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Near Miss Opportunities

Wtad.com/white pages/4.24.17

Bobbe White

The work week screeches to a halt on Fridays, when our attention focuses on the weekend ahead of us. There’s nothing more delicious than Friday night to ease into the weekend. By last Friday, my giddy-up, which was pretty much giddy-downed, considered an event and nearly chose to skip it.

I won two tickets to YWCA’s Women of Achievement fundraiser. My friend couldn’t attend at the last minute. I called two other impromptu friends. Both were occupado. Two tickets and forty minutes until show time. To procrastinate a few minutes more, I walked the dog, which was necessary anyway. I found a dollar on the walk. On a blustery April evening, I’d preferred to hunker down in my house, but when I checked the YWCA website, the event read, “SOLD OUT!” How selfish of me to waste tickets, when someone – who REALLY wanted to go- could’ve gone. Then again, how weird is it to walk in alone? UGH. Still, I wanted to support the cause: empowering women.  

Many of you know that I’m perfectly content rolling solo out of town, but at home, it’s tougher. The mental discussion unfolds, “People will think I’m weird. Well, I already KNOW that about me, so what’s the big deal? Just go for dinner. Then leave for the restroom and head to the car. Just get over it and go! Because if you don’t, then on Monday morning, someone might say, “How was the event?” And you’ll say, “Something came up at the last minute and I couldn’t go.” Lame. Lie. Guilt.  I hate guilt.

After a rapid-fire clothes change, I walked in behind Lee, one of the strongest, most empowered women in town. Heck, if she can roll solo into this thing, so can I. I mean, isn’t that this evening about mastering fear and standing tall?

I headed for Table 56. I knew about 96% of the attendees, except for the four strangers at Table 56. That’s always fun. I headed for the obvious diversion, the cash bar. Unfortunately, I had no cash, except for that dollar. I had brought along two blank checks and wrote one to a friend, who funded my fear.

Back to home base, Camp 56, for the evening. Everything had changed. Eric and Kathryn, two of the most interesting and enjoyable people I know, had joined Table 56. The “strangers” were their friends, in other words, no longer strangers.  Neighboring table friends invited me to join their table if I was uncomfortable, “its okay, I’m good!” Terrific networking and opportunities resulted. The dinner beat anything I’d have had at home. The lip sync entertainment was over-the-top fun. My garage door opened about 10:30 p.m. I’d made it. Ch-ching.

It’s not easy pushing aside your fears and plunging into the unknown. When you do, you’ll often be rewarded with positive experiences. Anyway, that’s what I’m going to believe from now on. And watch for earlier signs along the way to forge ahead, like that dollar, for instance. It was the barkeeper’s tip. Ch-ching, ch-ching.

SPRING MUSINGS

Wtad.com/white pages/4.13.17
peeps                                                                                                                      by Bobbe White

Spring in the Midwest is a season of surprises and contradictions. Here are a few:

WEATHER                                                                                                                                              Like any season in the Midwest – we have about seventeen of them- everybody talks about the weather. My favorite comment, “I wish the weather would just make up its mind!” This is the Midwest. That’s what our weather does best: spring into summer, then spring back to winter. BoInG! BoInG! BoInG!

YARD                                                                                                                                                        I like mowing, because of the exercise. Plus, it’s great to see instant results from your efforts. However, thick, spring grass provides resistance. I pretend I’m a football player trying to push a sled and the coach is standing on it, for more resistance. Drive by our house every other day. I’ll be mowing after work; Jeff follows behind me to fertilize the yard. Okay, let me get this straight: I mow frequently. He fertilizes to make it grow more, so I’ll mow more frequently.  How does this make sense? But I don’t complain, because I like to mow.

MUSHROOMS: a Midwest phenomenon. Many people spend hours hunting for them. The environment must line up perfectly: moisture, temperature and timber. Add ticks, snakes and spiders. It’s the best. Preparation involves frying. We seldom fry food, but with mushrooms, we eat them faster than we can fry them. Those who don’t find them, buy them from other people who found them. How do you find a seller? Just listen to conversations on Monday mornings and the finders brag, “I found 13 pounds this weekend.” However, they’ll never reveal where they found them. I have “Mushrooms” in my phone contacts. I’ve paid up to$20.00/lb. I know. It’s crazy. But they’re crazy good! Sometimes, when we have them for dinner, we even add a main course.

