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Resolved: No 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

2017 New Year's Resolutions

No 2017 New Year’s Resolutions for me: I’m doing what I did last year. Find what makes you happy and do more of it.

Resolved: Make No 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

At the beginning of this New Year I am making no new 2017 New Year’s resolutions. Except maybe that I will continue doing what I’m already doing.

I know  2016 was a rotten year for many people. But it was a pretty good personal one for me even though Hillary Clinton lost the Presidential election. Now my stoic old heart is broken and the whole country is DOOMED. (I’m STILL With Her, by the way.)

Last year I stopped caring about a lot of things that had hindered me ‘lo these many years…61 to be exact.

I stopped worrying about what other people think of me. I finally like me…and really…isn’t that enough?

So, if I were to make some 2017  New Year’s resolutions, I would just stick with what is working for me.

  • I stopped putting myself down. No, I didn’t suddenly become an arrogant asshole. I merely stopped saying self-deprecating things, trying to make other people feel OK by pointing out all my flaws. I finally learned that when I do that, all they can see is my flaws.  And they think less of me for them. I still tell funny stories about myself, but not to make other people feel better.  I no longer spill the beans on all my insecurities.
  • Ironically, I also stopped telling other people the “great things” I have done. I stopped being so insecure that I had to point out that I also might, maybe, possibly be worthy of their attention.as-far-as-i-know-im-delightful
  • I stopped worrying about how I look. Yes…I still shower and wash my hair and occasionally wear make-up. I quit reading articles about how to look younger. I am 61 years old and I am quite fine with that, thank you very much. I look like I’m 61…and I am fine with that as well.
  • I stopped focusing on how fat I am.  I bought some larger pants that feel good when I wear them. Yes, they have elastic in the waist and I am grateful for that. It leaves my mind open to think about things I like to think about, like:

falling leaves,

happiness,

how good the winter sun feels on my face,

planning a doll house and making the furniture,

illustrating a book,

taking a walk,

reading a good book,

and hanging out with my grandkids.

I no longer focus on my uncomfortable britches. 🙂 🙂  🙂 Whew!

  • I stopped making excuses. If I don’t want to do something and I’m questioned about it, I say “Because I don’t want to.” If I want to do something…and someone questions me about my choices, I answer “Because I want to.” Next Question.
  • In 2016 I spent a lot of time thinking, laughing, working at things I enjoyed, writing, pursuing what is really important to me, traveling to places I’d never been, and looking at eagles and stars in the sky. It made me happy. Very happy indeed.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever heeded is this: Find what makes you happy and do more of that.

I did. I am. And in 2017, I think I’ll just keep on doing that.

 

 

The Worst Christmas Presents Ever

The Worst Christmas Presents Ever

by Peggy Browning

worst Christmas presents ever

Life is good. Live, laugh, love…and enjoy it. But don’t give this cup as a Christmas gift.

 

Ho ho ho. So here it is…that most jolly of seasons when everyone is merrily skittering around…filling their shopping baskets with gifts for giving to others. They are happy and excited, trying to choose just the right gift. Unlike me, they are not giving the worst Christmas presents ever.

They’re choosing presents for people they love, people they like, and probably for a few people they don’t even like, but feel obligated to buy a gift for.

They are buying wrapping paper and tape…ribbons and bows…and festive Zip-Loc bags to wrap up all those precious presents they are sure the recipients will love…or at least like…or not exchange for a gift card.

I don’t like gift giving season. In fact, I kind of hate it. I suck at gift giving.

I’m serious. I am a terrible gift giver. Nobody wants to get a gift from me. Because I give the worst Christmas presents ever.

No one wants me to draw their name from the Christmas hat. No one want s me to be their Secret Santa. Even my kids don’t like to get gifts from me.

I am notorious for giving bad gifts. I have no excuse for it. I’m just truly bad at it.

One year, I gave my grandson a huge package of various sized batteries, a battery organizer, and a big orange box to store his other junk in. He loves batteries…he needs batteries for many of his toys…he loves to put stuff in boxes…orange is his favorite color.

