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Mistakes

All I have to say today is that while we all make plenty of mistakes during the course of our lives, few of us make the kind that end up being very public.

Oh, and if this is representative of 40 year old teachers in Louisiana, I’m glad I’ve never been anywhere near there.

Home

Where is home? Is it a physical place? Is it where you live?

Home seems to conjure up so many feelings in each of us. Earlier today, I came across a post in Daily Musings that got me to thinking about “home”.

It’s a lot of different things to me. It’s where I live, physically, in my home. But home is not always just a house. To me, home is family. Family is home. I once noticed that to me, home was wherever my mom lived, even if I had never actually lived there myself. Mom equaled home. Whenever I get to go back to that house, if I ever do, I know it won’t be home. My mom isn’t there anymore. She’s gone. My sister lives there so I guess that it’s still home in the way that family is home but I don’t think I’ll feel that.

Home is where my kids are or even where we all are together even if it isn’t anyone’s domicile. It’s home because family is there.

In another way, home is also California where I was born and grew up. I love going back to California and it still feels like home. The house where I grew up in San Jose also brings back feelings of home, as does San Jose. I lived there for so long. When I go to San Jose I am home, even though I’m no longer familiar with everything there or how to get from one place to the other. It’s still home and when I leave San Jose, I have a sad feeling in my heart.

I guess home is many things to many of us. Where is home to YOU?

Maya Mouse

Maya will be four years old on February 9. This weekend, we are celebrating her birthday. Normally, she would have a party but thanks to Covid-19 we can’t do that this year. Instead, we are doing a stay-cation in a local hotel. I was in charge of picking up the kids at daycare and bringing them to the hotel while her mommy drove to the hotel, checked in, and decorated the room. Decorations? Why Mickey and Minnie, of course. Maya loves them. In fact, she has to wear something with Minnie on it every single day. I sometimes tease that she is going to be very disappointed when she figures out that she isn’t really Minnie Mouse!

She was so excited when the door to the room opened up and she was greeted with Mickey and Minnie balloons as big as she is! She said, “Is this my Minnie Mouse bird day?” Yeah, bird day. Okay, she’s only technically 3! She is flying high tonight and doesn’t want to go to sleep. Tomorrow, there will be cake and presents and other surprises. She doesn’t know that yet.

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Missing

Some things we hear stay with us for a long time. We might not understand them completely when we first hear them but we know they will come back at some point and we’ll understand completely.

Many years ago, one of my three brothers committed suicide. He left a wife and four children and then there were us, his siblings and parents. I won’t go into all of the feelings and thoughts that followed his death. That’s not where this story is going. At some point, not sure exactly when, I think it was about a month after his death, my sister-in-law started calling me in the mornings. We would chat about her feelings. I would let her talk and respond when appropriate. Sometimes we talked about silly things. There was always, as you can imagine, an underlying sadness to those calls. I soon learned that my brother used to call his wife at morning break every day and that was the time that they spent talking about the kids and feelings and stuff. It was their time with no kids around.

One of things that she was missing without him was the chance to tell him about what the kids were doing when he was at work. She said that it used to be that she could share the silly things the kids did that made her crack up and then things they did or said that made her proud. She said that as parents, they were the only ones that would understand those things. She could share the same things with other people but it would never be the same.

I thought about that a lot. I was a new mother then. My son wasn’t even a year old yet. I understood what she was saying because I used to fill my husband’s ears with all the things the baby did when he was at work. Every day he did something new and I shared that with him. Although I understood part of what my sister-in-law had said, I would understand it more and more as the years went by.

When my husband walked away from our family and turned the whole thing into a very hostile situation, I thought again about that conversation all those years before. I no longer had someone to share my day with and what the kids did and said or what they needed. He was out of the picture and inaccessible to me. It made me understand even more than before. Now, all these years after that original conversation in 1982, it has come right back to me.

For years, I used to talk to my mom on the phone and tell her all about the kids. When I moved far away, it became more important because we didn’t see her as often anymore. So the phone calls meant a lot. Then I moved further away and the grand kids arrived. For the last eleven years, many of our phone calls centered around sharing with her what my grandchildren were doing. How big they had grown, when they started school, and all those milestones, as well as the everyday silly things that happened involving the grandchildren. And that intensified four years ago when my only granddaughter arrived. She wanted to know all about her. She did meet her when Maya was about six months old. It was the only time she saw her. It was love at first sight…on both parts. After that visit, my mom wanted to know all about Maya. Was her hair getting darker? Was it curly or straight? How big was she? Was she talking? Walking? And because I didn’t have anyone to share those all important things with, I would not spare a detail. Sometimes I would call her just to tell her some silly thing the kids had done and we would laugh and laugh over it. It was the highlight of our conversations.

