Thursday, October 30, 2014

Oh Look Shiny

My life can often be described as chaotic.  This is mostly due to my own choices, over scheduling myself, but sometimes I am simply dealing with the chaos that surrounds me by having a husband and a daughter with ADD/ADHD. 

What do I mean by chaos? Well…
My wonderful husband has ADD.  His mind is constantly in motion.  He is always eager to learn new things and he is always willing to start new things, but rarely is he able to finish them.  I have had to learn ways to cope with this for my own sanity as well as the health of our relationship.  A great example of this is our recent struggle over the ‘baseboards’.  We recently installed some beautiful new wood floors in a few rooms of our house.  My husband insisted that the store wanted to charge too much to ‘finish’ the job by installing baseboards.  He assured me that it would be easy to do.  He bought all the necessary supplies at Home Depot and got started on it right away.  He quickly finished most of one room, but decided that the closet had some tricky angles, so he stopped for awhile to think about how he could get those pesky corners done.  He was going to finish it later.  Later became tomorrow.  Tomorrow became next weekend.  Four months later I hired a handyman service to come and finish the job. 
Here is the important part – I can’t get mad at him for not finishing.  He really does mean well, and he wants to finish the job, but his ADD gets in the way.  This happens a lot at our house, and I have learned how to embrace my inner Elsa and simply “Let it go”.  Sometimes I do get frustrated, I rant and rave a bit about how messy our house is, and then we clean and organize and I feel better.  It is a give and take.  I know that he is not choosing to forget things.  When I am feeling overwhelmed with the chaos, I try to go have a glass of wine and read or relax for awhile.  There are so many incredible things about my husband, he really is perfect for me - so I have learned to take the good with the bad.  I know that if there are important documents (like our passports) that it is my responsibility to put those in a safe place, because if I leave it to him we might never find them again. He knows that I will not drop everything to help him find his wallet/glasses/keys or whatever he cannot find each day.  I have tried to help provide tools to help him stay organized, but it is up to him to make those tools work.  

My life is never boring - so even though ADD is a big part of my life, I have learned to laugh about it.  His ADD simply adds more fun to our lives.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meet Celia & more importantly - learn about her new book

Fellow Author Celia Kennedy has written a new novel called Venus Rising.  Venus Rising is on a Blog Tour this week, check the Facebook event for contests and giveaways each day.

Venus Rising - Akshaya Bertrand, an exotic beauty from India, is also a Professor of Art History at an elite small college in New England. The patina of the Ivy League campus is the perfect canvas for the exotic beauty from India. It is also an environment that she can navigate safely. A small world that she can minimize, make manageable.

Dr. Jared Harrison, a journalist who's been based in the Middle East, accepts a position as a guest lecturer at this exclusive college. Having just left India, Jared arrives barely in time to set up office on campus. Attending a faculty mixer as the semester begins, he catches glimpse of Akshaya Bertrand. Immediately, he learns from those who have tried and failed, that the beautiful professor is an enigma. Proclaimed to rival Lakshmi, Venus, Aphrodite, Milda, Frigg, or Cliodhna, she is a seductive piece of sculpture behind a wall of glass.

Whilst searching for a way to slip past her armor and into her life, Jared confronts the images and tragedies of the people affected by the war torn world of the Middle East. The two find themselves drawn to each other, sensing the depth of the each other's scars and compassion. While these traits serve to bond them, they must also walk the precarious path of letting each other heal.

Funding from the college provides an opportunity to combine Akshaya’s love of art and Jared’s skill as a war correspondent.  They travel to Afghanistan and India for work, and it is here that both finally face the past that has shaped them and the present that defines them. Amongst beauty and poverty as well as war and friendship they find the answers to their individual truths.
I will be participating in the book tour for Venus Rising but I do have to admit that I have not finished reading Venus Rising yet.  It is loaded on my kindle and ready to go, but I have been so busy blogging and getting ready for National Novel Writing month coming up, that I haven't been able to read as much as I would have liked to.  I am sure, however, that I will enjoy Venus Rising because I definitely enjoyed Celia’s first Book, Charlottes Restrained.  It was quirky and fun with a great cast of characters (see my review for that book)

