Saturday, November 7, 2009

Vegetarian scholarship- among others

I have found yet more scholarships for those that want to take the time and could use the extra money- not every student will get a full ride to college- In fact less than 20% will get scholarships to cover tuition and books- but We can be that 20%!

Do you have a vegetarian young person? There are 2 scholarships for $5,000 awarded for those that promote and practice this lifestyle. My daughter is a practicing vegetarian- she has a few years to keep it up for this scholarship...

Scholarship for a student interested in confectionary study- Requires those interested to be studying in the sciences or food areas at a 4 year college

The National Make It Yourself with Wool (NMIYWW) competition awards $2,000 and $1,000scholarships for knitting wool garments. Winners are selected based on the appropriateness to the contestant's lifestyle, coordination of fabric/yarn with garment style and design, contestant's presentation, and creativity. For more information send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
National Make It Yourself with Wool Competition
Box 175
Lavina, MT 59046

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Far out Scholarships

I have decided to seek out further funding for my daughters education. While my oldest wants to teach- the youngest wants to possibly do research- maybe find the cure for cancer? This will take more than just four years of college.

Yesterday she(youngest) took the PLAN- a pre ACT test. The oldest is waiting on her ACT scores. So I shall post some of my findings as I continue my quest for money. Here are a few so far

Truly, it’s not a quack. The Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest awards $1,500 to the high school student who can call ducks with flare. Those who aren’t top-notch callers but still have some talent may qualify for the other prizes. The first runner-up receives $500, the second $300 and the third $200 in scholarship money. Contestants have 90 seconds to show the judges what they’re made of. Don’t be a lame duck.

This site offers scholarships for those that want to study the wine and grape industry.

For those interested in aquatic entomology: This scholarship is for those interested in research within the aquatics field.

I also have found several specific to my own childs school- one thru comcast, and it requires leadership potential and financial need.

Good luck

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shopping for the short person- ME

OK- So I needed a new outfit- never a happy occasion for me- due to the fact that at five feet and half an inch- even petites sometimes don't fit. Oh at least i am taller than my sister. She is three inches shorter than I - whhooo-hooo. Ok- So It seems that the buyers for most retail stores believe that all short people are geriatric. Now this is a problem for me. I do not want elastic waist polyester pants. I want a stylish suit- or dress that falls in all the right places. Shirts sometimes are way to low cut- and the length of sleeves cause me to need to roll up the beautiful cuffs. Pants that might fit- may hang too low in the crotch- or too long in length- and if they come with a cuff or flair- then it is difficult to alter them. Interestingly most petites depts. Including Dillards, Belk, and Penneys start with a size 8 P- ok- well- some of us are 4's and 6's. So I can find my size in high end specialty stores- for a price- a big price. SO I search for bargains- and have found several solutions- one is leggings- now i may seem to old for leggings- but I can buy a short dress(shirt) from teens dept and it will often come to my knees- then add leggings or boots and presto- I am in style- and it is affordable. I have been known to order from the computer- I have several suit purchases from the net. It is not as much fun as trying on clothes- but hten finding clothes to fit is so rare. Another option I have tried is to buy capris or ropped pants and wear them as long pants. These are my creative techniques- and you can find these on sale- when Most stores do not have many small size petites in stock.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PSAT's- She took the test

Cassie took her PSAT yesterday. Thousands of tenth graders across the US took the test in preparation for the ACT and SAT they will take as juniors and seniors.

Cassie took an extra piece of fruit- blueberries- to help with brain power(her words.) She was a little nervous- but told me that once they began and instructions were explained she was calm. She tells me that the questions were not that difficult, but since she decided to skip some long problems and do the short ones first- this was due to her concern about running out of time. She found the most challenging portion to be math- she explained it was not that complicated- she just felt the clock ticking. She is an excellent student- but does suffer from test anxiety. We have attempted to improve this anxiety thru relaxation exercises and thru music and positive affirmations- most of which she says goes out the window when the test begins. The one effective soother? Chocolate

The PSAT is considered a predictor of future testing- it also lets parents and students identify areas of weakness in order to make needed changes in classwork, and increases understanding of standardized tests. Cassie actually said that it improved her feelings of future testing- the one thing she does not care for is the amount of time before she has results- It will be December before the school gives the students the results.

What is the meaning of all the testing? practice- for the big one- the scholarships that loom ahead.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Surviving High School- as a Parent

When the kids were young I worked two jobs to make ends meet. As they got older it has become a full time job just juggling their activities. I attend college classes; work part time and my 15 year old keeps me hopping.