So that’s what I gave him. I was so pleased with myself for finding that battery organizer and the orange box.

Needless to say, the gift was less than impressive. My present was questionable among all the other packages. The faces of the adults present said “What the hell, Grandma?”

OK…so I give the worst Christmas presents ever!Whaddya want me to do about it?

Last year, the same kid won an award in Cub Scouts for baking cupcakes or something. I was so proud of him!

So I made him an apron and bought some cake mixes and cans of icing and mailed them to him so he could bake cupcakes in style. Little did I know that the Cub Scout thing was a one-time activity to earn a cooking badge.  He’s not that fond of cooking and the gift of that manly-looking apron elicited another look of, “What the hell, Grandma?”

So that apron landed on the list of one of the worst Christmas presents ever.

One Christmas, my son Ben asked me, “Are you giving us more of that home-made crap this year?” He was about 19. So…no…there was no home-made crap that year. Honestly, until that time, I had thought my hand-crafted gifts were appreciated. . C’est la vie…you never can tell.

Fewer people are traumatized by my presents these days because I have stopped giving Xmas gifts to people who are not my grandchildren.  I do still try to give them something that makes them smile.

So I give them what I loved as a kid. They get a new pair of pajamas, a new Christmas tree ornament, and a flashlight.

I loved my warm pajamas. Our house was always cold because we had open flame butane heaters and my mother was afraid we would die of carbon monoxide poisoning if the fires burned after we went to bed. Flannel pajamas were greatly appreciated. (and lots of heavy quilts.)

I loved our Christmas tree as well as the old glass ornaments. We didn’t buy new ornaments every year, nor did we decorate with a theme. Our tree had ornaments that had weathered many a Christmas season. Each one was unpacked and hung on the tree with a child’s wonder. I still have my very favorite one…the one with Silent Night and a frosty old church inscribed on it.

I loved flashlights. We lived in the country, where the nights were dark and the stars shone bright and the Milky Way was visible. We didn’t have mercury vapor lights way back then…or at least we didn’t. So if you needed to check on a sound outside, or walk to the barn to check on a cow, or make shadow figures on the ceiling…a flashlight was a necessary part of life.

Here’s my wish for everyone on my very small gift list: Be warm…Be happy and filled with wonder…and Let your light Shine.

So that’s what my four favorite people get. Warmth, Wonder, and Light.

Everybody else gets…well…nothing. Settle down…I’m saving you from experiencing the worst Christmas gifts ever. Don’t be disappointed.  At least you didn’t get any home-made crap from me this year!

2016 Election, Air Pollution, & My Mental Health

My Rosy Outlook is being disrupted by the 2016 Election.

women over 50

stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

Breathe, Peggy, just breathe…

I’m having a grouchy day today. To be more accurate, I should add that I’ve also had a grouchy week. And probably 15 months of grouchiness. How long can this damn 2016 Election last?

I have no personal reason to be grouchy. My life right now (and I emphasize right now because experience tells me that it could change tomorrow) is pretty great.

I live in a nice-enough apartment with a comfortable bed, food, water, and heat & cooling. I am well-clothed. I have good health; my cholesterol and glucose are well within the normal limits. My grandchildren live within easy visiting distance.

I am pursuing one of my life’s idealistic dreams of serving in Americorps/VISTA. I work with people I like and respect and I am proud to be a part of that enterprise that serves my country.

I exercise daily and take my anti-depressants and vitamins religiously. I meditate and pray and count my blessings. I laugh and smile A LOT. I tell jokes. I hug people…even the 20 second hug that is supposed to be life-changing and affirming.

And yet…I can’t shake this underlying vague anger and anxiety that’s bothered me now for a week or longer.

The only thing I can blame this grouchy demeanor on is this: election fatigue.

The 2016 Election has gone on way too long.

I know we’re all tired of hearing about this election and  all the ugliness that is hurled outwardly through the media by sparring campaigners.

