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Friday, January 28, 2011

I Miss My Patio

As I was shoveling the snow off my back deck this afternoon when I got home from work my mind was wandering. Warm sunshine, green leaves, butterflies, a comfy glider were the things I was thinking about. When the weather turns warmer these are the things I enjoy after work along with either a cup of coffee or glass of iced tea. There on my patio is where I transition from work me to home me. Shoveling snow doesn’t do it quite as well. I miss my patio. In the winter it is covered with snow, there are no flowers or leaves, no butterflies, no glider to relax on. I can’t even sit on the small retaining wall at the edge because it’s buried beneath the frozen white.

My warm weather life revolves around the patio. In the corner where the forsythia hangs a bit low is where I hang a spinner for Hillary to enjoy. She so loves to look at the leaves fluttering in the breeze while the shiny spinner reacts to the moving air. In the spring before the leaves appear it is a nice sunny spot to enjoy some air after a day spent inside. Once the buds open up and the air is warmer the same spot is shady until nearly dinner time. It is such a pleasant spot to be. When Anna was in high school it is where we met once she was home to talk about her day, her worries, or simply to sit side by side on the glider sipping something cold, eating pretzels and reading. When Bruce gets home from work he joins us, relaxing in the Adirondack chair for a bit before going inside to watch the news.

The patio symbolizes a more relaxing rhythm of days, there is just as much to be done yet time seems to be moving at a slower, much easier pace. It means salads and lighting the grill to cook an easy dinner, open windows, curtains fluttering in the afternoon breeze, and waiting to see if the hummingbirds will visit the flowers in the hanging baskets. It is currently snowing again, however, so I’ll have to content myself with watching the winter birds and squirrels at the bird feeder through the window, my favorite blanket, and endless cups of tea. I really miss my patio.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I've learned that :

wheelchairs don't go well in snowy parking lots.
people can make a really big deal out of nothing.
many people don't know how to deal with life when there is nobody else to blame.
most of those pointing at someone else are really just trying to stop people from paying attention to them.
sometimes you get what you want.
sometimes you get what you need.
sometimes you get what you get.
cookies' calories increase when used to dull worries.
a pot of soup can be stretched to feed many people multiple days.
I don't like to share chocolates.
chicken nuggets are heavenly dipped in nacho cheese sauce.
a bowl of cereal is a lovely way to end the day.
a cold cloth on the head soothes a headache nicely.
much reality tv does not resemble reality, & none of it resembles my life.
sometimes I don't know when to stop

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year, New View

The new year gives us a chance to look at our lives from a new point of view. We are, of course, free at any time to view things differently. A brand new calendar just gives us an easy starting point. With this in mind I try to look at all that I must do daily with an alternate perspective, and examine a bit my motivations for the choices I make.

The biggest part of my days are spent caring for Hillary, both physically and mentally. One of my main goals for her has always been to give her the best quality, most meaningful life I can for as long as she is with us. I’ve always felt that it was my job to help her live in our world because we cannot live in hers. What if this year I tried to get others to visit her world instead? Maybe that’s a more appropriate goal now. There are laws and policies in place to ensure that she has the opportunity to participate in our world to the extent that her abilities allow, and that’s good. I think that the next logical step is to invite others to visit her world for a while, so they can gain an understanding of how to further include her in the world at large. Isn’t it similar to visiting another culture? How can we understand what another way of life is like if we don’t visit that world? I see it happening in her classroom with the Best Buddies club. Non disabled peers visit the classroom as well as hosting different events after school hours. When all are able to participate in activities that they all enjoy it fosters a level of understanding that reading or talking about inclusion doesn’t come close to. When people with differing abilities can work together, everyone grows a little. Someone without disabilities can look to the peer who has disabilities and see determination to achieve that they may not see or pay attention to in their peers who have no challenges. The person who has disabilities can feel accepted, and try to model the peer’s positive behavior.

