determination empowerment Happiness humor laughter Life balance self-improvement Stress management Stress management, humor, balance Uncategorized

Rekindled Friendship, A Bright Future and Finches

finch-shoe-box Written by Bobbe White, for The White Pages on WTAD.COM 

Rekindled Friendship, a Bright Future and Fallen Finches

Last Thursday, the Facebook Messenger indicator was lit. Kind of like, “You’ve Got Mail!” A mutual friend asked me to call Debbie T. Hello past flash! Debbie and I go way back. Waaaaaaay back. Our dad’s worked together at Heintz and Hurley Shoes forever ago and we grew up together –sort of- except she was a parochial and I was a public, but we never held that against each other. We both ended up in Orlando around 1977. Seeing as the only other person in Orlando was my old swim coach, it only made sense to reconnect with someone closer to my age. It opened the door to a social life, rather than remaining a dust collecting doormat in a large city.

While in Florida, I became engaged and married and eventually, Jeff and I moved back to the north. Debbie and I neglected to keep in touch after that move. Cell phones, texting and Facebook were still futuristic.  Sure, we could’ve used land lines, but we just didn’t. Sometimes that happens. So, I called her Saturday and we talked. And we talked. And we talked. And we talked.  For nearly 2 ½ hours, which by the way, could be my all time record on the phone. It was an instantaneous catch-up.  Just. Like. That. (Queue: a snap)

It seems that Debbie and her spitfire friend, Sharon, have had some unusual – make that, unbelievable- health experiences. They now have the desire to share their stories, with whoever needs to hear them. The ladies hope to share their messages through speaking and writing. There are at least two things that were great about getting re-connected with Debbie:

  1. How cool it is to pick up with a friend, after, ohhhhhhhh, say, 40 years
  2. That she would think of me to be her sounding board for their dreams

There’s a third thing, which is perhaps the biggest thing: these two women have endured nearly impossible health circumstances and have come through them with unscathed spirits and selfless desire to help others.

There’s one vivid memory, however, of hanging out with Orlando Debbie, that isn’t so great. It’s one which congers up feelings of regret. It may or may not involve two finches, in whose well-being I was entrusted for a week. She delivered them to me in a spacious, two-tiered cage. What Debbie received upon her return, was an empty cage and the birds in a shoe box. And, yet, we are friends, I hope, after reminding her of this sad ending.  Gosh, I still feel bad about those birds…



adaptation balance Happiness humor laughter Life balance Stress management Stress management, humor, balance Uncategorized

Politics: The Case for Comedy

Posted today on THE WHITE PAGES at WTAD.COM


There used to be three taboo topics we were instructed to avoid at all costs:Sex, politics and religion. As everyone discusses the upcoming election, the only taboo anymore would be your grandmother’s perfume, “Tabu”.  This post is not to get knee-deep in support or criticism, but may I encourage you to take a break from reality, and watch a couple of episodes of Saturday Night Live (SNL)? I don’t often watch it on the actual night, because I’m out partying like a college girl at that hour. Seriously, we get up at the crack of G-d at our house, so it’s a rare occasion if I’m still awake and alert by 10:30 p.m.  Fortunately, in our YouTube world, it doesn’t matter anymore.

I’ll caution you: SNL is not for the prudish. Watch with an open mind. The humor is twofold: the debates – presidential and vice-presidential- are funny, because you get to laugh at both parties. Even at the moderator! Or is he/she the mediator?  I’m intrigued by the nuances adopted by the actor, of each candidate’s expressions and body language. Regardless of content, impersonation is truly a talent and art form.

SNL too raw for you? Okay, here’s another suggestion, that I guarantee you will get a boot out of. Search YouTube for “political humor videos” and further, “politicians fail compilation 2016.” You’ll witness world leaders’ mishaps, faux pas and klutzy moves. There’s Obama, where the presidential seal falls off the front of his lectern during a speech and members of Congress, Parliament, the Politburo, and other houses of leadership, fixing their hair, biting nails, picking their ear or nose, surfing the net and even snoozing. You’ll witness dignitaries from Korea and India, whose dentures escape from their mouths at critical moments. One leader bops a man, right on the head, during his speech and then says, “He deserved that.” It could be Curly, Moe or Larry.  There are trips, falls and stumbles. For some reason, I found one of funniest scenes to be a foreign dignitary, who was placing a king-sized wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. As he bowed in respect, the big honkin’ wreath, which was as tall as he was, falls right at and on his head. It’s great. Why is this material funny?  With SNL skits, the humor – in my opinion- is equally distributed between all subjects. In the political bloopers, these mishaps are only supposed to happen at a local level, like at our offices, not on the world stage.  Life is funnier as the bar of importance is raised.

