Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sensing Labor

It's basic knowledge. Senses help with memory. Familiar sights, sounds, and smells help you remember a place you have been. A familiar taste helps with recalling all or part of a recipe. The sense of touch can trigger the most comforting of memories. It's why I am such a big hugger.

I still remember what labor felt like and Zach is almost six. I'm not talking about the pain of labor. I physically felt him coming out. He pushed himself out. I remember the feeling against my uterus as he did that with his feet! I remember the feeling of his head popping out and the slide of every inch after. It's not easy to describe what it felt like. But if I close my eyes I can still vividly feel his birth. Not the pain. HIM! The once in a lifetime experience of give birth to this specific child!

I had been loosing patience in the last two months of my pregnancy. The ultrasounds are a nice way to sort of see your baby. But they don't show eye color and hair color. They don't show dimples. All I wanted in those last two months were to see what he looked like. I had so much heartburn I kept saying "this kid better have hair!" Sure enough, he had a very full head of hair. People always complement him on the blue eyes that look like mine and that precious dimple he got from Josh. I look at him now and remember the torture of not knowing what he looked like.

The hospital played the music to 'Rock A By Baby' whenever a baby was delivered. But I didn't hear it when Zach was born. I was told later that they did play it though. Instead, I heard my Dad trying to enter the delivery room while the doctor was still removing the umbilical cord. I had to stop pushing to tell him to stay put! Hearing my Dad's voice from the hall made me happy though. He was very excited to become a Grandfather! That sound reminded me how lucky Zach is to have four fabulous grandparents who love him very much! He's lucky they are all a part of his life.

I don't remember how my post-delivery dinner tasted. I was too busy talking to family as loved ones held Zach for the first time. My sense of taste had the day off. My other senses have never been that powerful. But I'll never forget the taste of Breaded Chicken. I posted the recipe a couple of years ago. Throughout my whole pregnancy it was my biggest craving. Once I even defrosted chicken in the microwave to make it for lunch because the craving was that strong! It has always been his favorite. He can help bread the chicken now too!

He smelt like love. You don't know what that means until you become a loving parent. It's the first time love actually has a smell. It's what inspired my impulse to say "kisses from Mommy, because Mommy will always love you!" I wanted him to be able to show his love before he could say the words. When he was three months old, he started giving me kisses. I will never forget what those felt like. I still say that at bedtime every night. He says it with me with a big dimply smile!

I'm glad I paid attention to these things at the time. I'm glad I let my senses take in the entire experience. I'm glad that all I have to do is close my eyes to relive what it felt like as Zach came out.
That's the irony really. I didn't feel the start of labor. The ultrasound technician told me those squiggly lines going up and down were contractions.

It's the main reason I wanted to be a mother. I remember telling him that thing he's looking at is called a tree. Now he can read the word "tree" and wants to know what kind it is. We use senses to learn and remember. For some of us, one sense is strongest for learning and remembering. For me, that's my sense of touch. How things feel connect to my emotions. I am more likely to remember things based of the emotions that experience made me feel. It's what life is like with OCD, General Anxiety Disorder, and PMDD.

Now I will go kiss my angel on the cheek. And feel a sense of love so strong my chest actually hurts!

I have discovered something about myself recently: I'm a very literal person!

20 weeks 2 days pregnant

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Jersey Breakfast

A few weeks ago a few of us Moms were talking while waiting for the kids to be dismissed at school. One of the Mom's is from Brooklyn and was talking about a popular breakfast here that she hadn't heard of until she moved here.

Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese sandwich (bagel, English muffin, or roll).

Taylor Ham is a pork roll. Taylor is the brand. You can get it in packs of 4 or 8 slices. The 8 slices are thin. That's what I prefer. I use two on each sandwich. You make cuts in it, usually four, before popping in on the skillet. When it pops up, you flip it, continue until browned to your preference.

The rest of us Moms are life-long Jersey girls and know the Jersey breakfast well! That morning she had the Jersey breakfast on a bagel.