EASTER MEMORIES                                                                                                                             As I write this post on Maundy Thursday, I remember when our daughter, Korey was the only Jewish student in St. Peter’s kindergarten. Mrs. Kuhl washed feet, while Mrs. Wavering distributed grape juice and crackers. Korey said, “THIS SURE LOOKS A LOT LIKE PASSOVER.”  Mrs. Wavering agreed, because, actually, The Last Supper was Passover. Some years, like 2017, Passover and Easter overlap, which I think makes total sense. Other years the holidays can be a month apart. Why? It’s complicated, due to different calendars.

Because we’re an ecumenical family, we also had Easter baskets for the kids. On Saturday night, I lined up Peeps from the kids’ bedrooms, down the hall, like little soldiers, to their baskets. Those little devils were hard as rocks by morning. We figured it was a better use for them than actually eating them. One year, after Nick had rifled through his basket, he seemed a wee bit disappointed. Apparently, the bunny had forgotten to include a new tooth brush. Bad bunny!

Never discount how deeply engrained our seasonal habits or traditions are. Whether it’s mowing, mushroom or egg hunts. Now, go continue –or make- your memories. No Peeps, please!

Written for WTAD White Pages 4-7-17

Bobbe White

                                                                                                                                                                You’ll eventually know someone with Alzheimer’s disease (A.D.).  Percentages are expected to increase exponentially.  Watching Dad succumb has been educational, at best. At worst, “It aint’ purty.” A day doesn’t pass, when someone doesn’t mention their family is dealing with A.D. Check out these hacks for improving communication.

A dopt a smile before entering their room. (Fake or real, they won’t care.)

L et them lead the conversation, even if it’s nonsensical. If Dad mumbles, I either answer randomly or agree with him. Nobody insists it must make sense.

Z ip your mouth when you get the urge to argue. It’s not worth it. Nobody wins.

H ave your phone handy. Show photos. Play music. It possesses power for persons with various dementias. Select hits from their 18-25 adult years. Observe their reaction. Some music sparks happy memories, some triggers sad ones. Note bobbing head and tapping feet. With Dad, it’s not a tremor. It’s his mojo!

E ngage in conversation around someone with A.D. Even the sound of your voice can be soothing.

I nvest in a baby doll.  Watch someone with A.D. cradle, rock and love it. It’s soothing. I believe there’s an innate sense to feel needed. Even better, bring a real baby or puppy!

M ake eye contact. (Not with the puppy…the person!)

E ncourage staff to share funny situations you may have missed. “Laughter is like a dry diaper. It doesn’t take care of the problem, but it makes it bearable for a while.” Michael Pritchard.

R esolve to sloooooooow your pace. Especially if feeding them! They can’t go from 0 to 110 anymore.

S o, they don’t know you. It stinks. It’s the disease. Dad thinks I’m a waitress. He calls me, “Babe.” (He knows me!) Then I realize he calls everybody, “Babe”. (Sigh…)

 

wtad.com/white pages/3.30.17/Bobbe White

soccer

Ahhhhh, spring and summer sports. To a child, it’s like Christmas. Hear them singing?

“T-balls roasting in the summer sun…”

“Deck the pool with lots of chlorine, fa-la-la-la-la…”

“Hark the herald grass and sand traps!”

“Tennis balls are coming to town!”

What an exciting time! There are uniforms to buy, schedules and transportation to coordinate, and some weeks, it’s your turn to take treats. YAY.  If you’ve not participated at some level, pull over next to a baseball field or park and watch newbies in any sport. It’s cheap entertainment. 

Here’s what you may witness:

T-Ball: It’s been too long, but I think everybody gets “at bats”. A game ends after a set time. They may not keep score, which is just peachy for peewees. 

Softball: A softball Olympian now coaches her son’s baseball team. Are her expectations unrealistic? Nope! She understands seven-year-olds want to dogpile at third base, or in the outfield. She smiled when a batter got a hit, then ran to third base, instead of first. When asked, he answered, “Well, nobody was on third and somebody told me it’s closer than running to first anyway.” Logical.

Tennis:  I taught tennis for the City of Winter Park, FL. It lasted a month. Seemed like a year. The upside: chasing a million stray balls was slimming. The downside: fifteen (seemed like fifty) children returning balls at my head was risky business.  

