Why Saying “Calm Down!” Doesn’t Work

Have you ever seen someone doing what you consider “over-reacting”? You may have told them to “Calm down!”. This has happened to me. I don’t say “Calm Down!” because I know what effect that has on the person who is possibly over-reacting. I have been told to calm down when that was not going to happen.

If I see a danger you don’t see, and you tell me to “calm down”, I’m probably going to escalate, because obviously my original reaction was not strong enough to convey the clear and present danger I perceive.

It would be better, in my opinion, to say, “What is it?” Let the person tell you what has them so upset. Perhaps it is something they are over-reacting to, in which case, since it seems less stressful to you, you could handle for them. OR, it just may be that they see something you don’t see.


Second Thoughts About Giving

I’ve been down on my luck several times in my life. At other times, I was doing well and gave freely from what I had.

I tried to be careful when I gave money. At first I wasn’t. If a cause seemed sympathetic enough, I donated. Later I read about high percentages of donations going to salaries and “operating costs” of various charities and how just a few cents from every dollar actually got to the people I donated to help.

I’ve also been on the receiving end of “help” and some of the very charities I donated to refused to help me when I requested it. I met all their criteria. I don’t know why they didn’t help me.

I find myself in that situation now. I am facing surgery later this month. I had an extra large utility bill for the past month that must be paid by next Tuesday. I looked at all the places that will help people with such expenses. So far – after contacting the places several days ago, only one has gotten back to me. They took my name and phone number and said someone would call me back, but possibly not soon enough to help me. They didn’t do anything, they said, but answer the phone and forward callers’ names and phone numbers to the people who did manage the fund. They said not to expect much because funds were limited . . . and they weren’t sure I’d be called in time to even help me before the cut off date.

Hmmmm . . . I encountered similar places just plain out ignoring my requests last month when I checked around to see what food pantries offer in my area. No calls were returned and no one ever answered the phone. Just a recording to leave your name and phone number.

I believe I have figured out an even better way to screen places if I ever get in the position to donate again, and I will. I’m sure I will.

I will call any place that collects donations and ask for help first to see what kind of obstacles I face. Whoever is managing the money or the food is certainly not in a hurry to help anyone at the places I’ve approached.

Perhaps before you part with your hard earned dollars, you should call and try to get help from the places that say they help others to see if they really do. That will be my plan before I donate any money to anyone.

One of my sons criticizes my donations to Goodwill. According to him, I’m helping someone get rich off items I give away.  Well, the way I see it, I give someone items and they price them so low that anyone who needs what I’ve donated is probably able to afford what I’ve given. That’s all I try to do when I donate – help people in need.

One of the times I did need help was when my sons went to a private school on full scholarships, but needed dress code items.  Belts, even in Walmart were $10 each and I needed three. Goodwill supplied those three for a dollar or two each. Instead of trying to find $30, I needed less than $10. So I will continue to donate to Goodwill, even though I’ve faced criticism for doing so.

The other places? Before I turn loose of any money, I’ll call and see how hard it is to get help. If you collect the donated money to help others, you should be helping others and not figuring out ways to keep anyone from actually getting the money you’re sitting on.


To All Student Loan Debtors In America

There needs to be a consensus that these loans will no longer dominate every college educated young person in America. Enough is enough. Either the lawmakers can bail them out like they do the banks, OR the students in outrageous debt need to flee the country with their degrees and knowledge and go make another country great again. I’m sick of this modern indentured servitude of today’s best and brightest young Americans. If Trump wants to make america great again, he needs to focus on helping out the young people who struggle under enough debt to buy a house that they incurred just for trying to better themselves. What country would welcome educated professionals? The cost of these loans double while graduates struggle to pay them off in a country whose older generation refuses to retire so there’s jobs for the young, newly educated INDEBTED graduates. Get your passports and GO. You are obviously not appreciated in America.

Raised Plant Bed

For years I have asked my sons to help me design and build a raised plant bed. They have said it was an interesting project and they’d be glad to help me. I still don’t have a raised plant bed.

