Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Trip Goals- December is almost here!

We just got back from a whirlwind trip, with all of the family in tow, to NYC.
The 30 miles of walking in four days let me know that I have to be in better shape
when we take our daughter's children to Disney
in December

The plan is to walk between five to ten miles a day
with three kids
and four adults.

That thought puts goals on the table.
1) Walk every day. 
Start with the neighborhood and move out to the road until it snows.
Then, back to the neighborhood.
I learned on the NYC metro that my knees are not as bad as I thought
keeping them limber is important as well.
2) Learn what type of protein snacks work for me.
Try and review a different one each week until I find three that I like.
3) Start my body losing weight.  
My body needs a jump start. Fasting does not do it for me.
I am thinking of starting on a protein/veggie routine.
Gathering fresh veggies and placing them in the outside fridge so I have them longer.....
4) Save change
We purchased the full passes to Disney,
but there are lots of small things to purchase when you bring three children along for the ride.
Saving change, converting it, and then splitting it between the kids
will give them pocket money and leave my worries at the door.

Goals are not good unless they are measurable. Once a week I'll be back with small updates....maybe that will help to keep me honest.

Two other things I will do for the trip:
Stretch my toes.
My smallest toe has begun to wrap under my next toe.
I am a great believer in muscle memory and strength.

Figure out my shoes
I love my Go Walks- but they gain foot odor fast.
I need three types of shoes to interchange on the trip.
My Teva Mush flip flops will be my evening shoes.

Figure out my suitcase.
I plan to take few things
what is it that I need?

It is going to be a busy fall- a trip to West Point, crafts at my house once a month, DC and NYC for lights, Thanksgiving here. I love being busy!

Monday, September 11, 2017


Standing on the metro platform
crisp uniform
reading the Times
I, with ten school kids in tow,
tapped him on the shoulder.

and then that Irish smile
"What the heck?"

Years before
we had spent many hours
playing Risk
drinking whiskey.
A group of captains
and one stay at home mom
Friday Nights were never the same
after the advanced course.

We chatted about life,
living, family, joy and sorrow
all while taking over the world.

Our lives parted
our careers grew at opposite ends of the country
Christmas and birthday cards
The Army way.

Not surprised that he was working
in a near empty office
just "clearing the desk".

The world is quieter without Neil.
And I will remember him, always.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Helping to load the school backpack.

The teacher in me goes a bit crazy this time of year.
Of course there is a high need for new pencils and markers in my house....

Instead of packing my teacher desk I am working on my grandson's backpack.

A fourth grader this year, and first time in public school.
Homeschooling got him his basics
and now for the icing on the cake!

Why would I bother with his backpack?
You never know when some things are going to be needed.

Kids just don't seem to grow up the same way as I did.
I rode my bike to school in elementary and most of the way through high school.
I also took the bus more then once (the school was five miles away).

So, here is the "emergency backpack" for the bottom of his locker.
Simple, small, will take little space.

Inside that will be two juice pouches (not boxes) two power bars, a hand flashlight
Last, but not least, a printed Google street map to show the way home.
Simple, ready to go if mom cannot meet him in time.
Everyone should always know how to get home and have a bit of a snack for the hike!

Back to school we go!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The problem of statues.

Today I was reading about the removal of the Confederate statues from various parks.
The remarks were all over the board for:
Why should we have reminders of such a dark time
If we take them down we will forget.

As a history teacher of many, many years
This is my opinion.

Remove them.
If you must have them up somewhere, put them on the battle fields.
I am not even sure that is appropriate, removing them is.

I am not a revisionist for history.
The Civil War period (both before and after) were dark times in our history.

There really is no excuse.
A confederate flag also makes me cringe.

What do they want to be remembered for?
That large plantation owners suppressed
and enslaved peoples so they could have beautiful mansions.
Do they really think the majority of the white people lived well in this time and place?
I know my family did not.
They were extremely poor, and had to move to Illinois in the 1850's to get away from the mess.
They did not own slaves and probably worked next to them in fields.
I am betting most of the KKK member families were the same.
Blacks and the government did not take their stuff,
 their families did not have stuff to begin with.
Like blaming the Jews in 1930's
scapegoating for being poor is an easy out.
The rich figure out how to harness that.
For years and years after the whole area was suppressed because of these people who convinced others that it was their duty to support their way of life?

We learned some horrible lessons after WWI.
If you suppress an area too much- they will raise up and come back.
That is what Hitler gained speed on, and Stalin, and Mao and Jefferson Davis.

If you  help the people rebuild after a war
then the people can come back stronger, united-
as happened in Germany and Japan after WWII.
BUT- in both Germany and Japan NO mention of the war was allowed.
They certainly did not have statues named after the top generals
even if those generals had been nice guys before the wars started.