Bagels...............another Jersey treasure! When I was in college in South Carolina my roommate asked me to bring back Jersey bagels for her because they were the best she ever had. The BEST bagels and are in New York and New Jersey!

But back to the Jersey breakfast.

Ever since Josh fell I have been making the Jersey breakfast on weekends. I use the 100% Whole Wheat Thomas' English Muffins. I make the egg over easy for Josh and me and scrambled for Zach. Once everything is cooked and stacked, I put ours in the oven for the cheese to melt. The order is:

English Muffin Top
Cheese Square
Taylor Ham (2 thin slices)
English Muffin Bottom

Healthy? NOPE! Yummy? YES! We've decided to only do bagels for breakfast on weekends if the lowest temperature of the day is 40 or higher. That's because Josh was going to get bagels when he fell. After that, it became clear that if there might be ice, the Jersey breakfast is nice!

I got the recipe from Josh's Mom. She used to make it on Christmas morning when he was growing up. It's one of his favorites! It can be made with Canadian Bacon instead. But the dedicated Jersey girl in me HAS to make it with Taylor Ham!

Ironically, this picture is from NJ.com!

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Is it luck?
Is it God's plan?

I do think some people are luckier then others. It's part of God's plan. In my experience, even when I feel very unlucky, God makes sure we're okay. Sometimes, it's too 'nick of time' for my comfort. But He always comes through. Maybe we are luckiest when we feel the most unlucky.

This year, I suspect, is a mix of both God and luck. I am lucky to be living in this town I grew up in. I am lucky to have the best kid ever. I am lucky to have Josh and my parents. They are an incredible support system. But God is definitely a part of it.

We'll never have another kid. Recently, I started asking myself "why did I want two in the first place?" I couldn't answer that. It's been a reflex to want two since I was four. But I can't answer the question "WHY?"

I've asked God "why?" before. I've asked Him "why?" after each miscarriage and each passing month of the two years we tried to have Zach. I asked Him "why?" every time since Zach turned 3 that I look at the budget spreadsheet. But God's plan for my life is unfolding.

I'm not getting a second child. But, for the first time, I'm at peace. Another child would mean we'd have to move. This town and the people in it provide comfort for me. One child means I get to stay here. The more I can't answer "why did I want two?" The more I only want Zach.

We are lucky in small ways each day. Perhaps you found a coin on the ground. Perhaps you get the last of an important item in the store. Perhaps you get a surprise coupon from a stranger that you can use.

I do that all of the time. If I get a coupon I won't use at the store, I give it to the cashier and tell them to use it on someone who could. One lucky woman behind me in line one day got that nice surprise. It was a Shop Rite bakery coupon and she was buying cookies. You never know when that extra $1 or $2 will make a difference for someone.

I'm one lucky Irish chick!

My Irish heritage blog post from 2011:


Thursday, March 05, 2015

Fun March Holidays

There are a lot of holidays we don't know about. I know of some of them from my teaching books. Do you know that March 1st was pig day? In the spirit of looking for something interesting and possibly silly I decided to explore these lesser known holidays.

In addition to being Women's History Month March is:

  • Music in Our Schools Month
  • National Craft Month
  • National Frozen Food Month
  • National Irish American Heritage Month- designated by Congress in 1995.
  • National Nutrition Month
  • National Peanut Month   
  • Red Cross Month
  • Social Workers Month
Week Celebrations:
  • 2nd Week National Bubble Week
  • 2nd Week Crochet Week
YEAH! This upcoming week is Crochet Week!!!

Pig Day (1st)

National Pig Day recognizes and gives thanks to domesticated pigs.  Big, pot-bellied pigs seen in zoos, are often the symbol of the day. Pigs are clever and intelligent animals. But, most people are unaware of this high level of intelligence. They can be taught to do tricks. Some people even keep them as pets. Today is a day to give pigs the respect that they deserve.
National Pig day is celebrated by zoos, too. Activities include Snort Offs, Pig Outs, and online Pig Chats.

