Fantasies Fulfilled: A $500 Disney Giveaway!

I have been to Disney more in the past two months than the last ten years.

Tenley invited me to attend the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT in November as part of my birthday gift, then she was there at Christmas (which I realize is not the same as ME being there, but when your child is at Disney at Christmas without you, isn’t that the same as a part of your heart being there?). Lastly, I was at Disney January 17-19 as Tenley moved in to start her Disney College Program. First time at Animal Kingdom? Check! First time at Pop Century? Check! Coming to the realization that staying on property (which I had never done until the November visit) is the bomb diggity? Check! Check! Check!

So many ways to fantasize about what I would do if the gift card fairy plopped a $500 gift card into my hand!

Well, it takes a little more than a fairy – you DO have to do some clicking and following, but this Rafflecopter giveaway could magically land a $500 gift card in your hands. I call that a fantasy come true!

Disney Giveaway

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize: $500 Disney Gift Card (can be used at any Disney park or store)

Co-hosts: Coupons and Freebies Mom // Sunny Sweet Days // Lipgloss & Crayons // Jenns Blah Blah Blog // Yes We Disney // Style On The Side // Peyton’s Momma // The Bewitchin’ Kitchen // Juggling Act Mama // Casey At // Peanut Butter and Whine // City Of Creative Dreams

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 2/29 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

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Disney Giveaway

A memory from my last visit.

Toastmasters: An Open House Invitation

toastmasters

Frequently, when I mention my involvement in Toastmasters, people express an interest in participating themselves.

This week, there’s a perfect opportunity to find out what it’s all about — our club (Podemos Hablar) is holding an open house!

Here are the details:

Date: Monday, April 13, 2015

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Where: La Fiesta Restaurant (2329 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee, Florida, 32301)

(Note: one reason I was attracted to this particular club is that it is a Bilingual Toastmasters Club (Spanish/English). It is especially helpful for people trying to improve their Spanish (or for Spanish speakers trying to improve their English). But don’t let that stop you from joining our open house — there are speakers of all levels.)

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know!

toastmasters banner

En Español*:

Frecuentemente, cuando hablo de mi participación en Toastmasters, todos expresan su interés en participar ellos tambien.

Esta semana, hay una oportunidad perfecta para descubrir de qué se trata – de nuestro club (Podemos Hablar) está ofreciendo exhibición publica!

Aquí están los detalles:

Fecha: Lunes, 13 de abril 2015

Hora: 18:00 (6:00 p.m.)

Dónde: La Fiesta Restaurant (2329 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee, Florida, 32301)

(Nota:.. Una de las razones que me atraido a este club en particular es que este club es bilingüe (Español / Inglés). Es especialmente útil para las personas que tratan de mejorar su español (o para los hispanohablantes que tratan de mejorar su Inglés. Pero no dejes que eso te detenga de asistir la exhibición publica – hay hablantes de todos los niveles).

Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, haz favor de comunicármelo.

toastmasters juan

Juan, Past President.

 

Shaking hands with Teressa, our club Vice President (and my mentor) after I spoke.

Shaking hands with Teressa, our club President (and my mentor) after I spoke.

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

(Los límites de mi lenguaje son los límites de mi mundo.)

Ludwig Wittgenstein

(Thank you to our club past president Juan for helping me with the translation. I take full responsibility for any errors that remain. // Gracias a nuestro presidente pasado del club Juan por ayudarme con la traducción. Yo soy responsable de los errores que quedan.)

Time for Peace

I have a blog post in my head that hasn’t made it to the “page” yet. This is partially because as much as I would like to process via the blog some of my parenting concerns, my blog is a public place and both of my kids are on social media so it simply doesn’t seem fair to them to post the one in my head.

The blog in my head would be about the challenges of coming to terms with your child not being who you envisioned them to be, but rather who they are meant to be.

Even as I write this, I am feeling hypocritical because I am the first to post or share those pieces of content on social media that encourage acceptance, appreciating people for who they are, and embracing all different kinds of abilities.

In all honesty, as my son comes closer to turning 16, I am still not sure what to do with the part of myself that wanted to be a “baseball” mom (and it didn’t have to be baseball … name any sport or activity that involves endless practices, uniform purchases, trips to matches, etc.). Baseball came and went. Football came and went. Gymnastics came and went. Soccer came and went (fleetingly). Speedskating came and went (but is still sort of on the radar screen). Running and triathlons came and went (but hope springs eternal in this running mom’s heart that he will find joy in running again someday).

