Monday, June 01, 2015

"Surely every one realizes, at some point along the way, that he is capable of living a far better life than the one he has chosen."
Henry Miller

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cranking

If you remember, when kids were in lower grades, we used to do our back to school shopping the minute school let out in the spring. That is our philosophy. Reduces stress hugely.

Middle moves home each spring and then immediately repacks for fall move back to school, each year.  This spring is more packing because she will be in an apartment. I have been picking kitchen stuff up, on sale, for a couple years now. I dug it all out last night, she inventoried, then repacked for fall.  She needs very little, in good shape, with enough of what she needs. She had no idea I had it all. I know her likes/colors. She was very pleased.

Youngest is taking her driving test this coming week. We have been practicing parking and backing every day.  She starts summer school the end of this coming week. She is cleaning out her room, her locker in the laundry room, etc. like crazy this week. Her application to college is almost done (she is only applying to one school for after high school graduation years, fall of 2016 start date). Transcripts, letters, etc have already been requested from high school. She has already finished her application and enrollment for the other local college where she will take chemistry class her senior year (fall 2015) in high school. We are going to the bookstore tomorrow to get her fall of 2015 chemistry books. We are also getting the stuff together for her for college dorm room (fall of 2016). So we know what we have and can take advantage of Target sales this fall. Have a lot of bed stuff. Need towels for example.

Youngest is painting letters (first initials)  for graduation gifts for her friends (spring 2016). She cannot freehand like middle, but we found another technique that should work. I will post pictures when finished.

Middle is painting our living room coffee table. Will post pictures when finished.

The photo album pages arrived from Gaylord. Very pleased. Husband and I have been working on catching up all four sets (house, one for each kid) of albums. Always a big job.

I think I mentioned, we have decided not to include past generation photos in albums. Instead we are doing bound books (three sets, one for each kid) for past generations. Cheaper and more user friendly.

Interestingly, when husband went to exchange pictures with brothers, he had the most, by far. He realized that is because he used to TAKE most of the pictures. And his mother had given him their early pictures, because he was the only one interested. He brought home more to sort. He brought home slides to sort too. Like many families, most of their pictures from the 50's and 60's, were slides.  Took the first batch (of keeper) slides to photo store. About two dozen. Photo store scanned and put on disc. So he can email those to his brothers. Good way (time and money) to do it for now. I suggested husband do bound books for his brothers too. First suggestion is chronological collection of group pictures of the four of them. There are a fair number of the group pictures. Should be fun to do and great gift. I put myself on email lists for Shuttterfly, etc so I start getting coupons.

So, we are CRANKING. Because in the blink of an eye, summer will be done. In two blinks of an eye, youngest will be graduating and moving to college. We have far less stress if we are proactive and all working toward common goal.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Photo pens

Long ago I had a soft, dark blue, photo pencil from Creative Memories. Worked great for writing on the back of photos.

I had several of them, over the years, all worn down to the nub.

I can't seem to find them, again, on line.

All the local scrapbooking stores are now gone.

My local photography store (where I have my reprints made) do not have any photo pens or pencils.

I am looking for suggestions. Links in comments are most welcome.


Monday, May 25, 2015

I still think of her as The Shrinking Knitter . . .

Happy birthday to Debbi
"Enough is abundance to the wise."
Euripides

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Circuit class, still spring cleaning, pool opens soon

Middle and I went to our second circuit class last night.

Instructor and format are the same as when I attended in past, just new location.

Middle had gone to the class with me in past, so had oldest.

I took it very easy last week, ditto last night.

One minute at each station. I think there were about twelve stations. We went around circuit twice. Stretching and warm up before we started. Active stretching when we're done.

One more class and then she moves outside for summer, which I do not do.

Plus, I have a lot of summer plans, so I could not consistently attend/commit. Neither could middle.

Middle and I are hitting the house again, starting today. We took two days off our spring clean out efforts.  Piles are starting to get to me. Will be glad when we are done.

This is the end of youngest's last week of classes. This week was originally supposed to be finals. Everything got pushed back a week, due to snow cancellation days this past winter. I think she has a week off, then rolls into summer school (three classes to lighten her load next/senior year).

My husband has been doing yard work like crazy, before it gets too hot or the bugs get too bad.

Pool opens this weekend. Girls are very excited. I left drying racks up in garage, pool towels washed, so we are ready to go.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Doing what makes sense at the time, and long term

We know a mom, oldest is a son, currently in finishing junior year, who has been very into the curfew thing. He has a long time girlfriend. We are close friends with the girl, so we see the mother of the boy.

Mother of the boy has been very focused on curfews.

We have all talked about this concept, because we saw her family rule.

Mother of the girl and I are all about teaching kids to make good decisions.

And we do not want any kid speeding or driving when they shouldn't, because they are trying to beat a curfew.


We, mother of the girl and I, both think it is better to have kids think for themselves, see us (parents) on same side of fence (as kids) working for a common goal, than it is to make it all about the rules. All about beating the rule.

We think it is important to make the best decision, no matter whose idea it is, rather than us (as parents) automatically thinking we are right.

We have seen car wrecks because kids were rushing to make curfew.

We have seen kids make very dumb decisions because parents were not involved enough and also because parents were too involved.

It is very much a balance.

I think kids get themselves in a lot of messes if they do not see the big picture of their future and the well being of the family in general.

No action should ever be based, in my opinion, on pulling one over on the parents.

But I still think parents should be parents, not friends of their kids.

All my kids are just a little bit scared of me. They see me as a parent.

But they will tell me most anything. Their friends will also tell me most anything. If they are telling me something stupid, I will tell them why I think it is not in their best interest. I do not do the patting on heads thing. But they will talk about things with me. I do not need to know every detail. But I will have true conversations. 

The mom with the curfew fixation, has been backing off her son.

She said it just occurred to her that he will be away at college in a little over a year.

Hopefully she is really talking to him about making good choices.

Because boys, in particular, need a lot of information to understand making good choices.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend

The mom, of our close family friends, came for a long weekend.

She had doctor's appointments Thursday.

It was a big weekend for garage sales in our area.

Middle, our friend and I garage sale shopped Friday, Saturday.

The days before and the days after, middle and I have been sorting and cleaning. Both sides of her room, her bathroom, her massive closet, her college stuff that came home. Every drawer, cupboard, bin, rod, box, cubbie, shelf.