But keeping the statues, the flags, even the words
there is not a chance for people to heal completely.
And let it go.
It has been over 150 years (four or five generations) since the Civil War.
The statues need to come down. The streets renamed. The people need to unite , like the good people of Charlottesville, and move forward. We don't need to suppress the past, we just have to remember it as the ugly era that it was. Statues are for the winners.....

Oh and don't think that the North was such a great place either
The work houses that people fled to after the war
were terrible..... Maybe we need to rename some of those "winnings" as well....

Monday, August 07, 2017

If you had the money for only one (First World Problem)

We are in a nice house
that needs remodeling and curtains and flooring and....
well, you get the idea.

It is the perfect size for this stage in life.
We are not "attached" to our houses
They are not us
They are a place to make a home
and this feels like home
a bit stripped down
but home.

It could really use a Master  upgrade
* Million gallon jacuzzi tub turned into a walk in shower,
* wood flooring through out
* good lighting
* curtains
* a real closet.

We are really enjoying traveling with our children's families
We shoulder much of the costs since
* we remember how devastating vacations are on a family budget
* life is so much better shared.

What to do?
This house will be our home for at least five more years
possibly ten.
Maybe less.
There is a ton of new housing in our area
and ours is totally outdated---but it has the best acreage in the area
and is one of the only ranch style houses in this area.
we are not getting any younger
At 67 and almost  60,
we realize that we want to leave the memories

and still be able to function at the house....


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Family, friends and summertime

Summer is flying by.
Sometimes sitting on the couch seems like a waste of time
but then a day of people comes along.

What has filled my summer?
My son moved across country with his family.
Ten days and two 400 mile trips up and back.
Seeing our grandchildren again--priceless!
Hikes in New York are fun.

My good friend came in from Kansas to play.
500 miles by car and 26 miles by foot in five days.
I once wondered if I could walk Hadrian's Wall in September,
and put if off for a year.
I should have gone for it.

The garden went nuts growing.
And then the invasions began.
Japanese beetles, Horned worms and blight!  Blight!
Still, there are about one hundred tomatoes on the vine,

the red peppers are beginning to turn and the summer squash has all been eaten.
The raspberry bushes look good. They should produce next year.
I know that next year there will only be three tomato plants, no exceptions.
Amish Paste, for sure.
The watering at 5 am continues. Fifer farm provides everything else that is canned :)

A high school friend's hubby found a job about 50 miles from my house.
Who knew that one day we would both be in Delaware.
Several days of entertaining and house looking. Life is good.

Weekly trips to see the "local" grands are pretty limited. I miss the babies.
Our trips to the pool have been few and the park is missing us.

Our old dog (13) continues to get older- having "opps a poopie" about once a week.
She can barely get up without help.
Dread is moving into my life.
We do not hang on to our dogs, submitting them to treatments while they are in pain.
As mean as it sounds as I write it down.

School shopping has begun.
My grandson will reenter public school this year
and his school turned over almost every intermediate teacher.
School shopping for me included a cool set of things for the teachers.
What a blast!

What are you doing with your summer? One more month!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Should our children care for us in our old age?

I have been reading lots of blogs that state that the writers are not interested in being a burden on their children near the end of their lives. They plan on living in independent style until they can be pried out of their homes. After that they see themselves in "stepped up care" (an upper middle class way of nursing homes).
My own mother has chosen this road. She lives in an independent care facility.  She is in her late 80's now and seems to be doing well. Except. She is not so keen on how many people die around her---all of the time.
She does not want to be dependent on any of us. She made that abundantly clear many years ago. We are lucky that my dad made sufficient funds as to make that possible for her. She lives, safely, in an upper middle class facility, with a large buy in, amongst people "like her".
is that really what we should be doing?
I know of no other peoples who place their elderly in facilities so they do not have to care or encounter them.
Think about it.
Yes, end of life nursing care, but not facilities that you enter in the end years and live with only the other elderly until you die.
One of my friends asked recently, "What about multi generational housing?"
"Oh no", says another friend, "you would be setting yourself up for abuse at the hands of a loved one."
There is no abuse at these facilities? (Not my mother's of course.)

Do we, as a society, accept that elderly are useless?
That they (we) are too much trouble
That they (we) have nothing to offer to the young except a check for the birthday.
That they (we) are too ugly to deal with because they (we) remind them that someday they will be old and needy sometime.
Is society setting 80% of the population up for failure?
About 20% can afford the independent living.
The other 80% will be hoping to be loved enough that someone will bring them soup when they are weak and tired. If they do not save enough (which is an astronomical sum if you are looking for a "good facility"), will they be ignored because, "they should have known better."
Are the elderly really a burden
whom the next generation sits and waits until they pass so that the money can be freed up?
Are they a burden, like children are burdens?
Oh wait---those people are put into care as well.....

Yup, it lays heavy on my heart.