I’ll take what’s behind mask number 3

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So . . . yes I did laugh when I first saw this post. But, that’s not the only reason I’m blogging about it now. I am writing about it because it is funny and so true!

I work in the medical field and have to work with folks in masks all day. When patients come in to the healthcare center, they are masked — as mandated. But once they get with me for their procedure, they are able to take their masks off since they are in the unit alone. Since day one, it has surprised me almost 100% of the time what is revealed once a person takes off their mask!

As I walk with them through the department to get changed into a gown and go through their questions for safety to enter the scan suite, they are masked. In talking to them, I start to form an idea in my mind of what the person looks like. The dilation of their pupils as they answer certain questions, the crinkle of skin as they squint to laugh at something and the sound of their muffled voice — all starts to form a picture. And as stated, the face I see in my mind’s eye has been wrong pretty much this whole time.

A person who I imagine clean faced has a goatee and ‘stache.  Someone I envision with flared nostrils, (usually from being aggressive) has a cute button nose. And yes, there have been situations like the one depicted in the photo. Man could I go on about some of those. They can really be surprising.

It really trips me out how far off my vision can be.

There’s no real meat to this blog. Just the fact that the meme is actually a bit true; and that you can never base your emotions off of someone’s eyes. I don’t care what the books say about a person having “kind/warm eyes” or that Belle could see the compassion in the Beast’s eyes — you need to see the whole face to know if it’s something you like or find attractive.

I have never professed to be a facial profiler — let alone for the fact this title may not exist — but this pandemic has certainly proved to me that I have no skill in determining, even for a second, what will be behind a mask. Do you?

Parental Validation: A Mother’s Redemption

I have always found it challenging to be a mom. Parenting in general brings about an increased level of stress and difficulties, as I’m sure any parent will agree.

From early on, I felt like I couldn’t handle the “mother” role as well as others. My kid, although a good child in general, has a few traits that really, really, really (really really) test my patience, sanity and self-control. And also challenges my parental esteem. I have had the privilege of working part-time since she was born, which means that my days were spent with her more than those of my husband. I would have days of such stress being with her, that I would call him at work and ask him to come home early. Some days, as soon as he arrived home, I would hand her to him and walk right out the door. No destination, just the need to get away.

This situation of feeling spent has continued on as she has gotten older. It just kind of morphed into other habits that still cause the same frustrations. Having to repeat instructions multiple times and getting a crying fit or hysterics when telling her a chore that needs to be accomplished for the day. Telling her to do anything receives some kind of negative response, no matter the item. And no amount of discipline or consoling or coercing has changed it.

Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with ADD. That was a sad, yet enlightening time. Having some kind of explanation for having to repeat myself so many times in one day was comforting, but having a label for my child was depressing. However, I looked forward to the medicine helping with certain aspects of which I now understood to be frustrating for her as well. But, the meds didn’t really change anything. I still get the meltdowns and still have to repeat myself all day to get just one or two things done.

No matter who I spoke to, I didn’t feel that anyone understood my struggle and no one was able to make me feel as though I was handling motherhood properly. My husband told me that I was expecting too much of the kid and of myself. (Very wise counsel and probably very true) But nonetheless, I continued to worry that I wasn’t adept at handling our situation well and it would push me down sometimes and became hard to fight the internal fight of not being good enough.

Enter Covid-19.

Being a medical professional, my schedule never changed. But my husband now works from home and took over the kid’s schooling during distance learning. His interaction with her obviously increased, now including areas neither of us ever had to deal with before. I am still part-time, so we were able to tackle a few things together, but I cannot begin to tell you the vindication I felt about two months ago when my husband uttered the most justifying pillow talk ever heard. He rolled over in bed to face me and said, “It is very difficult being here with her everyday.” I had to kiss his face, because he finally felt the frustration and the struggle! Although I felt sorry for his grief, I also feel so much better knowing that I am not the massive failure I’ve been feeling I am. And although we have been raising this little stinker together this entire time, I now feel like we are partnered even better because he can finally relate to the times when I tell him, “I’m punching out” when I’ve had enough for one day. He has now experienced on a fuller level all that is “her”.  He is now familiar with the different layers of her psyche. Now I don’t have to give full details of how the day went to get him to understand the progression of annoyance. I can mention a few key words or just give him a look and he can relate to how things went and how I’m feeling.

