is the last day of the year and I notice everyone taking an informal "inventory" if you will, of how the 2014 has added up.  What has happened - both good and bad, and what lessons they can take with them going into this next year.  Some of us are already making plans for the next year!

Wouldn't it be nice if it were as simple as a mathematical formula, much like preparing a bu…

Some things never get old

This is number 50 in my weekly series of posts and I haven't missed one yet.  And I enjoy writing them.  This is one of the things that never get old.  Something else that never gets old is Christmas Eve.

I bet I haven't missed more than a couple Christmas Eve services in the past 28 ++ years.  And I can only remember two services that I know of for certain.  One of them, everyone missed because the weather was so bad (think Kansas City -about six years ago) all the churches cancelled services for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I am not one that is interested in reading a book more than once (there are exceptions) and I am not a fan of repeat viewing of movies either (I already know how they end), however, I never tire of hearing the same scriptures read, the songs we sing and the familiarity of the service that is repeated every Christmas Eve.  This isn't so much a repetition to me as it is the reminder of a promise.

The first Christmas program I remember attending (a…

Wait, I know a shortcut.

The best invention in my world has been the GPS.  It is no secret in my family that I am
directionally impaired.  More than one person has said that I couldn't punch my way out of a paper bag.  And one of those people was me.  There was a time when leaving a baseball game, I spent 20 minutes trying to find my way out of the parking lot.  The kids still laugh about that.  (Because there are always witnesses).

One time I was driving to Wichita to meet sister Nori, for a weekend rendezvous.  The "three-hour" drive almost turned into an adventure reminiscent of Gilligan's Island, as we approached the seven hour mark; almost midnight and were still aimlessly driving in the country, now punchy with tired laughter.  Another time, Marissa and I were heading back to Topeka and somehow ended up in I don't even know where.  To soothe our weary selves, we stopped at a bookstore and bought reading material.  I guess that was just in case we never made it home.  Do you see a…

Ain't no ladder high enough!

The other day, I was sitting at my computer, typing away on I can't remember what, when a co-worker stuck his head in the door and made the comment "what are you smiling look so happy in here."  That was his kind way of saying - "hey, you look like the village idiot sitting there, smiling away at your computer" but I had no awareness of what I was doing until he called me on it.  And I wasn't working on anything in particular that brought a smile to my face.  The simple fact was...and is, I am happy to be where I am at.  It was so refreshing to me to have that brought to my attention and I think he got a kick out of it too.  After all, it doesn't seem that long ago that the only lines etched on my face were lines of stress, and smiles were reserved for weekends and holidays.

Everyone knows that you shouldn't climb a ladder without the proper support.  You also shouldn't climb a ladder that is poorly put together or makeshift in any w…

What do you mean by that?

A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting with my husband as he was going to have knee surgery.  When his name was called and we approached the nurse, she held out her right hand and Terry promptly shook it.  She smiled at him and turned his arm over to check his wristband.  We all laughed as Terry realized his mistake and said, "I guess you didn't really want to shake my hand".  It was funny but it made me wonder how many times we react to situation and the INTENTION was something totally different.

Fast forward six days to Thanksgiving.  We are gathered around the table eating in and the room was crowded and noisy.  A new friend sitting across from me was asking if the condiments at the other end of the table had been tried yet.  I kept trying to answer him and he was talking over me and staring right through me.  I kept trying to answer until Madison informed me he was talking to the person standing directly behind me.  I could have sworn he was looking at me.  I never did…

Always....Always, Remember who you are!

When our youngest came to an age where she would go off with other kids (and their families) without us, I always liked to remind her to "remember who you are" as she was leaving.  It wasn't that I was afraid she would forget her name and not find her way home (though maybe there were times when she might have liked to) but as she left our care, I felt it was important that she take with her the values that made her "who she was".  She was not only representing her own character, but her family and her faith.

Even now, I remind myself to "remember who I am" when I find myself confronted with situations that could have moral consequences (for me) whether it is at work, in discussion or in social situations.  That old adage, "you are the company you keep"' has proven true for me over the years as I have walked down assorted paths with all kinds of people.  And choices needed to be made.  Is that really who I was or who I wanted to be?  Eve…

Put a fork in's done!!

