Retro- Mania

January 10, 2018 at 10:40 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

I went shopping the other day and went down memory lane  I laughed thinking of shopping back then because of the 1970’s clothes fashions I wouldn’t be caught dead in. today is a different story. It is funny when you buy a pair of flared jeans and pair it with a retro top and you smile at the fact you can’t see why you walked by the rack in high school.

I grew up on a ranch in California. before school, my brother and fed our animals, ate our breakfast, changed clothes for school and headed for the school bus a mile walk away. When my brother began driving, I had a chauffeur. Kids at school wondered why I didn’t dress up for school(back then I guess I didn’t consider the comments a compliment). I had long hair like Marcia Brady, but I wouldn’t think of wearing dresses THAT short to school. My outfits were often mismatched, I had a strict mom so my hair was pulled back so I was often teased. Money was tight at home and my brother and I worked young to help out. Cousins gave me clothes, so I wore what I had. I guess if someone would have helped me put a couple of outfits together I would have appreciated it. I was surprised my Junior year when I was told by my classmates to go out for Home Coming queen. ( I lost by 12 votes).

Clothes aren’t the only items making a comeback.  Vintage Homes are being beautifully restored. Some home owners are totally renovating the home to fit todays open concept design where others are restoring the homes natural beauty. There was something about older homes and beautiful moldings, wainscoting, old tile floors, big front porches, a fireplace, brings a warm and inviting place to live. I live in a ranch Style home with Victorian charm. My husband would have loved to changes I had made to our home. I have some great friends who helped me paint, and refresh my home to feel like a retreat instead of my house. I don’t know what it is about bedrooms being the last place you decorate. I have been told you usually run out of ideas by then or money. One of my dear friends came over and redid my bedroom ten years ago. It is a beautiful B&B inspired room that I love. After my husband died, I left the bedroom as is. it was nice, but needed an update.

I laugh about memories of my childhood when I was teased about my hair being pulled into a pony tail everyday and my mismatched clothes.  I have a short hair style,and like to mix retro tops with my leggings.and boots. All the fashion I hated in the late 1970’s, I am enjoying this time around. They say wait long enough and the era will come back. I wonder when good manners, customer service, respecting your elders, cooperation in the work place, gun control, moral values and a good work ethic are making a comeback. A lot has changed since I was a teen. We didn’t have the gadgets kids and adults  today can’t live without. We grew up with respect, hard work, spankings, getting filthy, drinking from a garden hose and lived, the record player, Sunday drives with the family, instead of a tv in the car to keep us occupied, we played find the red ca game. I am glad I grew up in an era that talked on the front porch to my neighbors and really knew them as good friends. 

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Resolutions???

January 3, 2018 at 1:23 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

Every year, I hear outrageous New Years resolutions that after three days, most have abandoned. Getting healthier is a great idea, as is eating normal portions. Taking a nice walk after dinner is a great way to relieve tension, heart healthy, not to mention spending quality time with the family. In snowy climates, family ski day is a fun weekend getaway. There are so many ways to keep that New year, New You desire.

I was talking with a dear friend the other day. We found it interesting that one of the biggest desires for the new year was to get healthy again. Cooking classes are on the rise teaching one how to cut out fat and calories, and get desert too(not all that bad). I know a new trend is meals delivered to your door. All the prep,shopping, measuring, cutting has been done for you. My friend and I agreed, it is more fun to plan your own menu,and prepare the meals yourself. I understand very busy lives, and you can now eat exotic new foods, but our moms were just as busy and had time to make dinner after she worked. We were also talking about pet food delvery, everything your pet needs sent right to your door. Have we really become so busy, that we need thses services? I am mind boggled.

I have never been one to make resolutions. I try to live a healthy life style everyday. I take time out for myself by getting together for movie night once a week with friends. I have a job in health care that I love, and enjoy writing. I do not know what this year holds for me. I know I will continue to miss both my husband and my son like so many other families who have lost loved ones.  Some days, you just want to get through them. I have the love and support of family and friends to get me through the tough moments. We all need each other, we need to get together more often, have family game nights, movie marathon nights, back yard cook outs, staying connect to one another. I know live gets busy, but depression has a less chance to creep in our lives if we stay connected. I appreciate everyone of you who take the time to stop by and read my story or post a comment because I need you also. You give me hope to continue writing .

