The Cyber-Free `80s

Life was better then….

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Cyberbullying didn’t exist in the `80s

Here I was, driving down the street one afternoon. It was in a residential area, so luckily, the street wasn’t extremely busy at the time. Suddenly and without warning, a teenager jumped off the curb to cross the street without stopping to check for oncoming vehicles, and no, there was no cross walk either. Lucky for me, I was quick to react and hit my brakes in time. The youth didn’t even look up but kept on walking. He didn’t even twitch a muscle. Why was this such a strange event? Well, that’s because he had his smartphone glued to the front of his nose and nothing was going to interrupt him from reading whatever was so interesting that he forgot to pay attention to basic pedestrian safety. Uhummm….

In today’s day and age, owning a smartphone, texting, chatting, taking pictures and sharing everything about your day-to-day is considered normal. Let’s face it, even the president sends tweets! But then I experience the negative issues involved in all of this. I watch my own kids  show the same behaviors; always reaching for their smartphone and wanting to read who wrote what about whom so they can reply or comment immediately. Not to mention all the cyberbullying going on resulting in depression and self-harm and suicide. Parents are overwhelmed, not knowing how to deal with these serious situations. I come across articles about this topic every day, in magazines, newspapers and the internet. The increased need for child and teen psychiatrists has exploded because of all the mental abuse and cyberbullying  taking place all over the world. It does not, in my opinion, make this a very safe and joyful time for our children to grow up in. Nothing is private anymore. Children, teens, and of course, also adults, prefer to pass their time in a cyber world with that little screen stuck to their noses. I always joke with my daughter, telling her it would be less strenuous for her arm and hand if she just glued that thing to her nose! She always replies, “Oh, mom.”

Growing up in the 80’s was so much more fun, carefree and interesting. We spent our free time doing sports, hobbies, playing instruments and just being outdoors. We’d go roller-skating or just ride our bicycles and hang out and meet with friends. Generally speaking, children and teens were under less stress at school and could concentrate totally on their studies. We didn’t need hundreds of tutoring institutes in our city, because we really paid attention at school and weren’t distracted by the ever-present “pinging” of incoming messages or the ever-present fear of what the “pinging” was about. When we got home from school we had peace and quiet. It was a real treat to go to the movies maybe once a month, or watch TV in the evening with our parents. Sadly, a lot of this doesn’t seem to happen anymore. Family life is not what it used to be.

I miss the 80’s. The music was better. Growing up was easier. Life was better without all that “pinging,” stress and lack of privacy. In those days, high school was very much just like the musical – and even in that movie they didn’t have smartphones glued to their noses!

But we had fun anyway.

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A place at home, just for Mom

 

Transform your children’s playroom into mom’s private hobby room and office.

Adapting your home to suit your family’s needs is essential in order maintain some form of organization in your home. Having children, for instance, does present a few challenges in room planning. Young children with bedrooms upstairs are often out of sight when moms are working in the kitchen or cleaning downstairs. Privacy is one thing, but when you go upstairs and find your five-year-old having a jigsaw puzzle throwing contest with her best friend and coloring the wall with crayons – that’s maybe a good time to consider turning that extra room adjacent to the livingroom into a children’s playroom. This would allow you to keep an eye on the kids now and then, and have shelves and cabinets to store all their toys and games so that you won’t trip over them in the middle of the livingroom. The kids would be able to build that huge tower of building blocks and have plenty of room to play without everyone tripping and falling over toys. And most importantly, you can keep a watchful eye on what they’re doing and allow them some privacy to play with their friends.

It’s a wonderful idea until they grow into their teens and begin using the “children’s playroom” as their very own “junk” room where they simply dump their school books, jackets, shoes and everything else they don’t want to put away. One day you crawl over all that mess on the floor and open the closet to find a mountain of toys, dirty old socks, empty water bottles, books, old chocolate bar and candy wrappers and other “unidentifiable objects” crashing down on top of you. That’s when it’s time to make a change.

Mom’s rarely have the luxury of having a special room in the home where they can relax, work on their favorite hobby, read a book, perform their home office job or just simply surf on the internet undisturbed. So when the playroom becomes the junk room, it’s time to take the initiative and turn it into mom’s private space. Think back to the last time you had a room all to yourself? A place to read and keep your favorite books, do oil painting or crafts and have your very own private office space. It sounds great, doesn’t it? It’s heavenly!

Step one, everything has to be taken out of the closets and boxes. Sorting and boxing everything is the most time-consuming, so put plenty of time aside for this. The kid’s favorite toys and book collections that you can’t part with should be put into storage boxes and up into the attic to be passed down to future generations – if, whenever, or not, or just for our children as keepsakes. Then paint the walls with a fresh, light color and replace the old carpet with natural wood style laminated flooring. In our case, the carpeting was impossible to remove because it was glued to the floor, so we simply left it in and put the laminated floor panels over it – problem solved.