Golf: For years, Dad helped junior golfers. Irv loved Tuesday mornings. He had the patience of a saint and encouraged every effort. He understood sand traps fascinated little kids and that you ALWAYS stand back when the clubs are swinging. Remember, they just MIGHT hit a ball and flip it back over their heads or ricochet off an old oak tree. Dad wanted kids to love golf, like he did. Parents were appreciative. (Because Dad got them off the hook, maybe?)

Soccer: One dad-coach, had a half-time pep talk. Hot and tired kids sprawled on parents’ laps. “Team, we’ve got one goal and one goal only for the second half. Our goal is to have at least ONE players on the field by the end of the game!” Lofty goal. Our daughter was only in it for the end-of-season pizza party. Whatever.

Swimming:   Swim class/team resembles a gaggle of guppies. They’re in perpetual motion, resembling Minions in their goggles. Within fifteen minutes, everyone is shivering. And it’s 97 degrees that day. Little bodies are so darn slippery, they slither from your grasp and scramble up the ladder. That’s because they have to go to the bathroom. Again. It’s all that water. Unlike the above sports, however, at least they finish cleaner than they started.

If you have coached in the past, thank you. If you get asked, say, “Yes.” It’s a season, for heaven’s sake, not a ten-year contract. Batter up! 

Baseball_High_Five.jpg

wtad.com/white pages/3.23.17

Bobbe White

Occasionally, we get to witness a person’s passion wiggle up from below the surface of the ground, sprout and bloom.

Yesterday, my co-workers and I listened to Angie Barnes talk about her business, “Momma Bee’s Garden.” No, she doesn’t have bees, but is expecting two hives shortly. (Not literally, of course.)

This is not an advertisement for her produce, but rather, an endorsement of one woman’s passion. She loves growing things. Don’t even offer her a seedling. This woman wants the seeds.  You won’t find any combines harvesting the crops, but you may see children helping. It’s not child labor. The YMCA Kids are digging it.

A lab Med Tech by day at the Quincy Medical Group, Angie utilizes every other waking moment to tend to her 100 varieties of garlic, tomatoes, radishes and etc. Some of  the funkier veggies are foreign to me. Foodies around the Quincy area know about Angie’s green thumb. Heck, she’s got two green thumbs, eight green fingers and ten green toes.

“Do you ever sleep?” I ask her.

“Not very much.” She doesn’t look tired. She looks excited. When she speaks of the local produce beneifts, I want to order a king-sized salad. When Angie tells her sweet zinnia story, I want to send her some. Unfortunately, I’m not sure when zinnia season is. For now, they’re only at Hobby Lobby. Personally,  I wouldn’t think of sending Momma Bee silk flowers.

Momma Bee makes produce educational as well as tantalizing. Check out Momma Bee’s Garden on Facebook for where’s Waldo (Angie) and when, among other useful gardening information. She also designs whimsical note cards (produce theme, natch.) Her photography skill is excellent. Oh, and the word is, She’s a heck of a baker.” She’s the real deal and now I’m hungry.

Congratulations Momma Bee on your little business sprout!  Now, tell me, “What’s YOUR sprout/passion?” I’d love to know. Message me, please!

 

Good morning,

Something weird happened yesterday. I’m not certain why the post was in all CAPS (upper case). I’m well aware that Internetiquette suggests that all caps equals yelling. Urban Dictionary concurs. Readers think you’re a real knothead. I hate it too! I’ve check and rechecked, phone versions, WTAD.COM blog – even the post I send to myself. Anywho, I’ve changed the font and am resending if you got a headache from all that yelling. Even the neighborhood hounds were howling!

WTAD.COM/WHITE PAGES 31617

HE HAD THEM AT “WOOF”!

Bobbe White

If you’re a pet lover, it doesn’t matter if your pet is a dog, cat, rat or a goldfish in a wheelchair. Seriously, there’s now an apparatus for goldfish, which are afflicted with goldfish bladder disease. They’re buoyancy is compromised.  They must be female, 50 years and older and have had 2.3 children. But, I digress.  Pets mark our days. They love routine. Especially their humans’ routines. I’ve not much history with any pet but a pooch, but, trust me, “You won’t miss your pet’s routine, until you no longer have It.” Their presence isn’t fully appreciated until it’s gone.

