Tag Archives: be respectful

The world needs more like my mom.

First I wanted to share a YouTube video that was a good reminder for me. I told a friend the thing I dislike the most of everything going on is the polarization, fighting, and fear that an awful lot of people wish to participate in. This video is a slight twist to things I’ve suspected and suggested myself, but her words are better at conveying it.


Now for my intended topic :

For every failure my dad demonstrated, every trauma incurred by him in my childhood, my mom showed brilliance. In fact she is the one that I credit for keeping me from being completely like my dad, and teaching me better ways to live .

My mom was my protector, as much as she could be. My mom was my support, the kindness in my world. She taught me how to care about others through kindness and her own personal charity workings.

She knew how to apologise, and her biggest faults were apologizing too much and falling prey to dad’s dominance and a general poverty loop.

My memories of mom are exact opposites to the memories of dad. Where dad is mostly negative memories with a smear of positive ones, my mom is mostly positive ones with a smear of negative (and really the few negatives tie back to dad in one way or another).

My mom was the person in our family that was always doing something to help people that were less fortunate.

I remember one Christmas season my mom was worried that we ourselves would not have a holiday celebration of any significance, and knew she needed to rely on K-Mart’s layaway program to even try to provide a holiday. However, she knew someone that was struggling even worse than our family was. Their family had 3 small children and when she went to put our toys on layaway at K-Mart she picked 3 small toys for the other family to include in her layaway purchase. I remember her being worried about timing because the last payment was due right before Christmas, but ultimately she made it work and both our family and theirs had a holiday that year.

Then there was our next-door neighbor when I was about 4 years old. It was an elderly lady that had emphysema from having smoked for her whole life. The lady lived alone and had no close family to help her. She continued to smoke even while using oxygen. My mom promised her that she would come clean her mobile home and make some food for her if she promised not to smoke while her and I were there. The house always smelled strongly of cigarettes and I disliked being there, and often the lady would have a cigarette ready to light as soon as we left. Yet she never actually smoked when we were over, and my mom did continue to help her every week until we had to move away. My mom never charged her anything, only asked she pay for any groceries paid for on her behalf.

My mom was big on helping at Christmas time. She would always find an acquaintance or co-worker that was having a particularly difficult year. Sometimes she would give gifts, sometimes decorations. Occasionally, if we were having a good year she would do both. I remember several years where I helped her pick presents for other little girls. One year she helped a Mexican family she worked with and provided much of their Christmas. They had moved to Iowa City not long before that holiday season and were caring for elderly extended family from Mexico. She provided them a whole array of inexpensive decorations and small gifts for kids and even bought them a turkey. My father was very upset with her because she had helped a Mexican family in such a large way. I have always respected her choice and it always bothered me that my father kept pointing out their race.

Help is help, and anyone struggling to get through life deserves help. Those barely getting by, need the boost of a little holiday cheer sometimes, and kind hearts make the world keep functioning. That is a lesson my father missed, because he would help anyone that was white, even druggies, but not a hard working Mexican family. Charity is not about skin color, but honoring someone’s journey as being more difficult than deserved, and making an attempt to help another’s life be just a bit better than yesterday. Everyone deserves that moment.

My mom was also a nurse that mostly worked in nursing homes. Mostly working evening and 3rd shifts, there were several times that my mom would have to take us to work with her and Dad would pick us up on his way home. Hindsight being what it is, I now wonder if those supposed long shifts were parts of his affairs with other women. Regardless, what I remember on those nights is how mom always got along well with her co-workers and was kind to residents. There was one nursing home I actually enjoyed going to because they had a resident cat. The cat had made friends with mom because she was the only one that was really kind to it. So, when us kids went, we were accepted by the cat as being friendly as well. It would hang out and let me pet it the entire time I was there. The same nursing home also had a huge fish tank, or what seemed huge to me, and I loved watching the fish. But really, I remember my mom rubbing backs and convincing people to take medicine because it was good for them. I remember her patiently explaining to people that she would help them as soon as possible.

Is it any wonder I have spent nearly 8 years working with elderly? Or that I get along with my mom far better than my father?

