Thursday, January 31, 2013

Please tell me....where have all the sane people gone?

Rep. Mark McCullough wants to see Oklahoma teachers armed and Cleet certified.  It is his belief that this would be a deterrent to another Sandy Hook tragedy in spite of the fact that there was an armed guard at Columbine but it didn’t make a difference.  At Virginia Tech there were armed guards across the campus.  That didn’t help either. 

Sometimes I think that the voice of reason has finally been silenced.  It is as if the NRA has achieved their goal of diverting attention from the huge gun problem in America.  Where is the NRA going to stop?  Do they want an armed guard in every classroom?  They are rushing to arm teachers and to make a buck of this most recent tragedy.   They want to arm teachers who have already been stripped of the ability to actually have a voice in the classroom, or latitude over their conditions at work or how they work with students.

Schools can be volatile places.  Sometimes tense situations arise between parents, teachers and administration.  Students can become disruptive and sometimes threatening.  It is not the environment for easily accessible weapons.

And what about the cost?  School districts are already strapped for money.  There are no funds for kids to have art and music.   They don’t have money for supplies or decent salaries for teachers.  Class sizes are too big

As usual our priorities get twisted.  Opportunists and special interests take over and influence the thinking of millions of people.  They use scare tactics to push their agenda.  They have managed to turn rational thinking human beings into paranoid vigilantes.  I’ve had to stop reading facebook because of  the gun waving NRA members who have decided the government is their enemy.  What happened to common sense?  Is our country so divided it has lost its way?
There is a group called Sandy Hook truthers who believe the entire tragedy was a hoax perpetrated by the government in an attempt to disarm America.  They claim it never happened!

 If you actually believe this garbage, then maybe you shouldn’t have the right to own a gun in the first place.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Out of the mouths of babes

one ringy dingy - Is this the person to whom I am speaking?

When I was a little girl I aspired to be many things.  In my early years my aspirations were simple.  When asked at age three, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My understated response was simply, “A train wheel.”

By the age of six I had learned that becoming an inanimate object, no matter how much you enjoyed the sound, was not an obtainable goal.  So I began to aspire for more practical professions such as a “ Howdy Doody Ice cream Lady”.  I could think of no better career than making children and adults happy by delivering ice cream in a little yellow truck while ringing a bell. 

But in 1956 I discovered the, “Private Secretary, played by Ann Southern”.   I’d watch Susie Macnamara type away on her big black Underwood typewriter and take dictation from her theatrical agent boss Porter.  I loved everything about her.  She was fashionable and organized.  She answered the phone on her desk without even picking up the receiver.  From the moment I discovered Susie I started playing secretary.  Before I learned to write I would just scribble on little notebooks pretending to take dictation.  I used my mother’s recipe boxes for my files and my toy telephone sat on my tv tray desk just waiting for a call from my boss.

Because of my fascination with the tv show my uncle gave me a huge Underwood typewriter.  It had no letters on the keys so a finger chart was hung on the wall for me too look at while I typed.  Eventually I learned all the keys and the correct finger placement.  I was typing fairly efficiently by the time I was in the 6th grade but my only problem was my hands were a bit small to gain much speed.  My pinkies weren’t even strong enough to suppress the keys. 

By the time I was in high school I had taken every typing class offered, short hand and business communications and if I say so myself I excelled as a typist.  I typed over 90 words a minute my senior year and with better than 90% accuracy.  My highest speed reaching over 100 words per minute with 100% accuracy.   

When I started college I found that it was fairly easy to avoid the typical food service jobs by utilizing my typing skills.  My first job was a part-time position at the local tag agency typing car titles.  This job required accuracy because any mistake on a title resulted in the title being destroyed.  This is where I learned to type numbers.  The vehicle identification numbers were quite long and since typos were not allowed you had to be accurate as well as fast.

I never planned on being a professional secretary but because of my typing skills it’s the path that I most often followed.  When I married in 1969 I left college to work and put my husband through school.  But after he finished his MS degree in accounting he was also finished with the marriage.  So, I continued working as a secretary only this time it was in order to put myself through school and to support my children.  Juggling motherhood, a full time job and school turned out to be harder than I could have imagined.  By the time I finished my degree I had acquired almost 20 years experience as an executive secretary.  I had worked so long that I was making more money as a secretary than I could make as an entry-level journalist.  With two daughters approaching college age it made no financial sense to leave my current position to start an entirely new career. 

And so it went.  Susie Mcnamara was more than a tv character she was my career advisor!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Never Too Late

Yesterday's Sunday school class was very inspiring.  The topic was about (I think)receiving God's calling and the many ways that may manifest itself.  

Now I've mentioned before that Ron and I are the youngest in the class by a minimum of ten years.  So it was especially inspiring to hear the stories of those who were willing to share with all of us.  