And then she died.

And now I miss that again. That’s one of the things that gets to me, almost every day since my mom died at the end of last August. I forget and I reach for the phone to tell her about Maya or about one of the boys and then it hits me. I can’t tell her. I can’t share that with her anymore. I don’t have anyone to share those moments with. I miss my mom. I miss that I can’t get in the car and go see her even thought it is a two day drive. I used to do it when I got to missing her a lot. I can’t anymore. I used to send my sister pictures of the kids by text and ask her to show them to my mom. I used to have pictures printed and mail them to her so she would have my grandchildren with her. I can’t anymore.

I miss her a lot. I miss her for many, many reasons and at so many different times but this is one of the things that gets to me almost every single day. There is something I want to tell her about the kids but she’s no longer here.

Sometimes it takes a long, long time to understand what we hear. Sometimes we don’t get it until we walk in other people’s shoes.

Wordless Wednesday

Audio

Audio books. Do you ever listen to them? By choice?

Years ago, well really decades ago, I used to drive from southern California to northern California by myself at least once a month and it was usually at night. The drive was a long one, about 6 hours. Just before one of those trips, a friend gave me a book on cassette that I could listen to on my trip. That was the start of a long relationship with audio books.

They relax me when I am driving. I can follow the plot as I concentrate on the drive. Nowadays, I listen to them on my phone through my Alexa app or my Audible app as I drive between my daughter’s house and my house. It’s only about a half hour each way but it does help pass the time and make me feel like I am not wasting the time. Sometimes I listen to a different book than the one I am reading but lately I have had my Alexa app read Kindle book that I am reading. I also listen to my books at night as I turn out the light and let Alexa read to me. Did you know that? You can have Alexa read your Kindle books! That’s kind of a bonus. I do that when I am really into a novel on Kindle but I need to be in the car or when my eyes get too tired to actually read.

It reminds me of my ex husband’s grandmother who was confined to bed and almost completely blind when I met her. At that time (the 70’s) we didn’t have all the modern technology so we used to borrow plays and musicals on records from the library. We would take them down to her and she would listen to them while in bed. She lived alone so the audio kept her company as she lay in bed, unable to read or move about the house.

Technology is sometimes a real pain but it serves so many purposes, many of which are unintended yet very practical and helpful to our every day lives.

Gotta run and listen to my book!

The Weekly Smile 2-1-21

I know I am blessed with living so close to three of my four grandchildren and even more blessed that I have been able to keep seeing them during the pandemic (we’re in the same bubble). Sometimes I am a little insecure when the oldest stays up in his room or in the Lego Room (yeah, they have a whole room set up with Legos) the whole time I am there. I can be there from Saturday to Monday and not see him! I feel like he no longer cares about me. The middle one always comes to sit and talk to me, at least a couple of times a day when I’m there. But the little one…my Maya…is always all over me!

Last night, she woke up in the middle of the night and came to sleep with me. When I am there, I sleep on the recliner in the family room. So last night, Maya got up around one o’clock and came downstairs. I was still awake, reading. She made herself comfortable on my lap then she turned to face me with the sweetest smile and teary eyes. She put one hand on my cheek and I thought something was wrong. I asked her if something was wrong. She shook her head no and then she said, “I just love you so much, Nana.”

Talk about smiles! Every time I think of it I smile big and feel all that adoring love all over again. This is more than just a weekly smile. I think this will be one I remember forever.

What has you smiling this week? Please do tell! The Weekly Smile is hosted by Trent at Trent’s World The Blog . Come join us with your own weekly smile!

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Where In the World?

It amazes me that so many people cannot/do not understand or have the foggiest idea of cardinal directions or where in map of this huge planet they are. I wasn’t as aware of it until the past three or so years when I became an administrator for my local Buy Nothing group. As part of requesting membership in the group, people have to answer with their nearest cross streets. Even when worded as nearest intersection, people seem to not have an understanding of what that means. They end up giving me streets that run parallel to each other about two or three miles apart. That’s not an intersection or cross streets! And there’s another problem…the words parallel and perpendicular seem to not be understood. Isn’t that like elementary school?

