Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

Confessions of a Fitbit Fanatic

IMG_0921 (2)Why am I walking around my house in the dark at eleven p.m.? Do I need a drink of water or to use the bathroom? . . . Did I forget to plug in my phone or turn off my computer? . . . Was I awakened by a strange noise and I’ve gone to investigate?  No, it’s not for any of those logical reasons.  I am walking around in the dark because I still need four hundred more steps to earn my badge for 25,000 steps in one day. Sound crazy? Please allow me to explain.

For Mother’s Day this year, Mike and Vikki, my son and daughter-in-law, gave me a Fitbit Flex.  At first it seemed like a fun new toy. I wore it most of the time, but sometimes I forgot to put it back on after my shower. I liked how it kept track of my sleep and reminded me to drink more water. After a few weeks, I decided to set a goal to lose a few pounds. I chose the easy path because I wasn’t serious about it. I did my best to record what I ate each day. What I liked most about the Fitbit was that I was in control. Unlike diets that tell you what to eat, I could choose what I wanted. All I had to do was make sure I burned more calories than I consumed.

My Fitbit would probably have continued to be no big deal if it hadn’t been for what happened  Memorial Day weekend.  I received an unexpected email from Vikki, inviting me to join a weekend warrior challenge. It sounded like fun and so I accepted. Soon after that, I remembered that Mike and Vikki planned to go on a long hike that Saturday. I figured I didn’t stand a chance of winning. By the end of Saturday, I was in fourth place even though I had 20,000 steps. But there was still another day left and now Mike and Vikki were tired from their long hike the day before. Just like the tortoise that won the race against the hare, I kept walking on Sunday and managed to sneak by everyone with more than 40,000 steps for the weekend.

Of course, I was elated with my victory over a group of people more than twenty years younger than I am. In fact, I liked it so much, that I went looking for other groups to compete in.  I joined a group called “Born in the 1940s.” Since I was born in 1948, I am a baby in that group.  The goal of the group is to still be walking in the 2050s.  I have a personal goal to live to be 100,  so this seemed like the perfect group to join. Currently, I am in tenth place behind nasamike. I think I’m doing well considering jimmywalkingstick, who is in first place is more than 200,000 steps ahead of me. Close behind me is a lovely lady named Betty.

These are not people I know, but I like to pretend that I do know them. I picture nasamike on a tread mill on the International Space Station. He even gets some of his steps by walking on the ceiling and the walls. jimmywalkingstick might be this man I encountered once who runs to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out every day. I think of Betty as a friend who is walking with me, encouraging me to keep going.

If I had a friend who nagged at me every day about what I ate and how much I exercised, I would probably avoid that friend. But my Fitbit isn’t like that. My Fitbit sits passively on my wrist until I ask how I’m doing. Then my  Fitbit  gives me a peptalk, calling me champ because I walked ten miles in a day or awarding me badges for walking 250 miles. (Which of course I deserve because that’s like walking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back ten times.)   Fitbit, my friend,  I’m glad I met you.

The Lovely Lorene

Scan_20150504Lorene Scott was born on November 22, 1926, in Meeker, Oklahoma,  to Rosa Mae and Benjamin Harrison Scott. She was their third child, baby sister to Kenneth and Mary. Later two brothers would be added to the family–Glenn and George.

The family moved to Arizona and Lorene grew up in Peoria. Like all families during the depression, the Scotts struggled to meet their daily needs. But strength and determination carried them through those trying times.

Attending Peoria High School, Lorene was the pitcher for the softball team.  With the team, she traveled the state playing against other high schools. She said that when her team played Jerome High School which was perched on the edge of Mingus Mountain, if someone hit a home run, the ball landed in Clarkdale, the town below.

As a teenager, Lorene had a job at the local drug store working at the fountain. Everyday, she rushed from school to get there before the other kids. Because she knew what each one would order, she had things ready when they arrived. Those who didn’t have any money ordered a pine float–a glass of water with a toothpick in it. Gene Autry, a western singer and movie star of the time, owned the juke box in the drug store. When he came in to change the records, Lorene asked him to remove “Tweedle o’ Twill” a song with lots of yodeling that drove her crazy. Gene Autry lifted the five-foot, ninety pound girl and set her up on the counter. Then he put a coin in the juke box and played “Tweedle o’ Twill.” But after that, he did take it out as Lorene requested.

