Thursday, March 23, 2017

Intolerance And GERD

Back in August I wrote this blog post. I talked about why I suspected it was a food allergy. I included symptoms and what restaurants do when you say you are allergic to something. But, I wanted to be sure. So I went to an Allergist. Blood work confirmed, no shellfish allergy.

But, why do I have so many of the symptoms when I eat shellfish? It's because I actually have a shellfish intolerance. They are a lot alike. With one big exception. Cross-contamination!

When you are allergic, you can't have your food come in contact with what you are allergic to. Anything used in cooking has to be thoroughly cleaned before coming in contact with your food. The allergic food can't touch your food and neither can it's particles.

Intolerances are easier. I can't eat shellfish. But, it's okay for my food to come in contact with shellfish. My throat still closes up if I eat shellfish. But, I don't have to be as careful with food preparation.

I have a lot of food that falls under that category. Things that make me feel sick if I eat them. They aren't allergies. I can't tolerate them anymore because of my GERD.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
anything from this webpage is in red)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease. GERD occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, stomach content, flows back into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash (reflux) irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD.

Both acid reflux and heartburn are common digestive conditions that many people experience from time to time. When these signs and symptoms occur at least twice each week or interfere with your daily life, or when your doctor can see damage to your esophagus, you may be diagnosed with GERD.
Most people can manage the discomfort of GERD with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. But some people with GERD may need stronger medications, or even surgery, to reduce symptoms.

About 10 years ago I had major esophagus issues. I had trouble eating. The Gastroenterologist sent me for some testing. One test, I was too scared to do. The other told him this much. The bottom of my esophagus was closing up. He gave me really strong antacids and that worked.

I get it every day. Some worse then others. I take an antacid called Ranitadine twice a day. It doesn't work completely. I need something stronger. But, I'm too frightened of the side effects of the stronger medication.

GERD signs and symptoms include:
  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), sometimes spreading to your throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Dry cough
  • Hoarseness or sore throat
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux)
  • Sensation of a lump in your throat
I have them all. Bad! I have an appointment on Monday with an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. Hopefully, that will make a difference.

I have an admission to make. I have given up as much of the no-no foods as possible. But, I have some that I just can't give up. Remember, I have selective eating disorder too. It's very hard for me to find foods I like. I have tried new things. But, there are comfort foods that aren't going anywhere.

These extreme diet changes. Everyone says it's not a big deal when they don't have to change their diet. But, those who have had to make that sacrifice understand. Even oil and vinegar on a salad upsets the GERD for me! When I talk about not being able to give up everything that sets off the GERD I am not just talking fried food. I've given up some but not all fried food. Healthy things like citrus fruits set it off too.

I am glad I went to the allergist. I can handle things right knowing what the real problem is. With the anxiety I tend to overreact. I try not to. Now that I know the real problem, I can act appropriately. It's not easy living with GERD. It's with me almost always in one symptom or another. It has been, for ten years.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Exiled Citizens

It's not a secret I am into politics. On facebook, I am in a few groups. I came across Margot and my heart breaks for her. I’m not going to share her specific story. But, I will talk about her general story.

There are a lot of people like her. Legal American citizens or permanent residents forced to move to other countries because their spouse isn’t a citizen or permanent resident. Told there is a way they can return to American someday. But, when that day comes, told they can never return.

It’s something I never knew was possible. I assumed if an immigrant married a US Citizen that they would never be tossed out of the country. Isn’t that why INS does all of those inspections and has all of those meetings with couples? To make sure the marriage is real and not just a way for the immigrant spouse to stay in the country?

Below is the blog post I did on Immigration reform. It’s from three years ago. But, in it, I talk about Green Cards, Permanent Visas, and Temporary Visas. In all of these rants against illegal immigrants one thing is forgotten. Most of these immigrants enter the country legally with Temporary Visas. They become illegal when these Visas expire. They may have applied for a Permanent Visa or a Green Card, but, that takes years to get approved.


Margot volunteers for American Families United. It’s goal is to reunite families that have been separated because of the current immigration law. Below is directly from their website:


the issue

Our immigration laws unfairly punish and separate the spouses and families of U.S. citizens. The myth of a streamlined process for US Citizens to attain a green card for their spouse is one that is widely held and is completely false. Under current law, administrative violations by a US Citizens immigrant spouse can result in 3-year, 5-year, 10-year, or even lifetime bars from the United States which is devastating for families. Even more surprising, since 1996, these cases have been largely void of any judicial or agency discretion or judgment. Due process for US citizen families is denied, one of the few areas of the American legal system where this is so. As U.S. Citizens who desire to live, work, and raise our families in our own country, we find this unjust and unacceptable. AFU’s mission is to educate and to work towards legislative change that reverses this little known, but grossly inequitable treatment of U.S. citizens.


