Hello 2016

I have waited a long time to see you. 2015 didn’t treat me so well and I decided a long time ago to kick it to the curb when you showed up. I could probably document a sorrow from every month, but I won’t. Instead I will look at the year ahead and find ways to use the problems from 2015 to improve the year 2016.

I saw a post on facebook suggesting an empty jar be begun on New Year’s Day. Each week I am to write something good that happened that week on a slip of paper and put it in the jar. Next year this time, I can look back on good memories.

Perhaps 2015 wasn’t as rough on me as it felt. Some good things did happen. My youngest son came home from his travels. My dog was prescribed a second arthritis medicine that helps her walk better. My cat overcame heart failure, which is no easy feat. I watched my beloved dog, Magic, die from it a few years ago. I still miss her every day.

But I had to quit work. I was diagnosed with an illness that often makes me feel bad. That is the biggie that I’ll remember from 2015. The year I could no longer work and the anger I felt about it. I am one of those people who loved my job. I was a Reading Specialist. I’d sit with small groups of children all day long and focus on what would help each group learn to read better. My room was a magic room where mistakes were allowed and attempts, even if not exactly right, were encouraged. I moved some children three levels in nine weeks and was so proud of them and me.

Then I got the news and was told I had to go on short term disability. Oh boy. Not my cup of tea. When school began in August, I didn’t join my colleagues who returned to work.

As I wended my way through Social Security Disability, I had form after form to either fill out or get filled out. My oldest son, who was living with me at the time, filled out his form they required and I read it with dismay. Was that really how I now appeared to him?

But like I told one friend, when God closes one door, a window flies open, or something like that. I searched for months for that window and may have found it. We’ll see.

The year 2016 will show that to me – is this where I fly out to do other things that bring me as much joy as teaching did? Is this it? We’ll see.


Disappointing God?

I just saw an ad that stated the eye shadow they were selling was perfect. I thought about all the hours women put into applying makeup and wondered why they are so dissatisfied with their appearance that they have to use so many things on their faces. And then there’s this perfect brown eye shadow for sale . . .

I wonder how many of us would be offended if we gave something to someone and then watched as they changed it because they didn’t like the way it was?

When I worked I wore very little makeup. Now some days I actually go out with none on. No one gasps or acts like I look that much different.

I have seen women on the internet who look totally different when they take off all their makeup. I wonder why they are so unhappy with their normal appearance that they lather on so much?

I wonder if God is disappointed in their unacceptance of how they were made?


Age Discrimination

Yesterday I burned three of my fingers. Since I’m diabetic, when they began to blister, I considered medical help. It was Saturday, so I knew my doctor was closed. There is a Fastmed a couple miles away on the highway. I called them to see how much it would cost to be seen. With my old insurance, it was $87. I now have Medicare Part B and have no idea how it works. Medicare is determined to remain a mystery to me. I did find out that NO Medicare Supplement pays for my diabetes medicine. They don’t explain formularies, etc. to you when you attempt to sign up. It appears to be “trial and error” and you pay to learn as you go. Often you do without until you figure it all out. But I digress.

My main concern yesterday were three enlarging blisters on my fingers. I do know my podiatrist feels that blisters on my feet are a threat to my health. I assumed blisters anywhere should be medically treated. I smeared some neosporin on them before I made the call. All I wanted to know was how much I’d have to pay out of pocket to be seen there if using my Medicare Part B card.

Do you know that I was transferred and ended up talking to three different people. No one knew. They all said it depended on the treatment. Well, I knew that, but surely there was a base charge. The third person I was transferred to was their billing clerk. She didn’t know either. No clue. I did find out that a visit was $200 and I would be expected to pay 20% of that bill at least. I did the math quickly and came up with $40. However, since it took them so long to figure that out, I wondered if I dared trust them with my health. They also appeared anxious to get away from me although they said they were not busy at that time.

I finally decided “to hell with it” and I’d wait and see what, if any, infection sprang up without treatment. I’d called my oldest son who said to put neosporin on the blisters, but he thought I’d be fine and he had to get to work. My youngest son, who was here, said they didn’t look that bad to him. One stretched all the way across one finger. I wondered what constituted “bad looking” to him.

But since no one seemed to care and  I’ve decided people younger than I am had just as soon have me to ahead and die, I decided to see what would happen without treatment. I do hope these know-it-all youngsters realize if technology goes away, say, during a war or something, we oldsters are very likely the only part of civilization who knows how to function without it. If we all go away, I guess they’ll have to sink because they sure as hell don’t know how to swim. I can’t help them. I have blisters on my fingers that hurt like hell and none of them care. Why should I?


Political Correctness/Salem Witch Trials

Today’s society judges people by their politically correct speech. We must be careful what we say, lest we offend someone. This situation reminds me of the Salem Witch Trials.

Between February 1692 and May 1693, people were presecuted  and were put to death for things they said or things others said about them. Today people are losing jobs and losing their way of life because of something they may have said or something they said that someone else was offended by.

America was founded on certain principles and one of those was “Freedom of Speech”. It is listed in the First Amendment to the Constitution; ten Amendments make up our Bill of Rights. That right has been restricted in recent years. Now Americans can say only what is pleasing to another’s ears. The Political Correctness Advocates are to today’s society what the Prosecutors were to society during the Salem Witch Trials.

