Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It Really Does Matter. Really.



(Did anyone tell the President?)

Go. Take the pledge.

www.specialolympics.org

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eight Cool Blogs




Well, Lisa over at ThatKentuckyGirl@blogspot.com (private) has chosen my blog as one of eight cool blogs she reads (and of course, loves ...) I am now to choose and list Eight Cool Blogs and I will, but it may have to wait a day or two. I'll post an entirely different entry for that in the next day or two.

As of this writing, I am recuperating from a not-too-major, but more-than-minor, oral and sinus surgery. So, I'm up and at it for the moment, but will be crashing soon. I'd bore you with the gory details but I don't want to gross anyone out.

The upside to the surgery is that this is the beginning of the end of the now infamous tooth incident in my life. The prognosis? Great! If I follow doctor's orders and hang in for a years worth of effort and work on his and my part.

Gees ... but it's all good. When life hands me lemons I do try to make the lemonade. And I am working more diligently at that than usual when it comes to the 'tooth' thing.

Today, I've decided I will never have a botox treatment. Even though the right side of my face is swollen enough to afford me no age lines or wrinkles (my badges of a life well lived) I'm not certain I like the look when compared to the real me of the left side.

However, I will rush out to purchase an eye shadow in just that shade of purple when I've some energy! Whew! That's pretty!

Can't eat. I'll lose a few pounds! Can't bend over. I can skip some housework! Can't go to work. Until next Wednesday!

My sister has arrived and taken Emily to all of her activities over the last twenty-four hours, Bless her, and she will finish up tomorrow by dropping Emily at her job before she heads back to Maine. Barb came by and cooked up a batch of macaroni and cheese for me as well as carting in two different types of homemade soup. Dave moved the recliner from the family room to the bedroom for me to sleep in over the next three nights. I have good friends who have been checking in and offering rides to and from ... wherever.

I am loved and cared for. I love being able to write that!

I'll be fine, but I suspect just a tad of piss-off-ed-ness is entering my head toward the dentist who balled all this up. I'm doing my best to keep it in check. After all, things happen. I'm alive and I don't have a fatal illness. I'm inconvenienced and I'd like my money back for the botched job, but I'll cross that bridge when and if I feel the need.

In the meanwhile, I have to remember, perspective comes from position.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Bowled A LOT ...


... but I never bowled over a 90 or maybe even less. I also never referred to myself or anyone else in quite the way President Obama did just last week.

Some of you may have been thinking to yourselves, "Hm, why hasn't she jumped on the Bad President Band Wagon?"

Simple. I needed time to think this through. I was surprised to hear a man of his stature make such a gaffe:

“I bowled a 129,” Obama said to Jay Leno on Thursday night. “That’s very good, Mr. President,” said Leno. Obama replied, “It was like Special Olympics or something.”

:I was borderline outraged. Borderline supremely pissed off. Borderline calling the White House and yelling at a staff member. Borderline insensitive to his, er, ah, well, whatever. I thought "give the guy a break."

But where would that get me? More importantly, where would that get all of our very hard working Special Olympians?

Not very far, I think.

So what do I have to say on the subject?

Dear Mr. President:

Initially I was shocked and somewhat stung that you would make such an insensitive, offhand remark comparing yourself to Special Olympians. These athletes work at and practise extremely long hours to accomplish their goals.

I am quite sure that if you were able to travel to Danvers, MA on a Tuesday evening and join the ranks of our SO bowlers you would find that on a bad night for them, they would far surpass your abilities.

But then, you'd have to pay close attention to the bowlers and not their scores.

I'd like to sit down and lecture you the way I feel you sometimes lecture us, but I don't want you to tune out to me, the way I tune out to your voice when you drone on and on about what bad citizens we are.

Read very carefully the next few lines.

I wanted to give you a pass on this. After all, we've been giving George W. Bush passes on his verbal gaffes for way too many years. What's one pass? In this case, it's a lot.

You campaigned opposite a woman who has a son with Down syndrome. You yourself, if you are to be believed, were not immune to teasing, racism, bigotry, discrimination and prejudice. You portray yourself as a man of the people. But what people?

Shame on you Mr. President. For your insensitivity; for your insincerity in suggesting you'd like to invite some Special Olympians to the White House to bowl and to get to know them.

It's time to educate yourself on stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination. Oh, and while you're at it, you need to train your brain to tell your mouth when to shut.

Sincerely,
Kathy Zolla

That, my friends, is what I have to say on the subject.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Change Is Good. But Some Things Should Stay The Same.

A busy Saturday with Emily & boyfriend Steve; I delivered them to the movies and then I challenged myself to find or do something just for me -- mani & pedi was just the ticket! -- and then a new pair of shoes!

Not sparkly, glittery, shining shoes. No. A more sedate, adult, loafer style shoe with just a hint of a shimmer in a pale pewter. For work.
Perfect! I love them. They fit. Half the battle, I'd say -- I particularly don't enjoy shopping for shoes. (This from a woman who had to clean her childhood closet of shoes upon shoes upon shoes when she married.)