They introduced Bill H.R. 1036. This is to change the law to be more like what I thought the law actually was. I’m probably not the only one that thought that you become a permanent legal resident by  marrying a citizen.

I hope this law passes. We aren’t just exiling immigrants. We are exiling American citizens too. That’s not alright. We need to rewrite how we handle everything about immigration. What we have doesn’t fix the problems and creates new ones. Let’s support this. And help Margot and her family make it home.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Democratic Fix

Democrats at all levels have been trying to figure out what happened and what can be done to fix it. Over the last few months I have thought of three things that we can do that might make a difference next time. They will all cost money. But, the investment is likely to make a difference.

1. Voter Suppression
2. Red State Invasion
3. Better Candidates

Voter Suppression

Basically every Republican governor has done something to keep Democrats from voting. They target Democratic areas to make voting very difficult. Too few machines, inconvenient times open, strict voter ID laws, and anything else they can think of.

What we as a party need to do is invest in combating that. At any Democrat campaign location or office have the ability to provide the required ID in your state. Preferably for free or, at minimum, really cheap. Invest in more voting machines if possible in areas with short times and few machines. Start sending out mail in voting paperwork two months before they usually go out.

Less then half of the people who could vote actually do. This problem goes back for years. I don't think it's because there are more Republicans. I think it's because the voter suppression tactics are working. They make it too hard for Democrats to vote. We need to do everything within the law we can do to combat that!!!

Red State Invasion

There are some states and counties that Democratic candidates just never visit. It's considered too red to waste resources on. But, one complaint has been that Democrats don't understand these voters. I think there is truth to that. Even if they leave the town hall disagreeing with the candidate, they heard what the candidate had to say. And the candidate heard them.

They leave feeling like this candidate was interested in their message. Over time, they might be more willing to not just listen to respond to the Democratic candidates, but listen to understand. Because they feel heard too. When it's time to vote, that town hall might be a difference maker.

We need to define the party. We are the party for the people. That means we need to hear people out. We can't let our candidates be bought and paid for like the Republicans. That makes it harder to earn money.

To me, unions aren't corporations so they are safe. In fact, they fight for the people like we are. My ideas will cost money and already almost every rich donor in the country is donating to the Republicans. Democrats get donations, but we have had trouble earning as much as Republicans.

We need to do everything  to embrace that identity and make it obvious. There is probably a source for possible donations that we haven't tapped into. Legally of course. But, 10 voters donating $10 each is the same as 1 donor donating $100. Except at the polls we have 10 votes to their 1. The point of these ideas is to bring in more votes. From those Democrats who haven't been able to vote as well as new voters.

Better Candidates

Hillary has a great resume for president. But, she has a lot of baggage. Bernie is awesome and baggage free. But, look how Presidents age through their Presidency. It's a very hard and very stressful job. Much harder then the Senate. I think he would be a good President. But, I'm not so sure how his health would be by the end. I think this might prevent swing votes from choosing him.

Wendy Davis
Cory Booker
Martin O'Malley
Jerry Brown
Tim Kaine

Those are strong Democrats that have good potential against Trump in 2020. That would be a better field to start out with. Little to no controversy, supportive of legislature that benefit the poor and middle class. These are the rising stars in the party we should invest in. NOW!!! Start lobbying for them to run. They need to start having 2020 town halls around Thanksgiving of 2018 at the latest!

As for 2018, Look into the red state state governments such as state senates. Encourage these Democrats to run against the Republicans in Congress. Invest in these candidates now. Because this is how we build voters in our weak zones. Candidates that speak the rural, suburban, and urban languages.

But, we can do something right now. We have the identity, for the people. Democratic Governors and Democrats in Congress are in a position to unify the party now. Support each other, have town halls everywhere in your district or state and extras in the ultra red zones! As well as voting and writing legislature showing you are honestly trying to do what you said you want to do in those town halls.

Even if they know a bill they propose will never pass, write it. Let the media release what it's about. Not just vague things like "public preschool and caps on college tuition". But, details on how it will be paid for and who it will help. Statistics on why it is needed. Anything to show how this bill is for those who need it.

