Sunday, June 27, 2021



Are you ready to play the game? Who wants to be a handyman?
First of all, I used the term handymen instead of handypeople. Probably there are some handywomen out there - I just have not run into any. In fact, there for a few weeks, I thought there was no such thing as a handyman to hire for odd jobs around the house. They seem to have disappeared. When I googled to search for some, yes, I did find some. I called and I left messages. Only two returned calls to tell me that they would call me back soon, because they were so busy. That was over a month ago. 

Maybe they don't want to do little jobs. In all fairness, I did not look up general contractors. I don't need a new room built or redesigned. I need little jobs completed. And yes, some of them, perhaps, I could YouTube how to do them. I say "perhaps" because I have tried this before. Someone told me that there was nothing to painting a room in your house. Oh really? Well, after watching a DIY video several times, I thought that I was ready. Before I finished two walls, I had streaks everywhere, and whoops, the roller slipped and got a bit of blue paint on the white ceiling, then the floor, even though a tarp was down. Not to mention that I was wearing more paint than was on the walls. I ended up having to pay a 'real' painter to clean up my mess before he could even start doing what I wanted done.

The same with hanging wallpaper. I watched, I listened, I picked out the easiest kind to match up and off to work in my kitchen I went. I had two walls done to my amazement and no wallpaper was coming down. The paste worked. I took a brief coffee break when a friend came over and took a peek. She had a look on her face that said to me that something was wrong. She asked me to move in closer to take a look at the print on the wallpaper. I did and much to my horror it was upside down. And, yes it mattered, as stems do not grow out of the top of flowers. I quickly took it down before it dried hard and the wallpaper hanger that I would hire could actually see it.
Again...DIY (Destroy It Yourself)? 

Slowly, I started to make a "to-do" list for whenever I did find a handyman. You know? If someone calls you under your advertisement and you are too busy - why not just come out and say that instead of giving me all of these excuses and telling me that you will call when you have a chance to come give me an estimate. I have wasted weeks now. Things like leaky plumbing, caulking a shower, drywall repair, patio screening repairing, fencing repairs, fresh coat of paint on some bathroom vanity cabinets and drawers, and basically just managing little details. My list is growing. 

The thing about home improvement projects is that some people can and do handle them on their own but they must have or rent the right equipment and have the knowledge of how to do it right the first time. 

The one thing that I do know as an educator is that we have failed a generation of students by taking away vocational education. Every day, the shortage in skilled trades is growing. There is no shame in not going to a 4 year college. There are wonderful 2 year programs and internships that can set up students to work in a trade. The message became that you need to have a college degree or you are a lesser individual. College or bust is not for everyone. 

We need to all get on board and teach these students who struggle with academics but shine in doing specialized skilled labor. Have you been on the receiving end of the bill for having a legitimate plumber come to your home? Many earn more than those of us who went to college for 4 - 6 years. 

To my surprise, I put out an all call to friends on my social media. I did receive two very good references. The first one that I called did call back within 24 hours, set up the appointment to come out and give an estimate on the jobs and the date when he could do them. He came highly recommended by several people so I am a bit excited. Finally, I don't think my hopes are too high. They are realistic. Just remember:

Saturday, June 19, 2021



First, let me explain that there are different kinds of helicopter parenting. The school that I worked in had many helicopter parents. For the most part, we loved having them. It really does take a village to raise our children. Teachers and parents working together and trusting each other to support each child gaining their confidence to care for themselves and having the motivation to do so. It is a fine line of being there for our children and being overprotective. Take a step back to ask yourself if you are hovering in a positive way that will be helping your child find their life direction.

There is the kind that become so overly involved to their kids' activities and schoolwork in an effort to not only protect them from pain and disappointment but to help them succeed. In doing so, the child has not learned how to handle disappointment. Plus the parents personal lives revolve totally around the children, as their own interests and activities take a back seat.

Another characteristic is that these parents tend to over-schedule their kids in an effort to give them more and more and more. The term is often used in a derogatory manner, it is far from not being all bad. These children usually are on time, have their homework and projects and are prepared for their activities. Also, these parents know where their children are at all times, as well as who they are with. These parents that hit the fine line of not going overboard become an asset for the teachers and the school. They are the volunteers, in the PTA, help to raise money for the school and classrooms. 