I was sitting in an HR orientation (first one of those I have been to for myself in more years than I care to recall) and I was joined by another new employee.  He was not new to "the system" as I was, but new to this branch of the organization, none the less.  Pleasantries were exchanged and at one point during the course of the morning, when we were discussing a random topic, he indicated his displeasure and shared his reaction by hand gestures.   Not the kind you immediately might think but he did my "done with it" hand gesture.  For those who know me, when I do what I call my "Pontius Pilate move" I slap my hands together quickly three times and then flick my fingers outward the same number of times.  If I do this to completion. this signifies "I am done with you".  You can imagine my delight at meeting someone that understood my unspoken language.

But are we ever really "done" with anyone?   My sister Katy and I were having this …

Back in the Game!!

I have made my husband and daughter breakfast routinely (but not daily) for almost a year.  Yet, today my husband made breakfast for me..  It is not my birthday, our anniversary, or any other "special" day.  We did not recently complete therapy where it was recommended that he "step up his game".   There were no threats or (on the other side of that coin) promises made to ignite such positive behavior.  And I will let you in on another secret....he will be making my breakfast again tomorrow.

How did I get so lucky?  Okay, the secret to what works in our marriage is....WORK!  I went back to work.  Yes, I am BACK IN THE GAME.  The sabbatical is over and as of today, I am gainfully employed and all I can do is SMILE.

Today I was assigned an office, a parking spot, and an ID badge so I know where to go tomorrow.  So, that is why my husband fixed (no, fixes) me breakfast.  When we are both working, he fixes me breakfast.  It's a great way to start the day.  Before…

Starting something at the end

Before a person sits down to write something, whether it be a research paper, a letter (that is almost a thing of the past), maybe just their thoughts, usually one has to gather information, know what it is they will be writing about, and then they will just get busy writing.  It seems a little backwards, starting something that is for all practical purposes, already finished.  But, the work has been done and now it's just a matter of getting it down on paper.  Starting something at the end.

What other things are like that?  I can think of several.  One major lesson that once we really learn, is, for all practical purposes over, is parenting.  By the time we learn how to be the BEST parents, our kids are grown up.  If we are lucky, they are still talking to us and have grown into some type of semi-functioning adult, perhaps even now trying to learn the lessons of parenting as we did.  They may (or may not) be interested in taking any advice from us, since all they know is what the…

Behind the's where life is lived!

Did you ever think that just about everything we do is a presentation for someone?  An academy award winning performance that you may or may not be applauded for, but certainly noticed, held accountable for, whispered about or at best, ignored.

I was thinking about this when I was helping daughter Madison prepare for her drivers test.  All the months of learning and practice boiled down to a 20 minute drivers test that would subjectively be determined by luck of the draw - depending on which examiner she was assigned.  The young man who checked her in (HE WAS 21 YEARS OLD) was one of the examiners.  Seriously, four years older than Madison.  He pointed out which guy graded harder (the one with the ponytail that looked all of 25, versus the older woman that spoke English as a second language.  Our cheerful informant was just working the desk that day.  I won't tell you who Madi drove with, but she did pass.

I know I have mentioned before that I have rekindled my interest in knittin…

Every cookie has its price.

I can go for extended periods of time without eating sweets, until I am eating them several times daily.  Does anyone else know what I am talking about?  And keep in mind, I am selective about what I will binge on.  If I buy store bought cookies, they will sit in the pantry until I throw them out. (they are just not binge worthy)  I bought a huge bag of jolly ranchers about three months ago and still am working off that same bag.  But, let there be peanut M&M's in the house and I am like a rabid addict, once started, can't stop.  Even worse....candy corn.  If I break down and buy a bag, I know that once it is opened, I might as well resign myself to eating most of it in one sitting (even as I feel sick), just to get it out of the house.

I was wondering where this behavior came from.  Especially since I am so particular in what will draw me in.  I think I had a glimpse into my madness when I was eating a oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (did I say singular - HAHAHAHAHA) and th…

What do you get when you wonder and worry?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and while our immediate family has been fortunate and escaped this particular type of cancer, we have not been untouched by the cruelties and suffering brought on by the sudden onset of this disease,  Many of our close friends, and extended family members have had to deal with this diagnosis and have heroically braved the battle.  And while many have won the initial skirmishes, not all have won the war.

While we know intimately the women who are waging the front-line battles, many times forgotten are the little heroes behind the scenes.  The children of these brave women who often are left "wondering and worrying" what will happen to their mothers - perhaps not understanding the full diagnosis, treatment plan, side affects, etc., basically the journey their mother is about to embark on.   This is true for any child whose parent is suffering a life threatening illness (be it dad or mom) but October in particular brought it to mind for …

What did we take pictures of.....before Selfies?

