Self · Uncategorized

How To Get A Pen Pal.


I love writing letters.  There is something about getting a letter in your mailbox that is exciting.  A handwritten letter is always so much longer and involved than an email or tweet. If you take the time to write a letter, you care.  You take the time to choose what to say.  I love to pick out stationery, stickers, pens, and little inclusions for my letters.  I like to make the special.  I even will do some mail art.

I have been writing letters to pen pals since I was 11 years old.  My oldest pen pal has been writing to me since 1988.

When I got my first pen pal in Tasmania, Australia at age 11 it was from a kids TV show called “Big Blue Marble.” I liked writing letters so much that I got several more from them.  I can still remember the jingle used to advertise pen pals.  I even memorized the address and know it all these years later!  Once the TV show ended I searched for more pen pals.

I got some out of various magazines.  Pen pals were very popular in the 80’s.  Pre-Internet you know.  There were various pen pal services back then.  I used several of them to varying effects. A magazine called ‘Teen” magazine did lots of pen pal matches.  In fact, my longest pen pal I mentioned above was matched to me in one of their pen pal programs.  If I remember correctly, we were matched based on our astrological sign.  We are both Libras! I even honeymooned in Hawaii where she lives.  So we were finally able to meet up.  My husband and I took her out for lunch. I also had the fortune of meeting four other pen pals when I lived in Europe. Maybe someday you can meet yours!

One of the main sources of pen pals for me has been IPF or International Pen Friends.  The world’s oldest pen pal service started in 1967. Here is their web address:

Writing to pen pals can be tricky. Things happen.  Life happens. Some people you write to never respond.  Some people write for a little bit then stop.  No one knows why.  Having a pen pal is a serious commitment.  You want a pen pal to write you long letters then you have to write long letters yourself.  Pen pals can be wonderful.  It takes time and effort. I personally feel that it is a fantastic hobby.  A hobby that can last a lifetime.

There are many groups on Facebook for pen pals.  There are also several other organizations that offer pen pals.  Use your best judgement.  Be careful about putting yourself out there.  Do your research.  When in doubt, don’t do it.  When you find a pen pal it can be a great experience. There is so much to learn and its great to have another person to listen to you.

Take a chance and go out and get a pen pal.  It’s an experience to remember!

Enjoy writing those letters.


Home · Uncategorized

The meaning of flowers


Flowers.  It is that time of year again. The snow has melted finally, and everything is starting to bud.  Right now I am anxiously awaiting what ever tulips are still alive in my yard and to evaluate all my plantings for next year.

I wish I could say that I am a real green thumb, but I’m not.  I am not the type to spend hours in a garden as relaxation or exercise.  I wish I was. I do love flowers.  I love how they look, the color and the shape.  I even like the scent of a few of them.  My love of flowers lead me to the concept of the language of flowers.

We all know each birth sign has it’s own trademark flower, each month has one too, and we all know holidays such as Easter and Christmas are marked by distinct flora.  Did you know that each flower, even each color of flower has it’s own distinct meaning?

Flowers in place of sentiments or words hit the height of popularity during Victorian times.  A single flower could have several meanings depending on what part of the world or the situation that it was involved in. Even the ribbon the flowers were bound with, to the condition of the flowers and even the hand they were handed over in or received in determined the message. It will certainly make you think next Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.  There are still a vast amount of books from the height of the Victorian Era where you can find all this information and more in.

Here are some of the meanings of flowers.

Orange Blossom: Chastity, Purity and Loveliness.

Red Chrysanthemum: I love you.

Bluebells: Kindness

Peonies: Bashfulness

Tulips: Passion

Pink Carnations: Never Forget You

White Carnations: Sweet

Yellow Carnations: Romantic Rejection

Red Carnations: My heart aches.

Purple Violet: Thoughts of love

Red Rose: Love

Red Tulip: Confession of Love

Calla Lily: Magnificent Beauty

Clover: Think of me.

Apple Blossom: Preference

Crocus: Youth

Daffodil: Regard

Daisy: Innocence

Edelweiss: Courage/Devotion

Forget-me-not: True Love

Lilac: Youth

Lily of the Valley: Sweetness

Red Poppy: Consolation

Sunflower: Adoration

Gardenia: Secret Love, Sweetness

Orchid: Femininity, Refinement

Queen Anne’s Lace: Sanctuary

Cherry Blossom: gentleness, beauty

There are so many more meanings and flowers to choose from.  This was just a sample.  Hopefully it will give you something to think about next time you decide to give someone a bouquet of flowers.  Enjoy!

Self · Uncategorized

Some Things to Know About Migraines


Migraines are a chronic condition that can last for years or for a lifetime.  Triggers can include: hormones, foods, drinks, stress and exercise. Other causes include environmental factors such as weather and a genetic predisposition.  Symptoms include throbbing in one area that can vary in intensity, nausea and sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Migraines are common in families and women.

Over 15% of the world’s population suffers from migraines.  The earliest mention of migraines in writing is in the Ebers papyrus in 1500 BCE.

There are four phases of migraines. Phase 1, called Prodromephase.  It is marked by mood changes, irritability, depression, fatigue, cravings, stiff muscles, constipation and/or diarrhea, and sensitivity to light and smell.