Time for Peace

Breakfast on the Track 2010

I have also struggled with my son’s lack of deference (not that being deferential has been the way to go for me, in retrospect) to elders. With my father in law living with us for the past ten months, it has been a hard time in many ways. My son has shouldered his own share of the burden in ways I perhaps have not sufficiently thanked him for, but I still cringe when he is short with my FIL or tells me “not to engage” when my FIL is combative (for the record, he is right but still…).

Time for Peace

For one moment today, that all went a little bit out the window.  After Fr. Jim gave a homily about “things you can’t unsee” (which this visual learner appreciated since it had graphics to accompany the message!), it was time for the “passing of the peace.”

As we were greeting the other attendees, I was shaking hands/hugging the fellow attendees but there was an elderly gentleman seated directly in front of me who clearly had mobility issues. He had stayed seated during the Passing of the Peace. It was easy to miss him … to not make the effort to get his attention, make eye contact, shake his hand.

BUT that is exactly what I watched my son do out of the corner of my eye. Wait for the gentleman to see that Wayne was waiting on him, then shake hands and exchange a wish for peace.

On an Easter when our responsibilities for my FIL kept my husband home instead of attending worship with us, when my daughter was at her church home with her best friend and her family, it was a day to put aside “normal” hopes and expectations. In the interaction between Wayne and the gentleman, there WAS a moment when all of the expectations and hopes I have clutched so tightly to my really didn’t matter.

Because the gentleman in the row ahead of us needed something that only my son was prepared to give.

ALLELUIA.

Time for Peace

Easter at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Tallahassee, FL

 

 

 

Look Up!

 

chrysler building

I am keeping tonight’s post short. I have a limited amount of time in NYC and will save a proper thank you for everyone’s generous support of my United NYC Half Marathon effort on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for a future post. I also have a lot to say about the joy of meeting Gareth (the young man I run for through I Run for Michael) and will hold that too.

For now, a reminder to look up. When I lived in NYC, I walked everywhere I could. I would peek in the store windows, people-watch, and marvel at the variety of languages and personalities surrounding me. However, days would go by that I would forget all of the “stuff” above. The beautiful, large-scaled, make-your-mouth-fall-open with awe stuff.

We can use a reminder to “look up” figuratively as well as literally. To be precise, I can. I have been struggling with more tunnel vision than I have disclosed to many people. I am not sure what the way out is or how soon it will come, but I know one of the keys lies in “looking up.”

Thank you for the reminder, NYC.

Goodbye, Mary Nell

Mary Nell's Casket Spray

Mary Nell’s Casket Spray

Today, I attended the funeral of Mary Nell.

One of the many floral arrangements was this one:

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When I first saw this arrangement, I was surprised to see seed packets and trowels. They implied there was still work to be done at a time when the focus was on one individual’s perpetual rest.

Upon further reflection, this was the perfect arrangement to marry a celebration of a life beautifully lived and the admonition that those of us who loved her must continue her legacy. One phrase Rev. Peterson used to describe that legacy was “she always remained exactly who she was no matter what was going on around her.”

My memories of being in her home when I was in high school coalesce into a blur of happy/family/poolside/laughter/plentiful food/togetherness all in one. Christmas, as Rev. Art Peterson said today, deserved its own category. There was truly nothing like the ramp up to Christmas at the Archer home, with mountains of wrapping paper, gift boxes galore, and music playing in the background, all tied up in curling ribbon and festivity. I loved being a part of it all. It felt like a second home to me, and being there fed my spirit in a way no other place did.

Now that I am a parent myself, I know the particular sting a parent feels when their child seeks out a “second home” somewhere else despite that parent’s best efforts to express their love. That may be why, despite her overwhelmingly gracious, fun loving, warm, open-armed welcome every single time in my high school years that I showed up, there was also a wisdom behind her eyes that went unspoken.

I don’t know how in all those years I didn’t realize how much she loved butterflies, but now that I do, I imagine her sailing weightlessly on the breeze, showing off her beautiful colors, free of the physical pain that came with the cancer she fought over the last two years and the emotional pain of leaving behind the family she loved so completely.

