Attitude Adjustments, Be Kind, Egos, Emotions, Helicopter Parenting, Uncategorized, Watch, Listen, and Learn, Youth Sports

Scenes From an Afternoon of Youth Basketball

I enjoy people watching.  I love sitting back and observing mannerisms, speech, clothing, body types, how they interact with others, etc.  I never want or need to be the center of attention, so people watching is my way of learning about others. You can learn oodles with observation!  Yesterday, I went to watch my husband referee some youth basketball games.  I don’t know any of the athletes, but I do enjoy watching, for as long as my head and ear can stand the whistles and loud buzzers.  I also love watching Al doing something he really enjoys.  But some of these games bring out interesting characteristics in people!

When I first walked into the gym, it was about halfway through the second quarter, and it was pretty crowded, so I was looking for a spot to park my fanny.  A nice man saw me searching, and said, “Ma’am, you can sit here!”  My first interaction with someone there, and he was as polite and nice as can be.  I thought to myself that manners do still exist, even in intense situations, such as a youth basketball game. That was a great way to start this little outing!

I had a front row seat, and saw Al running up and down the court.  The score was pretty close (19-14), and both teams seemed to be very aggressive.  There were a lot of fouls, and they were extremely physical! I guess the boys on these teams were about 12 or 13 years old.  The win came down to the final few seconds, so most of the parents were on edge.  It was a good game, and fun to watch!

There were two ladies behind me, but I could only hear one…..she wouldn’t shut up.  She wasn’t watching the game.  She was telling the other woman all about how her boyfriend broke up with her because she was no longer his best friend, and he didn’t feel right about dating her and also working with her.  He didn’t feel like they would be right for marriage because it was too much work, and she disagreed because marriage is work, and blah, blah, blah!  I heard it all! Then at one point, she stopped and said, “I have a hard time getting to know people.  I don’t know how to get to know someone.”  I wanted to turn around and say, “Maybe if you shut up long enough to LISTEN to someone else, then you could get to know people!”  SHEESH!  My guess is she didn’t really care too much about her son’s game, and I bet her boyfriend really broke up with her because she talks too much about herself.

Other parents love to coach their child from the sidelines, which drives me insane.  If they want to coach, why aren’t they volunteering their time to do it?  They’re yelling at their child, yelling at the coach, yelling at the refs.  I can’t imagine how difficult these people are to live and work with.  I bet they’re never happy with anything, and everything is someone else’s fault. There are a couple of parents who know nothing about the game.  Every time their child got the ball, they would yell, “Shoot it!  Shoot it!” even though they weren’t in any type of scoring position, and weren’t within any proximity to the basket.  One boy mouthed off to his coach, and then talked back to his mother in the stands.  She laid into him for the whole gym to hear…..”You better remember who you’re talking to!” He was in foul trouble, but I think he was in more trouble with his mama.

Watching people with their families, and how they interact, is interesting to me.  First of all, I like to look at facial features and body types, trying to match the children to the parents, or which couples are together.  There was one family that were all built like blocks….the mother, the father, and all of the children had very square heads, no necks, square upper bodies, and skinny legs.  It was really odd……I had a hard time looking away…..they sort of looked like cubes with arms and legs.  The mother kind of led the children and her husband around like a pack leader.  They followed along behind her, and it was obvious who was in charge.  Back to her later…..

Because of the intensity of the game, the parents sitting around me were very vocal, coaching from the stands, and yelling at the refs (Al and another man).  I do get a little defensive when anyone criticizes him, but I think I’m supposed to.  In our marriage vows, we did promise to protect each other.  I think that goes for unfair criticism too!  Again, if they want to do the job, then apply for it.  See if they want to run up and down the court for up to 16 games a week.  See if they appreciate being yelled at, called names, or criticized for making the right call! Of course, some things get by the refs, and of course, they will let some things go on purpose, especially with the younger athletes.  They’re only human, and the game does need to move along.  If they called every little travel by these young kids who are still working on their coordination and control, then the games would take days to complete!  After Al came over and kissed me, they realized who I was there to watch, so they toned it down a bit.  I guess they knew better than to say anything with his wife sitting there. If they said anything after that, they kept it to a minimum.

