gratitude: a little stick now

So I have this friend…

** In a names have been changed to protect the innocent sort of way, we’ll call her Kay for the sake of this post.

Kay has what you might call a bit of (ahem) trouble with needles, if by “trouble” you mean “transforms from a sweet, sassy, competent woman to the Incredible Hulk at the sight of that pointed implement.”  Shifting from reasonable adult to hazy minded fight-or-flight creature in five seconds flat is her specialty.  Kay’s been known to actually warn medical professionals beforehand that she cannot be held responsible for her actions once the needle appears in the room, and woe to those who do not heed the warning.

Now, to be fair, I hear tell Kay’s gotten much better recently when it comes to her needle phobia.  This is a relief because I’ve always harbored a secret fear that some nurse would freak out, tranquilize her, and call the police, and it’s kinda hard to come up with bail money on short notice.

All of this is my round about way of saying I’m (exceedingly) glad I don’t have a thing with needles.  I get a lot of blood work done – have for years now – and that’s a whole lot easier when needles don’t send me into a massive panic.  Some draws are easier than others, but none of them cause me to threaten the lives of sweet little nurses.

Ahem.  Not that I’m saying that’s happened.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: capitals, planets, math, and geography

"Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
'cept February..." 

blah blah something...

whatever, February has twenty-eight,
twenty-nine in a leap year.


I have a rather porous memory.  Some of my friends had the gift of reading something once and it was lodged firmly in their long term memory; I had to work a bit harder than that, and even then I wasn’t always successful.

I mean, learning the capitals for all fifty states?  Talk about torture.  (And talk about gone.  If that info’s still stored in my brain it’s hiding behind some long lost episode of M.A.S.H. or something.)

Mnemonic devices were my saving grace for everything from remembering planet names to the order of operations.  It’s how I memorized the colors of the rainbow, names of the Great Lakes, and that dessert is spelled with two esses.

Having a brain that needs those connections made me a better teacher, too.  Anyone can lecture from a textbook…I taught my kids tips and tricks, how to link facts together, ways to make learning personal so it’s easier to retain.  The same memory glitches that made me work harder are what helped me find better solutions for the kids whose lives I touched.  Including our own.

Thank goodness for those memory aids.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: here in the 21st century

I’ve been known to utter things like this to the kids when I feel like sounding a hundred years old:

  • I remember when I’d leave home for the day and that was that – I was out of reach.  If I didn’t make plans to meet up with my friends the night before then I was SOL.
  • Before we moved I always made sure I got my friends’ addresses.  No, not their e-mail addresses, I didn’t have one of those until I was in college.  I got their actual addresses so I could send them actual letters.
  • There was no such thing as online shopping.  Needed a new pair of shoes?  I was out of luck until my mom had a free day to go to the shoe store, and there was a fifty-fifty chance that wouldn’t happen until one of my siblings needed shoes, too.
  • Driving required dependance on the kindness of strangers.  If you ran out of gas, there was no OnStar or calling AAA.  You’d be hoofing it to the closest gas station (and hoping it was open).  Being stranded on the side of the road meant hoping a helpful neighbor happened by.  Getting in an accident dropped you off the map until you were towed somewhere; then you could ask to use the phone to call your parents.
  • There was a time when it wasn’t a choice between a flip phone, a smart phone, or an Android.  There was one phone, and it was plugged into the wall in your house.

Folks talk about the cell phone being both a blessing and a curse.  That constantly being available to the world makes it difficult to back off and refresh.

As for me, I land on the blessing side of things.  I handle roughly 90% of my scheduling and such while I’m out and about; I can’t imagine having to come home to a voicemail filled with messages to return.  I love being able to reach out to my sister with a question or a silly thought, and knowing my kids can reach me in an emergency is priceless.  (Granted, they think a headache and icky feeling at school constitutes an emergency, but the premise holds.)

Plus I know how to turn the phone off to go underground for a while.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

SoCS – sometimes even options aren’t enough

Hair!  Down to there!

Okay, that’s all I remember, some snippet of a song about hair down to there and now it’s stuck in my head, thank-you-very-much-Linda-for-that-prompt.

It’s funny that “hair” came right after yesterday’s post about, well, hair.  Sure, cultural standard of beauty, too, but also hair.  You might be wondering why that’s popped up on the radar lately.

Bear and I have been through quite a few hair stages, from the very beginning puffs to cornrows, box braids to french braids to twists and more.  I’ve always told her how lucky I think she is to have so many choices.  To decide if she feels like going curly or straight, having her hair up or down.  Since my hairstyle choice is ruled by two conditions – frizzy or non frizzy – I know that of which I speak.

Options are a good thing.

But there’ve been a few times now when Bear has asked for extensions.  At first I thought it was just a whim, something she’d seen on a friend or admired on the college players who coached her basketball camp.  But then the request got a little more…intense, for lack of a better word.  I could tell it was more than just a wish to experiment with style.  She actively wanted the extensions themselves; she wanted the long hair.