During the last few months, I’ve sorted through the contents of three under the bed containers that my sons left in the carport when I moved in. My house is full of their things, that they have chosen to store here. I have no living room to speak of – it has boxes of their things in it.

So one day I decided to go through those under the bed containers that had been left under the carport so long. Most of what was in them were Christmas decorations. There were some old papers and other junk of mine that I either put up, or threw away. Eventually I got all three containers emptied.

I asked one of my sons, who was here a couple weeks ago, if he’d help me build a frame for those containers `because it had dawned on me that I could use those for my raised plant bed containers. He said sure . . . he did say he thought they were his . . . ????? . . . and I told him, no, they had my things  in them when I unpacked them. They were mine. He repeated that he thought he’d left them here, but I could use them for my raised plant beds. Yes, that annoyed me, but I choose my battles, and that wasn’t one I chose.

This morning I read several online articles about raised plant beds. It seems that plastic containers are ok to use. The beds should be 6 inch deep minimum and these are 7 inches deep. I knew I’d need some holes drilled in them for drainage. I didn’t  know that putting screen mesh over the holes would prevent soil depletion, as soil tends to also drop out of the holes. . .

I ordered a hand held drill. I’d emailed my sons and asked if any of them owned a drill and if they would help me drill holes in the containers? I got no reply. So I bought one of my own. I wonder which son will appear and say that’s HIS drill? I’ll keep the receipt.

As far as a frame goes . . . I realize I will either have to build one or buy one. I noticed I have a bed frame/rails in my third bedroom. It’s leaning up against the wall. I had several bed rails. When my oldest moved out, he said he didn’t want any of my “used” bed rails. He was back a week later saying he had “priced” bed rails, and yes, he did want one of mine.

I don’t see why I can’t use the bedrails to hold my plant containers. I just have to get someone to help me set up the bedrails outside. I hope they’re twin rails. Twin rails are 39 inches wide; the plastic containers are 39 inches long.

I also reread about the kind of pests Marigolds repel. I want to take some of my skinny planters and plant Marigolds in them and put them between the containers. I probably need a scarecrow as I feed birds and there are birds that live around my house.

My grandmother had a garden, and there is nothing like fresh vegetables right out of your garden in the summer!

This spring/summer, I’m going to have my raised plant beds. I expect ridicule and criticism, but it’s what I’ve come up with and I think it’ll work. If anyone wanted it to look more elegant, they should have helped me one of the serveral years in the past that I asked for help.

One day, when my sons are older and think back on my life, they’ll realize I am a great problem solver.


Happy Birthday

Today is my oldest child’s birthday. Adult child. I have three adult children now and they all grew up too fast.

This one has had an interesting year. He came out as a transgender during the summer- at least with me. Some others may have already known.

We went out to dinner tonight and had a lovely time.

I probably should begin with the morning, but I’ve done too much today (enjoyed doing it all!) and am thinking backwards.

She showed up when she got off work. She works nights right now. I fixed us breakfast and then she went in one of my spare bedrooms to sleep.

We had planned to go see a movie, but she was so tired . . . it wasn’t my kind of movie anyway, so I was fine missing it. I do hope she goes to see it before it leaves the theater.

My mind is a grasshopper tonight . . . I intended to go from breakfast to what I did after breakfast. I took her car to be inspected. I know from working myself that little chores like that eat up a big part of your day when you have to do it. Everything on the car passed inspection, and it didn’t take too long. Besides, I needed to go out and get some birthday candles anyway. I’d gotten the cake mix a couple days ago.

I have made cakes from “scratch”, but I doubt I ever will again. Last year I was too sick to bake a cake. She showed up with one she had baked, and I was so glad! Birthday cakes matter to me.

But this year after getting the car inspected, and stopping for the candles, I came home and baked a cake. I was so grateful to be well enough to do that.

She got up mid afternoon and we dressed up a little and went out to dinner. It was fun. The music was lovely; the waitress attentive. The food was good.

