Sunday, April 19, 2020

Raising the Collective Well Being

I was having a conversation with an acquaintance last week about some topics that are usually politically divisive, and highly controversial. Most people think they know the answer and they have no shortage of opinions on these matters.

I am obviously not above this. I have ideas and opinions about social programs designed to help those less fortunate, just like anyone else. I can be quite passionate about those ideas and opinions, as well. Usually, though when I am speaking to someone in person I do a lot of listening, more than talking. I might interject a few questions, or thoughts, but mostly I listen. It's not often that I've ever heard the extreme opinions voiced in person as I have online. It's almost never,  especially if the person speaking isn't sure what the listener's stance is. They will kind of dance around, and be more cautious with the generalized terms and blanket statements. That tells me that they know the difference between what they say when in their own company and what they know is true.

The internet has changed the way we communicate. It allows us instant connections to anyone and everyone all the time. It isn't the same as reading a newspaper article 30 years ago and thinking about how you might feel about it and then maybe, discussing it with a family member or acquaintance who, chances are is more aligned to your own culture and beliefs than not. We weren't faced with wildly opposing opinions and ideas on a daily,  maybe even hourly basis. This was not necessarily a good thing. It was just the way it was. Exposure to other cultures and beliefs was minimal. Group think was also a tool for survival, because being a part of a social group meant having support. Even if you didn't agree with or like certain activities a person might still participate in order to remain intact to their immediate social group.

An example of that would be my late grandmother in law who told me that she used to attend coffee time with all the other ladies in their neighborhood as they gathered to watch soap operas. She abhorred soaps, but to turn down the invite would be rude. She'd be left out of the circle and being left out of the circle came with consequences. All the men in the neighborhood worked long days and sometimes weeks on oil rigs. There were long stretches of time that these ladies would be on their own, and sometimes without enough money to get by until their husbands returned. Camaraderie in this situation would prove to be in everyone's best interest. They would frequently get together to share food to make meals out of what could be be gathered from everyone's kitchen, as well as help each other with child minding, ect... My grandmother in law would proudly state that no one ever went hungry. They all came together to help each other in times of need. They saw the benefit of cooperation and the understanding that all is one and one is all.

I'm not about to say that I am in deep friendship and cooperation with my neighbors. I don't know any of them and they don't know me and we have always found that to be good enough. It's a shame, as I think about the way things were years ago and I wonder how that felt. So many of us are more connected than ever, but reporting to be more lonely than ever, too. I would never discount internet friendships, or the many wonderful ways social media has brought people together, and made positive differences for all of us. It's just that somehow I feel we are further away than we ever used to be from in person, supportive social circles that also have a positive impact on daily lives. As introverted as I am, I can't help but sometimes envy that closeness, that support, and that feeling of belonging that my grandmother in law must've felt sixty some years ago.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Homeschooling Through the Quarantine

As I sit here on this unusually warm spring night with the window open in my sitting room and a candle flickering nearby I feel the air's heavy humidity as I type this. What I notice is how uncharacteristically quiet it is. The outside carries no noise through my open window. Not a car engine, or music from a neighbor working in their garage. Silence. Eerie, eerie silence.

I felt the same as I entered the grocery store last night and many aisles were empty. People shuffled by quickly, apologetically as they tried to fill their carts with what was left. Heaviness seemed to hang in the air. The few children I did see were sullen looking. Everyone seemed to be much more somber than usual.

I suspect that this feeling of panic, fear, and uncertainty will continue for some time into the future as the Covid19 virus keeps us all under orders of social distancing. Many people can't work. Others have to work more, harder and in the most exposed situations. Many states have closed school districts for at least a month. Ours is for the rest of the year. Leaving many parents to scramble for childcare and schooling for their children.       

If you are one of the parents that are fretting over having your kids at home all day for weeks, or even months it's going to be okay. If you don't have any idea how to homeschool your children and feel a sense of urgency to begin right away, slow down. Hold on and get your bearings first.

I've homeschooled, unschooled and sent my kids to public school. There's more than one way to homeschool, for sure. There's tons of combinations that will, or can work for you and your child(ren).

We're all different. Some of us learn better with structure, some of us like to freestyle and others like some structure, but with independence. Kids are the same way. We have strengths and weaknesses and the strengths can really be capitalized during homeschooling, because of the flexibility towards individual needs. Just like we all find different types of jobs more interesting and doable, our kids find learning to be much the same way.

In the beginning most people that opt to homeschool (without being forced) often ease their way into it. I can't think of any better of a time than now that this would apply. Our world has been shook up a bit and so many things are uncertain to adults and kids alike. I would recommend starting off with a loose schooling schedule that is very basic and non-time consuming, especially

Monday, October 21, 2019

Freestyle Ramble

It's getting to be be the latter part of October. The leaves are beginning to fall quickly from the trees and the colors are changing from olive greens to yellows and some rusty reds. In Kansas it's not always predictable what type of fall you'll get. Sometimes it might get too cold too quickly causing the leaves to fall from the trees before turning many colors at all, or other times there can be spectacular bursts of cascading colors that lasts into November.