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A Special day Indeed!

December 28, 2017 at 9:08 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Yesterday, I went on a drive with one of my son Levi’s best friends. It all started on Christmas day when Mike called to wish me A Merry christmas. As we were talking, I asked him if he had plans for the following Wednesday.  We were planning to go out looking at the eagles. This is a record year for them. They gathered in the same location for years.

Wednesday morning, I was feeling really blue because it was Levi’s birthday. He turned 31. Hey, I realize he was having a blow out time celebrating his special day with the angels and his dad; I on the other hand needed some encouragement to get into the shower. I decided to freshen up the color on my hair maybe this would boost my mood. it did for five minutes until I realized just how long overdue I was for a smirk trim(not). So, I went down to the beauty shop where magic is worked and came out looking respectable again.

Mike took me the back roads to somewhere unknown. Along the way,we spotted a herd of elk lying down in the field. When Mike took pictures, it was funny to see thirty ears perked and thirty or more sets of eyes just staring at you. We laughed and continued along our day trip. We ended up in a quaint small town in the mountains. Snow began falling softly as we made our way to a favorite Irish Pub for lunch. We had the best chicken sandwich with criss-cross cut fries topped with Gorgonzola cheese. We celebrated my son with great stories,a good lunch, a beautiful drive in the snowy mountains,and we both commented Levi is smiling down from heaven on enjoying our day with us. He would be glad we both were remembering him in a special way.

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Better Options

November 29, 2017 at 8:11 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

I have heard a lot of conversations about clean food lately. Everyone seems confused about what the term really means. I think I have an idea as to what people are talking about. I hope.

The term clean food suggests healthier options to diets and life style choices. They say taking a walk after a meal helps in digestion, healthy for your heart, helps with cholesterol, and helps clear the mind. More neighborhoods are considered family friendly ( there is a good term). A safe friendly neighborhood as opposed to what? One with high crime,we would willingly take our children for a walk around. Not a wise person. Clean food is based on the same principle. Officials have gotten together to cut down on the amount of sodium we get in our daily diets. Coke products have lowered the sugar content in drinks, packaged lunch meats are cutting sodium levels in half.

TV commercials are getting on board as well. Popular food chains are adding healthier option to kids meals. Instead of fat deep-fried foods,kids can have apples and milk to replace fries. I noticed in the last couple years restaurants and fast food chains are adding the calories to menu items. Consumers can make better choices in what they order. Some dollar menu items have always include salads with low fay dressings. A friend and I went into a popular sandwich place the other day. I was delighted to see the menus have added more fresh fruit and vegetables to the menu. A dinner now comes with a baked potato, red skin potato, rice, or mashed potato with gravy as an option. Some folks such as I cannot tolerate high sodium. Others have allergies to nuts, eggs, dairy,wheat and so forth.

There has been a 31 a day clean eating poster around for a while now. It includes eating more fruits and vegetables for healthy living.  When building a salad,go crazy on the amount of clean options being offered. Salad bars have come along way in the last few years. You no longer have to go to an up scaled neighboring restaurant to get a good salad bar. I also notice menus are carrying low carb,and under 500 calorie choices. One of the best planned out fast food chain ideas came in the form of a play land area for the kids. Someone was brilliant. Instead of going home after your meal, the kids can meet new kids and improve on social skills and burn off some energy and calories as well. We really have made strides in the right direction to getting our great country healthier.  But of course, it does all boil down to personal preference. There is nothing wrong to choose the super sized meal. I hope everyone knows I mean this. I just wanted to help shed some light on confusion I have read in blog posts and in general conversations.

