Sunday, February 23, 2020

Accidents Will Happen

Before I could honk my horn, our car was plowed into the driver's side in a most violent way. I must say that the first thing that I thought of was not Elvis Costello's song, "Accidents Will Happen." I totally lost my composure and I was jolted very badly and already was hurting. 

Sometimes you don't have a clue as to why another driver does what "stupid things they do when behind a two ton machine." People do crazy things, either because they may be distracted or just plain not thinking. It has really taken me 6 days to let it go and get some of my kind of therapy for my feelings which is writing about what happened and my emotions.

Starting from the beginning, my husband and I decided to leave a little early to pick up our dogs from Doggie Day Care. It was a beautiful day and on the way in to where our furbabies were we passed by an early voting location. So off we went to happily do our civic duty. We were on a usual route where nothing majorly happens, except today. I was going to make a left turn in to a side street, had my blinker light on while waiting for on-coming traffic to clear for me to turn. There was a car at the stop sign to my left waiting for traffic to clear also. Once there was a clear spot to turn, I began to make my turn and this car at the stop sign accelerated with great speed to turn left, except I was right in front of her. I can only assume that she was watching for the traffic to clear out and somehow our car was not in her thought process. Whatever...this is what was next -

She rolled down her window to ask if we were ok. All I could do was shake my head no. Steve got out of the car to determine damages and injuries. The woman who hit us was ok. Actually her car did not look to be majorly damaged. Her's was driveable, at least. Ours was not by what the warning signs were on the dash. The back door was smashed in on to the tire, thus causing it to not be safe to drive. 

Steve called 911 to get police to the scene. We waited and waited and waited. Being a former UK police officer, his job skills took over. He had to direct traffic around us. We did not want to move the cars until the police arrived which happened to be an hour later. First of all a Sheriff arrived. He just happened by and saw what was going on and stopped but he told us that he had no jurisdiction. About 10 minutes later, a Memphis Police Car arrived. 

The officer was able to get the information from us and take pictures before moving us out of the way of traffic. Our car was able to go in slow motion to follow him around the bend about 400 ft. 

While the wait, I was able to call our insurance company and spoke with a very professional agent. She took the information down, sent a tow truck out and called for a rental car to come to us. Everything she told us was not exactly how it happened. Yes, the tow truck came, however, there is a regulation in place with the Memphis Police Department. No one can call their own tow truck. The car must be towed by their preferred tow company. And since learning that, I have become aware that they have a list of companies to call and what order to call them in. I call that PROFITING. 

When the ambulance did arrive, both of us, the other driver and me, did not believe that we needed to be taken to the hospital. I was pretty sure that she did not. I was 95 % sure that I did not. I was just sore. I had broken ribs before and I know that was not the case this time. I know that I did not have whip lash. So we had to decide who needed what. Being about a week now, I know that I made the right decision. No ER trip.

Our tow truck came first. The Police Officer shooed him away. So now we waited for the "official" tow truck. This would be the one who had to tow it to a bad part of town. We thought we took what was necessary from the car. Our garage door opener and the key to the house. However, this scumbag of a company stole our Auto Alexa and the IPhone charger from the car. And yes, we take blame for not getting it out. In the kind of mind frame that we were in, we were not thinking of everything. At least we got what was the most important. The other things just bother us that someone is that dishonest, yes we were naive to not take it all out, but we were in shock. They did not take the Ipod. Guess that is old school. Why bother?

So now we are out that amount because we can't prove a ding dang thing of it was there in our car and now it isn't.

Moving back to the accident at this stage, just as the insurance agent said, an Enterprise driver arrived with our car. He had to take Steve to the location and he could come back to get me. The police officer assured Steve that I would not be left here on my own waiting on him to return in the car to get me.  

While waiting for Steve, the ambulance arrived that the police highly advised to call. They did have a sense of humor. After seeing that I did not have a head injury and seemed just sore, they had me sign off, as well as the woman who hit me, sign off, that we did not need their services.

This is when Steve pulled up with the rental car. Too funny, about this. Steve arrived to get me in a Pick up truck. No step to get up into it. And I was truly hurting at this stage. I managed, and he managed to navigate a pick up truck home.