It will take time. But, we can do it. Nevertheless, we persisted.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Silly Thoughts

We have so much serious going on in the world. I decided to make this post about silly thoughts. Hopefully, at least some will get you to laugh! Remember I am a literal person.

Picture This:

1. An ice skating crocodile.
2. A parrot singing "I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston.
3. Edible pizza hats. You choose the topping.
4. 3 birds crossing the road. In this, duck, goose.
5. The poop emoji making a pooping face.
6. A chicken and a cow running away from the farm in the dark of night.....spy style.
7. A minion and a troll arm wrestling.
8. Tom Brady knitting.
9. A horse doing the Macarena
10. Po and the five from Kung Fu Panda checking in to the Hotel Transylvania

Joke Time:

1. What did the Octopus say to the plate of calamari? "Is that you bro?" (ok stolen from Zach's T-Shirt of a chicken saying that to a box of chicken nuggets).

2. Toddler potty humor: Baba.....poooopy.......pee-pee (so when Zach was one I wanted to teach him how to tell me what he needs. He always laughed at the poopy part. Potty humor really doesn't have an age).

3. Knock knock
Who's there?
Dude who?
Dude!!! Seriously? It's my house!!!

4. What kind of whale goes to prison? A killer whale!

5. A priest is hosting a dinner party. She goes to say the blessing. It goes like this "holy macrel!"

Silly Story:

I am stealing the general idea of this from a favorite children's book. It's called King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood. But, I'm modifying it for adults. The story is about a King who spends the entire day in the bathtub and all the people trying to get him out.

On Amazon. It's a Caldecott Honor book from 1985. Link below.

My Title: Mommy's in the Bathtub

Daddy sat downstairs. He was reading something on his tablet while drinking his morning coffee. Suddenly, his three year old son came into the room.

"Daddy! Daddy!" he said "Mommy's in the bathtub and she won't come out!"

Daddy said to his son, "Buddy, leave Mommy alone. She will probably be out soon."

So a long time passes. Mommy is still in the tub. The seven year old sister begins to worry. But, Daddy already proved he wouldn't be helpful! And her brother was happy playing. So she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Knocking would give Mommy a warning. Mommy will yell at her but still be in the tub.  She thought she would just open the door and walk right in. Hummmm......what if the door was locked?

She liked the walk right in plan but needed a back up plan if the door was locked. What was it Daddy did last week when her brother locked himself in the closet? She had her plan.

When she tested the door is was locked. So she did what Daddy had done.

She kicked it hard with her foot several times.
She yelled at it.
Just when she was about to try everything in Daddy's toolbox the door opened..........

Mommy said............"Sweetheart, I was only in there for ten minutes. A hammer isn't necessary!"

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Hard To Process

In school I was classified with a learning disability. Back then, it didn't have a name. It was just labeled a "processing disorder". Now it has a name. Actually, for me, it's probably two of them. Auditory Processing Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder.

There are actually three types of processing disorders.

Types of Processing Disorders

  • Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), also called central auditory processing disorder, is characterized by an inability to process, interpret, and retain what a person hears. Children with APD may struggle to understand speech in noisy environments, mix up similar speech sounds, fail to follow directions, and misunderstand verbal instruction in the classroom, all of which lead to difficulty in task completion, both at home and at school.
  • Visual Processing Disorder is characterized by an abnormality in the brain’s ability to process and interpret what the eyes see. A child with visual processing issues may struggle to differentiate between size, shape, and color of objects, confuse written symbols like those used in calculations, misjudge distance, and experience poor spatial awareness, often resulting in frequent falls or bumping into objects despite normal vision tests.
  • Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), also called sensory integration dysfunction, is a neurological difference characterized by either a hypersensitivity (over-responsiveness) or hyposensitivity (under-responsiveness) to one’s surroundings due to the brain’s inability to properly integrate multi-sensory input. While all children may be quirky or particular about their likes and dislikes, children with SPD are so severely affected by their sensory preferences that it interferes with normal, everyday functioning. Children with hypersensitivity to sensory input may exhibit extreme or fearful responses to touch, textures, noise, crowds, lights, and smells, even when these inputs seem benign to others. Children with hyposensitivity to sensory input may exhibit an under-reaction or high tolerance to pain, may constantly and inappropriately touch or bump into people and objects, be fidgety, and are often characterized as “thrill seekers,” leading to inadvertently putting themselves or others in danger. 