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I don’t know if I should be as elated as I am, or if this just shows how defunct we both are! lol But I really do feel validated and redeemed as a mother and no longer alone!

I don’t want to portray the kid as a complete evil entity nor do I want to sound like a whiny baby — things could be worse. I am thankful that they are not. And overall, she is a good girl. But it really is taxing to have to deal with crying fits E V E R Y day, and the emotional wear and tear that comes with that.

What are some of your parental struggles and accomplishments? I’d love to hear them!

Do as I say, not as I do

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This sentiment has been heard within the realm of raising kids for centuries. I have never brainstormed the suggestion until recently.

I guess on initial thought, the idea that a parent should train children through example makes sense. You can’t expect to raise a kid to be a law abiding citizen if you take them with you on stealing sprees monthly at the local mall.

However, I am now finding some fault with this advice.

Think for example of the parent who is trying to raise a toddler to say “please” and “thank you”. That parent can use it all day when asking the kid to do any old thing. But when they ask the kid to repeat it back, the kid looks at them defiantly without uttering a sound. Take that same parent a little later in the day who stubs a toe and yells out an expletive in pain, and you have that kid shouting that word at any given moment, unmerited, for weeks!

Take personal examples of how I try to be a good Samaritan around the kid. I can take on a job that my husband usually tends to, to show her that chores aren’t gender specific and that we all work as a team. Or maybe I’ll let the person with less items in their cart go ahead of me in line at the grocery store. Or perhaps take the neighbors newspaper to their front porch if it’s raining so they won’t have to walk down the drive to get it. But the one day that she catches me roll my eyes behind my husband’s back, she decides that is the behavior she wants to imitate. Or the day I wake up needing a veg day and binge Netflix for 6 hours, she then thinks to copy me and do it herself the very next day! She doesn’t want to write out Thank You cards to folks when they give her a gift like I always do. She doesn’t want to help dad with the yardwork so he can be done faster so we can all spend the evening together. Nor does she want to walk the extra block to give the dogs more time outside since they’ve been cooped up all day.

I’m not trying to make out like my kid is some awful little snot. (Although that might be exactly what I tell you on any certain day based on her attitude.) And the few items I mentioned aren’t the highlight of my good deeds either. lol My point with this is that kids, for whatever reason, tend to flock toward the ill-favored. The unsuitable. The unpleasant. It sometimes seems like no matter what good things we do all day long and have a habit of doing regularly, they somehow want to make your negative habits their norm. So why can’t us parents be dealt a little bit of slack and be able to tell them to do as we say and not as we do on the rare (or not so rare) occasion? It’s not our fault they don’t always follow our good examples is it? I say no.

So when I eat a fifth cookie after a dinner with no vegetables, no you can’t have another one also. Why? Because it’s not healthy to eat that many cookies. I know I just did it. But that doesn’t mean you can.

When I run a quick errand in my slippers and pajama bottoms with a sweatshirt, yes you have to put on real clothes. Why? Because wearing pajamas out doesn’t look good from so many different aspects.  I know I just did it. But that doesn’t mean you can.

If I answer back with “That’s what she said. . .” after someone says something where that response perfectly fits, no you can’t say it when you hear the proper set up for it! Why? Because you’re too young to make sexual innuendos. I know I just did it. But that doesn’t mean you can!

You get the gist.

Not everything I do will be fit for a kid to follow. And I’ve earned a right to some things that a kid isn’t entitled to just yet. So, I really think that I should be able to say those words without feeling guilty. Who knows — maybe some day I’ll say it and not have a second thought about it. Not feel like I’m letting the kid down with my bad parenting. I don’t know. Maybe some day.