For the next game, I moved to the other end of the gym, where it was a little less crowded, and one man sat a few feet away from me.  He had a lot to say when the game was going on about the refs, but as soon as Al came near me during the time outs, he lowered his head and played on his phone.  When the game started back up, he started his criticism again.  Coward.  It wasn’t a very exciting game because one team was really bad, and it was a blowout, so I left at half time. One of the parents from the losing team was the mother from the “block” family….the pack leader. I’m actually happy I left before the end of that game.  Al said she came to him, and verbally berated him for not making enough calls on the winning team.  She was mad that her team lost, and was very unpleasant.  It wasn’t his fault that her son’s team sucked.  The saddest thing about this is that she is a co-worker of Al’s at school.  She attacked another adult, who was just doing his job, over a youth basketball game.  Petty.  Immature.  And now their working relationship will most likely be strained.  As protective as I am of him, it’s probably best that I wasn’t there!

Watching and listening.  Watching, listening, and learning.  Spending an afternoon watching youth basketball games, and learning about people…..people I may never see again, but who show us so much about their personalities through their words and actions.

 

 

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Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Courage, Family, Happiness, Iowa, Laughter, Love, Marshalltown, Iowa, Passion for Living, The Queen of Iowa, Uncategorized

Here’s To The Queen!

I’d like to tell you about The Queen……not the Queen of England, but The Queen of Iowa!  You didn’t know there was one, did you?  This queen is someone I’ve had in my life since I was 19 years old, and has been like a second mother to me, even though I don’t get to see or talk to her much anymore.  I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately…..

Joan Yvonne Wendt Williams…..The Queen.   I will get to why she has that title later, but for now, I want to tell you why she deserves it.  Joan was my mother in-law for 23 years, and is the grandmother to my children.  In fact, I was the one who made her a grandmother for the first time in 1989!  Her son and I may not see eye to eye on much of anything, and the divorce strained the whole family relationship, but I still consider her my family, especially since I’ve lost my own mother.  When you lose your mother, you lose a huge part of yourself. And when you divorce, you also lose another part of your family.

From the first time I met her in 1984, wearing my bathing suit (aghhh!), she was friendly, warm, and loving, and acted like she had known me my whole life.  For the first few years of knowing her, she was in an unhappy situation with her marriage.  Through hard work, she came through it on the other side, stronger, more independent, and happier.  It was hard for her to take that step, but she did it, and she has deserved every day of peace and happiness it has brought her since. She stood up for me several times in some uncomfortable situations during that time period, and I have never thanked her for that, even though I appreciated it so much.  I’m not even sure she would remember doing it because it is so second nature for her to do that sort of thing.

She was raised in a small town in Iowa, married young, as most girls did in the late 1950’s, and raised 4 children.  She lost a child shortly after birth, which I know is still painful for her.  I’ve been to the cemetery with her a few times to place flowers or pinwheels on her daughter’s grave.  She has talked to me about that time, and I could feel the pain myself through her words, even though she was so strong and composed telling me about it.  This is just one of the few things that made her such a strong woman.

Her own mother in-law, Florence, was a good woman, and was good to her too, but…..difficult.  I knew Florence well, and I always got the feeling that no woman would ever be good enough for her sons.  Yet, with Joan…..any man would be lucky to have her!  Joan told me once that she never wanted to be that type of mother in-law to me.  I feel thankful to her for that.  It sure made life easier!

We grew closer over the years, and always enjoyed having a beer and pizza together.  The laughter and friendship we shared can never be replicated with anyone else, but two of my children are now to the age where they can sit down and enjoy a good drink with their grandma and laugh the way we used to.  She and her oldest daughter, Lisa, used to make a trip to see us about twice a year….once in the fall, and once in the spring, when we lived in Kansas.  Lisa would bring her step daughter sometimes, and always had her dog in tow.  It was fun, but Joan hated driving through the Kansas City traffic before getting to our house!  It stressed her out to no end!  The very first thing she would say after her hugs and kisses all around, was, “I need a beer!”  I tried to be fully stocked on beer when Grandma Joan came to visit!