Most people have ways of getting away from speech they don’t want to hear. They also can choose to ignore it. That is their right. It should be my right to say what my opinion truly is without fear of reprisal from the Political Correct “police”.

Will Internet Buying Save the USPS?

I read somewhere that there were fewer Black Friday shoppers this year and that perhaps it was due to internet buying. It is much simpler to sit in your computer chair and browse items a company offers than to go fight the shoving masses in the stores.

You may enter the store with joy in your heart and a smile on your face at the thought of buying someone that perfect something. However, often by the time you exit the store, the smile is gone and resentment may be trying to take root because of the whole “in person” shopping experience.

The store clerks I’ve encountered have been particularly cheerful and helpful this year. The customers are mostly polite and well-mannered. The stores are filled, but not to an unmanageable degree.

If others are sitting home buying items on the internet, where they’ll let you know immediately whether an item is out of stock or not, it may explain the absence of some in the stores.

I went outside a few minutes ago to take my old dog for her morning walk. There in my porch chair lay a package I had ordered. I walked over to see who had delivered it and I wondered when? It wasn’t there when I went to bed. Perhaps employees at USPS (who delivered it) are working overtime hours this busy season? I did see a mail truck in my neighborhood before 8:00 am yesterday. It was barely after 7:00 am today when I found the package.

As people discover the ease and joy of shopping via the internet, the USPS may require more employees, and it may find itself with renewed life. Wouldn’t it be something if the internet saved the United States Postal Service?

I Didn’t Know Any Better

I look back on my life frequently now and the biggest theme seems to be, “I didn’t know any better”.

I didn’t know I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, I wouldn’t . . . many things I tried to accomplish, no one in my family or group of friends had tried to do them. “Full Speed Ahead, Damn the Torpedoes” (David Farragut quote from Battle of Mobile Bay, although he said “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead”, my speed meant more to me than my hinderances) was my motto. I had a focus and went after what was capturing my attention at the time.

Some of the first disregard for circumstances were during my childhood. I remember giving my one-armed grandfather a small Christmas gift, but I put that wrapped small gift into a slightly larger box and wrapped that up too . . . then found a slightly larger box than that and put the second box into the third box and wrapped it, and on and on until he had about 8 boxes to unwrap. It didn’t occur to me that he had only one arm. No one called him “handicapped” in our home. Having one arm was a part of him, just like the tatooes he sported were. I frankly didn’t notice or think about it. However, as he unwrapped the third or fourth box and began to laugh, he asked if he had a present or just a bunch of boxes? I had stopped unwrapping my own gifts to watch him because I hoped he’d laugh and enjoy my small gift just because of the way I’d wrapped it. But his words about a bunch of boxes caught my grandmother’s eye and she was very offended and upset with me for doing that to my one armed grandfather!! until he continued to laugh and said it was fine – to quit fussing. That attitude of not noticing what someone didn’t have or couldn’t do has followed me through life.

I was an older mother when I was pregnant with my third child. My doctor wanted to order many tests and I always refused them. When she asked why I thought I could take care of a handicapped child, I told her my grandfather had one arm and my mother had had polio and they did just fine. Still, the doctor made me sign a paper stating that if the baby had any defects that could have been detected in a test that I’d refused that I would not sue her. Sue her? She was taking care of me during what was a difficult pregnancy. Why would I sue her?

I watched my grandmother make things from nothing and marveled at her creations. She taught me many things that I still use today.

My first thought when considering a new endeavor is not “can I?”, but is “how can I?”.  Right now I am trying to make a series of videos and last night at dinner I asked my oldest son if he thought I’d make any money from them? He said maybe . . . probably . . . but the best thing is that it is giving me a focus and something to think about besides this aggravating condition that has made me have to quit working. He is right. I don’t think about, in anger, what I can’t do any more, but focus on new things that I can do.

Like Farragut said, “Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!” He won and so shall I.


Writing Courses

I’ve taken a few writing courses and I always learn things when I do.

I’ve noticed James Patterson has a writing course he’s offering online and I think I will sign up for that.

It’s not just learning new things, it’s experimenting with old things as well. It will be interesting to see how he teaches me to be a better writer.

He’s one of my favorite authors, so I’m going to spend the money and see if he becomes one of my favorite teachers.

Evolution of Creative Life

I find myself making videos because some of what I write, I may be able to make a video about and post it on youtube and have it monitized. I have a personal youtube account and I have a professional account now set up. I’ve practiced four times so far – trying to get comfortable in front of the camera and trying to get the background just right and the camera angle perfect. These practice videos are in my personal account, but marked unlisted and only sent to a few select people for their comments.

There’s so much to consider when making a professional video – hair, clothes, background, props, cue cards . . . This is taking more time than I expected, but since I’m no longer working, I have plenty of that.

My car is in the shop. It’s an old car and has a steady relationship with my mechanic. This time it’s leaking power steering fluid; last time the coolant was leaking. I can’t remember all the other events, but it does like attention.

That was quite a jump in topic from my videos . . . I tend to do that – jump around when I’m thinking or talking and now it appears it has leaked into my writing life.

It’s something I need to work on in my videos. Focus.