Now things get very interesting. I spoke to another insurance agent who told me totally different directions to follow. He said that I needed to call the place that our car was sent to by the police to see if we needed to go over to sign a waiver. And of course, yes we did. So, the following day, we had directions to a very bad part of town, depressing, really... and oh yes, they had our car and I signed the papers to give permission for our insurance company to send their tow truck over to get it. I was told that they would make that call. NO! This tow company told us that they did not. It was up to us.

So, we got home and called the insurance company again. They said they would take care of it. Giving them a full day, I called the Caliber Collision place it was to be towed to and they did not have the damn car. Now, back to our insurance company. I did get someone who meant business. He got someone from the dispatch section and she saw where I called early and who spoke to me but that she had not followed through. She was gone for the day. Oh, too bad! So sad!

Now, we had to wait till the next day. We did. And at last it was towed to Caliber Collision to be appraised. I waited till they had it and called. They said to come out and we would go over it and sign off for the appraisal to be done. 

When we got there, they took us out and that is when we noticed the Alexa Amazon Car Unit was gone as was the charger for the IPhone. This was an outstanding company. They did not take it. It was through the dang police company tow unit that was the problem.

So all in all, this was a "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" experience. All I can say is that we are hoping it all turns out to be ok. Totaled? Can be fixed? Yet to be determined. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Little Things That Can Turn My Day Around

Little Things That Can Turn My Day Around

Every once in a while I must remind myself to disengage the autopilot in my life and take control back to where it belongs. Our brains become super-efficient at processing familiar information that is a big part of our daily routines. I believe that this is why we all sometimes believe that as we get older the time seems to fly by more quickly. I have pondered this concept often because I hear it so much from people that are around my age. 

It seems to happen when I stop taking mental notes of what is bringing me actual joy. What I am grateful for. This is a seemingly simple concept, yet not always the easiest to remember to acknowledge. For me, I am trying to make it a habit to just realize that I have a lot more to appreciate in my life than I thought. To help with making this a habit, I have my own gratitude jar where at least once a day, I write on a slip of paper and date it, stating something simple that I am grateful for. I will be able to take these out and just see all of the small things that have made me happy. 

Just to give you some examples of the simple things that I have taken time to acknowledge make me happy, I have shared them in my blog. They are in no particular order or favorite to least, just some random happenings in my everyday life, many of which I am sure that we share. 

Pets - I am so very happy that we have two of the most comical goof-ball doodles every known. Just having them cuddle up to me and touching their soft fur brings stress down and makes me happy. Think about the way your dog is so happy to see you when you come walking in the door. Sheer happiness!

Thinking of my 'Happy Place' can take me away just like in the Calgon commercial. (If you are too young to remember the Calgon commercial, then please go and google it.)Planning the trip is almost as much fun and beneficial to my well being as actually taking the trip.

My other half. What in the world would I ever do without him. We both have shared many times that when we sit down together in the evenings or make dinner together, the most favorite part of the day is when we are together. 

First thing in the morning, I know that I do not function very well without my coffee. Lucky for me that I have a very thoughtful husband who actually makes me a cup and brings it to me while I am dressing for the day. How blessed I am with this man of mine!

This is a really little quirk of mine. Not sure how many other people can get so ecstatic over opening up a perfect avocado. One of the many little things that can make me so happy.

Living in Memphis comes with living on the Mississippi River, which seems to greatly affect the humidity level. I always try to remember what my Grandmother would tell me about how wonderful it is for our skin. So, it is a matter of letting it soak in to make us appear younger. On the other hand, high humidity does have another affect and that is a bad hair day, for sure. I truly can't say that I am grateful for a bad hair day due to the humidity but I can say that I am grateful for either a cute baseball cap, summer straw beach hat or I have learned how to make a bad hair day into an ok hair day with the messy bun. It works. I even have little hair extensions that wrap on my shorter bob so that I can twist it into a messy bun. Where there is a will there is a way.

I never, ever underestimate how wonderful a bubble bath can make me feel. Just taking a moment of my time to spend luxuriating in big fluffy bubbles can change my whole approach to my day. Highly advisable. (This is where the Calgon comes in.) 