I suspect I have Auditory Processing Disorder because I don't always understand what I hear. If you tell me to get you something, what it looks like, and where it is, I am unlikely to see it. Even if it's right in front of me. What seems like something easy when told verbally, I often confuse. I ask a lot of clarifying questions to understand what's going on. Does it get annoying for the people getting the questions? Most likely. But, it's more likely to be understood with the questions answered.

I KNOW I have Sensory Processing Disorder. Hypersensitivity. When there is too much sensory stimulation, I get overwhelmed and feel tired, nauseous, and dizzy. Once I get some quiet for a few minutes I feel better. I startle easily. But, that partially comes with the General Anxiety Disorder. I can handle some noisy disorganized chaos. But, not for more then about an hour and a half.

Sometimes this gets confused with Autism. It's not autism. It isn't on the spectrum. But, it does involve neurological issues. Remember my blog post about always shaking? It's below.

I have been to a neurologist for testing. As a child. I remember going into a dressing room and having to put the gown on. I close my eyes and see the office. Tiny me. Shaking. Scared. I've seen the file. They found the shaking but couldn't identify where it came from. It was the late '80s. Maybe they would now.

Regular readers might notice I do that a lot. Remember details from long ago. These are the things my senses have processed. The things I might not understand at the time. But, my mind remembers. Sometimes I notice a lot about my surroundings. Sometimes, I don't notice what's going on around me. It has to do with too much stimulation.

When I was collecting the paintings, most are landscapes. I thrive in quiet nature. Outside on a beautiful day. It's why I like to garden. That's because it's easy to take in one stimulus at a time. Slowly.

Most days I have to lay down for at least half an hour in the afternoon. It's to let my brain process all of the stimulation it has come across during the day. Process everything my senses have taken in.

Causes of SPD

The exact cause of Sensory Processing Disorder has not yet been identified. Preliminary studies and research suggest that SPD is often inherited. Prenatal and birth complications have also been implicated as causal in SPD, as well as certain environmental factors.  A summary of research into the causes and prevalence of SPD is included in Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder (New York: Perigee, 2014, 2nd edition). written by Founder and current Executive Director of STAR Institute, Lucy Jane Miller Ph.D., OTR

Ten Fundamental Facts About SPD

When extended family, teachers, neighbors, other parents, and service providers ask you what Sensory Processing Disorder is, the following are research-supported statements you can make.
  1. Sensory Processing Disorder is a complex disorder of the brain that affects developing children and adults.
  2. Parent surveys, clinical assessments, and laboratory protocols exist to identify children with SPD.
  3. At least one in twenty people in the general population may be affected by SPD.
  4. In children who are gifted and those with ADHD, Autism, and fragile X syndrome, the prevalence of SPD is much higher than in the general population.
  5. Studies have found a significant difference between the physiology of children with SPD and children who are typically developing.
  6. Studies have found a significant difference between the physiology of children with SPD and children with ADHD.
  7. Sensory Processing Disorder has unique sensory symptoms that are not explained by other known disorders.
  8. Heredity may be one cause of the disorder.
  9. Laboratory studies suggest that the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are not functioning typically in children with SPD.
  10. Preliminary research data support decades of anecdotal evidence that occupational therapy is an effective intervention for treating the symptoms of SPD.

– from Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD ) p. 249-250 by Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR

They know more about it today then they did back then. I wonder what school would have been like for me if I were a kid today? I had mostly amazing teachers. Teachers who wanted to help me but didn't understand fully what the actual problem is. I always say "you can't solve the little problems until you have identified the real problem". Now they know. What are they doing differently? Does it help?

A lot of things are hard to process. As I have researched for this blog post I have learned a lot about myself. It explains a lot. Ironically though, this is all hard to process at the moment.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Gardens At School

I chair the committee for the garden at Zach's school. This is only the second year the parent organization has been funding the seven year old garden. The teacher who established and cares for it is with the preschool. Most of the classes that go to the garden are from the preschool. But, it's supposed to be for everyone. When talking to the elementary teachers, I found they rarely use the garden.

When I took over I made that my goal. To form a connection to the garden for the elementary kids too. That started in the Fall. On the day the parent organization sells mums, we had an open house. Usually the garden is locked behind a gate. We left it open after school.

It was popular. The principal and superintendent loved this idea. It made it to the new town school magazine.