This week for example- We must finish the edible brain- which I baked and she will decorate- however there are always supplies that we do not have on hand so I plan on at least one Wal Mart run. We will be going to the Pharaohs exhibit(extra credit for AP history)today. Tonight- (Saturday) is the formal homecoming dance. As every mom of a teen knows it takes at least 3 hours of prep time and many friends to get each person ready. Tomorrow- she will work more on the brain- and has youth group for church in the evening. Monday- tennis and volunteer fund raiser after school. Tuesday- what nothing?? Wednesday- more volunteer work after school. Thursday and Sunday afternoon- setting up for Boo at the Zoo where she will be a volunteer Zombie at the train ride the next two weekend evenings. Saturday Morning- She is helping less fortunate children- and she forgot the details of why. My Birthday is somewhere in all that. Also- My step grandmother and my grandad will be coming to town for a medical appointment- and my my will drive. Cassie -wants to go to the fair- but "mom you won't take me" OK when does the fair fit into this? where? Did I mention the hours of homework each night? mine and hers.

I am not upset- this is what I wanted- an active child who sees the value in helping others. I did not want a couch potato family. I succeeded. My oldest is just as busy-But she can drive. She helps with youth groups, homeless and keeps my mom entertained. Not sure if entertained is the right word....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Edible Brain Project for School

Well- the latest project- a 3D brain- with details of 17 parts- preferably edible!!!! That's right folks- edible brain.

SO I am taking on the challenge. Cassie will be responsible for the exterior decor(i.e. labeling and coloring parts).

Cookies- well they flatten; so we thought about fondant- but that would taste terrible- cake seems the best choice- unless I go with a giant peanut butter ball.
High school honors classes- this is just over the top. She has so much homework already(2-5 hours nightly).

I now think I would like to make my moms cake ball recipe- yum- crumbled cake with icing - normally in small balls- We made a practice version with half a cake and icing- it turned out great. So now Cassie feels that it will need to be 1 1/2 cakes and 2 cans of icing- it is tasty- and that should make up for all sorts of inartistic brain parts.
We can mold it- freeze it and icing the outside with bumps; and icing needs to be grey don't you think? Then Cassie can use various sprinkles and coloring along with flags to identify the sections.

We could maybe use a football mold and make a cake- it looks like it may be too small though. hmm..

The project is due on Monday. This weekend is homecoming- of course(at least we have the dress).

I sure will be glad when I get my high school degree- and of course MY master's.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grade point systems- WHY so many?

Ok- SO my best friends son is now in 9th grade in Massachusetts. He is in Geometry- honors- Not that uncommon. What threw me is when she explained the grade point system for honors. Here in Arkansas we have PAP- which is comparable to honors and we have AP- or advanced placement- these are in addition to the traditional " regular classes" and basic classes. AP classes give the option of college credit if you pass the CLEP test offered in the spring.
Honors classes in Massachusetts do not get you college credit. BUT they get you an increased grade point system. SO an A is equal to 4.5 and A+ is equal to 4.8.
It seems like an uneven playing field. Here PAP which seems the comparable since Cassie took PAP geometry and it is not a college level credit class. It is worth the traditional 4 points. I find myself a little upset that my student who made 28 points from perfect on her national Geometry test will have a lower grade point thru no fault of her own. Logically I realize in the end the ACT and SAT scores will help to make up for this- but I know how much hard work went into her A's.
I am not sure what to make of this just yet. Since many of her older friends have full scholarships to top colleges- I feel certain it balances out somewhere. But does it affect specialized scholarships( like single parent, or maybe science award scholarships?)
This is omething I will definitly folwo up on!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Lifetime of Diets

I think we as females in the American culture are obsessed. I am one of them. We want to have the cute figure we had at 21. I may not weigh what is considered "a lot" but my body shape has changed. It seems unfair that I look at celebrities and I work out - but have not seen much change. I know my age is playing role, and my eating habits as well.
So I diet. The dieting is a lifetime process. A love/ hate relationship if you will.
I did lose weight on the low carb plan- even got down to my college jeans size. It lasted several years, now I feel the weight returning as my jeans won't zip- and my face is the only thing that better be photographed. I sit down in pictures and ask for neck up only in family photos.
I have tried several diets; and find them difficult to stick to. I work out several times a week, but I could work out more effectively.
I have passed this self loathing of my weight on to my daughters. My youngest recently went vegetarian. She constantly worries about her size- she weighs 92 pounds and is five foot two. She is 15. My oldest finally has curves; and after years of athletics is not fond of these curves; she prefers herself before she got "a butt". Of course i think they look amazing; and would like to have the muscle tone that they carry with them from sports activities and youth.
I am working on improving my appreciation of my curves; as well as increasing my workout routine. NO longer will I complain out loud( except to my best friend or to my sister) about my aging figure.
I will continue to work on my eating habits- which are fairly healthy compared to most of my friends. Sicce Cassie has gone vegetarian I will be reducing my meat intake- maybe I will eliminate red meat. I will continue to watch my carbs- sticking to those that are balanced.
I am seeing the negative eefects of my own desire to remain youthful in appearance and i do not like it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