We did this last year too.

We cleaned out the massive lockers in the laundry room and she is storing the stuff going with her to an apartment, in the fall, student teaching, there. Not every single thing fits, but a lot does.

We have made many trips to GoodWill. I have another trip there today, the car is already loaded.

I am making a run to the recycling center with cardboard today. That has to be a whole separate trip of its own, because there is a lot of cardboard.

Last night, in the wee hours, I took garbage over to my mother's can when ours was too full.

Extra recycling went in her neighbors bin because my mom had not put hers out at the street. I think it probably takes her a month or more to fill her recycling bin.

I had checked with every neighbor on our street, all of their cans were overflowing. No extra room. Hence the late night run.

I finally got rid of two of the extra box/deep old TV's. Maybe it is just me, but working TV's are really hard to let go, even the old box/deep ones.

Friend here over the weekend saw them and said I needed to let go. First tried GoodWill, then Salvation Army. Neither takes them any more. Started sending texts to families, eventually found someone who wanted them. Otherwise they would have gone to scrap center. I probably would have had to pay for them to take them. That family also took an old VHS player.

We still up have one extra box/deep TV that has a built in DVD player. It is very handy to put on a bedroom if someone is sick or we have an overflowing house.

We have two other huge box/deep TV's in the house, both in use. One on front of the elliptical, one in the living room for gaming when the flatscreen is in use. Using both of those until they die.

Facetimed oldest Friday night, showing him every book still in his room. Packed three boxes of books, his poker chips, a chair and ottoman, his important papers file box. Included one of my quilts I thought he would love.

My husband is meeting his brothers this week. He was driving to their meeting location. That place was within a half dozen driving hours from oldest. So husband left a couple days early. He and oldest met each other at the half way point. They spent a couple days together and transferred stuff from husband's car to oldest. I had checked shipping chair and ottoman to oldest, it was about $350. Cheaper to buy a new set. So when the driving thing worked out, really happy.

Husband and brothers meeting with all their family pictures. Each is checking to see what the others have. We suspect his mother divided what she had, not making any duplicates. So each has never seen what the others have. It took my husband about three days of serious digging just to collect what we had at our house. As he dug, I had him put all pictures upstairs on and under our old kitchen table in his office. So, we are going to finally get all pictures organized at our house.

And as we have worked, I have been sorting bed linens, washing things, organizing in plastic bags. I put all the 3/4 bed linens in oldest's room to avoid confusion. All the twin bed linens are in the same space bag. Twin blankets in another. Extra twin mattress pads in another. A pile of odds and ends is going to the homeless shelter another day.

I started washing beach towels. They had been on racks in the garage since the pool closed last summer.

Today youngest is at school, middle went to the lake for the day.

I have three trips planned for today - recycling, GoodWill, picking up carpool. Other than keeping the dishwasher and washer/dryer running every minute, I am taking it very easy. I have taken a zillion steps between the garage sale shopping and running a things all over the house for hours every day as we sorted. The bottom of my feet feel bruised. I got tangled in the vacuum cord on Saturday and fell. I landed on both knees. Hard on wood floor. Knocked the wind out of me, and scared me. But two days later and still no pain, so I must not have hurt anything. Falling is scary.

And since my husband has been gone, dead animals. Mouse in trap behind washer. Robin on front walk. Tiny mole in front of house on curb. Middle got the mouse, hand in about six plastic grocery bags, putting trap and mouse in garbage can. Neighbor got the outside corpses. Nothing dead for months and months, husband leaves town, they are dropping like flies.

And we have have had one large fly, following us every where we go in the house, for days. Really annoying.
"The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sheets

We have a variety of beds at our house.

The king went to my mother's guest room when husband and I switched to XL twins, side by side. His jumps and twitches woke me, two beds totally solved that problem. We did not want to sleep in different rooms. I needed to be able to sleep. The XL twins are pillow tops, so they require special sheets, both XL and deep pockets.

Middle's room has two regular twins that are pillow top. They require deep pockets. The XL twin sheets in T-shirt fabric, left over from college beds, work very well on these beds. Youngest has a similar mattress upstairs that uses the same sheets.

We have one regular twin (no pillow top) that uses regular twin sheets.

Oldest's bed is a 3/4 bed that needs a regular double sheet, no deep pockets, no double/queen size.

And that is my problem.

I am always hunting (oldest's room, laundry, linen closet) trying to remember which sheets go on that bed. And we are changing it constantly because we use it for company very regularly. Yesterday I had the big hunt. I could find the fitted, but not the flat. Still have not found the flat.

About half of our sheets are white.





Last night, I figured out a solution that I should have done years ago.

I ordered a set of Aqua, cotton weave, sheets in a regular double size. Very high thread count. On clearance at Macy's. I had a coupon too.

The only other Aqua colored sheets in the house are EX twin T-Shirt that are in middle's college stuff.

The Macy sheets will be very distinct. And as soon as I have them in hand, going to wash and put right on the bed. And after company, wash and put right back on the bed.






I still have queen size sheets from a long ago bed, floating around, because we use them on an air mattress.

We have a lot of sheets, blankets, quilts, towels, etc. A lot. But when I have a houseful or a revolving door of company, I need them. I often need them all. Sometimes we are full to the gills and then full to the gills again, two days later, with totally different people.

We have asthma and allergies at our house.

I have very large, clear plastic bags. Garbage bag size, but clear and thinner. I have gotten in the habit of bagging sheet (sets) together. So everything for one bed is in a bag with the air squished out and the end loosely tied. This protects against dust mites and keeps sets (not in use) together.

The only problem with this is the white sheet sets all look the same.

Yes, I guess I should be labeling.

Or I should stop buying white.

But the bag thing works really well.

One word of caution - everything must be very dry to go in a bag. Things like quilts and comforters, I line dry after they come out of the dryer. So they get dried, and then more dry.

I have never had anything mold, because I am super careful with my drying. But middle's freshman roommate had something mold, big time.

And I only use clear bags. I know someone who once put three family quilts in a dark garage bag and they disappeared. We can only assume they went out in the garbage. They would have looked like garbage. She was devastated, as you can well imagine.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My clock got reset, I went to stations class

It might have been March or April, I spent a week with our little six year old so her mom could go ( out of state)  to stay with her very sick dad. I was back on a school schedule getting up early, going to bed early. It was just one week, but it reset my internal clock. Now, I am heading to bed around 11pm most nights. I fall asleep immediately. I stay asleep. I wake, naturally, around 7am. That is probably an hour off a real school schedule, but close enough. I had fallen into very late nights, sleeping in,  routine for the last year and a half.