I will never forget the time I heard my 4 year old daughter say, “Oh damnit!” when she dropped something.  I said, “Lily, we don’t say that.”  She looked at me confused, and said, “We don’t?  Grandma Joan says it!”  Now my own  five year old grandson is repeating Great-Grandma Joan’s salty language that he picked up last summer.  Of course, it isn’t appropriate, but I can’t be mad.  In fact, I think it’s pretty funny……if Joan has taught me anything, it is to not be stuffy and unhappy, even when life is hard.  Learn to laugh and let go.  Don’t be angry.  Smile.  Don’t hold grudges.  Have fun.  Don’t take life so serious.  It’s short, so enjoy it.

These days I hear she enjoys her boxed wine while getting her daily fix of Drew Carey and The Price is Right!  One of my daughters was telling me that Grandma loads up her walker with beer, and meets with friends at the Embers, her retirement apartment building, for “coffee.”  I got such a chuckle out of that!  She has always known how to have a good time!  Whether it’s playing bingo, trips to the casino, watching her favorite soap opera or TV show, or “coffee” with her friends, she always has fun!

The last time I saw her, I was able to introduce my husband to her.  She hugged him, and told him that if I loved him, then he was okay in her book!  Before we left, she hugged him again, and told him to “take care of my girl.”  He promised he would.  After we left, he said he wished we could have stayed because he could have sat for a few hours, having a few beers and talking with her!  Now that I’m sick, she continues to check with my daughter to make sure Al is taking good care of me…..he is!  I’m stubborn, but he does as much as I let him do.

Now to her well earned title…….The Queen……in most retirement or assisted living facilities, they will choose a king and queen.  I’m not sure what all goes along with the title, but they get to ride in a parade!  Last year, Joan was chosen as Queen of the Embers.  She got to ride in the parade, and from what the kids tell me, she was ordering people to “bow down.”  I can’t help but laugh, because I can picture it!  Recently, a little girl was introduced to The Queen.  She asked if she was the Queen of Iowa, and my daughter told her yes!  And you know what?  She is!  Beautiful, funny, kind, gracious, friendly, salty, and compassionate……what other qualities do you need in a queen?

Here’s to The Queen!  I love you Joan!

 

 

Anxiety, Bad doctors, Be Kind, Bedside manner, Communication Skills, Equal Pay With Equal Skills, Kindness, Uncategorized

Time To Switch

What do you do when you don’t like your doctor?  I don’t mean my family practitioner.  I actually love him.  I believe he has saved my life on more than one occasion by referring me for more tests and to good specialists.  I was lucky enough to grow up with great family doctors in Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa.  We always received great treatment.  Trying to get in to see a specialist is a pain.  It takes forever!  So switching is going to be hard too.  Unfortunately, I am always going to need a good neurologist.

When all of this stuff started going on with my head, I started out seeing a couple of different doctors.  I liked one of them.  The other one….not so much.  Now I seem to be stuck with the one I don’t care for.  Wait…..I take that back.  I can’t stand him.  He has horrible bedside manner.  He’s rude.  He doesn’t listen.  And he seems to prescribe unneeded tests.  He makes me very uncomfortable.

The last time I went to see him, I told him my vertigo was extremely bad when I got off the elevator and came into his waiting room.  I was hanging on to the counter while checking in, trying not to lose my balance.  His response?  “Uh-huh.” I told him about some other things I was experiencing, and he decided to order a carotid ultrasound, and then said, “I don’t think it has anything to do with this, though.”  Okay!  So WHY are we wasting my time and money?  I shouldn’t have to take time off of work for tests that he thinks will be inconclusive, but will cost me more than a month’s salary.

He also increased my seizure meds, and told me I’m not having any side effects.  Does he know this without asking me?  I asked what the side effects might be, because I am extremely tired, and experiencing more dizziness.  He smirked and sort of laughed at me, but didn’t answer the question.  He also didn’t explain why he was increasing the dosage.  Why am I paying him?