For her service, I wore this pin given to me by another wonderful woman, my mother-in-law Barb. For several years leading up to her sudden death from anphoto (3) aortic dissection, she gave away her treasures (such as this one). We would find them in our Christmas stockings. A particular piece would be given for a graduation. One by one she was divesting herself of items she loved, on the premise that a) she wanted to choose who some of these items went to and b) it would prevent us from having more work to do after she was gone (in truth, there might have been a hint of her needing to control the process (said lovingly of course!)). I’m honestly not sure if it’s a dragonfly or a butterfly (and I am sure someone will clue me in) but for today we’ll go “butterfly.”

I believe that Mary Nell, too, gave away treasures long before she left the earth. For me it was different than tangible items like this pin. It was the treasure of a home full of laughter, togetherness, generosity, sharing of meals, faith, and a spirit of looking adversity in the eye and saying “I will handle this.” It was a place to savor happiness and work through sadness. She planted seeds of love that took root and flourished far outside the walls of that house.

I am grateful to have been so welcomed in Mary Nell’s home, to have had the love and friendship of her mother-in-law, Lottie Lee, as well as Doyle, Jimmy, Duane, Rhonda, and the extended family. I am a better person, filled with perennial memories, for having been welcomed into this family.

I was telling my coach, Kristie, about Mary Nell last night and I happened to write, “if you see any butterflies they may be Mary Nell’s spirit.” She immediately wrote back: “Funny you should mention. We had a bunch in the front yard today. One landed on Ty’s [her son] nose. Would have given anything for a camera.”

I told Kristie that some moments in our lives (despite the ubiquitousness of cameras, selfies, and our tendency to share) are better spent not fumbling for a camera and being 110% present.

I don’t need pictures to remember the feeling I had being in Mary Nell’s home. I have the memories. Those memories are more than enough.

monarch

 

“Wheel” See About That

Since late May, my father-in-law (FIL) has been living with us (he sustained subdural hematomas and other injuries in a May 2014 fall and it became clear that living alone was no longer an option for him).

He makes frequent visits to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH) for diagnostic testing and to the Professional Office Building (POB) attached to TMH for appointments with his neurologist, his balance doctor, and a physical therapist.

When you take a patient to TMH/POB for an appointment, you park in the attached parking garage. The attached parking garage has a fantastic valet service, which only costs $3. The valet service is administered by ABM Healthcare Support Services (ABM for the purpose of this blog). The employees of ABM are unfailingly polite and helpful.

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Wayne’s dad has difficulty sustaining his balance when walking any distance at all. For this reason, I take him into TMH/POB in a wheelchair obtained from TMH.

2014-09-04 12.17.55

It is the procurement of a wheelchair to transport the patient from the parking garage into TMH or POB that presents a WHEELY, WHEELY frustrating problem (sorry, couldn’t resist a play on words!).

It is extremely difficult to get a wheelchair to use when transporting a patient from the parking garage to their destination. On my most recent visit, I waited 18 minutes.

wheelchair wait

The 18-minute wait was the longest of the visits (approximately seven visits over three months) I have made this summer, but a lengthy wait is typical. The valet staff (always polite) are apologetic and courteous in the way they say “it may take a while.” They have told me that this wheelchair drought situation is unique to TMH (their organization services the other hospital in town and the wheelchair situation is not this bad according to them). They have essentially told me since the transportation staff at TMH is “a different department” (which is true), there is a basic lack of coordination.

Then there is the companion issue of getting from POB back to the parking deck. You (as the patient’s caretaker) have to have the physician’s office call “transportation” and wait for them to arrive (another situation where I was courteously told by a physician office staffer “that may take a while”). Recently, I asked the staff to call transportation when I knew my FIL would be done at a certain time (he was in a therapy appointment so I knew it had a fixed end time). When transportation arrived, he was not quite done. The transportation representative said “I can’t stay here.” I asked if he could leave the wheelchair (no). He said to have the doctor’s office call when my FIL was out. Once my FIL was out, the new staff person in the office did not know how to call transportation (obviously not transportation’s problem) so I walked down to the information desk myself. Since there was no one there, but there was a wheelchair, I absconded with that wheelchair in a split second, feeling totally renegade.

Most recently, my FIL was in a physical therapy appointment and the office did not have a receptionist. With 15 minutes left before his appointment was scheduled to end, I went down to the information desk to request a wheelchair. The representative said “come get us when you need one.” I replied “that is what I am doing.” This back and forth (“get us when you need it” “that’s what I’m doing”) went on for a while. I asked if I could just take a wheelchair (no). Eventually the information desk individual said he would arrive at the designated spot in 15 minutes (which he did, and for which I am grateful).