On August 1, 1946, Lorene married George Owen Morgan. Two years later, their first child, Rosemary, was born in Phoenix. Shortly after that the family moved to Idaho, where George farmed with his brother Ed. As I was much too young to remember those days, I can only rely on what my mother has told me. Apparently I was a daddy’s girl, going out with my dad on his horse as often as he would take me.  My sister, Shirley, was born in Idaho, but soon after that we returned to live in Arizona.

In March, 1952, George and Lorene were expecting their third child. Unfortunately, little JoAnne passed away at birth. Saddened by the loss of their little daughter, George and Lorene supported each other and carried on. But just one month later, George was in the hospital for a surgical procedure. The procedure did not go well and a few days later, Lorene lost him as well.

So much loss in so short a time would be difficult for anyone. But Lorene had two small daughters to care for. Her parents supported her during that time and built a small house behind their own for us to live in. My earliest memories are of living in that house in Glendale. Lorene went to work at Co-op Dairy to support her family. It was there that she met Richard Ebersole. They were married and we all moved to Phoenix. After my brother, Rick, was born we moved to a larger house on Rose Lane and Eleventh Avenue. That was the home I grew up in.

Shirley was married in 1969, and I followed the next year. Our parents were looking forward to their retirement years when Richard was diagnosed with Leukemia. He passed away in March, 1971. Alone again, with just my brother left at home, Lorene had to call on her inner strength.

After twenty-seven years working for Carnation Dairy, she decided to retire. Taking her pension, she invested in a business. In spite of her hard work and determination, the business failed. But being the strong person she is, Lorene pulled herself together and found a job with Circle K. With her leadership skills, she soon became the manager of a store. She continued to work for Circle K until she retired at the age of seventy-five.

I feel fortunate to have such an outstanding role model in my life. My mother has always been a strong, independent woman. She has overcome so many tragedies, any one of which would have crushed a weaker person. But each time, she rose above the situation and stood on her own two feet, caring for her family with love and determination.     momTo me she will always be the lovely Lorene.

My Empty Nest



back cover pictureEvery challenge has its rewards, and every opportunity has its tradeoffs. One of the tradeoffs I had counted on was that Kirstin would always be with us. Michael was an independent young man at an early age, playing with his friends all day. When we moved to Prescott Valley he became an adventurer, exploring the creeks and hills around our town. In high school, now a licensed driver, he spent time with his buddies or worked at various part-time jobs.  He no longer accompanied us on family vacations.  After high school, Michael took a job with the U.S. Forest Service as a firefighter. At first he remained in Chino Valley, but he was soon transferred to other ranger stations in remote areas of our large state. Eventually, he got married and became a parent himself. He had gradually become less and less a part of our daily lives, but Kirstin was always there. She was with us every day and everywhere we went. Other parents had to prepare for having their children move away, but not us. While we knew Kirstin would have a life of her own in some ways, I always assumed she would continue to live with us.

The empty nest idea didn’t fully hit me for a few months. It was May and it was Mother’s Day. On any other Mother’s Day, Kirstin would have been parked outside our bedroom door, waiting for us to wake up and open the door so she could rush in present and card in hand. But on this particular Mother’s Day, there was no shuffling noise coming from under our door. It hit me like a ton of bricks. We were empty nesters. That was when the tears came.

As parents, Craig and I are as proud of Kirstin and her accomplishments as we are of our son Michael. They have both made their own way in the world as strong, successful, independent adults. Kirstin knows her own mind and will stand up for what she thinks is best for her (even to her overbearing mother). Letting go is a very difficult thing to do, and I don’t think we have fully mastered it yet. Maybe we never will. But Kirstin is always patient with us and helps us learn to be better empty nesters.

Kirstin’s Side of the Story:  I like being independent. Growing up means having a lot of responsibilities. I budget my money carefully. I have lots of bills to pay. It is not always easy being an adult. I’m a good cook. I keep my house clean. I am a good shopper.

All children have their families, even when they grow up. My mom and I play Pounce together, cook together, and spend time together. We don’t see each other every day, but that makes it more special when we are together.

From: This Little Light of Mine, A woman with Down syndrome shines brightly in the world. This book is available on Amazon

It has been over eleven years since Kirstin moved out of our home and into the mobile she shared with her grandmother. During that time, Kirstin has enjoyed her independence and grown into a remarkable adult. When we were helping her make decisions about what to do with her mobile home, there was a part of me that wanted so much to have her live with us again. But that wasn’t my decision to make. Kirstin has her own plans and dreams. Like all of us, she is working to make them come true. My role is to support her in this as I have always done.