The first woman to speak was in her mid eighties.  Her calling occurred when she was 79 years old.  She had been an anthropologist by trade and was contacted by two University professors about publishing her master's thesis, written in the mid 60's, as a book.  The subject was about the Plains Apache Indians and the plants they used for food, medicine, etc.  It was far more technical than I'm describing here.  It was felt to be of significant importance because she had included in depth interviews with Apache elders who are no longer living.  The book would preserve their knowledge and history for generations to come.  But at the age of 79 it was a huge undertaking.  Much of the information had to be updated and researched again.  She said God gave her the strength and the stamina to complete the book which was published when she was 83 years old.
I wish I could remember her name and the complete title of the book....I'll try to get it next Sunday.  But wow......I was so impressed.

One by one others shared their impressive stories of accomplishment or service.  One woman in her late 80's continues as a volunteer teaching English to foreign students.  She's been doing this for 20 years.

Another continues as a volunteer in the Girl Scouts.  She's been an active volunteer for more than 35 years and coordinates the cookie sales for the entire state of Oklahoma.   At the age of 76 she's just a youngster!

The final speaker is a woman in her late mid 70's.  She is a WWII orphan.  Her father was killed in France when she was 8 years old.  She has a major in Journalism and minor in French.  She uses her French to help other WWII orphans or families of fallen WWII soldiers research and learn about how their loved ones were killed.  The stories behind their sacrifice.  

I left feeling very inspired by all these amazing women.

Monday, January 21, 2013

When your crisis isn't everyone's crisis!

It was a busy and productive week.  Lots going on at work and at home.  Today I'm enjoying my day off and doing last minute chores before I start another work week.

I've been a little too distracted thinking about whether to retire early or stick it out another 30 months.  I never thought I'd be so ready to stop working but I'm there.  I have enough to do caring for members of my family that would fill my time completely.  Caregiving is a round the clock job that doesn't necessarily wait for you to finish your 8 hour day job.  Financially it just doesn't make sense to retire now so I just have to hang in there for the time being.

I felt sorry for Mike yesterday.  He has made a friend at the Subway shop near his house.  Mike really likes the manager there and he has been really kind to Mike.  Sometimes he just gives him a sandwhich for free or cuts him a deal.  Mike invited him to visit him at his house and the young man said he would.  It was arranged for yesterday after church.  Mike was so excited he wanted me to fix lemonaide and make cookies for his guest.  So together we fixed the lemonaide and cookies.  After church yesterday Mike wanted to go straight home to wait for his company.  Unfortunately the guest never showed up.  Ron and I went by later in the afternoon with dinner for Mike and he just looked so sad.  I felt so sorry for him.  Secretly I was afraid this would happen but what can I do?  Honestly I don't know if Mike really understood whether he was coming or not.  Mike doesn't always understand things and he gets ideas in his head that just aren't accurate.

On Friday, Mike heard about a fire in Okla. City caused by a laundry room dryer.  It became a full blown crisis in his head.  He completely dismantled his dryer before we could get there to clean out the lint trap and check it over.  He had called 3 of his neighbors all day telling them he had a crisis.  That's just an example of his lack of impulse control.  If he thinks he has a crisis he wants everyone to stop what they are doing and fix his problem immediately.  If I hadn't been at work I could have dealt with it right away but I just couldn't get there until after work.  Of course he had no crisis....we got everything put back together and we brought him a dryer lint brush.  That will make him feel better.  He can clean that dryer to his hearts content.

My niece is moving into her apartment this weekend.  She suffers from the same mental illness as my brother.  We found her in tears yesterday completely overwhelmed by the move.  We also discovered she isn't eating so the first thing we did was get her to eat.  I had made pinto beans/ham for Mike and took some to her as well.  I feel like I'm operating a meals on wheels program. 

Retirement would definitely make this easier!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Self realizaion isn't easy

I've been enjoying my new Kindle Fire that I received for Christmas.  I've read three books since the holidays.  I'm still learning how to navigate it and getting used to how touchy the screen is.  I have changed the page unintentionally several times while reading.  But I really like it.  I haven't found the free books yet.  I'm not sure where to look for them.  I purchased two for 99 cents each and the third cost me $1.99.  Still a bargain!

Mike is doing well.  I've learned to relax and adjust to our new normal.  I always do my checklist when I feel like he's a little "out there".  I ask myself if he is a danger to himself or others and if the answer is no then I let it go.  Just because he sounds a little whack a doodle isn't necessarily a reason to sound the alarm.

Ron and I got him a new jacket for Christmas.  I thought it would be nice to wear to church.  But, Mike initially rejected it like a bad transplant.  It seems that it wasn't Univ. Of Okla Red and therefore he couldn't wear it.  Soooo he hid the jacket in his house and showed up for church wearing a plaid sport jacket that must have belonged to Omar the tent maker.  The shoulder pads projected about 6 inches out from his shoulder.  It was HUGE.  He had some wild pants on and he looked just like he had stepped out of a clown car.  What I failed to realize is that he really thought he looked sharp and my look of shock hurt his feelings.  I felt about 6 inches tall.  When I told Ron how ashamed I felt he said, "You were just embarassed for him."  The sad thing is I wasn't.....I was embarassed for myself.  I was worried what people would think of me.  That I wasn't taking  care of my brother.