I recently read a post from someone who I thought made a good assessment on all of this. Like so many, this new idea about clean eating was a bit concerning to her. I loved a comment she had made about clean food as opposed to dirty food. Brilliant! She made a good point about high fat, deep-fried, mashed potato and heavy gravy are the dirty foods. She may have come up with a coined phrase. I just think folks are really looking at life style changes with so many hereditary diseases, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. it just makes sense to take good care of ourselves.

I went out to eat with a friend the other day. While pouring over the menu, we were commenting on the new winter menu items. free range chickens, grass-fed beef, lighter fare breakfast items,veggie burgers were just a few of the updated menu items being offered. I do not get a chance to go out very often, so it was nice catch up with a dear friend and have better choices added to our changing our minds three times to finally order lunch.  I like the idea steps are being taken to get America fit once again. The question becomes,do you embrace the changes or do you simply look the other way. the choice is really yours.

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Tiny Big Bubble

November 17, 2017 at 8:59 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

 

 

This is one of my treasured pictures I have of my husband and son Levi. This was taken on Easter,when my son was three years old. My husband had asked me if we could put on the Karate gee we had jut bought him for Easter(my husband taught Karate). After Levi opened his gifts, he asked his daddy to blow him a tiny,big bubble. Jerry laughed and the picture made history in my family.

It seems so long ago that this photo was taken.  Jerry had complications with his diabetes and passed away six months later. Words cannot describe the lost feeling I felt as I realized  I was now mom, dad and sole provider to my family of two.  I had a thought one morning while drinking my morning coffee. I could become bitter and angry, about loosing my husband or I can be thankful and live a life reflecting it. I chose to live with a thankful heart.

What seemed like a comet zooming past you pace, Levi had grown into a fine young man. He never liked school,so instead of dropping out of high school, he earned his GED, and our neighbor hired him to help him lay carpeting. I was proud of the young man Levi was becoming. One day Levi told me his boss had an extra carpet in his garage. After buying it, Levi installed the carpet for me. One it was a treat to have new carpet, but the extra bonus is to have your son do the work.  Levi moved out at age 19, to help his grandma after his grandpa suddenly passed away. I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room. I love to get dressed in the morning and put on my pajamas at night.

My awesome son Levi died in 2007 in a tragic car accident. He was only 20. Again, I decided to live my life with a thankful heart. They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Some folks pour tons of salt into the lemonade because they feel so broken. I can understand the anguish they feel. Others, pour in too much sugar,maybe to compensate for the feeling of loss. I had to realize that the deaths of both my husband and son did not mean the death of me as well.  Instead of becoming angry and bitter, I chose to trust God.  He has walked me through some of the darkest days of my life and brought back into His light.

I wish everyone the Happiest Thanksgiving. May you be surrounded by those near and dear to your heart. Hug your kids extra tight tonight,let them know how much you love them, how much they mean to you and tell them how proud you are of them. Tell them to reach for the stars, live their dreams, and that you will be there to help them see their full potential. No one is promised tomorrow, so make the best out of each new day you are given and take time to smell the flowers. I am so thankful to you my friends, family and readers who read my posts, leave a comment, and for your love and support.

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Cancer- Zero

November 5, 2017 at 8:49 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

Four years ago, we received the news mom had breast cancer;  She was set up with a treatment plan of a partial mastectomy, radiation therapy, good nutrition, and most important, family support. After two months, she finished her treatments. Today, she is doing well. I was impressed with the level of care, patience, empathy, and professional ethics my mom was given during her difficult time in her life. Mom was scared, so it helped I could take her to her appointments. I had to step outside of my emotions and  take into consideration, just knowing  a loved one was in the waiting area can make the a big difference in healing.

Sometimes it takes a health scare to prioritize our lives. We can be so busy, we never stop to see the beautiful blue sky or look at the neighbor and her working in her beautiful flower beds. We have become over committed, ( need three of me) to accomplish everything in a day. I always tell my friends to manage your stress, take time out of the day for yourself,even if it just a quick dip in the pool, make a nice sandwich for yourself and sit on the front porch and listen to the birds chirping, if you like gardening,pull a few weeds, or pick a bouquet of roses for the dinner table tonight. Take the kids on a nature walk or a bike ride to the park. I learned what I thought was important wasn’t so important anymore.