Once the line has been crossed it is hard to get back to reality of letting the children problem solve an issue because they have become so dependent on their parents handling it. Kids need to know how to advocate for themselves and know there are consequences. In fact, it has been proven that many times the over active helicopter parents actually interfere with their relationships with their child. If the children feel as if they are constantly being nagged to do things a certain way, they will just stop sharing what is going on. 

There are some things to do in order to hover less. Just back off a bit to be sure your child is learning the skills to cope with life. There is such a thing as coaching and mentoring, then giving them the freedom to make choices and discover the natural consequences themselves. If this seems to cause too much anxiety on the parent or the child, it may be time to bring in a counselor to get some good tips on how to handle not standing over them while they are working, or worse yet, doing the work for them. What are they learning?

There is a way to be there for them only when they need it and even then, by asking questions to see if they can solve an issue or come up with a solution themselves. It is the way that they can learn the art of problem solving. In no way am I suggesting parents become members of the free-range style. This tends to be too permissive by allowing kids the freedom to make mistakes and explore without guidance. These parents believe kids can learn through trial and error. Children of all ages really do need the right kind of guidance and support. They respect it when given in a kind and gentle manner. Free range suggests that maybe the parent does not care enough to get involved.

One more type of parent is the bulldozer parent. They will just plow through everything to get barriers out of the way for their child. In recent years, you may remember that some very wealthy actresses paid money for others to take the SAT test for their children so that they could get into the University of their choice. If these children always had parents who removed the barriers and did not let their child learn through trial and error, then when push came to shove, they probably could not have passed with the scores they needed. Too late now. Jail time and fines were actually incurred for the parents and the children did not get to go where they wanted to go anyway. Not to mention the family embarrassment. 

Instead of talking with their child about a bad grade, they go straight to the teacher accusing them of giving them the bad grade. This is not a pleasant scenario.

It is a known fact that kids who get the best of everything do not have the opportunities to practice defeat and will struggle later in life. What has it taught them? The word that we all want our children to be is resilient. Learning to pick themselves up and start over again, finding a different way. 

Most parents usually have good intentions. They just need to be aware that it all could backfire later in their child's life if they don't watch out. Just be there for support and guidance instead of doing everything for them. Through communication, and the right amount of questioning, they will survive and be better off for coming up with their own solutions. 

Your desire to help is natural, so go easy on yourself. Finding the right balance is the answer.

Be a great helicopter pilot/parent!

Saturday, June 12, 2021



A very good rule of thumb that I have learned is that bad communication ends a lot of good things. Until I read an article about a phrase that I know I use, and I truly am using it innocently, is "actually." The example given was telling a friend that is was "actually a better idea to stop at the local taco spot" than to walk five extra blocks for pizza. Phrases like these just pop out of my mouth. Never had I thought to question this until reading the article in Purewow.

Actually can indeed put a negative spin on any positive statement and comes off as sounding judgmental. Most definitely it is a passive-aggressive tone instead of straightforward. While writing in my novel, I am trying to look it over and stay away from using actually too much.

Thinking back to when I was working full time, I am trying to remember if I overused this word. The phrase, "That's actually a good idea, or you are actually right." It tends to come off as a backhanded compliment. It is kind of a sneaky and sly word; sort of a secret criticism. I really am being honest in saying I don't believe that I was trying to throw a barb at anyone, however, I will think twice before using this word. To use this word in that context is wasted space. Doesn't it sound better to say, "That's a really good idea."

While we are on the subject of communication, another word that I learned from my husband is to avoid the word, "but." His saying is that anything that is said before you throw in the word "but" is bullshit. Here is an example in a quote from a very ultra thin model (which is just the way the industry is) made the statement, "I've always thought Marilyn Monroe looked fabulous, BUT I'd kill myself if I was that fat." This quote was considered by the media to be a really dumb thing to say. I hope that point is well taken as a great example of a backhanded compliment.