High School Open House- Opportunity for Learning

Last night I attended the open house for my daughter's high school. I have found that this is a great opportunity to learn about opportunities for scholarships.

A friend said(last night)" Wow.. This school has perfected the art of college scholarships." this school being Central High, ranked one of the top in the country by US News and World report among others. This school became known in the 50's due to refusing to integrate. It has come a long way. It is located in a decaying part of town, but parents (like me) apply for this public school and the kids fear not getting in. Why? 76% of the graduates had scholarships of some type last year. At 5pm parents could attend a program on scholarship searches, and preparing students for various testing. At 6pm information about upcoming college visits was presented, there were several other gatherings for parents to get some guidance in this endeavor. At 7pm we went from class to class- following in our kids footsteps.

Teachers encourage participation in clubs, and openly discuss with parents and students the importance of being a top student and getting coveted letters of recommendation. These clubs allow for volunteer hours, and increase the appeal of a resume. I can imagine that colleges pour over student papers day after day- and they begin to look alike. Make your child the stand out. This has to be something that you put into them and THEY want. Lots of students have top grades and are members of National Honor Society and a list of others. Joining a club that offers opportunity to learn a new skill may impress those college admission counselors (and get scholarships). For example Central offers drama students the opportunity to learn "clowning", and they perform at hospitals and local events and fund raisers. Encourage your students to think outside the traditional box. Take an activity they enjoy and help them to make it "their own". Encourage them to be creative- This is how your student will not look like every other mostly A's high schooler with pretty good ACT/ SAT scores.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The car accident

My car accident occurred Sunday afternoon. I felt that I needed new jeans. I heard about a sale at Old Navy- My old clothes are getting to tight around the middle- I am developing the "mom shape" - ugh...
I am first in line at the red light. Talking on the phone with my oldest daughter. I get rear ended- never even saw it coming. I gasp loudly(instinct). Lauren is on the phone yelling what happened( I dropped the phone). I yelled on impact I think. It felt like I got hit really hard, but obviously that was not the case, my air bag did not deploy. I get out of my car at a major intersection( and within view of Old Navy); yep my rear has definitely been hit. The female is crying. Now I have a headache- not sure if it is because of the accident or my irritation level. I tell her that we need to pull into the shopping center. I call the police. She looks at it and says - maybe it can be painted; I explain that it looks pretty dented in.- I remember I should call my daughter and my boyfriend. 7 missed calls in 5 minutes. My daughter had already called the other daughter. My headache grows. I may have high blood pressure by now. The female keeps crying, then calls her work, tells me her life story- normally I listen to these-I am SO not in the mood to hear it. I say uh huh- uh huh.
She gets a ticket, I get her insurance info, she does tell the officer she was not focused, and thought I was already making a right turn. I did not even see her until the Kaboom- but definitely I was not making a right turn with traffic streaming continuously.
So yesterday I am sore on my left side, not bad but I felt it. Today- much better. THE Girl calls me- twice. She wants me to get estimate and do this without insurance involvement. I will get the estimate- but she better report it- cause we have.
Tonight is school open house- my rear light is not working so I will ride with someone else. Hopefully police report will be ready tomorrow. This car will be Cassie's next year- so I would like to take care of it.

My ifnal word- File insurance- protect yourself.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

PSAT- Pay for prep or not?

Talking with other parents of teens, reviewing the information from school- I feel overwhelmed- and wonder if we are heading in the right direction for my daughter's college life?
Now in the tenth grade some of her friends are enrolled in prep programs for ACT, SAT, and PSAT that are costly and time consuming. Are they worth it? One of the news channels had a show on this topic; I decided that No they are not worth it for us.
A free one day program- maybe- or even minimal cost.
The PSAT is offered in a month, some suggest she take it this year, others next year; I wonder both?

I have made sure she learned good study habits from kindergarten; I checked homework, made sure she understood assignments throughout her grade school years, and into middle school. Last year I realized the parenting had paid off. She has activities she enjoys, she volunteers at the church, and has good grades. The most telling sign is her own desire to be the best in her class. Cassie wants to do well for herself.

