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We are family!

Back in the late 70's,  (1979 to be exact) the song "We are Family" was released by the American vocal group, Sister Sledge.  This time frame was when I was in my early 20's.  Fast forward XXX amount of years, and this song is still VERY popular today.  It's the best theme song for ALL families.

This was about the time us five kids were coming (or had already arrived) at the legal age that allowed us to go to clubs.  For those of you from Topeka, who remembers "The Old Way Station"? This was our first go-to club for music and adult beverages.  I am certain my brother-in-law remembers this old haunt since Erik, Lori and I took him for a night out when we first met him.  Both Katy and Tony were in the Air Force and Tony braved the first family intro meeting alone. Apparently we should have told him what happens in Topeka, stays in Topeka.  Yes, I got a call from mom the next day that started out "I hope you kids are proud of yourselves...."  Eno…

I believe it has arrived!

Middlescence.  It historically has been defined asthe middle-age period of life, especially when considered a difficult time of self-doubt and readjustment.  Wow.  What a Debbie Downer description of aging.  

If you would have asked me at 20 what middle age looked like, I am sure I would have said "oh, anytime after 40". I think I increased it by 10 years by the time I hit 30, but as it turns out, I didn't realize it arrives when things basically go to hell.

Happily, we all know that times, they are a changing.  And how we look at getting old(er) is much more optimistic.  Some people now define middlescence as the second adolescence. (WHOOHOO)

As evidenced, at 60, I haven't slowed down at all (well, not much).  In fact, it is safe to say that I am enjoying more adventure with less fear, than at any time in my life.  No difficult time of self-doubt and readjustment going on here.

This past year I have zip-lined (first time), skied (first time in 35 years), jet skied (firs…

Don't ask me that!

I am sure you have all heard that popular saying "there are no stupid questions".  When it comes to meetings, (which I love to hate), I beg to differ.  Despite the very nature of meetings, there are some questions that should NEVER be asked.

Meetings make up a major part of my day.  It is not uncommon for me to have back to back meetings all day.  Once a meeting is on my calendar, that time is reserved for whatever topic that needs to be discussed.  I like the idea and structure of meetings.  Yet I find myself often disappointed.

Here is a typical scenario.  Let's say a meeting with seven people  (as shown on my calendar) is from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.  Based on response, everyone is attending.  What this means to me:  I arrive a few minutes early and get settled, so the meeting may promptly start at 10.

What this means to 2 or 3 others:  Show up whenever it's convenient.

What this means to 1 person - With no notice, don't show up at all (keep them guessing).

Too many words

Recently, I have been on a committee that is reviewing old guidelines, handbooks, etc. and there is one thing that became crystal clear right away.  When comparing what we have (or don't have) to other agency's, we tend to go all or nothing.  Meaning, 50 million words to describe a process, or none at all.  Sigh.
Unfortunately, the same holds true for meetings.  Have you ever noticed how much is said at a meeting that is unnecessary?  Out of context?  Repetitive?  Repetitive?  Repetitive?
Seriously, some meetings sound like this?  Participant:  "I think the sky is blue".  Me:  "I understand what you are saying, but if you look out the window, today it is purple".  Participant:  Okay, I think the sky is blue".  Not. kidding.  There are times when no matter what is said, one (or more) people will have the same answer for every comment.  WHY????
I will tell you why.  Listening is optional.  If you don't listen, you don't have to change your tune.�…

Excuses, Excuses

Have you ever noticed it seems we live in a world of excuses?

Starting as a kid, we quickly learn the necessity (value) of a good excuse.  First, our parents (and other adults who love us) make excuses for us.  The screaming toddler in the grocery store - she missed her nap.  The quick reflex grab of a toy from another child - he doesn't like to share.

It all starts out simple enough.  And then as kids, we learned from the best, the value of just the right excuse.

Sometimes kids don't always get the excuse right.  When I was very young, my mom came in when my brother and I were both crying.  When asked what was wrong (basically who did what) I quickly got the first words in "he hit me...back".  Sigh

And all these excuses have led to the demise of a sincere apology.  I am so sorry but it wasn't my fault.  What does fault have to do with an apology?  Is fault the sole factor?  I think not.  Sometimes our behavior has unintended consequences and we need to own tha…

You can't have the cake!

When us five kids were growing up, there were many times we wished we could have something.  Rather than use the rather crude saying of "Put out both hands and wish with one and poop in the other.  See which one fills up first", we had a little saying.  I don't know where we got this saying, but I have used it on my kids and I still use it today.

