Learning Everyday

Bloganuary daily prompt #29 : What is something you learned recently?

Everyday is a new day. A new day that I get to explore, have fun and learn something. There are various places to learn something. I love to read. I enjoy talking and sharing information with others. In addition, I have started working outside the home, which has entailed some learning of new skills and refreshers on old skills.

This week while reading the blogs of others I learned South Africa has 11 official languages. WOW. I also learned the name of a cake I enjoy, Frasier, and it originates in France. By reading blogs, I have learned that I am not alone in some of life’s struggles. There are others who have traveled through similar trials and face similar challenges. I am not alone.

Applying and accepting employment has been a very big step of self-growth for me. I am a high functioning Asperger’s syndrome person, in short a form of Autism. I struggle with understanding facial expressions of people. I am awkward with social interactions. I am friendly and I do interact well, but all of my social behavior is cognitively taught. My other struggle is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with anxiety and a panic response to conflict or possible conflict. These two conditions have made working with co-workers a struggle and I have not in the past had employment very long. As I will panic and leave work. I want to overcome this panic and leave response. If and when I leave the place I am working, I want it to be a decision not a response.

Today, I did something very difficult, I spoke to my manager about an incident a week past. Four co-workers and myself were stocking the shelves in one aisle of the store. Another, male co-worker approached unknown, and placed a hand on my shoulder. I almost hit him. He scared me by touching me when I did not know he was there. I do not trust people and I especially do not trust men. I was raped at age 20, grabbed from behind and raped. I did have a small panic attack, but was able to go to a room alone and calm myself. I have been debating on how to deal with this incident.

Many thoughts go through my mind. Was he innocent in touching my shoulder to get by? or is there something underneath that could be danger? I do not know the intentions of this person. He is always around when I am working, visiting the meat room when I am the only one working in that area. I speak to every person, as a sign of acknowledgement that they are there and I see them. Does this person interpret my greeting as something else?

During conversations with another employee whom I have become friends with, I learned I am not the only female working at this business who has been raped. Her response would be the same as what I felt like doing. Once again I am not alone.

How all of this will evolve I am not sure. I have let the supervisors know what happened. I am not giving up on having this place of employment. I want to make the decision to leave, not my panic decide for me.

amtolle

Birthday Cakes

Bloganuary Daily Prompt #28: Describe your perfect birthday cake?

Variety is the spice of life.

I love to bake and cook exploring different spices, flavors, and preparation of foods. I enjoy trying different recipes from different countries and cultures. Some agree with my palate others do not, but there is fun and excitement in cooking with new spices and ingredients.

Today’s writing prompt of choosing the perfect birthday cake is quite a challenge for a person who enjoys the multiple flavors of foods. A German chocolate cake with the rich chocolate, covered with caramel and coconut frosting, a rich sugar experience. Or perhaps something simpler as an angel food cake with strawberry syrup and a touch of whipped cream. Tangy zest of a lemon cake with lemon frosting to awaken the taste buds to pure delight. The plain but never rejected yellow cake with whipped cream frosting to meet everyone’s delight.

Not everyone enjoys cake for their birthdays. My husband is gleeful with a warm rich pecan pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream added when served. My son love pumpkin pie with a touch of whipped topping to make his birthday complete.

For me, I like the fail safe cheese cake with a fine graham cracker crust topped with blackberries in syrup. That is my one constant dessert that I enjoy. There is no disappointment with any choice of cake or pie for my birthday.

The most important aspect of the birthday cake is not the flavor but the thought of celebrating another year of life. The companionship of family and friends who joyfully celebrate the fact you were born and share life with them. These are the true flavors of a birthday.

amtolle

Procrastination: Pros vs Cons

Bloganuary Daily Prompt #27 : What are the pros and cons of procrastination?

Procrastination putting off today, what should have been done yesterday, hoping to get it done tomorrow.

I think every person has some procrastination. There are tasks we need to do that we do not like to do. I do not like laundry. Yet, I have to wear clothing, and my clothing gets dirty. I am not super wealthy so I can not buy clothing to replace dirty clothing. I have to do laundry in order to have clothes to wear. But I will postpone doing laundry, or do just enough laundry to have clothes to wear for a few days.

I have thought about if there are any pros to procrastination. I can not think of one thing procrastinating doing that would be a benefit. Cons, there is one simple item against procrastination. Procrastination is a time thief.