National Anthem Day (3rd)

Many people think the Star Spangled Banner was written during the Revolutionary War. It was actually written during the war of 1812 (1812-1814).
In August 1814, the British army detained Dr. William Beanes as a prisoner of war. He was a friend of Francis Scott Key. On Sept. 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key and a U.S. negotiator boarded a British vessel where Beanes was being held. He negotiated his friends' release. But then, Francis Scott Key was detained that day along with the negotiator. They were held until after the attack on Fort McHenry, which guarded the harbor and city of Baltimore.       He watched the bombardment of the fort from the ship. The next morning, he was ecstatic to see that the American flag was still flying over Fort McHenry. This historic event inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" the following day (September 14, 1814).  Peach Blossom Day (3rd) The attributes of peach blossoms include: pretty, delicate, dainty, and sweet smelling. These are all feminine traits. As a matter of fact, calling a young lady "peach blossom" is a term of endearment to some.        The roots of Peach Blossom Day also trace directly back to Japan. A Doll Festival is held in Japan every year on March 3rd. This is also when peach trees bloom in Japan. Simply said, it's an opportunity for girls to celebrate being girls.              Note: There is a Peach Blossom Festival in Hunan China on March 3rd. It coincides with the annual blossoms opening on peach trees in Hunan province.  

National Frozen Food Day (6th)

National Frozen Food Day celebrates all those yummy foods and snacks in your freezer.
Did you know? Frozen foods first hit store shelves in 1930 in Springfield, Ma. Who developed the process? ...... Clarence Birdseye.

Origin of "National Frozen Food Day":
Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 193, designated March 6, 1984, as ``Frozen Food Day'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation upon this occasion.       In Proclamation #5157, President Ronald Reagan said: "Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 6, 1984, as Frozen Food Day, and I call upon the American people to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities." And, so this became a true National day of recognition and celebration.

Employee Appreciation Day (1st Friday)

Employee Appreciation Day honors employees everywhere. Celebrations today should be created and executed by your company. Recognitions vary widely, and may include a lunch, snack, cakes, or other munchies, and small recognition gifts.

According to David Nuualiitia "Employee Appreciation Day first arrived on calendars in 1995. One of Recognition Professionals International’s founding Board members, Bob Nelson, together with his publishing company, Workman Publishing, created Employee Appreciation Day as a way of focusing the attention of all employers, in all industries on employee recognition."
There are a lot of local and company specific celebrations for Employee Day and week. They are spread across the year.   National Salesperson Day (1st Friday) National Salesperson Day is established to recognize the value of the truly professional salesperson. This day also recognizes the hard work performed by professional sales people. Who is a salesperson:
  • Register clerks at the grocery store
  • Clerks at your convenience store
  • Door to door sales people
  • Car salesman
  • Life Insurance agents
  • Mortgage brokers and loan officers
  • Travelling salesman
  • Manufacturer's reps
  • The list goes on and on
National Salesperson's Day was founded by Maura Schreier-Fleming, President of Best@Selling, in March 2000. She is  an author, consultant, and speaker for salesperson training.   International Working Women's Day (8th) Note: There isn't a Stay At Home Mom (or Parent) Day. I'm offended!  International Women's Day is sponsored worldwide by the United Nations. However, the UN did not originate this special celebration. The roots of this celebration goes back to the late 1800's and early 1900s. It grew from women's socialist movements and early women's trade union groups.
The first International Women's Day was held March 19, 1911. Women socialists and trade unions held an earlier Women's Day on the last Sunday in February, 1908. The event grew from there, and has been celebrated annually since. The focus is upon women workers, and advancing women's rights in  the workforce, politics and society.
  Girl Scout Day (12th) Girl Scout Day recognizes and celebrates the Girls Scouts of the USA(GSUSA). This date celebrates the creation of the first Girl Scout group on March 12, 1912. Lady Olave Baden-Powell, founded Girl Guides. The wife of Lord Baden-Powell (who created the Boy Scouts), she was born on February 22 (1889).
On March 12, 1912 Juliette Gordon Low started the first Girl Scout group in Savannah Georgia with 18 girls. The Girls Scouts became a national organization, and was chartered by the U.S. Congress on March 16, 1950. Today, there are millions of girls involved with Girl Scouts.

