The day we received our truck camper, I wrote a blog called Camper Envy and Size Matters. We were owners for less than one day, and already I was lusting for the RV -TV, bathroom, and shower.
The truck camper introduced us to this way of life for less than one year, four exciting trips. We (more me) knew we needed to move on if we ( moreI ) would travel long distances. We loved our little Northstar truck camper and became extremely Covid-Creative (hmm, should I add that word to the Urban Dictionary? Is it already there?) But Mitch and I decided to say goodbye to the camper and hello to indoor plumbing! Meet KanVan our new RV Winnebago EKKO.
I met a girl- at my age, can I still say girl? Her daughter’s name is Jessica and also has disabilities. My new friend is a writer. Yes, I met my author Doppelgänger, we look nothing alike, but are so similar, as are our families. Her name is Cathy Shields, and she moved me with her essay about Acceptance.
It’s coming up on our 42nd anniversary! Do you remember last year? We have gone through many cars, but one car stands out as the Most Bizarre Car Story.
Mitch and I met at the University of Miami (the Florida one). I was in the lobby of our dorm with my roommate Tami, when a friend I knew from Long Island introduced me to a long-haired dude named Mitch from Buffalo. Tami and I said a quick “Hi” and fled to the elevator.
Gail and I are connected; her people know my people. And we keep finding more links – Through our 6 degrees of separation, I have kept up with Gail’s story. Several weeks ago, I received a text from a friend about an unbelievable occurrence that happened to Gail. I think this is one you will Never Forget.
It was Dad’s first time flying without Mom. First time flying since the virus. Dad told me he felt like an old man. Happy 90 1/2 Birthday, Dad!
Before I could say, “You’re not old!” Even though I sometimes feel old at 63, Dad went on to explain. As soon as he got on the line for security at the airport, the young guard asked him if he had any metal parts in his body. Dad proudly said, “No.” The security officer looked him over and then explained to Dad what he meant by metal parts in the body. As if Dad didn’t understand the question rather than the security person not understanding the answer. After Dad explained that he did have metal parts again, the security guard “yes’d” him and still put him through the x-ray machine for Tin Men.
Four years in the making, my Memoir Raising Jess a Story of Hope is finally available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble . Thank you to everyone for all the love, hope, support, and encouragement. Especially my (late) mother, who told/nagged/motivated me to write a book for 20 years.
WHERE CAN I GET THE BOOK
Currently, the book is available in paperback ($16.95) and hardcover ($31.95) on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I will resend links when the E-Book is ready on Amazon, Barnes, Google play, and Itunes.
Mitch and I watch a show ALONE, together. Yes, that is a confusing sentence. What I mean is that Mitch and I are together, and we watch the History channel series, ALONE.
We started the series during COVID. We both enjoy the show, enjoy watching it together, and talking about the episodes. Mitch will frequently turn to me and say, “I Love that you like this show! But why do you like it?” It’s a fair question.
Dear Noa, This is a lesson about Special Needs and Love.
You were born in September of 2019 before we knew that a Pandemic was looming just around the bend. What a strange time to be an infant. It took a long time for you to meet Aunty Jess. Aunty Jess is different from anybody you have encountered.
Each year, before Covid, in the small resort town of Ellicottville, NY, a Texas Chili Party rounded out the summer festivities. Every participant brought their award-worthy chili creation. You may think Texas Chili includes a lot of meat, and for the most part, it does. But I am a vegetarian and decided to enter the contest with a Vegetarian Chili.
It was a risk, but what the heck? What is the worst that could happen?
I am 63 ½ years old. However, this is not a confession; I have admitted my age many times. It is a fact that I am cool with (Now, I sound my age), especially when considering the alternative.
The blog, which I started writing in March 2020, created many learning opportunities. This is a teacher’s excellent way of saying; I knew nothing and had A LOT to learn. I have acquired many new tricks. Dissimilar to an older dog, because I think the new stuff is sinking in but do not ask me to sit and stay, that’s a skill that will always elude me.
I KNOW ENOUGH TO KNOW…
There are so many components to writing Vickie’s Views blog. And I now know enough to overwhelm me with how much I DON’T KNOW! First of all, I am struggling with figuring out my Niche or specialization.