I have not been to an exercise class in a year and a half. Surgery December of 2013. While re cooperating, then, I realized I really hated my studio. I just never went back. Middle is used to going to the gym at college. She is now home. One of my former instructors, the one who did stations, has moved locations. Middle and I tried her new location and really liked it last night. Oldest and middle have both taken this class with me in the past. It kicked both their butts. It is 10-12 stations, a minute each, twice around the circuit. I went in with no ego. Everyone else did squats in the middle of the floor with a free weight and an arm movement, I squatted against the wall and did the weight/arm. The wall squat was still hard work for me (a minute, 8 lb weight). I did down dog instead of a plank the second time thru. I did down dog instead of a bear crawl, the length of the room, the second time too. I was not nearly as rusty as I thought I would be, in my mind. I am sure I would not want to see a video of me in class, but on the other hand, instructor only corrected my positioning three times.

Unfortunately this class moves outside for summer. I do not do outside (asthma). So middle and I are going the next two Tuesday's, then not going. We are traveling quite a bit in June and July. She is probably, hopefully back on campus mid August*. So, we will not actually have that many free Tuesday's left after May. And this studio does also offer Yoga. And it is much closer to my house than the my former studio.

* middle had originally requested placement in our county for student teaching. She is early ed, special ed which is not a common thing. No response (from schools) to original request (by university). Now she is planning to return to campus January of 2016 and start her masters. So she has requested student teaching placement in her college county so she can get an apartment for the whole school year. She wants to be on campus for activities and socialization. It is a very good decision. She is completing masters application this week. We found a good apartment complex. Now just need paperwork complete for student teaching, and masters acceptance and teaching placement for masters in that community too. Hurry up and wait process. But at least she has a good plan.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Gaylord

One of my local librarians mentioned Gaylord as a source for photo storage.

I first ordered envelopes.

2 mil Polyethylene Postcard Envelopes (100-Pack)
ZZ-PB35
Fits up to: 3 1/2H x 5 1/2"W

2 mil Polyethylene Postcard Envelopes (100-Pack)
ZZ-51025
Fits up to: 4H x 6"W

2 mil Polyethylene Envelopes (100-Pack)
ZZ-2810
Fits up to: 8W x 10"H



The envelopes are clear, three sides are fused, the last side has an open slit. I gave these to my mother for mother's day.

We have dismantled three photo albums.

Two were black construction paper like pages and were disintegrating, not to mention not archival safe. And the last was the terrible sticky pages with the plastic sheet over it, which we now know ruins pictures.

We were able to get all the pictures out of all three albums. It was not easy. My mother could not do it. But middle and I could. My mom wrote on the back of pictures, for the few where there were writings on the pages. We left all of it with my mom. She is going through and at least writing names and locations on the back of all the pictures. She can do this at her own pace. And she has nice, readable handwriting.

The librarian had suggested the envelopes. Each picture can be seen (front and back), is protected, and can be handled. That is what we are doing with a lot of these old pictures. We are then dividing by family lines and then going to put in archival safe boxes (also Gaylord).



After our success with the envelopes, I ordered photo albums pages. (My previous sources are all defunct.)

4 mil Polypropylene Album Pages for 4 x 6" Prints (25-Pack)
ZZ-PP4625-6

4 mil Polypropylene Album Pages for 3 1/2 x 5" Prints (25-Pack)
ZZ-PP35525-8

I ordered 5 sets of each.



I have not yet received my Gaylord album pages, I just placed the order today and then called to verify they are in stock and will ship immediately. They are. They will.

I also verified that everything I ordered was archival quality. It is.

To be honest, I did not even compare prices or shop. I was just happy to find what I needed (desperately, we have piles of pictures at this point) and know it would ship immediately and was archival safe.
You must have long term goals to keep you from
being frustrated by short term failures.
Charles C. Noble

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Summer Bucket List

If you remember, middle had a difficult year.  Medical challenges started March of 2014 and continued through the end of the year. So, spring semester 2014 and fall semester 2014 were both impacted hugely. She got credit for both semesters of college classes, with good grades, but it was very hard. And she missed a lot of her programs. She had all kinds of things planned, that she did not get to do. She missed out on regular social college activities too.

The year before (2013-2014) she was an RA. So some of that school year overlapped with her medical issues. RAing, in general, also ended up being an unpleasant experience mostly because of senior staff. The staff was new, so there was no way of foretelling that would happen. She did not bail, because she wanted the experience on her resume. But, now, it feels like she lost a lot of that year too.

She is off campus this coming fall doing student teaching, a semester early because she is graduating early. Graduating early means she did one session of summer school (summer of 2014) which means she missed a chunk of her summer, right when she was so sick last year. You just never know how things will turn out. Right now graduating early does not feel like it was the right thing to do. But when all is said and done, it might.

So, while she has had great things happen, she has had a stacked deck in many ways too.

She is feeling really good, has rebuilt strength. She has her lab work and oral meds and shots down pat. It is all becoming more routine.

We are back to Mayo this summer for a recheck and to be assigned a new doctor. Her current Mayo GI is rotating out (fellowship). Once that doctor leaves, she has to be assigned a new doctor and be seen by that doctor in order for her to have long distance support. We have been told by Mayo that if she crashes, Mayo is to make all decisions with us, not any local doctors. If she really crashes, we will be transporting her to a Mayo hospital. So the trip this summer is proactive. And it is really important.

And we have a summer bucket list of things she wants to do. We are working our way thru them. Somethings are little, some are big. We are doing them steadily, because summers pass very quickly. And that bucket list is really important. It is important to take the time to catch up, to get past the feeling of things not going as planned, to get past the feeling of having missed things. Change negative into positive momentum.

To be very honest, I do not like girls to work in the summer. I think women have a lot on their shoulders their whole lives. And I think they need time outs, while they can still get them, before they get caught up in husbands and children and careers and life. I do not think women should just have to push on and ignore and get buried by life.

I think having breaks makes for better decisions. And better outcomes.

So we are bucket listing with middle this summer, because she really needs it. And because she still has time.



Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Mother's Day collection



I left these comments for other bloggers two years ago (2013):
"Our Mother's Day did not involve food at all. We are going to see a play (two of my kids, husband and myself). Stopped by to visit my mother yesterday (honestly so I had the day to myself and my family today). Girls and I are working on a big project (a doll house) - we are 52, 19, 15 but having as much fun as if we were all 12."
"We stopped by to visit my mother and take her a gift YESTERDAY/Saturday, so that we had today to ourselves. There are people who am sure would not understand that. But I know you are one who does understand. The visit was 'nice' and done in advance. I find it very helpful to have good boundaries and also be proactive."

 Last year (2014) I wrote:

This year my mom is traveling for a couple weeks and is actually gone for Mother's Day.
We have middle home this week. She and I are cleaning and sorting like crazy. Her clothes, her college stuff, her teaching supplies, her art stuff. She is also re packing what is going back to school with her for summer (one session). We think we can do it in three days. Tuesday was the first day, spent mostly in her closet. We had to reorganize what was there. We packed quite a bit away. One trip to good will. One trip to consignment shop. A dozen shoe boxes to recycling. They did not have shoes in them, they were just everywhere. We found her high school backpack in a corner, never touched after she came home from her last day, senior year. She just finished her second year of college. . .


Lynn's bitter sweet post (2014).
Note: I did not realize she had gone private. Did something happen?

Kyra's prom Mother's Day post (2014).

Karen's daughter's guest post (2014).
Here is Karen P with a proactive food based post for Mother's Day (2013). 

Francis and a letter to her (deceased) mom (2014).
Jane with a (2012) post on new traditions, boundaries.

Our Lady of Weight loss Mother's Day Quotes (2011).
Our Lady and Mother's Day Quotes (2010).
Our Lady on her own mother (2010).

Diane deletes posts regularly. Not sure why. So rather than linking to a specific post, I have started querying on words and then linking to the search. Here is what popped up with a "Mothers Day" prompt.



Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I need Xmas ornament storage boxes, yes, this time of year

I need to buy ornament boxes to store medium size ball shaped ornaments. Circumference is 8". I see several listed on Amazon, but it is hard to tell the size and quality. I need them now. Suggestions from any venders? I have looked at local stores. No luck on clearance racks nor those odd outlet stores.

Monday, May 04, 2015

"One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself."
Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Man's life is a progress, and not a station."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spending one on one time with kids

Our "kids" are 25, 21, 17 this year.

Four years apart, each, exactly.

Each had a very similar babyhood, because they had me to themselves for part of each day.

Obviously oldest had me the most. But he was in nursery school and activities by the time middle was a baby/toddler. Ditto for youngest. So the girls had a lot of one on one time with me too. Individualized time. And my kids were very portable. I carried them, not a car seat. So even if we were at an activity, as a toddler/baby, they had me.

My husband and I have had the advantage of having bad parenting ourselves. We see that bad parenting. Yes, we both have issues because of our parents. But we have tried harder, with our own kids, because of what we see/saw.

First of all, we have put in the time. And while we have made mistakes, the fact that we were present has made a difference. And we have left our egos at the door. We have looked at the best options, regardless of whose idea they were.

My husband just spent about nine days with the oldest. Two weekends and the week between. One on one. When he booked the time/flights, we had no idea oldest would find a job so quickly. So a few of those days, Oldest was working, but that ended up being really good support in those first few, scary, first job, days.

Oldest lives on the east coast. We live in Indiana. He is just far enough away that we fly. And oldest voiced/realized early on that he prefers to see us one on one, not as a group. Obviously when he is home, it is a group. But there, we do single visits.

My husband had never been to the area where oldest now lives. Oldest was in one east coast town/state for grad school. He moved in December to a new town/state. I had been there in the past, long ago, before oldest ever knew that was where he would land. But I knew enough about it to know oldest would love it, when that was on his radar, planning at the tail end of grad school. . And I knew my husband would love to visit.

When oldest finished his program (a three month intensive computer thing, in his new town, after graduating with his masters and moving), I was talking to him on the phone. And at that point we assumed he was going to be in limbo for a while. We were talking about exercise, having a daily  routine, whole foods, sleep. Because he went from grad school, to a 60 hour a week program, to limbo. And we were trying to be proactive. That is when my husband planned to visit - limbo time. Which was really smart. We had no idea a job would magically appear. But when it did, appear, my husband moved up his trip to catch more of oldest's free days. Ended up being a very expensive flight. But it was important.

They had a great time. They ate out a lot, which they love and we do not do here, at home, very much. They said they basically ate once a day. They attended a major sporting event, which we also do not have locally. When oldest was at work, my husband did sight seeing on his own, historical tours. The east coast is much older than Indiana. There was much for my husband to see. And because they were organized tours, he was not lonely.

It was a very good week for both.

Oldest is 25. But he still needs time and attention. We have done very well with him by phone, year in, year out. Very good. My husband and I both. If we tracked the hours, I would guess we are very close to even time (husband and I in contact with oldest). But he still needs the individualized, in person time too.

And my husband did not know to do that, but he learned.

Now that oldest is working, it is harder. I used to talk to him, many days a week, while waiting to pick up car pools. The years he was in under grad and grad school, that was a good time of day to catch him, most years. I have had a tiny stab of missing him, about 2:30pm each day now.

Relationships evolve with kids. But they still need the foundation of good parents under them, no matter their age. What evolves is figuring out the time and dynamics of what is needed and how to provide it in the most positive way possible.

We are all working toward a common goal of a positive life with the least amount of stress possible. And it takes all of us working together, to find it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day

Earth Day is observed on April 22 and was started in the United States in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson to create awareness for the Earth's environment and to encourage conservation efforts. In 1990, Earth Day was taken international, and today, more than 500 million people in 175 countries observe Earth Day.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"The disturber of happiness are our desires, our griefs, and our fears."
Samuel Johnson

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I have run into them in the past, but did not understand what I was seeing - young men getting development stunted by video games

Most of the time, the negative effects of video games, center on violence.

I am not talking about that.

I am focused on guys we have known who are behind where they should be, and really having problems. It is impossible to know what is the horse and what is the cart. But I can clearly see that video games have put them into a sort of coma. And many of them have lost many years of development because if it.

Oldest, when I mentioned this to him, said he has known a lot of guys, college age, who had to quit cold turkey. Uninstalled games, sold equipment and systems. Very much like an alcoholic who cannot limit consumption, but must totally stop drinking.