 

C-O-N Spiracy

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I do not consider myself to be a paranoid person. And I don’t tend to jump on board with most folk’s conspiracy theories about the government and “big brother” watching my every move. Even if they are, there is nothing I can do about it. So, I don’t fret over it at all.

But I do want to share two recent trivial stories that have me wondering if there is some actual truth to other’s suspicions.

Okay. First story: I was at work and went on Google, looking for some new work shoes. I went to the Dansko website and a few other places to search for clogs. I didn’t purchase anything, just browsed a little. That evening, when I got home to my personal computer, wouldn’t you know, an add popped up for Dansko shoes! Now, you may not see this as odd, or you may see this as mere coincidence. Or you may say that me logging onto the work computer recalled the info I perused once I logged onto my home computer. But the thing is, I wasn’t the one logged in at work! My co-worker was! So, how in the world did info from his log-in at work generate info to my computer at home?!

**Insert audible gasp by audience.

Okay. Second story: The kid was sad that she probably won’t be going swimming anytime soon and lamented that she wished she had a wade pool to dip her feet into when the weather warms up. So, I’m at Walmart the other day. I see kiddie pools for sale and text my husband a pic of a specific pool and ask if I should purchase it. I explain that my reserve is because I am certain our Labrador is going to be all up in her pool and will probably tear it up with his nails. The next day, I’m on Instagram and don’t you know, an add pops with the slogan to the likes of: “Tired of the dog ripping your pool?” And there is a small pool made of whatever kind of material, that won’t rip or tear if your dog jumps in.

**Insert an “Oh my” from one extremely nervous woman.

I have many more similar stories to these, but you get the gist. You may have an easily explained interpretation of how this can be. There may be some simple technical reason that this happens. But as for now, I am starting to marvel a bit more about what all the government — or whoever else has access to all of our electronics — can see, do or hear regarding our daily goings on.

Do you have similar stories or situations? Maybe some even better or spookier than mine? If so, please share! Let’s compare and create new conspiracy theories!

 

Quarantining Sucks

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I have no idea what day we are on in our city for quarantine. I have lost track. I realize I don’t want to know either, so please don’t tell me. We have at least two more weeks before we are told the next phase — whether the lockdown will be lifted or extended. My family holds its breath in anticipation of what the verdict will be.  It’s like waiting to see if the groundhog will see his shadow!

Singularly, I am okay being in quarantine. I am not getting anything done that I thought I would and I have days where I wish I could do just one something social for half an hour or I’m going to lose it! But overall, I’m alright with the chill. Does that mean I’m lazy? I’m not sure. But I’m willing to accept that right now. ha

IMG_8151As a family, we are the pits. There’s a lot more eye rolling and audible sighing going on around here. I find the kid staring off into nothing for prolonged moments. And my grand thoughts of bonding have morphed into unwelcomed bondage. I guess I should have remembered the adage: “Expect the worst, hope for the best.” If I went into this quarantine with that in mind, I wouldn’t be disenchanted with how we have dealt with this thing so far. (May I add here that I never thought teaching math would be as cruel as it has proven thus far.)

We still have time to get better at it. I ran out of ideas of things we could do once work and school was done and when Netflix lost it’s appeal for one day. But I think I’ll have to initiate the zeal I had at first in finding fun things to do again.

One good thing is that I am impressed with how well the kid has learned the social aspect of her schooling. She is now a master at IM-ing and has an email account to work with her teachers. She learned how to setup Google meetings to chat with her classmates and work together. I wasn’t ready for her to be connected to any social media just yet, and I am still going to keep a firm grip on how much more of it she is exposed to, but still — she’s kind of made me proud being independent about handling her work through it. So there’s that.

We’ve got a ways to go, and I hope that we come out of this a stronger family unit and with a sense of accomplishment as a team.

That’s my goal.

I’ll keep you posted.

Look Ma, No Hands

I work in the medical field. So far, there is no plan for me or my coworkers to quarantine or get away from possible Covid-19 infected patients.

