Category Archives: keeping yourself focused



Many songs, poems and essays have been written on the

subject of patience. I will not try to make this a

witty commentary nor a play on words. I have just

a few people that have been getting on my nerves

lately. I need a little patience!

I have to laugh, because this week we had a small

family gathering for my five year old grandson’s

birthday. I went there after dinner, around 7:30,

to be part of the festivities. My oldest daughter

is the one who has had theme parties for all 9

years of my oldest grandson. This year, she and

her partner, Mike, had taken the weekend to spend

time with both my oldest and youngest grandsons.

This was a ‘cake only’ and ‘gifts optional’ fun


While waiting for the kids to run off some of

their steam before settling down to watch gifts

being opened and cake to savor, some of us were

sitting on the living room set. We were relaxing

and suddenly Micah ran into the living room,

turned around to find his recent ‘shadow,’ Kyah

behind him (age 3 on March 3). He looked very

exasperated at her and said, which stopped the

flow of our adult conversation, loudly:

“Stop following me! You are annoying me!”

It takes almost every ounce of my ‘being’ not to

laugh out loud at such things, while my serious

daughter scolded him,

“That’s not a nice way to talk to your cousin!”

I raised my eyebrows at my son, who also smiled

back at me. He knows what it is like to be one

of the only boys! (He has an older sister, had a

single mother (‘moi!’) while growing up and has a

younger sister!)

This is rolling into the ‘same old/same old’ stuff

that I am mainly wanting to write about. The way

some people are annoying. At work, in lines, in

public restrooms, to name a few places where I

have been showing a little irritability.

Yes, me!

There are numerous comments at work about our

limited hours, during the winter. I think the

ten to twelve hours we work during the summer,

in the hottest place I have ever worked, brings

home a lot of extra cash, which I save for when

we have our slower periods. We have had slow

months of January and February this year. It

may continue into March.

I get tired of the pleasant lines I deliver to

those who are ‘broke’ and complaining:

1. “Soon enough, we will be super busy and will

wish for some ‘down time!'”

2. “I try to save money from those big checks we

get in the warm months, from April or May up until

last November. It seems that we have less months

to rest up each year!”

3. “I am happy that we will soon have our income

tax refunds, do you declare 0 dependents?”

My cheery self, has been beat down and worn out on

the weather complaints. I mean, I was raised in the

cold northern part of Ohio! I did not mind 6- 12″

of snow as a child, try to see the fun, beauty and

enjoy the walks through the snow.

I especially love the way the stars seem so much

brighter at night and the daytime skies seem so

brilliantly aqua, turquoise and azure! The sunrises,

as I head to work, and the sunsets, as I leave the

library, are so awesome and thrilling.

But my good mood balloon ‘gets deflated’ and I am

dragging it behind me, on such subjects as money

and weather come up these days.

The other people who ‘get my goat’ are the ones

who have been going on and on, over Obamacare. I

have been studying and listening to this subject

without too much to say one way or another. It is

decided, now live with it!

The ones who are complaining are also telling me

that their grandchildren were born with no billing,

due to no marriage license or no insurance. I would

like to tell them, “No more free rides!” Wouldn’t

that shock them? Would everyone stop talking to me?

Sometimes, I want to be the grumpy one! But I am


There is a woman, who at work, I have called the

“Queen Bee.” I have written about her awhile back.

Anyway, her new way of irritating me, is that she

volunteered to serve on the Safety Committee at

work. This means, she is allowed to carry around a

little pad of paper, stop you and ask you,

“Do you have any new safety concerns?”

I have given her the ones, like the Exit that was

closed, so in case of Fire, there was no Exit for

me to leave quickly and safely in the most flammable

area of the building. This got fixed, due to my

saying something, but tell her that she needs to

keep an eye on the heavy items and having them

moved from the top shelf. These are all that I

have been able to come up with. She came by, for

the second time this week, “Miss Chatty Cathy,”

and the “Queen Bee.” I do not directly let her

know my emotional uproar that shouts inside my

head when she bothers me, while I am trying to

make a good pace or ‘rate’ which is daily


When she interrupted my counting out 24 of these

items that usually are stocked in handy dandy

boxes of 12, so plunk, plunk, and two drops of

those boxes and I am done. Nope, I had to re-count

the 24. Already mad at the stockers who unpacked

and dumped these into bin boxes!

