awareness, challenges

Jail Time Revisited

Recently I had the opportunity to experience a county jail with an added twist. I’ve written about visiting the jail before as a contractor recounting an inside view. I visited the exterior as part of a jail run a few years back that included running the officer obstacle training course (so much fun) and the campus which bordered the barbed wire fences and guard towers. Both experiences were memorable and offered different views of the same place.

Over the past week I had yet another view. An unexpected view. I needed to try to visit an inmate. What started out as a simple endeavor ended up extremely complex. So many things I didn’t know, didn’t expect or just couldn’t wrap my arms around.
The first big blow is no in-person visitors which is the exact opposite of the county website, which states visitation Mon-Fri and Sat/Sun for under 18. I guess they are still under COVID protocols even though most other places are not. This was funny in itself as you don’t  need a mask to enter the jail but you can’t visit. The next option is a fee-based video visit, but figuring this option out almost requires an IT degree and a lot of patience.

That’s right. Get the app. Download the app. Set up a user ID. Add funds. Upload identification documents to prove who you are. Now wait. Wait until somebody in an office somewhere approves you. This took three days in my case. Once you have access, you can schedule a call. I almost forgot you need to deposit more money for the call and pay more service fees. Just when you think you are at the finish line you have to be patient again. It seems the schedule is not the same day. That means you wait longer and the person inside has no idea how hard you are trying to make contact. Big sigh.

What’s the other option? Send a letter. I was told happy mail is very uplifting. Okay, what’s the address? Well the address you mail to is far away. It has to be sorted to make sure there is no contraband. Well over the holiday, mail delays, etc. would lead me to believe this would be another dead end.

How about a phone call? Can the person make a call? Only if they have money they tell me. How do they get money? Glad you asked. There is a jail ATM. Never seen one of those before. You have to upload your picture, your social security number, address and so much more. Then you can pay money and exorbitant fees. Again, it’s not instant. It takes a day to process and the funds need to be deposited by 8am. That means if you put money in the ATM on Sunday at 4pm the inmate won’t see it until Tuesday after 8am. Delays galore.

Four days it takes to get any form of contact. This provides so much insight into what folks deal with when they are immersed in the jail system. I can’t even imagine if my parent was in jail, how a young adult could handle all the chaos associated with saying hi to somebody who probably needs some extra support during their incarceration.
This experience has taught me I for sure don’t ever want to spend time in jail. I also don’t want to have to visit anyone I know in jail. I like my freedom too much. I like to choose what I do and when I do it. I thought visiting somebody in an assisted living facility was hard in the heart of the pandemic however I would definitely say visiting a jail is 1000x harder current day. 

With mental health issues challenging society today, it is bothersome to me that inmates lose not only their freedom but their ability to get compassionate care. I define compassion to include communication with willing visitors vs. starving them of hope and friendly faces.

in summary, I’d always tell somebody think carefully about actions or inactions that can land one in jail. It’s not a place I’d recommend at all.

challenges, perspective

A Life Cut Short

Recently, someone in my daughter’s close friend group experienced a great loss. A tragic accident. A death, completely unexpected. Not his fault. A shock out of the blue.

I had met this young man a couple of times. I have photos of him, since he was in the group for my daughter’s high school dances. I had been introduced to him once. Still, such a sudden loss makes every parent in the community shudder.

My kids laugh at them when I tell them to be safe. Don’t drink (and if you do, don’t drive). Don’t do drugs. Stay alert. Make good choices. Check in when you get there. Leave early. Slow down. Assume everyone else is drunk or not paying attention. This young man probably followed every single one of these rules and still, he is gone.

In most cases, you may not know the last words you’ll say to a person. A loved one. A friend. Every time they leave you, every time you hang up, every time you text it could be the last time. Stop and think of the people who mean the most to you. How have you left it with them? Yes, right now. Today. Sure, saying “I love you” to a friend all the time may seem foolish. Maybe you just aren’t that way. But how can you leave things so that you’d be content with those being your last words with them? Think about it. Do they know how you feel? Do they know what they mean to you?

Memento Mori. One of the tenets of stoicism. Remember your death. To some this might seem morbid. Too heavy. Honestly, it is useful for me. It means pay attention to what matters. Keep your shit in order. Don’t drown in the trifling details. Don’t waste time on petty arguments or people who are just not meant for you. Invest in what is meaningful. All you have is now. Don’t waste it.