Time is always on the move, and only moves forward. Until a time machine is created, time will only move forward. Once that space of time has moved, it can never be recovered. Procrastinating steals our time to get a tasks done. It steals the time we could use to create memories and joy with those we love. In short procrastination steals our life. We put our life on pause, missing the opportunities to experience something that would only happen in that specific time space.

Procrastination is a thief of life and life experiences. There is nothing positive that comes from procrastinating.

amtolle

Languages

I was raised and lived the majority of my life in a very culturally diverse area. I lived where four states join at their corners in one spot, call The Four Corners. In this area are four Native American tribal reservations, a strong Hispanic and Spaniard populations and Caucasian Americans. Mennonites and Quakers of German heritage also lived in this area.

Languages spoken in the area were American English, Spanish, Navajo, Ute, Apache and German. Each group of people brought their own culture and customs. Hispanic and Spaniard are not the same, and each is offended by being called the other, although they both speak Spanish and have very similar culture, their heritage is very different. Hispanics trace their family lineage to Mexico. Spaniard trace the family lineage to Spanish explorers all the way back to Spain. Most Spaniards still own the land titled by Spanish Land Grants, given to them by the King and Queen of Spain. Spanish is a common language as the older Navajo, Ute and Apache elders could speak Spanish in order to trade with the Mexicans when the southern parts of Colorado, Utah and all of New Mexico, and Arizona were part of Mexico, along with California and Texas.

I was raised to speak American English. In school I learned Spanish and spoke Spanish with my dad. I became fluent in Spanish. I also learned Navajo from my school friends, but did not learn much until later in life. I started training horses and doing horsemanship clinics as well as working at a restaurant, during this time I learned Navajo, although I was not fluent in speaking. When my children were in school, they were taught basic words and numbers in Navajo and Ute. I learned to speak Ute with my children. When I started working for the school district assisting with special needs students, I learned Sign Language.

At home, my children and I would speak Spanish, Navajo, Ute and Sign Language as well as American English. In taking college courses to become a teacher, I learned that if children are exposed to a different language before they were eight or nine, they would be able to learn other languages easily. My children have learned other languages since becoming adults. One speaks Japanese, another Korean.

I have learned that by speaking different languages, I can get the jest of a conversation even though I do not know it. As some words are similar due to the languages being in the same language tree. Such as Italian and Portuguese is in the same language tree as Spanish, words are similar enough to be able to comprehend what the person is saying.

When I was in high school I wanted to learn Spanish, French and German so I could travel the world and be able to speak to others. I did not learn French. I only learned a few words of German. Since being away from my home ground and not using Spanish, I am no longer fluent. Languages and the culture that goes with them are interesting and unique.

My most recent exposure to a foreign language is Afrikaans. The person I learned how to train herding dogs, Afrikaans is their native language. It is also the native language of the South African judges and inspectors for Dorper Sheep. If I had the time to be able to learn this language I would. I would know what the dog trainer is saying to their dogs during herding dog trials, enabling me to be a better dog handler. I would also be able to communicate with the judges and inspectors at the Dorper sheep shows and when the time comes for them to inspect the sheep at my farm. American English, I consider to be shallow as words have multiple meanings. Other languages have more precise meanings for individual words, creating more precise communication.

I do not believe you are ever too old to learn a new language. The first new language is always the most difficult to learn. But once the brain has started thinking in more than one language, learning additional languages becomes much easier.

amtolle

Working My Job

At the first part of January I became employed outside of the farm. It was a necessity since my husband was dismissed from his job in November just before Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, we both were busy looking for work.

I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, with anxiety being a major symptom and depression. I am afraid of people, and especially of doing the wrong action or saying a wrong word around people. I struggle with social skills due to my mind being wired a little differently, Asperger’s syndrome. So I have a few things going against me in working outside of the farm.

I was careful where I sent my resume, and I prayed a lot about the right place to work. I was hired by the little grocery store in the small town where I live. The automoshere in the store has always been friendly, and I was comfortable with the employees before I went to work there.

Now that I am working there, I am enjoying. I still have a challenge every once in awhile, but thankfully I have been able to handle and work through those challenges. The challenges are understanding and dealing with others. Part of the challenge is identifying when they are having an off day, and not to take it as a personal response.

I do not work in one area. I am all over the place. I do however work two days in the meat department as a meat wrapper. I love this part of the job. Each day I work in the meat department is a little different. I have been learning to wrap meat, grind different meats, season meats, and cleaning. The meat department supervisor and I think a lot alike, and we get along really well. When I work in the meat department, the first part is getting my orders on what to prepare, package and put out on the shelf. After that I am on my own. Today, was a special day. I filled a customer’s request. I also learned I am going to start cutting meat.