If you arrive to the hospital on a day when valet is full, you face a different set of issues: depositing your marginally mobile, short-term memory deprived, impatient elderly person on a bench while you find a parking spot, then return to your patient and try to obtain a wheelchair using the “lift the yellow phone” method (note: there is not a yellow phone within ten feet of this sign that I could find).

wheelchair sign

This situation needs a resolution. While we could theoretically buy a wheelchair (or possibly obtain one through insurance) to have for occasions like this (he doesn’t need a wheelchair for general getting around, just for navigating the hospital or other walking-intensive settings), there have to be other patients out there who don’t have the resources to do so.

On one of my first visits, after a lengthy day at TMH that ended up with an unexpected visit to radiology, a radiology employee escorted my FIL down to the parking garage via wheelchair and remained with him until I was able to get my car and pick him up. I was impressed. As he saw my FIL into my car, he handed me one of those “how am I doing?” cards that provided an email to use for comments. He encouraged me to email his supervisor with feedback. Because it is important to me to recognize great situations as well as complaint situations, I promptly emailed his supervisor to commend him. When his supervisor responded, I asked who at the hospital I could talk to about the rest of the wheelchair situation. She referred me to “Patient Advocacy.”

I emailed the patient advocate, and received a response rather quickly. The representative who called back said she would “look into it” and if she found any useful information would get back to me. That was in June.

Before I move on to my theory regarding how this can be fixed, I want to reassure you that I’ve asked myself the same questions I encourage anyone to ask before they complain on Twitter:

Am I right? I am right in the sense that 18 minutes is too darn long for an elderly, infirm individual to have to wait for safe transport to their appointment.

Did I attempt to handle privately? Yes, via the Patient Advocate.

Was I civil? Always, even though it was tempting not to be.

Can it be fixed? Well, now there’s the 18 minute question! Of course it can; it’s a matter of priorities, values, and communication.

If the arriving individual is not a patient of TMH (but rather of one of the doctors in the adjoining POB), they aren’t really a “customer” of TMH. They aren’t going to end up being on any follow-up quality questionnaires. They have nothing to do with TMH’s bottom line. They’re just there, needing to be dealt with. I believe that moves them down to the bottom of the priority list.

For values, I re-visited Dan Rockwell/Leadership Freak’s blog about 5 Structures That Shaped Zappos Culture. As part of this post, he defined 5 behavioral expressions of culture:

1) habits

2) routines

3) shared language

4) common beliefs

5) mutual decisions

In the case of my wheelchair quandary, the various entities involved (valet, transportation, TMH staff) don’t have issues (as it relates to this question) with habits, routines, shared language, or common beliefs (I imagine they all at some level want satisfied patients) but there are no mutual decisions (therefore this is poor communication) because they are (as stated so eloquently by one of my valet friends) “different departments.”

It also seems to me, knowing how risk averse health care institutions are, that it is as much a liability to have a marginally mobile, short-term memory deprived, elderly person sitting alone on an outdoor bench in 95 degree weather as it would be to have hospital wheelchairs either more plentifully available in general or at least available to responsible caretaker family members.

This post has been composing itself in my head for a few months now. I have asked myself multiple times if I am just seeing this all through the filter of the frustrations I feel about caretaking. If that’s the case, then feel free to label me high maintenace.

Ultimately, whether it’s my relative or someone I’ll never meet, I just think these patients deserve better.

I “WHEELY” do…..

Awkwardly angled parking garage selfie (WITH WHEELCHAIR HOORAY!)

Awkwardly angled parking garage selfie (WITH WHEELCHAIR HOORAY!)

 

Always Ripe (A #MandelaDay Post)

NMF-MandelaDay-Logo-INT-Colour-NEG

On Friday, July 18, people around the world shared their favorite Nelson Mandela quotes on the occasion of the sixth “Mandela Day” and the first since his death in December 2013. For more information about Mandela Day, please visit this link.

To see my quote, view the following brief video:

According to the Mandela Day website, Nelson Mandela followed three rules throughout his life:

  1. Free yourself.
  2. Free others.
  3. Serve every day.

July 18 is the “official” day. That leaves 364 others in which we can each “serve every day.” Is there a cause calling your name? Tapping at your conscience? Enticing you to contribute your energy?