  • The accusing rhetoric
  • The threats
  • The Rebel flags
  • The white hoods
  • The racism
  • The out and out lies
  • FBI, Russia, email hacks

I am having trouble breathing with all this BS floating around in the air.

All of it is toxic air pollution, as deadly as any smog, smoke, exhaust fumes, or burning coal could ever be. It makes it hard for me to breathe and I seriously need to breathe…in with the good…out with the bad. In with the happy…out with the grouchy.

It feels too late to ask people to talk about the issues. I’m pretty sure that all the real issues of this campaign have been forsaken to make the point that America is not great, that America is in the shitter, that America…Land That I Love…is doomed. Doomed, I say.

I am disappointed that all these ugly accusations have clouded the real issues of this campaign. I am incredibly disappointed that we have sunk so low that we resort to fear-mongering and name-calling. And I am immeasurably disappointed that so many people seem to have such little grasp of history.

I am so tired. I can’t wait until November 9…I plan to sleep late and I pray the pollution will have cleared when I awake.

I need to breathe again. And I’d really like to lose the grouchy attitude and anger and anxiety.

 

Trump’s American Vision vs. Peggy’s American Vision

Trump’s American Vision Sucks

by Peggy Browning

Trump's American Vision

Trump’s American Vision: Scorched Earth and Fear

Trump’s American Vision leaves me cold. And kind of pissed off.

Of course, everyone who knows me knows that I would never vote for Trump for a seat on the local school board or city council much less for President of the United States of America. Trump’s American Vision is in direct opposition of my own American Vision.

I get it…I know he was the star of a “reality” TV show. He also seems to be a legend in his own mind. He seems unhinged and out of touch with the real world. He is projecting his version of horror-filled scenarios on to the rest of us.

Trump’s American Vision is made of fear. It is based on exclusion, xenophobia, homophobia, economic disaster, racial unrest, terrorism, war, trade inequalities, and dwindling power of the white American male. Have I left out anything that he thinks we should be afraid of?

He’s trying to scare and manipulate the rest of us so we will see America through his fearful crazy-goggles.

I’m not afraid. I never have been. I don’t think I ever will be.

I don’t rely on National Enquirer for my information. And I have no respect for the opinion of someone who does. I have no respect for conspiracy theories and rumors. I don’t base my opinions on what someone else spouts off. I like to investigate and learn the truth on my own. I like to see for myself just what is happening.

Trump’s American Vision is to “make America great again.”

Donnie and I obviously don’t live in the same America. I like mine best. I think Trump should get out more…you know…see the real America.

My vision is that America is already great and that it will continue to be great if we do not give in to fear of change. America is in a period of change and growth right now. I believe we will come out of this period stronger and better than ever before.

My vision is based upon experience and knowledge from the past.  My confidence is based upon what I have observed this spring and summer.

Blue Skies

My American Vision: Blue Skies, Verdant Fields, and Confidence.

 

I’ve been watching the Oklahoma legislature during the second session of 2015-2016. The Oklahoma state budget was in a shambles (and still is). Deep cuts were made to essential services that improve the lives of Oklahoma citizens. Education, state parks, human services, medical care, disability payments…all these vital services were cut to the bone. The shortfall in money was not due to the falling oil prices or to lack of stewardship by the various agencies. It was due to the short-sighted partisanship of the governing body.

So what happened? Exactly what you would expect would happen in an America that is great. People said…No, this is not right and we will change this. Record numbers of new candidates filed for offices in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives and Senate. They spoke up about the unfair distribution of ad valorem taxes for school districts. They went to the State Capitol and talked to their congressmen and they successfully passed bills that had been on the books for years…like autism insurance reform. They stopped bills that discriminated against the LGBT community.

No riots or other hub-bub occurred. But change is coming to Oklahoma and it’s coming through the use of our consciences and our votes. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be done.

America is already great.

This summer I worked as an Americorps/VISTA volunteer for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. I had the privilege to travel all over western Oklahoma monitoring summer feeding programs for children ages infant – 18 years old.

