The Perfect Kind of Crazy

…my life as I know it

Bias Selt Test – Class Assignment

Of all four bias tests I completed, the one that showed the highest percentage, 37%, bias was the Disability test. If I had predicted where I would fall on this specific issue, I would not have guessed there would have been a 10% difference. I have worked with children who have disabilities for almost 18 years now. My youngest son has a learning disability, ADHD, Social Anxiety, and Apraxia. My cousin has a son who is hearing impaired and a son that is vision impaired. I have never treated any of them differently. Also, in the past, I have suffered from depression and anxiety and I was diagnosed with ADHD in my early 40s.

Another test that showed a clear bias was the Gender Career test. If I had predicted the outcome, I would have been correct. Growing up my grandma never worked, she was a stay-at-home mom, as was my mom until I was a teenager. When I got married and had our second child, I was a stay-at-home mom. That’s what we did in my family. We took care of the house, laundry, cooking, and children. Had we opted to put our children in daycare I wouldn’t have brought home enough money to make a difference. Fast forward to when my youngest was in third grade, I began working as a paraeducator part-time. Now, this is my second year as a certificated teacher, union rep, and lead for my site. A woman can be just as effective a leader as men. In fact, in some roles, even better.

When I took these tests, I was getting tired; I worked all day. I do not put a lot of weight into them. I had taken tests from this website in another class at the beginning of the quarter and knew how the test was administered.

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Christmas Traditions

Growing up we celebrated all the holidays by having a family dinner, usually at my grandparent’s house. My grandma made a pie for all holidays, Washington’s birthday, President’s day, Fourth of July, and so on. We also regularly had Sunday dinners. Christmas time was always my favorite. I always spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s, especially at Christmas time. My grandma played Christmas albums, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” was one of my favorites. I can still hear my grandma singing it every year. She had a beautiful singing voice. We backed dozens and dozens of cookies from chocolate chip to snowballs. Big batches of fudge, divinity, peanut brittle, chocolate-covered cherries, and fruit cake that only Aunt Mable would eat. Grandma would lovingly package them up in tins and boxes to gift, mail down south to my cousins, and of course, send them to our house. On Christmas Eve we would have ham sandwiches with all the fixings, cookies, and eggnog. After dinner, we would get to open our one gift, Christmas pajamas. On Christmas morning my grandparents would get up before dawn and be at our house when we woke up. We had presents for days under the tree. My mom and grandma would spend hours wrapping and making the most beautiful bows. My siblings and I would spend the day in our pajamas playing with our toys. My mom and grandma would cook a huge turkey dinner, There was always my granny’s Christmas salad. Marshmallows, walnuts, pineapple, maraschino cherries, and fresh whipped cream. Our stockings were hand sewn by my mom and grandma. My mom drew her own patterns. My brothers and I still have ours. As we got married and had babies of our own, stockings were made for them. As our children have married and or had babies of their own, more stockings were made.

When my babies came along we continued all of those traditions, lost a few along the way, and added a few of my husband’s family traditions, and began some of our own. Gingerbread houses are a major tradition in our house. For 30+ years I have made gingerbread houses. As a stay-at-home mom, I would design, create plans, and bake our own houses. It would take me one whole day. Then, we would spend another day assembling and decorating. As the kids got older the competitions began. My husband passed on his competitive nature to our children. There were covered porches with chopped firewood on them, pathways made of candy that looked like rocks, stained glass windows, bricks chimneys made of cinnamon gum, and so much more. The first year our oldest came home from WSU, he designed, made the plans, and baked his house to look like the clock tower in Pullman. There were years when girlfriends, boyfriends, and cousins were here. Another tradition that we began with our children was a new themed ornament every year. Our kids also loved making Santa countdown chains every year too. And of course the candy advent calendars too. Now, I bake cookies and build gingerbread houses with my granddaughters when we are together for Christmas. Their daddy is in the Army so they always live far away. This year they will be here and I cannot wait! I have only put up a tree twice since my husband died six years ago and haven’t put out all of the decorations. This year… we will be doing all these things. Lights on the house, all the decorations, cookies, gingerbread houses, ham dinner, tree farm, and more!

After my husband died I have had a really hard time keeping up with traditions. Sometimes I feel guilty… my youngest is almost 25, he was only 18 when his dad died. I feel like he missed out on so much. He didn’t live at home for a few years as he was battling his own problems. It still didn’t keep me from feeling guilty. This is the first year that I have been this excited about the holidays in a long time. Now, making memories is more meaningful to me than dozens of packages under the tree.

Many people in my community, extended family, and immediate family share the same culture. They hang stockings and bake cookies and fudge. Have large family dinners of turkey and ham. Open new pajamas on Christmas Eve so everyone matches for pictures. All families have their own traditions and beliefs. Their own culture. We might now celebrate the same way or even the same holidays. What we do the same is make memories. We laugh together. We cry together. We love together.

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Relationship Adventures

I haven’t posted about any of our adventures for a bit.. yesterday we took a drive in the country for a few hours, down where he lives. Saw the biggest flock of swans he had ever seen.. personally I have only seen them in a park. Talk about beautiful. Along with those we saw several deer.. of course I did not win the $1 bet of who could spot the most animals.

We drove through a Christmas Light Display at a local park, then headed home to eat Chinese take out and snuggles while watching a movie.

This man. I’m falling head over heels in love with him. I know that happiness comes from within and that we are responsible for it. But, I also believe that having a significant other that brings laughter and light into your life plays a big role in finding true happiness. He definitely brings both of those things into my life.