So, do yourself a favor, seek out some humor in all of the political turmoil. It won’t solve the election dilemma, but will offer much needed respite from it. Or as Michael Prichard said, “Laughter is like a dry diaper…it won’t take care of the problem, but it will make it bearable for a while.”

adaptation balance determination Happiness humor laughter Life balance Stress management Stress management, humor, balance Uncategorized

Olympic Fatigue

Can someone please pass the toothpicks? My eyes, and those of quite a few coworkers, are bleary-eyed these days, from staying up late, to watch the Olympics. Sure, Katie (Ledecky) and Michael (seriously, you need a last name?) have worked hard to churn the pool for gold, but do they have to wait on the public, wanting to do their banking? Accurately, of course. No. So, Michael’s pool cap ripped about two nano-seconds before his relay leg. Did his office run out of coffee? I don’t think so. And, yes, the cupping marks (weird circle bruises) on athletes’ arms and shoulders are cause for conversation, but do my customers think my chin resting in my coffee cup is appropriate? Not in a million flip turns. So, why don’t we just Go. To. Bed?  Because we can’t! Are you kidding? And miss the 4 x 200 Women’s Free Relay? Not a chance. If Michael can swim 200M Individual Medley at midnight in Rio, I can hang on my couch in Quincy (IL) at 10:00p.m. for a few minutes longer, it’s the least we mere mortals can do.

If only a little naptime could be found. It occurred to me yesterday, when I got into my car at lunchtime, how delicious a power nap would be. Alas, there is cleaning to pick up, oil to be changed and a peanut butter sandwich to be consumed. Besides that, at 94 degrees and 94% humidity, the car is the worst place for ten winks with the windows down, and it isn’t good for the 2004 Pacifica to crank on the A.C. while idling either. Maybe I could steal an itty-bitty nap after work and before the nightly coverage. That’s a great idea, except Lily White, the black Lab, has been snoozing all day and is ready for her own Tricathlon: walking, eating, barking. Maybe I could sleep through the first few events – swimming and gymnastics are ALWAYS later on the schedule, to keep us engaged. Right, have you tried sleeping through Women’s Beach Volleyball, when Switzerland is taunting our USA team, “Bisch du am Gold schurfe*?” First of all, you’ve got four beautiful women, built like Diane Von Furstenberg’s girls. Plus they have braids down their backs that are thicker than my thigh.  And does anyone else out there think it’s odd that volleyball outfits are skimpier than the swimmers outfits? I’d think the gals would prefer those lycra Bermudas, so sand doesn’t get into their Chuchichaschtli**.

Oh well, once every four years, I -and much of America- can tough it out and fight Olympic Fatigue, with the rest of the world. Besides that, there’s much more to watch in the next week ahead. Not only that, the water polo pool is green this morning, and that is another “oops” Rio hadn’t planned for. And do you want to know the very BEST part of Olympic coverage? Political Spuckaffares*** are forced to take a back seat. Thank heavens for small favors. bw


*Are you digging for gold?  (Alternate translation: Are you picking your nose?)

**Kitchen Cupboard? Call it what you want…

***Spitting affairs. Exactly.

adaptation humor laughter Life balance Stress management Stress management, humor, balance Uncategorized