Despite working mostly nights when I was a kid, my mom still cooked and cleaned and took care of us children during the day. I remember when I was really little trying to pry her eyes open and asking her if she was ready to get up yet. She would just say “a little longer can you watch your shows please”. I would watch all the PBS shows including Bob Ross and another lady painter that did adorable little animal paintings. That’s where I got interested in art. When I would get bored with TV I would pretend. I would play family or school or tea party, or lay in sunbeams with my kitty and daydream that the dust flecks were fairies. My stuffed animals were great friends when my mom was resting from her work shift. Then around lunchtime she would spring into action, make me lunch and start cleaning, laundry and prepping for making dinner. As I got older she would let me help by showing me how to dust or make Kool-aid.

Then eventually I started school, being the youngest for many years, and she actually got a full amount of sleep.

I remember spending holiday time baking a whole array of tasty treats with mom. I ate far too many things right out of the oven, but it was just SOOOO tasty. The best part was knowing that many of her delicious treats were for others. Should would make goodie baskets for friends and co-workers, she would give breads and cookies to neighbors. She baked pies to help other families have good holiday dinners. And it wasn’t just at Christmas. When our zucchinis would ripen she would bake loaves and loaves and give away nearly half of them. At Easter she would bake cookies and muffins and give them away with chocolates. On her birthday she would always make two cakes, one for home and one for work. All year round she would cook goodies and half always went to other people. When I was in highschool a neighbor made pickles and she would trade goodies for pickles. They would combine their leftovers for other neighbors to get some of both.

When times were really tough for my mom in Utah she would drive across state line to buy butter by the car full. She would take the butter to her neighbors and sell it cheaper than the Utah taxed butter but more than she paid. When she wasn’t running butter she hauled manure, because one farmer would pay her to clean out animal stalls and another would pay her for the load as fertilizer for crops.

She made dolls and crocheted doll dresses by hand. She baked for profit and for fund raisers for school. She crocheted blankets for friends with babies and would give them as gifts whenever she could. She made clothes for us kids when she couldn’t afford to buy new ones.

I have always felt terrible because the year bullying started for me, she had made me some very pretty dresses for school. Yet, they were not dresses found in stores, so kids noticed. They teased me for not having store clothes and then I didn’t want to wear the dresses. I knew it hurt my mom’s feelings, but the kids were hurting my feelings. There was no good solution. It was the first time I struggled with a problem like that. I have always wanted to make up for it and felt I never could.

I love my mom and I really appreciate everything she did for us and especially for what she tried to do for us. I know she did her best to keep dad’s anger at bay and protect us when she couldn’t keep it away. I know she had more than a few ingenious moments that kept our family afloat when times were tough and she made dollars go far further than most people manage. She was strong and compassionate and caring on multiple levels. She put her kids first and God second, and was always doing her best to make our lives and the lives of those she knew better. She is a kind human being and that is exactly the kind of person this world needs more of. I aim to be like my mom as much as possible, and hope maybe one-day I’ll figure out a step even slightly better.

I love you mom.


May you always have a kind person in your life. May you see acts of kindness all around you and find ways to do them yourself. May you have loving caring parents and be successful in protecting your children from the hurts of the world. May you forgive yourself and others when hurts seem to multiply or affect those you want to show love. May you know your presence in the world is helping others to have a better experience. May you know you are leaving a positive mark on the world. May you know you are loved and safe.

Siva Hir Su

A Rant to Clear for Myself

I had a really feel good poem I wanted to write based on a dream last night. It will have to wait. I found myself very upset this morning and I need to clear my emotions to feel better again.

This morning I discovered that the sign I drew up for the clinic was completely different upon installation.

It was explained to me that the one chiropractor had dropped the ball and the other decided to take over and have his significant other redo it all together.

I wasn’t so upset because it was redone by his girlfriend, that’s typical thinking with your penis response to Get-R-Done mentality. Fastest solution, and bonus it’ll make my girl feel good. Whatever, boys will be boys.

What I was pissed over is that both chiropractors sat with me and answered a gaggle of questions that I asked to make sure it was a good readable sign that met the needs of the clinic as a whole. The chiro that took over apparently forgot or didn’t care that I had done that, because the finished sign is not only unreadable from any significant distance, but snubs some of the practitioners in the clinic. That is what pissed me off. Maybe that wasn’t the intent, but that is definitely what came across.

But hey I’m just a dumb massage therapist right?! Nevermind that I have 2 years of actual work experience in graphic design having done hundreds of business signs and tee-shirts both of which readability is a huge concern. I left graphic design, not because I wasn’t good at it and got fired. No, I left because wages were too low and during the summer I worked 60 to 70 hour weeks and winter would only be 25 to 30. It wasn’t a good combo.