Communication skills are not his strength, but he sure is making some big bucks by being an aloof asshole.  I make a fraction of what he makes, and have to have excellent communication skills in my profession.  Then I thought about cashiers and people in the service industry…..they better have great communication skills too!  Their income depends on it.  No one will want to do business with anyone who has poor customer service or communication skills.  Why does this guy still get to make a great living and be an asshole?  The people in his office are nice……I’m pretty sure they’re the only reason any patients stay with him.  After feeling uncomfortable and unsatisfied, I looked at his ratings online.  He has very low ratings.  At least I’m not the only one.

So I guess it’s time for me to find someone else…..wait for the next opening…..2-3 months down the road? Maybe doctors should start getting performance pay, like they’ve started doing with teachers……and bedside manner is part of their overall evaluation.  If patients aren’t happy with the performance of the physicians, then they get the minimum pay, or they lose their job.

As I’ve said so many times before, what does kindness cost?  Not being nice just makes people feel crappy, and may cost you in the long run.  But being nice doesn’t cost a thing, and always, always, always makes you a good person, no matter what your profession. So adios, Doc, and I am off to find a new neurologist, with good bedside manner, good feedback from other patients, and who will make me feel comfortable with knowledge of my condition.

 

Anger, Be Kind, Being Strong, Bullying, Compassion, Courage, Empowerment, Grow a Pair, Kindness, Loyalty, Racism, Respect, Speak Up!, Support, Uncategorized, Understanding

Don’t Be Part of the Problem

Things are a mess in our country/world right now.  I guess our parents and grandparents felt this way at times too.  My grandparents were adults during WWI and WWII, and my parents were witnessing terrible things in the tumultuous 1960’s.  I’m sure they felt afraid and concerned at that time too.  One thing they did not do is turn and look the other way when someone was being mistreated.  They always spoke up, and always stood up for people who were being treated unfairly.

In today’s world, I keep thinking about the saying, “If you ignore the problem, then you condone it.”  Right now, many of us need to be remembering this.  On a world scale, it applies to racism, bullying, sexism, animal cruelty, hatred, or any type of discrimination.  On a personal level, it applies to those who are being unfairly treated at work, home, or in our communities.

Confrontations aren’t easy, but I have always prided myself on the fact that I will stand up for others, whether I know them or not.  I will stand up for someone else before I stand up for myself.  My friends and family can always have confidence in knowing I will defend them.  If someone mistreats them, I won’t tolerate it, and will address it directly, putting a stop it to immediately.  If the other person gets upset with me, that’s just too bad.  I will not condone meanness on any level, especially if it’s hurting someone I care about.  I admired this quality in my family members, and have applied it to my own actions, feeling that it defines good character.  The good old “golden rule” seems to be lost in our society these days.  Some people might say they live by it, but their actions say otherwise.  In other words, they have no balls!  When you don’t speak up directly, and don’t stand up for someone being mistreated, you are showing that person that you don’t care about them, and you agree with the poor treatment.  What does that say about your character?  How should the person being mistreated feel about you?  If you agree with the negative treatment, then why would they trust you on other things?  Why would they support you if you needed it, when you didn’t defend them? If you thought they were your friend before, then I am willing to bet there will be a wedge in your relationship after the fact.

I worked in a situation once where another teacher was being incredibly cruel to me.  It was being condoned and encouraged by the owners of the school (private school).  They were trying to make me uncomfortable enough to quit.  They had no reason to fire me because I had done nothing wrong.  I just knew too much….(actually, I could have an entire blog just on that school!).  This teacher was telling other teachers not to talk to me, or they would be fired.  Why?  They had decided I was a threat to their business by knowing a bit too much about their financial dealings.  Yet, I would go to work each day, arriving early, teaching my students, and showing them my love and dedication, even though I was being ignored, talked about, lied on, and putting up with mean remarks by this other teacher (directly and indirectly).  No one stood up for me.  No one helped me. I was keeping my mouth shut and being professional, but I became a target, and it was miserable.  All I wanted to do was teach.  It taught me a lot about the character of the others who wouldn’t help me.  There were still a couple of teachers who talked to me, and were supportive, but no one who had the power to put a stop to this evil witch and her remarks did anything about it.  They showed me their character…..