There are two days of the week I work on stocking the freezer section when the delivery truck arrives. This is a busy, time pushed day. It is work as fast as you can to get the frozen merchandise out of boxes and on the correct space, as well as rotating the items. We rotate the items that will expire first to the front, and those items that expire later to the back. As I am stocking the food items in the frozen, I am also checking expiration dates. When I am done with the frozen department, I move to the grocery department and start stocking the shelves with the merchandise, until all is done. There are several other employees who start with stocking merchandise in the grocery department. So when I am done, I am assisting them.

Then I work one day, that I never know what I am doing until I show up for work. I might be stocking that day, usually I start with the freezer then move to dairy. Or I might be a cashier all day. It changes.

I like the changing duties as I am not bored. If I were cashier for five days a week, I would quickly become bored with my job and task. With the variety I keep an interest in my job. My ability to change positions and department where I am needed is a big help to the manager. There are some employees who do not want to work in the cold parts of the store. Meat department is always cold at 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Freezer department is even colder.

I know I am where I am supposed to be.

amtolle

Share Music, Share a Poem

Bloganaury Daily Prompt #25: What is a song or poem that speaks to you and why?

I have felt the prompts to Bloganuary 2023 are to delve in the psychology of our thinking and lives.

Today I will share a song. It is not the song, the words to the song that have meaning. It is the memory attached to the song.

Horses love music. Put on music and their hoofbeats and action will match the music. Music will calm a nervous horse. Music will energize the horse to perform animation and action with speed and grace. Watch the Tennessee Walkers Rack or Saddlebreds and Arabians. They love to move to music.

In 1993, I purchased an Appaloosa stallion by the name of Top Jet H from the estate of my fourth grade teacher. Top Jet H, commonly called Jet performed in horse shows as a three and four year old, then retired to the breeding barn. At the time I purchased him he was fifteen, eleven years of not being ridden or shown. I decided to ride and show him. Jet had a long history of wins in Western Pleasure and English Pleasure. The Pleasure classes exhibit three gaits of the horse, walk, jog – a slow trot, and canter. When Jet was shown, a four beat artificial canter was taught to the horse for these classes. I needed to have Jet show in a natural three beat canter, as the four beat artificial canter was ruled as a disqualification after Jet was retired. The three beat cantor gait of the horse in these classes is a very slow, collected canter, and is a natural gait of the horse.

In order to get in rhythm with Jet at the Western Pleasure cantor and train Jet not to use the four beat cantor he was trained to do, I would play ‘In a Different Light’ by Doug Stone. We cantor a three beat cantor for miles to this song.

After a couple of years showing Jet and trying to get people to breed their mares to him, of which not many did. And my children were wanting to show with me, but had no horse to ride I made a decision. I gelded or castrated Jet so my children could show him. Children can not show stallions. Although my children learned to ride from Jet, they were unable to show him. At the age of seventeen I had the operation performed to castrate this wonder horse so my children could show him. For four years my children rode, showed and enjoyed this great teacher, especially my oldest daughter. Then one day while saddling Jet for a parade, he had a heart attack. He was permanently retired to the pasture. He was no longer safe for my children to ride. Although that did not stop my oldest daughter from going to the pasture, climbing on top of her beloved Jet and sitting, enjoying each others companionship.

The song is attached to the wonderful memories of a great horse – Top Jet H and all that he did for me and my children.

My oldest daughter and Jet

Rest In Peace my old friend, I will see you when the time comes.

amtolle

The Ways to Love

I was not shown much love by my adoptive mother, most often is was criticism or a lie. My adoptive dad would show me love when he had time. I wanted my children to never feel the way I did as a child. I was going to not lie or be critical of my children. Mostly I wanted to be there to listen. Listen to their problems, fears, struggles, as well as their successes, triumphs and dreams.

I encouraged my children in learning whatever activity they desired to learn. I made sure they did their homework and would ask questions about what they were studying to make sure they understood. I taught them to clean, cook, and do laundry, skills they would need one day when they were on their own. They did not like me all the time when I made them clean a room instead of going to visit a friend or watch television.

We did 4-H, and showed all kinds of animals, as well as learned leathercraft, ceramics, and rocketry. With one of my children I even learned about airplanes and the history of flying as he was in the Civil Air Patrol.

I felt like I drove a taxi, taking four children in four different directions. I struggled to make their ball games and theater practices. I was not able to make all their events, but they knew I was rooting for them even though I was not there. After an event I had missed, they answered a thousand questions on how their event went. I wanted to know all about it.