For my purposes, a Niche answers the question: What is your Blog about? Why am I even thinking Niche? Because YOAST (another new word) says, I need one. Who am I? Gee, I hope my Niche is not “complaining!
While I am at it, I have also learned SEO – yep, that stands for Search Engine Optimization. My blog website has an emoji guide that ranges from, “You really suck” to “YAY! You figured it out!” As an overachiever or a person obsessed with green smiley emojis, I fiddle around with all the SEO suggestions. Satisfaction is achieved when I receive the silly green smiley emoji that basically says, “Good job, Vickie.”
REASON FOR JUMPING OUT OF BED
Writing gives me a great reason to jump out of bed before 6 AM each morning. I call it my work, although there is no money, and at this point, I have spent more than I hope to recoup.
But then something started happening. People, besides my immediate family, started to read the blog. And I am not paying anyone to read!
Does Anyone Have a Spare Niche?
Readers motivate me to keep writing. Yet, If I continue to write, I need to learn about maintaining a website, managing three-plus social media accounts, and Pinterest (or is Pinterest considered another social media account?). SEO and ABCDE and all other new acronyms. Alt Text for photos, keywords, long keywords, google trends, constant contact stats, google analytics. AND MY NICHE!
My son, Alex, who went to school for this, probably thinks, yeah, so what? Or perhaps he’s thinking, “ that’s all you know?”
TOP FLOOR, PLEASE!
But as in life, this is a process. I need to be patient, not a high-ranking skill of mine. Raising Jess, my book is coming out very soon, and I will need to create my elevator speech. So, if we happen to be in an elevator together and you ask me what my book is about, I will be able to tell you enough to capture your interest before the elevator door opens on the next floor. Rightnow, my elevator speech starts on the ground and ends at the top of the empirestate building. And then we may need to walk around the viewing area a bit until I finish. So, I need to work on shortening that a bit.
What I do know is that at 63 years old, I am learning a new industry. Enrolling in online seminars and reading other blogs, and gathering too much information. I am an old dog learning new tricks.
When my Mom was first diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment, which ultimately led to full-blown Alzheimer’s, the doctor said, “ it’s important to keep learning something new.” That advice resonated with newly retired me, and the result, if you got this far in the post is Vickie’s Views.
I still do not have a niche, but I am working on it…all suggestions welcome…
Back in the last century, in the 1990s, we spent our days at Lou Gehrig Baseball Little League. Coach Mitch, also known as husband and dad, was our son Alex’s Coach for 11 years. Our adventures started in T-Ball when Alex was five. It is now 2021, and yesterday we celebrated Three Glorious Moments at the baseball field.
In hindsight, I remember those days fondly. I loved taking Jess and Carly to watch Alex play and Mitch coach. I say I loved it, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Getting myself and Jessica and her equipment anywhere on time was always a struggle. I was (am) abysmal with time management and organization, and well, you get the picture. Just can’t seem to get the timing right. Admittedly, I always blamed Jess (sorry, Jess), but when Jess moved into her own home, my time mismanagement sadly remained.
My sister-in-law was the first to text me about the new CDC guidelines “Did you hear that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks?” How did No More Masks miss my vigilant Covid news antenna? And now what?
First Off- Are We as a Community Really OK with No Masks?
I think it will be harder for me to stop using the mask than it was to start using it. It’s all happening too fast! For example, our state received guidance this week about attending baseball games with face covering, and only a day or two later, I can walk into the market bare-faced? I was just started embracing the new normal!
“Who are You?” looks keep happening to me. I think my hair color must be confusing folks to the point of blank stares after I greet them hello in my masked Covid costume. Some of the looks belong to people I have known for over thirty years! Three views of the New Normal from a 60-something-year-old, an 18-month old and a 90-year old.
New Normal View 1
I was walking in Wegman’s the other day. Mask and sunglasses rounded off my shopping attire. I moved aside for a lady before we collided. At the same time, I ran into a person who did not recognize me. “It’s Vickie Rubin!” “Oh, hi,” she says in reply. Meanwhile, the lady I almost ran into screams from the next aisle, “Vickie Rubin! It’s Ray!”