Oldest said of himself, he has sold most everything and limits himself to one hour. So the same way someone might watch one TV show and then turn it off, he has a time limit.

Youngest has a close friend with a brother who plays constantly. He is 23 or so and literally playing in his parent's basement. A couple semesters of college that got him no where. A couple jobs that did not last. Enough mental health/depression type issues that I am sure his parents are afraid to push him too much.

But looking from the outside, he is developmentally (socially) delayed because of whatever is going on with the games. Whether the games are a habit that got carried away, a means of avoidance, stress/anxiety relief, whatever, the end result is he is stuck. The things that were suppose to happen in his life, didn't. And video games have a great deal to do with it.

It is tough for these guys to stop playing. Because then they have an enormous amount of time on their hands. Even if they were not stuck in their parents' basement, the empty time thing is a real shock.

Often any friends they have are gaming friends. Whether they were a friend stuck in the basement with them or an on line gaming friend, there is a codependency enabling thing going. Very much like an alcoholic whose friends are all at the bar. Or there are no friends.  Either way, when they stop playing, they discover they are lonely.

Yes, I realize they were probably always lonely, and the gaming was avoidance . But when they stop cold turkey, they face how delayed they are.

My opinion is they (these guys) have to have a good mentor or support system to sort of catch them up on how to build a real life.

Going to the gym regularly is one of the first steps. It helps hugely. This has benefited oldest several times when he had major upheaval in his life. It gives a routine, puts one in contact with other people, releases endorphins, gets one tired enough to be able to sleep.  This is the first step, in my opinion.

Work or classes is a must. A program with a future, in their field of interest. Something they can do well. Something that is a progression. And I think they have to be taught/understand - go to every class. Do all the assignments. Study for every test and quiz. Volunteer to go first for projects and presentations. Follow thru with everything. Communicate with your instructor. Live your life so you are the first name your instructor thinks of when a special opportunity arises. If you start to have trouble, talk to your instructor and get a tutor, immediately. Do not sink.  I think these guys often do not understand what they have to do. Again, if they have been in the basement playing video games until the wee hours for years, they are delayed and have motivational or (social) developmental issues.

Volunteer work. Something to build self esteem, put them in contact with people, fill hours, give them something physical to do. For young guys, I think something physical is important. Habitat for humanity, which also teaches practical skills, is a good match. Building sets at a community theater. Working at a food bank stocking shelves or delivering food to shut ins is another good one. I think looking for something that is an active role, with other people, is really smart.

Music can be a good rebuilding step too. Listening to music, learning an instrument, singing. Joining a choir if they have a good voice is a great idea. It gives structure to their week. It involves other people. It is organized. An example is a church choir. Gets them to church, and gives them at least one practice time a week. Again puts them with people and is an active role. Plus the music itself is healing.

Sleep. If one of these guys has been playing games all night, they are not used to going to bed at a regular hour. They probably have a history of missing daytime appointments because they are still asleep. An alarm clock or two is a very wise practice. Calendars or planners are important. And they have to learn how to use them, regularly. They are not used to having multiple things going on in their life. They are not used to actually getting somewhere at a specific time. Sometimes they are not used to wearing clothes. These are all learned life skills. They do not know how to do any of this, because they have been in the basement for years. It all sounds so basic. My kids learned all this at age 2-3 and then in third grade, but the guys I have in mind, for a variety of reasons, missed some of these steps.

Vitamins and real food. No alcohol or drugs. Water.

Learning to set themselves up to succeed. Not doing things that are going to sink them. Being where they are suppose to be, having what they need, being prepared.

The guys I am thinking of, really need a mentor to get their lives going. A support system. Someone to walk them through the steps. Teach them what they need to know. They came from families with issues. Often they had issues. And part of what seems to have happened is the video games kept these guys quiet and out of the way. The parents were able to avoid doing their parenting job with these guys, because they were kept occupied by the games. Anxiety or depression can be factors too. My guess is there are codependency and addiction issues in the family. Gameaholics, shopaholics, foodaholics, workaholics, alcoholics, etc. My guess is other family members have problems finding balance in their lives too.

Kids take a lot of work to get them properly on their feet. A lot of work. It takes more time to teach the kid how to do something than it does for the parent to do it themselves. Sports, dance, paperwork, life skills, social interaction, cooking, housework/maintenance, medical/health, etc. Balance is a hard thing to learn, a hard thing to teach. If one comes from a dysfunctional background, it is even harder.

A lot of components go into building a successful life.

I think these guys can have successful lives, be very good people.

They just got stuck along the way. And they need help getting moving. They have to learn. When they were stuck, they did not see the depth of what was happening to them. Or not happening. Once they get going, they start to see.

And yes, I think they need a therapist. A therapist and a mentor, in my opinion. And a supportive family.

I think these absolutely can be great guys. They just need nudges and sometimes a kick in the butt, and love and support. Mostly what they need is teaching. They missed a lot of steps.

Sometimes one can tutor a eighth grader on eighth grade math. Sometimes one has to quickly start at third grade math and review until one finds the missed steps. If the step was missed, math is not going to make sense until that step is learned. These guys can be like that.

Will these always be behind? I think not. And I think they might be very caring guys. Special guys. Gems who had a rough start.

Did it occur to you as you were reading that I could have written this same piece on the topic of food/obesity?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Not sure if it is always a guy thing, short groomsman story

In approximately 1985-86, after we had graduated from high school in 1979, my husband had an acquaintance from high school call to see if my husband would be a groomsmen in his wedding.

I did not remember that this happened.

It was brought back to mind because the oldest just had an acquaintance from undergrad college email to see if oldest would be in their wedding.

My husband and oldest both felt awkward about these requests. Neither of these guys were close friends with the respective grooms. Really more acquaintances than friends. Neither had talked to them in many years. So groomsmen things came totally out of the blue.

When both grooms contacted my husband and the oldest, they (the grooms) both acted as if they had been closer friends. And that made it awkward for my husband and the oldest.

It occurred to me, just this morning, what was (probably) actually going on with both these requests.

My guess is both brides-to-be had a pile of sisters, female cousins, female friends. And both grooms had few to no brothers, male cousins, and very few close male friends.

Both grooms-to-be simply were out numbered, in my best guess.

And we think it would have been better if the grooms had simply called and explained what was going on behind the scenes with these weddings.