Two weeks ago, our friends lost their Louie. It was sudden and devastating. Non-animal people may not understand this mentality and you may hear, “Jeez, it’s just a dog….” That’s okay. There’s a reason not everyone has a pet. However, if you’ve ever lived with and loved a dog (cat, rat, or incontinent fish) the devastation is real and raw. Rarely do our pets outlive us, but it can happen. (Cough-puppy trust fund-cough)

Generally, it’s never wise to offer advice unless asked. It’s hard. I try, until it comes to loved and lost dogs. Then I share my mom’s wisdom, until you want to beat me away, with a rawhide dog bone. Our 18 month old black Lab, Rocky, died suddenly, circa 1980’s. Mom imparted her wisdom with us. “The best thing to do is get another dog. It’s not as if you’re replacing the previous pet. Unlike with humans, at least with dogs (pets), you can do that.”

Unlike most advice Mom gave me as a thirty-year-old, I actually listened. We went three whole days and brought home another Lab puppy. We like Labs.  We named him, Rocky, too. (Sidebar: Rocky II. We figured this could happen again and again and again. E.g. III, IV, V, VI and etc.) Without question, was the best move ever, because it redirected our grief instantly.

Our friends took my wisdom and went two weeks.  The length of time is irrelevant. It depends on you. Wednesday, they found a perfect match at the Humane Society.  Immediately, the family’s huge heart holes were healing and filling as one-by-one, they met the 4 month old pup, named Bruno. They renamed him Murphy. I was thinking, “Godwink.” He is and will be LOT of dog to fill their hearts and their home. He’s a Bernese Mountain Dog.  Google it. His paws resemble Mufasa’s. He’s going to be BIG. For now, he’s just a roly-poly, playful pup in a (very) large, furry body.

The Godwink part? Five years ago, Michele and son, Ryan, volunteered to walk Humane Society dogs and adopted Louie.  Last month, just two weeks before Louie died, Tim and their other son, Mitch, started walking dogs. It was as if they were getting ready to get ready. And just when they needed a dog most, “Godwink” needed his forever home. Coincidence? Perhaps. I’d like to think of it as Godwink. to the rescue. Call it serendipitous. (Or serenmurphitous…)

murphy

 

Happy furry Friday! bw

Written for WTAD.COM/WHITE PAGES

3/09/17

Bobbe White

Forty years ago today, on March 9, 1977, Jeff showed up at my Florida apartment in the middle of the night, with a Buick Skylark full of his stuff. And a ring. I was finishing an internship in Winter Park, FL. I figured if went far enough away from ISU, (Illinois State) my supervisor wasn’t likely to pop in on me for a surprise observation. I was correct.  Dr. Meyer never popped in on me, but I never expected Jeff to pick up his life in Quincy and PoP the question at 2:00a.m. We returned to Quincy and a smattering of family and friends, for a living room ceremony March 26, 1977 (yes, three weeks later); then high-tailed it back to Florida for our obligations.

We had a great run those first couple of years. We moved about every six to eight months, by design. When else can you live in multiple cities and move everything you own in two cars?

Along the way, an extra passenger hopped into my car, uninvited. The passenger would hang out in the back seat some of the journey. Sometimes it even in the trunk, and we didn’t know it was there. About 6-8 years later, my extra passenger hopped into the front seat and sometimes, insisted on driving. The extra passenger -or baggage- however you care to look at it, was depression and anxiety. There. I’ve said it. It’s very scary to admit. But it’s very burdensome to not admit. Do you know why? Those of us who have suffered are deathly afraid of the STIGMA. Especially in a small community, where everybody knows your name. Especially somebody like me: high school cheerleader, long-term career gal, the motivational humorist speaker and author, on my own time (a/k/a known as a laughter therapist). Who’d have thunk it?

We’re happy to announce that I’ve been a recovering train wreck since about 2000. If you do the math, our married and family life was burdened by my affliction, or illness, or whatever you want to call it, for years.  To celebrate our anniversary, we will exchange the Hallmark cards and I’ll unwrap a crown of rubies, diamonds and sapphires, no doubt. We’ll take a week-end trip at some point. But, here’s our REAL gift to each other: we’re collaborating on a book about my depression and how it affects the spouse and the house. If you, too, suffer, it’s not just you who suffers. We think we hide it pretty well. Right. It takes a village to move a family through this muckety-muck. Thankfully, with a lot of help, we’re on the other side: still married, still learning about how it’s even possible and with terrific kids, who, thank God, I didn’t damage as much as I’d feared. Our message to those who may read our book someday is a simple one.

There is hope.  There is help. We’re proof.  bw