Of course, Marilyn Monroe could not come back at that remark. I can give you an example of someone who did. In the early 1990's, a famous columnist on fashion made the statement that Aretha Franklin must know she is too bosomy to wear such clothing, BUT she just doesn't care what we think, and that attitude is what separates mere stars from true divas." This was not taken lightly and not accepted well by Ms. Franklin.

The Queen of Soul replied, "How dare you be so presumptuous to know my attitudes with respect to anything other than music. Obviously I have enough of what it takes to wear a bustier and I haven't had any complaints. I'm sure if you could you would. When you get to be a noted and respected fashion editor please let us all know." Then, as a postscript she added, " You are hardly in any position to determine what separates stars from divas since you are neither one or an authority on either.

Portia de Rossi took a great stance on handling backhanded compliments. Smile and pretend that you are receiving a genuine compliment all the while ignoring their attempt to be insulting. After all, it is the way an insult is received that makes it an insult. You can't really give offense unless someone takes it. This is great advice for someone young or old who may be having trouble with bullies. It works!

Think simply as a husband telling his wife that she looks lovely today. If my sweet husband tells me that, I take it as a huge compliment. Not thinking to myself that on other days, I must look like crap. 😀 Am I being naive? I don't think so. There are days that I did not sleep well and I don't always put my all into looking my best. He never says a word to that, in fact, it is almost everyday that I am complimented on how I look to him. 

Then again, if I in turn say to Steve, "I love it when you shave or thanks for cleaning the kitchen." He knows that I am not saying it in an ugly way that he looks like a slob when he does not shave nor that he never helps in the kitchen. Neither one of us have ever had partners who work with us as a team. If something needs done, then we take care of it. To give a thank you is a nice way of saying that, "You are very much appreciated." 

 There are no, " I love you but..."
Simply, I love you!

Sunday, June 6, 2021




The great song of The Mamas and the Papas inspired me to think about what is it that I want to plan out for my Summer. Being retired makes it a whole lot easier to go where I wanna go and do what I wanna do. Spontaneity is always fun, however, it is fun in designing my summer plans. Whatever happens in between the plans will be fine.

The first thing that I really want to accomplish is to hand my novel off to an editor before getting it to a publisher. When? By the end of this summer! In between times, I would like to work with my acrylics on the larger canvases that I purchased for painting out in my studio. Also, I have two guitars that I want to design and paint to hang on a wall or possibly sell. 

Staycation is still in my plans for a bit longer. I am not quite ready to venture out just yet on a trip. However, planning one can be just as exciting. Thinking where I would want to go with the love of my life is something fun for both of us. My idea is to plan a shorter trip first and then go for the longer one. Both can be amusing and keep us looking forward to travel again.

Since we will be at home we are planning on playing with our grandchildren, grilling out more and walking our dogs. Exercising, whether it be with the walks, or on a machine in our workout room or in the pool, it can and should be something to look forward to. 

It is always more fun for me to exercise in the pool, however, slather on sunscreen and just go out and read by the pool - so relaxing! Then of course, I must take a little break and float around lazily just resting my eyes.

Definitely, I do not want to leave out working on learning a second language.

Now, I think that you understand what I mean when I say I need to design my summer so that I can go where I wanna go and do what I wanna do. My goal is to enjoy this summer doing the things that I wanna do. Not wasting a moment of any glorious day, yet not wearing myself out trying to get it all in. I am not such an optimist that I would believe that to be possible. That is where some of the spontaneity comes in. 

For example if I want to set a goal for myself to exercise 5 days a week, then I get to choose how I want to do that. If it is a sunny day, then the pool will be calling my name and while I am out there, I could not only exercise some, but read and float around just 'chillin.' If it is a rainy day, then what a grand time to work on painting or writing. Playing with our grandchildren will involve days that they are not in a camp or perhaps a day of pre-arranged baby-sitting. It could involve going for a walk with them and our dogs if the weather cooperates.

As the day wears down, it is always a romantic time for Steve and I to just enjoy having a drink out on our patio, talking with soft jazz going on in the background and if still light, reading a little...all while our steak is filling the air with the aroma of grilling nice and slowly. 

How very true!