My husband said if his groom/friend had called (back in 1985-86) and said what was really going on, my husband probably would have attended and been a groomsman, gladly. Especially if they had taken care of some of the expense (tux, hotel) since it would have been days off work and multi state travel.

My husband had three brothers, I had one brother, my husband had three male cousins, it was four years out of college so my husband was still in touch with a lot of friends. We had no shortage of possibilities. But today, talking about the numbers thing, my husband really felt for his high school acquaintance in a way that had never occurred to him previously. In the past it always felt weird. Today, my husband had sympathy. And wished the guy would have told him the truth.

By calling and implying they were closer than they were, just felt very very very weird.

I am sure the grooms-to-be felt very weird. Who would like to be out numbered and having to dig through their address book for old numbers.

In oldest's case, the wedding is looming (June I think)  and a groomsman just reneged. So there is probably a bridesmaid sitting there with a dress already ordered and no matching groomsman. That is a lot of pressure on the groom.

Oldest has been in one wedding. He is groomsman in another wedding next year. So, he knows the drill.

My husband did say - if you want to tell them you can fly in Saturday morning and fly out again Sunday morning, and just attend the wedding itself, skip the rehearsal, I am sure that will be okay.

Oldest was not planning to attend this wedding, let alone be in it, and is busy (new job) , so my guess is he will stick with his "sorry, I just can't".

But, if they had called and honestly explained, and they had worked it out for Saturday and Sunday only, he might have helped.




Monday, April 13, 2015

"Happiness, knowledge, not in another place, but this place, not for another hour, but this hour..."
Walt Whitman
Happy Birthday Laura!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Laundry and bathroom tub faucet

I think I mentioned when I stayed with our little 6 year old, last month, for a week, I caught up the laundry at that house. Started with a pile that was very, very high, and washed around the clock, for days.

At that house the dryer was slow. Which was annoying. I was always waiting for it.

At my house, washer and dryer are about even. Which is nice.

Yes, I told the husband of that house the dryer vent probably needed checked.

I have 2-4 extras rolling in for the weekend. I have been catching up laundry and washing bed linen for three days.

I have not been setting a timer and doing laundry as constantly as I was at the other house. Youngest had an orthodontia appointment. I picked out a new faucet set for the bathtub in my bathroom, which was complicated. I was at the library looking stuff up a couple times. But I have done a lot of loads the end of this week.

And either we have a stash of missing hangers somewhere, or we do not have enough hangers for everything in the house to be clean at the same time. Walmart run is needed. I love the deep grooves for straps on their plastic hangers.

We have a leaking faucet on our bathroom tub. (The leak is only on top the tub, we hope.) I think the style of tub is called Roman. The tub has a top mount for faucets.





We had the same model tub at the old house. I have always liked it.

And since faucet needs to be replaced, I wanted a set with a spray hose. So shampooing little kid's hair and rinsing the tub after a deep tub cleaning would be easier. Plumber sent me to a specialty shop to look at options. There were three top mount faucets with hoses. Of the three only one was still available. Of the one, there was one left in stock. Yes, we ordered quickly.

Plumber was here this morning. They will have to go through my bedroom wall to get to the faucet. You can just see the faucet, through the crack in the door, on the other side of this wall. On this side, right beside the love seat, is where they will have to go through the wall.



We talked about options to leave access. They said the simplest option was to cut very carefully and then put a vent, like a cold air return, over the hole so we can get to the faucet again if we need to. And so we can check for leaks. And so the area can vent.

Hopefully I will not be writing about a bathroom gutting and redo (from mold) later this month.  .  .


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Gwen found a great article

GWEN WROTE -

Here’s a great article on food addiction.  It’s written by a doctor who specializes in addictions, and since 2008, focusing on food addictions.  Much good info.  

Addiction is not an Eating Disorder
An interview with Dr. Vera Tarman, author of “Food Junkies:  The Truth about Food Addiction.”
By Jowita Bydlowska  11/25/14



Vickie (me) added -
I am not into articles and self help books in general. 
Although it is time for my yearly reread of Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight.
But I do appreciate when someone condenses an article or book in post format. And I enjoyed the article Gwen posted very much. Some really good points. 
My favorite - "This is the golden triangle of addictive food." You have read me write about it many times. Mostly, probably, in comments on other people's posts.
Honestly, I know a lot of bloggers who are still trying to eat everything in moderation and it is getting them no where. Yes, we all have things we can eat in moderation. And I think we all have things we should not eat at all. A square look at our own reality is really important. 
You might be interested to note the two labels I attached to this post.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Oldest

If you remember, oldest finished his master's last semester. He moved states just after the holidays, and completed a three month intensive computer program which ended the week before last. He stayed in the town where his computer program was located. He e loves the area where he is.  Last week he was called by a company, there, and went in for what he thought was a tour and basic information. He prepared and dressed appropriately. Good thing. It ended up being 4 1/2 hours of interviews including lunch. Two days later they were negotiating salary. He started Tuesday of this week. So, he found a job without sending out one resume. Not the normal scenario we realize. But he has built himself into a very unique niche/skill set with what he has done. He is 25.

The day oldest was negotiating salaries, my husband was at tax office. Oldest could not get him on phone. Oldest was expecting call back at any moment. I ended up driving to tax office, calling out to my husband, throwing phone at him saying "phone emergency" and shoving him out the door to go stand on sidewalk and help oldest figure out what to say.

Older kids go long stretches without needing a lot. But when they need help it can be intense phone calls. Or in person help. Or major brain storming. It can be days and weeks with energy focused on that one kid. Even when it is positive, it is still major time and effort.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Saturday outing

Middle has one month of school left. This is her third year on campus. In the fall she will be doing student teaching somewhere, but will not be on campus.

She has wanted to go to IKEA. And we love the Cincinnati Outlet mall. Both are north of Cincinnati. Saturday we both had a free day. I picked her up very, very early from college. Which meant I left the house even earlier, crazy wee hours earlier.

We were at IKEA shortly after they opened at 10am Saturday. IKEA was every bit as wonderful as we thought it would be.

Bought a floor lamp for middle.







Bought a few "more than a nightlight" soft lights for me.








Bought classroom kitchen center stuff for middle.













Bought a couple sets of finger puppets for my stash.