We teach our students in school that we will not condone any type of bullying (threats, harassment, alienation, physicality, gossip, etc), but adults are just as guilty of it, and many condone it by not putting a stop to it.  I know I talk a lot about being nice, or being kind, and I think most people think they are.  Adults can hurt just as much, or maybe even more so, than children when it comes to cruelty.  I challenge all of you to look in the mirror, and evaluate yourself on this.  Are you really nice if you are ignoring mean behavior?  Are you really nice if you aren’t practicing what you preach about loyalty, love, trust, friendship, care, and protection?  If you are ignoring it, then you are definitely a major part of the problem.  Don’t be a part of the problem.  No matter how large or small the situation….stand up, grow a pair, and don’t allow ANYONE to be mistreated.

Anxiety, Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Bewitched, Busy Minds, Civil Rights, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Empowerment, Family, Fear, Focus, Happiness, Insensitivity, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Kindness, Laughter, Laughter is the best medicine, Life Happens.....Make the Best Of It!, Loneliness, Love, Loyalty, Making life interesting, Manners, Misconceptions, Passion for Living, Peaceful Protests, Racism, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Thankfulness, That's life, Tom Jones, Uncategorized, Understanding

Hocus Focus

I’ve had a bit of writer’s block lately.  Part of it is because I have a hard time typing with a brace on my wrist. Part of it is just because I’ve been a bit distracted with a few things lately.  I start to write, and I find myself not wanting to finish the topic because I get worried how some people might react.  I try to keep my posts positive, and try to inspire people to do their best, while maybe sharing some experiences from my life, or funny stories.  I know I shouldn’t worry about that, because I know if I’m doing the best I can, that’s all that matters.  I have a level of sarcastic humor that not everyone gets, but I can’t worry about that either.  I’ll try to give you an idea of what my mind has been like lately….

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is today……let’s keep moving forward.  Even my 1st graders think racism is awful.

Broken wrists suck.

Vertigo sucks.

I have a secret crush on Tom Jones.

Migraines suck.

Free movie passes are great.

I, Tonya was a good movie.

Catch the movie, Mudbound on Netflix……eye opening, and should tug at everyone’s heart.  Let’s not ever go back to that. Mary J. Blige does an excellent job in it.

I love Kansas City at Christmas.

I love warm weather.

My dog is the sweetest, snuggled next to me as I type this.

The Vikings had an awesome game yesterday, and I hope they go all the way, especially for my best friend’s sake…..she loves them!

Some people really take advantage, and are attention whores.

I would never have the nerve to set up a Go Fund Me account for myself…….

Therefore, medical bills and trying to get by through this really sucks.

Donald Trump sucks.  Yep.  I said it!

What happened to manners?

Why can’t people respect your time and your finances?  It’s not up to anyone else how you spend these things, and if you have the time or money for something.  I would never tell someone, “You have time for this,” or “You can afford that.”  No one’s energy level is the same as someone else’s, and no one knows what your financial obligations are.

A man complimented me in the elevator in the medical building for the boots I had on….then he asked if that was okay because he wasn’t sure it was acceptable….compliments should always be acceptable.

Work/teaching is exhausting.

Trying to get my foot in the door with real estate is next to impossible while teaching full time.  Taking my post license course now.

I don’t like one of my medical specialists…….at all.

Sometimes no matter how nice you are to people, they just won’t like you.  Be nice anyway, but protect yourself.  You can’t make them care.  Their actions will show you how they feel.  Be kind.

Seizures suck.

My family is wonderful.

I don’t get to see a lot of Al this time of year because he works at lot with youth basketball, so we spent today together.  He helped me with groceries and put gas in my car…..helping me with that wrist thing.

My kids are great…..and goofy, and I worry about them all the time.

Social anxiety can be crippling……try to smile and get through it.  I feel it every day.

Youth basketball games are fun to watch, especially when they’re scrappy little kids.

Some people are heartless.

I’m addicted to reruns of Bewitched.

Spring and summer need to get here soon. I need summer now!

So you can see……my mind is all over the place…..writer’s block, because I can’t focus on anything.  Not feeling bad or depressed….I’m just overwhelmed with a lot right now, so my mind is a busy place.  I wonder if I have adult ADD to add to the list of conditions? Maybe if I am able to reduce the stress in my life and get the rest I need, I can focus!  For now, I will rely on exercise and meditation (and Bewitched) to get me through!