Ear Muff Day (13th)

Ear Muff Day celebrates a warm invention...the ear muff! Ear muffs keep your ears warm, and protect you from ear infections and earaches resulting from icy cold wind and weather.

Big-eared Chester Greenwood is the father of the Earmuff. Greenwood patented the "Champion Ear Protector" on March 13, 1877. It later became known as "ear mufflers", and was eventually shortened to "earmuffs".

Popcorn Lover's Day (2nd Thursday)

This day was created on January 6, 2012, by Bob Matthews of Rochester, NY. It is Bob's favorite snack. He and his wife have it on most Thursdays, all year long. Bob is also an avid gardener and has grown popcorn and dried it for popping.

National Pi Day (14th)

National Pi Day celebrates Pi, a mathematical concept  and a number that never ends....at least no one has found the end yet. Often, we round it off to 3.14. If you are a mathematician, this is your day. For National Pi Day is a celebration of mathematics. And, more specifically.... it celebrates "Pi".

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224),[5] recognizing March 14, 2009 as National Pi Day

Who say's Congresses of recent years didn't do anything! They created National Pi Day! Now it's time for that National Stay At Home Parent Day!

Ides of March (15th)

The Ides of March is the first day of the Roman New Year. It also marks the first day of spring in the Roman calendar.
On this day in history, Julius Caesar was warned by soothsayers to "beware of the Ides of March". Apparently, he did not heed the warning strongly enough as he was stabbed by Marcus Brutus on the Ides of March in 44 BC.

Absolutely Incredible Kids Day (15th)

Campfire USA created this day as a day to show kids they are loved and cared for. Among other things, they suggest you write a letter to your kid today.

Freedom Of Information Day (16th)

Freedom of Information Day celebrates and recognizes a valuable concept in American rights.
March 16th is the birth date of James Madison, the 4th president of the United States of America. James Madison is recognized as the "Father of the Constitution", and the chief author of the "Bill of Rights". Freedom of information and individual rights was very important to James Madison.

National Agriculture Day (25th but varies)

National Agriculture Day is a salute to American Agriculture and everyone who plays a role in it.
According to the Agricultural Day website, the purpose of National Agriculture Day is to "celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture".       Every year, producers, associations, universities and other groups recognize and celebrate the contributions of agriculture.       .       The date of this special day can vary. It is often, but not always on the first day of spring.

On February 29, 2012, Agriculture secretary Thomas J. Vilsack proclaimed March 8, 2012 to be National Agriculture Day. While tis proclamation stated a specific date and year, we believe that the Agricultural Secretary has annually proclaimed this date to be National Agriculture Day.
This day is organized and promoted by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). This special day originated in 1973.

Near Miss Day

On March 23, 1989, an asteroid the size of a mountain, came within 500,000 miles of a collision with Earth. In interstellar terms, it was a near miss. Had it collided with the Earth, it would have left a devastating crater the size of Washington, D.C. It's affect on the planet would have been catastrophic. Since then, there have been other near misses.

 Near misses with large, potentially life threatening galactic objects happens on an infrequent basis.  It is believed a large asteroid collided with the earth and caused the extinction of dinosaurs. Scientists believe it is only a matter of time before another catastrophic collision with Earth.

  • 2003 SQ222 - Approximately 10 meters in diameter, came within 54,700 miles of earth on September 27, 2003.
  • Asteroid 2002 EM7 - Approximately, 70 meters long, this rock came within 288,000 miles in March, 2002.

  • National Mom And Pop Business Owner's Day (29th)

    National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day celebrates small business owners. These individuals spend countless hours nurturing and growing their young enterprises. The workload demands, and lack of a hired staff, often translates into long and late hours, and many missed family and personal events.       

    New businesses have always been a vital, yet not fully appreciated, part of the U.S. economy. On the retail side, they bring different and unique products to the marketplace. They provide stellar and personal service support. When you call, you are more likely to get a real, live person. And unlike big national chains, they know their products. They are outstanding performers in niche markets. In manufacturing, they create many new concepts and ideas, making them creators of new products.