And you know what I saw as I traveled from small town to small town? I saw dedicated, caring people who were concerned and DOING SOMETHING for their communities. They weren’t merely feeding children. They were feeding their spirits as well.

I saw people working together to make sure their children were provided for and that their futures were secure. I saw kindness and generosity everywhere I went.

I saw that the system…and the people…are working and keeping America great.

And yes, I saw blue spacious skies and golden fields of wheat. I saw the red Gloss Mountains and the Little Sahara sand dunes.  But mostly I saw that America is great…that America is working…that America is beautiful.

I believe that my American Vision…in direct contrast to Trump’s American Vision… is the correct one. I believe that our home of the free and the brave is still great and we have nothing to fear.

(Unless, of course, Trump is elected without my vote. If that happens, I will be afraid, very very afraid.)

 

Is Your Mental Health my Responsibility?

Mental Health… is  your mental health my responsibility? If it is…then you’re screwed.

by Peggy Browning

your mental health

Please don’t allow me to be responsible for your mental health.
stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

I must ask again…is your mental health my responsibility? Please, I beg you, don’t make me responsible for it.

You will be sorely disappointed. And I’m sorry for that. Please don’t take anything I say as a personal affront. My opinion doesn’t matter…well, it does in my life, but my opinion does not matter to your life!

I am not an unkind person. But I often say the first thing that pops into my mind. Wild and crazy words race to my mouth, totally unfiltered and I say them. If you are standing in the way of this verbal barrage, then you might be wounded. Not mortally wounded, but you might be a little bit stunned.

Believe me, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I wouldn’t be mean to you on purpose…ever. But my smart mouth gets me in trouble all the time. And I usually don’t even recognize that what I said was offensive to you.

If you are a store clerk or a waitress, you might want to check your mental health before you wait on me.

There’s a reason for this.

So here’s what happened today.

I went to the local JC Penney’s store because I wanted to look at the dresses and see what’s available that I might squeeze my plump hiney in for my daughter’s wedding in August. I know…I have about four months, but I just wanted to see what’s out there that’s considered fashionably acceptable.

As soon as I stepped inside the store… I mean, the door was still swooshing shut behind me…a young woman said, “Hello, honey. How are you today?”

And I said, “Well, I’m just fine, Sugs. How about you?” (Sugs – noun. Pronounced shoogs if you’re from the South or Texas)

She looked at me like I had slapped her. I didn’t even know I was being offensive, but her look told me differently. I was just being a smart ass and answering her like she had addressed me. I had expected her to laugh. She didn’t.

I guess she thought “honey” was a proper, even friendly, way to address an older woman. Perhaps her supervisor had even told her to call older women sugary, stupid names. I don’t blame the clerk…but I don’t like to be called honey and sweetie and baby. Ma’am works for me.

I don’t know of any woman my age who likes to be called those names. It feels condescending and like clerks and waitresses are trying to convince themselves they like you well enough to wait on you.

But back to the story… I felt like I had damaged this woman’s mental health (at least for 30 seconds or so) because she seemed hurt when I called her “Sugs.” And this is the lesson I wanted to teach, but didn’t because I didn’t dare to hurt her feelings any more than I already had:

Don’t let your self-worth or self-esteem be measured by what someone else says even if they are an asshole (especially if they are an asshole.) And never, ever, ever, ever put your mental health and well being into the hands of someone else. That is your own treasure.

Don’t let the careless words of someone who doesn’t matter to you at all harm you. Let it pass, their opinion of you doesn’t matter. And neither does mine.

I went back to Sugs’s register after I looked at dresses and chose a t-shirt for my grandson. We ended up laughing about silly stuff…I told her about my grandson talking about farts all the time which is pretty funny if it doesn’t annoy you to death.

I don’t know the state of Sugs’s mental health when I left, but I hope she doesn’t hold me responsible.