I am taking the risk to tell a Funny Story from last year. I wrote this unpublished blog in April 2020. My unsalaried volunteer editor, Mitch, said, “Don’t post it! – you will sound like the dishwasher is your biggest problem.” I just wanted to tell, what I thought, was a funny story. But my opinionated editor won, and I let the blog sit for a WHOLE YEAR!
Mitch researched online for three months. We knew about Truck Campers, but we bought you sight unseen with zero truck camping experience. And now it is time to say Goodbye, Truck Camper – and Hello to What’s Next.
We were together for a total of 24 days on four occasions. We traveled as far as Arkansas and Florida and many places in between. If it were not for Covid, I would not have given you a second glance. But there you were, our transport to Florida without flying!
Mitch and I drove to Florida the last week of February 2021; our destination was Key Largo. No camper this time, just the truck, us, and our Italian Greyhound, Daniel. This visit would be our third year in Key Largo. We rent the same beautiful house each year. But, 2021 would be slightly different, and I am ready to publicly reveal the changes when Buffalo Vickie (germaphobe) turned into Florida Vickie after getting vaccinated.
Please, I want to hear good news. I want to know that this year was not a series of Covid-Horror and despair. I want to hear the Really Good Stuff. And so I asked. And guess what? People responded. Unbeknownst to me, the year had an intriguing twist. There were valuable insights from the era of Covid.
My husband and I had positive Covid tests in December. That is just one of the positives that we discovered. And yes, we were the careful ones. The annoying friends that wouldn’t see anybody no matter what! Our arrogance convinced us that we would beat the awful virus at its game if we abided by OUR rules. Result: Virus 2 points – Vickie and Mitch – 0 points.
I had an unbelievable experience today, and I attribute my luck to good timing and an overturned glass. Let me explain.
I don’t know the origins of the overturned glass but will give you the quick superstition. If something goes missing, you must immediately find a glass, turn it upside down, and your item will reappear. I don’t know if I have enough glasses for all the items that go missing! Anyway, it’s a simple strategy so why not?
The original article about the late Dr. Linda Brodsky was published in 2014; the blog below is the 2021 update. This story illuminates the strength of friendship found in our monthly book club meetings.
About 15 years ago, I met with a respected, locally, nationally, and internationally physician, and we started talking about books. She said to me, “One day I’m going to start a book club and I hope you will join.”
I purchased a RoboVac in 2019. Our grandson, Griffin, was three years old and terrified of her. The dogs were dubious whenever the Vac was searching for dirt. I have a love/hate relationship with our RoboVac, and I am not afraid to admit it!
Our RoboVac and I met in August 2019, I was so thrilled that I wrote an online review:
Portions of Review: I hesitated to purchase a RoboVac, but I saw the price, ratings, and awards and decided to take a leap of faith! I am on day 2 of OCD vacuuming and loving every minute. My 3-year old grandson named her “Cleany,” as was recommended by another customer to help alleviate toddler fear. My Hungarian Vizsla dog is still questioning Cleany’s existence and purpose in our home. My Italian Greyhound dog has less interest in Cleany but is a bit weary – Hey, if it wasn’t for their shedding, I may not have needed her! I am thoroughly satisfied with this product. Again, I am only on day 2!
Has your texting increased during the Pandemic? The husband complains, I mean notices that I am in text mode most of the day. The Pandemic offers numerous opportunities to find stay-at-home leisure activities, and recreational texting is high on my list.
Texting is a skill, and not everyone is a good texter. I don’t only mean typos, although that is a huge problem with some folks—especially those of a particular age group. Ok, typos are a huge problem for me – I am that lady in the hilarious commercial who uses a speakerphone. Except I am regularly using it to text. My second text typically is: “dictation sucks- this is what I meant to say.”
Grandma was an Air-Raid Warden sounds like a great country song or perhaps a song from the ’70s. In fact, this is the story of our Grandma Sayde, my dad’s mother. My tale is not a story of war; I will leave that to historical blog writers. Instead, read on for two cute anecdotes from the 1940s that will give you a smile.