     According to the son of the "mom and pop" this day was created for:
    " This holiday was created to honor the business that my parents started on 3/29/39 in Everett , MA —a hat shop called Ruth’s. It later developed into a woman’s specialty clothing store and moved to Medford , MA , increasing in size to 10,000 square feet with over $2 million dollars revenue until it closed in 1997."  
    Rick Segel, Poinciana, FL 34759

    National Doctor's Day (30th)

    National Doctor's Day was created to show appreciation to your doctors. Doctors perform vital diagnosis, treatment and care for yourself and your family. When you are well, your doctor keeps you well. When you are sick, there is no other person more important to you than your doctor.

    Doctors' Day observances date back to March 30, 1933. It was started by Eudora Brown Almond of Winder, Ga. The day marks the anniversary of the first use of general anesthesia in surgery. The first National Doctor's Day was celebrated in 1991.
    On March 30, 1958, the United States House of Representatives adopted a resolution commemorating Doctors' Day. In 1990, the congress and the senate approved legislation establishing National Doctors Day. The resolution designating March 30 as National Doctors' Day was signed by President George Bush.

    I got this information from the website below. There were a lot of other holidays mentioned but no origins were found so I left them off.


    Friday, February 27, 2015

    Winter Stinks, C'mon Spring! (with a Josh Update)

    Josh has been back to work for two weeks. Yesterday, he had a follow-up appointment. He can drive again and walk with a cane. But if he doesn't need the cane, he doesn't have to use it! We are all relieved!

    I haven't posted in a while. It's writer's block. I've been trying to avoid another "thinking of spring in winter" post. But that's been one of the few things on my mind. It's one of the few things on the minds of most people living in cold and snowy areas. So I decided to say what we're thinking, "Winter stinks, c'mon spring!"

    A new thing I started this past summer was season CDs for my car. I've taken favorite songs that fit a seasonal theme or mention a month or holiday and put it on the CD for the matching season. I was still listening to Christmas music this morning. It matches since I still see Christmas wreaths.

    But the CD also has general winter songs like "Winter Wonderland" and Madonna's "Frozen". It includes "Let Her Go" since it mentions "you only miss the sun when it starts to snow". I included "Hall of Fame" because of Football Hall of Fame nominations and because the NFL playoffs are when those Hall of Famers made their records. For Valentine's Day I included classic love songs like "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion and "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston. That one has been hard to listen to with Bobbi Kristina's struggles!

    The second to last song on each CD includes a New Age song. The very last song is "Love For All Seasons" by Christina Aguilera. It's a nice mix. All of the "snow is wonderful" songs were hard to listen to these past two weeks. But it's a reminder that winter doesn't actually stink.

    It's the bone-chilling cold that stinks. Snow might be annoying but it also can be fun if it's not too cold. When it's bone-chilling cold you can't go outside to walk or play. When it's bone-chilling cold outside it's usually also cold inside. You can't get warm. THAT'S what stinks. Like most people, I hate looking out at all of the white from the snow. It's been too white for too long. But this time of year reminds me that snow isn't the real problem, it's the ice!

    Some days are in the teens or colder, some days are in the thirties or colder. It's the transition. March is usually in the 20s and 30s. Some days reflect that. Others are nothing but frozen! When it's in the 30s, the snow melts and there is hope we won't be seeing snow on Mother's Day. But at night the melted snow freezes leaving ice. Making us wonder if we were wrong and we will still be dodging ice on Father's Day. Reality check: it'll warm up throughout March. Even when it still feels cold outside there will be melting. It won't be that much longer until the melting doesn't freeze at night. Even in New England winter should be gone by Mother's Day.

    Tomorrow is decorating day and that means spring is arriving in my home and heart. Since I am home for the day, I have put the winter CD away and taken out the spring CD. Spring themes include flowers, ponds, butterflies, bees, babies, rain and beauty. I included "Roar" by Katy Perry because March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.