But, the garden looks different in the spring. With the recent April-like weather we have been having, the teacher and I have been brainstorming. We are going to do another open house when the gym teacher holds field day. A lot of parents take off from work for that. It's a bunch of races and tossing games ending in a tug of war. I love field day and did too when I was the kids participating in it.

But, there is one more thing I will be doing too.

When we get pansies, I will put memos in teacher mailboxes at school. Just to let them know there is some activity in the garden. Because some possible ongoing lessons need to start with the first signs of life. It's also a good chance to talk about how nature is programed to know when to grow and when not too.

This garden is a sensory garden. It's a very calming place. A place I will probably be in next Thursday for a while. I'll be spending two hours on my feet for the lunch. Then I am helping with the scholastic book fair. There is only a small break in between.

I can't handle too much noise and chaos for too long. I will need the quiet for a little bit. Even now I like walking through the gardens. Bulbs are nicely sprouted. Our Daffodil bulbs at home can be seen from a nice distance away.

Gardens are so good for learning. There are so many lessons. The teacher who does the garden will offer some lesson ideas. It will be wonderful for the kids to be able to note once a month for the rest of the year the changes they see in the garden. We feature things for the senses.

This isn't my first experience with school and gardening. Growing up my neighbors had a big beautiful garden. They had some interesting plants too. My fifth grade teacher loved science. So I coordinated with him and my neighbors for a walking class trip to see and learn in their garden.

My mom didn't know about it until the night before. The teacher called her to finalize after talking to my neighbor. She offered snacks afterwards. It was a fun class trip and we learned a lot. It was a rare opportunity for this kind of garden experience too.

Not all schools can have a garden. Even a small one. I wish they could. On a beautiful day it means there can be a lesson outside. That fresh air is so important! It means kids can learn about nature through seeing and not just a textbook.

It works for older kids too. When you teach photosynthesis, a real life example is more memorable then pictures in a textbook. Botany is important. There are a lot of more advanced things you can do for high school kids.

I am enjoying doing the garden. The teacher enjoys having a parent that wants to help get more classes in the garden. The presidents of the parent organization are glad to be more then just the source for funding. To have something in the garden for the calendar.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Loving Your Child

Love in human form

A bundle of hugs

Could spend the whole day holding him/her

Best gift EVER!!!

My heart and soul

These are things that most parents feel. There are certain things most parents are certain about their child. Yes, other kids are awesome, but not as awesome as my child! We know we are right. Every loving parent thinks:

My child is the best

My child is a blessing

My child is the best thing to happen to me.

My child is special

My child is really intelligent!

My child is the best ever!

This is what it's like to love a child. This is what it's like to be an involved parent. In some cases, the child isn't even born yet and these are all unquestionable to the parents. We are all right.

Every child is all of these things. They all should be to their parents. They all deserve a sweet nickname. Zach's is My Angel. They all deserve to be hugged and kissed on their cheeks as often as they will allow. They all deserve snuggles and attention. They all deserve to hear "I love you" every day!

Because there isn't anything that compares to loving your child!

May 2011 almost 2 years old in this one.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Identifying Middle Age

When I was a teenager I asked my Mom if my Dad ever had a middle age crisis. She told me this:

"I expected one. It never came. One day he told me he wanted to live a simpler life."

At the time, I didn't get it. His interests have always been basic. Good wine, double solitaire with my mom, reading, talking about life and science, and board games with the family. Isn't that already a simple life? He was never a materialistic person.

And then, two weeks ago, I got us a puzzle. A 1,000 piece Thomas Kinkade puzzle. When Josh works on Sundays Zach and I sometimes go to Target to walk around. Zach was looking at the legos when this puzzle caught my eye. "Evening At Autumn Lake".

I am always looking for projects for Zach and me to do together on Sundays. This seemed like a good one. Josh has helped too. Zach comes in and out of the room while I work on it. He likes to help. But, he's more interested in seeing how much I've done.

It's uncharacteristic of me. Usually, I'm like Zach. It's why piano lessons and flute lessons never worked. I simply can't sit still that long. Until, suddenly, I can.

While working on the puzzle it occurred to me, maybe this is my middle age crisis. I'm 36.5 years old. 36.5+36.5 = 73. I already have stress related health issues. I hope I live longer then 73. But, I'm sure unlikely to make it to 90!

I observed that when Zach started loosing teeth they were coming out in the same order they came in. The dentist confirmed I am correct. We are still mammals. Our bodies are designed to know what to do when.