When listening to kids who have done well on the ACT(yea Hannah- with a 35) and SAT. They have not taken the classes, but instead took practices tests at home, and focused on understanding their schoolwork. Hannah's(friend) scholarships allow her to be a full time student and have spending money. These students have taken college credit classes in their high school years, and felt that was enough preparation. Cassie is taking her first college credit class this; and will take the CLEP test this spring.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teachers- They are human

I continue to have full days- with plenty to write about- I guess with a teenager- there is constant chaos.

Cassie is one of those driven students. good grades, mind set on college-She is clearing a path. I am a perfectionist- my sister and parents were, so Of course I passed this on.
Last week she was sick and missed a school day, she was feeling anxiety over the homework load she would be obtaining upon her return.

Her teacher did not accept her homework assignment, why? I do not know. I know that she could not eat she was so upset. Her grade dropped from A to D in one swift move. Cassie was afraid to question her teacher, not sure why; she always questions me without hesitation...

So I called and left a message, no reply, I emailed, no reply. I called again this afternoon- Voicemail.

I would like to resolve this issue soon. I decided I will call the principal tomorrow morning. This is an advance placement class, and Cassie had her assignment ready to turn in, I wonder if the teacher failed to take roll last Thursday, and thought she turned it in late? I would know if she called me back.
Maybe this teacher fears parents. Not sure, is she absent today?
I feel that three days should be plenty of time; am I wrong here?
I have many to be continued's going on. Add this to the list, oh yeah- I did get full dressed today before taking her to school.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Interstate-

I have so much today that I could write about.

So I will start with my morning adventure.

Cassie and I leave on time to get her across town to the high school.

I do not have any appointments til eleven today. So- I do not get ready, I look forward to a nice leisure shower on my return.

We hit a snag. A wreck- this blocks the entire I-630, of course. I am maybe ten cars back, the police and fire men are behind me. I am past the nearest exit ramp, and half a mile from the next one. I and many many others. Great. Cassie decides to study while we wait. Then it hits her- "MOTHER- LOOK AT YOURSELF". Then I realize- I have not even combed my hair. It is 8:30, still we sit, they have cleared the far lane, so slowly we get over and move- tardy bell is at 8:45. Cassie and I are both quite fearful of the idea that I will have to check her in to school.
I did at least put on a bra. I am wearing and old shirt- greens and yellows, pajama capris- they are huge( oh but they are comfy); and I am wearing flips flops, in red.
Cassie is needless to say giving me a lecture on getting ready in the morning. I guess I can't really blame her, I look bad. I know I am not the only mom in PJ's stuck there; as we look back at miles of traffic.
I call the school, and explain the situation, I think I was not the first call.
I finally get through the traffic, and she arrives a few minutes before nine, I have been given a reprieve by the office.

Whew- I will not do that again.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shot thru the pocketbook-

Cassie and I went dress shopping today. This was not something we looked forward to. It was our second search. Cassie is 90 pounds of muscle( translation= no cleavage), and stands five feet two.

Our previous search began with a second hand shop. They had full size prices for second rate merchandise. We searched a mall on that adventure as well. Finding a small size is not easy. I do not mind having a dress altered in length, but I would like it to fit pretty well everywhere else. She feels the same way ( we agree on something- whoo hoo).

We walked into our first store; many moms and daughters were on the prowl. The color and size choices left us less than impressed. Cassie does not like stiff material, and she did not want beads. She wants blue or green, maybe navy. Well- we found a few size zeroes. They were hideous. I would post pictures but there is a sign asking that no pictures be taken. One was like a blue ostrich- feathers on the bottom, and in the cap sleeve. We laughed out loud.
We did see one that was nice- not exactly the right color- we could not find a small size- not even a two. Of course.

Store number two. Nothing under five hundred dollars. More than double my budget. She is fifteen, we bought two formals last year. I have to have a price limit. Last fall we actually bought her fall formal on Friday and the event was Saturday. I obtained it on clearance. It was elastic at the top, and had no waist; I love that dress. It was so perfect- in her words" everyone noticed how I looked; I can't wear it again-it was the first time I felt like a real girl". How can a mom argue with that?
In other words- mom top last year....

So we have no dress. I think I will post something on facebook and offer to trade with someone. Start my own online shop.
It is not just that I do not want to spend my life savings, it is that the choices are so limited. I hear women complain on tv about how large sizes are so limited; well; on the other end of the spectrum we are having the same problem.