My emotions are haywire on this fact. There is so much mixed media about all of this that I have no idea how to react. One news site will portray things as though washing my hands 100 times will keep me safe, yet another site will scare the boogers out of me, making me feel there is nothing to be done but contract the virus and see what suffering ensues. While my kid and hubby are at home, generally safe from the pandemic, I spend my days fretting whether or not I will take the virus home to them.  Making their cautionary measures obsolete.

I will say, though, that I am seeing some sense of silver lining in all this.  So far — with school being out, libraries closed and tutors in hiatus — I am finding that as a family, we have a little more time to spend together. My evenings aren’t rushed and being spent trying to tackle so many chores or duties. I do have an overall sense of calm after work, knowing there is nowhere for us to be or anywhere we could go.

Some folks are panicking to be sent into quarantine, complaining that there will be nothing to do.  I would be completely fine with it. And like I said — enjoy the time. Maybe wipe down my walls, scrub baseboards, repaint the doors. Or just sit and binge watch everything!

There is one thing I wonder: how will this crisis affect us as a whole people? I already feel that there is a major lack of natural affection in the world. Now, we are being trained to keep 6 feet distance, not hug, not shake hands, not kiss upon greeting. Will this cause us to veer even further into a lack of courtesy to each other? Will it cause us to be even more distant with one another once this all over with? Or have a reverse effect and cause us to be more warm and affectionate to one another? Cherish each other more?

I don’t know. Just something I was thinking about.

Stay healthy, my friends! And try to find a way to enjoy the isolation.

Sorry, Not Sorry

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A minor rant:

My coworker and I reached for a logbook at the same time the other day.  I immediately said sorry for our hands smacking into each other’s to which she promptly responded: “You should be.”

She did chuckle a little bit after, so I figure (hoped) she was just joking.  But I still found this to be an odd response.  We were both at fault, (if that isn’t too strong of a word to describe the accident) so why didn’t she feel the need to apologize as I did?  I felt like our apologies should have been simultaneous just as the collision was.

This takes me back to a blog I posted a while back, expressing my distaste with folks not saying hello when I speak to them. (Click here to read it: Hello, Howdy, Hey, Hi) I don’t know why I can’t keep up with the lack of kindness and respect that’s shown now-a-days.  I mean, who would want to humble themselves and say sorry if they knew they would be met with such a funky response?

It makes me wonder — what is the reason(s) that courtesy and humility and kindness are being done away with? Are parents no longer teaching these to their kids? No longer setting the example?

Or maybe kids are immune to compassion, because I realize that when I make my kid say excuse me or thank you — to say, a stranger holding the door for her at the store, or if she cuts someone off walking past — that she is so opposed to do so.  But at the same time, will get offended if the same is done to her. What makes her act this way? Is anything I teach her going to stick?

I get that some of it can be due to her age and perhaps a small teaspoon of shyness.  But if she doesn’t get herself together, she will grow up to be just like these teens, young adults and rude old folks that I encounter on a regular basis. You can’t use age and shyness forever.  At some point, common courtesy has to kick in.  Doesn’t it?

 

New Year, New You (Supposedly)

It’s that time of  year again where I make false promises to myself on how I am going to be a better “me”.  It sounds like an aspiring thing and I know that millions of people do it.  But, I can’t seem to ever be successful.  I honestly can’t think of even one resolution that I’ve actually accomplished.

No.  I’m for real.  I really can’t think of one.

But, the most annoying thing is that there is one idea I repeat every. single. year!

First, let me tell you why I make this decision every year.  I have had multiple situations where I need to make a few runs, let’s say.  I get up and throw on something that isn’t the cleanest, but doesn’t smell upon nasal inspection. I put on a hat to cover my rebellious hair and maybe use a Norwex baby cloth to wipe down my face.

Lo and behold, those are always the days that I bump into the ex, the crush or that girl from high school who was always a butt.  And now they’ve seen me looking like Boo Boo the Fool and can feel respectively: a sincere appreciation that I was “the one that got away”, glad that they are ignoring my stalker stares and crazed smiles or running back to FB to give an update on my homeless status.