Another success story I would love to boast about is when I worked at an Assistant Living facility a few years ago. The complex was divided into four homes ranging from assisted living,memory care, dementia care, and altimeters care.each home was decorated in a different theme. Timber House (decorated like a log cabin),was independent living, Tudor House,(Tudor style), memory care, Cottage House( decorated like a cottage)for dementia care, and last the house was the craftsman(decorated like a craftsman house) was for our altimeters residence. I was in dietary, so I watched and interacted with lovely ladies and gentlemen. The men dressed for meals, the ladies wore a pretty dress, because in their minds, they were going out to a restaurant. Every morning, I would take lunch and dinner orders. It was fun listening to the conversations.

I became fast friends with one of my co-workers. She was a pretty, funny, helpful care giver. One day she told me she had cancer. I didn’t know what to say to her, I felt horrible for her. She told me she starting treatment and planned to keep working. you would never know evenings, she was nauseous, low energy, because she was such a good care provider to the residence. I enjoyed evening meals talking to her. I left the job before she finished up her treatments. I knew she lived in my home town, so I would see her in the grocery store. One day while on Face Book, I saw Amber-1, Cancer-0. I was so happy, I cried. The story does not end here, no sirree. One day, I ran into my friend and noticed she had gained weight-well, she was pregnant with her son. I told her then “first you beat cancer, then you meet and marry a great guy,now you are pregnant.” Her was is beautiful, healthy,a rough and tumble little man. Well, I ran into her again last year and she is the proud mamma of a beautiful daughter! Double blessed I told her.

Life can change in an instant. Live everyday as it were your last,take the time to smell the flowers and even pick a few along the way. Tomorrow may not come. My life was forever changed with the deaths of both my husband and my son. Life is so fragile, so precious, so meaningful. Everyday is a gift,it depends on what you choose to do with it.

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Carver Farms

October 29, 2017 at 11:46 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , )

 

When my son was in grade school, his class went to Carver farms to pick a tiny pumpkin to bring home. They went through the corn maze where at least one classmate got lost, scared and screamed so I was told. Levi always had a good afternoon riding the bus out there and getting the free run of the patch. A couple of days later was the Halloween Carnival at his school. He loved going to his grandmas house for a chili dog feast, the off to the carnival where he had a fun evening playing the games and hanging with his friends. I am glad he grew up in a time where his class still celebrated with a party at school and at the end of the day, there was a costume parade down the street. Now, I think it has become a teacher work day.

When my son became a teen, he and his friends would go into the Wal-Mart store and try on wolf man mask and run around the store barking at people.  The next year, went to his church and helped with the games, and handed out candy; He loved working with the little ones, if they were having trouble fishing, he would help them hold the fishing pole so they could win the prize. Levi was 19 years old when he moved out of my house to help his grandma after his Grandpa died. he passed out candy at her house to all the goblins who showed up at the door. He loved his grandma, she needed some extra company and mom/son wasn’t seeing things through the same pair of glasses anymore. He lived with her for a year until July 2007 when he was involved in a fatal car accident. he was only 20. Now, I care for my aging mother.

What helped me to heal was the teens next door always have called me mom. I did not feel so lonely. It was nice to have company over for a movie marathon or just a cup of coffee. Ashley and my son grew up together and fought like brother and sister. When it snowed, Levi shared his sled with Ashley taking turns going down the small hill across the street. When they were frozen to the bones, I made hot chocolate and cookies to warm them up again.

A few years ago, my next door neighbors came over and invited me to spend the day with them. I had a long week and was looking forward to my first day off. We all decided to go over to Carver farms and go through the corn maze; we go lost,and so did many children because you heard ‘dad,are you still with us?’ dad had a cute expression on his face, maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t.  The family reunited,my group decided to go on the hay ride into the pumpkin patch. It was fun watching the kids and parents laugh, and having a good time. (back to us), we also had fun choosing pumpkins to take home and carve scary faces on.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween.