How I Felt Like A Real Bank Customer

Several things I do at the bank for customers:
-Complete the debit card form for traveling customers going to different states/countries. (I designed the form and am quite proud of this.)
-Increase debit card daily limits temporarily, as requested
-Open, close, or rearrange most kinds of checking or savings accounts
Recently, I’d explained to customers how to freeze their credit, to thwart further fraud. What a grand idea, so, to be prudent, I froze my own credit. I’m so resourceful.
Occasionally, I get customers who’re ready to pull their hair out, because of some financial frustration. Recently, I got an opportunity to feel that kind of pain…
Last month, I visited our daughter, Korey, in Denver. Call me “Savvy”, regarding my traveling abilities, when it comes to being prepared financially. This includes taking a debit card, two credit cards and cash. With Uber now, less cash is needed than before, and my bank refunds me up to $20/month on ATM fees, so no problem, if more cash is needed.
Denver, Night #1: Alert informs me of “questionable credit card charges”. The fraud line representative described the suspect charges, but was difficult to understand, seeing as she had a heavy accent. I cancelled the card immediately.
Mountains, Day #2: Saturday, we used my debit card for coffee, en route to skiing. What’s sweeter than sun, moderate temperatures and spring skiing? Between Korey and her roommate, I was fully outfitted: jacket, gloves and helmet. I could’ve packed ski clothes, but they’re bulky. Except Korey had no extra pants and Meghan’s about 5’9” and slim. Surely, there’d be end-of-season sales in Keystone Village. Sadly, sales boiled down to one pair of ill-fitting, men’s, ski pants for $195 (I know…) and no further options. I prayed the snap wouldn’t pop getting on the lift each time. My debit card was declined. Hmmmmm, I wasn’t overdrawn. Wait…NOOOOOOOOOO: I’d neglected to complete my traveling debit card form! Apparently, the card worked at Starbucks, but using it twice, rather rapidly, unfurls a red flag. If I hadn’t designed this form myself, it wouldn’t be so ironic. Plus, I’d helped customers with this form, the day before at work! The card would remain frozen from until Monday. I’m now: 0 for 2. Declined debit and compromised credit cards. No worries, as I, the savvy traveler, present credit card #2 for the pants. DECLINED; I break a sweat. Korey uses her card for my pants, lift tickets and lunch. I call customer service; apparently, my credit limit is just $500. WHAT? Who even has a credit card this low? Me, apparently. I requested a limit increase and paid off my balance, by phone, to reinstate the card. However, the payment wouldn’t show for 2-3 days. Lovely. Soon, an email regarding my credit limit request arrived: request was on hold. It seems that my credit was frozen. ARRRRGGGHHH. “Inform us when you’ve lifted the freeze.” Right. Except I couldn’t remember my password for Transunion, the credit reporting agency. What else is new?
I survived on Korey’s credit until Monday; when my debit card was revived and my credit card payment was applied. We’re back in business! Yes, I owe Korey oodles, but she saved me, and besides, she earned air miles for the assist. Eventually, credit was unfrozen (once I found my password) and a letter arrived, regarding the two, suspect credit card items. The first: $5.00 charge to Yad Vashem, Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem. A worthy cause, but this wasn’t mine; the other item, credit, for returned merchandise. “A credit”, you say? Who on earth call’s a credit for returned merchandise suspicious? I’m not sure when I’ll travel next, but remind me to fill out the traveler form, make sure my kids always have a higher credit limit than and leave ski clothes at Korey’s. For now, I must run to an alterations appointment to make my ski pants a bigger! bw
Happiness humor laughter Life balance Stress management Uncategorized

Ten Events To Schedule on Leap Year

Imagine certain events which could be lengthened by quadrennial silliness…

1. Birthday: the obvious for anyone over 50. It’s like dog years for people. I’m 15. Cool!
2. Eye doctor: Vision tests make me feel like a total failure. I haven’t passed one since fourth grade. Not only is it the command, “Read the bottom line,” (Uhhhh, there’s a bottom line?), but also the part when the doctor asks, “Are these letters clearer, or was the last set?” It can be obvious, but I often feel like I’m on Let’s Make A Deal: “Door number 1, 3, 2, no, wait, wait, I’ll take 1!”
3. Dentist: Technically, I go semi-annually, except for last year, when a Jolly Rancher pulled the back off of my front tooth’s crown. That was an expensive piece of crappy candy, which I will never again eat. But I digress; just think if the dentist could be on Leap Years, and my hygienic efforts –which they tell me are stellar- allowed a visit once every four years. Sweet!
4. Colonoscopy: If my math is correct, using leap year would mean I’d only have to drink that wretched gallon of Gatorade and Musinex once every twenty years, instead of once every five years. Okay, Miralax, Musinex, tomato-tomatoe, potato-potatoe.
5. Mammogram: Once every four years, would be, like having a carport instead of garage door slamming my “girls” on the concrete floor.
6. Pelvic Exam/PAP/rectal: Basically, anything down there, right? Every four years works for me. I don’t care how many times you’ve done this, it’s forever awkward.
7. Spring Cleaning. ‘Nuf said.
8. Work reviews. Ditto.
9. Tax Returns. Heaven!
10. Drivers License Renewal: Anything delaying the mug shot, written test and that damn vision test, (here we go again) to sixteen years, instead of four (in Illinois) sounds great.