We ended our shopping- in our favorite way- a stop at Barnes and Noble.
I have no solution for our dilemma. We could shop for this item online- but fit becomes a concern.

I will post the picture of our magical dress- when we find it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Green Acres

Allergy season has hit our humble household. My youngest can't breathe- and therefore is cranky. I do not blame her. It can be so frustrating to sniffle; then the sore nose becomes red.
I have begun to check into home remedies. Why? I became immune to most all prescriptions as did daughter number 1.
Those who have only minor occasional bouts of "hay fever" may laugh at home remedies, but they are usually less expensive, and what does it hurt to try?

My oldest(Lauren) has had more sinus infections and bronchial infections than i can count. Mowing the grass has led to several infections. Inhalers- work sometimes, but pills- have no effect on her.
So I started researching folk remedies.
Moist heat is quite effective for temporary relief, add a little Mentholatum- and her relief lasts for an hour- This can be a great lift to the spirit.

Lemon juice and peppermint first thing in the morning helps decrease mucous production. Peppermint- not the candy- but the real stuff- will also help improve concentration.

I have read that honey is good; and have read that is not true- not sure on this one- jury is still out. Our household has seen no results after two seasons of use.(Had to try).

Keep in mind that the only cure- is to avoid the responsible ingredient. Let's see- Lauren is allergic to several kinds of grass, oak, pine, cedar, onion, several types of flowers, mold and even a few types of nuts.

She would need a bubble until the first cold snap. This could be October or November.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fame- the movie- Original Movie

So my 15 year old and I are driving down the Interstate when a commercial comes on for a NEW movie- Fame- without hearing the music I start singing-
My daughter asks "How do you know this song"- Cassie tells me she never heard it on any commercial.
So I explain the original Fame, the weekly show, all that.
She reminds me that I am old- gee thanks- I did predict that if the remake movie is a success leg warmers will be back in a big way. She rolled her eyes.

I write about this because I now see the impact music and lyrics had on my teenage years. I can't find my car keys at least once a week, but I remember every word to Footloose theme song, and Little red corvette. The lyrics that our kids hear does have an impact on their minds and souls. My oldest loves country music, especially blue grass- not common for young adults. My youngest really likes rock- so I have turned to alternative christian music channels, she is happy- because she likes the sound- and I like the meaning. I do believe that what goes in will come out- this is especially true of teenage minds.

Confirmation Code: GNMNFBD3373102-

Next topic- ACT prep classes- are they necessary?

Friday, September 4, 2009

School volunteer work-

I always viewed school volunteer work as helping the school system, never really considered how it could help my kids or me.

I have been volunteering this year partly due to more free time and partly after talking with other more experienced parents.

I first volunteered a week before school started and was able to work with parents of seniors. Moms had all types of advice on preparing for college, thru clubs, and which classes they felt most helped their kids advance for scholarships. One mom- now on her fourth teenager, explained the best clubs and hobbies(all her children received full scholarhsips to various colleges) Her youngest is a senior and has received a scholarship in the area of engineering. I learned so much from her.
Cassie is now a member of Beta(which I knew nothing about two months ago) she joined Spanish honor society; and will be volunteering at Red cross events. Of course she is in a few others- like drama club. Getting into clubs that offer volunteer opportunities is a must for a good looking college application; particularly in this tightened economy- there may be less scholarships offered than in previous years.

The moral of the story learn from others- and then pass it on- we need all the help we can get.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How to Reduce Homework Anxiety |

How to Reduce Homework Anxiety |

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You better shop around

It is that time of year, yes school is on, but so are the sales. End of season clearance sales.

While Housewives of New Jersey and Atlanta do not appear feel the sagging economy my house hold does.

I shop at the end fo the season; this is something I and my family have done for years. I buy the basics- jeans, tank tops, shoes (by that I mean flip flops) last year I purchased a swimsuit for 85% off - it was a designer label.

I shop with a plan. I need new tank tops for my daughters (they wear them year round). I pay no more than three dollars. We need gray, pink, white and black.

Shop on Tuesday- less crowded. I college when I worked retail- every other Thursday was slow. People get paid on Friday.

I will be needing some dress shoes for next summer. So if I find a great deal on brown or copper sandals with heels- I will try them on. My budget for these? Ten dollars.

I usually start christmas shopping as well. Gifts for teachers, and co workers, find the deals for those gift exchange parties. I do not buy something I would not want.