I hope you all have had a great Martin Luther King Jr Day.  Did you do anything to give back? I didn’t this year.  I just don’t have the energy.  My justification for this is that I give back each day when I walk into my classroom. Every teacher does……

Get focused! Now back to studying….

 

 

 

 

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Coping, Courage, Egos, Emotions, Get Over Yourself, Happiness, Laughter, Laughter is the best medicine, Making life interesting, Passion for Living, Shit happens, Thankfulness, That's life, The Unexpected, Uncategorized

Life Happens…..Make the Best Of It!

Strange things happen to me.  It’s always been like that, especially as an adult.  No matter how odd, I try to always see the humor in it, and make fun of myself.  As I write this, I have a splint on my left arm, breaking my wrist after falling in my bedroom a few nights ago.  Excuse any typos, if I miss them.  It’s taking me forever to type this!

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a sitcom, but someone forgot to tell me that I’m the star!  When I was about 6 months pregnant with my oldest daughter, I fainted at the grocery store.  I happened to be in the baby aisle, and had just picked up a package of diapers (always planning ahead).  The next thing I knew, I was on my back, looking up, with store employees looking down at me, offering to call someone.  My feet were propped up on the diapers I had just picked up!  I was really embarrassed, but could laugh about it then and now!

A year or so after that, I went to the store, and because I lived in a cold climate, I had to walk through two sets of automatic double doors to get into the store.  I walked through the first set, completely expecting the next set to open.  They didn’t.  I stopped and waited.  The first set of doors closed behind me.  I pushed on the next doors, and they wouldn’t open.  I tried to go back out, and those doors wouldn’t open either.  I was stuck in the little entryway, between the two sets of doors!  I knocked on the doors to get someone’s attention, and some boys came over to help…..but they didn’t know what to do.  The doors were stuck.  I was stuck.  Other customers were trying to get in.  I told them I couldn’t open the doors.  Some of them acted annoyed with me, as I paced in the entryway, like a zoo animal!  The store employees told the other customers to go around to the other doors, while they got a manager to figure out what to do.  They ended up getting an electrician, and it all turned out okay…..except, I left without getting the items I went in to get in the first place because I was too embarrassed to stay!  But now I laugh….

Another time I walked to my car in a parking lot, and found a bird sitting on my gear shift…inside my car!  I left my sun roof open, and I guess he decided he needed to take a little rest in my car for a few minutes.  The dancing and screaming that followed, while I opened all the doors and tried to shoo him out must have been comical to other people in the parking lot, but I was ready to have a nervous breakdown!  Now I can laugh…..

I’ve had lizards land on my windshield while I’m driving, frogs land on my feet, bugs crawl in my cleavage while I’m at lunch with my mother in-law, stepped on mice, climbed a tree to rescue a stuck ball, but couldn’t get back down, got my finger stuck in a Coke bottle, and the list goes on and on and on!

Now I’m dealing with things that cause other weird things to happen.  Recently, I had a seizure in a crowded restaurant.  That was embarrassing, but I’m able to laugh about it….my kids are having fun teasing me about it, and what triggers them, even though it’s scary.  When I fell in the middle of the night last weekend, I think I may have had a seizure because I felt disoriented and confused.  It was dark, and I lost my balance.  I knew it hurt, but I was tired, and wanted to go back to bed!  So I did.  When I woke up later, I realized I really was hurt, and my wedding ring was stuck on my finger.  Oops!  Well, I still say that sleep is more important than getting x-rays.  I haven’t slept well since, so maybe getting that extra couple of hours wasn’t such a dumb idea after all.  My balance is off, so I bump into things.  I laughed at myself when I bumped into the wall at work yesterday.  I know I must look like the town drunk at times, but it’s just me!

Things happen.  Funny things, weird things, happy things, sad things, scary things…..just make the best of it.  Laugh at yourself.  Have a sense of humor.  Don’t be so full of yourself or vain that you can’t make the best of every situation.  My sisters and I even managed to laugh our way through a funeral once…..I’m not proud of that, but it made it memorable, and I’m pretty sure our deceased loved one would have understood the circumstances.  Try to make the best of every situation.