I had dinner tonight with my 17 year old daughter Madison, and her boyfriend Robert.  Wait, he didn't actually join us but I felt like he was there because Madi was busy "snapchatting" him while we waited for our meal.  Okay, and during our meal until I told her I didn't want to spend the entire evening in the restaurant.

I shouldn't assume that everyone knows what "Snapchatting" is.  This is an app on smart phones and tablets that allows you to take pictures of yourself and send them IMMEDIATELY to whoever you are "Snapchatting" with.  This can be one person or many.   You do this instead of talking or texting because we all know a picture is worth a thousand words.  Even pictures received at the rate of 3 per minute.  It's like a tennis match with pictures being volleyed back and forth until someone's face falls off from fatigue. 
The benefit of pictures versus words - words, if not chosen wisely, can leave an ugly mark and these ar…

What do you do with the loose ends?

Recently I have started knitting again. This is something I learned to do when I was in grade school and belonged to 4-H.  (Does that club still exist?)   I have picked up the needles from time to time over the years but I admit, it has been MANY years since I have taken the time to really enjoy choosing a project and completing it.  My daughter gave me a starter set for my birthday this year (her birthday is today-HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARISSA) and I promptly knitted a hot pad.  The first one looked more like a Chief's arrowhead, but I quickly got back in the swing of things and have been very successful since.  Guess who my inspiration has been??

One thing that comes with any knitting project is loose ends.  At first, I didn't know what to do with them.  Erroneously, I thought one should just cut them as close to the finished piece as possible.  This would be WRONG.  If you clip a loose end short (and hope for the best) at some point in time, it runs the risk of …

Things I like to count...and count on!

As mentioned in a prior blog, I am no stranger to a slight touch of OCD.  How I define "slight" is my obsessions are more entertaining and quirky than the type that need medication (so far).  I believe I was about 12 when I first realized that not EVERYONE counted the stairs when they went up and down them but hey - what an opportunity to work on math skills.  Even at my last place of employment which was on the fourth floor, (66 stairs) I would count by 1's, 2's, 3's, 4's...through 9's for variety.  Now that I reflect on it,  I am uncertain.  Can someone count the stairs for me tomorrow and get back with me.  I need to know if I remember the stair count correctly.  And therein lies my personal definition of obsessive/compulsive.  At least on my need to know basis.

So it should come as no surprise that I like to count my regular steps, too.  I was one of the first owners of the Fitbit and convinced many others that they needed to have one also.  That way …

Hey Alexander - How about a "selfie"?

Lately, I have been very interested in all things historical.  Most recently, I have been enjoying "The Roosevelt's" special on PBS.  It is listed as an "intimate" look at their lives and apparently PBS and "regular" TV have huge discrepancies on the meaning of the word "intimacy".  Let's just say I could watch this PBS special comfortably with any family member (if they would only agree to watch it with me).  But I digress....

I have been thinking of the telephone lately, the cell phone to be specific, and marvel at how far it has come.  And that brings me to the history point.  We have probably forgotten that there were really two inventors that literally raced to the patent office within hours of each other to claim the prize of  "I DID IT FIRST".  Alexander Graham Bell (who just might share my birthday ) obviously won but that did not keep Elisa Gray from challenging Mr. Bell in a legal battle over the invention, which he ul…

Where five or more are gathered - it's a gamble!

Last week I made another quick visit to Kansas City.  While there I had the opportunity to have all five grandkids (ages 13 to 1 month) eat dinner with me at a local Winstead's with only one other adult (daughter Megan) in attendance.  I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all other diners who had the misfortune to be in this particular Winstead's at the same time we were.  I don't even need to name location, date or time....if you were know.

It started out so innocently, I arrived first with Colten and Dawson. Colten is 4 and one might describe him as "determined" when he makes his mind up on something.  Dawson, not quite two, likes to be held when he is unsure of where he is (and I am not going to lie...I encourage that), Winstead's qualified.  We started off on a shaky note when Colten needed to use the restroom IMMEDIATELY.  Unfortunately, a small power struggle between the men and ladies room ensued as Colten informed me HE W…

For all the late breaking news...wait 50 years!

I have always enjoyed learning about history, but it wasn't until I was older that I realized that history was written by the winners.  And it wasn't until recently that I realized how much history has been postponed and continues to be postponed.  Files are sealed and not to be opened for 50 years or more.  Personal histories can be rewritten by sealing and or destroying files.  And this is allowed.