Phase 2 is called the Aura. It is where you can experience vision disturbance, pins and needles feelings, numbness, speech and language issues, the world spins, and weakness.

Phase 3 is the Pain Phase. It can last as long as 4-72 hours of pain for adults. You can have several migraines in a lifetime or several in a single week. Neck pain is common. Also during this time you can experience nausea (90% of suffers), vomiting (a third of people), sensitivity to a variety of things, irritability, fatigue, sweating, confusion, light head, and the world can spin.

Phase 4 is called Postdrome. The final phase, often in conjunction with menstruation, involves fatigue, muscle soreness, hunger, and stress.

According to the International Headache Society there are seven subcategories.

Category One, Migraine without aura.  It is the most common form of migraine.

Category Two is a migraine with aura.

Category three is Childhood Periodic Syndromes which includes vertigo, abdominal migraine, cyclical vomiting.

Four is Retinal Migraine has a hallmark of visual disturbances.

Category five is complications of migraine, including long or frequent migraines and can be associated with seizure or a brain lesion.

Category 6 is Probable migraine which has the characteristics of migraine but not enough to diagnose, common medication overuse.

Seven is Chronic Migraine.  Chronic Migraine is greater than 15+ days month for more than three months. Chronic migraines effect 1.5-2.2% of the population.

How do you prevent migraines?  It’s hard. A variety of things help to improve migraines such as medication, nutrition, lifestyle alterations, and surgery. It is best to check with your doctor to find out what approach is best for you.


Information taken from: Web MD, International Headache Society, and Wikipedia.




Self · Uncategorized

A few words…


I was clicking through Pinterest and came across this quote.  It was by a character on the television show “Grey’s Anatomy.”  To be honest, I’ve never seen the show.  I’ve never even had an interest in seeing the show but this quote really spoke to me.  I hope it speaks to you too.

There is this person

inside my head. She’s brilliant,

capable, she’s me.

Only so much better! And I’m afraid

I’ll never become that person.

-Meredith Gray, character on Grey’s Anatomy


Family · Uncategorized

What’s going on, in May. Part 4.


What is going on now.  Things are still stressful. I’m still physically and mentally exhausted. Honestly, I am so angry over the last two months.  I am really angry at the mental health clinic that has been treating my son in one form or another.  Where to start?

If you remember from my last update, we were trying to get E tutoring from the school district. We were able to secure tutoring for E after school. A teacher would come after school for an hour each day.   Fortunately, my son really liked his tutor.  They covered several pages in his math book.

As I also said in the last update post E was on the waiting list for the PHP he last attended.  While we were waiting I was able to get E twice weekly therapist appointments. We also started him on his third medication.  We are seeing a slight improvement in him.  I fear that his dose is too low.  Unfortunately, with children you cannot increase as fast as in adults.  It’s an extremely long road. I’m still exhausted and depressed myself.

After having the tutor over to our home for one week when I get a phone call.  It is the PHP (partial hospitalization program).  They have a spot for E.  He can start the following week.  Ugh.  Of course, when I got the tutor up and going he would get into the PHP.  I am hoping that he can get some coping skills this time. I am hoping he will talk about hurting himself less.

For the first couple of days back at PHP E is sad.  His friend Johnny would not be there and he missed her.  I can’t lose any more friends he would cry to me.  E has lost a large number of friends in his short life.  All of them have moved away.  I count about 6 or 7 friends  who moved.  E is very, painfully shy.  While he makes friends easily he also feels their loss deeply. My son is a nerd, polite, shy, self conscious, friendly and helpful.  Many kids have said so.  Even though in PHP there are different rules than outside.  You can’t be in contact with people from the group.  I’m sure it had to due with confidentiality and safety.  How do you explain that to an 11 year old?  I tried to tell him it was not about him or his friends.  This was the rules for everyone.  Even with that it caused him so much pain.

This time round he made another friend named S. S likes video games and anime like E does. She has also got him into drawing.  I have tried for years to get my son to do artistic things. It’s not his thing.  Until now.  I’m glad he loves drawing like I do. I know he missed S.  They are very much alike.  I’m sad that he has to deal with another loss.

In about four days after he started back at PHP I get a phone call from his social worker. “We think E is doing great.”  “He is not acting like he did before he went into lockdown. We think we may discharge him” she said.  Huh?  He hasn’t even been there a week.  He has anxiety through the roof, crying fits and talks about hurting himself.  To that they said “He isn’t doing that here.”  All I could think is of course he isn’t. He doesn’t want to go back to lockdown.  It’s one of his major fears.  He is terrified of being taken away from us again.

Here’s the kicker.  Our insurance doesn’t want him discharged!  Never had an insurance company want a person to have more treatment. The staff at the PHP is thinking that he should go to a special academy or day treatment program.  They told us to start investigating them.  We have no idea how to start. We do know of one academy. However, it’s over $30,000 a year.  Kiss retirement and college goodbye.  I also don’t think that pulling him out of school for a year to attend school at a day treatment program or special academy is the answer.  If anything it would cause him more harm. He could also lose many of his friends.

To be continued…