You can see the cake, you can want the cake, but you can't have the cake!

No, this is not just about the food category, cake.  Though I am certain there were times when it did involve something as simple as dessert.  We liked to say this line to our siblings, complete with different accents, squeaky voices, hand gestures...whatever drama seemed applicable for the situation. That way, every time we said it, it was like the first time we came up with it.  And you can use this saying for just about any situation.

Next time someone starts with "I wish...." (and you know with absolute certainty that whatever is being w…

All these books, so little time....

Wow!  I am just coming off a 10 day vacation and I had the best time.  What goes perfect with long days at the lake (or pool)?  Late nights and lazy days?  You got it - reading.

I have loved to read for as long as I can remember.  When I was growing up, we had a bookmobile that came once a week during the summer, parked in the local grocery store lot.  I would walk the four blocks every week - with the first week signing up to read 25 books over the summer.  Nothing electronic then.  We signed up (really, on paper with a signature) and were give a list that was numbered one through twenty-five.  The only thing I could fill out immediately was my name and grade.  Then I got to reading.

Through fifth grade, one of my favorite times of the school day was right after lunch.  We would all file in and take our seats, and then our teacher would read aloud to us for 15 minutes or so.  (It depended on how long the chapter was).  I distinctly remember in 5th grade, I was so interested in the bo…

Death by Qualifiers and/or Comparison

Taking a walk earlier this week, I found myself going in circles, literally.  It was too hot and humid to walk outdoors and 11 laps around the first floor lobby equal one mile.  I was walking at a fairly brisk pace and there was two people walking that I lapped not once but twice (once I started noticing). When I compared myself to the speed/progress they were making, I felt pretty good.  Yet for all the comparison, did it change one thing about my progress?

So I had to start thinking about comparison.  And here is the deal.  Depending on how you use it, you are either trying to make yourself feel better about who you already are....or tearing yourself down for all you are not...in any given category.  And at the end of the day, comparisons do not effect change.

It starts out innocently enough.  As new moms, we might compare where our children are at in their development.  Fair enough.  However, I remember a story my mom would tell me about my dad.  He was very concerned that a baby a…

Bikini Bias

In listening to podcasts, attending conferences and just reading for self improvement for fun, I have recently been confronted with (fill in the blank) bias.  It could be opportunities to test for racial bias, male (or female) bias, you get the drift.

It's all very interesting to me because we all like to believe that we are cool with everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, politics, etc.  It's just not the case.
When taking the different quizzes, it quickly becomes apparent that some decisions we make are solely based on all the wrong things.  It could be a deep seated thought or feeling that was instilled when we were young,
And sometimes, what we think and feel, pop up at the most interesting times,  
Just when I thought I was able to recognize all things about me....biased, I had to confront a recent revelation.
What are those bikini bottoms called where there really isn't any "bottom" at all.  You know what I am talking about...the small triangle…

Proceed with Caution!

As we were coming home from church on Sunday, we noticed the entrance ramp onto the highway was closed,  There were detour signs posted and we mindlessly followed the postings.  Right away, we realized we were heading in the opposite direction of where we were supposed to be going.  Mr. French said "What kind of detour is this?".  We stayed with it and after a couple of miles out of route, we were back on the highway, heading in the direction of home.

This week when I went to the dentist, I was scheduled for a cleaning only, however, x-rays revealed that a few old fillings were failing and needed to be fixed.  The doctor said they could work me in RIGHT THEN if I was so inclined.  Instinctively I wanted to say "NO".  This was not the direction I envisioned for my day.  However, by allowing myself to say yes to "the detour" I avoided much of the anxiety associated with an upcoming dental visit.  I pondered this as I enjoyed the loud sound effects of the d…

You are never too old.

At various times in my life, this thought has crossed my mind "I am too old for ____" (fill in the blank).  As I reflect on some of those things now, I realize just how wrong I would have been and what I would have missed) if I stayed with that mindset.

Starting young, we become "too old" quickly.  That transition from 6th grade to junior high was harsh when one realized we were now "too old" for recess!!

Then I thought I missed my window of opportunity when I did not go to college immediately following high school.  I didn't even revisit that possibility until I was 36 years old.  Working full-time with two daughters at home, I started slow.  Taking two classes to see if I could "still keep up".
In my twenties and working at my first "adult" job, I remember a couple of women fast approaching 30.  The conversation revolved around hair cuts.  They both had longer hair and we all knew that once you reached 30, you were "too old&…

For the next 60 seconds - THIS IS ONLY A DRILL!