I must head out to the stores... I shall report back on my shopping bargains.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vacation- Had to get Away

The past few weeks have been so busy that I did not blog.
First I had final exams- not as easy now as it was in my younger years.
Then my step grandmother had surgery for skin cancer. With she and my grandad in their eighties, nothing is ever simple.
I then went on vacation with my 15 year old and my boyfriend. Upon our return from Washington DC; I went to my hometown(three hours away) to see my oldest and dearest girlfriend for a few days. The local public schools started yesterday, so I am now finally having a few minutes of down time.

Kayla and I met the week I turned three, she was a few months younger than me. We do not remember that first few years of friendship. We do know how it affected our childhood and adulthood. You do not choose your family; but you choose your closest friends. If a person is lucky they will have two or three lifetime friends that love them despite their faults. Kayla is mine. We talk weekly, visit yearly. She knows me better than anyone.

Girlfriends are important. I say this because many of us give up on finding a grownup best friend. Women are sometimes not so nice. To say the least.

Every mom needs to have a friend to turn to when the kids have taken over every crevice of our normal daily life. You may talk for five minutes once a week, but stay connected to other women. Fellow Moms ignore the cries of kids in the background- some of mine just talk louder.
Our kids have friends they talk to, hang out with, play with, and fight with. What makes us think that in the adult world we need less support or connection? We need MORE support, more friends to tell us we are right- or wrong. Push thru the busy schedule for some "me time".

Monday, August 3, 2009

Don't Worry Be Happy-

Some of my favorite old tunes seem to come to mind when I sit down to write in the blog.
I guess I remember how important a role music played in my youth. Now my teenager has an IPod touch- Oh how much time this saves. My sister and I used to get the blank tapes and sit by our boom box and wait for the tunes we wanted to copy. Many of our tapes missed the first few words of songs. Music- the voice of youth.

At our house I decided to have the home phone service disconnected- last week. We all have cells, and NEVER use the home phone.

So Sunday night - like 2AM my daughters phone rings- then I hear her talking, then again , and again- I am awake and not happy- she could at least text quietly.
So I get up- to find out what is so critical, and she shows me the cell- it is ringing- and she did not dial, it is calling from her phone book. We can't seem to stop it, she apologizes to the sleepy friend, then hangs up, it buzzes then does it again and calls the next person down the list. CRAZY. We turn it off, IT CONTINUES TO CALL PEOPLE.
So I get smart and take out the battery. Finally, back to sleep.
She does not want to turn the phone back on this morning, so I need to get this checked out. She does not want to be home alone with no way to call anyone.
I go down the street to the ATT store. They are fascinated- and have no answers, I turn the phone on- it begins the same creepy calling. Of course since the greeter can't help I get put on the list. I go ahead and check to see if I can upgrade/ renew. I can. I then check out the phone choices. The cheapest is 39.99 after your $50.00(mail in) rebate. Why is it free at Walmart and at Best Buy? (No I do not make money from this) So I waited 30 minutes, no body has been helped - list same length.
I ask one of the greeters- not waiting on customers, why it is cheaper on the net, and can they match the deal. He tells me I must wait. I leave. My daughter keeps my phone while I go see a client, then I head to Best Buy. Guess what- play with a few phones; I am looking for the free phone ok, not the I Phone. I get helped, I get the phone ( LG VU). An employee explains the old phone issue, and puts my daughter's old one in recycle bin. I paid nothing, nothing, and was out in less than 20 minutes. Same service plan- renewed. I splurge and get one of those skins- ten bucks.
She loves the phone- and is texting with it right now. She is a happy camper.

So why can't I get the same deal at the ATT store? I still wonder.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A young person explains Facebook to a mom

I use Facebook. I have been able to reconnect with old friends, and become a part of their journey into middle age. I have a few hundred "friends"- only a few acquaintances. I greatly enjoy viewing glimpses of the good friends in high school and what they became.
Only two of my friends stuck with their high school dreams.

So my 15 year old was getting her hair cut and highlighted ( she looks so grown up). Our hairdresser happens to be a good friends daughter.
She tells my daughter- look me up on Facebook as soon as you get home- I posted pictures of the puppy.
She(hairdresser) then explains that most teens and young adults look up the people they come into contact with. " it is the first thing I do when I meet someone- of course I have to request they be my friend." My daughter nods in agreement, telling me she would never have a second conversation with a boy until she is able to "research his life on facebook". She has close to 900 friends on facebook. My oldest has close to 1,000 "friends".
Good to know, since I am her friend on Facebook.
The girls then explain how they see us as facebook users. " you just want to look at old friends, most adults do not have many current friends on FB." We on the other hand consider it vital to building relationships. the girls explain that if a person has many shared friends with you Then consider what type of person those friends are- and would I let them into my close circle "

I just felt that this knowledge should be passed on to other "us" - I think they meant mom/ dad kinda people. Interesting, I am really going to focus on developing my Facebook friends from my current life, not just the old days.