I take a deep breath and greet her by name. Oh

yes, I am using a pleasant voice.

“Tomorrow is the Safety Committee meeting at 6

a.m. and I won’t have time to ask you before I

head off to this, what are your concerns this


“Authority positions are a dangerous way to go

with certain personality types,” I think.

“If I don’t give her any ideas for the meeting,

maybe she won’t bother me next month,” I also

think. 23, 24!”

Out loud I tell her that I appreciate her waiting

for me to count the products that should have

been kept in their boxes of twelve. She nods

politely. This is, after all, ‘not her territory.’

She is one who works in the Mezzanine, where I

only have to deal with her once a week, except

on these occasions. I do want to say, she circles

round our table at lunch time but with the Force

of Four:

Tammy, Trevinal, Robin and Peggy, we all give her

a glare, pointedly staring at “The Price

is Right Show,” and she usually walks away from

our table.

This all takes willpower.

It is not a ‘pretty side of me,’ I admit.

The one who doesn’t want to cooperate with the

one who made me cry, seems like ages ago, due

to her rudeness.

She is also the one who drove my friend, Cheryl,

at work, to ram a cart into her. Fortunately,

Cheryl could honestly name a few people in that

area, who saw the “Queen Bee” ram her cart first

into hers.

“She did it first!”

So, I look at the woman who sometimes yanks my

chains and tell her…

“No safety concerns at this time.”

I didn’t fold nor flinch. I delivered my line in

such a ‘don’t mess with me’ tone, she walked


Just as she walked away, I thought of the movie,

“Bambi,” a classic animated film, 1942.

Where Thumper got a lecture from his father, then

he used a re-phrasing of it to Bambi:

“If you can’t say something nice,

don’t say nothin’ at all.”

(Of course, the original parental speech would have

been, “If you don’t have something nice to say,

then don’t say anything at all.”)

ABC Award Post


Thanks to Mark B., I have another awards post to write!

I appreciate when my fellow bloggers give me nominations

for such great awards. I am one who likes the extra ‘pats

on the back,’ along with the evidence that someone, out

there, finds something in my writings.

You may check Mark’s blog for his well written movie

reviews, personal stories and a fine post for the

“ABC Award.” This stands for Awesome Blog Content.

I have been working on my list of ABC’s that were supposed

to reveal even more about myself than anyone would ever

wish to know.

Instead, I am going to list using the alphabet, the names

of authors that I have read, enjoy reading and have interest

in their styles, genres, information and fictional stories.

If you survive my convoluted way of accepting my Award,

through my own way of following rules, you will find some

people’s blogs to read that I highly recommend and have

not included in any of my recent awards’ posts. Some are

almost ‘brand new’ to me, too!

Robin’s Recommendations of Authors in ABC Order:

A is for Alcott, Austen and Angelou.

B is for Ray Bradbury, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert

Browning and Frank Browning.

C is for Catherine Cookson, Stephen Crane and Lewis Carroll.

D is for Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

E is for Janet Evanovich.

F is for F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Ian Fleming.

G is for Paul Gallico and John Grisham.

I enjoy Sue Grafton’s books, that coincidentally are written

according to the alphabet! She started with “A is for Alibi,”

and I am a big Kinsey Milhone (her protagonist character) fan!

H is for Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dashiell Hammett, Alex Haley,

Langston Hughes and Joseph Heller.

I is for John Irving, Washington Irving and Henrik Ibsen.

J is for Erica Jong.

K is for Ken Kesey and Stephen King.

L is for Jack London, Harper Lee and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

M is for Margaret Mitchell, Margaret Mead, Herman Melville,

and Toni Morrison.

N is for Nietzsche, Robert Nathan and John Nichols.

O is for Edwin O’Connor and John O’Hara.

P is for Robert Parker, Edgar Allan Poe and Boris Pasternak.

The P Ladies I enjoy are Sara Paretsky an Jodi Picoult.

Q is for Anna Quindlen and books about Queen Elizabeth.

R is for Nora Roberts and Christina Rosetti.

S is for Shakespeare, Salinger and Steinbeck.

T is for Thoreau and Twain.