While I am on the subject of bubbles, let me bring up bubble wrap. Is there anyone out there who has more will power than I do and not have the urge to pop those bubbles on the bubble wrap. I love it when I get a package delivered and they have it wrapped in bubble wrap. There is just something about it that makes me smile. There is actually a free APP game for your phone called Bubble Wrap and you get to pop all of the bubbles, large or small and my granddaughters know right where to go in order to get to this game.  What I do know is that if aggressive drivers really continue to bother me, I just may have to resort to this:

I hope that this picture made you laugh because that is the next thing that I am grateful for and always need to take a moment to fully engage myself into laughter. A great example is a play that my husband and I went to this past week. It was a Broadway Touring Show called The Play That Went Wrong. It made not just the two of us but the whole audience go crazy into laughter. It was totally ridiculous, along the lines of Monty Python humor. Find the humor in many things, not just a movie, play or book. It can be simple situations and interactions. Be aware of humor and invite it in to your life.

It may be February 16th, 2020 here in Memphis but we already have some blooming going on outside. Flowers, whether blooming outside or in art work or some that I get at the florist...grateful! Brings a smile to my face! 

As soon as I complete this blog, my next activity is to quickly make up some cornbread to go with our homemade chili tonight. Another thing to not go on auto-pilot but to enjoy and savor the moment of bringing happiness to our lives by cooking together. Then while our dinner is cooking, I plan on writing in my journal and curling up to read a few chapters in my current novel. 

I hope that my blog was a bit eye opening to my readers in that truly it is the super tiny awesome things that we should appreciate more. I appreciate all of my blog readers from all around the world. The old saying of we all need to stop and smell the roses is even more true in today's turmoil. There is so much to be grateful for. I can choose to open my eyes and see all the ways that magic, goodness, love, and meaning fill my days.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Mood Elevator! Which Floor Are You On?

There are so many adults who need some help with their mood elevators. If they seem to stay stuck on the negative floors, there could be reasons why. As parents and grandparents we certainly don't want to have our children grow up this way and there are some proven things to do to help them. In the process, it may turn out to also give you something to think about.

As adults, sometimes we go on the autopilot mode instead of making choices to be happier and healthier. As potential role models to our children we can help them realize their potential to make wise choices.

  • Watch how much screen time you allow them, as well as yourself. If they witness you staring at your cell phone or tablet constantly, then they will mimic the same behavior. They will feel that maybe they are not so important if you can't put it down to listen to them or watch them. It is imperative that they are computer literate in today's times but it needs to be a limit so that they can learn to focus and live in the real world too. Face to face communication skills are important. Then again, remember that schools have state testing that is completed all on the computer so our children must know the basic skills of scrolling and finding icons and typing. Find the happy balance for both of you.
While we are on the subject, dinner time should be a no cell phone time. Nothing is more disruptive to watch than a family out to eat and everyone is looking and texting or playing a game on their cell phone. If a meal is taking an extra long time, then perhaps a younger child could be entertained with one for the sake of them not growing too impatient. Older children should be able to sit and talk with those at the table. Practice this at home because the more that a family sits down and eats together with no TV or media, the easier this becomes. 

It also is a way to help instill making healthy food choices at the dinner table, as well as shopping some together to plan menus that include food that is good for everyone.

By showing your child that you are interested in their day while they have been away from you, ask specific questions to start conversations. The age old question of, "What did you do in school today?" will usually get the same response over and over. "Oh, nothing!" Try asking things like, "Who smiled the most in school today? Who did you sit by at lunchtime? What was the best thing that you did today in math? Who was the most helpful?" Ask specific questions and it opens up for more communication about some things that did happen at school. Perhaps they went on a field trip that you could not chaperon. If you do chaperon, you will quickly see which children have been exposed to little family field trips and which ones have not. There are  exhibits and museums that you and your child can go out to explore together, not only to learn and experience new things, but appropriate behavior to use.

Outside time is important. If you are lucky enough to have a backyard where they can play, it helps. It also helps if there are neighborhood children who can come over to play. Once they are old enough, then a play date after school or on the weekend may work. If not, then trips to a local park might need to go on your to-do list. 

Allow your child to find some hobby or sport to try out. If they show an interest in T-ball or soccer then give it a try. I highly suggest to not do more than one at a time. There is such a thing as overload. Stress that the rule is if they want to try it, then they finish the one season and can decide to not sign up for the next one. They can choose another sport or activity. Everyone deserves to find their niche.