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor,”  Charles Dickens

 

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Emotions, Family, Happiness, Holiday Spirit, Holidays, Kindness, Laughter, Laughter is the best medicine, Love, Memories, Negativity, Passion for Living, Relationships, Self respect, Thankfulness, That's life, Togetherness, Uncategorized

Love and Laughter in 2018

Happy 2018!  Last night, we returned from a whirlwind trip to Kansas City, where we spent the week with my family for the first time in years.  It really was a great time, even if it was cold, busy and chaotic.  That’s kind of the way my family is during the holidays….. NOT cold, but busy and chaotic!  Laughter, kids, memories, and constant activity is pretty much the norm for us.

My family is big……maybe not big by some people’s standards, but my parents were each one of 5 children, and I am also one of 5 (all girls).  My parents have 11 grandchildren, a few of them have spouses, and there is one great grandchild (my grandson). My daughter’s boyfriend has 2 children, who only added to the fun!  My sister also had two other guests, who were visiting from Japan, and they added to the fun and laughter.  Between all of the people, 2 dogs, the great food, cousins leg wrestling on the family room floor, Nerf gun fights, building train tracks on the floor, pretending to cook (and eat) the Fisher Price food, and our excursions into the city to visit the Nelson Atkins Museum (Picasso, Monet, Pollock, Warhol, etc), Union Station, Crown Center, ice skating (just the kids….not me!),  breakfast with my aunt and nieces, Al and I going out with a childhood friend of mine, and Al going out for a jazz night at Plaza III with our brother in-law, it was a packed few days!  The cold temps didn’t stop the fun!  My family welcomes everyone, and treats everyone with love and acceptance, if they are willing to put up with our noise and silliness!  This is really the first time Al has had a chance to spend any real time with a lot of my family.  He got to see first hand how loving and accepting they are.

I thought back on times when my sisters and our families would all gather at my parents each year (either on Thanksgiving or Christmas).  At times, there might be around 23 of us packed into their little ranch home in Springfield, Missouri.  Noise, laughter, children, food, games, movies, sports on TV, and just spending time together laughing and reminiscing was such fun.  Or the times when we would gather at my grandmother’s house in Wichita with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins……times change, families grow, and loved ones leave us eventually…….but no one can take my memories.

2017 was not easy on me in a lot of ways.  I’ve tried to stay positive, and grateful for all I have, even when I’m physically struggling.  My first trip to Europe, which I was so looking forward to, turned out to be very hard because of a lot of the physical problems I was having, without knowing what was wrong with me.  I tried to do what I could, but I ended up spending a lot of time unable to enjoy a lot of it.  Once we got back, and I got a diagnosis (a benign brain tumor, called an acoustic neuroma), I had to figure out a lot of things.  I dove into information, trying to learn all I could about it.  But mostly, I counted my blessings.  It could have been a lot worse.  My emotions went into overdrive……I can cry at the drop of a pin, and I have a few unpleasant symptoms that are the new normal for me, but I started appreciating things I hadn’t even noticed before!  I also told myself I would not waste time on people or things that were negative or tried to drain my happiness.

I’ve had a lot of hard times in my life, but I’ve also had a lot of very happy times.  My big family has provided so many happy moments for me, and the memories of the love and laughter keep me going.  I always try to stay positive and not let negativity bring me down, but that seems so much more important now.  So, like every year, I will vow to keep my chin up, stay positive, be nice, friendly, compassionate, and happy.  Even though I have been presented with a new obstacle, it doesn’t change my outlook on life.  It may be a new year, but it’s the same love and appreciation that I always strive for.

The important things in life are love, loved ones, laughter, memories, and good health.  Laugh and learn to enjoy everything you have.  Cut out the negativity and negative people who don’t love you back, don’t care about you, or don’t appreciate you.  Stay positive.  Stay happy.  Enjoy the chaos and laughter in life.  Don’t waste time sitting around getting old. I’m so thankful I come from a family who loves to laugh and have fun…..it keeps us young and healthy!

It’s great to be home where it’s a little warmer, but I have some great new memories of this trip, and of my big family and friends.   Happy New Year, and here’s to a fun 2018, filled with love and laughter……curing all that ails us!