Children grow, as soon it was time to start letting go. The hardest thing I had to teach myself was to let my children be adults. It is not easy to let them go. Although the process is gradual, it happens quickly. I had to let go and let them make decisions on what they wanted to do, what they wanted to wear, and who their friends were going to be. Then comes the day, they moved out of my home.

It is not easy helping your child pack up their clothes and belongings and move into another place to live. Yet, I was in there helping them put their belongings in boxes, as I fought to hold the tears in their place. I did not want them to see the tears fall. They had reached a place where they were able to triumphantly leave home, I did not want to dampen their experience with my tears.

When your children find that special someone in their life, a parent really has to let go of it all. There is no more advice or guidance on how to manage their money or make decisions. They have someone to do that with, and it is not the parent. I loved them by letting go, setting them free from me to be with someone else.

I show love today to my children, who are now parents. I encourage them when they tell me about how difficult it is sometimes to be a tough parent. I ask how the children are doing, and how they are. When my son moved to Indiana, my heart sank, but I did not let him know. I expressed happiness for him and his family. I let him know he had to think of his family and how to provide for them. I loved him by listening and encouraging him. He is a good provider for his family. They are farther from me, visits will be hard to make and I will not be able to see the grandchildren as often. But loving involves letting them be the spouse and parent they need to be.

My children have told me that the one thing they know they have always had was unconditional love. Sometimes I was hard and stern, but I always loved them.

amtolle

The Big Lie

Bloganuary Daily Prompt #23: What’s a Lie you tell yourself?

Honestly, the list of prompts reminds me of seeing the psychiatrist. Threw the years I have believed many lies about myself, some told by others and some I told myself. Childhood was not easy. Having a mother who really did not want to adopt you in the beginning affected the mother-daughter relationship. It was well after I was an adult, that my adopted mom really began having a relationship with me. So there were many lies, but one major lie in my life.

Growing up with a sister 19 weeks younger than yourself was interesting. As anyone that can do the math would know we were not blood sisters, one of us had to be adopted. I learned this truth when I became pregnant the first time. I approached my mother with this thought out time table, her response is my sister and I were not adopted, my sister was born way premature. Ok. Another six years of living the lie.

When I was pregnant with my second child, my doctor, Dr. Cain, informed me it is physically impossible for one woman to give birth to two children nineteen weeks apart and one of you is adopted. Once more I went to my adoptive mother and repeated what my doctor had told me. I knew I was probably adopted due to the way she treated me growing up and as an adult. My adoptive mom insisted this doctor I was seeing was a quack and did not know what he was talking about. I knew I would never get the truth from her by her tone and actions. I did not approach the subject again.

I continued my life living the lie. A mother would not tell a lie to their daughter. Perhaps the doctors were wrong, and my adoptive mother was a special woman who gave birth to two children 19 weeks apart.

Years go by and life changes happen. The time came my adoptive mother died. Birth records and adoption records for the years I was born were being opened for the adopted child or the parents who gave their child up for adoption. I decided with some strong encouragement from my husband to get my birth records. The Bureau of Vital Statistics can not tell anyone if they are adopted or not. They do tell people to fill out the form, pay the fee, and if you are not adopted the money will be refunded. A few weeks later I received my original birth certificate, and a couple of letters from an attorney requesting my new birth certificate with changes made after the adoption. Now, on official government paper I knew I was adopted.

Shortly after getting the original birth certificate, I purchased a red merle Australian Shepherd puppy. The puppy needed a name. I learned without a doubt that I was adopted at the age of 48 years. A long time to believe a lie. I named the puppy my birth name, the one given to me by my birth mother, Bonnie Jo. Every time I called my puppy, I reminded myself to no believe the lie and see the truth. Puppies have puppy lessons to learn, they explore and get into trouble. I said Bonnie Jo a lot during the first year of her life.

About two years later, a cousin finally told me I was adopted. Only she thought I already knew I was adopted from my adopted mother telling me. It was a huge relief to hear a family member finally say “You know you are adopted and so is your sister.” The family was free to finally talk to me about my adoption. I learned my sister was adopted shortly after her birth, and my adopted mother’s mother was the nurse when she was born. I was adopted later, after I was over a year old. They told me how my parents fought over my adoption, as my mom did not want an older child, and my dad was insistent on adopting me.