Whether it is to play a sport, learn how to play an instrument or choosing what to wear (within reason) it helps them in making harder decisions in life as they grow older.

Always be an example of a reader. Reading yourself, as well as to your children and taking them to the Library is so important. Always have an abundance of books for them to read. Yes, you can do this before they are actually reading. Developmentally, children look over the pages and babble what it is that they see in the pictures. It is a stage of learning to read. 

Your child will do to others what he/she sees you do. If you show respect and use the please and thank yous that you expect them to use, they will follow your example. We all deserve to be treated with respect, no matter what our age.

If you get the chance to read Mood Elevators by Larry Senn, I highly suggest it. Even doing some googling may help you to delve into the process and understanding that our thoughts affect our moods. Think negative then you are setting yourself up to have negative vibes bouncing off of you. 

Turn it around by thinking more positive thoughts. Everything can't be happy, happy, happy all the time. You are in charge of how you respond to what is going on around you. When there are times that I forget this (and we all do now and then) my sweet and thoughtful husband will simply ask me quietly, "Are you going to let that one negative incident ruin your whole day?" That is all I have to hear. No nagging or preaching. Just that simple reminder to breathe in and breathe out and let it go. Hopeful and optimistic thoughts create hopeful and optimistic feelings. Our choice!

Choose wisely!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

What Do I Try For My Motivation

Sometimes, I have to have a one on one talk with myself to get me motivated. I know that I am not the only one out there who need this so I thought that I would share some of my methods. Not one example works all of the time, that is why I have so many.

  • Create my own excitement. It may be playing with the dogs, watching children playing in a park, things that do not cost a penny. Things that you love to do just because...a walk around the neighborhood, flipping through a magazine for decorating ideas, planning a trip...
  • Being my true fierce self probably dates back to when I was little and liked to play dress up. Get up, dress stylishly comfortable, pile on the bangles and necklaces, big sunglasses with a large over-sized bag and just for the hell of it go to the dry cleaners or the grocery. I am always surprised how this gets me motivated to start in on my writing. Not sure of the psychological effects...just know it works for me.

  • It is important that I stay in the present, and live in the moment, forgetting about the past and stop fretting about what is or could be and how I want it to be with fresh ideas on how to possibly achieve it.

  • For inspiration, I know this works. Exercise can help me get out of the grumps and give me a reason to get motivated and move. Usually I have talked myself into a great, or at the least a good mood if I do this. Sometimes I need motivation to get me in our gym that is actually in our own home.

  •  I do have to talk my way through negative thoughts. Again it is a mindset, and I need ways to say ok to myself that it is all right to have this negative thought, just work on coming up with the ways to overcome it in a positive light. 

  • It is a way for me to give off good vibes. I have discovered for myself the more that I give off good vibes, the more that I receive in return. It is ok to give myself some time to vent (5 minutes?) and then move on. Get control! I must be my own cheerleader and realize what all I have to be grateful for.

  • It can be a good thing to every now and then reward my achievements. It can come in the form of a manicure/pedicure or facial or massage or a nap. DO it! Right now, I am hooked on loaded teas and meal replacement shakes from Wild Nutrition. It is a reward and a motivator for me to stop in and have one or a combo. Sort of gives me a kick start to my day. Plus, it is so healthy!

  • I learned that I should never compare myself to others. Every living thing has positive qualities. Focus on those! There will always be those who are less fortunate, as well as those who are more fortunate than I am. It is a matter of me being me and accepting that.

  • Taking time to go to see a movie, whether at the theater or at home, catching up on my reading or completing entries in my daily journal; all are motivators and mood stimulators for my brain and mindset. 

There are times that just rearranging a room, a shelf, or tidying up the Marie Kondo way is helpful to get me motivated. It adds a new touch and feel to my living space. 

  • Simple little smiley faces won't take all of my troubles away. I do know that worrying about troubles will not take it away either. It adds to double trouble. The Bobby McFerrin song of Don't Worry, Be Happy holds lots of merit. Worrying about something without planning some possible solutions is a dead end street. Even the tune to the song is uplifting to me. Music does that for me. The Pharrell Williams song Happy gives me the same upbeat spirit that spurs me along. Try to find some songs that may work for you. 
If you know where you are on your mood elevator, you take control of being able to go to a positive place.