The girls reminded me that it is more accurate than verbal gossip.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cruel; Cruel Summer

BananaRama song. I just love the eighties music.
The summer has gone by far to quickly for me, and for the girls.
My youngest just turned 15 two weeks ago. She was given summer homework; this is for those students who excel- ironic huh? when I was a kid, summer meant down time- our brains shut OFF. Kids who fell behind had to attend summer classes.
Three books and reports and two essays, as well as an online test covering Of Mice and Men. In addition, she must have her science fair project outline ready on the first day of school (August 19th). Did I mention the history project?
As an aside- her subject matter for the science project- flip flops and fungus- How will she gather data- used flip flops- with a control pair of unused( I bought them she hated them).

We as adults do not get summers off, so I am not the most sympathetic mom around. She did read two books, and has found her project subject. She has not written any reports. Her time is running out and she is upset about the interference with summer " activities". These activities include- sleeping A LOT, tennis, going to the lake, going to the movies( every week) and spending time with friends A LOT. She has been involved with church youth activities, and did spend a week with grandma. Next week we will be in Washington DC(Thursday- Tuesday, followed by family in town; (Wednesday, Thursday) followed by family out of town( Friday- Monday); followed by school beginning(Wed).

We as moms are so ready for school to start. Our kids can't imagine why...

Let me just say here- My daughter is a great student, and is in advanced placement classes, as well as the fact that she excels in sports and her involvement with our youth group at Church at Rock Creek.
For those looking for science fair project ideas , we have found ideas on sites such as science buddies, and ( NO I am not getting paid)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rugs- They are the Enemy

I took tap lessons as a child. Shuffle- ball- step- every tapper has heard this term. Shuffling takes on new meaning for those struggling to " get around" in the house.
Often families do not consider the hazards on the ground. I mean in the home on the ground.
Most falls( 72%) for those over 70 take place in the house. In 2001 in the United States, more than 11,600 people ages 65 and older died from fall-related injuries (CDC 2003). Why?

While studies show that many falls take place in the bathroom; the kitchen and entryway come in close at second and third. The living room is not a common fall area. Consider all the common characteristics of bathroom and kitchen.

Reducing fall risks is paramount to remaining independent and healthy. Try shuffling your feet around the rooms. You will quickly realize that rugs and items on the floor are dangerous- even for those quick on the feet. 80% of all hip fractures occur in women add to that; the fact that hip fractures in women are one of three leading causes of nursing home placement. Take care of the aging older adult in your life by keeping the floors clear of obstacles.

The following are risk factors associated with falls:

Muscle weakness: limited leg/arm/hand strength
Problems: balance, walking, vision
Poor Eyesight:Inability to see hazards and objects in the path, leads to trips or slips
Medications: certain types of medications; taking multiple medications

One last thought-If your aging loved one has risk factors consider a personal alarm system. They can be purchased for less than $20.00 a month.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My momma did it

As I get older I see more of my mother in my conversation and habits. Hmm, some habits are healthy such as going to church, and eating my veggies. Some habits, maybe not so much.
Within my clientele I often see that habits are carried(not all good) into the next generation; Without questioning how useful this might be.
An example I often see is related to hoarding food and condiments. Sounds crazy I know; but my own family has done the same thing. I bet my mom has enough ketchup packets from fast food stores to last several years. She also re uses sandwich bags and aluminum foil( habits I am now trying to break).
Sugar packets and salt packets- I do not remember ever going into a home of elderly that did not have the single size sugar or Sweet and Low packets in abundance.
Families may find this behavior difficult to change in those that show signs of dementia. Keep in mind that often they have a fear of catastrophic events occurring and they feel the need to be prepared.

There are a few things families can do to minimize hoarding.

*Declutter the home during in-home visits by a therapist or professional organizer.
*Limit choices, (e.g., keep, recycle, sell, give or throw away). Make clear decision rules for each choice, (e.g., keep only 10 plastic bags, dispose of or recycle others). Use broad categories instead of many specific ones. Accept that others, including experts, may do things differently.
*Help your aging relative organize and categorize possessions to help decide which ones to discard.

Keep these thoughts in mind :

Memory related concerns: They may hold underlying beliefs that possessions are needed as reminders.
Fear of making a mistake or not being prepared for crises play a role in hoarding among the elderly.
Another issue may be related to insecurity in making the decision to discard an item. Loss of cognitive function may affect the ability to make decisions.
Poor insight into the consequences( such as messy home or crowded living space) also play a role in hoarding.