I watched the beautiful slide show for this 20 year old young man. I saw his smiles. His family vacations. Trips to the university his family loved. The dinners with friends. The light in his eyes when he looked at my daughter’s friend. I wept for him and what everyone who loved him lost. All the dreams that would go unfulfilled. The awful anniversaries that would come over and over and over again. I wept for the life cut short.

Do the important things now. Make a list. Start checking it off. Do them with the people who matter to you. Time is ticking and we don’t get it back. Not fun to think about. But let that motivate you to embrace life NOW. Not next year. Not when you have more time. NOW. Live big. Love well. Embrace life.

Now.

inspire

Recent Spark

I had a recent spark in creativity. Oddly enough it appeared during the chaos of life. On the day many would feel defeated I felt energized. Somehow I channeled the negative around me into positive production. Almost like stepping in a bucket of shit but coming out smelling like roses. A funny statement a sibling says to me often. I accepted the sign of creativity and began setting the groundwork for my next purpose project.

The ball is in motion. The creative juices are flowing. The map is outlined. Resources are allocated. Sometimes amidst the crazy there is a calm. It might be hidden like a diamond in the rough, but it’s there. You must awaken all senses to see the hope. The dream. The vision. It may take some time to find it but it’s there. Let the excitement build as the journey is beginning to unfold.

Over the years I have come to realize I enjoy the creative outlet. The rare find. The golden nugget of sorts that nobody seems to care about but me. The building of something, somebody, of substance. The validation point. After all the steps of the process there is a natural handoff. When no more visionary work is needed, I am on to the next big thing. It’s how my mind works and it’s what fuels my soul.

I usually have partners or find great like-minded individuals to share in my purpose work. The power of numbers. The magnifying of resources. The value of human capital and mind sharing should never be underestimated.

Much like growing a garden or nurturing flowers from seeds, life is about growth. Sometimes it’s your growth that is visualized. Other times is the growth of those around you. Whichever is natural at the time, I always celebrate growth.

For today I am celebrating the start. A new beginning. A fresh outlook on the undiscovered or rediscovered. An outlook for somebody in need. A chance. A chance for success. A chance for failure. Either option allows for growth. The growth is the goal of the project for the many involved.

Some may leap at the chance to partake while others may say no not today. A choice. An option. Solution to one. Hard work for many. Signing off today from creative land.

celebrations, hustle

The List of 49

In 2022 I will hit the big 5-0 birthday. Will I be successful at 49 and blah at 50? It could happen or it could be my perception. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this coming of age in many ways over the past few years. The now is finally here. I’m in the 60-day approach window. A panic time of sorts.

Did I accomplish enough by the time I’m 50? Did I cram too much in as I near 50?  Will the lingering pandemic ruin my big 50 bash? So many questions in my mind. There is obviously no guidebook for hitting 50 or maybe there is and I didn’t read it! In lieu of a fancy book, I’m going for the condensed blog version. Snippets of my fabulous life. The list of 49 idea is in motion or technically has been in motion for years.

As some of you readers may know, each year I write a New Year’s list of sorts. It’s normally in January and dedicated to that month in time. I love re-reading these lists (just 31 days) in upcoming years. This year is special to me thus I opted for a list twist.
This year the list will expand to a recap with a few highlights from the vault to round out my 49 list. It’s dedicated to some things I celebrate or remember over those 49 years or maybe it’s just random facts for those who don’t know me well. The list may seem odd to some but intriguing to others. Without further ado, below you will find my list of 49. In no particular order and each has a longer story but of course you just get the highlights.