The time is ripe to do right.  

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Yabbly Great Decisions (An Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!)

Yabbly-Giveaway

I like to think I am a “thoughtful” person, and if you are anything like me you can AGONIZE over the decision process for just about any purchase. Turns out I hang on to things for a long time! Making my “tens” list (of things I can’t live without) on Yabbly demonstrates that when I become loyal to something I stay that way! All of the items on my list would be things I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone else.

Yabbly is an online community of thoughtful people who help each other make great purchasing decisions everyday. They were finalists in SxSW 2013 in the social category and are a top 3 search result in “product reviews” on the iPhone app store. Now we all know how hard it is to get to the top 10 in the eyes of Apple. So that is pretty big news. Get the Yabbly App today. It’s free! The Yabbly philosophy is that the best purchasing decisions are made through dialogue with actual people who have made similar decisions recently. They believe that one of the main frustrations about online shopping today is that averaging a bunch of reviews just doesn’t cut it, and you’re left buying a product and simply hoping for the best. (This video tells you more!)

About Yabbly, Inc.

Yabbly is a shopping Q&A community where members provide vital, real-time reviews on choosing products that best fit their needs. Yabbly motivates people to help each other pick the best product for them with its 1:1 karma system and is revolutionizing how we connect through shared product experiences. For more information, please visit yabbly.com.

Grand Prize Winner will receive a $300 Amazon Gift Card and
Four Additional Winners will each receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Giveaway ends September 9th at 11:59pm, open US and
Canadian residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good
luck.

Organized by Mom Powered Media: Mom to Bed by 8 and Budget Earth.

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Disclosure: Perspicacity did not receive
compensation for this giveaway. Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest are in no way associated
with this giveaway. Prize fulfillment and shipping will be handled by MPM.

Would you like to have your products featured in a similar
giveaway event? Want to increase your social media exposure before the holiday season?
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What Rhymes With Big Green Pen?

There’s only one thing that I am more reluctant to share on YouTube than my running form, and that is my “singing.” But a challenge was issued so I am attempting to rise to it.

It started back when I read and commented on this post by Gini Dietrich about her Follow Friday philosophy. (Follow Friday or #FF is a Twitter tradition that indicates the person you #FF is worth following. Surely created by someone who loves alliteration.)

I found her post interesting because my approach is pretty different — I have a list of roughly 50 people who I #FF on Fridays. They are a combination of individuals, products, and causes I care about. I still do my 50, but Gini’s post did make me think about the ones I tweet out there without context. I have redoubled my efforts to explain why they get an #FF from me.

When Gini was away from her blog for a few weeks, she had fill-ins for various editions of her regular blogs.

Fill-ins such as Chuck Kent of Creative on Call, who created this little masterpiece:

And I complimented Chuck on this masterpiece (which I really do think rocks!) although I couldn’t help pointing out that it would have been sheer perfection had it included a certain writing instrument with which I share my twitter handle. He responded back that it was a challenge to find something that rhymes with Big Green Pen. No fear, Chuck, I’ve got you covered. It was easier to send Gini the bribe I sent her than to come up with 47 seconds of Twinkle Twinkle “What Rhymes With Pen.” Honestly……

#RunChat Blogger Awards (And A Giveaway!)

I don’t know about you, but I could spend hours upon hours reading blogs about running. I think it’s great that #RunChat is inviting us to share our favorite running bloggers. AND the nominators are entered for an opportunity to win an entry into the 2013 or 2014 Key West Half Marathon. Just for saying who we like to read!!

There are five categories, and here are my nominations:

Best Overall Running Blog:  Ann’s Running Commentary

Best New (2012) Running Blog:  GingerMantra (It’s not JUST about running but Tammy’s evolution as a runner is knocking my socks off and you can see it through her blog).

Funniest Running Blog:  Run Luau Run (Caveat: Run Luau Run isn’t always funny. It’s motivational sometimes, thought-provoking sometimes, and has more references to blue hair and Katy Perry than you might expect but ….. the funny moments always make me smile.)

Most Inspirational Running Blog:  Shut Up And Run

Best Participant in #RunChat:  Alex Bridgeforth – it seems like he’s ALWAYS there!

Nominations will be accepted through 12/14/12, and voting will follow on or before December 21.

Ready to nominate your faves? Here’s the link!