 

Public School Transgender Bathroom Policies and Real Life Consequences

Public School Transgender Bathroom Policies and Real Life Consequences

 

By Peggy Browning

 

Transgender bathroom policies have real life consequences.

I need to pee. Where can I go? Not here, not there, not anywhere.
Public School Transgender bathroom policies have real life consequences.

Please allow me a few minutes of your time to tell you about the real life consequences of public school transgender bathroom policies.

I taught for 16 years in Texas public schools. The last two years were spent as home-bound education coordinator for a school system with an enrollment of 14,000+ students.  My job was to teach students who were unable to attend school due to health reasons including cancer, mononucleosis, surgery, broken bones, bone marrow transplants, mental health issues, and various other causes. A physician prescribed placement to home-bound instruction if the illness was determined to impede the student’s ability to attend school on campus.

In 2010, the Texas Education Agency allowed students up to four hours per week of home-bound instruction. A teacher goes to the student’s home or to an appointed meeting place and provides four hours of direct instruction. Usually that instruction time was divided in two 2-hour periods two times per week.

It is the home-bound teacher’s responsibility to gather all work from other teachers and the child’s campus and help the student do the assigned work. The teacher then acts as a liaison between the campus and the student and returns the work, etc. to the original teacher who then grades and records the result and assigns grades for the time period whether it is a semester, a six weeks period, nine weeks or whatever.

So…a student was assigned to me for home-bound services. A junior high student…with problems other than physical ailments. This student was transgender and was causing a kerfuffle about using the restroom.

The student, who I will call Charlie, had other issues, like an un-diagnosed learning disability, anxiety, and being a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Those issues alone were enough to create problems for the kid. Unfortunately, lots of kids have those same issues.

However, the one issue that set Charlie apart and adrift from the public school system was being transgender.

Public School Transgender Bathroom Policies

Public School Transgender bathroom policies

Charlie wore skirts, cute shoes, make-up and had a really cute hair-do. (Image purchased from canstockphoto.com)

 

Charlie was in 8th grade and wore skirts, cute shoes, and make-up and had a great hair-do. Charlie identified in every way as a female, except one: genitalia.  Charlie had a penis, so was expected to use the boys’ restroom.

And that, along with other things, caused a shit storm at the junior high.

Charlie was assigned to the special school for emotionally disturbed kids where students received counseling and attended small classes with specially trained teachers. But Charlie couldn’t stay there forever due to funding and insurance and budget cuts and all that stuff.

And Charlie couldn’t return to the junior high campus because the tide had already turned there and Charlie wasn’t really welcome any more. There were too many problems with bullying and bathrooms and dress code violations.

 

 

So, Charlie became my student and we had a great time twice a week trying to learn basic geometry and the fricking Pythagorean theorem. We didn’t get a lot of work done, but we talked a lot about life. And about being different. And about being OK with yourself. And about God loving you for who you are…because if you believe in God, you have to believe that God made you that way.

And if you believe only in DNA, then you have to believe your DNA made you that way. Either way, you have to accept yourself whether other people accept you or not.

But here is another major issue that Charlie and I faced…

You don’t get a lot of education in four hours per week… even with a fantastic teacher like me. 

 

The Consequences of Public School Transgender Bathroom Policies

The consequences of the public school transgender bathroom policies brouhaha at the school district resulted in Charlie basically being denied a FAPE … a Free Appropriate Public Education, which is the legal right of every student who is attending a public school in every single state in the United States.

That is the law. That is Title IX. That is the legal right of every public school student.

So, school districts across ‘Mureca…get your act together and decide how everyone on campus can use the bathroom in peace and harmony.

It is your legal obligation to provide the Free Appropriate Public Education that is due each and every child no matter whether they sit down or stand up to pee.

And while you’re looking at those requirements, you need to examine the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, too. No matter how you classify a student, everyone has the right to use the restroom at school.

And for my dear friend and lovely human being, Charlie…this one is just for you. I believe that United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch is looking out for your best interests.

The horrifying experience in a Target bathroom that I won’t soon forget

We all knew something terrible could happen in those Target restrooms, now didn’t we? 

This is an article by Ellie DeLano, a SheKnows Expert from SheKnows.com. She was way more kind than I think I would have been.

I am thinking now of what I would have done in this situation and kind of hoping something similar happens to me.

Because I know what I will do if it should happen to me.

I will peek back. 

News, email and search are just the beginning. Discover more every day. Find your yodel.

Source: The horrifying experience in a Target bathroom that I won’t soon forget

National Teacher’s Day: My Favorite Teacher

National Teacher's Day

National Teacher’s Day
Image by Paul Gooddy/freedigitalphotos.net

Most of us have a teacher who encouraged us to become our best. On National Teacher’s Day, I wish to honor my favorite teacher, Mrs. Wilma Skinner.

by Peggy Browning

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” — Carl Jung

National Teacher’s Day Tribute to Mrs. Wilma Skinner

I have no doubt that teachers make a difference in children’s lives. Mrs. Wilma Skinner was the teacher who made the biggest impact on my life. She died twenty years ago at the age of 68 from complications of a stroke.

Mrs. Skinner’s death  was properly noted in the obituary section of this newspaper. The notice named her loving children, the time of the funeral service and a few of the accomplishments she achieved during her lifetime.

When I read the announcement of Mrs. Skinner’s death, I could only feel that the obituary was incomplete. It correctly stated that she was a retired teacher who taught at Midway and Bellevue Schools and Midwestern State University but said nothing of what a wise and wonderful woman she was. It never mentioned the impact she had on the lives of at least two generations of students from the tiny country schools where she taught.

Perhaps that was because there isn’t enough room in an entire newspaper to tell what Mrs. Skinner gave her students. A few inches in the obituary section certainly couldn’t cover the importance of her influence in our lives.

To fully describe Mrs. Skinner would have required interviews with all the people who loved her. And there were many of us.

Simply put, Mrs. Skinner was the best teacher I have ever known. I had the good fortune to be her student for several years. Mrs. Skinner taught fifth and sixth grade reading, handwriting, and grammar at small, rural, Midway School situated between the communities of Joy and Bluegrove, Texas.

I loved my first grade teacher, my second grade teacher, and my third grade teacher. I was afraid of my fourth grade teacher. In fifth grade,  Mrs. Skinner became my most very favorite teacher ever and she remains so today. I mourned when I had to leave her class to go on to the  7th grade even though at Midway that meant that you only moved down the long hall to the other end of the school.

And then I rejoiced in 8th grade when Mrs. Skinner “graduated” to high school where she became the junior high and high school English teacher.

Mrs. Skinner had that rare ability to detect your hidden strengths and praise you for them. She challenged  us to do our very best, but never chastised us if we fell short of her expectations. She knew our talents and she had faith that eventually we would recognize them too..

I feel like Mrs. Skinner taught me almost every important thing that I know. She certainly gave me many of the skills that I use every day. She taught me everything I know about writing: correct usage of grammar and not to add a bunch of baloney to your story just to fill up space.

Mrs. Skinner shared her love of the written word with us and allowed us to develop our own love of it. She encouraged us to find words of our own and gave us the knowledge we needed to do it.

I have many beloved memories of Wilma Skinner.

I remember her patience while she tried to teach me the finer points of handwriting in 5th grade. I remember that she practiced with me after school to prepare for the district spelling bee. I also remember my pride when she reported in her current events section on the blackboard that I won 3rd place in that competition.

I even remember her amused expression when she explained that “motley” had meanings other than this little country girl’s definition of an “old, motley-faced cow.”

I remember her merrily singing “O, Henry “ at the top of her lungs on the school bus during annual class trips to Wichita Falls. And I remember her laughing after Junior Smothers told a ribald joke in the school hallway when he thought she was out of earshot.