At the Cincinnati Outlets I bought a new (almost 9") Le Creuset skillet. This is so we can cook an egg white omelet in the 6 1/2" (we already have) and dry pan fry (spray pan, add water as needed) veggies in the other. I did not know there was a Le Creuset store at this outlet, so I was super happy to see it.

Middle bought a skirt and a couple tops at Charlotte Russe. And a pair of jeans at The Gap Outlet.

I think that was about it for the outlet. There was just enough wind so that it was chilly. 

Monday, April 06, 2015

Back in inner ear/equilibrium physical therapy

A couple weeks ago, out of the blue, I had equilibrium problems.

I had no issues in all of 2013 and 2014. None.

So my last round of inner ear physical therapy, in 2012, had "held me" for over two years.

I called my ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor's office, asking for my physical therapist. 

I was told the doctor's office had eliminated the physical therapy practice housed in their office. But they gladly gave me the contact information for my physical therapist who is now in a specialty physical therapy office. Most of what they offer is female oriented, but they do treat men too. 

I was able to get an appointment that same day. She put me in the total light blocking face mask with the built in camera. One of the physical therapist moved me around, while the other watched my eyes through the camera, to see if my inner ear crystals were misaligned. If they were misaligned, my eyes would have been rolling around in my head, wildly, while she moved me. My eyes stayed steady. 

So she knew she did not need to realign my crystals. So, something other than my crystals had put my brain on alert. Something else was confusing my brain signals. So, we needed to work on retraining my eyes. 

She started me slowly with walking using very casual window shopping eyes. Casually looking to one side and then forward, the other side and then forward. Mostly looking foward to center myself.

The next time I saw her, she added eyes foward, staring at a piece of paper on the wall while moving my head slightly from side to side, and then later up and down. I use a metranome to keep an even beat.

She also added several balance type exercises with my feet in different positions on the floor, arms crossed on chest, eyes either open or closed. 

When I went in to see her, I thought I had been triggered by using microfilm machine at the library. 

But two days after my symptoms started, I had a cycle. I had not had one in months. I have a history of having slight dizzy issues a day or two before my cycle. Since I had not had a cycle in months, it would make sense my system might have been impacted more dramatically. 

As soon as my cycle started, dizzies stopped. Went from feeling "off" all the time, and having dizzy spells, to feeling fine.

Good thing, because our trip to Mayo was right then. I was able handle head checks while driving. Elevators and stairs did not bother me. Movement of the tall Mayo buildings did not bother me. I was symptom free.

When we returned, I had a recheck by my physical therapist. She adjusted my eye retraining exercises. I am doing them for two weeks, then going in for another check. If I am fine, I will be released at that point.

Interestingly, my very coordinated husband can not do my balance exercises successfully. I can keep my feet in position, arms crossed over chest, staying very still. He flails around like a chicken and steps out of the foot positions. 

Sunday, April 05, 2015

mayo

My Mayo trips so far -
2011 first trip with youngest,
2012 second trip with youngest,
2014 two trips with middle,
2015 recheck for youngest.

Youngest's recheck showed that she has outgrown Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, also known as postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS).

We were shocked. Normally this condition presents itself during teenage years. Youngest had it from age one. We knew most people outgrow it, but we did not think she would since she had pretty much always had it.

Mayo put her on tilt table, hooked her up to electrodes, etc. He blood pressure and heart rate stayed in normal range. In 2011, she was far, far outside the normal ranges.

Youngest was also seen by neurologist. Topic - migraines. It was the reason we went. He put her on daily med with backup med for bad migraine days. She is to be seen again in a year by same neurologist. He will handle her case long distance as long as he sees her once a year.

She had blood work done while she was there. They changed one of her vitamins.  Neurologist office already called to say he is ordering follow up bloodwork in 3 months.

The drive seems quicker every time we go. Youngest has her permit and drove several stretches.

We always stay at the same hotel. We pack our food and our room has a refrigerator and microwave. The hotel has washers/dryers if we need them. Hotel has parking garage and back up parking garage available (no extra charge). Hotel is connected to Mayo buildings on tunnel system. So no matter what the weather, we are okay. Hotel has free wifi and it is very good. When one goes to Mayo, one never knows for sure how long one is staying, so these back up/support pieces are super important.


Saturday, April 04, 2015

“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

Friday, April 03, 2015

My first excess skin sore

I would never have guessed it would happen.

I am not sure how long it was there before I found it.

If you remember, I have been wearing support underwear that really sucks in my excess skin. I had been sort of shoving excess skin down, because underwear held it.

About a week and a half ago, I kept smelling something weird. And I realized, naked, getting out of the tub, that the smell was coming from my belly. I had a sore down on the lower right side of my belly. The excess skin was stuck together, there was a sort of oozing, very red sore.

It was extremely upsetting. Extremely.

I suspect I had not dried that area well, getting out of the tub, at some point. And then shoving my skin down, the place had gotten stuck together, with no air.

I washed and dried it. I used q-tips and put a major amount of Resinol on it (still same jar from when youngest was a baby). And then I put my underwear on and pulled the excess skin up, out over the top of the underwear. So the skin was not stuck together. Yes, lovely.

I kept reapplying the Resinol.

It got better every day.

Now it is just slightly redder than the rest of my skin, but no sore.

I had never had that happen (previously).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Teaching guys to buy great gifts without major hinting or giving them a list

Oldest can do it. Middle's boy can too.

It doesn't take much teaching, if one just explains, they get it easily and then are really pleased with the process. They love to do well. They love to surprise. They look forward to the holidays.

The first thing to explain is PAY ATTENTION when your girl, mother, sister, friend speaks. If you listen closely to her conversations, she will often comment on things she loves. She will often say why she loves them. Make note.

The second thing to explain is to watch what stores, brands, colors, styles, sizes she uses. You will start to develop a second sense for what looks like her.

The third note is to say - buy gifts when you see them regardless of the time of year. The concept of Christmas shopping a week or two before the holiday will bite you in the butt every time.

If your girl, mother, sister, friend sees something she really loves, circle back, without her, later that day or the next and GET IT. Then put it away for the next holiday. If you wait until the holiday to get it, either you will not remember or it will no longer be available.

I have put three stories for you in comments.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Links

Karen and her second sober Easter (2013).
Karen and her third sober Easter (2014).


This is Jane Cartelli with non eating fuctions for Easter Candy (2011). (Peeps in microwave is fun). 