I tend to leave the house looking like a bum.

I tell myself over and over not to do this.

Then, I do it again.

It’s not because of lack of desire that this happens. That’s the point.  Every year, I set the goal not to leave the house looking a mess. I have pep talks with myself on little steps I can take to be better about this.  It’s not even like I feel as though I have to put on full face. Maybe just some mascara and gloss.  The hat may still need to be part of the equation, but the other small attempts would make enough difference.

Not too long ago,  after a meeting I attended with full face make up on, I went on my errands.  It was so nice to see the change of greetings I received.  Not to mention the way I personally felt. I liked the feeling.  And I thought that would bolster me to create a “primp” routine before leaving the house.  But that’s just it. When I get to that time to get ready to leave, I don’t muster the energy to do anything more than go for that Norwex cloth!  Or I’ll decide it makes no sense to put on mascara and gloss when I’ve got plans to put on full face later.  Or I’ll ask why I should put on anything just to go to ghetto Walmart? I’m so bundled in winter garb, why bother with making up my face? No one can see past my scarf or hood anyhow.

You can fill in the blank with a bunch of reasons (I know, excuses, actually) why I don’t follow through. But it’s annoying that I don’t learn a lesson from the humiliation at the other end of it.

Needless to say, this is yet another year that I am resolving not to leave the house without looking presentable. I am not joking when I say that this has been one of my top three goals for over 10 years. Why am I so ridiculous? As stated, it’s never had to have been Sunday Best.  Just enough that I’m not embarrassed.

This year, I also say that I am going to try to say something personally encouraging or upbuilding to my husband and kid everyday. And I am striving to be on time to places.

We are already two weeks into this plan and I can honestly say that I haven’t done either of these.  The only reason I haven’t titled it a failure already is because I have had the flu, bronchitis and now a cold over the past 4 weeks.  I think I can postpone my start date until I feel better. There’s not enough mascara to mask flu germs and body aches.

The thing I wonder most is why I can’t stick with this one thing and if I will ever conquer it.  I want it.  I do.  Although my actions aren’t proof of it. But I won’t give in just yet. It’s been 12 years in the making. Can you imagine the absolute joyous fulfillment I’ll experience when I actually do it and turn it into a habit?

Ahh, the birds will soar higher than ever. . .

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#Goals? #Someday

 

 

I Don’t Want to Be Lonely No More

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I have been writing most of my life.  I clearly remember the first story I was ever really proud of being written in fifth grade.  I was even my own illustrator back then.  The story was more like a soap opera.  Something about the head cheerleader being angry with her football quarterback boyfriend for “setting it off” with one of her classmates.

Once it was complete, I mustered the nerve to show it to my older sister.  She read through it and the only feedback I got was that she knew what “set it off” meant and that I shouldn’t be writing stories about kids behaving in such sexual behavior.

She may have had a point.  But, the sad thing was that there was no feedback or praise whether it was a good story or not.  After her berating, I knew I couldn’t show my parents, let alone a teacher.  So I never really shared my stories with anyone.  When seen working on a manuscript, no one asked about them, so I never mentioned them either. Yes, I got a lot of commendation for writing assignments in school.  My parents would read through my work at conferences with a smirk of pride. I wrote for the school paper, even. Articles designated by the editor or principal. But my own personal writings were kept tucked away. Only shown to a friend here and there.  But not to many persons who really offered support.

I always thought that was an elementary thing based on naivety and that I just didn’t try hard enough, or any other kind of personal failure of why I never found much encouragement. But I guess I must still be failing myself, because I still find it hard to find steady support for my writing. My friends know that I like writing, but don’t know that I’ve been published in journals or anthologies.  My parents always talk about my writing in past tense.  As something I used to do when I was younger.  They, too, have no idea that I still dabble.