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Happy Birthday Mom

October 24, 2017 at 3:17 am (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , )

 

 

Yesterday friends and family came together to help celebrate my moms birthday. My twin brother was able to take a couple days off from his work to surprise her. She loves it when she says “no gifts now kids” and no one listens to her. She received some home-made huckleberry jam, a couple of pretty night gowns, a beautiful bouquet, and plenty of phone calls after my brother texted a picture of the three of us holding her cake. mom didn’t want any pictures either…. she was trying to finger comb her hair into place, straighten up her dress, and make sure she was sitting straight in her dining room chair. We had much lively conversations on some interesting topics. It was good to hear everyone having a good time laughing and making my moms day.

After company had left,my brother texted the picture of us to family. Mom never had so many people call her back so soon! A lot of the family had not seen a recent picture of my brother, so this was a treat( one I had instigated). I put the cake in front of my mom and told Jeff get over here too.-and he listened. Later, my mom was reminiscing about her childhood. We were talking about her life growing up in Chats worth California. She told about the family of five living in a one-bedroom house. How her dad built a bunk house out back for my uncle to sleep in. Mom and her sister shared the back porch and the room was for the parents. Every Sunday, mom would help her Uncle Burt kill chickens for dinner. She also made it clear,she never had a yard full of flowers because she had to water, and weed the flower beds and her mom had many beds, plus vegetables.

I guess I have a hard time understanding so many people do not have a family connection. My family has  always told funny stories about their childhood. My dad used to tell the story about when his older sister took him to see the first of many King Kong movies. About half way through the movie,she asked for her three cents back because the movie scared her little brother; They went into see a Roy Rogers movie instead.My family always sat around after a meal and talked about fun memories from childhood. I feel so blessed to have grown up in this environment. I know some family have tragic pasts they would all like to forget. They have an Uncle thrice removed, or no one talks about the family past.  Libraries hold classes on your genealogy.

Keep telling the stories of childhood memories at birthdays and holidays. Once the older loved ones are gone, so are the delightful stories about incredible lives. These people are true survivors who have over come some truly remarkable circumstances. During the war, the air raid sirens you better have the lights out or you would be bombed. I can’t imagine what my mom must have felt as a little girl. Butter, sugar, milk and gas were rationed.  Younger adults do not want to waste time on the older folks. they have no idea how interesting an evening could really be to sit and talk to Uncle Mike about his job at Lockheed building planes for war. I am glad my mom still has her mind and tells often the stories.

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A Fresh Outlook

October 18, 2017 at 6:04 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

 

I have been going through a funk period. You are unhappy about something,but can’t quite put your finger on it. I am there. Some days, I feel like I am walking through a thick fog. Some friends will tell me it is because of the change in weather. The warm sunny days have been replaced with shorter, cooler evenings. I know I enjoy fall. I love the changing leaves,the cool mornings, the first cup of coffee tastes better, fall creamers,layers.

As I was sitting in my living room this morning, a thought came to mind. Sometimes I have to realize I need a change in my daily routine. I need to dead head my hydrangea, trim back my Lavender bushes, trees,and the final mowing of the season. Yes, it will be a routine change. I still need to clean and organize mt closet from summer to fall. Two of my best girlfriends both have full-time jobs, so we do not see each other as often. it is so easy to let our minds get side tract from what is important in our day. We still have the fall clean-up getting ready for winter, clothes need to be changed out so we do not freeze in 20 degree mornings, lunch dates are also important to stay connected with those we value. My thoughts this morning went deeper.

I have kept a morning journal for over thirty years now. I write down my thoughts, dreams that may or may not have come true, concerns I have in my life, my aging mom, finances, my job. As I get older, I see a different perspective than I did while raising my young son as a single mother. My priorities have changed; One income does not go as far as it used to. Home ownership is expensive when replacing a furnace or a roof. Property taxes and car insurance are due the same month. Life can be over whelming sometimes, and we cannot just go to an exotic destination to escape. Instead of focusing on negatives thoughts in my life, I have decided to focus instead of some positives.

