ALONE

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.

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Dear Noa, A Nana Lesson about Special Needs and Love

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.

Your Aunt has Special Needs

Yes, your Aunt has special needs or whatever term you will use one day, but that is not how we think of Jess. I hope you will see through the wheelchair and differences to embrace the Jessica that Papa and I cherish. I hope you see all that you have in common.

As your Nana, I don’t blame you.  As Jessica’s Mom, it hurts.

The first time you met Aunty Jess, you were afraid.  Jessica is in a wheelchair and doesn’t use words to communicate. All you saw were your differences. As your Nana, I don’t blame you.  As Jessica’s Mom, it hurts.

But we worked together to turn that around, and as soon as you were able to see your Aunty Jess more frequently, I made it my mission for you to engage and appreciate the joys of Jessica.

The first commonality was the pleasure of sharing an ice cream sandwich at a Little League game. Eating ice cream is something that both of you have in common with me!

Music the Universal Language

Noa, You cannot say Aunt or Jess, but you ask me about her all the time.  Yes, you found another commonality with your Aunt, and it is through music. Music is the universal language and my daughter and granddaughter both speak the same dialect!

If you have read my blogs about Jessica, you already know that Jess communicates through music and constantly has a tune to share with others.

Noa, you picked up on that, and now you ask me as only you can about Jess.  You start singing her tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, and I say, “Are you talking about Aunty Jess, and you gleefully say Yes!”

My heart is soaring; you are no longer weary and nervous. Did Jess know that you were hesitant?  I am not sure, and I hope not.  Or perhaps Jess knew and decided that singing to you was going to be the magic. We created our own family disability awareness. I hope you will take this knowledge and develop kindness and empathy for other people you will meet.

My oldest daughter and my youngest grandchild have found their connection. Even on facetime! Noa hummed a few bars of twinkle and I asked if she wanted to speak to Aunty Jess, once again Noa give a hearty, “Yes!”

Aunty Jess has special needs
Dear Noa, Aunty Jess Taught You about Special Needs and Love

Moral of the story for other families.  Try to embrace the similarities between your child with special needs and new family members and friends.

We all have something that we can cherish together.

Dear Noa,  my heart is full.

Love Nana Vickie

Raising Jess A Story of Hope Coming Soon: Raising Jess a Story of Hope 
by Vickie Rubin
“I was twenty-four years old and about to deliver my first child. Oh, and I also had the chickenpox.” So begins the story of a first-time mom who learns her infant daughter has severe, multiple disabilities. From the challenges caring for her daughter with disabilities to marriage struggles and the question of having more children, Vickie Rubin gives a glimpse into the world of her family and transformation while Raising Jess. This beautiful, gripping memoir will delight and leave you wanting more.

JOIN LIST FOR DETAILS ABOUT NEW BOOK RELEASE

Thank you to Feedspot for listing Vickie’s Views as one of Top 35 Disabled & Special Needs Child Parenting Blogs (I am number 33!)

My Award-Winning Vegetarian Chili Recipe

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?

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Finding my Niche – Who Am I?

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. 

GUS DOESN’T LIKE TO SIT AND STAY EITHER!

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!  

Finding my Niche - Who Am I?
I AM still TRYING TO FIGURE OUT MY NICHE!

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.”

SIGH…..
THANK YOU LITTLE GREEN SMILEY FACES!

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!

Finding my Niche - Who Am I?

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.  Right now, my elevator speech starts on the ground and ends at the top of the empire state 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.

Finding my Niche - Who Am I?
MY FUR NEICE DIXIE IS 15 YEARS YOUNG!

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…

Raising Jess A Story of Hope Coming Soon: Raising Jess a Story of Hope 
by Vickie Rubin
“I was twenty-four years old and about to deliver my first child. Oh, and I also had the chickenpox.” So begins the story of a first-time mom who learns her infant daughter has severe, multiple disabilities. From the challenges caring for her daughter with disabilities to marriage struggles and the question of having more children, Vickie Rubin gives a glimpse into the world of her family and transformation while Raising Jess. This beautiful, gripping memoir will delight and leave you wanting more.

JOIN LIST FOR DETAILS ABOUT NEW BOOK RELEASE

JOIN LIST FOR DETAILS ABOUT NEW BOOK RELEASE

Three Glorious Moments-at the Baseball Field

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.

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No More Masks? I Have Four-Questions????

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

B- Wearing a Mask Eliminated a lot of Morning Prep; Now What?

Who cares about make-up and lipstick? Not only was most of my face covered by a mask and glasses, but nobody recognized me anyway. Now do I need to dust off the old make-up for everyday use? For those who know me, this is not my issue since I rarely wear make-up, but I am asking for a friend(s)…

Third- Does this Mean we are Going to Catch Colds Again?

How many times have you had the conversation about the lack of flu and common colds this year? I believe face covering was part of the remedy. OK, the handwashing, social distancing, staying at home, no hugging, no theater, no restaurants, no parties, no celebrations also played a role. But still, I believe masks were a key factor for a decrease in the common ailments.

D- What Do We All Do with All the Masks?

I am not sure about you, but I have a lot of masks. Maybe not as many as Nancy Pelosi; she seems to have a color-coordinated face covering for every outfit. Do you think there is a market for unused masks?  I hope there is not a market for used face covers! And what if the CDC changes its mind? Oh, and our Governor Cuomo has not made up his mind about the science, yet. OK, I will keep the masks.