Mrs. Skinner introduced us to Shakespeare and William Faulkner, Sara Teasdale and the Bronte’ sisters, Edgar Allen Poe and Christina Rosetti. She showed us a world beyond the dairy farms and ranches where we lived: a world of dreams where anything we aspired to was possible. She showed us our potential and gave us the belief that we could accomplish whatever we desired to do. And she did so with compassion and understanding.

12 book categories to read this year

Mrs. Skinner shared her love of the written word with us.
image by freedigitalphotos.net

Mrs. Skinner understood that we needed to know more about life skills than about language skills and she proceeded to tell us some of the lessons she had learned.

National Teacher’s Day

When I had a mad crush on a boy who had more looks than brains and who didn’t reciprocate my affection, Mrs. Skinner kindly told me that boys don’t like girls who are smarter than they. She added that I should never pretend to be dumb, but instead to look for boys who were as smart as I.

Once when I was still in “flower child” mode, she and I debated over the goodness that I believed existed in everyone. She believed the opposite. In the years after high school I often thought of that when I encountered those people who are not inherently good. Only then did I appreciate her wise counsel.

Mrs. Skinner was not the teacher to whom you went with your problems, although you could have done that and she would have listened.

No, she was the teacher with whom you shared your dreams and knew she could give you credible advice and would never make you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable with your feelings. She was the one who validated your ticket to fly among the stars.

I still cherish a worn piece of paper with a descriptive essay written upon it. Not because I received an ‘A’ on my effort, but because Mrs. Skinner  added “beautiful”  next to the grade. It is tucked away among my treasures because her favor is still valuable to me.

I always felt like I was Mrs. Skinner’s “special student.” So did everyone else.

She had the gift of making all her students feel special. Perhaps it was because she really believed they were.

Years after I graduated from Midway High School and became a teacher myself, I asked Mrs. Skinner how she always managed to treat her students with such respect and caring. She told me she prayed every morning for them and asked for wisdom and the ability to teach them the things they needed to know.

I hope she rests well knowing her prayers were answered.

 

Why do we wait until National Teacher’s Day to honor our favorite teacher?

See You Are Safe with Me

Change of life … what matters to me now

Change of Life … what matters to me now

by Peggy Browning

Peggy Browning

Planting a tree in Costa Rica.

It’s time for a change again. Honestly I go through a major change of life about once every 5 years or so.

However, in the last five years, I have made more changes than I thought I was capable of. I sold the house I loved, moved to another state, quit the job that was supposed to give me pension and sustain me through the rest of my life.

Almost five years ago, I started a blog written specifically for women who were over 50. I wrote a book about how turning 50 had given me a boost toward living a fuller life. I wanted to share that little bit of insight with other women.  I was a bit before my time, as I usually am with any good idea that I find I want to do.

Being “before my time” doesn’t mean I’m a great success at anything. It usually means that I start a project…nobody likes it…I quit…then other people come along and make a success of a version of my idea. Not that they are stealing my idea. It’s not that at all. It’s just that good ideas are floating out in the Universe and lots of people pick up on those ideas.

What I’ve found out about the over-50 blogs is that they are a lot like Facebook. Everybody has an incredibly fashionable, totally spiritual, amazingly healthy and happy life on their blog. They eat off the good china, have goddess spa days, and treat themselves like the special people they are. The life that’s being touted as aging with style, aging with panache, aging with youth and vigor intact…well, it’s like a Being Over 50 is Great club. Clubs have rules… like how to look younger, how to have better sex even though you are not that interested but you know young people are so you try to be too, how to dress appropriately, how to wear your hair, and how to apply your make-up.

I’ve spent my life trying to wriggle free of rules. I see no reason to start following rules now. It takes all the fun out of things.

Change of life. Again.

Anyway…I am now 60 years old. And I’m feeling very  different than I did ten years ago. I feel like I’ve been there, done that, settled a lot of questions about life and love and whatnot. I’m now tired of encouraging women to seek their own way, to be mindful, and to follow their dreams.

My unsettled thoughts and feelings are now suddenly settled since this last birthday. When I was 50 and 50+ I was trying to follow a dream and re-set my life’s course. And I did it.