When I was a kid (back in the olden days), our school conducted two drills per year - a fire drill and a tornado drill.  Besides being guaranteed to get you out of class for close to an hour, the thought has always been that if you know what to do, you have the best chance of survival.  And the more you practice something, the better you will know it.
I still remember the tornado siren sounding at noon every Monday.  This was when the sirens were routinely tested in the event they were ever needed.  People who live in Kansas and Missouri relied on these sirens.  In Texas, sirens are scarce and we rely on the news (really scary).
I also remember the radio and TV tests conducted periodically for the Emergency Broadcasting System.  "For the next 60 seconds, our station will be conducting a test for the Emergency Broadcasting System.  This is only a test.  In the event of a real emergency, you would be instructed...." . Obviously I heard this one frequently enough to have it per…

Fake news!

Sometimes the things we see on TV cause us to pause....and maybe ponder "is that really happening?"  "Did that really happen?"  "Will that really happen?"

Mainly because (as I have discussed before), if you don't like the 10-day weather forecast, or the slant on news being reported, please just change your channel.

Lately we have been hearing much about cyber attacks in our country and around the world. Apparently, a criminal no longer needs to take human hostages in order to demand a ransom.

For example, it has been reported that hospitals have had to cancel surgeries, appointments, etc. when a cyber attack was launched on their system, with many $$$ being demanded before the system is "freed".  Obviously, no one wants to negotiate with cyber terrorists, as this just sets the stage for more demands.  And there is no real guarantee that you will ever get your system back intact as before.

On a more personal level, a computer in our househol…

Be aware (or wary) of your surroundings....

The conversation went something like this...."Hey, what are you doing?  Are you having a good day?"  I couldn't quite hear the response but it must have been funny as it elicited quite a chuckle.

Before you get all fired up about my bad manners and eavesdropping, let me explain my surroundings in more detail.  Because I can promise you, for a quick minute, I thought I might be in the wrong room.

BUT NO!  I was right where I intended to me - the Ladies room.  Also know as the lavatory, restroom or "down the hall".  Typically, said room is reserved for bodily functions that do NOT include talking on the telephone.  I wish I could say this has only happened once (it has not) or that the chatterbox in question was relaxing on the sofa in the "sitting area" part of the restroom (they weren't).

The first time it happened, I thought they were talking to me.  After I realized the situation, I thought it would be humorous if I put a sign on each stall th…

How did you get that old?

Birthdays have always been a blessing to me.  I realized at a very young age that eventually I would get old(er).  As I believe I have mentioned in the past, I really only struggled with one birthday and that was 35.

But we aren't talking about my birthday today.

I want to talk about our kids.  So much planning and celebration over the years into each birthday party.  Family gatherings and cake.  Festive decorations and games.  Not once during all those years did I ever think that my kids would someday be "my age" at the time of the party.  How does this happen?

Megan turned 40 this year.  When I called her and asked how it felt, she said "I am not going to lie, I cried a little bit".  I said, "I am not going to lie either, so did I".  Then we both laughed.

In a card she will probably never get (or at least not on time) since I transposed the numbers on her mailing address, I shared my thoughts on turning 40.  I don't believe I have done this sinc…

My latest kick?

In the mail today, I received a tea strainer I had ordered.  My husband said - what is this?  Your latest kick now?  While I answered quickly that I would be drinking "leaf" tea as opposed to commercially packaged tea bags, his statement did give me pause.

What did he mean by "my latest kick"?

So, it might have something to do with what I read.  Anything I read that seems worthwhile, I do like to apply to our daily living.  Yes, "us" as opposed to just "me".  He might be on to something,

About a year ago, I read about the amazing benefits of maca.  I didn't even know what this was but I quickly googled maca and before I knew it, I had ordered two different colors, one for each of us, If it works for Jennifer Aniston.....This was a powder and not very tasty if it wasn't mixed thoroughly in a drink.  After that experiment (well, we might have gone through several rounds of the powder), we progressed to the liquid drop supplement,  Not bad…

The Eyes have it!

When I was in third grade, I failed my first test....eye test, that is.  I was soon picking out frames for my new constant companion.  And what a difference they made.  Being near sighted, I didn't notice the discrepancy in my vision close up, but once I had glasses....WOW!  Everything was so much crisper and clear.