When we are together we laugh and joke around so much. We are both flirty and like to kiss and hold hands. I’ve been comfortable with him since we first started talking at the end of June. These first 5 months have gone by so quickly.. I can’t wait to see where the next five take us. We are still going slow(ish) and enjoying the beginning of something beautiful and amazing.

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Falling Has Many Emotions

Falling in love comes with butterflies, or the whole zoo in your tummy. It comes with excitement and the anticipation of seeing them again. It comes with sweaty palms, racing hearts and those warm fuzzies that have the blood rushing to your core. But it also comes with questions, worry and fear. They are all really big feelings. Sometimes so big that they are overwhelming. I was always hopeful that I would meet my next Mr. Right… I guess I wasn’t completely prepared for feeling this way and it scares us both. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade any of it.

Those who know me well know that I’m not the most patient person. Every time one of my parents tell me that they couldn’t do my job because they don’t have the patience that I do… I laugh and say ask my own kids… they’ll tell you differently. However, one of the things that I’ve worked on in therapy is understanding and accepting that things don’t need to happen on my time line. I’m still a work in progress…but, aren’t we all?

God is teaching me another lesson in patience. I knew this lesson was coming. I had time to mentally prepare for it. What I didn’t know is how hard it would be. Two months ago when Gabe said, “Sassy, I need to talk to you about something. Hunting season is coming up soon and we’re not going to see each other for a while. I don’t think you’ll still be around when it’s over.” I said, “I got this, Babe.” To which he replied, “I don’t think you understand. I’m gonna miss you. You’re gonna miss me.” In turn I told him, “Just don’t ignore me and make me a priority when hunting season is over.” “Sassy I wouldn’t ever ignore you and you’ve got it.”

Fast forward two months… deer is over and elk has started. It’s been a long few weeks and we’ve got a couple more to go. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve had a few moments of ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna make it.’ We text/talk every day. We do miss each other a lot. This is when 1.5 hours makes a difference. Work has been so emotionally draining that I just want to have him hold me and make me laugh. This is when I’ve had to remind myself to be still and know and to stay outta my head.

Fall was always my favorite season. After Jeff died I didn’t think I would ever truly love it again. Gabe is giving me reasons to love Fall again. I can’t put into words how good it feels to laugh again. The kind of laughter that makes your sides ache. We make each other laugh. We are both flirty and touchy feely. We also like to dance and just be silly. He thinks I’m hilarious and sassy. I tell him let’s be real.. I’m a smart ass.

We are still taking things slow and living in the moment…enjoying the ride. We both agreed two months ago that we have longevity. I’m happy and it feels so good.

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The Next Book

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my therapist office updating her on the last month of my life and a thought occurred to me, more like a realization that with this new relationship I wasn’t writing my next chapter, I was writing my next book. Just a few days before my appointment I had been driving home from his house and I was so full of really big feelings that overwhelmed me and had tears streaming down my face. We had had a pretty deep conversation the night before, sharing our feelings and our fears. I had called one of my closest friends, one who has been by my side through so much of the last few years, and just cried. She helped me to navigate my way through some of it and to begin to understand the why behind these big feelings.

I was closing the book on my life with Jeff. The ending had been written which had allowed me to let the iron gate that I had securely in place around my heart fall away. I could now give myself and my heart freely to another man. In the days to come I was still overwhelmed with emotion. I would cry for no reason. I would cry because I was scared. I would cry because it was so overwhelming. I decided to ask in a widow/widowers dating and friendship group if this was normal when you met someone that you could love and see yourself spending the rest of your life with. So many people assured me that it was.

In our conversation he had said that things were moving fast and that we needed to slow down. He was concerned that after hunting season I wouldn’t still be around because we would barely see each other. I won’t share the details they are too personal… I told him that I got this. That I would still be here when hunting season was over. I’m not the jealous or need to know where you are every second of the day kind of woman. I told him I only asked for two things; one was to not ignore me and the second was to make me a priority again at the end of November. He said, “Done.” I asked him to trust me when I said I would still be here. He said, “Okay, I trust you.” I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me that we can communicate and share our feelings with each other.

He’s still worried about our age difference, it’s only six years. He told me I deserved to be with someone my own age… I told him I had been and I had dated someone younger and neither of those worked out. He said he didn’t want me to be hurt again… and there it was. His fear of my being a widow again. He said that now it was okay but in 10 years from now he would be 68 and I would be 62. To which I said so what. I explained how I choose to live my life since Jeff died. One day at a time because tomorrow is never promised. That he could roll the dozer down the mountain and die tomorrow and I would grieve him just like I would 10 years from now. That I could get hit by a bus or either one of us could be killed in a car accident. That I would rather have a few years of happiness than not to have loved ever again. I asked him if he was walking away. He assured me that he wasn’t but he needed to tell me how he felt. On our way down the hallway I said something about that being an intense conversation and he said something about me crying… I told him to stop freaking me out then. He hasn’t mentioned it again.

We both love spending time together. We both feel that there is longevity for us. We miss each other when it’s been a week or more. We make each other laugh. We both think that it’s easy being together, like it should be. We share the same love of family, morals and values. We are both honest to a fault and don’t sugar coat things. We agree on what it takes to make a relationship work and that we want a partner, each giving 100%. He got divorced after 29 years and I was married for 25 so we know what it takes to make it work. And, we are both scared. We are in this together. Tomorrow marks three months since our first date, which really isn’t all that long. But when you get to be our age you know what you want and don’t want. We are still taking it slow as neither one of us are in any kind of hurry to be walking down an isle anytime soon.

This book is going to be a beautiful love story. Different than the first one, as it should be. It will be filled with adventures, laughs and lots of amazing memories.

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