Now I’m tired of talking about it. I just want to live this crazy little life I’m engaged in. I’m having fun.

Another Change of life

Peggy Browning author

My 1955 name is Peggy. It was #51 in popularity that year. In 2015, I would be named Hailey, which is also #51 in popularity for this year.

Maybe 60 is the Magic Age. Could be.  But, I won’t be talking about how great being 60 is. I’m just going to enjoy it.

So I’m changing the premise of my website and blog. I’m just going to write about what I want to write about. That means I’ll be posting stories about where I go and what I did and what I read and what I cooked. I’m just writing about what I enjoy.

And I enjoy a lot of things.

I enjoy exploring this new place where I live. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. I enjoy following the crazy politics of the state of Oklahoma. I enjoy writing and telling stories.

And one more change of life.

I will no longer be telling anyone how to age gracefully and gratefully. I’m just going to live my life and write about what concerns me.

And the rest of you folks under 60 are on your own because I’m not making any rules for you to follow!

Go forth and be happy. Or don’t. It’s your choice…and I have no advice to give you about how to act, dress, or have sex.

Stop by and visit with me sometime.  I will be right here, telling long-winded stories about the things I see and the people I meet and the things that matter to me.

Breastfeeding in public: Don’t be boobs about boobs

 

breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding in public
image by freedigitalphotos.net

Breastfeeding in public

by Peggy Browning

So here’s what I’m thinking about breastfeeding in public: everybody should just calm down and shut the hell up. Don’t be boobs about boobs.

Breasts were made to feed babies. They really are nothing but a set of fatty mammary glands. Their purpose is to nourish our young. All mammals have them. Last I checked, women are mammals.

Cats and dogs and cows and goats and monkeys and giraffes have teats. That’s the body part they use to feed their babies. Women have teats too. Yes, they do. And that’s the part of their body intended for feeding their babies too.

I’m long past the age that anyone is going to look at my mammary glands and the bags of fat surrounding them. However, when I was a young mother, I regularly whipped the girls out for their god-given purpose. My middle child was breast-fed until the age of 14 months. The reason I stopped at 14 months was because I started a demanding job and was just too stinking tired. Plus he was eating real food by then.

Breastfeeding in public is not a shameful act.

Breastfeeding in public is necessary if your baby gets hungry while you’re in…oh, you know…public.

Anyway…I can’t remember feeling any shame about breastfeeding that child, or for breastfeeding my youngest child for 4 months. I also didn’t go to a restroom and sit in a stall to feed my baby. I was a modest person, as I still am, and I discreetly lifted my shirt, positioned my child, and covered us with a light blanket. Mothers learn to wear big t-shirts and easily re-positioned clothing.

I did it in restaurants (although we didn’t go out much and never to any place other than the Dairy Queen). I did it at the park. I did it at the mall. I did it while sitting on a curb on the sidewalk at the spring festival in Wichita Falls, Texas. I did it as I drove down the highway in a 1973 Volkswagen Beetle. (What? My baby was hungry and car seat laws weren’t in effect back then.)

No one ever told me to get out of their place of business. No one ever said anything to shame me. Most likely they didn’t even notice…because I was discreet.

 

breastfeeding in public


freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

If you are offended by the photo on the left, but not the one on the right, maybe you should re-think things.

 

 

So here’s the deal…if  you are sexualizing mothers who are breastfeeding in public, maybe something is wrong with YOU. How about you just accept that YOU are an idiot and keep your mouth shut.

 

It is necessary for mothers to feed their babies when they are outside their homes, whether the milk comes from a breast or a bottle. It is not necessary to shame them for that act.

 

Even Mr. Rogers talked about breastfeeding. Here’s a clip from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood:

 

 

A breastfeeding mom took to Facebook to share a story about a museum manager telling her to go somewhere “private” to nurse her baby.

Source: Museum Apologizes For Asking Breastfeeding Mom To Move Scary Mommy