Plan an excursion to your local furniture or department store to purchase some great affordable bookcases, a small sofa, desk, lamps, a desk chair, knickknacks for the shelves and pictures for the walls. I bought everything for my special office at IKEA and it turned out great! What is it with men and their aversion to assembling furniture? Patience and teamwork is the key! Of course, it helps if you read the directions for assembly. It took us one week of our vacation time to complete the painting, put in the new flooring and assemble the bookcases and cupboards, but it was well worth the time and effort.

Now, it’s “mom’s private office,” my peaceful workplace, and it’s wonderful.

 

Want a new custom fitted kitchen?

Be prepared for a rollercoaster ride.

If you’ve been living in your home for over 20 years, it’s inevitable that it will start showing signs of wear and tear. Since you spend a majority of your time in the kitchen, it’s definitely the room that deserves the most attention. You’ve probably already renovated every room in the house numerous times and have left the kitchen for last. Why ? Well, not because it couldn’t be done, but probably because a new kitchen involves a lot of planning, time, money and energy.

Part 1 –
The Planning and design

Planning a new fitted kitchen can actually be lots of fun, especially if you’re the kind of person that is creative and generally enjoys designing and remodeling. But make sure you have lots of time and patience. There are hundreds of custom kitchen sales galleries and stores in your immediate area, however, finding the right one won’t be easy. Make sure you ask friends, family and acquaintances for recommendations based on their personal experiences with kitchen designers, their in-house installation specialists, professional craftsmen and customer service. Know what you must have and what you don’t need! Take inventory of your kitchen ware and supplies so that you know how much storage space you’ll require. Research color schemes and suitable materials for the kitchen cabinets and counters. Go online and look at different kitchen wall colors and designs too. When viewing actual models of kitchens on site, make sure you open all the drawers and cabinets and take a closer look at how well the kitchens are assembled. Assess the quality of the product and material. If you can’t afford a custom crafted kitchen made of pure hardwood, be very critical of the quality of pressed wood countertops and cupboard materials. Inspect everything! Take your kitchen measurements or blue-prints and go to at least 3 to 5 kitchen studios for extensive planning and estimates. You’ll be surprised at how different their ideas and prices can be. Where one kitchen designer might spend hours with you planning something great, another may not invest as much time or effort into the process. I had one kitchen planner ask me for pictures of my old kitchen and without much effort on his part, he told me that was the best option – he then drew up (literally, by hand) a plan for a new kitchen that looked just like my old one! Another fitted kitchen designer worked with me for over a week creating numerous kitchen designs suitable for our home using modern technology! And yes, for no extra charge.

To be continued…..

Fitness Guru to Fitness “Boohoo”

After contemplating which of my experiences to write about first, I had an eye-opening experience today that I just had to share.  I have always had a few extra pounds on me ever since I was a child. When I became a teenager I started running and doing aerobic exercise and was a great athlete in high school and beyond. I made fitness part of my career, got myself certified and successfully instructed aerobics and fitness classes for more than 27 years.  This additional part-time job not only kept me fit and the pounds off, but it also put extra money into my bank account. This was something I really loved doing and knew I could never live without. But the many years of running and fitness caught up with me, and forced me to stop instructing about 5 years ago. From then on I spent my spare time jogging and enjoying the outdoors and my own personal fitness routines.

Then the menopause symptoms began followed by a hysterectomy. I had to take a 6 month break from fitness classes and running altogether. When I finally did begin again I ended up with one injury after another. It was a never-ending battle and extremely frustrating. As a result, I gained weight.  Then one day I bent over to pick up a bucket and that’s when it happened.  I pinched a nerve in my lower back. The pain became so extreme at times just while sitting that it was unbearable. I’ve spent the last 3 years going from one doctor to the next explaining all my symptoms. The pain in my neck, shoulders, lower back and spreading down the outside of my right leg. Needless to say, that due to all this pain and discomfort my fitness routines and running came to a halt! No more jogging etc. It just wasn’t possible anymore. I practically stopped sleeping because of the pain I felt at night.  Lying in bed was even painful.  Every doctor told me to go walking, do fitness – but honestly, when you’re really in pain, that’s the last thing you want to do.  It just made mine worse.

In addition to my prescribed physical therapy, my doctor recommended I sign up for some injury rehabilitation fitness classes. I go twice a week, hoping that I’m doing something that will help the pain eventually go away, even if it means I won’t be able to move the following day.   The problem is, it isn’t very motivating when 95% of the participants are over 65 and the instructor is a teenage bikini model. This doesn’t help build self confidence and I’m not so sure whether this really helps my back problem.-But I do come out of that class feeling as though I’ve gained 25 pounds and aged 25 years.

First blog post

Here it comes.  My 50th birthday is just around the corner. I never thought it would be such a big deal, but I keep asking myself, “What comes next?”  I’m guessing there are many women experiencing the same thing – going through the usual age related changes, soul-searching and also wondering about the “Then what?” question.

I’ve created this blog for all of us.