I realized how much it meant to her when she broke down in Sally’s.  You see, we told her we wouldn’t pay for them (because BIG TIME MOOLA) so she did her research.  Bear found extensions on Amazon that she could afford, so I took her to Sally’s to feel the difference between “affordable” (aka synthetic) extensions and the ones that are Big Time Money.  That was when it all really hit home.

Shortly thereafter the walls came tumbling down.  Wanting to know what it’s like to have long, straight, beautiful hair.  Cruel comments made at school about her hair, months ago…comments that still festered deep inside.  How the pain of even talking about it was almost too much to bear.

All this over hair.

SoCS 2

Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “wood/would.”

gratitude: time to ‘Roe

I’ve been bitten by the Lularoe bug.

The first time BrightSide heard about them he burst out laughing.  “You mean like college?” he asked.  “With those leggings and all those giant sweaters?!”

No.  It’s not at all like that.  It’s like wrapping my legs in a layer of the softest material on earth, and in fun colors to boot.  They’re the kind of leggings that compel you to feel your legs all day long (admit it, you know you do) and give you an irrational urge to do the same to strangers on the street.

Which sounds entirely bizarre.  Unless you ‘roe.  Then you totally get it.

I’d like to say I’ve gained some style sense since college – no swimming in enormous, oversized sweaters and sweatshirts these days.  I’m still covering my assets, mind you, but with tops that look less like tents and more like, well, clothes.

But these leggings…oh my word, these leggings.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

SoCS – the terror of tongue twisters

I hate tongue twisters.  No, I don’t just hate them.  I despise them with the white hot flame that burns like a thousand suns.

It’s a big thing with me.  Maybe it’s just that I hate tripping over my own tongue (which I do every single time) or that I don’t handle frustration well (because despite my track record, I’m always convinced I can do it this time).  Either way it’s resulted in an entirely irrational hatred of what’s supposed to be a fun word game.

When I read Linda’s prompt for today, one of those freaking verses jumped right into my head.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Ironically, this is the only tongue twister I can actually say without sputtering myself into nonsense.  But seriously, it’s the only one.  And what kind of rational adult gets highly irritated when someone says, “Okay, try to say this one three times fast”?

Well, apparently that would be this adult.

SoCS 2

Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “wood/would.”

gratitude: four walls and a roof

My first year in college I started a group called Students Against Hunger and Homelessness.  (That’s right, S.A.H.H.  A terrible acronym, I know.  Or I know now anyway.)

I felt passionately about both causes – still do, in fact – and since there wasn’t much attention focused on them at the time I thought we might make a difference.  Our first meeting drew maybe fifteen students, not very many considering the size of the student body but it was a start.  We primarily worked to raise awareness in our insulated bubble of a university.

We hosted a camp out in the outdoor amphitheater in the hopes of shining a light on what it’s like to be without shelter for the night.  Students brought sleeping bags, and I may have seen a flask (or ten), which is arguably more comfort than many people on the streets had.  Even so, when it was 2:00am and a sleeping bag was the only thing between me and the cold, hard cement there was no denying the privilege of having a roof over my head.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

SoCS – the dress shoes from hell

I think every little girl is fascinated by Cinderella and her glass slippers.

First, there’s that whole “slipper” thing.  You say slipper and I think soft, warm, comfy shoes you shuffle around your house in during wintertime.  It was a bit of a shock to learn that there was no comfy shuffling in Cinderella’s – those were fancy dress shoes.  With heels.  About as far from a slipper as you can get, in my opinion.

Then on top of that, the things were made of glass.  Frankly, there’ve always been a few things that stuck in my craw about having that particular material for her dancing shoes.

Her fairy godmother could have conjured shoes made of anything – jewels, glitter, sparkle of any kind.  Why on earth would she have made them from a material that could shatter?! Especially considering Cinderella had to navigate cobblestone streets, climbing in and out of a carriage, and dancing backwards gracefully.

I get it, she wants Cinderella to make an entrance and catch the prince’s eye, but all it takes is one little misstep…one trip into a ballroom column…one tumble down the stairs.  Suddenly Cinderella is surrounded by glass shards and needs twelve stitches in her right foot.  How’s she supposed to get medical care, make it back to the ball, kiss the prince, and make it home by midnight now?  Seems a bit shortsighted to me.

Then there’s the fact that there’s absolutely no give in glass.  As a Disney princess Cinderella has dainty, size 5 feet, but even little fairy feet start to ache after an hour of ballroom dancing.  The only saving grace to dress shoes is when they stretch just the tiniest bit, just enough to let your toes breathe through one more dance.  But with shoes of glass? That’s never gonna happen.  Sorry, Cinderella, you better learn to suck it up if you want to become queen one day.

SoCS 2

Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays are open to anyone who’d like to participate.  Pop over and give her blog a visit.  This week’s prompt is “glass.”