Am I the only one that finds this interesting?  As a firm believer that we must know our history in order to learn from it, what does one do when history changes?  Isn't it challenging enough that the countries we learned in grade school don't even have the same names anymore?  Whatever happened to Yugoslavia?

When I was in junior high, every year we had the opportunity to participate in the "United Nations".  Before I go any further, for those of you who are not familiar with "junior high" (since it no longer exists), in the olden days,  that would be …

Standards.....Best practices? I just want RULES!

I am one of those people that do so much better when I understand the rules.  Who is with me?  I remember when I was in third grade, Mom asked for a yellow chiffon blouse for a gift (birthday or memory is not THAT good).  I thought this blouse was beautiful and it was understood between Mom and me that when I was old enough - and of a certain "size", I would be allowed to wear it.  Of course, by the time that day came, I would no sooner wear my mom's clothes than hang out with her friends.  RIGHT???  Those were the "rules".  There was a certain standard and everyone understood how it was.

Even the Archie comics (Archie, Reggie, Veronica, Betty, etc.) liked everything opposite of their parents.  This would be called a best practice by the time I was a teenager.  Most of us liked rock and roll while our parents still liked country but it wasn't unheard of, if an occasional song was played and enjoyed by both.  Obviously, you didn't brag abo…

She has my eyes, and your split personality!

It all starts out so innocently.  And really very much a territorial type thing.  You finally have a child of your own (or grandchild) and quickly everyone starts claiming attributes. You are keen to determine who the baby looks like, pulling out pictures of other children, siblings and perhaps even your own baby picture.

 I remember when Marissa was born, much arguing was going on as to who she looked like, when I already knew she looked exactly like me.  Always being one to prove my point, I slipped my newborn picture in the mix.  My mother-in-law (at the time) picked it up and said, "oh, you have a new picture of the baby".  HA!  Needless to say, case closed.  

The the children get older, and it becomes less about looks and more about expressions.  Comments are made such as "when she furrows her brow like that, she looks just like you".  So now it's not so much about nature, but about nurture.  And I don't know about you, but these can even be self expre…

What lies between a Noun and a Verb is apathy

If you read last week's blog, you will have noticed, I HAVE A NEW GRANDDAUGHTER.  And I love her.  I say it, I believe it, but when it comes down to it....what does love have to do with it?  As a noun probably not much.  Because so many times, in today's is not enough.

Even the word "love" is overused or maybe overrated.  (As a noun, anyway).  How many times do we casually toss the word around?  I love Sonic (my example).  What does that mean?  Would I go to the ends of the earth for my Diet Green Tea, with a splash of peach, extra ice?  I think not.  In fact, there are days, (and I know some of you will find this hard to believe), that I make a choice not to go to Sonic.  That doesn't sound like love.    I am not going to focus on the things that love will not do.  That is something all of us are all too familiar with.  Let's talk instead about what love could do.

So, what is love?  I believe love only becomes alive as a verb.  When it takes act…

Taste buds and love unite!

I love to bake!  It has been one of my favorite things to do with my daughters over the years.  And through the years, we have added to our repertoire of  items we "make and bake".  Many things we have made, everyone loves.  Taste buds and love unite!!!!  But other things, in fact a couple of my favorite things, have not been a favorite with my very own family.  How can we be related?  Do you ever wonder that, when something (or someone) you love does not win the heart of another person you love?

Or what about when your own  "taste changes".  When I was growing up, I remember eating macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and one particular tuna casserole with potato chips on top.  Ring any bells?  I can tell you that I no longer wish to eat these particular foods; my "taste" has changed.  By the same token,  I did not like olives, any type of fish (other than fish sticks) and also would not eat food that had "touched".  I will eat all types of olives now…

Boundaries - Real or Imagined - Don't cross the dotted line.

I have spent the past eleven days with my older grandsons; Ethan is almost 14 and Nathan is 10.  Most days we have Madi with us and on those days I am "mom" first but on the days when she is otherwise entertained, I am all "Mimi".  I have found the boundaries change when the parental role is removed and it has also been noticed by my grandsons.  Not that I will win any awards for the most conventional parenting, I always try to introduce education and fun in our outings.

In my younger parenting days, I used my children as the outlet for my attempts at humor - nothing mean-spirited, but in the genre of "honey, put on this hat and go stand by ???? so I can take your picture"  Basically fill in the blank depending on the nature of our outings.  Now I find (much to their amusement, amazement, and at times, even chagrin, I prefer to be the one in the photo.  Over the past few years, Madi has gotten used to it, to the point where she might even say, "Look …