    Friday, March 20th is the calendar first day of spring. It's possible there will be Daffodils and Pansies then. But it's still very cold. We won't really see the spring flowering we long for until early to mid April. But it's nice to walk around stores and see what is being featured for spring now. You don't have to buy it. But it gets you in the spirit of spring.

    The next time I drive somewhere I will be thinking about rain instead of snow. I will be thinking about butterflies, bees, and beauty. I will be surrounded by spring imagery. Outside there might be snow on the ground and bitter cold in the air. But inside I'll be thinking about how soon nature will be coming back to life.

    Winter might not actually stink but, C'MON SPRING!!!

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Buried Boston, Dry California

    One thing that is odd about my particular Anxiety Disorder is my anxieties for others. It doesn't even have to be something big. In the past ten years or so there has been a few spaces of land near me that had large houses built on them. When the economy was at it's worst, I was concerned about how their owners could afford them. That's just one example of many. I show a high level of anxiety over natural disasters.

    That includes Bostonians and their sudden experience of what being in a snow globe must actually be like. It also includes California and it's devastating, so THAT's what was in that lake, drought! I can't imagine what living in these conditions are like!

    I fear bringing groceries in on potentially icy sidewalks. Here in NJ we have had a couple of 6" or more snow storms but there has also been a lot of melting. I can't imagine what they are going through in New England!!! They got two feet of snow on Sunday alone! 24"!!! We are looking at about 12" in the middle of the grass! I doubt they can see out their windows! Where are they putting this snow?!?!?! How are people getting to work and school?!?!?! They are still expected to be at work and school, I can't imagine what road conditions must be like! February has meant a record snowiest of 58.5"! That's 5' 3"! That's MY height!!! On top of that has been extremely cold temperatures! I don't know how they are making it work up there but I share their anxiety for where to put it and staying safe while taking care of the necessities!


    California's drought has been going on for a very long time. It was declared on January 17, 2014! Over a year! WOW!!! It has reached extreme conditions! There has been some rainfall, but not enough to end the drought!  As a gardener I fear for the crops and the livelihoods of those who rely on the land. As a person, I am anxious over all of the steps necessary for conserving water and how that effects everyone's lives! Water is such a basic necessity. As someone who supports Law Enforcement I see the bright side. As cars are revealed in drying lakes, some cold cases might get solved!




    One obvious solution could be to bring California New England's snow! I'm not sure HOW they could do it, but I really wish they could. It would help a lot of people! I am highly anxious thinking about what life must be like for anyone living in these conditions! Unfortunately, it's out of our control. We can't make it stop snowing in New England and start raining in California. All we can do is pray!

    Thursday, February 12, 2015

    How We Love

    I decided to do a blog post on the ways we express our love. It basically boils down to actions and words. But what actions and which words are different for each person. Red roses and chocolates are nice, but not everyone likes them. I think most men stick with flowers but not necessarily roses. A favorite flower shows he is listening when you talk about a favorite. Those are always welcome!

    This year's sales are President's Day sales. There aren't that many commercials that talk about getting something for your Valentine. It seems like most couples don't exchange gifts on Valentine's day. It seems like most couples try to have a special meal together. But there is a lot less wrapped jewelry then the retailers hoped there would be.

    Which brings us back to words and actions. It's more then just about saying "I love you!" It's about saying what you love about them and thanking them for what they do for you. That goes for either gender. Knowing you are appreciated is worth more then a pretty but expensive piece of jewelry.

    The actions that matter will vary per person. Sometimes, that means doing a chore for the other person. Other times, it's making something for them. It could also be taking them somewhere where they want to go.

    A Valentine could be your romantic partner
    A Valentine could be your child
    A Valentine could be your parent
    A Valentine could be your closest friend(s)

    A Valentine is anyone you love. Cupid might represent romantic love but Valentine's Day is about expressing love. It's about being aware of who you love and who loves you. It's about appreciating the people we love.