We came home for dessert and cut the cake. She opened her presents and card and was happy with what she got.

I bought her a mixer and gave her a girly card.

I talked with one of her friends yesterday and found out not all parents are supportive when their children “come out”. Why not? That is still your child. I will support my children until my last breath.

So it was a great day, if eventually tiring.

It had gotten dark by the time we left the restaurant. I tried to help drive . . . but I can’t see well at night and really don’t drive at night. I was reminded that she can see well and was doing fine.

Indeed she was. I thank God for another year with her.

She’s gone out with friends now, but I doubt they have as much fun as we did, ha, ha.


Technology . . . Ask Me Why

I think one of the problems the younger generation and the older generation has when it comes to Technology is lack of understanding and lack of communication.

I am older now. I need reminders where I maybe didn’t need them before. I use some visual cues as a “to do list” or reminders.

Last night I asked my oldest adult child to help me figure out how to pay my car taxes online before the end of the month, which was my deadline. Otherwise, I’d just drive to the DMV and do it in person.

When we got to my computer, the first words out of her mouth were “Why do you have millions of windows open?”

To start with, it wasn’t a million. It was probably eleven, which is what I have open right now.

Instead of answering that question, I asked if she was going to help me or not?

So set the tone of our technology interaction.

She hovered over my shoulder monitoring what I was trying to do. This kind of behavior makes me extremely nervous. Either sit down and wait for a question, or sit in the computer chair and do it for me. Don’t HOVER!

So I got to the site and was told by my hovering figure that I knew what to do next. How does a young person know what I know how to do? That bit of irritation distracted me and as I did each step, I’d ask her for confirmation that it was right and ask should I press “Continue”.

For that I got a frustrated “YES”. I also was told I knew what to do next, why did I keep asking?

Well . . . if I knew for sure how to navigate this strange website that involves me sending hundreds of dollars through it, I wouldn’t have asked for help. Believe me, I wouldn’t!

So eventually I got to the screen where I am to type in my information. I needed a title number and the plate number. I must have typed it in wrong the first time, because it said “error” in bright red letters. So my adult child told me to try it again. I’d probably typed in the wrong numbers!

So I saw a different set of numbers on the notice and typed them in. “Error” again lit up the screen.

In frustration, my adult child took my car keys to go out to my car to get the registration card to double check the number.

I retyped the first set of numbers while she was gone and got in.

When she came back in with the card, I announced that I’d gotten to the spot where you pay, but couldn’t find the place to enter the information from my check. The form said I could pay online using a check.

Here came the eye rolling and the lecture on how much more secure a debit card is than giving out your account number over the internet.

I still wanted to pay by check, but got out my debit card and entered the information.

It was accepted and a confirmation screen came up.

Here was the part I’d really needed help with. She had told me to take a “screen shot” when I got it paid and print that out for my records. She said “screen shot” was a key on my keyboard.

I sat looking for that key and finally had to say, “I don’t see a key with ‘screen shot’ on it. I don’t think my keyboard has one.”

Oh, here came the flapping of arms and the look of frustration! “It won’t say “Screen shot”, it says “Print Screen”.

Well, where is that key?

Do you want me to DO IT FOR YOU???

I looked at the frustrated instructor and looked at the keyboard and the screen and said, “yes”.

So I got up and she sat down and told me you go to paint while she went to paint (like I know where paint is) and then you do this and then that and  . . . “what is wrong with your printer?”

My printer is old, like me. Sometimes it gets confused and doesn’t print but instead blinks three yellow lights. If you push the button beside the three blinking lights, it will print. So I did that.

The page printed out and she grabbed it and took it and the registration card back out to the car.

THAT is why older people have trouble using technology. No one ever explains things exactly right. No one ever talks us through how to do things and then waits patiently while we try. They do it themselves and then wonder why we don’t remember how to do it.