Obviously, it is not prudent to have infrequent medical tests, as suggested above. I get that. This is just pretend. Everyone knows the valid reasons for annuals, semi-annuals or even quarterlies. Except for the time in 2012, when my mother, who was 87 at the time, was scheduled for a mammogram. Seriously? It seemed as dumb as giving her a pregnancy test. Cancelled it forever. Besides, she wasn’t even tall enough anymore to get her girls on the plate. Logically, if she didn’t have breast disease by 87, she probably wasn’t going to get it – or worse- die from it. These ten are just a start; no doubt there are other annual appointments you have, that I haven’t thought of. Do reply to me and share the quadrennial fun! Happy Leap Year!

adaptation Career development determination empowerment Life balance parenting self-improvement Stress management Stress management, humor, balance Uncategorized

Mothers of the Gulf War: Vivian Drees

A mother’s worst nightmare: February 25, 1991, Vivian Drees’ son, Tony, was critically injured in the worst scud missile attack of Operation Desert Storm. This very special mom talks about it as they celebrate “25 Years Alive Day!”


A Mother’s Perspective

By Bobbe White


If we are lucky in life, we will meet someone as impactful as Vivian Drees, a woman with a heart as big as Montana, make that, North Dakota, which is still bigger than most hearts. As a child, Vivian watched her parents take in babies, years before the term   “foster” parents became a silent badge of honor.  Years later, Vivian and husband, John, found themselves following in the same footsteps as her parents. John was an Army Reservist, a farmer and a solid man, whom Vivian met in June 1970. Their love and commitment for each other grew quickly, they were engaged by August and married in November 1970.  They knew they wanted a family and soon, they found kids entering their lives. Oh boy, did kids enter their lives! Altogether, John and Vivian had thirty children, including one of their own, a step parent adoption, and of 30 foster children, they were able to adopt five.


Each time a new child came into their home, the Drees explained to the children, “A new foster child is arriving soon. The child might have to return, at some point, to his real or adoptive home.”  Their biological son, Matthew, watched children come and go. One day, he asked Vivian, “When do I have to go back to my “real” home?” They’d never explained to Matt that he WAS at his forever home. She was touched and proud that, biologically or foster, the children were equally loved.  “Honestly,” Vivian stated, “I can fit every one of these children into my heart, even the ones who are damaged.” And damaged, some were.


One foster child, Tony, came to the Drees family at age 13.  He was a runaway Air Force base boy, from an abusive home.  Tony’s mother loved her husband more than her children. In the past Tony called his stepfather, “Stepmonster.” Tony felt angry, cheated and thrown-away. Vivian recalls, “On his 15th birthday, Tony asked to call his birth mother. I was apprehensive about the reception he’d receive.” Knowing her headstrong Tony wouldn’t give up until he was batted away from his mom again, Vivian stayed close during that call. “I’d hoped my instinct was wrong,” but her keen, motherly, sixth sense rarely failed. Everything John and Vivian had done to build Tony up was torn down by a short conversation with his birth mother on the phone, much like the day she said in open court, “I don’t want him, you take him!” Vivian’s sense was correct.


John and Vivian were inherent teachers; he taught expertise through modeling mastery, work ethic and critical thinking. As Tony’s frustrations and anger mounted, John instructed Tony to remove a tree stump in the field.  Armed with an axe, Tony assaulted the stump for hours upon days. John helped Tony learn valuable coping skills through physical work to ease mental angst. John taught in his classroom, “The Shop”, where he shared his ideology about being a father, a provider and a community servant. Vivian’s invaluable life lessons were taught by always being present, something she was able to do as a stay-at-home mom.  She taught her children, “The most important lesson in life is to realize that things aren’t fair.”  It is only then, that a person can move on.


As the years progressed, Tony and his high school buddies started finding trouble as some teenage boys commonly do. During his junior year, some boys robbed a Coca-Cola machine; Tony claimed responsibility. The summer before senior year, Tony stole the family car; a diesel station wagon. The transmission blew and Tony became “Foster Care Scared” and ran away. His parents needed the insurance money to fix the car, so charges had to be filed against Tony. Vivian reluctantly agreed with recommendation of the social worker and Tony’s attorney that he be sent to the State Industrial School for Boys for ninety days.  The Drees hoped this punishment would help Tony recognize his choices and behavior. The program worked. Tony went on to have a positive senior year and graduated at the age of 17. After graduation, Tony attended the University of North Dakota (UND) and then enlisted in the US Army for four years, serving in West Germany. When he returned to North Dakota, he returned to school at UND to excel in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) as a student, an officers candidate, and student athlete, while finishing two years as an Inactive Reservist.