I was recently reminded of this loneliness because I had four short stories published in an anthology. All the while I was writing them, my husband didn’t ask much about it. I didn’t say much, because I just wanted him to see the final result and not read through all the changes I had to make over the editing process.  I thought it’d be great for him to just see it in completion and get the stories in one read.  Once the book was published, I brought my copy home for him to read my work. The discouraging thing was that I had to explain them all to him!  After each one, he had questions.  Questions that were so obvious to me.  Questions that I had to go back through the work with him and show him where the answers were. And after miserably having to  break each short story down, bit by bit, there was no praise given.  Nothing like: “Oh okay, I see.  Great story.”  Or even any kind of critical advice.

It was so disappointing, needless to say.  Although the folks in my writer’s group understood the stories when they read them, it made me question if I really have a clue of being a writer.  Perhaps the work wasn’t written well enough for other readers.  Maybe I don’t have the knack.

There’s a lot of emotion tied to all of this. And I am not trying to put any negative light on the hubby.  So please don’t wait outside his job to billy club him on the knees.  But it all reminded me once again how lonely writing can be. You want your loved ones to see you accomplish something.  Something you love. And you want them to truly feel you are great at it, and not just say so to make you feel okay.

I’ve lost my mojo a little bit reflecting on all of this.  But I hope I can bounce back real soon.  If you’re out there feeling the loneliness, know that I am here with you. I hope we can both get back in the saddle and ride this pony ’til the world is saying our names in massive reading circles.

Or at least in a few book clubs.

Say cheese!

noopicI went to the gym last week and to my confusion, was met with high fives and pats on the back on the way in.  I didn’t get why folks were murmuring “good workout” because I had just gotten there.

Half an hour later, while starting to slow down in that day’s exercise routine, the trainer says to me: “Give me some of that hard work you put in yesterday.” I was confused because he wasn’t there the day before.

Me: “What are you talking about?”

Trainer: “You were working hard yesterday.”

Me: “How do you know?”

Trainer: ” It was posted on facebook.”

He then proceeds to pull up his said facebook account which indeed showed me straining and struggling with weighted barbells in full sweat.  A frightening grimace on my face in one picture.  My mouth half open in another as if caught in mid-strain. And one unfavorable scene of my backside doing a wall ball shot.  I looked in horror at these photos and wondered when yesterday’s coach took them and what I did to anger him that he would!  They were so unflattering.

I thought it strange that he didn’t ask me if he could.

Fast forward to a week later and I’m at the library for a writer’s class. After the session began, I am staring intently at the slide presentation when a guy I don’t know at all stands up and is snapping pictures of everyone.  He was not a presenter.  Nor does he work for the library. So I began to wonder why he was so camera happy.

When we stopped for a break, I asked him his name and his background, trying to get an idea of why he was taking everyone’s photo.  Come to find out he was just a random writer for his own newsletter and he likes to take pictures at events he attends to use in it.

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I had no idea the library actually prohibits pictures without a person’s consent.

Well, who gave him permission to do so?  He surely never asked any of us present if we wanted our pictures in his flyer.  We had no idea of the content he writes about, the theme of it, or its message.  What right did he think he had to publish our photos?

I am guilty of this to a lesser degree.  I’ve been at  functions with friends and will have a shot taken of us and then post it on one form of social media or another.  And I guess I assume that because they are on that same venue, that they won’t mind my post.  But I was recently told by one of my friends not to post pictures of her without her visual permission because she suffers from Dysmorphia.  She hates her body.  Although she posts pictures of herself, it’s only after she’s filtered them.  Therefore, she wants to filter any picture that anyone wants to post.

I can’t be mad at her.  I understand.  Besides the gross pictures of me at the gym I mentioned, there have been numerous other pictures that others have posted that I was completely embarrassed by and wish I would have had a say in whether it went up or not.

The general air today is that everyone is so bountiful in the pictures they post, that I don’t think anyone even considers it a problem to go on and post one more.  Should it be this way? Or do we have to start asking permission every time we get a picture of or with someone to post it?

I have to say, that would be a bit annoying.  Yet, that’s kind of what I think I want to happen to me.  To be asked first before you post that photo.

I know it’s not going to happen, just like I know I probably won’t ask everyone either.  But it is something I hope we will try to consider.

At least a little bit.