The change is all happening so fast! I just got used to eating indoors. The heartwarming ad for Extra Gum () brings chills and tears of joy, an example of what the future may look like without masks! It’s worth the 61 seconds to peek. I even bought Extra gum, and I rarely chew gum. But I guess if you are taking off the mask, you now need to make sure your breath smells fresh!

No More Masks indoors? It may take me a bit, but I will work on going out maskless! I think I have some time because New York State has not given it the OK yet.

Mask or No Mask – That is the Question

What are your masked thoughts? (comment area below)

Three Generational Views of the New Normal

Who are You? View One

“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!”

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Taking the Risk to Tell A Funny Story

 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!

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Why Did We say “Goodbye Truck Camper” and What’s Next?

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!

Why We Said Goodbye Truck Camper

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How Buffalo Vickie turned into Florida Vickie after Getting Vaccinated

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.

How Buffalo Vickie turned into Florida Vickie after Getting Vaccinated
Daniel meeting a new friend.
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Tell me the Good Stuff from the Past Twelve Months

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.

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Unbelievable Timing

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?

Unbelievable Timing - Turn over a glass to find missing items- Luck- Good Timing
Do you want to find lost items? Turn over a glass and look again!
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The Strength of Book Club Friendship

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.”   

You Call This Light Reading?

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Counting the Days of Covid Captivity

Thank you Buffalo News OP-ED for publishing my newest article 🙂 Counting the Days of Covid Captivity.

 

Counting the Days of Covid Captivity- Daniel the Therapy Dog
Daniel our Therapy Dog was a Volunteer at Oishei Children’s Hospital
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My Love/Hate Bond with our RoboVac

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!

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84 Days After Covid-19- My Long-Haul Symptom

Can you say Hypogeusia? This new vocabulary word is my Covid-19, Long-Haul symptom. On day 84 since the Covid-19 Diagnosis, I still have a lingering souvenir.

I cannot spell it without looking it up again and again. I couldn’t ask Siri because I couldn’t pronounce it, either. The correct pronunciation is HYPO-GOO- SIA.

The definition is a reduced ability to taste things, and I fall into this long-haul category.

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Recreational Texting and My First Text Epiphany

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.”  

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My Grandma Was an Air-Raid Warden!

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.

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Finding the Joy of Communication through Music

Jessica does not speak in words; her communication is through gestures, facial expressions, body language, and music.  Jessica brings the joy of music wherever she goes.

Jessica and the Joy of Music - Jessica playing the piano as a toddler and as an adult
Jessica playing the piano as a toddler and as an adult

Last week, I was asked to create a presentation about Jessica and the upcoming book Raising Jess: A Story of Hope. I started searching through my stack of presentations created when I was working.  

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Attending Buffalo Bills Game During the Pandemic

It was 3:00 PM on January 16th, and all was a buzz in our house. Was it about the virus? No!  Politics? No! The weather? No! The Bills!!! YES! and not the kind you pay! The Beloved Buffalo Bills!

My husband Mitch, daughter Carly, son Alex, and brother-in-law Scott had the opportunity that few others experience; they were attending the Buffalo Bills game during the Pandemic!

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ONE COVID-19 VACCINE DOWN:ONE TO GO

I thought I would be writing about my Covid-19 Vaccine this week. As a local hospital volunteer I received notification that I was eligible for the Vaccine. The shot was scheduled for Wednesday, January 13th. I was nervous (of course!) because I still have antibodies from the virus. Were the virus antibodies and the Vaccine antibodies going to duel it out while I relived Covid symptoms? It turns out that they ran out of Vaccines, and so my antibody war was delayed. The good news is that our daughter Jess and my Dad (age 90 – hope you don’t mind me revealing your age Dad.) have one Covid-19 Vaccine down and one to go!

Windowpane visit after Vaccine.  JESS AND DAD HAVE ONE COVID-19 VACCINE DOWN – ONE TO GO
Windowpane visit after Vaccine.
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New Year Resolutions, A New Me-Nah…

Do you make New Year Resolutions? I usually make one or two, and they focus on organization, re-organization, and new-organization techniques. Again, my 2021 resolutions included a wish-hope-strive-resolute for organization. Consequently, since I re-commit to this skill each year, organization is probably unattainable. I probably should just move on! New Year, New Me- Nah….

New Year Resolutions, why bother?

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January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021

I had a cute blog scheduled for this week.  But I am not feeling cute or funny.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, is a day of infamy.  A  sad date etched into our memories—another, “Where were you when…” date. The headline: Americans storm the Capitol Building.

https://images.app.goo.gl/knFydsdpbhyJ7HHF8
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: U.S. President Donald Trump is seen on a screen as his supporters cheer during a rally on the National Mall on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

I was not political before 2016.  Embarrassingly, I barely paid attention.  I remember when I first had dinner at Mitch’s family’s home in 1976.  The theme of the conversation was Politics and I had NOTHING to add.  Zilch, Void, NADA! I was inwardly disappointed in myself but not enough to become more knowledgeable in world events.

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11 Things I Learned from Our Experience with Covid-19

Our encounter with Covid-19 was unique. I say that because it seems like nobody has the same experience with Covid-19. At least from my non-scientific query of the folks who had symptoms. So, in no hierarchical order, here are some observations:

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