You can learn lots more about Venus Rising from Celia’s website  

*** For a chance to win a copy of my book, The Misadventures of Me and My Uterus be the first person to correctly post an answer to the following question on the Venus Rising Book Tour Facebook event: What is the name of the next book Celia is working on?  (hint the answer is on her website)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Some people need a new label maker

I don’t particularly like labels, but I have to admit they can be useful at times.  I recently reorganized my home office and putting labels on the storage boxes has been incredibly helpful for finding things I am looking for.  Labels can also help identify someone who may need extra services.  Knowing if someone is a diabetic or a vegetarian might change the menu options I would offer at an event.  Labels can help me plan appropriate modifications.  As a teacher, labels were useful to remind me to provide accommodations for students who might need something special like larger print, extra help with note-taking, etc.  The downside of these labels happens when we see the label instead of looking at the person.  

Recently our local news program covered an inspirational story about a young man who uses a wheelchair, but with some help he was able to fulfill a dream to go down the Grand Canyon and put his toes in the Colorado River.  With help from family and friends he hiked down and then back up the Grand Canyon.  I loved the story, except for the ill-informed news anchors and how they referred to this young man as they introduced the story.  The first anchor introduced the story of a “wheelchair-bound” young boy.  Immediately this conjured up images of someone tied up to a chair with ropes and/or duct tape.  Next the other anchor actually described this young man as “stuck in a wheelchair” which had me wondering if copious amounts of glue were somehow involved in this horrible tragedy. 

Please don’t misunderstand, I am not the politically correct police, but after years of working with individuals who also happen to have disabilities I get frustrated when these incredible men and women are reduced to trite labels. 

Yes, that young man did have a physical disability that required the use of a wheelchair for mobility, but he was not ‘stuck’ or ‘bound’ to the chair.  Despite his physical limitations, he was participating in an activity that many able-bodied individuals would be hesitant to try. 

Let’s focus more on a person and less on a label and we will all be better off for it. 

To view the story click here:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A letter to my Mother-in-law

Dear Shirley,
I want to thank you for raising such an amazing man.  I wish I could give you this letter in person, but breast cancer took you away from Peter too soon, and I will never have the chance to actually meet you.  I do feel like I know you though, from the many stories I have heard about you.  I know what a handful Peter can be, and I can only admire your incredible patience in dealing with him as a boy and young man.  You saw through his endless energy and distractions and you nurtured his loving and caring side.  Because of you, I am the luckiest bride it the world. 
Other than having my own daughters, marrying Peter was the best thing I have ever done, and I know you are a big part of why he is the man that he is.  I wish you could have been there to celebrate with us.  Peter has told me how much you would love both of my girls, and I know we would have enjoyed spending time together.    

It seems so very appropriate, or perhaps very ironic that mother-in-law day is during October, which also happens to be breast cancer awareness month.  

For most people the term mother-in-law is negative, the butt of endless jokes.  In my previous marriage I had a very strained relationship with my Mother-in-law that was very stereotypical of all the jokes.  We really had nothing in common except for her son, and it was a struggle to find any common ground.  I used to envy people who had a close relationship with their mother-in-law.  I will never know what it feels like to have a close relationship with your mother-in-law, but if you were still here I really do think we would be close.  

Although I am not officially a mother-in-law yet, my older daughter is engaged.  Becoming a mother-in-law is very different from the relationship that you have with your own children.  I hope that I will be a positive influence in the lives of my future son-in-laws.  I hope they will see me as helpful, kind and loving – and not as someone they dread visits from. 

But I do want to make it very clear – if any future son-in-laws are not kind to my daughters, I will become ‘that mother-in-law’ 

Friday, October 24, 2014

When will we do something?

Today’s shooting at Marysville High School in Washington marks the 75th school shooting in the U.S. since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. Each time there is a shooting social media is full of epitaphs.  We can’t believe it happened yet again. 

We get mad
We get sad
We get angry
We get defensive

But we don’t do anything. 

There will be in depth stories examining the shooters motives.  We will argue about the need for reasonable limitations on gun ownership.  Someone will suggest giving guns to teachers.  Someone else will demand more security at schools.  

But we won’t do anything. 

We will watch yet another memorial or funeral of a child.  Parents will grieve, but lives will go on.  After a few days the media will move on to a more interesting story in their never ending quest for ratings. 

Until it happens again…

But we still won’t do anything.