My adopted sister and I were both born in Colorado. Our adoptions took place in New Mexico. There is stories of how our adoptive parents met the doctor who delivered both of us, at the state line to pay for us and pick us up. New Mexico does not release any information to those who are adopted or those who gave a child up for adoption. There is an exception for medical reasons, with lawyers involved, the lawyers will communicate with the child and birth parents through the court, but no names are given. Everything is anonymous.

Everyday, several times a day, I have a special friend who reminds me of the truth. She is getting older and one day she will be gone, but the truth will remain. I have made peace with the biggest lie in my life. I am adopted.

amtolle

Books and Authors

Bloganuary Daily Prompt #21: Who is your favorite author and why?

Selecting a favorite author after fifty plus years of reading, how can that be fair? I have read many books, more than I can count, each one a story to tell during a stage in my life. Would it be fair to chose one over the others, when they are all great writers whose words I consumed and loved?

Being an introvert books were my way to engage in a world since engaging with others in daily life was difficult and often non existent as a child. My first memory of a book was the one and only book my dad bought and read to me one time was ‘Eskimo Boy‘ by Pipaluk Freuchen. Why he chose this book I do not know. This book always holds a special place in my heart not for the story but because my dad read it to me.

In first grade I fell in love with ‘Blueberries for Sal‘ by Robert McCoskey. The teacher read it to the class. Later I checked it out of the library, and eventually my dad purchased it for me from the monthly book order forms the schools sent out. I read ‘Blueberries for Sal’ to my children, who did not fall in love with the story as much as I did. This book along with ‘Eskimo Boy’ I gave to my son’s daughter.

Third grade was when I really started reading. A perfect escape from my mom and life in general. A book took me to places and things I loved. I was a horse obsessed young girl, (actually still am) and my third grade teacher, Mrs. Fletcher introduced me to ‘Billy and Blaze‘ series written and illustrated by C.W. Anderson. The stories were good, but what really captured my attention was the illustration, pencil drawings of great detail. I knew then I wanted to draw as excellent as C. W. Anderson. At age fifty, I visited the local library when I moved to where I live to see if they had any of C. W. Anderson’s books just to look at the illustration and see if my memory was correct on how wonderful the illustrations were. I was not disappointed, they were as beautiful as I remembered.

Fourth grade I was introduced to Laura Ingalls Wilder and fell in love with historical novels. I also read all the ‘Black Stallion‘ series by Walter Farley. Magreurite Henry’s books, my favorite is ‘Black Gold‘ and ‘Brighty of the Grand Canyon’. Fourth grade introduced me to ‘Where the Red Fern Grows‘ by Wilson Rawls, ‘The Yearling’ by Margorie Kinnan Rowlings, and ‘Old Yeller’ by Fred Gipson where I realized there is not always a happy ending. Books can bring truth and emotions. And books are better than the movies created from them.

As I continued through school, many books and authors added to my life. As an adult, I fell in love with J.R.R. Tolkien author of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ series, by first experience with fantasy. A masterpiece of creation in creating a world, various characters and life, as well as languages and culture.

College brought more books, such as my collection of Spanish authors of stories and poems all written in Spanish. I read Spanish much better than I speak Spanish.

My library holds many non-fictional reference type books on how to care for animals, horses and sheep. I also have a few self-help books. One of my favorites is ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson. Books dealing with fear, depression and post traumatic stress disorder all to assist me at this stage in life.

When Covid-19 pandemic arrived, my memory was jogged to ‘The Stand’ by Stephen King. I had read a few of Stephen King’s books, the first being ‘The Stand’. For a person who grew up during the Cold War, there appeared to be truth written between the fictional lines. The story of a government virus escaping from a laboratory, and wrecking death on many. Who could not see the correlation. The most enjoyable book I have recently read by Stephen King is ‘On Writing’. The first half of the book tells of his childhood writing experiences, and the latter half on how to improve your writing skills. I enjoyed reading about his brother and him, sometimes wonder how they survived childhood. But then again, I wonder how I survived childhood.

Another recent author is Sara Lark and her Fire Blossom trilogy of historical novels located in New Zealand. At the end of each book she shares the actual historical events she depicts in the story. Since I am the type of reader when I read something interesting, I do research. I have learned some wonderful and fascinating places and events in New Zealand. Too bad I will not fly in a plane, as this is one place I would like to visit and see the places told about in her books as well as see the sheep farms.

Books and authors can influence, shape our lives and take us places we will desire to see. We can enter worlds of fantasy, be freaked out by story lines, figure out change or just relax with a humorous story. But to select just one is just not fair.

amtolle