Now I simply don’t know: maybe the GF is also a graphic artist, but by the looks of the finished sign she has never done design for signage. I would have checked on that, or at least remembered the conversation where I asked all the myriad of questions. If she hadn’t done signs he could simply have said to her “the other designer brought up these things as concerns, maybe we can do something to check and make sure they are accounted for”. That way his girl could still have gotten the ego boost and a decent sign still could have been accomplished. The sign that is now up would have been a mostly okay business card or letter head or website header, but not a full scale outdoor sign. As for the mostly, I will get into that more in a few.

First, the sign was originally a discussion as an addition to current signage to catch more attention from traffic. It was requested to have some color to gain attention. Originally, it was just going to be one sign and thus needed to match what was already in place. I offered to use the existing logo for the color pop, but pointed out that for cost reasons it would be best to turn it from gradient fill to flat color. Both chiro’s initially agreed.

Next, I can easily tweak any design I do, so if speed was a concern I could have had quick turn around. Additionally, once a decision to redo all the signage was made, that too would have been a quick adjustment- copy, paste, resize to fit, add or remove text as necessary. At that point congruency only needs accomplished between the current edit and resized versions, so if a new font had been desired that too was a quick adjustment. On the original most of my time was devoted to rebuilding the logo as 1 flat color, but shit happens, if you changed your mind just let me know. It simply feels like a bit of a slap in the face that my work and knowledge on the subject was completely disregarded and ignored.

So here is the gist of what the final sign looks like.

Obviously I left actual business info off.

Like I said, it’s a decent layout if the printed material is close to your face. But when your goal is supposedly to claim passing cars, you’ve completely failed. All of the fonts could have been larger and more bold, but especially the acupuncture line.

Here’s the deal, from years of experience and education I know how to tell if something is readable at a distance. The easiest would have been just ask me. But, you could have said “I’d really like to get in good with my girlfriend by letting her do this, do you have any tips?” I would have replied with the following. Put the text full screen on the computer, set your monitor brightness to the max to simulate a sunny day, then step back at least 10 feet and see if you can read it. If not, it’s not readable to passing cars. The further away you can get the better, because that would give a driving car more time to notice, read, and process the information. As it is, the installed sign is barely legible across the street.

Now, where I continue my upset is over the way the font size prioritizes the modalities. As a business owner and one that has dreams of having a clinic even better than this one, I see immediately how this sign snubs other practitioners. This version is saying I have the PhD, so I’m more important. However, you wouldn’t own a business with multiple practitioners if it didn’t benefit you. Every practitioner helps pay the bills and without them you would flounder, everything would be on your lonely PhD ass to pay for and keep open.

When you have multiple services, it is to catch a wide array of needs. So the person driving past with an aching back, but who might be wary of chiropractic, could still note massage therapy and schedule with the LMT’s. The guy that just talked to his sister in Maine who told him she was wary of acupuncture but tried it and it did wonders, would maybe see the sign and call and find out more info.

This sign is more akin to if Target did this:

Obviously that would be a huge costly error, underselling their other products. That is why Target and Walmart call themselves “super centers”.

AND I never put my two cents worth in on any other aspect. Like when I did the design I wondered if there was any intent for additional locations or franchises in the future. If there had been, a well placed colon would have done wonders, and enabled those kinds of thoughts and plans to be a potential reality. I also had thought about possibility of expansion and adding other services and had contemplated layout options for being able to easily add other modalities. I never said anything, just did what the consus request was.

So yeah, my business mind saw broader perspective, potentials, and ramifications of decisions being made. It is partly from my experience in design and collegiate training, and partly from my real world experience as a self-employed massage therapist. I could have done amazing things. I could have simply helped them avoid this costly fail. But when those with letters behind their name disregard anyone with less education it’s their own loss. At this point the clinic now has several upset staff members that don’t like confrontation, so the downside is knowing that if any of them suddenly have better offers the clinic could shrink quickly. I even had that thought myself, knowing my skills are not respected in the way I deserve, and that’s design or massage.

