Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Too Old to Text?

I have a love/hate relationship with texting. Conceptually, I think it is a brilliant idea. What better way is there to let your spouse know you are stuck in traffic or ask a friend a quick question? In those situations, texting is fabulous.

Shortly after my oldest son turned twelve, we got him his first phone with a texting plan. I thought it would be a great way to communicate things with him such as what time he needed to get picked up or to remind him to do his homework when he was home alone.

What I did not realize was that I was going to have to learn an entire new language – all in abbreviations. In scrolling through my son’s texts, I can only make out about one out of every six. I’m positive some teenager came up with this weird language to throw their parents off. Well, it is working.

I’ll admit it - I am one of those texters who types most words all the way out. But in an effort to be the “cool mom”, I tried to text “how r u?” to my son one day on my smart phone. Well, it turns out my smart phone is really smart, because it converted my abbreviations into the words “are you”. So much for my cool factor.

The one that truly baffles me is ‘kk’. Is it really so difficult to type ‘ok?’ I mean, the ‘o’ is only a tiny bit up from the ‘k’ on the qwerty keyboard. It’s not like you have to type “qk” – I understand that would be completely unreasonable.

The other day, I sent a text to my son to remind him to skip football practice and come home on the regular bus. Yes, I wrote that all out in a text.

His response: Lk ik

I figured out finally that the ‘ik’ meant ‘I know’. But the Lk, baffled me. I even tried googling it. My search resulted in everything from lakes to left kidney. I asked him about it the other day. He said, he meant to type “kk”, but hit the wrong key. I asked him why he didn’t fix it before sending & he said it would be too much trouble and anyone else would have known what it meant.

All I have to say to that is: ATEOFD, SFMAK it’s 2MTH. SICNR. TTFN.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crafts for A Cause - Part Two

After finishing my Project Linus blanket, I came to the realization that knitting and arthritis were an impossible fit. It saddened me that I was no longer able to knit, especially because I felt such a strong connection to Project Linus, and wanted to keep contributing to this awesome cause. Knitting had been a big part of my life for so many years; it was difficult for me to admit defeat. My other unfinished projects, that I started “pre-RA” would have to remain unfinished.

This past summer, as I have for the past three summers, I welcomed an Occupational Therapy student into my home to observe and offer adaptations to help me with my daily tasks. We began talking about how I miss knitting and she immediately became excited and said, “I’ll teach you how to crochet! It is so much easier on your hands!”

“Won’t happen,” I immediately replied. My grandmother had tried and failed to teach me more times than I could count. I never understood it, I could knit elaborate sweaters with my eyes closed, but when it came to crochet, I never made it past a single chain. I always blamed it on the fact that I was left-handed. Plus, how could I possibly crochet? That needle was even smaller than knitting needles. Surely, my hands would not be able to handle that sort of grip.

The next week, my student showed up with crochet needles and yarn. She showed me the basic chain stitch, which I had easily mastered many times. She then tried to explain the ‘single crochet’. As expected, when I tried the pull through the stitch, the entire chain came off the needle. It was hopeless. She patiently explained it again, showing me how to hold my work with one hand, while my pulling the needle through with my other hand. Something so simple, that I had never thought of, because in knitting you don’t hold your work, you hold the needles. We moved on to the ‘double crochet’ & everything started making sense.

I know that for those of you who do not knit or crochet, I have completely lost you…. The point is, that someone finally taught me how to crochet and I love it!!! Not only that, the grip is completely different and so much easier on my hands. Thank you Leslie!

I had planned on jumping right into a blanket for Project Linus, when my friend Kris posted on Facebook about an organization called ‘Operation Gratitude.’ They were looking for people to knit or crochet scarves to send in military care packages overseas. I knew immediately I had to crochet a scarf for the people who risk their lives every day to protect my family and my country.


I’m not going to lie… I started my scarf over three times. It took me a while to get the hang of where the row started & ended (again, something I never had to think about with knitting.) But once I finally figured it all out, there was no stopping me. I was able to crochet, virtually pain free for 20 minutes or longer every night until I finished just last week.

I’m now working on a second scarf and plan to alternate between blankets and scarves to donate for as long as my hands will allow.

If you’d like to learn more about the carepackages sent to our service men and women, visit www.operationgratitude.com

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finally...

I've promised (& promised) and here it is! I found this excerpt from my story fitting as my blog posts this week highlight two wonderful charitable organizations.

~~The year is 1987~~

Thank goodness we have reserved parking, because when we arrive on campus, there is absolutely nowhere to park. In addition to the concert goer’s cars, media vans are everywhere.

We arrive at our seats in the front row as Kevin takes the stage.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Kevin screams into the microphone above the roar of the crowd, “Welcome to our first annual Rother Foundation Benefit Concert. We’re so excited to have you all here with us.”

He waits for the applause to quiet down and continues, “There are children in this world who are not as fortunate as all of us. They cannot walk into their public library and read a book; they do not have books to read in school, they do not have newspapers or comics, dictionaries or encyclopedias. Many of them cannot even read at all. The Rother Foundation, was founded to help these children; to help build libraries, to supply books, and to teach them to read. We rely on the kindness of people like you, to provide resources that will help us help them. We thank each and every one of you who came out today to support us. We especially thank James Bishop and Spectrum for coming out here today!”