While it is often a stereotype that it is women that don’t know about maps and directions, I find it to be equal in men. I have been told that they have no cross street; that they don’t know if they are north or south of a given point; and I’ve even been told that they don’t know what city they are in! Yesterday, a woman gave me two streets as cross streets, one of them being Wilson Road. I checked on my map to see if she was within our boundaries and I couldn’t find that intersection. I thought maybe she was in a different city that the one she provided but she kept insisting that she was right on the corner of those two streets in the city she had given me. I kept checking and I just couldn’t find it. I finally asked her for her zip code and for the street just past Wilson Road. She eventually said that Wilson Road merged onto XYZ Street. I looked it up and found that she doesn’t live on Wilson Road. She lives on Winston Road. It appears that she has lived there for over a year and truly thought it was Wilson Road! How can you not know the name of the street you have lived on for over a year?!

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Present Trauma

I’ve been trying to come up with something to write about this past week. About January 6th specifically. Try as I might, I’m not finding the words. There are a lot of feelings but so many words have been written about it since and I’m sure will be written about that day for years to come, that my words seem inadequate, to say the least.

Feelings. I’m feeling in shock. Traumatized. Despondent. Hopeless. Yet there is also some hope mixed in there. Hope that this is the beginning of righting our country’s course and hope that the anticipated continued violence and unrest doesn’t materialize. Fear. Fear that such violence and unrest will actually continue for months to come. That’s a pretty scary thing to face. And I’m afraid it’s a very real probability. This week seems to have unleashed the evils that have been brewing for many years, even before the current presidency. It was all there, hiding, waiting to be given some permission, some legitimacy, and that’s exactly what this president did.

Treason? Insurrection? Sedition? He’s guilty of all of them. And we are the ones who suffer. He will leave the presidency and we will be paying him a lifelong pension, lifelong secret service protection, and a hefty travel budget. He doesn’t deserve any of it. That is a good excuse for impeachment. It won’t remove him from office but it will strip him of those benefits and of any pardons, or self-pardons. At least thatl’s what the experts say.

There’s so much to be said about this. I’m sure words will not be spared. But we also need to take care of ourselves. What we witnessed and what we’ve read about the Capitol takeover is traumatizing. We’re in shock. Even if we don’t realize it, we are all in some kind of shock.

Take care of yourselves. Be nice to yourselves. Take time away from the news. Be kind, especially to yourself.

Internet

The other day I mentioned that I don’t have internet and am using my phone as a hot spot to connect to the internet. Why? Because big corporations suck.

I’ve been with Comcast (Xfinity) since I moved to Oregon in 2008. They are the only internet company that services my area. Two blocks away I would have options but here, no! Last January they raised my rate to somewhere in the $50 range. Too much for me. For only internet. So I called them and talked to them for over two hours, different departments. In the end, they said I would be granted another two year contract at only $29 monthly. I agreed. Well, they never changed it. And because I was at my daughter’s house most of the time until the end of May, I didn’t realize that they had not lowered the price of my contract. After hours and hours of trying, I still could not get a real person on the phone. I managed to get a real person in a chat through Facebook book but they kept putting me on hold and an hour later some different person would come to the chat and I would have to repeat myself all over again. I kid you not, I followed the chat for THREE DAYS only to never get anything resolved. I was told through a number of organizations that I could get a senior rate. When I finally was able to talk to a real person in November, they told me they no longer had a senior rate. They extended my cutoff date until Christmas and put me into an escalated case file. They were supposed to contact me and straighten out the whole problem with charging me $65 a month instead of $30 and then put me on a reduced rate.

Well, they never adjusted my price. They said I did qualify for a low income rate of $10 per month. It would allow me a higher speed and a free router and modem. One problem. I cannot have been a Comcrap customer for three months. Isn’t that stupid? So now I am without internet for three months until I qualify as a new customer for the low income rate of $10. In the meantime, no internet.

I’m using my phone as a hot spot but I have to watch that I don’t go over the 6 GB limit. I also realized that if I download shows over my daughter’s wifi when I am there, I can come home and watch them here. So that’s what’s in store. As to accessing the blog and Facebook and anything else, I’ll have to use my phone’s data and my phone’s hot spot capabilities. I have unlimited data on my phone so that’s good but only 6 GB to use as a hot spot. So if I am able to manage it okay, I’ll survive until April when I can get the cheap low income rate. Of course, that leaves me without Alexa. I’ve come to rely on her. I have an Echo dot in almost every room. Because I fall so often, I have it set up so I can have Alexa call my daughter or the neighbor or 911. So hopefully, I won’t fall in the next three months.

Sometimes technology rocks. Sometimes it sucks.