It was another life lesson for me.  I have to remember that it is obvious that Mike is "different".  But that's OK.  Everyone treats him so sweet and nobody but his sister cares whether his clothes fit. 

I guess Mike has reconciled that his jacket isn't a betrayal to his favorite team because he wore it last Sunday. Or...he just wanted to make his sister happy!  Either way I told him he was one handsome man!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Be Someone's Best Friend

I recently attended the memorial service of the son of a woman in my church. He had grown up in our church but had lived his entire adult life in Tulsa. Since the service was not being held in his current hometown I was expecting a small attendance. But the sanctuary was completely full with standing room only remaining. There were probably a hundred or more men wearing golf shirts among those in attendance . It was an unusual assembly of people.

The deceased had succumbed to the ravages of a brain tumor following a brief but devastating illness. He was married but had no children. He had two dogs, loved to play golf and was a plumbing salesman by profession. I couldn’t help but wonder what he had done in his life to merit such an assembly of mourners.

Then one by one his friends stepped to the alter to speak about the life of this man. One referred to him as a remarkable round mound of sound, which in the Will Rogers tradition, never met a man who didn’t like him. It was amazing to hear how many of these men counted him as “my best friend.”

One said he was perennially possessed of a remarkably sunny disposition, a quick and incisive wit, and a brightly smiling visage, one didn’t have to look for a good time when in his company because he was his own good time. His generosity to those less fortunate was the stuff of legend. His exploits through the years at his home away from home, on the golf course or in the clubhouse pouring over cards with “the gang”, his presence was always eagerly anticipated.

Many of those golfers’ kids and grand-kids referred to him as “Uncle” and would be shocked to learn that legally he wasn’t. That same love came from every waiter, attendant, staffer and bag room guy at his Club. Again, he was always referred to by all as, “my best friend.”

It was said that he dealt with his last great challenge as eloquently, yet humbly, as was his endearing nature. To the very the end, he was witty and welcoming, never burdening others. As in everything he did, he demonstrated his remarkable sense of humor and his love for his family, friends and dogs, and made everyone better for having known him. When the creator fashioned him, he broke the mold. There will be no one like him passing this way again. Truly, the good die young, regardless of how old they are. The world will never be the same minus his sun-lit smile and piercing wit.

Have you ever wondered what might be said about your life when that time comes? I have. We should all strive to be considered someone’s “best friend”. Treat each person you meet as if you already were.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Aging With The Grace of God

Our new Sunday school class began last Sunday and it is entitled, “Aging in the Grace of God”. Ron and I picked the class partly because we weren’t interested in any of the others being offered and also in part because we are embarking on our own journeys into aging.

When the class began and introductions had been completed it was apparent that we are two of the three young wipper snappers in the class. The average age of the class is 79 years young. The oldest age just shy of 91.

What a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw from in our attempt to deal with the problems associated with aging head. Only…………after listening to many of these seasoned seniors it became apparent that problems were not the focus of their outlook on life. Most of them were active, vibrant contributors in their community. They belong to the YMCA where they participate in physical activities suited to their varying abilities. Some were avid water walkers and others remained flexible through Yoga.

They keep their minds active as well as their bodies. One or two were still employed if only part-time. Most participate in volunteer programs and all of them exercise their minds by playing games, reading and participating in social groups that fulfill their personal interests.

It was apparent that although we can’t necessarily avoid some of the physical challenges associated with aging we can certainly remain mentally and physically as active as our bodies will allow.

When asked if they “feel old” not one replied in the affirmative. I found this amazing especially since I had recently fallen victim to whining about my own physical aches and pains and my newly acquired need for a cane. All of which had sent me spiraling downward into an early geezer self-identity and a pitiful cycle of depression.

But here were people anywhere from ten to twenty years my senior and not one of them mentioned their health issues or lack of mobility. They don’t deny they exist they just choose not to make them the focus of their lives. I felt ashamed of my own indulgent behavior and realized that if I want to make the next phase of my life count for anything I need to get off the self-pity wagon and into a water walking class. I need to push myself to remain as active as possible. I need some of THEIR endorphins!

Corinthians 4:16

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all!  We rang in the new year last night in front of the television.  Didn't plan on staying up but it just turned out that way.

I've enjoyed my 10 days off work but it all ends tonight.  Back to work tomorrow ready or not.

Ron got a new car to replace the one that was stolen.  We sure weren't wanting to spend the money on a car right now but lucky we were able to find one he likes.  It helps take the sting out of the whole ordeal.  He isn't going to get much from the insurance company because it was a 20 year old car and they don't care whether it only had 49,000 miles on it.

I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas and I love it!  I've already ready 3 books and can't wait to start another one.  I wasn't sure if I would like reading on it but I really do.  I don't miss turning pages the way I thought I would.

My daughter is recovering nicely from her surgery.  They will take stitches out this Friday and the pins will be removed in 3 weeks.  I don't know how long she will have to wear her cast.  But she's doing much better now. The other daughter's broken toes are mending nicely as well.

So, a new year begins!  I wonder what surprises lie ahead!   Hope everyone has a great 2013!