I am grateful for the continued support of my family and friends. They have helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life. They are always just a phone call and a cup of coffee away. Loosing my son was devastating, I do not live in a new normal, I learned how to move forward in my life and enjoy life again.

I am grateful I still have my mom and brother. Mom turns 80 years old this weekend. My brother is able to be here to help celebrate. Even if it will be a quiet party with a few friends. She wanted sub sandwiches and carrot cake, so this is what she shall have. This will also give me a chance to see my brother again. (he does not know this yet,but I am enlisting his help with some of my fall clean-up). Lavender can be tricky to shape and cut back. We both enjoy seeing new homes and get ideas.

I am grateful for the changing season ahead.  love the crisp cool mornings like this morning. I even enjoy a foggy day. (It reminds me of when I was a girl visiting my grandparents in Santa Barbara. watching the fog clear up into a sunny day.) The red and golden colors on the tree-lined streets, Pumpkin Mania, school harvest carnivals, a crackling fire in the fireplace on a chilly night. Friends over for home-made chili and corn bread, a good Agatha Christie Movie.

Walks around nice lake front neighborhoods. I live in so many well-kept, gracious homes, I often go on a dream tour and come back to my home feeling blessed. I live in a smaller home than some, but I live a block from the river. We have paved walking paths, nature, the river, deer, birds singing, ducks with their babies swimming in the cove, paddle boards enjoying the mountains and beautiful home along the river. I must say, I do have so much to grateful for. Sometimes we feel over whelmed with commitments, saying no, home repairs, car repairs, we wonder if our paycheck is going to stretch enough.

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Be Real

October 14, 2017 at 8:05 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , )

 

I was reading an article in a popular magazine a few years ago, the story has stayed with me.  TV commercials depicts a family run by the kids. Most children if you ask them, do not really have a concept of how much lunch costs. If the child is raised with respect, they will eat what is being served. I do understand a parent would not make a dish that the child clearly will not eat.

When I was growing up, the family all ate together. Period. We did not grow up with all the electronic devices kids today have as their source of communication.  It saddens me to see a commercial on TV where the mother texts the kids at the dinning room table to tell them time to do the dishes. My brother either washed or dried the dishes every night.  Our parents worked hard everyday to provide for the family, and the kids had chores to help out. Boundaries and hard work around the ranch helped make me the person I am today.

I also see on the news a child took a gun to school and shot a classmate who was harassing them. After dinner,if the family sees each other for a family meal,kids go to their rooms and play X Box, mom and dad are in living room on the phone,easy for junior to go grab a gun or other weapon to conceal in his backpack. Parents are over committed to work, after school games, Church functions and the kids know it. I believe it makes it harder for a child to tell mom or dad they are being bullies. The kids hear parents talking about the rough day they had. If you let a teacher or the principal  know what’s going on, more bullying. This is going to continue to be a growing problem. With budget cuts, the good after school programs are being eliminated. Kids have no where to go.

My brother and I were raised around guns; We knew we did not get into the gun case unless an adult was there the gun was properly checked. We were not given the combination to the gun safe, we did not try to get into the gun case when our parents were not at home and a friend came over. My brother and I respected the privacy of our parents personal space. We did not go snooping around to see what was in the bedroom closet. No, we were not perfect kids,we still managed to get into harmless trouble, like the snake that got into one of the rabbit pens. Dad told my brother and I to take the snake far out into the nearby field and release it. Jeff and I took the snake to the edge of the property and let it go. next day,snake had baby rabbits for lunch. Jeff and I disappeared in the orchard on our horses for the afternoon.

I am glad I do not have grandchildren who has to attend school. The online public school is rapidly growing. Parents want the kids to get a good education without all the drama of Kindergarten.i have seen and heard some boys and girls that need more than re-direction. It does not help that adult sit on both sides of the fence with discipline. When my son was three,my husband told him to stop his screaming, a lady told my husband she was calling the cops because he was being mean to the boy. Jerry told the lady”go ahead, my son is not going to scream in a public place.” Who is right and who is wrong anymore?

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