    Monday, February 02, 2015

    Lots Of A Little

    I like variety. That goes for everything. I'd rather have a small amount of a few things then a large amount of one thing. Take dance. A lot of people focus on Ballet and/or Modern dance when they get older. I have always done everything. In my dance exercise routine I include things I have learned a little bit about. Such as Belly dancing. I did a project on it in college once so I learned a few elements. I know enough to Belly dance for the song "Roar" by Katy Perry.

    There are a lot of things I know a little about. Zach is the same way. He wants to learn about everything. There are things he's really good at and things he knows a little about. But he's still too young for anything in particular to stand out as something he wants to prioritize. So I try to expose him to a little bit of a lot of different things.

    That's how I feel about education. Testing has put too much of a focus on reading and math. Science and social studies are great subjects for hands on learning. But text books treat them like another place for reading practice. If there is a schedule conflict, science and social studies are the classes that get cut. ALL subjects are EQUALLY important. That includes art, music, and gym. A more well-rounded education means you are better prepared for life.

    1. Drawing
    2. Crocheting
    3. Playing the Piano
    4. Playing Tennis
    5. Yoga
    6. Pilates
    7. Batoning
    8. Dancing (Country Line, Salsa, Belly dancing, and African dancing)
    9. Minor Home Improvements

    Those are all things I can do but not at a high skill level. I know more then the basics, but nothing impressive. I took an African dance class at a summer camp in High School. I remember enough to get through "Just A Dream" by Usher. As a teenager I liked Country music. I learned then that the Electric Slide is actually a Country Line dance. So I do the Electric Slide to "Bartender" by Lady Antebellum. We learned a little about Ballroom Dancing in a class I took in college. I didn't have a good song for the Waltz so I went with a Salsa to "Tonight I'm Loving You" by Enrique Inglesias.

    As for Batoning, that's an interesting story. I was a dance teacher at a local studio in college. The owner was opening a restaurant and had me teach ALL of the classes. That included Batoning. Due to health issues I didn't last past that first semester. It was my first semester after transferring colleges. I still use Batoning as part of my exercise routine. It goes well with "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry.

    1. Gardening
    2. Cooking
    3. Dancing (Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern)
    4. Jewelry Making
    5. Holding my breath underwater for a long time. Usually, a pool end to end.

    These are the things I am frequently complimented on. I'm not professional, but I know a lot about them. I'm really good at them. We are snowed in today. So I decided to do something I have never done before. Make hash browns from scratch.

    I found a basic recipe on allrecipe.com but modified it slightly. I don't have a shredder so I had to hand shred the potatoes. I added paprika, shredded cheese, and chopped scallions. Josh said it was "AMAZING!" I agree! The end result sure didn't taste like I had never made them before! I rarely have had hash browns in general! But it was fun to make on a cold and sleepy day.

    Classic Hash Browns



    3  russet potatoes, peeled

    3 tablespoons unsalted butter

    1 pinch paprika, or to taste

    ¼ c Shredded cheddar cheese

    1 scallion, chopped



    1.     Shred potatoes into a large bowl filled with cold water. Stir until water is cloudy, drain, and cover potatoes again with fresh cold water. Stir again to dissolve excess starch. Drain potatoes well, pat dry with paper towels, and squeeze out any excess moisture.

    2.     Heat butter in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Sprinkle shredded potatoes into the hot butter and season with paprika, cheese, and scallions.

    3.     Cook potatoes until a brown crust forms on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir until potatoes are browned all over, about 5 more minutes.

    Friday, January 30, 2015

    Josh's Fall

    On Sunday, the 18th Josh slipped on ice. The whole town was really one giant ice rink. On the 19th he had to have partial hip replacement surgery. He came home last Thursday. Since then, he has worked hard on his physical therapy. He's doing well!

    On Monday he goes for his follow-up doctor's visit. Hopefully, that's when he'll find out when he can go back to work. In the meantime, he can't lean forward and reach for stuff. I have never been so aware of how often we reach and lean forward.

