Thursday, June 28, 2012

New shoes

I got new running shoes today. Once I had picked the ones I liked the salesman asked if I’d like to wear them out of the store. Without hesitation I said, “No, put them in the box.” He looked at me surprised since I told him the ones I wore in were uncomfortable.

I realized as I was leaving that the reason I said no was because I had never been allowed to wear shoes out of the store as a kid. We always had to keep them in the box until we got home. I once asked my Mom why were never allowed to wear them home and she explained that she liked my father to see them before we scuffed them up and couldn’t return them.

It is amazing that the behaviors we learn as children stay with us… long after anyone has to double check and give approval for new shoes to be worn! J

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Macy was in the car with Pepper and I and a new song came on the radio.

Macy: "I love U2!"

My quick retort: "We love you too!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dad- 1958

This is a very old picture! (Probably about 1958) It is my Grandparents- George and Margaret. And their sons: George Jr. (the oldest), Bobby (the youngest) and my Dad- Marty. 

Dad was always a bit of a handful. They lived in Cleveland… about 128th Street, so he was a ‘city boy’ and from what I heard he was a bit of a rabble rouser. Maybe I am biased but I think he is a pretty good-looking guy. I can see why my Mom fell for him. 

By the time this picture was taken he had already dropped out of school and was working in a gas station. An 8th grade education and a low paying job….. just what my other grandparents were looking for in a guy dating my farm-girl mother!

One thing you could say about my Dad though was that he was loyal. If he considered you a friend…. That was for life. He was trusting and always very generous too. At his funeral there were cars and cars and cars in his processional. I have never seen so many people attend a funeral in a snowstorm. Several men argued that they should be Dad’s pallbearers…. It really was overwhelming.

After the funeral and for several years people kept coming up to my Mother and giving her things. Things my Father had loaned out and lots of money. They would knock on the door and say something like, “Hi Sandy! Hope everything is going ok. I just got a bonus at work and remembered that I still owed Marty $200. Here ya go!”

Dad would be 70 this year…. Happy birthday Dad! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Birthday

Today is my birthday! The kids all think I am 29… again. Well they used to believe I was 29. It been getting harder and harder to pull off! (You’d think with 16 years of practice it would get easier!)

So for this blog I thought I’d tell a couple birth stories from my own past. The first was when my parents headed to the hospital to give birth to me. It was around 10:30 PM when Mom’s water broke. So Dad did the whole ‘new Dad thing’ and ran around like a crazy person panicking.  Mom was pretty calm.  They got the suitcase and the stuff Mom had planned to take to the hospital and Dad whisked them out the door. Dad broke a couple speed limits but obeyed all other traffic laws and they reached the hospital in about 20 minutes.  Dad pulled in front of the main door and Mom put her hand on his arm before he could jump out to open her door (They still did that back then). She told him to park the car. He was confused but listened. 

Once they were parked she asked him what time it was. He told her it just after 11:00 PM. She sat back in the car and rested her eyes. Dad was confused. He asked if something was wrong. She had a contraction then told him if they went in before midnight they would be charged for a whole day. She wanted to be close in case there was an emergency, but not go in and be charged for the whole day. Mom and Dad walked into the Maternity ward at 12:09 on June 9th, 1967…. I was born just before 3 AM on the 9th. When they got the bill, Mom made sure there were no charges for June 8th.

I am the oldest in our family and Mom was the youngest child in hers. She did not do much babysitting and was not really ready to be completely in charge of a newborn. It was a big deal when she brought me home from the hospital. She held me the whole way as Dad drove us to the house (no seatbelts or car seats back then). Dad jumped out of the car and ran around to open Mom’s door to help her out. All four of my new Grandparents were watching from the big picture window inside the house. My parents walked proudly up the walk, smiling at my Grandparents as they waved and smiled back from inside the house. Dad opened the screen door for Mom and she walked through the threshold. Unfortunately, she was holding me with my head a little farther out than her arm, so as she went in my head smacked against the door frame. The thump surprised all my grandparents but Mom swore I never even cried. (I was probably stunned!) My Grandma N. decided then and there that she was moving into the house for 2 weeks to help Mom care for me. I still have the dent in my head from the door jam! :) 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Bathroom

There is a woman I’ve worked with for the past 4 years that does not stand out much. In fact, I bet many of my co-workers don’t even notice her. About two years ago I started saying ‘Hi’ every time I walked by her and took her on as an unofficial speech client. First, I asked quick yes/no or one-word questions so she would talk to me. Then, I started showing her pictures or items I was holding to encourage eye contact and asking her open-ended questions and stopping in the hall obviously waiting for her answers. By the end of last year she was getting more comfortable and waving at me when we saw each other in the hallway.

