Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SNAPCHAT Addiction

I've discovered the wonderful world of SNAPCHAT Filters.  Watch out world!



















Friday, March 03, 2017

Play

My sister Inklings blogged about what she played as a child.  I had already been thinking about that this week so decided to follow her lead.  I sort of feel like I could also talk about what I play as an adult, because honestly, I still like to play.  :)

My earliest memories of play revolve around our front yard.  I used to make mud pies on the driveway often.  I had a couple of friends in the neighborhood, so they would play with me.  Another thing I played is something that my husband teases me for.  I think he would like someone to analyze this.  We had a porch that was higher than the driveway.  So you had to climb steps to get up to the front door.  There was a railing around the porch.  I used to take my dolls and drop them from the railing.  Then I would run down to the driveway calling out, "Oh my baby, oh my baby!".  Then I would comfort the victim, and return to the porch to do it again.  Yea, I know, a little weird....  lol

I also remember that I loved to play with my sisters things.  They had an overnight case in the closet with Barbie dolls in it.  I often went in and played with them.  I don't know if my sisters always knew...

When I was about 6 years old we moved to Texas.  I didn't have any friends at first.  I started school and found out that one of the boys in my class lived just around the corner.  I started going over to his house to play with him.  But the only thing he ever wanted to do was try to build things out of wood.  He would get a hammer and nails and hammer scrap pieces of wood together.  This could be because his father was working with his sons to build a clubhouse in their back yard.  It turned out to be quite an elaborate clubhouse complete with a tunnel underneath that was used as an escape hatch.  So the boy, Alan, used to only want to hammer nails in to wood.  He had a younger sister that would come to see what we were doing.  He always told her to go away.  But frankly, she looked a lot more fun than him, so I told him I was going to play with her.  I never played with him again.  But at first I couldn't remember her name.  I would go to the front door and say, "Can "she" play?"  They would say, "Gail?"  I would say yes and play with her.  She was my best friend for most of elementary school.

Gail and I used to play Barbies more than anything else.  I had inherited my sisters' dolls and clothes.  Gail's family had more money than our family, so she had all new things.  But I do remember that she often tried to find ways to steal my doll clothes.  I always called her on it.

One thing we liked to do was pretend that we had boyfriends.  We each had a good boyfriend, and a bad boyfriend.  We used to watch an old TV show called "Alias Smith and Jones".  We both really liked the one actor and thought he was cute.  But Gail "called" him as her boyfriend first, so I was stuck with the other.  Now I can't remember which was Smith and which was Jones.  Then we each chose a name for our "bad" boyfriends.  She chose the name "Oreo".  I was kind of jealous because I thought that was a really great name.  I named mine "Earwax", but never really was satisfied with that name.  So we would pretend that the bad boyfriends would tie us to a tree or something, and then Smith and Jones would come rescue us.  We imagined all kinds of situations where the bad boyfriends would try to kidnap us or something, and the good boyfriends would rescue us.  Weird kids.

In our home in Texas, we had a porch that was screened in.   But with time, the screens kind of came away from the wood, so there were occasionally holes in the bottoms of the screens.  We used to play "store" there and would hand the goods in and out through the screen.  That was a favorite game.

I don't remember why exactly, but my brothers made a large wooden box.  Actually, it only had the top and sides, no bottom.  My mother wanted them to dig a hole in the yard for her to put an old freezer in to use as a potato cellar.  I think that was what the box was for.  Then one day my brothers found an injured owl.  They used the box to keep the owl until they could take it to a vet or rescue place.  Eventually they did dig the hole in the ground and even made dirt steps leading down in.  But we never did get the old freezer.  They put the box over the top of the hole.  For me, that was a perfect club house.  I used to spend a lot of time in there.  I also kept a box of "treasures" in there.

We had an alley that ran behind our house.  I often combed the alley for "treasures".  Like, maybe I would find a marble, or an old toy or something.  Once I met an old man who was coming out to the alley just as I passed.  He gave me a sack of shelled sunflower seeds.  He instructed me on how to soak them in salt water and bake them in the oven.  Nope, I just ate them plain.   One time I found a rocking chair that had one rung broken.  I took it home and showed my parents.  They actually went and had it fixed.  I was so happy they fixed my rocking chair, until they gave it to my brother when he got married....

My mother bought a large roll of paper.  I was allowed to use as much as I wanted.  I spent a lot of time making paper dolls, making and illustrating books etc.  That was the best toy they could have bought for me!