Funny how we change. Change is good. Right?

I mentioned in my tag line, some things should stay the same.

Things like a little girl's love of sparkly shoes: pink, silver, black, blue, red, turquoise, gold, all colors that little girls fancy.

I remember well, my daughters, now grown, oh-so-in-love with their sparkly shoes during their childhood. Amy was more of a white or black patent leather lover while Emily chose red. Red! Red! Red! A stand out in any crowd! (like her hair now) Red glittery, Dorothy-In-Oz shoes.

She chose them at an early age and wouldn't let go. Until we could no longer find them in a size large enough to fit her.

It was a sad realization for her that things change. Like, you know, shoe sizes.

It was a sad realization for me that she had changed, not only her shoe size -- she had grown up before I knew what was happening!

I met Emily & Steve at the movie theater and we headed off to dinner at The 99 and then for an ice cream at a local ice cream stand.
Change is good. Right?

The weather has changed to cold but sunny days, a sure sign that the seasons are changing and Spring is going to grace us with her presence and so, the lines were long but quick and I stood back and let the young 'uns do their own ordering.

I found an empty table and sat people watching. Do you know what I saw? Sparkly shoes!!!

I saw red sparkly shoes on the dark haired little one who, poised, 'just so' on the ball of one foot, spun 'round and 'round until she slipped and fell. No tears, she was back up and spinning in those I-can-do-anything-glittery-red shoes! I saw silver glittery ballet slippers on a girl just a few years older. Paired with argyle socks, in white, pink, brown and turquoise, plaid pants and a paisley jacket, colors coordinated, she was adorable and her girl confidence shown through.

I saw an older woman with tired bleached blond hair, red lipstick, and a weathered face wearing a smile, sporting -- shiny gold loafers -- her pose told me she was fine with her tired hair because she was wearing her perfectly gold shoes.

Yes. Change is good. But some things, like a little girl's love of sparkly shoes in any color she chooses, worn with any outfit of her making, shouldn't change. I think as we grow from girlhood to adulthood we replace our very obvious shine with more subtle touches ... diamonds, gold, silver, platinum, pearls.

I've figured out that it isn't just about the sparkle, the glitter or the color -- it's about building style, grace and confidence. It's about being happy! It's about feeling good!

So, next time I'm out shopping I know exactly what I'm going to get. No silly, not diamonds. Not gold or silver. Not pearls.
Change is good. Right?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Saving Face But Not My Own February 10, 2006

Odd ... three years later ... I remember this day and this entry as if it were yesterday. I'm weeding out in the old 'Life on Flamingo Row' and eventually plan to delete the 851 posts of five years on AOL-J.

I'm not sure where this entry is going as I write. More than likely it will jump around a bit as I try to corral my scattered thoughts. I do know where it will end up. It will end up with me saving face, but not my own.

Some lady's face. In the grocery store. She seemed innocuous enough. She was beet red-faced. She needed to be saved.

:::sigh::: Why me?

I know that I am sick to death of this happening. It's not like we're a freak family or anything. We don't have blue, pink, green, purple or orange hair. No facial piercing -- no naval or nipple piercing. No split tongues, no dark menacing clothing. No spikes or leather jewelry. No nothing out of the ordinary. We're normal. Average. Right? Two arms, hands, ears, two eyes, a mouth, a nose, a chin. Two eyebrows. Two legs, two feet. Neatly trimmed hair. Your typical casual outfits.

Apparently not.

I'm worn out from coping and dealing. Ah-ha! But it's in my job description. I am a mother and mothers are on duty 24/7. That hunk of rock in the pit of my stomach, the one I refuse to let into my heart? Well, it got a little larger today. Not once, but twice. It grew a little last week too. And the week before. And the day before that week. It's grown from a grain of sand many years ago to a rock large enough to make my stomach flip- flop and give me butterflies. But not the good kind. These butterflies are more like hornets that have had their nest knocked around.

I am at the grocery store. Or anywhere. I am accompanied by Emily. Different Emily. But not funny looking Emily. Different looking Emily. But not funny looking. We walk up and down the aisles paying little attention to those around us except for the stranger contacts you make when excusing yourself or avoiding a carriage collision. We chatter and make choices and talk about what it is we are purchasing. But I am really quite in error here. I pay no attention to what's going on around me. I'm focused on the job at hand and I am teaching Emily the simple, normal things she needs to know. She, on the other hand, is paying close attention to everyone around us. She is watching and learning and experiencing. It comes as no surprise to me when she asks me, 'Why little boy/girl lady/man looking at me? Him/her staring at me!" I simply reply that they are looking at her because she is pretty. Some days I say she is cute. Some days, beautiful. You have such beautiful blue eyes, they can't help but look. It is always because they are attracted to her by her good looks, regardless the descriptor used.