May you have better days and know your skills are honored and respected. May you see your work as mattering. May you know how to take good advice when it is available. May you know how to meet your desires without offending those around you. May you see the broader perspective in a variety of ways and sense the best decision for all elements. May you have less costly mistakes. May you honor those around you for their skills and knowledge regardless of how many years they spent in school. May you make good decisions in business so that you can work less and make more. May you know that God supports and guides you if you let it flow.

Siva Hir Su

Pretend Memory Lane

Nathan and I went to see the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” as our Christmas/Yule present to each other. It was my choice over Star Wars or Little Women.

Until my sinuses fully drain the pressure of them bumping up against the explosions of an action movie like Star Wars would be too much for my head. I will enjoy Star Wars much more when my sinuses are clear. Little Women just didn’t peak my interest, though since making our choice someone did say Little Women is an excellent movie as well, so perhaps another time.

Anyway, our choice movie was excellent and reminded me of many elements of my childhood. I was an avid watcher of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood when I was a kid. There were moments in my childhood, and really life as a whole, that watching this movie triggered in my memory lane.

Because of that, I decided that my children, especially my little Ian, needed to watch the show of my youth (even though I know he likes the new cartoon version). Maybe it would help to teach them how to manage emotions, since I still struggle to do so.

I found reruns on Amazon Prime and began watching them with the kids. We skipped over the black and white volume and started on volume 2 which were early color episodes. Mind you this is the most screen time I’ve had in ages.

The movie in the theatre had moments that left me in tears. The show had moments that left me simply in awe and wonder.

The second or third episode we watched, showed custom built electric cars from the 60’s. Nathan and I were both like: “Then why the hell did it take so long to actually get affordable electric cars?” With all the intelligent people in this world it is simply amazing to me that it took so many decades to get affordable, widely available, electric vehicles.

Anyway, the feeling I am struck with most is that my adult life and all my grand dreams seem to be a compilation of certain elements of my childhood. I’m partly in awe of the major delayed reaction, dreams yet to do anything but take up space in my mind, but also a feeling of wondering if there’s any hope for my children manifesting better. I was struck by a sense that maybe Mr. Fred McFeely Rogers might have also had the same feeling.

I’ve already written many times, about negatives in my current experience that are the result of watching my parents as child, and how I struggle to break patterns learned before I even began school. Yet, I have also discussed before, that many of my good qualities I owe to early learning, more absorbing, of parents behaviors.

Now, I find that after this new re-awareness of Mr Rogers, I have more elements surfacing. I couldn’t help but acknowledge that my 2 stuffies sitting on a shelf today is because of Mr Rogers. I also couldn’t help but acknowledge that my dreams of Atira hold quite a few qualities that Mr Rogers Pretend Neighborhood hold. Things as simple as: my acknowledgement that none of us are perfect, and we all get mad sometimes, are owed to Mr Rogers.

Mr Rogers has had a profound impact on my life, and the movie was helpful to me because it showed me how much the real man behind it all worked so diligently to manage his own self. It was somehow reassuring that my efforts to do the same may someday help others as well.

Yet, I am in awe how my dreams of Atira are slightly more updated versions of ideals that Mr Rogers reached for. He really wanted to make positive changes in this world, and now there are two generations of children that watched his show, all grown up and striving like mad to help pay it forward in real ways.

What was the missing element that would have helped us millions of idealistic dreamers create in reality what his Pretend Neighborhood taught us to cherish?

I don’t know if there is an answer. I do know the world is a better place because of Fred Rogers. I still have hope that I might find a way to create my Atira, if not in the highest ideal version found in my dreams, perhaps in some secondary level of approximation. I hope there are many more like me, out there striving to bring the love and acceptance of Fred Rogers into being in this world along with all his other ideals such as vegetarian diets and electric cars. Mr Rogers was a special gift to this world, may his legacy always be remembered.

https://images.app.goo.gl/6DV4WdmRAdEe7Aef8

I like you just as you are.

May you feel special, may you feel loved and accepted just as you are. May your ideals find a way to manifest in this world. May your Pretend Memory Lane lead you toward a grand life and a better world. May you see good things in your life and your experience. May you feel understood by others. May you feel supported and understand the ripple of your actions. May you be forgiving of yourself and your loved ones when they have humanly imperfect moments. May you easily find the special moments in life with those in your family and neighborhood.

Many Blessings, Siva Hir Su

Listen to: Until Heaven Stops the Rain by Wax Tailor