I really liked paper dolls.  We had a subscription to a church children's magazine called "The Friend".  Every month, "The Friend" included a paper doll.  I went through all of the back issues and took every paper doll I could find.  I spent many, many hours playing with those paper dolls.

My friends and I liked to play with Barbies, but we especially liked to make clothes.  Sometimes we would have contests to see who could make the best clothes.  I actually think I learned a lot about garment construction from that!  When I was 11, my parents gave me a Barbie doll house for Christmas.  Some people think that is too old to play with dolls, but I loved that doll house and played with it a lot.

My parents also got me some roller skates.  I skated quite a bit in our neighborhood.  For my birthday one year, they put new tires on the old bike my sisters had ridden.  They also put a big basket that had flowers on it.  I was kind of embarrassed about the flowers on the basket, but I was so happy to have a bike.  I learned to ride it and rode it to school often.  When my brother left for his mission to Mexico, he gave me permission to ride his bike while he was gone.  It was a ten speed.  I rode that all over town.

Now as an adult, my way of playing is usually to create.  I love using all kinds of mediums to create things.  Like, I might crochet something, or make greeting cards, or draw, or sew something.  I have a wonderful "studio" in the basement with a great desk.  I have a lot of rubber stamps, markers, etc.  When I need a "pick me up", I go down to my desk and putter.  :)  I have been thinking a lot about doing a "VLOG" about my studio area.  I watched one done by Mandy from "Sugar bee Crafts", and it inspired me.  So keep your eyes out for my first ever "VLOG" about my "creation station".  :)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Tolerance

Years ago I made friends with a woman whose son was in my son's grade school class.  Her son is disabled (cerebreal palsy).  Over the years, she and I, and even the son, became friends and had a lot of contact.  She went through a difficult divorce (I guess they are all difficult.), and I was a listening ear when times got tough.  She was a very different person from me, but we had a sort of spiritual connection.  I know this might sound weird, but I swear that months and months would go by without our talking,  then suddenly I would find myself thinking about her, and within a few days she would call me.  This happened over and over, even when she moved far away.  Her lifestyle was very different from mine.  She was a recovering alcoholic, I am an LDS non-drinker.  She lived with her boyfriend before marrying him.  I believe that one should be married to live with and have sex with a man.  She swears like a sailor, I abhor swearing.  I'm not saying all of this to say that I am superior, only to show how different we were.  Through it all, I remained supportive, and never once criticized or berrated her for her life choices.  I never told her how much I loathe swearing, or smoking.  I wanted to be a good friend, and allow her the freedom to live her life as she saw fit.  After I moved to China, we stopped talking on the phone.  (For obvious reasons). Even after I moved back to the States we never talked because we didn't have contact numbers anymore.  But eventually, to my surprise, we connected on Facebook.

After becoming Facebook friends, I noticed she posted many liberal memes.  I try not to post many political things, although I do "like" many political posts.  I did post something that she disagreed with.  Next thing I knew, she had unfriended me.  I was quite surprised because I thought we were close friends.  After a couple of months, I got another friend request from her.  I won't lie, I considered not accepting it.  I was still stinging from her unfriending, but mainly I had lost trust in her.  But I decided that I need to be tolerant and forgiving, so I accepted.

At first things were fine, although I remained guarded.  Then I noticed her posting highly offensive things.  I'm not just talking about anti-conservative things, these were sometimes explicit, and more often than not were founded on false news or half truths.  I wanted to preserve the friendship, so I just unfollowed her so that I wouldn't have to see the swearing and offensive falsehoods.  That seemed to work, and I felt things were going okay.

One day, out of the blue, she posted an offensive meme on my wall.  Then in the comment section, she posted some sort of explicit memes, and wrote things that I found distasteful and inappropriate.  I didn't want my friends exposed to them so I deleted the post.  She came back and posted in the comment section of a non-political post.  Once again, she posted very offensive things, and swore at me, and berrated my religion.  Somehow she tied my religion to my politics.  I deleted the explicit comments and replied that I felt we should keep politics out of our friendship.  She hurled more attacks at me, then unfriended me.