At the age of 22, Tony then requested to be adopted; an unusual request for a 22-year-old. His wish was granted and Tony finally had a real, forever home with the Drees family.


In January 1991, during Desert Storm, Tony received orders to join the fighting in the Gulf War. A week into Tony’s deployment, Vivian – again- had a cold, sixth sense feeling for her son. The evening news on February 25, 1991 confirmed her fears: a U.S. barracks was hit by a scud missile in one of the deadliest attacks of the Gulf War. She witnessed the chaos unfold on T.V., and knew it was bad, in general, and for Tony, personally. The Drees waited five long and agonizing days before hearing from Tony, who’d suffered life-threatening wounds: shattered, shrapnel filled femur and the backs of both his legs blown off.  After the first of 58 surgeries, Tony was transported from Saudi Arabia to Germany for his recovery. A nurse asked Tony what he needed, “My mom,” he answered.  He was running out of courage, he was abroad, alone and critically injured. This request activated the American Red Cross to get involved and within days, Vivian headed to Germany. As fate would have it, Vivian was met at Germany’s Ramstein Air Base, by one of her foster daughter’s younger brothers who was stationed there. With this effort to accommodate her, Vivian realized that the kindness, which she’d so generously and selflessly given to her foster children, was being returned to her as life had come full circle in her foster parenting journey.


Tony was further transported to Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, MD with Vivian by his side. His high-profile injuries found The U.S. President, top military leaders, nationally publicized journalists at his bedside, and the mother-son photo appeared in People Magazine. During Tony’s long and arduous recovery, Vivian was his fiercest cheerleader.


Upon Tony’s hospital discharge and Medical Retirement from the Army in March of 1992, Tony returned to North Dakota, bringing with him, the constant companion of war pain, both physical and mental challenges.  Tony’s recovery of body and mind would need to begin by building strength. A topic, to which Tony is no stranger even today, he keeps his body tuned, as any serious athlete does. Vivian and John were the yin and yang to his recovery. She was the compassionate, soft-spoken figure; John was the strong, quiet component. They both served as the “buoys” to a man drowning in a sea of pain.


Vivian is more than proud of Tony’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) management.  His negative experiences are now channeled into a positive career of helping others heal and succeed. A number of John and Vivian’s children came to them damaged, some succeed, some struggle perpetually. Their unwavering support for each of their children remains a constant vigilant journey. Those two were quite a team. Now, by visiting her parents in Canada, seven children, seventeen grandchildren and one great grandchild, Vivian is trying  fill a huge void left by John’s death last year. Without question, losing John feels so unfair to Vivian, but she knows the lesson; some things just aren’t fair. Serving as a dedicated Military Mom, a community servant and an advocate for foster children, she also knows she can fit the growing family into her home and her heart, and that is what keeps her going.


When asked directly about her bond with Tony she replies,”I am proud he is my son, I love him.”



adaptation Life balance Stress management

Well, Bite My Bubbles: A One-winged Woman Wrestles With What’s Worthy

Welcome to our new subscribers from PACT of Western Illinois!

There’s nothing like shoulder surgery to reprioritize my world. (Bone spur/cuff tears repaired) With Bruce Jenner in the news, it seems the Olympic Decathlon describes the experience well, albeit, not with its traditional events.

Swimming- 40 years of Swimming = wear and tear. Now, I swim in the shower with a noodle and ducky water wings, to stabilize shoulder. Well, bite my bubbles. This really stinks. Glub, glub, glub.

Baseball- Dad always said, “You throw like a girl.”  No wonder I always flunked the fitness test. When throwing my high, fast ball to son, Nick, in the pool, 12 years ago, the effort was rewarded with right shoulder pain. Need relief pitcher. Now. Or physical therapy.

Rock-climbing-  I scraped the house gutters last August, so Jeff could repaint them. The next day, “Hello, annoying pain, again.” Go figure.