Much like our fall my physical health is this way, especially this time of the year. Unpredictable. A few years ago when the migraines began to take hold I noticed that in fall they would get noticeably worse more years than not. I am kind of waiting to see how this one pans out. So far not much of a change in the norm of how it's been. I was finally able to see a specialist, so maybe a solution, or at least an improvement in the severity is on the horizon? Fingers crossed.

Tomorrow is Bubby's last IEP meeting. Yes. Last. He will graduate high school in May. He will turn 18 in about 2 weeks.

I will let that sink in for a second for long time readers. 😂

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Building Happiness

About two weeks ago my family and I went on a four day vacation into the scenic mountains of Colorado and forests of New Mexico. It had been about 16 long years since we had taken a real vacation, which pretty much meant ever for the boys and only once for hubby and I.

We took long drives through the most curvy roads and gorgeous views. There was no itinerary and nowhere in particular to be. There were stops in overnight cabins in the woods, cafe lunches and parks to see, trails to walk if we came across some and wanted to peruse them at the time. It was quiet, peaceful and uncrowded. Just the way I like it.

We did stop to see some friends as we traveled. One of those friends was from my husband's childhood. We hadn't seen him in 22 years or more. He'd been staying with us and then left for Colorado, and that was that. Twenty-two years and now we're all gray. I'm not sure how that happened. It didn't feel like it was that long ago. One day I'm 18 and trying to get by and the next somehow I'm 40.

The in between years were not exactly filled with joy and peace. Those were years of struggling. Of course, don't get me wrong, there were happy moments, but there were also many of turmoil, pain and healing. So much confusion from my own perspective of not knowing I was autistic, and having such a dysfunctional family always interfering with everything I did. It was like a black cloud that followed me everywhere and sabotaged all that I did. I had to recognize and break free from that, which then required healing. My husband has had some similar issues.

I am always looking for that extra piece of the puzzle, or clue on ways to be happier. How can I improve my life? Sometimes I'll get this small, little clue that will cross my path that will be too obscure to put into words. It will be more of a feeling or a gist than an action. Like one time I had to go to the hospital for a routine surgery and the way the staff interacted was a specific kind of way. I can't say it, or explain it, but I felt it and it was very positive and it clicked something inside of my brain that helped me to relate to others in that manner, too. I cannot explain it, but it changed my perception of life, and my attitude.

But, this is something a tad more explainable. Being away, in such beautiful scenery, and then that final click inside of my brain was when I saw a physical representation of time. My brain went, "Wait. Stop everything." I had to fully comprehend this. I just can't handle another 22 years in Kansas. Ugh. I don't like it here. I spent the first 35 years of my life struggling and healing from so much. Look how quickly time can go by. Can I stand another 22 in a place I don't like?  What if we were able to enjoy that kind of nature all the time, or at least lived close enough to it to enjoy some of the time?

I don't know. It was an awakening to something. It was a whisper of an answer to that restless feeling

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Authenticating My Look- Which Type Are You?

One of the goals that I recall having the year before last was to get more (or back) into fashion. I don't follow a lot of new trends, or wear a lot of makeup. However, I have always liked looking nice, though. Chic, maybe? I have always liked building a wardrobe that serves as an extension of who I am, my particular style,  my flavor. I see it as not a way of buying certain brands, fitting in and being trendy, but as an art form of self-expression. I've never particularly cared much for what was "in style" as much as what made me feel good when I wore it.

Confidence is important. When we feel good in what we're wearing we tend to shine a little brighter from the inside. It's why I always feel a little sad when I hear ladies say that they're waiting to lose weight to buy some new clothes. No. Go get a few pieces that make you feel wonderful NOW. Boost that confidence. Let yourself glow now and the better you feel the better you'll find you'll do at everything you truly want to do. When you're feeling good you'll feel like doing better, because you'll feel  like your value has been raised. It's a silly trick, but it works for most.

In my quest for building a basic wardrobe that I really liked I kept running into a few snags. One of them was that I would buy some pieces and get them home, and find them to be not very flattering on me. I would know that they go together. I do understand basic fashion rules, so it wasn't that I was not picking out the right outfits to match. They were also not too big, or small. I loved the style, but something was just.... not right.

I knew about all the tips and tricks for pear, apple and whatever shapes. These were not helping. I still found that my ability to determine whether an outfit was going to look decent on me was going to be a hit or miss. Sometimes it wasn't that noticeable until I was in a mirror from far away,  or at another angle besides one that was directly in front of me, or perhaps I saw myself in a picture.

Then I happened across some videos on YouTube about the David Kibbe body typing system. It was totally different than any of the other kinds before. All of the others were so basic compared to Kibbe's system. They relied on a couple of questions that predominately were based on flaws of the body and how to cover them up.' If you have an X shaped body wear this to balance it out and bring the eye to here' sort of thing. Up until this point it treated the female form as a punishment of curves and lines to balance and correct. Kibbe was way before his time as his book debuted in the late 80's,  I think it was. He sees the human body with an artist's eye. Very unique, he has 13 types that begin at Yin and stop at Yang. They are based on bone structure and how the flesh sits on the bones. (I will share a quiz at the end of this post, so you can see which one you are.)