You might be tempted to say, "Well, she wasn't a good friend, was she?"  Well, she was initially.  To me, this is more about the current trend of anger and hate coming from the left.  They cry "tolerance and love", then turn around and spew intolerance and hate.  Never in my life have I seen a group so filled with hatred.  For those of you who are liberal, know that I don't paint you all with the same brush.  But there is a core majority that are raging.  It's the pure definition of inhumanity in my opinion.  The love of man has waxed cold.  If the left was truly tolerant, we would not be seeing rioting, or beatings of conservatives.  I can understand disagreeing about politics, but throwing away a friendship over it is shameful.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Making Christmas

I was remembering today the first Christmas I experienced in China.  We moved to Beijing in 1993.  At that time in China, Christmas wasn't really popular, so there weren't any decorations or Christmas music in public.  Now days you can find some decorations here and there.  But back then, it really was a foreign holiday, so it was hard to get in the Christmas spirit.  We had to work hard to make Christmas in our own home.

We lived in the "City Hotel", and at that time there was a florist shop just down the street.  Flowers were so inexpensive that I used to get a bouquet for my table almost every week.  I could have a beautiful bouquet of roses and other flowers for about $5 U.S.  One day when I went to get my weekly arrangement,  I happened to notice an artificial Christmas tree sitting in the middle of the room.  I quickly asked them how much it cost.  They told me that it would be about $15 U.S.  I told them I wanted to buy it.  I was so excited!  It was the only Christmas tree I had seen!

There was also a store not far away called "The Lufthansa Center".  Unlike most other stores in our neighborhood, it had souvenirs for sale.  One day while I was there, I happened to find Christmas ornaments for sale!  In China at that time, there were very rarely any Christian related products, but these ornaments had many!  There were embroidered angels, Mary and Jesus, Wise men etc.  I bought a whole bunch of them to use to decorate our tree.  I felt so lucky to have found them!

There was also a place near our hotel that focused on selling to foreigners.  I often went there to see what they had.  I was able to find embroidered Christmas stockings, tablecloths, and even a quilt.  I don't know if I can properly communicate how rare it was to find any Christmas decorations at all, and here I had hit the jackpot!

One thing that I have always tried to buy when I travel to other countries is a nativity.  I collect nativities, and decided it would be neat to get them from all over the world.  But at that time in China, I could not find one anywhere.  The embroidered ornaments would have to count.  But then one day my church visiting teacher came and brought me one of those Scandinavian Christmas candles.  It has different tiers with nativity figures on them, and a kind of windmill on top.  Candles are placed all around, and the heat causes the windmill to spin, which makes the nativity figures go round.  That is the only real nativity I brought home from China.

That was a great Christmas for us.  I don't think our presents were necessarily great, but we enjoyed having Christmas in our own home.   I still have most of those decorations now.  I brought them home and use them every year.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Tipping Point

The term "tipping point" has been going through my mind a lot this week.  Basically, I think there comes a time when you physically reach a tipping point, and things can go down hill very fast.  This last week I hurt my lower back.  Through this whole process of trying to heal it, I have learned that I let my health slide by for too long, and ended up getting hurt because of it.  I reached my tipping point.

I was in so much pain that I decided to go to the doctor.  He took an X-ray and told me that there isn't any kind of break or other damage.  But he did point out that I have some beginning arthritis.  He also pointed out some calcium deposits.  He sent me to a physical therapist.  I have to say that the therapy has been awesome!  It has really helped.  I wish I could have gone to them over the weekend when the pain was the worst.  I feel like I'm 90% healed now.  But what got me to this point?

The therapist also looked at the X-rays.  He said that I had a type of tendonitis, when the tendon in the back of the hip hardens.  I asked what could cause that.  He said either over use, or under use.  I assured him it was the latter.  While we were living in China, I just didn't get much activity.  The pollution was so bad that I didn't want to exercise outside.  I tried to do some indoor exercise, but honestly, that was really boring and just wasn't something that I enjoyed doing.  I did walk some, and did bike some, but not enough.  In combination with inactivity, I also started gaining weight.  That added to the tipping point.  See, when you gain weight and are inactive, then you get to a point where it's very difficult to exercise.  Because of my weight, my feet are bad.  Because of my inactivity, my muscles are weak and can't endure strenuous exercise.  The past two years I have had my mother living with me, and it has kind of tied me down.  But now I've had a wake up call and have decided that I have to take the time to get myself back over the other side of the tipping point and get stronger.

I have a neighbor who is kind of in the same position as me.  She has let her health go to far downhill.  She told me that what she really wanted to do was go to the recreation center and walk in the water.  I told her I would go with her!  But whenever I ask her what day she wants to go, she makes excuses for why she can't.  But this recent back problem convinced me I can't wait for anyone else, I need to get started now.   Thankfully, my son agreed to come with me the first time.  He has been quite inactive recently too, and I think was a little shocked at how out of shape he is.  But he has been a nice exercise companion.  I walk, and occasionally swim in the water.  He swims more than I do but occasionally walks with me.  Tonight we went for our second time.  They also have a hot tub, and that has helped my back too.