Kevin waits as the crowd erupts in cheers.

“Before we get started, I would like to take a minute to thank the fabulous team of student interns and support staff that helped make this all possible,” Kevin motions for us to stand up and wave. My hands start to sweat as I nervously rise from my seat, grateful he does not ask us all to get on stage.

“And now, the moment you have all been waiting for. Ladies and Gentlemen - - SPECTRUM!” Kevin extends his hand as he rushes off the stage.


You know I can't give away too much now, but let me know what you think & I'll keep posting ;)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Crafts for A Cause

Helping others is one of the greatest gifts you can offer. In the book I am writing, the main character devotes her time to promoting literacy through charity work. Everyday, there are opportunities available for each of us to perform our own Mitzvah. As we enter the holiday season, please keep in mind those in need, as well as those who sacrifice their own lives to protect us.

~~~~~~~

My Grandmother could knit an entire sweater in a single day. We used to visit with my Grandmother every Sunday. She had a closet at the front of her small apartment with games to keep my brother and I from getting bored, but I was always more interested in what she was making – an afghan, a scarf, clothes for my dolls. There was always something interesting in the works.

Finally, when I was in fourth grade, my Grandmother gave me my first set of knitting needles. They were metallic pink. I remember her patiently showing me how to form the stitches, one after another. She wanted me to start with something simple, I insisted on making a sweater. Knitting quickly became my favorite hobby. In my attic, lie bags of sweaters I have made over the years; they are tattered, stained, and no longer in style, yet I cannot seem to part with them.

Shortly after my youngest son was born, he came down with meningitis and was hospitalized for nearly two weeks. Those days were some of the worst I have experienced to date. A couple of days into our stay, a nurse brought us two beautiful baby blankets, hand-crafted and donated by an organization called “Project Linus.”

I was so touched that people I never met would take the time to quilt, knit and crochet these beautiful blankets to brighten up a child’s stark hospital room. I knew it was time to put my knitting skills to good use.

Unfortunately, my arthritic hands were not so willing, and I was only able to knit in 10- minute increments every few weeks, sometimes months. Nevertheless, I was determined, and eventually, I did finally finish my blanket for “Project Linus.”

It may not seem like much, but the blankets we received in the hospital were truly a sign of hope for us. I knew from the moment we received them, I needed to pay it forward .

If you are interested in learning more about Project Linus, please visit their website http://www.projectlinus.org/ Even a few minutes a day can make a difference!

Watch for part 2 on this topic later this week & as promised an excerpt from my book!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Anatomy of a Toddler Appetite



I have the world’s pickiest eater. While many parents around the world hold claim to this notion, I can honestly say, my son wins the prize. I know most picky toddlers turn their nose up to broccoli, spinach and most anything else green and healthy. But how about turning away pizza, cookies, candy, cake and juice? No, I’m not complaining, it’s just I cannot believe sometimes that this child and I carry the same DNA.

My son is on what I refer to as “The White Diet.” He will eat bread, bread with cheese, macaroni, macaroni with cheese, crackers, crackers with cheese … do you see where I am going? I did get smart and try cauliflower with cheese, but it appears my child is a genius.

There are other “white foods” I can get him to eat occasionally: chicken nuggets, fries, scrambled eggs (with cheese of course), waffles, light colored yogurt and cheerios. Bananas were on the list for a while, but have sadly dropped off. Hummus was good, but the subsequent rash took that food item right off the list as well. Daddy’s pancakes, of course, are a favorite. I wonder how many ‘secret’ ingredients we can hide in the pancakes until my son catches on.

Over the past six months, there was a glimmer of hope as my son welcomed a few of “the reds” into his diet, namely ketchup, hotdogs and watermelon. I tried to pawn off some of my cherry tomato stash on him, but that was a complete failure.

Do I worry? Not really. I would rather my son eat something he likes than nothing at all, and miraculously, he does like his daily vitamin. I get plenty of unsolicited advice about my son’s diet including the ever popular “Just give him what the rest of the family is eating for that meal and when he gets hungry enough he will eat it.” Not true, but, I politely smile and act as if I never thought of that one myself.

Yes, I am one of those parents who fixes a separate meal for my child. I go even farther than that – I ask my child what he wants to eat for his meal. Why do I do this? Well, my almost thirteen year old just hit 6’2” tall. You can imagine what my food bills look like. I really do not want to waste food these days.

Of course, there are days, when even asking does no good. This morning was a perfect example, and the inspiration for this blog post:

Me: “What do you want for breakfast?”
C: (with a definite tone in his voice) “Bagel & cream cheese!” followed by “I don’t think I like this anymore,” after I present ½ a bagel to him on his favorite Scooby Doo plate. He looks at me sweetly and asks, “How about a blueberry waffle?”

Having had only two sips of my coffee, I realize I am not up for a debate and pop a waffle into the toaster. Seconds later I hear his little voice say, “Wait a minute, I do like bagel and cream cheese.” Sigh.

In the end, he ate both the waffle and the bagel, and I was able to finish my coffee in peace.

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