I wore glasses with bifocals (no, they aren't just for old people) until I was in my twenties.  Then I was told that because I had been proactive with the bifocals, I no longer needed them.  It was also around that time I switched to my first pair of contacts.  What a thrill to be able to wear sunglasses and still see!!
















But the eyes are fickle creatures.  After a lifetime (well, since third grade) of being near-sighted, when I entered my early 50's I thought I was going blind.  I could no longer see up close without my contacts.  In reality, I could no longer see up close WITH my contacts.  I went to the eye doctor who told me, my vision was changing.  Instead…

What is the why?

What we do everyday is make choices.  All.  Day.  Long.  Sometimes these choices are different than others made in similar situations.  Or, we might make the same choices, in the same circumstances, over and over again.

And we will continue to do so until we understand the why.  Not all "whys" are profound, yet they must be examined to understand the eventual outcome.

What do I need to do, (for example) to quit losing the same three pounds, every other week?  More importantly is the why.  Could it be that one week I am respectful of my body and my diet, exercising diligently, monitoring portions, saying no to dessert (at least some of the time).  Followed by the next week of hit and miss exercise, lack of understanding when it comes to portion control and
it's apparently KATY BAR THE DOOR as my intent seems to erode around the possibilities of cookies, dessert wine, etc. etc. etc.

And that is just one What is the Why?

What possesses me to repeat some of my old mistakes, w…

Master Chef

In the six decades I have been alive, I have been cooking and baking for five of them.  My first exposure to cooking was when I was in 4-H.   We studied measurements, different types of ingredients, how to read a recipe and how to safely use the stove/oven.  When I was in junior high (which then was grades 7-9) I took Home Economics.  Not only did I continue to learn how to prepare food, I also learned the basics of sewing.

My brother and I were quite adventuress when it came to trying our hand at new things in the kitchen. One major memory is when my two uncles were in Kansas visiting, Erik and I decided to make them breakfast.  At that time the eggs were prepared over-easy (something Madison wouldn't even recognize because I gave that up long before her time) and we fried the bacon.  My recall is that the meal was an amazing success.  We were probably around 13-14 years old.  Mom's memory will be slightly different.  Since we were preparing this feast before school (and she …

What answer are you looking for?

Maybe my memory doesn't have the same recall as it did when I was younger, but I seem to remember that there used to be only one answer for every question asked.  Well, I admit there was some confusion over "feed a fever, starve a cold" and "which way the toilet paper was supposed to go on". So obviously I am being VERY general when I say one question/one answer and I am not even saying that the ONE ANSWER given was necessarily the correct answer.

But here is what I find in today's world.  If I have a question that involves morals, ethics, hair styles, parenting advice, dieting, sleep habits (anything but blatant historical facts), if at first I don't find the answer I preferred, I may need to keep looking.  Because I guarantee you, it is out there.
I am a frequent listener of pod casts (I love them).  When I am not frequenting a courtroom drama or true crime (think Dateline - audio version) I like to listen to question/answer type shows.  They cover al…

Discipline -for the win!

So I have been thinking about the whys and wherefores of discipline lately.  There are many forms of discipline, with the effectiveness solely dependent upon the recipient.  I have also been thinking about the rewards of discipline (and this should also be why we do it).  It sounds like an oxymoron, but we want discipline to result in something positive being gained.

When I would discipline my kids when they were growing up, I wasn't much for spanking but could dole out a thump that would be a real attention getter.  It's like my arm would stretch out like a super hero to deliver the goods.  I must have got that genetically since that is what I remember my grandpa threatening.  I rarely raise my voice in anger but tend to go quiet(er).  Regardless of volume, my girls would always say "quit yelling at me".  The tone was (is) so important!  Remember the old adage, "if you want to get someones attention...whisper"

Because I appreciate structure and have gained…

Where is your home?

Today I was listening to a podcast that revolved around finding the right "location" for your home.  I don't mean a specific zip code in a given area but more specifically, finding where you feel like you have "come home".

I have never really thought about my location in that sense before.  Though I will say that both Terry and I love Texas and feel very much at home here.  And truth be told, initially Terry was a little apprehensive about making the move.  But before we got here, I wasn't longing to find a place where I would find my "home".  

In fact, every time we visit a new place, I envision what it might be like to live there.  I have lived "many lives" in my imagination.  And I really can't think of one place where I thought....not here. Some places have more to offer than others, but even that particular thought is subjective.    It's like finding your soul mate.  If we were all looking for the same thing, there might be…