U is for Ulysses, Updike and Uris.

V is for Voltaire and Kurt Vonnegut.

W is for William Wadsworth and Alice Walker.

X is for Xeroxing the best of authors’ quotes.

There is an author named, Xu Xi, who wrote “Unwalled City.”

No, I did not read this person’s book.

Y is for Yeats and You.

Z is for Zelda Fitzgerald and Paul Zindel.

Here are the ‘new to me’ bloggers that you will enjoy

reading and finding out more about these folks:

1. Michael’s Poetry is interesting and varies daily

in subject matter. Originality is his forte!

2. It has been awhile, I think, since I have given

Marylin a nomination. As my mother grows more forgetful,

I search and find comfort in Marylin’s helpful articles

about Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Her own personal letters

to her mother are very uplifting.

3. I have become closer acquainted with Cindy and really

wish you would go check out her beautiful sharing of her

trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The post I enjoyed was one

filled with gorgeous arches, called, “Los Hermosos Arcos

de San Juan.”

4. For artistry, photography and splendid writing, please

check out Stacy Alexander:

5. There is beauty in this country living blog, with spunk,

courage and the photography captures a friendly place to be:

6. Either she has re-vamped her blog, or I have not realized

that Soul Gatherings has been on my list of places I like to

read that long… for faith and ‘food for thought check this out:

7. Be With Us spreads joy and also, shares their handcrafts. I

enjoy when there is the puppy named Kerby, who is so sweet and

there are little captions of his thoughts. I have nominated this

blog, a long, long time ago. They are due for an update!

8. I have missed a few posts of this fine writer, but will

be checking her out more in the future…

9. Ajay, you have such wisdom and peace in your posts.

10. Eda or Denisa Aricescu who shares poetry in another

language with photographs. You will find after translating

them, wondrous messages…

Congratulations to the nominees of the ABC Award!

Hope you found an author or two that you have enjoyed in

my ABC list and also, find a current author and participant

in our blogging world!

Happy Reading!

Active Vs. Passive Learning


While I have some ‘brainiacs’ in my family, my brother
and sister in law both have PhD’s and my Mom has her
Master’s, they are basically pro-public schools. They
had a lively dinner conversation over smoky brats, hot
dogs and hamburgers. We were talking about my coworker,
Keith, and his daughter, Ashley.
Rich taught in Cleveland Public Schools with a Learning
Disabilities classroom for 20 years, Susan is an English
Professor at Baldwyn Wallace, and my Mom taught in Westlake
City Schools (plus a few years in Vermilion and Sandusky
high schools). I have experience with fourth, fifth, sixth
and preschool integrated classrooms (special needs blended
with typically developing peers.) Randy is a graduate of OSU
with a fine arts degree, Susan’s daughter is a judicial
clerk with a Law degree, along with her husband who has
a degree in computers. Everyone may not have taken direct
part in this lively discussion but many times my grandniece
and grandnephew, Emma and Robby may have created some fun
and “cute” distractions!
When I asked Keith how Ashley’s first week of school
was going, he let me know that he was allowing her to
be home-schooled.
Some background information, I wrote a blog about this
little duo and Ashley’s unfortunate bullying experiences
on the bus. Ashley is overweight and I feel, without
even meeting her, that she may have some learning
disabilities. She is strong in her computer and math
skills but not in her reading and spelling skills. When
two areas are strong and opposing ones are weak, this
disparity shows strengths and weaknesses. But, usually
it also means LD labeling and some tutoring and special
needs’ arrangements through an IEP. (Individualized
Educational Plan)
I thought it was unfair she got thrown off her bus due
to the way she reacted to teasing by other bus mates.
I thought it was brave and very challenging that Keith
was able to get more of the custodial parenting
responsibilities through a year’s worth of “battle”
with his ex-wife whose present husband and her stepson,
were actually “bullying” within their own family structure.
This also included throwing a little “mud” and getting
some counselors behind Keith.
So, I was dismayed that Keith was giving up having Ashley
learn through a new teacher and situation. Instead, she
logs on and is monitored while he is at work and she
spends so many hours doing assignments. Once in awhile,
she will ask her mother when on a visitation or her Dad
for help. Each time they are trying to encourage her to
do the thinking.
When this subject was brought up, the family all pitched
ideas to present to Keith to make Ashley’s curriculum
more well rounded. One way they thought would help her
to learn more was to have “projects” where she could
do more active learning. She could research and then
do some homemade experiments for science, some hand
made posters and models for her book reports or history
lessons. She could also be taken to museums over the
weekend. The Columbus Art Museum has free admission
on Sundays.
There might be a local Homeschooling group that would
join forces and include Ashley. Sometimes smaller groups
can include someone better than large classroom settings
and this could have been accomplished, also, within the
school system: I would pair her with a more ‘popular’
or outgoing student on these projects. I also had used
a “loner” student while I taught sixth grade Language
Arts to stay in and make bulletin boards while given
a subject matter and his own freedom to choose how to
interpret the subject. (Christopher would be around
47 years old now…)
Mom said that church youth group, Girl Scouts and other social
groups, like 4H would be great ways to make her life more
well rounded in the social aspects. I will mention this along
with the other suggestions, that you my fine readers may supply!
Keith is a nice man who likes to play learning games
so I think he may be open to suggestions. I am tempted
to give him a written compilation of these, but would
also like to “use” my teaching associates out there,
parents who have home-schooled and parents who have
had to come up with their own workable strategies to
bring added dimension and success to their children
or students.
This is my plea, so please respond and help me out.
I am interested in your views on home schooling and
computer learning versus classroom learning where
there is a social structure. I also think that Ashley
needs to have exercise, so am not sure how to deal
with this.

