When I was a kid, all I wanted for Christmas…

When I was a kid two of the things I wanted were “a warm home” and “hot food to eat.” I did not always get those during Christmas. During Christmas it was harder to deal with not having hot food than other times of year. I was wishing for Santa to bring hot food… while other kids were wishing for stupid things like a pony, or Optimus Prime, or the Millennium Falcon. **Of course, now that I have seen Star Wars… I would have also wished for the Millennium Falcon.**

My childhood is one of the reasons I am a good fit as a foster parent. Because I was a foster kid for a while… and I know Christmas is a challenging time of year for foster kids. When I was a kid I did not fully understand the Make-A-Wish foundation. I remember there were kids who got to go to Disney World, or meet a football player… but I was always jealous. I remember thinking: Those kids already have food and a home. Why do they also get to go to Disney World? … all I want is hot food… that has to be an easier wish to grant than Disney World!

Now that I am older the Make-A-Wish foundation does not anger me, because I now know those kids had cancer or some life threatening issue. But my living circumstances were potentially life threatening… which is why I was moved into foster care.

But this got me thinking… did any of those childhood “wishes” translate into adulthood desires?

As an adult is my home always stocked with food? You bethca.

Unless there is a power outage, is the heat always available to be turned on at my house? Check.

Do I always have a working stove to make hot food? Of course… or I eat out.

As an adult, do I own a Jeep Wrangler? Nope.jeep

Wait a second.

A Jeep Wrangler?

What the-

When I was a kid I owned a toy jeep. It was black, probably about a foot long, and maybe 8 or 10 inches wide. That jeep was one of the toys that I loved playing with a lot… and I missed it when my mom gave away a lot of my toys. I always put my toys away. My mom thought that because my toys were always in the same spot at night, that I never played with them during the day. So she gave my toys away. The jeep was one of my favorites. For at least five years after that my mom had to deal with my toys being on the floor, the table, or outside… because I was afraid to put them away.

Anyway, in my heart I still want a jeep. My brain says “no way” to owning a jeep. In 2007 when I was looking for a new vehicle, I strongly considered getting a jeep. I am guessing that desire was related to my childhood toy. But in 2007 I bought a Honda Civic instead. The gas mileage scared me away from the Jeep Wrangler. Because of my environmental concerns, the idea of owning a Jeep Wrangler still causes cognitive dissonance for me.

The Honda Civic was the best vehicle I’ve ever owned… but I still want a jeep. Those toys, and that toy jeep, were given away over 30 years ago. And I know the only reason I want a jeep now is because of the toy I owned as a kid. I also know my desire to own a jeep is stronger because my toy jeep was given away.

Even though I know why I want a jeep… and even though I know the reasons why I should NOT own a jeep… I still want a jeep. Ridiculous? Yep. But owning a jeep… is going on my bucket list… and probably a Christmas list.

Has something from your childhood impacted your Christmas wish list?

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Posted in Bucket List, children, Christmas, food, Foster Care, Inspiration, ish ism, Musings, parenting, Philosophy, poverty, psychology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Character Editing … A Writer’s Journey

I am still editing characters for my novel.  I want characters that are memorable… and I want a plot that moves people. For the characters to be memorable, and a plot that is moving, then the characters really need to pop. This is probably why character editing is my favorite stage in the novel writing process.

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Posted in A Writer's Life, art, Bucket List, ebook, Entertainment, fiction, Musings, Philosophy, writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Child PTSD + ADHD = Merry Christmas from Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola polar bears

Our little foster kid is interesting. Her entire life has pretty much been a crapshoot, which makes her tense all the time. In fact, this rough start to life has led her to develop Child PTSD. Dealing with a kid who has anxiety, or PTSD, is fairly common in foster care. A kid isn’t going to come into foster care if their home life is stable.

I actually missed running the Eugene Marathon in 2014 because of the extreme level of mental issues two kids were struggling with. They kept kicking me in the knees and ankles.

However, I’m not sure we have ever had a kid diagnosed with ADHD (until now). And the treatment was surprising to me. Caffeine in small doses. Yes caffeine… the caffeine helps calm the kid with ADHD. We are currently searching for a healthy source of caffeine that the kid will like. But the fact that caffeine calms the kid down still goes against everything that my brain thinks should work.

But it actually works.

So if you are at a restaurant, or a store, and you see a parent giving a small glass of soda to a rowdy, loud kid… that might be a good thing!

Posted in adhd, children, Foster Care, parenting | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

William Shakespeare Plays – Free on Kindle

free on kindle - William ShakespeareOn December 11th, 2014, I noticed some works by William Shakespeare were available through Amazon.com for free on Kindle. Hamlet is one of my favorites, but it was not listed for free when I checked. Below are the works (in English) that I found for free:

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How Did These Graduate Students Improve Their Working Conditions? They Went on Strike!

(from the Nation, by Michelle Chen) On their campus set amid the idyllic northwestern woodlands, graduate students at the University of Oregon stepped out of their classrooms and onto a historic picket line last week. The union, representing some 1,500 graduate teaching fellows, went on an eight-day strike and emerged Wednesday with a final deal, embattled but triumphant.

The agreement, now set for a final vote, fell somewhat short of their central request for paid family and medical leave. Instead, the university will establish a “hardship fund” to support graduate students who need time off to tend to healthcare needs, including students who are not employees or union members. From a fund of about $150,000 ($50 per graduate student), students will apply for grants “up to $1,000 in the case of serious medical issues and $1,500 in the case of the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child.” Click here for the: Full story at the Nation, by Michelle Chen

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