The question then is how am I going to do this? I can start, perhaps, by seeking places where there are opportunities for some one on one time with new people. We do take Hillary out quite a bit, but perhaps I can look for new places to go. I can also try inviting more people to our home to spend some time with Hillary. This will be an exciting opportunity for both Hillary and I to broaden our horizons and expand our connections. Good goals for the new year.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Bad Hair Life

I wanted to write something about the new year for my first blog post of 2011, but all I can think about is my hair, and I’ve come to a conclusion. I’m having a bad hair life. I know, most people just have the occasional bad hair day, but I seem to find that I have occasional GOOD hair days among the nearly constant bad hair days, and yes, I know that there are those with no hair who would love to have these problems. This thought stream got me to wondering how I ended up having a bad hair life.

As far back as I can remember, my hair has been the focus of conversation. I recall relatives commenting on the thickness of my hair when I was quite young. My mother gave me a home perm a few times a year. I slept in curlers for a good part of my childhood, and I can vividly recall spending time under a home hair dryer before blow dryers were widely available. My mother used to clean a beauty salon in town in exchange for getting her hair done weekly and I went with her many times. The owner very kindly allowed me to try on the wigs displayed in the window. What fun that was! My favorite was a very long platinum blonde wig. Which is ironic because if I stopped coloring my hair now it would be about the same color except it’d be called gray. Of course, my hair isn’t long either. But I digress. I loved my first blow-dryer, the “maxi”. I remember the ad in a teen magazine for it that I saw: 2 pictures of the same model, one with her hair a wet wild mess, the second with her hair beautifully styled with the caption “8:00 wet & wild, 8:07 dry & styled!” Somehow, no matter how hard I tried I never quite achieved that whole 7 minute dry & styled thing. Dry, yes, but not in 7 minutes, and as for styled? Well, thankfully they also had curling irons on the market at the same time because I needed one of them along with lots of hairspray. I even let my mother talk me into a “pixie” cut one year. Well, at least I blended in with my brothers--except of course for the girl’s clothes! Note to self: a pixie cut does not look like such if your hair is not stick straight and thin. Thick, wavy, coarse hair is not a good thing with a super short cut. At least I wasn’t getting home perms any more by that time. Next came the “pageboy” cut. That actually didn’t look that bad but oh boy was it a lot of work to get it to look right. It was at this stage that having “Farrah” hair was the rage. Thank the Lord that I was old enough to realize that I was not ever going to have that hair!
Once I became a young adult, I took to getting perms again, only this time I went to a salon. I loved the freedom of wash ‘n’ go hair that a perm gave me, but my hair grows very fast so it was really only easy for about 4 weeks or so. Then I was back to the whole hair dryer/curling iron routine every morning. I continued fluctuating between a non-permed pageboy and permed layered freedom for a few years, until my second child came along. When she was about 9 months old I marched into a salon and asked the girl to give me a very short cut. She questioned me a lot before she took the scissors to my hair, but she finally obliged. At least now it was quicker to style, but until that point I hadn’t realized how much gray was mixed into the brown. A new chapter was about to begin. Hair dye.

It was an incident at church that precipitated my enslavement to the color bottle. I was sitting in the pew after the service with my baby in my arms and my preschooler next to me waiting for my husband, who had sung with the choir, when the older woman who had been sitting in front of me turned and said, “Your grandchildren are very well behaved.” Need I explain further? Since then I have done everything from keeping my natural color going to being blonde. One thing I haven’t done is stop coloring. For some reason, it is more socially acceptable to walk around with a bad dye job and/or white roots than it is to be gray. About a year ago I mentioned to a few friends that I was tired of coloring my hair and wondered if I should just go ahead and go gray? Shock and dismay is the only way I can describe the reactions I got.

So, I shall continue fighting with my hair, blowing, coating, and spraying it into submission daily. Welcome to my bad hair life, and happy New Year. Have a great 2011!