I have (a real) one to add for preschoolers - buy peeps on clearance this year (only if you will have no desire to eat them, they are very gross to me). Use peeps next year for block printing (dip flat edge of peep in paint, press on paper, leaves shape on paper, fill sheet with them. Put one peep in each color of paint, set up stations if multiple children, or just use one color paint.). 
More preschool Easter ideas from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas. 



If you click on Jane's Easter link, it will take you to all these past posts.


When I queried on the word Easter, these posts popped up on Diane's blog.




Munchberry on how to hard boil eggs: "I always steam mine. 13 minutes, easier to peel even when fresher, perfectly cooked and shells always intact. And you can go straight from the fridge." (Vickie adds: this works very well, totally changed how I hard boil eggs).





Me/Vickie on Easter packages 2014 - youngest and I stayed with very close friends for part of youngest's spring break. The morning of the day we left, friend was pulling stuff from her stash to mail to some of her own out of town kids and to others. I mail boxes all the time. My supplies are organized. I have a variety of shipping boxes from the post office. I can prep/mail a lot of boxes in an efficient amount of time. I could tell friend was not going to be fast and her boxes might not actually get mailed on time (Easter boxes). I said - why don't you bag everything by person/box, text me the addresses, and I will just do this for you. To be honest, watching her flounder was going to be a long day for me. So that is what we did. I did have go buy one specialty box (to mail a whiffle ball and bat to a small child in Arizona). But I did have a box to mail a comforter and sleeping bag to one of her own kids (they were his, she had just found them unpacking mover boxes). In the process of sending her boxes, I sent a tiny box of well chosen Easter Candy to oldest. Single serve pieces. Very clever things like a tiny Easter chocolate duck (instead of a bunny, youngest found it). I have sent him more boxes this year (2nd year of grad school) than in the previous 5 years of college. Previously I had put $ in his account a few times a year. He is liking the boxes. This box was very tiny and all candy and gum and tic tacs. Other boxes were card games, good quality battery operated lanterns (he is on the coast, at mercy of power outages), board games, books, filled kitchen spice jars, etc.
"So I learned both to accept myself and to aim beyond myself"
Stephen Spender

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Sir, are you so grossly ignorant of human nature as not to know that a man may be very sincere in good principles, without having good practice?"
Samuel Johnson

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Birthday to Karen.
I do not have the exact date, 
but it is this week sometime.

Poetic State of Mind Quotes collected by Our Lady

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” ~ mary oliver


“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.” ~ chad sugg


“Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” ~ e.e. cummings


"One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…
But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose.
But get drunk.” ~ charles baudelaire


“Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.” ~lawrence


“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” ~ william Shakespeare


“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
and I choose the one less traveled by, and that has made
all the difference.” ~ robert frost


“All that we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream.” ~ edgar allen poe


“Could I have been anyone other than me?” ~ dave matthews from Dancing Nancies


“Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box,
They tumble blindly as they make their way
across the universe.” ~ the beatles, across the universe

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Anyone acquainted with Ireland knows that the morning of St. Patrick's Day consists of the night of the seventeenth of March flavored strongly with the morning of the eighteenth. 
 Author Unknown

Monday, March 16, 2015

I choose to think that almost everything in this world is a mysterious miracle, and gratitude for that which is small and ordinary is as appropriate as gratitude for that which is a bigger deal. We many never have much other than what is considered, in this world, to be small and ordinary, but we can make it amazing if we choose to do so. Our perceptions are everything.
 E. Jane

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Annual running of the Lyme disease warning from Marion

Marion on Lyme Disease

She wrote this very good post three years ago, I ran it last year also. Very important reminder.

Friday, March 13, 2015

I mostly am doing okay

I have had kids rotating through spring break. So, I have been busy with my own kids, that continues.

I am staying with our little six year old girl (at her house because she is in school) so her mother can attend to a family crisis all next week. Which means I am getting the recorder on my TV emptied, as well as catching up on laundry, this weekend, like crazy. And my husband is baking cookies on Tuesday night for a high school event. I have many things I can research in their town, because it has an excellent genealogy department at the county library. So, I am looking foward to going. Many things I should be able to find while I am there.

I have been working on genealogy research, attending several classes and workshops. And I have discovered several libraries in my general area offer free consultations with accredited genealogists. I have been working with these people and will continue to do so.

Luckily I have not yet scanned every hard copy, genealogy photo into my computer. Because, I recently learned that scanner should be set at 300 (somethings) minimum. I asked and libraries scan at 800-900 (somethings, and I can't remember if it is 800 or 900). So, I came home and looked at my scanner and realized I was scanning on the "quick" setting. Not good. And I had been saving as JPEG and my understanding is you send people things as JPEG, but you save archival pictures as TIF. Always. I figured out how to do that (TIF)  for scanned items.  But I am not sure about things taken from my iPad. And I take a lot (of genealogy screen prints and "save image") with my iPad. A lot. So have to figure out how many "somethings" my iPad is set. And how to TIF images from my iPad. Honestly not sure my documents need to be saved as TIF, maybe just pictures.

I also have been tidying Find A Grave for my own family members as I work through family lines. Really bothers me when I find a relative who has the bare minimum of data and is not linked to their parents, spouse, kids.

Discovered this week that one of my 2X grandmothers does not have a gravestone. Not even a flat marker. My mother had looked and looked, roaming the rows of stone, could not find it. Do not understand how that happened. Really was upsetting when I realized.

Also had funny feelings labeling the photos from my brother's wedding. Not being in the pictures. We would not have gone, oldest was home (and would not have wanted to go), it was far away, middle was just getting on her feet (medically). But it still felt funny. My brother does not invite me to things where my dad will be there, because he knows I will not go. Yes, he chooses my dad over me, time and time again. That is his right. He has an entirely different relationship and I have stayed out of it. So, I miss thing after thing. And even when I would not have gone (like this wedding) it still feels weird.

About a week BEFORE the above two paragraphs. I had a couple weird sleep nights that we never understood the cause. They were not consecutive nights. No nightmares. One night I woke at 5:30am and could not go back to sleep. I never wake in the night. No bathroom wake up, ever. So waking at 5:30am was just weird. The other night was something else, can't quite remember. But then it stopped.

Anyone else remember when The Sound of Music was released 50 years ago? I was age four, saw it downtown Chicago at one of the fancy, old style theaters, and remember it well.