    I had a two week long panic attack after he fell. I only started to calm down yesterday. He was on the fourth floor in the hospital. I'm petrified of heights. I was able to visit but only twice and they were short visits. I wish I could have managed to stay longer. The first visit took two tries. When the first failed, I talked with the Deacon from our church that was also at the hospital. For my second visit, I prayed in the hospital chapel first.

    But we talked on the phone a lot and Josh had pictures of us to help. Most people don't understand why getting to the fourth floor was so hard for me. Those who love me, do. They understand it's not something I can be "cured" of.

    When you say "just get over it" you sound like someone who actually thinks conversion therapy works. Conversion therapy is the belief that with therapy you can turn a gay person strait. No, that's not possible. Just like it's not possible to "get over" or "mature out of" anxieties. Anxieties don't make someone immature. It's just a part of who we are. We don't owe anyone an explanation!

    With that in mind, I want to thank those who have been there for us. I have a lot of people who have been very supportive during this time. Prayers from everyone including my facebook friends have been working! The support for Josh has helped him feel better and the support for me has helped me calm down and care for Josh better then I could before. So many people ask me how he's doing. That makes the hard part easier for all of us! Thanks again!!!

    Sunday, January 18, 2015

    He Had A Dream

    In August of 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. We need to hear it again. Most of us have seen the video of him giving part of that speech many times in school. It's part of history class. So we think of it as history.

    But the words ring true today. We need the same message. This time in color. Delivered by someone alive today in just as powerful a manor. This speech itself is history. So this time we need a new speech with the same message.

    It was meant to bring about change. To some degree, it works. But racism still exists and there is still a denial that racism exists. There is a lot less racism now than there was back then. But there are many people still experiencing it. Maybe in fewer places than back then, but it still happens.

    From the speech:
    One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
    In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."
    But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
    Black people are more likely to be poor all these years later. They are given less opportunities. Sometimes, because of a criminal record. They are more likely to serve jail time then the white criminals too:

    African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites

    5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites

    African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)

    In 2002, blacks constituted more than 80% of the people sentenced under the federal crack cocaine laws and served substantially more time in prison for drug offenses than did whites, despite that fact that more than 2/3 of crack cocaine users in the U.S. are white or Hispanic


    Of course the best way to stay out of jail is to not do something illegal. But that's not so easy when your job pays minimum wage and it's not enough to live off of. One thing that could make a big difference in lowering crime rates is a living wage. Making the minimum wage enough to afford the cost of living. Theft and illegal sales would go down. It wouldn't be eliminated but it would go down. Because a lot of people turn to those things when very desperate.

    Racism will never completely go away. A racist parent teaches their kids to be racist. Sometimes, that kid decides when they are older that their parent(s) were wrong. Usually, they carry that prejudice with them. In some cases it might not be as strong as their parent(s) had, but it's still there.

    Some will always instinctively be fearful or intimidated by a black man. Because that's how they are raised. A black man pointing a gun at you is not more dangerous then a white man pointing a gun at you. They are equally dangerous. Just like a really good black man is just as good as a really good white man.

    It's not about color. It's about personality. It's about choices. It's about your environment and the choices you are forced to make. For me, it's about Aquan.

    He was in the 4th grade in 2008 and a kid I tutored every week. My town is in a nice area but not far from a few towns that can be dangerous. He couldn't trick or treat that year because they found a body in that area. His older brother had been killed. He had a hard working single mother and a couple of other siblings.

    He sucked his thumb. My job as a teacher was to tell him to stop when it started. I did it, but it was hard for me to do. Because he needed safety, security, and comfort. We all need something comforting to make it through stressful times. He only sucked his thumb when he was struggling.

    To this day, I fear he has been killed or is in jail and/or a gang. That is the fate for too many growing up like him. He was such a sweet kid. I can only pray for him and those like him. Perhaps one way we can weaken racism is to ask the racists "why?"

    Why are you racist?
    Why are you refusing to admit you are racist?
    Why do you treat black people differently?
    Why don't you think ALL children deserve a chance to succeed?
    Why do you not trust someone because of their skin color without any other justifiable reason?