Posted by: sue2 | March 22, 2008

Trying A New Cure, And Gagging All The Way

     I have a cyber friend that some of you may know, Mariana is her name. She is bright, brilliant and absolutely the most vibrant person I have ever met. Her positive outlook on life is something to envy. She is older than I am (and that isn’t young) and takes no medicine, has no ailments and feels great every day she says. Her secret? Blackstrap molasses. She told me a few months ago that I needed to take a spoonful of the dark, sticky gunk every day and it would cure my headaches and a multitude of other things. I finally found a store that sold it, and today I had my first tablespoon of the stuff.

     My dad used to eat blackstrap molasses mixed with butter, on toast. He loves it. I had tried it that way, and I remembered it as being somewhat tasty, but who needs the calories from the butter? So, first I tried stirring it into a cup of tea, which immediately turned coal black and made me gag. It went down the drain. I decided just to “bite the bullet” and just swallow a spoonful. Bleck…I’m still chilling at the thought of it. I want better digestion, more energy, less headaches, no acne…well, okay, I don’t have acne anyway…but, it does cure it. I have to find a way to swallow this stuff.  I think tomorrow I’ll try it with peanut butter on toast, can’t wait.

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     I saw a commercial today for a PBS program called African American Lives 2. It looked interesting, but I really had no intention of watching it. I rarely watch anything on PBS. Tonight, as I was channel surfing, it just happened to be coming on. I decided that maybe it was meant to be.

     My background concerning the African American community is minimal. I grew up with only 1 black friend, and truthfully he lived a “white life” in order to fit in to an all white school. In college, I met a few black women in my dorm and we were friendly, but ran in different crowds. I certainly remember the days of race riots and Martin Luther King, but in truth my interest in the black community wasn’t negative or positive, it just didn’t exist. It had nothing to do with lack of concern, it was all about lack of opportunity.

     This is the second year for the PBS series by Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. He uses the series to create an in depth look into the lives of notable black Americans. He traces their ancestry as far back as he can find, and then presents what he has found to the people on the show. This season he works with Chris Rock, Tina Turner, Maya Angelou, Tom Joyner, Peter Gomes, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Don Cheadle and Bliss Broyard. He also selected one non-famous person from a huge list of entries.

     I found it fascinating as he traced the families back to the days of slavery. He found answers to questions that these people and their families have asked for over 100 years. Chris Rock found out that his ancestor was actually an elected official. He said if he’d known, it would have changed his life. He would have felt as a young person, that he could actually “be something.” Tina Turner found that her ancestors had actually sold the land to build a school for black children. She had eventually attended the school. The show weaves a story for each family, and in every case there are twists, some good and some bad, that really affect the person hearing the details. It also really gives those of us who only thought about slavery as something we studied in school a reality check. It wasn’t really that long ago that life was very different for a huge segment of our population. It also made me appreciate even more than I already did, regardless of how I decided to vote, how amazing it is to live in a time where a black man is running for President of the United States. If you get a chance, watch this program, you won’t be sorry.

Posted by: sue2 | January 30, 2008

How Quickly We Forget!

     The phone rang at about 9:00 p.m. last night. It was my sister, “what are you doing”? The one thing I know about my sister, is that when she starts a conversation with that question…she wants something. She told me that my niece who attends Eastern Illinois University (about 40 miles from here) had a 104 degree fever, and they were going to have to go take her to the emergency room and then bring her home. This was going to leave my 11-year-old niece with no where to go. So, I became “mom for a night.”

     We picked her up and while she finished her homework, I put sheets on the guestroom bed. We then began to discuss how we were suppose to handle lunch. She said she usually took a sandwich, fruit and a little jell-o. Little jell-o? In my house? I could do a sandwich, and my mom had just sent me a big box of oranges from Florida, we don’t have any of those “pack a lunch things” here anymore. She opted for carrot sticks. Of course as I put the whole thing together, she laughed as I put a handful of baby carrots into the gallon size Ziploc bag. Sandwich bags…who needs them? We eat lunch at home.

     This morning provided another challenge. Cereal choices for an 11-year-old don’t usually include Special K, Kashi and Bran Flakes. We are old people…we eat old cereal. We don’t have cute little frozen pancakes with chocolate chips. We eat toast or cereal. The next mini-crisis was a hair tie. She forgot her hairbrush (that I could do) and her hair tie. Thankfully, my daughter still had a drawer full of girly things in her bathroom and the problem was solved without too much panic. Homework, check. Lunch, check. Milk money, check. Get to school by 7:45, check. Being an aunt…fun! Having an empty nest…fabulous!

Posted by: sue2 | January 25, 2008

The Things We Do For Our Children

     My daughter is brave, most of the time. From the time she started grade school she has always been a leader. By junior high she was representing her school at various events, in high school she was a leadership camp counselor. We have watched her give a Valedictorian speech to a gym full of people, star in plays, perform with the college choir and create a business plan in college that was so good she was asked to move to Japan after graduation to actually create the company. She wouldn’t consider that because her dream, as many of you know, was to work for Disney.

     In May, less than 24 hours after graduation she moved to Orlando to do just that. After graduating with high honors she was willing to be a custodian at WDW to get her foot in the door (her mother would never have been that brave) and she has since been promoted. Living in small town Illinois, she had never even driven on an interstate before her move, she now tools around in Orlando, FL which is a traffic nightmare. She moved alone, with no friends and no family as a security blanket. She lives with 2 roommates, only one of which she had ever met before-and, lets just say they are not all friends. The bills get paid, and the other two (a couple) are rude, dirty and bossy to her…and she takes it because she needs them to pay part of the rent.