A middle age crisis isn't about buying sports cars. It's a transition of identity and self confidence in middle age. The average middle age crisis hits between 40 and 42. 81.5 years is the average life expectancy. 81.5/2 = 40.75. It's not far off to say our bodies start the middle age crisis half way through our lives. When nature has programed them to.

But, what about early deaths? My theory only applies to those who die a natural death. We don't live forever. Most people die when old age has been breaking down the body over a period of time.

While piecing the puzzle together I do realize one thing. This is NOT my middle age crisis. My identity and self confidence remain the same. It's simply a nice activity I haven't done in a while. But, Josh is 37 and I am 36. A middle age crisis is coming in a few years.

Crisis isn't the right word for what happens in most people. Erik Erikson defines this as the transition from young adulthood to middle adulthood. Some people handle it better then others. But, that's what it is.

We all have that transition of identity and self confidence. Eric Erikson has a crisis for each stage of development. This one is "Generativity vs. Stagnation". Erikson starts this as ages 40 - 65. I personally think the more accurate age range is 35 - 55.

Basic Strengths: Production and Care
Now work is most crucial. Erikson observed that middle-age is when we tend to be occupied with creative and meaningful work and with issues surrounding our family. Also, middle adulthood is when we can expect to "be in charge," the role we've longer envied.

The significant task is to perpetuate culture and transmit values of the culture through the family (taming the kids) and working to establish a stable environment. Strength comes through care of others and production of something that contributes to the betterment of society, which Erikson calls generative, so when we're in this stage we often fear inactivity and meaninglessness.

As our children leave home, or our relationships or goals change, we may be faced with major life changes—the mid-life crisis—and struggle with finding new meanings and purposes. If we don't get through this stage successfully, we can become self-absorbed and stagnate.

Significant relationships are within the workplace, the community and the family.

Like I said, I think we are more in that category. But, Erikson still considers Josh and me young adults. "Intimacy vs. Isolation".

In the initial stage of being an adult we seek one or more companions and love. As we try to find mutually satisfying relationships, primarily through marriage and friends, we generally also begin to start a family, though this age has been pushed back for many couples who today don't start their families until their late thirties. If negotiating this stage is successful, we can experience intimacy on a deep level.

If we're not successful, isolation and distance from others may occur. And when we don't find it easy to create satisfying relationships, our world can begin to shrink as, in defense, we can feel superior to others.

Our significant relationships are with marital partners and friends.

Attempting to preserve your youth is futile and most people look like that's what they are trying to do. No, 40 is not the new 30. Some people WISH 40 was the new 30. But, 40 and 30 feel and look different. Physically, you are weaker. You can use all the wrinkle cream in the world, but you still look your age. Wrinkles aren't the only age identifier.

The good news is our new perspectives make us smarter. By middle adulthood, we have lived and experienced a lot. It's less about hope for the future. More about appreciating right now.

How do you know when you are transitioning from young adulthood to middle adulthood? Our identity and self confidence changes more profoundly then it ever has before. But, it's not a middle age crisis. It's simply an internal transition. That could be the key to how long you will live!

Blog Post with all of Erikson's Stages

Friday, January 27, 2017

Writer's Block

 If it's not obvious, I've been struggling lately for a good blog post. I think most of what I have written recently isn't bad. But, I could have done better. I really wish I did a better job on the one about the women's marches ("Can You Hear My Voice This Time?"). But, these are the posts you get when I have writer's block.

Here are a list of ideas I've had but didn't write:

1. God's Phone Number (1-000-luvpeace for example. What would it be if God had a phone number?)

2. Mary Tyler Moore (I remember watching the Dick Van Dyke Show and the Mary Tyler Moore show on Nick at Night. I might be from a different generation, but she effected me too!)

3. Zach Wants A Fish (spoiler alert, no place to put it)

4. Josh's Annual Physical (it's why married men live longer. Yes, you can be sick even if you don't go to the doctor.)

5. On To Curtains! (New kitchen and living room curtains. The house makeover is clearly in response to the garden restrictions from last year.)

6. Facebook Quizzes (Same quiz, 4 times. 3 times it said I will write a novel this year. Different dates but same result. So what would I write a novel on? Why novel instead of author? It's irony in it's purest form at the moment.)

7. Bathroom Walls (What most people seem to have on bathroom walls. I'm curious because with the shower steam you have to be careful.)

8. Puzzle Strategy (We started a 1,000 piece puzzle this week. It would be on different strategies to piecing together puzzles.)