  1. I was born of course and had a wonderful childhood. I lived in one family home with married parents and siblings. This in itself can be an oddity based on current day.
  2. I went to public school.
  3. I was a tomboy.
  4. I ziplined.
  5. I traveled internationally. More than once.
  6. I’ve traveled to many states but I haven’t been to Washington state, Hawaii, Oregon, North or South Dakota, Michigan, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
  7. I’ve built businesses from scratch.
  8. I’ve sold or dismantled businesses.
  9. I’ve operated a franchise/multi-units.
  10. I’ve been snow skiing and water skiing.
  11. I’ve wakeboarded, knee-boarded and wake surfed. I prefer water sports.
  12. I’ve ridden a horse in many states and abroad.
  13. I bought a tiny home.
  14. I went snowmobiling and it was fun.
  15. I built a glamping site.
  16. I have many great friends and love meeting new people.
  17. I’ve driven a mini van but I’m more of an SUV girl.
  18. I like vintage cars, muscle cars and basically any ride on wheels with flair.
  19. I’ve ridden on a motorcycle but can’t drive one.
  20. I like and use recreational vehicles such as a jet ski, four wheeler, boat, camper, and dirt bike.
  21. I like soft blankets.
  22. I’m an author.
  23. I’ve played whirly ball, kickball, wiffle ball, and tennis which also has a ball.
  24. I played hockey and like to skate in boy’s skates. The black hockey-style skates.
  25. I enjoy CrossFit.
  26. I have a shoe collection, car fetish, and I am a hair fanatic.
  27. I’m a loyal Starbucks customer.
  28. I like pizza. I like it a lot. Not sauce so much.
  29. I have tattoos and will get more.
  30. I grew up in the north but love living in the south.
  31. I’m looking forward to 2022 and all the year has to offer.
  32. I think gas is expensive.
  33. I have learned a lot about who I am and keep toxic people at bay. This is a requirement for life balance.
  34. I like outdoor activities.
  35. I like temperatures in the 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit over cold.
  36. I am looking to do 50 new things in 2022. Never done by me that is.
  37. I’ve lived in four states.
  38. I’ve lived through a pandemic. Something I never planned for and somehow it keeps resurfacing!
  39. Betty White just died just shy of 100. A true golden girl. Gonna miss that icon.
  40. I’ve held true to my mantra of looking for sunshine in the shittiest of situations.
  41. I played Topgolf and really suck at it.
  42. I’m due for some fresh ink to celebrate 50.
  43. I’ve hit the height as a woman-owned business that many dream of but never achieve. 
  44. I bought a farm and grow things which was never on my bucket list per se.
  45. I focus on learning each day, week, month without question.
  46. I like freshly baked homemade cookies.
  47. I can’t cure stupid no matter how much I try and I may give up after trying for so long.
  48. I don’t like wearing masks. Thanks Covid for an experience I never wished for.
  49. I like blue raspberry slush puppies.

Well there you have my random list of 49. A new list about me to help ring in my upcoming birthday. I’m sure some will giggle when they read this but it’s a true recollection of me at random points in my years lived. Not all-encompassing but tidbits for those who want to get to know me. My life on the web, unveiled. Wink to the one who inspired my thoughts herein.

anonymous letters, awareness

Unspeakable

We share a lot on this blog about our lives, our ups and downs, our triumphs and frustrations, our families and friends.

Even with all that we share, there are many experiences and ideas left unspoken for whatever reason. They are too important or too unimportant. Too intimate, too mundane. Too shocking, too boring. To out-of-bounds. Too commonplace.

Then there are those things in a whole different category. The unspeakable. By their very definition, they are beyond words. Beyond understanding. Beyond description. Those jaw-dropping moments that take your breath away. Things that would offend. Things that defy understanding. Things that only happen in the movies or sci fi are suddenly your life or the life of someone close to you.

For the joyful unspeakables, it’s not that hard to tuck them away in my heart. If I didn’t have anyone with me in unspeakable moments, that makes it a bit more challenging…but like that perfect sunset, photos or words do not do it justice. If I am smart I stop trying to capture those unspeakable moments of beauty and joy and just sit in their rarity. But there’s always that urge to share it.

As for the unspeakably gruesome or heartbreaking, the urge to share it is more about having someone to help shoulder it. To process it. To bear witness. This unspeakable weighs on me these days. Gratefully, I do have a few friends who can bear to hear my unspeakable, at least what I can manage to verbalize of it. Those moments can be so challenging. So vulnerable. What will they think of me? Of the person this is happening to? When I really tell the truth about what is happening, who I am, with all my flaws and shortcomings?

More often than not, my dear friends surprise me with connection. With support. With generosity. They often have analogies to their own lives that make me feel less incompetent. Less overwhelmed. Less alone.

Even still, there are things that can only be shared so far. We all still have our lessons and burdens to endure.