Rafting- 9/2014, US National Whitewater Center, Charlotte SC.  After my first stroke, I realized I was on the wrong side of the boat. Owwweeeee! I HATE rocking the proverbial boat, let alone a real one so, I stayed put. Bad idea. Physical therapy (PT) couldn’t help this time, so, “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to MRI we go.

Football- PT refers me to Dr. Smith, Columbia, MO.  Fun facts: Dr. Smith is the head team physician for Mizzou football. Good enough for them, good enough for me. Plus, Dr. Smith dresses in suits, not scary white coats, not to mention, Dr. Smith smells swell. Once I’m chemically relaxed, (loopy) will I ask the cologne name? Hope not.  Another patient says, “Already asked him. Lagerfeld.”  Good, now I don’t have to.

Figure Skating– My injury wasn’t from falling.  Except for one stumble… Consult was 2/8/15; surgery scheduled 4/13/15. (Jeff thought it best to avoid winter, considering two hour drive to Columbia.) 2/18/15: On the last piece of winter ice, I slip during my Triple (k)lutz Salchow double loop twist, chipping right hand bone and spraining wrist. Perfect.

Basketball/Golf/Football: On surgery eve, I dreamed Michael Jordan was my surgeon. Sports were on my brain. JORDAN Speith had just won the Masters Golf that day; with NBA on another channel. When I was even MORE relaxed, (loopy) I asked Dr. Smith if MJ ever showed up. Smith said, “No,” and he was pretty sure he’d done a much better job than Jordan would have. Besides, MJ kept patients waiting for hours. Not good.

Alligator Wrestling is similar to getting me dressed, with this huge shoulder immobilization sling. And there’s humor when your husband dresses you. The put-on-pile includes a shirt, sweater and bra. Jeff asks, “Which top do you think we should start with?”  I suggest, “How about the bra? It goes underneath….” When pulling up my underpants, he pulls them up to my armpits and then gives a final tug for good measure. Good grief, I haven’t had a “Melvin” since high school.  These are mid-rise hipsters from Victoria Secret and they DON’T go above the rib cage. HELPPPPPPP MEEEEEEEE!

Gymnastics–  Floor exercise includes getting in/out of bed and the car, putting on socks one-handed, eating and using the computer mouse with my left hand, but hair and makeup create the biggest gyration due to the sling, If lipstick’s all over my face, just say, “Yes, Bobbe, it’s a 10, perfectly straight!” Ta-Da!

Couples Ice Dancing – I told our daughter, Korey, that when I’m done with the sling, she can have it for a great conversation starter. “Don’t I need to be older for one of those?” Korey said. Nope, I know 19 year olds who’ve had this surgery. “Okay, send it out.”

Gold medals go to Jeff, friends and family for help. It takes a village when you can’t drive -or dress-for 6 weeks.  In honor of April, National Humor Month, let us be reminded that it also takes humor. A lot of it. bw

adaptation Life balance Stress management

Depression: Yuck to the Muck

Each October, as Mama Nature paints our trees in perfect shades of orange, gold and red, I always recall October, 2000. That was the fall I colored my world after wiping away the gray. I’m not talking about my hair, but my life. In October 2010, I first wrote about my depression, and seriously, I’ve never had more feedback, comments and questions. It’s four years later and just like the Olympics (every four years whether you need them or not) it’s time to bring this topic up.

I told you how I got my joy back after beginning treatment, and that’s the truth. And while millions of people resort to medication, there are some of us who really need it. For others, I suspect, it’s a crutch or an escape from a dastardly situation, with which they can’t step up and be honest. Before my main point, please think of people on medication not as athletes on steroids, but rather, medication brings us up to normal, so that we may compete, work, live and play with the rest of you. I like that explanation. For years, I thought I was cheating as a professional speaker. I thought to myself, “Well, sure, it’s easy for me to find the humor in life and laugh at the little things. Heckfire! I’m on medication!” Well, so are most humorists and comedians. Laughter comes from pain, remember? I wonder, still, how my keynote of tips and tools resonates with attendees who are struggling through their own Olympics of depression. If someone is struggling, then perhaps they haven’t sought out help. There is help out there, whether you have insurance or not. Just do it.