Finally: Have Patience

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sometimer's disease

In my quest to provide better services for my clients I have returned to college- I am working on my Masters in Counseling. I have completed most of the program on line. I have a few classes that require I must actually show up in the classroom and interact with at least moderately intelligent peers.
Summer seemed like the perfect time to take an on campus course- My workload is flexible- my daughter sleeps till noon.
I forgot one important issue- summer classes are only 8 weeks long. This means that I have twice as much work to do in each class. My Brain is tired. Very tired. I can't remember the names of my favorite childhood books any more, my friends laugh because I can't remember what I fixed for supper last night. I am focused on school and work. All the rest of life events are just fluff; entering one ear or eye and leaving quite shortly thereafter.

I have Sometimers disease- Sometimes I remember- sometimes I don't.

I spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on campus 8AM -6PM. My daughter is off at grandma's for the week( I was getting cranky). The process culminated with a videotaped session of counseling a peer. We then received feedback from our professors.
I saw myself on tape- and did not care about anything but my disheveled appearance. It had rained- so my curls were frizzed, the shirt was unflattering- Why did I buy that? I look overweight. Not good.
My professor did tell me that I did well- and stayed on task with the client. That is nice- but my appearance overshadowed the session.
So this evening I start my diet.
I have referrals to call appointments to arrange, and now some health habits to change.

Wish me luck on this adventure of weight management.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Learning from clients

I think I learn more from my clients than they could ever imagine. I have been assisting a widow as he relocates to his daughter's home in another state( he is 80). He was educated at Princeton, and has traveled the world. This is a highly intelligent gentleman entering the time of reflection in his life.

This man has not let go of any tangible items in at least thirty years. He knows he has " a lot of stuff"- and sometimes laughs as we go thru his belongings "Why did I keep this?" We found his check statements back to 1972. He did let me put those in the shredder( to 2003).

I have learned about investing, traveling, photography and true love.

I told him last week- about my new effort to take less pictures. He laughed- " because of me".

Yep- I have packed away 6 large rubbermaid containers of his photos- most of which he admits he has never viewed. " I will get to it".

His daughter calls me- " please get him to get rid of some things". I was able to eliminate two boxes worth. I did get him to throw out old newspaper clippings- " I want to give them to the kids". I remind him that the kids have said that they would prefer that he did not keep these items. We are having an estate sale- he is not keeping his furniture.

As we go thru pictures of his wife- he shows me pictures from every anniversary. He still smiles when he looks at the pictures. I do not think my blog can do justice to his love for his wife. They met in High school, married had three kids and lived a "happily ever after life".

I feel so privileged to be a part of lives of older adults.

Next week- we take on the spare room and the " kids rooms"( the youngest has been out of the house since '88). I already did a quick look around- I found the silver in his daughters old room.

As a senior case manager at Senior Care Management ( I am able to work with aging adults and their families to provide service coordination and to work as liaison when families live out of state. I look forward to posting more adventures.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mid Summer Tan

I took off for the Water park Friday with my 15 year old and a friend of hers. Magic Springs, it is a 40 minute drive from my home.

The girls leave their belongings with me; I gather our towels and various accessories to create our space at the "leisure area". AKA mom placement. They disappear to the roller coasters.
I look around- moms every where- this is our delegated area of the water park. We get to sit by the wave pool and get some sunshine. Everywater park mom knows that our job is to be ready for emergencies- but not get in the way.

I tan fairly well- and so being the brilliant overseer- I put sunscreen on the girls- but did not put it on me. Do we see where this is going?

I head for the edge of the pool ( about ten inches of water lapping over my legs) and lay around for about two hours before the girls show up to get a drink. My daughter mentions my ankles look pink. I dab sunscreen and then flip over to my stomach. Another hour goes by- I notice other moms getting red, but I think I am getting a nice " glow".

It is hot so I head to deeper water for an hour. My ankles are burning- I mean they feel like they have a fever- I feel the heat coming from my legs. Not good. I talk to the girls and we are now heading back home- my flip flops are causing pain to my feet. I am burnt. The insides and tops of my legs and feet ARE BURNING. My skin is tight and hitting the brakes while driving is hurting my skin. I know better than this. I have grown up in the sunshine. The girls and I are back at the house, and I use cold water to clean off and then it is ALOE VERA for me.

This was yesterday. Today it is reddish brown- and this is a sunburn for the record books- not my proudest moment. I do have a nice tan on my face and arms.