Two things happened this year making me think that our therapy time was over. First she initiated conversations. I cannot imagine that she ever would have done that without all the groundwork I’d laid down to get her to speak. Then after that, she asked me for help. We were in the office together one day and she could not find her time card. She said she did not have her glasses. We found the card and she said thanks. I noticed the next day she had turned a corner down on the card to make it easier to find. In 4 years I had never seen her wear glasses. But when you can’t read, I realized, it is probably easier to tell people who can about needing glasses, rather than needing help to find your name written down.

I felt pretty proud of myself. I was thinking how much I improved this woman’s life and how much nicer it must be for her to come to work and feel more like an equal…. Someone (ok, me) wanted to hear what she has to say. I was standing a little taller and thinking I was super therapist when the tables were turned on me…

So.... I am an excellent talker….in most situations. There are a couple situations that are real challenges for me. The biggest is in a bathroom. I cannot pee if other people are around. My Mom called it a “shy bladder”. A friend of mine once told me that her mother would tell her before car trips to “squeeze out a few drops” I think about that all the time…. I could not imagine everyone sitting in a car waiting for me to squeeze out drops. I’d be stuck in the bathroom for hours!!

So, at work today I was headed to the bathroom. My client/co-worker was in the hall, I say a quick ‘hi’ and am ready to move on. Horror! She holds the bathroom door open for me and walks in behind me!! I am so far out of my comfort zone now I am trying not to hyperventilate. There are 2 stalls in the bathroom. She waits for me to pick, then goes into the other one. She starts talking to me! If it were anyone else I would have fled. I would have mumbled something about needing to make a phone call or do something and I would have bolted out the door.

For her, I stayed. I spent 2 years trying to make her feel comfortable with me. Maybe I was supposed to feel comfortable with her. I did not think about squeezing out drops- I focused on what she was saying. “Looking forward to summer break” …. Yes, me too. (Wow, I am talking to her!) “…sleeping in, maybe going out to lunch” …. That sounds nice. I heard her finishing, and going out to wash her hands. She is still talking to me. I realize she was not going to leave the bathroom until I came out!

She kept the conversation going while I washed my hands. I did not help keep it going at all. As we walked out of the bathroom together and she said, “If I don’t see you again, have a great summer” and smiled as she walked away. I barely gave eye contact and said, “you too.”

She made me realize that I had been pretty arrogant thinking I was changing only her life. This whole time while I had been thinking I was impacting her… I think she was impacting me too. J

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kids Today...

Scene: The school nurse was out and a chunky little fellow came into my office saying he needed new underwear. We went into the nurses’ office and found what he needed. He had successfully changed in the bathroom then came out and sat on the nurses’ cot to put on his socks and shoes. Both shoes were on and he just sat there.

Me: Can you tie your own shoes?

Him: Yep.

Me: OK, show me.

Him: Well, I really just look at people until they do it.

Me: Ah… then you CAN’T tie shoes.

Him: (Matter of factly) I can.

(short pause)

Him: (Exasperated and like the details were over my head) My Dad taught me all about the bunny ears around a tree and stuff- but I just wait. And I get somebody else to do it.

We look at each other for a good long minute. He looks happy to sit and hang out, I think about the work I never should have left my office for.

I tied his shoes. I didn’t want to try to outwait him…. He looked like a professional! J

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Potential Power

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

I liked the above quote a while back when I first saw it on a friend’s post. It immediately reminded me of my Mom. This was kind of her motto in life. She was the kind of person that lit up a room as soon as she entered it and started a party just by walking through the door. She worked as a merchandiser for Kraft Foods and went around to small grocery stores and checked to make sure none of the Kraft products were out of date and suggested new products to the stores. I went to work with her often when I was home from college or off for the summer.

One thing she always did was what I thought of as “flirting” with the manager… or assistant manager… or who ever she was directed to talk to when she first walked into a store. She totally turned on the charm. Even if she was grumpy in the car or not feeling well- when she talked to the manager her charisma always shot up several points. I asked her once why she did this. Did she know all of these people? Was she working on commission?

She told me that she felt her real job was to make people feel good. She said no one really cared about cheese (well maybe Phillip Morris did!) but she thought it was a good day if people felt better and were in a better mood as she left than they were when she got there. From what I saw~ they always were. J

Happy Birthday Mom.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Body wash

Dori: Mom, can you buy me some new body wash?

Me: Didn’t I just get you some?

Dori: Yeah, but that stuff smalls like butt….. Do you want it?

Me: Ummm, thanks…. No.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lookin' Good!

Me: Dill, did you take the dog out? We are ready to go.

Dill: MOM! It takes me a couple minutes to look this good!       :)