Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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".
Obviously this is "before class"
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" to wear long hair.  I actually laughed out loud when I thought of this the other day.  Why would we even think that?

There are so many things you will never be "too old" to accomplish.  I know several women who battled with their weight for the majority of the time I knew them.  Yet once in their 50's (and possibly coinciding when their children were grown), they successfully began a healthy routine that for them, resulted in weight loss.

Another woman I know began taking piano lessons (again).  I am not just talking about myself here. What a delight to be reminded of a joy that was left by the wayside many years before.

Sister Nori, while perhaps not as active in sports as I was when we were growing up, started with the "couch potato to runner" app  a few years back and is now a regular runner.  Not just running for fun (is that an oxymoron?) but actively competing in marathons of various lengths.

This past year I have done many firsts (and a few repeats from VERY LONG AGO) that I had decided at some point in time I was just "too old" for.  Jet skiing, snow skiing, snow mobile rides (probably won't do that again unless I am driving), snorkeling, zip lines....SO MUCH FUN!

But wait, there's more.  I entered the world of Yoga recently.  I have dabbled with this in the past but because my flexibility is like that of a giraffe, I never stayed the course.  When the opportunity to participate in yoga was made available at work, I joined in on this two times per week adventure. I felt pretty good about my level of participation, etc.

Until last night.

Since Madison is home for the summer, we made a "Bucket List" of many things we would like to do together.  I included cleaning out the refrigerator (since I hate to do that alone) and she indicated she would like to take Yoga together.  After talking about it, and researching different studios, we made our move last night.  It was then I realized that my midday forays into Yoga were only child's play compared to this class.

And we loved it.  I may have been the oldest one in our class (jury is out on one other woman) but what I realized was....I am not TOO OLD to do this.

So, in typical fashion, we have signed up for four more classes.....this week.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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).
You can run...and hide!

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 permanently tattooed on my brain.  Thankfully, all I have ever heard is "the test".

That part really hasn't changed in today's world.  What has changed is the number of drills you now have to be prepared to know.

Today I attended a Lunch and Learn on Personal Safety and Active Shooter Awareness.  WOW!  This is a far cry from exiting the school single file (no pushing or shoving) for a fire drill.  

Active Shooter Awareness, along with Workplace Violence weren't commonplace during my time in school.  Not so much when we were raising our older kids either.  But now, today's generation will never know a time when this didn't happen with such frequency that it requires practice.

Yes, today I learned that fire and tornado drills are not enough.  We need to regularly participate in an Active Shooter drill.  And before we ever practice what we would do, we need to know what we should do.  Unfortunately, this does not apply to only one scenario.  Whether we are at work, at school, church, the movies...any place we go in this world, we need to have a plan.  As it has become increasingly apparent, there is no such thing as a safe place.  

I also learned that the philosophy surrounding personal safety (in any situation) has changed significantly.  Growing up we were taught, "don't resist, do what they say" which now basically translates to "hope for the best".  Today we were told to FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT.   That means a lot of different things (and there is no one right way) but basically, do not give in without doing all you can.  It's ironic, because I have always told my girls, if someone approaches you with a gun and wants you to get in the car, RUN, RESIST, SCREAM,  Because people who want to do you harm, are going to.  Make sure you do not go willingly.  And now that philosophy is here.

The reoccurring theme in today's training was  -don't be a victim.  That thought process interests me in so many different themes of life but today we are only talking about one.  It made me think about how crime is reported.  Affected parties are labeled crime "victims".  It would seem our terminology makes it easy to fall in that category but our presenter from Public Safety says otherwise.  He made it clear - you might get hurt, you might get killed but do so from a position of resistance.  Do not be a victim.  Maybe we need to differentiate between "victims" and "resisters".

So my takeaways - be aware of your surroundings always (don't text or play with your phone).  When you are out and about, identify your exits and don't let yourself get boxed in.  You have three choices in an emergency situation "run, hide or fight".  If you can do either of the first, go for it.  Otherwise, FIGHT (and make it loud).  You will want to be heard!

