Indigenous People’s Day

In 1992 San Francisco city council agreed to celebrate the Native American indigenous people by declaring the 2nd Monday of October Indigenous People’s Day.  Many hoped that by changing the focus of this holiday to the true Americans would help dispel the myths taught in this country surrounding Christopher Columbus and the “founding of the Americas.”  Read up.  The truths may surprise you!


Day 2 – I did not know that!

Who would have thought that the world’s largest corn maze is in Spring Grove, Illinois.  Not Iowa, Michigan or Indiana. Illinois! Richardson’s Farm turns 33 acres into 4 fantastic mazes.


Day One – I did not know!

I’ve always had a pretty high pain tolerance and a little goes a long way for me.  I’m probably the only person alive who can’t take an an antihistamine for a head cold without sleeping for two days.  And “non-drowsey?”  Forget that.  I take a non-drowsey an I’m awake for two days.  Sigh!  So, had a little surgery yesterday and was sent home with some meds to help keep the pain under control. Can’t believe that in all my years and all my surgeries, I did not know that Percocet is actually oxycodone.  Not taking that one for sure!  I’lll be out for a week!  LOL! But keep in mind that if you see a little goofy posting . . . it’s the meds! 🙂


People are most often valued by what they know.  As toddlers, we are praised for knowing our ABCs, our numbers, our colors, our shapes.  In school we take tests to prove what we know and if we know enough we might receive a scholarship to our college of choice.  At work we are given raises and promoted based on what we know.  In conversations, we are most comfortable expounding on those things we know about.  And it seems that the ones who know the most win! 

For the next couple of weeks, while at home recovering from surgery, I am going to try to write a little something every day.  But not about something I know.  I intend to write about something I did NOT know.  So look out and prepare to be amazed by the many things that I don’t know.


times_square_nyeAnother year behind me; another year ahead of me. I had a great Christmas with family and friends and my little brother came to visit for the first time since Mom passed. We went to Indiana and visited our other brother, so it was like a reunion of sorts. Lots of laughter, a few tears and time to just relax! We all needed that!

Bronchitis prevented me from going to our annual New Year’s Eve party at the Greene’s, and I missed everyone so much. The same group of 4 or 5 families gather and eat, drink and play board games until we rush to the living room in time to watch the ball drop as Dick Clark narrates the ringing in of the new year. Many years ago we also started the tradition of setting goals, hopes, wishes or dreams rather than resolutions. Although the exercise can be quite private, I always struggle with what to put on my little 3 x 5 card. Lose weight, be more patient at work, love my husband more every day, submit one writing per month for potential publication, do more charity work, pray – you get the drift. We then put them in a sealed envelope and open them at the next year’s New Year’s Eve gathering. It’s always interesting to hear everyone’s accomplishments and struggles and know you will only get support from those gathered at the table. But this year I was ready! I spent our entire drive home from Indiana thinking about 2012 and what we accomplished and what we did not. I looked back on my home, my job and my family and thought about what changes I need to make in order to live the way I believe God wants me to live. I contemplated the past year and the many things we did.  We remodled the kitchen without going into debt, we got new carpeting, we fixed the fireplace and chimney, we camped with family, we  went to football games, band concerts and  had awesome Grandma and Grandpa days for the grandkids’ birthdays.  I finshed two classes and an internship.  Scott settled into his new job and loves it.  We flew Alek and Austin home for a week and took them to a U of  M game.   We started making a little money in our 401k.  So all-in-all, life is good.  But something continued to gnaw at me.  There is something missing in my life and it took nearly the entire drive to put my finger on it. 

Jokingly, for years, I’ve been told I take things way too seriously, that I spend my time taking care of so many other people that I rarely take care of myself.  When asked about what I love to do for fun, I have a hard time answering.  So this year, when the Greene’s said bronchitis or not, I can’t get out of updating my envelope, my 3 x 5 card will only say one thing:


Help! My Life is Killing Me!

Over the years, I’ve tried to keep up on the latest and greatest in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prolong the inevitable demise of my being. Coffee is good for you . . . coffee is bad for you . . . eggs are bad for you . . . eggs are good for you . . . exercise 20 per day, 3 times per week . . . 20 minutes does nothing – you must exercise at least 30 minutes and at a heart rate of at least . . . running is good for you . . . walking is better. You name it and at one time or another over my 50+ years, the same things have been both good and bad for me and have either lead to a healthier life or contributed to the shortening of it. I’ve dieted and I’ve not dieted. I’ve trained for races and I’ve lifted weights. I’ve gotten an inhaler to help me breathe, while trying to ignore the pain in my foot and knee with every stride. I’ve taken spin classes, wiggled to Zumba and attempted step aerobics. I’ve gained weight and I’ve lost weight. I’ve had organs removed and had body parts altered – due to malfunction not to enhance myself in any way. I ride my bike and I kayak. I do yoga once a week to try to relax and do wall pushups in my office. Whew! It’s just hard to keep track of it all. Yet every where I turn, I am told I am not good enough the way that I am and that I need to do more and try something new.