     The past two days, my very brave daughter has had no cell phone. Tuesday her phone was on its last legs, and Verizon told her she wasn’t eligible to get a new one until February 21. We mailed her an old phone on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning she sent me an email that her phone had completely fallen apart and I added IM to my laptop so we could talk to each other. Thursday morning she emailed and said that she had been awake all night Wednesday hyperventilating because she was “isolated from the world” without her phone. Yesterday the phone we mailed arrived, and I tried to activate it for her (the account is in my name) with a lovely Verizon operator. The operator (in Wisconsin) was talking to me (in Illinois) while I sent IM messages to my daughter (in Florida) telling her how to get the phone we mailed to work. We were on the phone over an hour, and the phone wouldn’t activate. The wonderful Verizon woman changed the date in the computer so my daughter could get a new phone this morning. It meant another night without a phone for my daughter.

     I told her I would leave the IM screen on and open all night so she could just start sending messages if she needed me. She did the “you don’t have to do that” but, I could tell this was a security for her. Now, on my computer this means that not only does a bell ring if she should happen to IM me (she didn’t) but, every time I got a email in my hotmail account my computer made a loud ding. So…every time a Gather insomniac wrote an article…ba-ding! Every bit of spam email during the night…ba-ding. I couldn’t find any way to turn off the email alert bell, and still have the IM alert on. So, hubby and I would doze a moment, and jerk awake with every ba-ding! She was in an apartment with 2 other roommates, both who have phones…but, I knew she was really uncomfortable-and I’d do anything for this kid. She’s brave, very brave as long as mom is just at the other end of a phone line. Today-I will need a nap!

Posted by: sue2 | January 21, 2008

So…What do you do?

     Do you realize how often we ask that question and how often it is asked of us? For most of my life I had an easy answer. “I work for (fill in the blank), I’m back in school, I am home with small kids or I own a business.” It was easy to give an answer that people would respond to in a positive way, and even want to carry on an intelligent conversation with me.

     Four years ago I found myself in a different situation. My youngest left for college and we moved to a new town, leaving a job I loved behind. My husband had 6 weeks vacation with his company (not that he can ever get away to take it all), and was still recovering from cancer surgery when we moved. He was doing great, but it was a reality check for us. We learned that you never know what might happen and you should take time to enjoy life. I applied for a few positions after the move. One was high-powered, and I was told that those who worked there had “no life” besides work. I also applied for a couple of entry-level jobs and was told I was overqualified. In other words, 25 years old don’t want a 40 something working for them. I found that most available jobs insisted you work nights, weekends and often holidays. I just wasn’t willing to do that. I didn’t want to wait a year to have a week of vacation when my husband could travel and my kids were getting ready to leave home. My old job had spoiled me with great hours, good pay and most importantly…flexibility. So, we decided as a family that I wouldn’t return to work…at least not now.

     So, I am at home…without children. I am not retired and I hate the word housewife, I always have. I am undefined. People look at you funny when they know you don’t have children at home and you don’t work outside of the home. I have had people say “I could never just sit home and do nothing all day.” Someone, (a relative on his side) said to me accusingly, “you aren’t even looking for a job!” Right…I’m not, my choice and why the hell do you care? Of course there is always the, “must be nice.” It is a sacrifice for me not to bring in a paycheck. There are things we don’t buy or do that we used to. I did however get to move my child across the country, and I can visit her when I want or need to. I won’t trade that opportunity just so I can drive a newer car, or get that big television set I’d love to have.

     I know that I don’t sit on the couch all day eating Godiva chocolates. Well, most days I don’t! I have a routine, our lives are pretty organized these days and it works for us. Sometimes I wake up and think how wonderful it is to have an entire day to do whatever I want! Other days I’m not completely happy with the situation and I do miss working. The days I have a migraine, or the weather is horrible, I am thrilled to be able to stay home. It isn’t perfect, but it is the best for my family right now. I’ve never really cared what other people think of me anyway. If I could just come up with a clever answer to that dreaded question.

Posted by: sue2 | January 20, 2008

I Swore I’d Never…

…start a blog that is, and yet here I am, giving it a try. It is a time of firsts for me and that isn’t all bad. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t survive when the kids left home. What would I do? My self image completely revolved around being “mom” first. It didn’t matter that I was a working woman, a wife, a volunteer, had hobbies and interests of my own; my main role was that of mother. We think our nest is empty when the youngest goes to college, but that really isn’t the case. They are still home for holidays, summers and they are still actively involved in your everyday life. I learned a few months ago that the nest really empties when the last one moves out for good. Well, at least we think it is for good. When my youngest moved halfway across the country, the weeks leading to “the day” were filled with anxiety and dread. I’m the first to admit that I miss her like crazy. I also admit that the bond isn’t broken at all and that I actually have more conversations with her than I did when she was in college and would come home and shut herself in her room. I still feel needed when she calls to ask how to cook something, or who to call about whatever the problem of the day might be. I also have time now to explore who I am. Time to try a few new things, like knitting or blogging! The house stays clean, dinner might just be a bowl of cereal and we can get away for a weekend with only the dog to make arrangements for. This just isn’t all that bad! The waters may be uncharted, but I’m finding my way.

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