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

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 household was taken hostage this week.  We even received a call from the attacker, telling Mr. French to pay  $2,500 in Itune gift cards (must be the newest form of untraceable currency).  He was even provided with a convenient location close by to make the purchase. Wow!  How is that for customer service?

Now, no one's life was threatened and no operations had to be put on hold, but I am here to tell you, this is a damn inconvenience.  It is not just his computer that was locked up.  We had unauthorized transfers appearing on our bank accounts that needed attention immediately.  Fortunately, Mr. French drove straight to the bank and had all accounts frozen.  We spent quality time changing passwords on every type of account we have ever opened.

I will mention at this point, that changing passwords may be the worse thing that has happened. Apparently at some point in time our memories must have been taken hostage since we can't seem to remember anything anymore.  Or maybe it's just our ability to memorize new passwords.

Ok.  We will survive this heinous attack but there are some lessons to be learned.  If this should ever happen to you, DO NOT give any personal information.  Thankfully, Mr. French did not.  Another tidbit, your computer is not ruined.  Take it to any reputable (think geek squad) IT business and they can clean up this mess.  (for a fee, of course).

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

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

Think about it!
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 that said..Please do not confuse this confined space with a telephone booth.  Before I got too far down that road I was reminded that not everyone appreciates my sense of humor.

Count me "out"
The next time I was privy to private conversation in a private place. (sigh) I was curious.  Keep in mind, the phone did not ring. This tells me that our mystery guest behind Door #1 did not feel compelled to answer.  The call was placed after our contestant was "seated".  What must the recipient of the call think, when they hear awkward noises (intentionally vague) followed by loud flushes?

I try not to be intimated (like I was the first time) by a phone conversation.  Yet it happens.  I catch myself pausing before I flush, trying to time the subsequent whoosh with the conversation.  Why must I feel this way?  It's almost as if I AM DOING SOMETHING WRONG.

If I were to compile a list of acceptable behaviors in the lavatory, it might include some of the following:  Actually using the facilities as nature intended; washing hands; looking in mirror to check appearance (including teeth); comb hair; brush teeth (if you must); change clothes; get water for plants.  Have I forgot anything?  You will immediately note it does NOT include "talking on the telephone".

Don't get me wrong.  In the big scheme of things, this is just one of life's little mysteries.  Please don't read this as a call to action.  It's not something we need to gather signatures for, stage a sit-in, or call the local TV station and ask for the "problem-solvers" department.

I won't speak of this again.....unless I see Clark Kent change into Superman because of his confusion over what that stall really is for!

Until next time,

your pal,

P.S.  Just tell me Face Time is NOT part of this equation!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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 since she turned 20 and a lot can happen during that time.

When I turned 40, I had no idea what the next decade had in store for me.  Because of my need of structure, I like to think in terms of a single decade.   I had plans, ideas, thoughts and some of those things happened.  But it is so much more than that.

My husband surprised me on my birthday with a party including family and friends.  We had only been married a few months so he took a big chance on how I reacted to surprises.

When I was 40, I had my last child.  This was not something in the decade of "30 something" that I would have predicted.

When I was in my 40-somethings...I completed my Bachelors in Psychology.  While this was something I was actively working on, there were times I never thought I would get it done.  Very surprising, barely a year after graduation, I found myself back in school, working and completing my Masters in Counseling Psychology.  Still in my 40's.

Around 48 I changed careers.  Nothing I had ever planned on doing prior to retirement.  This gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and experience in an entirely different arena.

More positive change occurred when I turned 50.

Don't think I never had any setbacks or scares in my 40's.  That would not be true.  But my main point here is, I could never have predicted what the 40's would look like.  And now I say the same held true for my 50's.  The jury is still out on this next decade, but I have high hopes!!  And plans!

All this to say, my daughter turned 40.  I could never have envisioned what that would look like (for me or her).  But I am excited for her next decade.

Until next time,

your pal,

Look past the water stains

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