Who's the dope here? Not Emily. She used to accept my comment as chapter and verse. Not so anymore. She knows that she is different than other people. She knows that she doesn't look the same as others. Now when someone stares, we have to have a discussion about being polite and not staring. We have to discuss how people don't mean to be rude, but sometimes they are. We have to discuss her differences. Not at home where I would like to discuss it, but rather, right out there in a public place in the middle of a grocery store aisle with people walking by. Eavesdropping.

Good. I hope they learn something from the experience. You know, Emily doesn't want to be different. But me? I wouldn't change one thing about her. Nope. Not a one.

She, on the other hand, wants to drive, to go out alone with friends, to have a boyfriend and go to the prom, not with 'kid like me' but with 'those kids'. Who knew she could be so smart? Don't ever underestimate the brain power of an individual with Down syndrome. They may be slow movers and slow thinkers, but they are smart and deep thinkers.

Three kids with Mom. Mom, like me is focused on the task at hand.... tug at my sleeve. Stage whisper, "Mom, girl looking at me. Why?" Because you are the most beautiful girl in the store. "She rude." She doesn't mean to be, honey. Just ignore her. Don't look. "I no like it." A thought runs through my head, 'me neither.'. Keep moving, don't pay attention, just get the groceries and get away from that little girl.

Not that the little girl is wrong. Or bad. Or rude. She's seeing someone very different from herself. There is no one to tell her why, what, how. It's taco night at our house. We head up the aisle for taco items. There is another mother with two little ones. A girl, about two, a boy probably four years old. They are riding in one of those nifty fire engine grocery carts. I noticed them but only in terms of trying not to ram their cart in the narrow aisle. Pretty blond mom with two pretty tow heads.

... tug at my sleeve. Stage whisper, "Mom" What Emily? "I'm no look funny." No, you don't. I continue to browse the items. Why can't I find what I'm looking for? Stage whisper, "MOM!" What Emily? Emily, just helped me find the right taco sauce. "MO-OM" What?! "He picking on me. " Who? " That boy." Emily, don't pay any attention. It's okay. Now I begin to tune in to what is going on. There's the mother, squatting down looking to pick up an item on the lower shelf. She is behind her carriage. Her little boy is looking at Emily. Loud voice, "Mommy, that girl is funny looking! " Whisper, "Michael, that's not nice. She's not funny looking." "YES SHE IS! SHE IS FUNNY LOOKING!" Normal voice, "Michael. She is not funny looking and you are being naughty. You'll hurt her feelings."

Too late lady. Damage is done and today I am out of damage control. But let me just look into the bottomless pit of my pocketbook and see if I can come up with some more. JUST FOR YOU. Mom grabs her item and stands up. She looks at me. She looks at Emily. Honestly, I would've moved on if her carriage wasn't parked in front of the item I was looking for. "I am SO sorry." "Don't be sorry. He's a little boy. He's just telling it like he sees it." "I am soooooo embarrassed. So very sorry. I don't want him to hurt her feelings." "Oh, she's tough ... getting tougher. She'll be fine."

I would have liked to stand there and yell at her kid! I have liked to stand there and yell at her! I wanted to sit on the floor in that aisle, gather Emily up in my lap and have a good cry with her. Right there. In front of all those shoppers. I don't.

I say, "He doesn't mean she's funny looking. Not like a clown or a funny face. He means she's different looking than say, you or I." "No harm done."

Stammering a bit, "I'm so very, very sorry."

"Really""Don't be sorry. Explain to him what is different about her. Try teaching him about people that are different than he is. He has no knowledge of Down syndrome or people in wheel chairs or with canes. He didn't have the 'right' word to use, so he used funny. That's all."

I am so tired of -- people. I understand why this occurs with children. They don't have the same experiences as you or I. They aren't exposed to the hard, cruel world. What I don't understand is why an adult can't take a minute or two to explain to a child what it is they are seeing. "He uses a wheel chair because he can't walk." "She has a cane because she is blind" "What he's doing with his hands is sign language because he can't hear." Young children don't need the long version. A simple statement does the trick. You might get a question or two. An honest answer will suffice. "I don't know" is never wrong when you add, "but I'll find out."

Let me be honest. I would rather someone walked up to me and asked me, "what's your daughters disability?" than to have them walk on in continued ignorance sputtering an explanation to a child.

Ask me. I'll tell you.

I'll introduce you to Emily. She'll charm the daylights out of you. You will be richer for the experience. Your child will too.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Follow UP!

Friends and commenter-s ... you should all know, that I handled the MILF comment guy with a mix of methods that works for me.

I spoke with my boss directly about this. Well, obviously, he told me what it means. This guy has gotten away with this type of thing for way too many years, however, I don't think we need to take the issue out of the building.

Essentially I have decided that this gentleman is first The Stereotype Of Older Men From Years Ago. That's his problem.

I view him as something of a caricature ... and mostly poke fun at him in my head. I mean, really, does he think he's sexy? 'Cause he isn't.

I wonder ... if I were to tell him that he has become the man no mother or father wants their daughter to run into ... what would he think?

A friend came up with an acronym that works well.

He's a G.I.L.K.

a Guy I'd Like to Kick.

I won't. But I'd like to. ;0