All of my life I’ve eaten healthy (well, except for those few years when I ingested an 8 pack of Coke per day in order to work 2 jobs to provide for my family). I did smoke for a very short time, but quit when the Attorney General came out and said it would kill me and then raised the price to 50 cents per pack. I avoid fried food. I eat local meat and produce and try to stick to organics. I read labels and omit items from my grocery list that contain chemicals and hormones. I only consume 1.5 alcoholic beverages every other week because although I always want one more drink, I know that I should only have half. I only eat healthy carbohydrates. My blood pressure is considered “low normal” and my cholesterol is way below recommended levels. Because of this, I am not considered to be an “average American.”

I admit, the numbers on the scale make me mad. I weigh myself in the middle of the night because that’s when I weigh the least. I weigh more than I want to and more than is recommended by whatever agency sets the standards that label me as unacceptable. So
I spend time every day measuring, analyzing and plugging in every food that I put in my mouth through MyFitnessPal and track every step I take using MapMyWalk, MapMyRun, or MapMyRide. I count the glasses of water I drink and take one 81 mg aspirin each day – just in case.

I continue to take college courses and am currently seeking an additional degree because I’m “under-educated,” yet have hit the ceiling in my career. I do not get merit or cost of living raises and if my employer does not determine that I am no longer “cost effective”. I hope to retire in 4 years.

But mostly I wonder why I don’t sleep well at night and why I feel tired and run down. The magazines tell me I need to lose weight, exercise more, run barefoot, increase my intervals, get a new hairstyle, consider colonics and read “50 Shades of Gray.” My Facebook “friends” tell me they love me just the way I am, and my grandkids think I’m the absolute best grandma EVER! And although my husband supports me every time I say “Hey, I have an idea!”, he mostly just shakes his head and turns the TV on to watch the latest episode of whatever happens to be on the Discovery Channel. But if anyone out there has any ideas that will help me continue to prolong the inevitable, AND will allow me to finally sleep through the night, let me know! I think I still have 15 minutes left in each day to get me on the right path!

Reinventing Me

In one of my required classes for this degree, I was forced to jump into the 21st century and open Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.  I did so kicking and screaming.  I come from the era of “Big Brother Is Watching You” and have often protested along side my friends to draw attention to various violations of our constitutional rights – particularly to rights of privacy.  I’ve been stalked, had my identity stolen through mail fraud and have been the victim of a violent crime.  And now I have to provide personal information to the world over the internet?  It really does go against many of my personal convictions.  But, as I said, it IS the 21st century, and I must embrace change as much as I possibly can. 

In an article recently assigned in my internship class, I was quite surprised to learn that in the age of extreme unemployment and in a time when more than 600,000,000 people engage in social media communication, I am now considered a “brand” rather than a person. Being an exemplary student and a loyal, experienced, hard worker is no longer enough.  And “. . . being competitive on the job market means not just having skills, but working hard to compete for jobs available by doing research and creating good applications.  . . . looking for a job is a job in itself!”  I discovered that if I am to succeed, I must develop a “brand statement” and potentially pay to advertise myself like I am one of Procter and Gamble’s 44 Tide products; and like Tide, I must now be “New and Improved” or dispense myself in a way that my competitors have not yet thought of.  For people like me, this is a challenge, and I’m afraid I feel more discouraged than ever before.

If I put the years I attended various schools, or the dates and numbers of jobs I’ve held since becoming an adult on my resume, a simple mathematical calculation will divulge that I may only have a few years left to serve any potential employer.  If I create a video resume, I will also be immediately “outed” as a senior citizen.  And utilizing various social media tools and unlocking privacy settings not only exposes personal information about myself, but also creates a risk of exposure for my children and grandchildren to stalkers and predators, hackers and spammers. I must admit that I am a bit fearful of the entire process.

But to change direction here and look at my job search with a bit of optimism, I already use elements of Facebook that meld nicely with many of the “secrets” listed by Schwabel.  I “like” many organizations that mirror my interests.  I find out what businesses and similarly-minded people are doing through my newsfeed.  I subscribe to blogs for grant writers, PR professionals and litigation support organizations and follow other writers through Twitter.  And, as a result of this class assignment, I have added information to my LinkedIn profile.  So, maybe I’ll have a chance? 

As a non-traditional student, I will potentially graduate in 2016 – the same year I am eligible to retire from my current employer.  But if I succeed along my path as a professional writer, I will have already established myself as a free lance grant writer and will be helping small non-profits secure funds through various government and private foundations.  As for the job search tools described in the assigned articles?  I have certainly learned new ways to approach my career change with a personal branding campaign that may help me achieve that goal.  Wish me luck!