You know what I really like about this so far?  First of all, the pools are a good temperature, so it's not cold, even though outside winter is coming.  But after walking and swimming around for 45 minutes or so, my muscles feel so good!  And I have enjoyed spending the time with my son.  I'm going to keep this up because I have to.  I can't let myself go head long downhill again.  I have to check myself now, or I am going to be an invalid as an old person.  I can't wait until I get to the healthy, strong tipping point; the point where I begin to really get in good shape!

Monday, June 06, 2016

Dementiaville

Life has been a little rough lately.  Living in "Dementiaville" can be taxing.  Not only did my mother have a brain bleed back in February, but her dementia has greatly increased since then.  I think she might have had another small brain bleed a month or so ago.  Some days I listen to her say the same things 20 times.  Right now her preoccupation is 1) with going home, even if she has to walk the 250 miles to get there, and 2) wondering where her husband is.  No matter how many times I tell her that he died 3 years ago, she can't remember.  She is also obsessed with calling her parents to come get her.  If they were alive today, they would be about 110-115 years old. She is always surprised when
I tell her they died some 30+ years ago.

I have to admit that I often feel burnout.  Her reasoning ability is completely gone.  She can't follow even simple directions.  For example, her cane might be leaning against the wall, and I will say, "Grab your cane so we can go."  She reaches for her coat, "This?"  This exercise usually continues with her reaching for every other item nearby until I come close and point to her cane.

Today I had a flasback to an MRI I had once.  They strapped me in so that I couldn't move my arms.  As I entered the tube like machine, I started to feel a little claustrophobic.  I had to take my mind to a different place.  I had to do two passes that lasted 15 minutes each.  There was nothing I could do but wait it out, and try to think about something else.  Sometimes that's how I feel now.  I feel like I just have to grit my teeth and bear the dementia craziness until things change.  I can try to find distractions for my mind, but I just have to live through it.  And sometimes I remind myself that eventually it will get much worse as things progress.  But like the MRI, I just have to tough it out.

I know it's my mother, but in some ways it's not.  Sometimes I feel more like the parent.  In some ways her personality is still there, but in many ways this is a very different person.  So it's not really like I can enjoy being with my Mom.  This is the scrambled eggs version of her.

So for now I will just try to take my mind to another place the twenty fifth time she asks me how far it is to her home, or scurries over to wash my dishes by rubbing them in her hands under cold water, or puts away the clean dishes in places I would never imagine.  I will continue to make sure her hair gets washed when she showers, and that she brushes her teeth. (After I find where she tucked away her toothbrush). I will make sure she doesn't put back on her dirty clothes after she showers, and I will try to make sure she doesn't fill her cereal bowl with cornchips she finds in a bag on on the counter.  I hope that somehow I'm building Karma, because I will probably follow in her footsteps.


Monday, April 04, 2016

Lessons in Humanity

I was at DI (church thrift store) and found myself in an aisle with a strange looking man.  He looked like someone who had lost several hundred pounds.  His legs and feet were still quite large, but the rest of him looked like he had lost weight after being morbidly obese.  He was wearing a knitted cap, and looked disheveled.  As I got nearer to him, I noticed a very strong odor coming from him.  It was over powering!  I tried to lag behind him aways so that I would be out of reach of the stench, but even 4 or 5 feet away was not enough.  I finally had to leave the aisle and go elsewhere.

After I left the aisle, I told my mother that I couldn't stand the smell.   But then  I felt bad for this man, and felt bad for turning away from him.   I decided that I was going to try to find a way to reach out to him in some small way.  While my brother and his wife were checking out, I went to put my cart back and noticed that man sitting on a bench at the front of the store.  I think he was resting.  He had seemed to have trouble walking.  I looked at him and smiled and said something about how sometimes we need a rest.  He just looked at me and smiled.  I wonder if anyone else had even spoken to him that day.

Don't think that I feel magnanimous because of this.  I feel bad that I let the physical things get in the way of seeing this man as a child of God.  I am used to working with those who are mentally disabled, but I haven't really had much contact with the homeless; which I think he was.  I feel like this man helped me to learn a lesson that day.  I hope I can remember him next time I'm in a similar situation.