Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Randy Newman added to Jr High trauma

Look here! A post already. I was so irritated yesterday and need to let it all out.

Some of you will relate to this post. Some of you will not. Hopefully all of you will giggle a bit and realize that I have learned to live with my affliction in a dignified manner but there are days when I want to scream.

I could blame the affliction on my parents, who could blame it on theirs and so on and so forth.  It's really not their fault and there is nothing they can do about it.

I'm short.  Petite. Vertically challenged. A shrimp.  Small-fry. Shorty.

At 5'1", I've been refered to in my adult life, by co-workers/bosses, as "shorty" and "little girl."  I'm not the person you notice walking into the room.  Going shopping with me and my girls is like playing hide and seek in the garment racks because we can't see over anything. I think grocery shelves are designed by giants.  If I had a nickel for every time someone said "hey Susan, stand up! Oh, you are standing" I'd be rich.  OK, make it a dollar and then I'd be rich.  Still short but rich.

I'm not even the shortest in my family. Ahem.  That claim rests with a certain sibling who shall remain nameless.  Aloha, sister!  My "little grandma" (great grandmother) was probably 4'11" in her prime but about 4'8" or so when she passed on.  She was little.

Rachel is so proud to be taller than me.  A whole half inch so far but taller.  Kendra has been shooting up and we've all known she'd be taller than Rachel and I someday.  So when they tease how they are or will be taller than mom, my response is always "good, I'm glad." Maybe they won't need step stools for half of their kitchen - I'm pretty good at hopping on counters too.

So why on earth do I need to get this off my chest when none of the references above ever really bother me?

It may sound somewhat self-pitying but - I'm tired of being overlooked!  Wah!!!!!!!

A 6'+ man nearly ran me over in Peet's coffee yesterday.  Just as he about stepped on me and ran his stomach into my hot cappucino, he realized "oh, sorry about that."  This is just one of many, many incidences over  the years.  Not to mention how many people have actually stood in front of me in a line and then said "I'm sorry, I didn't see you" when I called their attention to it.  This is after they've walked around me, not because they strolled in from the side.

I admit I've evolved into behaviours to prevent the lack of notice or avoid being run over.  Moving around in line, making direct eye contact if possible, coughing discreetly and saying "excuse me" go a long way.  Driving big Beastie cars is probably another  compensating technique - no one can say they didn't see me on the road!  Come to think of it, my sisters drive Beasts too.....

Yesterday's second incident happened in Target.  What I thought was rudeness on the clerk's part was probably her misunderstanding of how long I had been there - because she didn't 'see' me.  Kendra and I had just 3 items and all the lanes were long with no "15 items or less" aisles open.  So we look for open lanes with lights on and choose to stand behind an older lady in what we hoped was a quick line.

The line was not quick.  We waited and waited.  Right as the clerk gets to the customer in front of the older lady she spots me and says "I'm sorry but my lane is closed.  You need to check out somewhere else."  I replied that the light had been on and we had been waiting for a while.  She continued to say she would not help me as her light had been off.  I said "no, your light was on and I've been waiting behind this nice lady for almost 10 minutes."  She denied I had been standing there and then said "fine, I'll ring you up."

She didn't.  I took my stuff to another register because I couldn't believe she was arguing with me and basically calling me a liar in front of everyone.

I realized as we went to the car, she probably didn't see me standing behind the older lady - because Kendra was beside me.  And she looked confused when Kendra went with me and didn't stay with the older lady.  Maybe she was having a bad day and just really needed her break which is understandable to a point.  OK - she was still rude for arguing with a customer.

Whew - got that 'small' issue off my chest.  Thank you for listening and considering my complaints.

I guess we don't really have time for the trauma caused by Randy Newman's release of "Short People" at the start of my 7th grade year.  Really???  Seriously???  OMG!!!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Alaska - Post 3 (among other things)

Here I am. A third post on a trip that began in June and it's the eve of the First Day of School - 2012/13. One is off to officially start her Middle School career and the other her Freshman year of High School. We have enjoyed multiple trips this summer and the girls each experienced their first summer camps through church. They are, of course, no stranger to camps for school but this was another first and was a successful part of summer.

I have not accomplished any goals this summer outside of making sure everyone had clean laundry to pack for the next trip, arrived at swim meets with sunscreen and sharpie markers, made sure there was adequate food to prevent starvation and outside of a trip for an infection, managed to keep Eiger x-ray free and ingesting approved objects.

This time last year, we were starting new schools, the girls were still on air mattresses and we had just seen our household goods arrive from Switzerland. Due to grade levels, we are virtually starting new schools again and there are still parts of the house that need to be finished or 'rearranged' from the initial dump and conceal that went with some of the unpacking.