When I wrote about Keith and Ashley she was 10 years old
and in fourth grade in a county school. She is now 11
years old and would have been in fifth grade. This may
help with any and all advice, suggestions or comments you
may make!
Thank you, as always, Robin

Work Fun


Do you have a job that is kind of boring? Mine is! I tend to

make up little games with the stores we send Advance Auto

products to while I am filling the hampers. If I have five to

fill I am less able to play a number or letter game.  If I have

1 or 2 (only a few areas fill only that small amount of totes)

I use the store numbers and “wave” sheet to play games.

Let me know when this short post is over in the comments

if you play any games at work!

C’mon and share, you know you want to!

When we start our day our “wave” sheet starts with the letter

“M” and goes all the way to “W.” The evening shift bin order

fillers start with “A” and usually go to “L.”

So, here are some ways I remember where I am at on the wave


Wave M E = medical examiner.

Wave P B = peanut butter.

If I am filling totes A and C~ I think AC/DC band.

If I am filling A and D ~I think A and D ointment.

If I am filling totes with the letters B and E, breaking and entering

come to mind!

If I am filling B and C~ I think B. C. which means before Christ.

If I am filling A, C, and E totes, I think of the vitamins A, C and E.

If I run into store numbers close to anyone in my family that doesn’t

have a number that is in the first 6 months of the year, I will be able

to translate it into their birthday. If born in June or earlier, since it

is a four digit number, I cannot do the birthday “game” with theirs.


When packing a hamper to ship to store # 1285 I think of my youngest

daughter’s month and year of birth.

There are many more combinations of numbers and hampers with letter

placement so my brain still is focusing on not missing the correct tote

or labeling it incorrectly.

There are big chunks of time when I actually whisper the numbers or

letters so that the eyes and the mouth are using two areas of concentration.

This happens early in the day, especially when we start every Friday at

6:00 a.m. And then, on Mondays, when we usually go way past 4:00 p.m.

My brain is fried almost after our last break that ends at 2:00 p.m.

All of these things “go to the wayside” when a coworker comes along or

is across the rolling rails (rollers that run on a conveyor belt.) When two

coworkers are just about 5 feet away, one going the same direction as

you, then you tend to chat and hope (and pray) you don’t throw products

or pack products in the wrong hamper! Quality Control will be filling out

a report on your errors and soon, your boss will be coming by with a sheet

with your errors delineated and you have to sign or initial it! Oops!

This is the first job in my life where I get a good work out and my steps

have been measured by an engineer once a year.

I also feel this is the first job of my life that reminds me of school where

you were waiting for snack time (break time), lunch time and recess!

I am sure this is kind of a boring post but it is also one that I have thought

may get “spiced up” a bit with WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF