Tag Archives: life

Thanks to a Teacher, I Learned from a Child

The long-awaited last day of school has finally arrived.

AJ excelled in the 6th grade, and while he did well grade-wise, I mean more that he excelled as a person and grew quite a bit emotionally, and I believe his teachers played a huge part in that.

All of his teachers were amazing and deserve gratitude and thanks; however, one teacher stands out in particular. This particular teacher helped AJ develop his love for history.  And adventure. And the ancient aliens who may or may not have built the pyramids (more on that later… ).

The last essay AJ wrote for this teacher was about “Grit.”  This was not a required assignment.  But from what I understand, quite a few students completed it, including AJ.  Their reward?  A hat that says “Grit.”  Just one more way to get the kids to think and to write.  On their own.  Without any pressure of a grade or a deadline.  “Learn to love learning;” one of the first steps to school success, in my opinion.

Thank you, Mr. Larson, for inspiring my child to be the best that he could possibly be.  You have made a tremendous impact on AJ’s learning, and for that, we are extremely grateful.  He wears that hat with pride.

And for all the other teachers out there who inspire our kids, thank you so much for what you do. May you all have a happy and relaxing summer holiday!  You’ve certainly earned it!

In case you’re curious about what my kid wrote… here ya go:

What is grit? Grit could mean sand, or it could mean that you never give up and keep trying. Determined, brave, toughness–all of these things could mean grit, but there are a lot more words that can mean grit.

I would like to tell you a story of a man named James Edward Howard. He is my great-great grandfather that fought in World War 1. He was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, UK, on the 4th of April 1890. During the war, he transferred to the Royal Engineers from the Suffolk Regiment. He died June 1st, 1929. He was at the battle of Ypres when he got badly gassed. After the war was done, he suffered very poor health due to the mustard gas. His last few years, he was in and out of the hospital as he developed Tuberculosis which was his cause of death. He survived for 15 years after the war and after being gassed. This man had a lot of grit to be ill and survive for that long. That is why I wanted to share this story with you.

I used grit last year. I came through a tough time when my grandma and uncle died within a few months of each other. The thing is I didn’t get sorry for myself or get sad, I just accepted the way things happened. My cat also died 2 months after my grandma died. He had been around me my whole life but I kept fighting and never got sad or anything, and that is how I used grit.

That wraps up my whole grit essay. I hoped you learned a little more about me. Always remember to never give up, there is always hope.

Thanks to a teacher, today I learned from a child.  I learned “… there is always hope.”

17 Years

2000

Today is mine and 50 in 50 Marathon Quest’s 17th wedding anniversary, so in honor of this special day, I found some great words of advice for anyone who may be interested in having a loving, long-lasting relationship:

To keep your marriage brimming

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever you’re wrong — admit it, 

Whenever you’re right — shut up.

2017

Happy Anniversary James!

In My Mind’s Eye…

Ever wonder what people are thinking?  Yeah, me too.  The following is kinda like my week in review, per a few of my personal thoughts… things I probably would never say out loud.  Except to James. And sometimes I still am able to surprise him by the off things that run through my brain…

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My pie is leaking! Why is my pie leaking?! (The child finished it off regardless.)

  • Where’d all these dishes come from?  I just did the dishes.  Why is the sink full 15 minutes later? No one is ever allowed to eat again.  No more cooking, no more eating, no more dishes. Problem solved.  Oh wait, we can eat out.  That’ll work.  (Didn’t happen, and the sink continues to produce dirty dishes.)
  • Surprise, surprise… another cleavage shot.  I’m so tired of all the cleavage selfies.  Are you in that much need of attention?  Get a dog. (No, really… do these women even know what “self-respect” means?)
  • Why are you coming up behind me so fast?  Are you late?  You should plan your time better. Dude!  You’re too close!  Here, let me slow wayyyy down… (The driver behind me got the message loud and clear and backed off.)
  • B**ch!  Bring that owl to us now before I call the cops!  (Federally protected bird.  The lady was hemming and hawing about not having time to bring it to the rescue center even though it had been in her possession for over 12 hours already with a broken wing.  I didn’t have to use profanity; I flat out begged her and appealed to her sense of decency.  She found someone right away to bring us the owl.  And that’s why I make the big bucks… hahahaha)
  • Dongle.  What a stupid word.  Who came up with that stupid word?  “Hold on while I grab my dongle.”  Seriously?!  (I ordered a bluetooth USB dongle and still can’t get over that stupid term.)
  • I promise to never ever eat fruit and nuts before a run again, if I can just make it through this one without having to crawl.  (I didn’t have to crawl.)
  • Would it be wrong for me to ground my child from his PS4 just so I can use it to play the newest Kingdom Hearts game?  (A video game I’ve played from the moment it was first launched, only for the PlayStation.  I have been waiting for-ev-er for AJ to save up enough money for a PS4 so I can continue to play this game.  He graciously told me I could play it anytime if I stored my credit card number to his PlayStation account… I think I prefer the grounding method.)

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Have a happy week!

Grief

They say there are 5 stages of grief… denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  In the past 24 hours, I have experienced all these stages many times over, sometimes changing emotions every 5 minutes.  I get extremely angry, and then depressed, and then I’m accepting of what happened, and then I get angry again.  It seems they have left out guilt as a stage, although I believe each of us, with the loss of a loved one, feels some sense of guilt.  And forgetfulness… I think forgetfulness should be a stage.  Or maybe that’s just a side effect.

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You see, early Wednesday morning, my mother passed away.  She was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with a GI bleed, refused to get it treated, and it ended her life.

The infamous shaving incident

My sister, me, Mom, my brother standing — 1971 or 1972?

I’m angry… she didn’t have to die.  She could’ve been treated at the initial onset of this, and by now, she’d be at home and recovered, stronger and better off for getting every single test known to man performed on her.  Her heart was always strong.  It was never about her heart. She literally bled to death.

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Mom — 1975

I’m depressed… this one is obvious.  I will never see my mother again… at least in this life.  I will never talk to her again.  She won’t be there to reminisce with, go over memories with, share life stories with.  She will never see her grandson turn into the amazing person he is becoming. (And now, I’m back to angry).

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My sister Angela, Mom, Me — 1993

Guilt… this is a hard one because I couldn’t do anything to help her.  I was powerless because she still was a competent adult.  Only when she was too weak to get up could I get her some help, but by then, it was too late.  She had lost too much blood.

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Mom and AJ

Acceptance… she knowingly chose this path.  I knew it would kill her the minute we left the hospital the first time.  I had to accept that this was her life, this was what she wanted, I had to respect her wishes… I had no choice.  I accept that she is gone now by her choice, but again, this leads back to anger.  How could she be so selfish?  Or am I the one being selfish for wanting her to be alive?

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I woke up this morning feeling empty, like part of my soul was gone.  The loneliness set in, because I realized she was no longer there.  Then I opened my eyes and saw James lying next to me.  And after I woke my son up for school, I realized… I am truly blessed.

Losing someone you love will send you on an emotional roller coaster from hell.  I imagine this ride will last for quite some time, but I am thankful to have my family to help me get through it. I’d like to share a memory of my mother with you.  She was a great piano player.  I’m sure my love of all things music stemmed from her.  She would play the piano, and my sister and I would sit with her and sing all the songs she played.  It is one of the happiest memories I have of my childhood.  The following is one of our favorite songs that we loved to sing together while my mother played.  If you get a chance, take a listen… it just might make you smile.  This is what we did for fun in the olden days.  😀

As well… in honor of my mother and for Motivational Music Monday, I will choose one of her favorite songs.  She used to call this her theme song.

Please let your loved ones know just how much they mean to you today… tomorrow may very well be too late.

Good News Stories

Due to the overwhelming doom and gloom in the news these days, I decided to take on Rob’s challenge (My God, My Music, My Life) to share a couple of news stories I have read recently that actually made me smile.  There is still good in this world… it’s a shame we have to search so hard to actually find it.  That being said, no need to search for good news, I’ve done it for you! Hope you enjoy!!

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A CBS tower camera in Lincoln, Nebraska got an up-close-and-personal look at their neighborhood hawk.

(How cute is this!  This hawk’s best friend is the camera!!)

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Cop-with-Girl-Chelle-Cates-PhotographyShared from goodnewsnetwork.org: This tea-riffic police officer wasn’t just attending this adorable party to get free Oreos – it was a celebration of the day he saved one 2-year-old’s life in 2015.

Almost a year before the photo was taken, Corporal Patrick Ray was dispatched on a call to save 22-month-old Bexley Norvell from choking on a coin.  Thanks to his quick actions, the little girl was able to breath again, while the officer’s bodycam filmed the whole scene.

Bexley’s mother – eternally grateful for her daughter’s hero – invited the policeman back to their house a year later to celebrate with some tea at their home in Rowlett, Texas.

Chelle Cates, a professional children’s and newborn photographer, captured some snapshots of the adorable exchange to commemorate the anniversary.

(Awww… two strangers who will now share a lifetime bond!)

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o7rrk-firemen-stay-behind-for-man-cut-grass-1Shared from sunnyskyz.com:  A man in Lawrence, Kansas, suffered a medical emergency while working in his yard and was rushed to the hospital.  The members of Engine 1 stayed behind to finish his yard work for him in the hot August sun.

(Thank you, First Responders, for always going above and beyond!)

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578d43d82400002600b31c5eShared from huffingtonpost.com:  One man is helping kids find a little joy.

Jason Haney, a construction foreman, hides a life-size cutout he made of Where’s Waldo on site every day for kids who are staying at a hospital next door to find.

“It’s just for the kids to get their minds off of things,”Haney told The Huffington Post. “I just wanted them to have fun.”

Haney, who is working on a $50 million expansion at Memorial Children’s Hospital, got the idea after he and workers got word that a snowman they had built on the site last winter delighted patients and staff. Soon after that, Haney placed a blow-up snowman  and a blow-up Sponge Bob Square Pants for the kids to see. Then a co-worker gave him a brilliant idea.

“He came up to me, and was kind of joking around, and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if there was a Waldo up here?’” Haney told HuffPost. “And I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s kind of cool.’ Then the idea sat in my head for a little while and I was like, ‘I’m going to make him, I’m going to do it!’”

Haney  took a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood, drew the outline of the iconic children’s book character and cut it out. With the help of his teenage daughter, Taylor ­— who needed extended care at another children’s hospital when she was 3 years old due due to a stroke — they painted the plywood red and white until Waldo came to life.

In April, Haney debuted Waldo on the site, placing it within eye shot for pediatric patients on the sixth floor to see.

And just like the famous books, Waldo was a hit.

“He’s eight-feet tall and a pain in the butt to move around sometimes,” Haney admitted. “He’s 50, 60 pounds and he’s awkward to carry. But it’s worth it for the kids.”

(What a fabulous way to keep these children entertained!  It’s the little things that count and will always be remembered!)

(all stories and associated photos are credited to their respective websites)

 

 

Adele

I’m off a day on picking a song for Jamesy’s Motivational Music Monday, but I think I’m excused. I was kind of busy yesterday.  You see, Adele was playing at the Key Arena in Seattle, and we were fortunate enough to be there.  A fabulous performer to the very core, and such a down to earth girl to boot.  She interacted with the audience brilliantly, even pulling some fans on stage at different times, completely making their entire year I’m sure.  Following are scenes from the evening, a couple of videos I recorded, plus my choice for MMM.

Starting the evening off at a local restaurant, The Yard House. The food was 5-star delicious:

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Waiting for the show to start. The eyes open when she comes on:

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Her set was fabulous and the big screen was great, sometimes zooming in on her face, sometimes showing random stuff:

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Sold out concert, and she had everyone lighting the torches on their phones (this was way before the encore):

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Last song of the night after nearly 2-1/2 hours:

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The Space Needle at night:

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The first video I recorded was “Hello.”  It’s probably not as intense on the video, but Seattle put off a lot of energy for her last night:

The next one I recorded was “Skyfall.”  In this one, you can see just how cool her set really was.

As for my song for the week, I’m sticking with Adele and her latest, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).”

If there was one performer/group that you wish could see live, who would that be?

 

 

A Day In The (Wild) Life…

Disclaimer, or warning, or whatever:  The beginning of this post is not a happy one… if you want sunshine and roses, skip to paragraph 7.

I may possibly have a couple of new friends who don’t actually know what I do during the day… I work for a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility.  I am not a rehabber… I cannot work medical magic on wildlife.  I am, however, the animal 9-1-1 operator of the Seattle area, from Blaine to Tacoma and beyond, and I am also one who will occasionally go out and rescue, and every now and again, I get the opportunity to release wildlife back into their area.

Sometimes, I have really bad days or weeks.  This was one of those weeks.  The following is just a sample of what I encounter day in and day out.  While I usually have to hold back on what I say and how I react, this post is aimed at letting those people know how I really feel.  Just consider this cathartic for me, because that’s exactly what it is.  I never actually said what I thought, but boy, would I have loved to.