I have a friend who's been sensitively open about blogging their move to NC. It's been hard for me to open up too much about the difficulty of this move as I haven't wished to seem ungrateful, unhappy, unpatriotic, spoiled or discontent.  Or heaven forbid, simply human and weak. Most days are really good. But there have been others. I'm just not always sure how to put it into words. Based on my blogging absence, I'm still figuring it out. JD - know you're not alone - I had a full blown panic attack in a Safeway parking lot last fall. Tears, hyperventilating - the works! And the Iowa move? Our first week I was ready to cry when I realized "Mother's" cookies did not exist in the HyVee cookie aisle and then was asked by the clerk if I wanted my items in a "sack." Excuse me?! I believe I responded "a bag is fine" for the next 3.5+ years. :) I hope I've turned into a sympathetic listening ear for anyone who's moved.  And still need a listening ear for our move! :)

Enough about me and my attempt to ignore the fact that I'll have a Freshman in HS tomorrow.  Let's go back to Alaska and indulge in a little make-believe.

North Pole, Alaska:  Just a short distance out of Fairbanks on the Alaskan Highway you can visit Santa AND his reindeer.  Santa himself told us he uses Siberian reindeer, not the caribou that are seen roaming the wilds of Alaska.  They are smaller in size with better temperament.  Good to know in case you are in the market for sled-pulling reindeer.
I know that Minnesota claims the mosquito as their "state bird" but we weren't taking any chances in a state that is about 2.5 x bigger than Texas.  Our guess was that their mosquitoes must also be supersized - in number at least.  Add to that the threat of horse flies - we hate horse flies!  Fortunately, we were only bothered in a couple stops - Fairbanks, AK and Beaver Creek, YT - by the bugs.  We were prepared not only with DEET products but the latest in mosquito-wear as modeled by Kendra:

We kept running into a large group of German tourists.  They were traveling in this converted Mercedes bus.  It had a 'dormitory' in back which had a pop-out for access to their individual sleeping slots (each had its own window) and near that blue covered table is the "kitchen" that is contained in those storage spaces.  I think they had brats in there........oh, 'brats' as in sausage, not 'brats' as in unruly children (now I'm thinking Hansel & Gretel...).  Enough, next picture.
There were more beautiful photo opportunities than I can possibly share on this blog.  Come have coffee with me and I'll share the photo album with you.
It didn't matter if the weather wasn't perfect:
My 3 favorite people to be stuck in an RV with:
Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory, Canada at approximately midnight.  Did I mention yet how I loved, LOVED the long days.  One gets used to sleeping with a pillow over ones head.

Beaver Creek, YT boasts approximately 140 people in the summer and goes to about 80 during winter.  Hmmm....while I tend to like less congested areas, I do like a degree of anonymity.  I think it would be hard to be anonymous in Beaver Creek. What I also learned on this trip was a respect for those who dare to live above the "lower 48."  It's not an easy place - it's hard, cold and there's no glamour.  We learned that most Fairbanks residents don't consider it "cold" out until its about -30F to -40F and approximately 45 - 50% of households still maintain out-houses because pipe maintenance during the long winter months is difficult.  You think?
I have more pictures.  For now, must get to bed so I can wake up and get kids to school - the Olson bus departs at 7am................

Friday, August 10, 2012

Alaska - Day 1, part 2

Looks like I've done it again. I will not promise any posts soon.  That way, I keep my promises.  I thought summers had been busy before but this is a doozy.  Summer is almost over.  I am still on Day 1 of the "1st vacation/trip" of the summer.  I am woefully behind.  I posted most of these pic's before leaving for another trip - Seattle.  Returned and got laundry done, garden watered, re-packed and headed to Fresno & Southern CA.  Returned to do laundry, water garden, re-pack and visiting In-laws in Minnesota.  I can't keep up.  Can you?  Thank you for your understanding. 

So - to finish off our day in Alaska (ahem...), we went to the Sled dog facility.  These are not racing dogs (Iditarod sp?) but working dogs.  They've been bred over the years for strength and endurance - true Alaskan malamutes which according to the Park kennel officers are wonderful mutts - a mix.
Kendra was particularly taken by the dogs and had we not had our own at home, I'm sure would have tried to take one back in her suitcase.
Thus ended Day 1 in Alaska - complete with some tasty food in the camper of course.  We did eat well!

I will complete Alaska!  For more recent events, here we are in Seattle.  Bart has a client up there and has wanted the girls and I to go up for a weekend and with a team event in place (Mariner's game), we flew up.  Had a great time and I got to visit with a college friend - we lived next door to each other my Freshmen (her Senior) year in the Dorms.  Facebook brings you together with people you've lost touch with - I will say that.
Most dramatic recent event:  Locks of Love donation from Kendra.  Here she sits.  A very thick, long ponytail was cut off by my trusted stylist A. I hope someone feels great in her hair!  Seriously.
Her cut is very cute.  Very Kendra.  I have to admit I'm torn between missing the long flow of hair down her back and not missing the tangled mess it could be with her ripping her brush through it.  Sigh......

They grow up quickly don't they?