And like my old printer, I sometimes get confused and forgetful. THAT’S WHY I keep all those windows opened at the bottom of my screen. It reminds me of what I want to finish before I go to bed. And it is places I’m not sure I can find my way back to, if I close that window. I do a lot of research online. Some places take you various other places before you find that nugget you’re seeking. I have no intention of hunting for it again.

Leave my windows open! I’ve had “help” at work who actually closed my windows without asking, and it greatly hampers my efficiency.


Help! Help! Police?

I’ve had great respect for the police in the past. However, several events have made me rethink why I unconditionally respect the police? I expect it had to do with my grandfather being the Constable of our small town and me being sent to the police station to get him to come home when my grandmother wanted him. Insdie the police station, the officers seemed so competent. They were my grandfather’s friends. They were ok.

Even when my grandfather died, the police played a part in his funeral. He had a police escort to the cemetery and I remember the blue lights flashing and thinking how happy my grandfather would be, if he could see them.

In years gone by, I’ve had some good encounters with policemen and some not so good. Lately the not so good have out-weighed the good.

On March 6 of this year, my little dog and I were attacked by a neighbor’s pitbull. The police finally came – when I didn’t need them any more – and they took a police report. They asked if I wanted to be transported to the ER by EMS and when I said yes, they called. The police had been called by my across the street neighbor, who saw the dog when it began the attack. By the time the police showed up, the attack was over and I was on the phone callnig 911. I was told someone else had already called it in and they were on the way. How comforting.

During the investigation. it turned out that the owners of the pitbull (and the pitbull had not been vacinated for rabies and bit my son) and was quarantined, but the owners were known “pill heads”, as the policeman stated.. When I called the place quarantining the dog, I was told the owners could get the dog back in ten days. How comforting.

Then the police raided the pitbull’s owner’s house and found it to be a drug manufacturing establishment and no one could go back to that house. That helped.

I was outside early Saturday morning – just yesterday morning – with my little dog again. It was around 4:30 am and my dog insisted she had to “go”. So there we were in my yard when two large dogs ran across my neighbor’s (on the other side, not the drug house) driveway and across my yard. I quickly got my dog inside. I was shaking all over. One of those two dogs – at least one – was a pitbull. It took me awhile to calm down.

Then I debated calling 911. What good would it do? Always before when I call 911 about animals, they tell me to call animal control. So I looked that number up online. They were only available from 8 to 5. I noticed an email and I sent the animal control officer an email. My neighbor, on the other side, has someone who visits and has three large dogs. They are never on lease. One ran at me and my little dog when I was out walking her one day. The person who comes to visit and brings them (so I never know if they’re there or not) relys on his voice commands to control them. He called that one back and it continued to run at me and my dog. I was screaming, he was calling, and the dog would come towards me, hesitate, and then continue towards me, all the while ignoring the commands from its owner. Finally the owner started towards the dog and the dog turned around and went back to him. This is how that man handles his dogs in a leash law (but who really cares?) town.

So I thought those two dogs belonged to my other side neighbor. I thought about going over and telling him his dogs were loose, but then thought no, if they were loose, but still close, they might attack me for going into their territory.

So I finally sat down and called 911. For once the 911 operator was reasonable and didn’t play 20 questions asking the same bunch of questions 3 times like the one I got before did. She took the information. I told her I didn’t need to speak to the officer, but the dogs came from the house next door. I gave her that house number. By then it was 5:30 am.

I saw the police car drive up. I waited. It appeared the policeman shined his light on my house, so I went out. I was met with disparagement, and condescension. Why? I was asked, Why? didn’t I call 911 when it first happened? Did I thnk of that, he asked? He told me my neighbor was mad at being woke up. He told me there were no dogs at my neighbor’s house. He told me there were no dogs period.

I know I’m older now. I also know what I saw. I also know I will never call 911 again. If my neighbor’s visitors non-dogs get in my yard or near me and my dog, I will defend us myself.

The police suspect everyone of lying. They listen to the person with the most money. They have pre-conceived ideas when they approach you. Don’t believe otherwise. That’s how they are.