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Source: Pinterest

To the woman who brought the baby American beaver in one full week after you called for advice… bad move.  You stated on the intake form that it had been “run over by cars.”  Had it been your cat or your dog that you’d seen being run over, would you have waited an entire week?!  How is it okay to watch an animal be run over by a car, and then wait 7 days to get it medical help?  Especially when said medical help is free??  I will never understand, but thank you for bringing it in.  Due to severe pain and internal injuries, it was humanely euthanized.  We quite possibly could have saved it and reversed its injuries, but you didn’t even give us a chance because you were selfish and didn’t bring it in as you were advised.

To the woman who felt it was necessary to “raise” a wild baby bunny for 2 weeks all by yourself without any experience or knowledge… bad move.  Had you brought it to us in the beginning, it would have been properly nourished and released back to the wild to be free.  The bunny you brought us, after 2 weeks of improper nourishment, was emaciated, dehydrated, and dying with agonal breathing.  As for the “lack of compassion” you accused me of having because I didn’t “pity” your situation… where was your compassion when you found this baby?  What made you think you could possibly raise this bunny to good health when you have zero wildlife rehab experience? People… I will tell you right here and right now… don’t trust what you read on the internet… wild bunnies are different from domestic bunnies, and their tummies do not absorb “goat’s milk” or “kitten replacement milk” as domestic bunnies may.  Do not feed wild bunnies milk or it will kill them.  And the reason the pet store won’t tell you this is because they want to sell you a load of products.  End result:  Euthanized, because it was suffering thanks to human intervention.

And, lastly, for the man who came upon a hawk while he was out on a trail riding his bike, a hawk that had a bag tied to its leg, the man wanted someone to come rescue the hawk after it had flown up to the underside of a bridge, a man who had no problem telling me I didn’t have “the balls or compassion” to rescue this animal with a bag tied to its leg… please, tell me, how would YOU catch a bird who can still fly?? You were afraid of its talons so you were frozen and just stood there until it flew away.  For crying out loud, put a sheet over it then put a box over it. But no, instead you decided to lay blame on me and the organization I work for because we didn’t “have the balls or compassion” to rescue it, even after I explained to you that I can’t rescue a bird who can still take flight.  I personally have lifted a full-sized deer into the back of a truck without hesitation, because my compassion gives me the strength and the balls to do so.  You, sir, however, only want to put the problem in someone else’s hands and then complain when they don’t do what you’d like them to do to solve your problem. But please, if you know of anyone who can catch a bird mid-flight, I’m all on it… give me that resource because I’d love to meet this superman.  The end result:  I redirected him to Fish and Wildlife so that he could tell THEM they didn’t have any “balls or compassion” as that’s what F&W get paid for.

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However… all that being said… there are some really good and happy endings that make my job worthwhile.  I received this text from a lady in Issaquah, a single mom who had 4 children.  She texted me a photo of a deer dying on her property and asked for advice.  Unfortunately, I told her it had to be dispatched. This was the final response from her (notice… I had compassion):

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I was on the phone most of the day with a man who was concerned about a fledgling barn owl and he was reporting its every move.  We went and got the owl, and it was eventually released healthy and happy.

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Audubon.org

 

A baby raccoon was feared to be abandoned.  However, the man who called sent me a picture of the baby raccoon, and there was no evidence that it had been abandoned because it was clean and healthy.  I advised him to leave it alone and keep an eye on it.  Guess what?! Mom came back.

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attackofthecute.com

 

Got a call from a lady who felt a fawn had been abandoned by its mom because it was sitting in a road.  I told her to put it back exactly where she found it.  Mom immediately came.  The lady didn’t even have time to drive away.

 

And as for Daryl, the domestic bunny I babysit all day at work (he belongs to the clinic manager), he’s still alive and kicking, getting bigger and better and more and more spoiled.  He’s standing up in his enclosure, wondering why I haven’t picked him up recently to give him cuddles.  He knows me well and totally knows how to play me.

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A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. Proverbs 12:10 (KJV)

If you run across an injured or orphaned animal, please, please, please contact your nearest rescue center.  And if we occasionally say that sometimes it’s best to let nature take its course, believe it to be true.  Nature has been around a lot longer than we have.