Raise your hand if you are glad I didn't write any of these blog posts! I'm curious if anyone actually did raise their hand. I doubt there are many that would have been interested in any of those topics though. I know I am a quirky person. I know I see the world differently. But, some things really only make sense in my head.

I have some posts that have clearly spoken to a lot of people. Or the same people a lot of times. I've been trying all month to write a post like that. It shows. But, this is writer's block!

I don't know how or when I will shake the writer's block. I'm trying to find inspiration! There is one topic I know I would write a great blog post on. But, it's a part of me I will be keeping private. So that leaves a long list of not so inspiring topics.

I don't want the next post to be about me. I've talked enough about parenting and politics enough lately too. The best writers are fearless for a reason. Inspiration happens outside your comfort zone. With my severe anxiety the comfort zone is hard to leave.

Something tells me when this writer's block breaks, the post is going to be awesome! In the meantime, know that I'm trying to write something better then good and I hope this brought a smile to  your face. Perhaps that list brought a laugh or two.

Monday, January 23, 2017

13 Years Of Activities

When Zach graduated preschool I mentioned that K - 12 are the most important years of our life. Before then is spent preparing for that time. Afterwards, we draw on what we learned and experienced during that time as we have new experiences and learn new things. This is the time preferences are discovered and habits are established.

This is the age when kids use after school activities to figure out what kind of person they are:


There might be more. But, these are all I can think of right now. Exploring all of these categories helps find what activities you like best. Helps you find your talents. It's how some people decide to be engineers and others decide to be dancers. That one might be a little too personal. Remember, my degree is in dance but my family is full of engineers.

Zach's in year 3 of the 13. For Christmas he wanted a keyboard. He plays it all of the time. He's asked for lessons. I told him he needs to take a few lessons from my mom first. Just to see how serious he is. He had one quick unplanned lesson. He can't sit still long enough to practice an instrument. I couldn't! Why do you like I loved dance?

"I've decided I am a sporty kid. I want to play a lot of sports!"- Zach

He has asked me to sign him up for soccer in the fall. He's also very excited that baseball starts again soon. He's doing basketball now. He doesn't like it this year because they don't do teams yet. But, he is willing to do next year when there are teams.

The freedom of second grade. Starting next year he'll find he can do those three things. But, a lot of the kids will have done them before. So they will be a little better. It's why I wanted him to start now. So he won't be behind. At least with baseball he won't be behind!

In high school in our town you really can only do two sports. Some kids do three. But, there is overlap making that difficult. You have to really love the game to put that time and effort in. At some point in middle school most kids decide what they are willing to invest that time and effort into doing. Fewer activities, more time on what's left.

I think the same is true with the arts and clubs. School plays take a lot of dedication and time. A lot of rehearsing. There isn't that much time for that many other activities. But, you audition knowing what you are committing to.

That's how it is with non-school activities as well. Dance, gymnastics, swimming, martial arts and other types of classes take up more of your time as you get older too. For the same reasons. But, by then I think most kids WANT to be that dedicated to something.

It's a good thing. Let's say Zach plays baseball through college but has a career as a civil engineer. He can still play baseball as a hobby. It could still be something he always enjoys. Perhaps coaching his own child's team someday. Because it's important to him. Based on a decision he made in most likely the 6th or 7th grade.

I once said. "Don't bother 'looking for yourself'. You will never 'find yourself'. Because we change too often to fully understand who we are." This is the closest we will come to understanding who we are at our core. To understanding what kind of person we are. But, we still haven't 'found ourselves'. Because we don't even understand during that time that we are discovering the roots of what makes us who we are. We can't identify that until adulthood.

At this point in time I think that one remaining sport will be baseball for Zach. He likes, but will never be serious about, playing an instrument, art, and gaming. He has a technical mind. I can see him looking for more challenging technical knowledge. Math is a major strength too. If there is a STEM club he might join it. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). It's one of the reasons he likes baseball.

But, will that interest linger come middle school when you have to try out for the team? It depends on how much independent time he puts in now. He has a T for batting practice. We have gloves to help with catch. It comes down to, how much does he use them without our encouragement?

It's interesting seeing what his classmates enjoy. Each week in library class I see what books they are drawn too. I might be experiencing the start of that deep interest dedication. Casual interests are fun, but the motivation isn't there to work hard to get better at them. These deep interests are the ones that impact the rest of your life.