New angle… Those of us under the cruel hand of depression are so wrapped up in our own muck, we forget about our loved ones who had to live WITH us. In my self-centeredness, I had no idea, until my husband shared his experience and that of our children, who I thought were oblivious at young ages. Were not. Jeff has reminded me more than once at what a bitch I was. Moi? Oui! How he didn’t know which mood was going to enter the door after work. He started dinner so many nights –bless that man- because he didn’t think I could handle it, kids homework, dog and house and and and. He was right. His blood ran like ice water, each time I ran errands and was out too long, for fear that I had finally gotten to the edge of some cliff. Reflecting back, I was never THAT close to the edge that I would end it all, but I did kind of wonder how I would survive the next twenty to thirty years feeling like crap. And truthfully, I nearly ALWAYS outrun my ETA with errands. Still do. I’m bad that way. Jeff still worries about relapses when I’m gone too long.
If you’ve lived with a depressed person, will you share your experience, from any perspective: spouse, child, parent, friend and etc? We all need some insight to get beyond our own pain. And please share this post if it moves you in some little way. Empathy gets the gold medal when we can understand the other person’s position. Jeff assures me they’re better people for having gone through this with me. Love you guys. Thanks. I’m sorry. Yuck to the muck. bw

adaptation balance Stress management

Fear: The Breakfast of Champions

Last post, I challenged you: WWDD? (What would different do?) What did you do different in September? Please share! (1) comment here (2) Facebook (3 email: or (4) send smoke signals. Just share it!

Here’s my September different. My kids sent me to South Carolina, as a gift, to see Debbie – a sister-kind-of-person. What good news! The REAL good news? The kids told me it was a one-way (?) ticket. Imagine Debbie and Fred’s elation, “WHAT? She’s never leaving??”

One day, we ate fear for breakfast. We paid $54 to scare ourselves to death at the U.S. National Whitewater Rafting Center. We rapid rafted with 6 strangers and a guide. We prayed to remain afloat during 4 runs: two on the intermediate course and two on the competition run. Oh, yay. I paddled so hard, my right arm, the dominant arm for paddling on the right side of the boat, was aching. A woman in the position ahead of me had a knee scar from seven (7!) surgeries (volleyball.) But the team counted on each person. No pain-no-gain. Or end up wet.

Next, Zip-Line. Holy zippers! What’s better than bonding in line with strangers who are equally as nervous? The attendant looked about twelve. As she secured our harnesses, we hoped she wasn’t at the end of her shift (i.e. tired/burned out) Hanging by a harness, hooked to a cable wire isn’t exactly a warm, fuzzy feeling. Stepping off the dock was unnerving, but the zip trip was grand; I wished it’d never ended! Even Deb, who’s afraid of heights, enjoyed the ride! Sort of.

Next up: rope course. (i.e. Flying Wallendas.) Who doesn’t love floating sidewalks and swinging bridges, strung between trees, again, while hanging from wires, attached to the cable. Honestly, I’m surprised there aren’t more deaths at the circus.

Finally, I climbed a telephone pole and jumped off. Yes, I did. I almost didn’t. The attendant instructed: “At the top, step off the platform in the red arrow direction. DON’T THINK ABOUT IT VERY LONG!” I felt faint and queezy at the top. But, there were few options, so I stepped off. I paid good money for this? Geesh, I could been shopping for a cute $54 top at J. Crew instead. I felt like Peter Pan; looked like a yo-yo. It was like a bungee jump, but with more floating than bouncing. Actually, very nice!

We left the Whitewater Center tired, more emotionally than physically, but proud. So proud. I’m not wild about mid-air insecurity. I don’t even trust carnival rides and yet, we were suspended by a wire -our thread of safety- between us and the ground. The $54 fee was a paycheck, more than a fee, because we bought c-c-c-c-c-c-c-courage, guts and glory.

The good news: we didn’t break from cables, fall in rapids, throw up, wet our pants or faint dead away. The really good news? I found out yesterday that my 2014 deductible has been met and my physical therapy for my impinged bicep will be 100% covered. Woohoo. Next time, I’ll paddle from the raft’s left side, not the right. When the caller yelled, “FORWARD, 2 STROKES!” I delivered my best paddling, of course. You’d expect nothing less from a competitive person. Why? There’s no i in team, especially mid-stream.

Now for October’s WWDD? I hope it’ll be something to test my resolve, stimulate my nerves, curiosity or creativity. What it won’t be? Paddling on the right, for sure. Won’t you join me in WWDD? Maybe I’ll take the Assertiveness 101 course for team members on the right, who need to be on the left… bw