Author Archives: karenrsanderson
You may be wondering why I’ve not been blogging much.
In August, I quit my full-time job at Minot State University so I could go to school full time at Minot State University/Lake Region State College. I’ll graduate in May, 2019, with an AAS in American Sign Language and Interpreting Studies.
I don’t know what I’m doing after that – and I’m not worrying about it now. I do have my sub teacher’s license, so that’s a fall-back thing.
I have also been enormously involved in local and national politics for the last two years and that takes up a lot of my time as well. I’m making signs, organizing, campaigning, and demonstrating. I’m feeling a little Norma Rae!
I’ll be back … eventually. I’m not letting go of the blog, but I’m giving it a rest.
So, for now …
We get emails and texts and messages all day long. Every day. Day after day.
But how often do you get a handwritten note in the mail? Can you even remember the last time you got a handwritten note? Do you remember how it made you feel?
Handwriting personal notes and letters is becoming a lost art, though some people (and some corporate CEOs) recognize the value.
I was raised on pen and paper; if we got a check from Aunt Peg for a birthday, we wrote a thank you note, and if we received a letter from Aunt Ginny, we wrote back.
With the advent of computers, social networking, and iPhones, we have lost the emotional connection of a handwritten note.
As soon as a machine is introduced into the equation, the personal touch is lost. We have machines that make furniture, instead of a wood-worker creating a legacy that lasts centuries. We have machines that die-cut knives, instead of a blacksmith forging a sword. We have a computer that displays words on a screen, instead of a person picking up a pen.
Arnie Fertig, for U. S. News & World Report, suggests a handwritten thank you after a job interview. I’ve done this – I got the job. Coincidence?
Regina Lewis for U. S. A. Today says that handwritten notes in business are refreshingly personal.
Douglas Conant was the CEO for Campbell Soup for ten years and sent 30,000 handwritten notes to employees and clients. When severely injured in a car accident, he received thousands of handwritten best wishes. He and his wife both said that all these notes helped him heal.
Is there a downside to handwritten notes? Yeah…I can appreciate the flip side of this coin.
To handwrite a note, you have to buy the card (or like I do, create my own), find a good pen, find a surface to write on, write, address the envelope, and find a stamp. Oh, the misery of it!
For decades now we’ve had computers at our disposal, most people have one at work, most people have them at home. Computers are always at our fingertips. For a handful of years, most of us have had a tiny computer in a pocket, available on our person. The smart phone. It’s so easy to swipe, type, send.
Janice Kaplan, author of The Gratitude Diaries interviewed dozens of executives and many said they say thank you with a paycheck. Kaplan said “You don’t say thank you with a paycheck. You say I’m paying you with a paycheck. You say thank you with a Thank You.”
There are numerous companies that have machines that duplicate handwriting. You can order handwritten notes, made by a machine. How oxymoronic is that?
Sadly, we are reminded of birthdays and anniversaries via FB. We see important news on Snapchat or Instagram. We can “like” or “love” with a poke.
Handwritten notes have emotion, memories, and personal thought. On the NBC Nightly News, Jane Derenowski said, “The drawings, handwriting, poems, and postmarks took me back to exactly the time, place, and person they were from.” You cannot invoke those feelings and images with an email or a text.
I look at old letters and notes, and and I see that person, where they live, what we shared, the laughter, the pain, the friendship, the love.
I have seen people in offices tack up a note or card from a loved one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone tack up an email.
The Encyclopedia Britannica claims that handwriting is determined with a great emphasis on personality and that handwriting it almost as individual as fingerprints. Your handwriting represents you as an individual.
I like creating handwritten cards. I feel good writing them, I feel good sending them – knowing that the person on the other end will be pleased when he/she rips open that envelope, flips the card open, reads the handwritten words. I have heard from people that received my cards (some send an email, some a FB message, some even send back a handwritten card!), and the comments are always positive.
Do you have an event coming up, an engagement, a graduation, a new school year? Has someone in another department done you a great favor? Did your spouse or partner cook dinner all this week because you were sick? Or would you simply like to reconnect with someone you care about?
I ask you to write a note, now – to your spouse or partner, to your son or daughter, to your mom or dad, to a respected workmate or someone in another department who recently did you a favor.
And I’d like to know what the response is.
_ _ _ _ _
Have you sent a handwritten note lately? What was the response? Do you think you should re-introduce handwritten notes into your correspondence?
I picked up new boots in Maine in ‘76
Clean leather and heavy braided laces
And we trudged all over New England and
traipsed her wilderness and her rocky coast.
Through mighty pine forests
and through trickling streams and to
Then we moved back to Delaware and we
made our way along the beaches and boardwalks.
Tromped in old family coal mines and anthracite tunnels.
We labored on an immense horse farm in Pennsylvania,
through dung and fields avoiding pitchforks and clomping hooves.
Trekked through the southwest desert,
rock climbing through the grandest canyons.
When came the flood in North Dakota,
I said, “Save those boots!”
Since, they have hung around
while we walked through more snow and sleet and ice than I ever could have imagined.
And they accompany me on
visits to my grandchildren.
Now, these boots are scraped and cracked
and are losing their tread.
But these old boots have been places.
* * *
And they are gonna take me through the March For Our Lives
event on Saturday, March 24, come snow or high water.
Elizabeth’s “Favorite Things” Journal
Elizabeth and I met years ago, via LinkedIn. We exchanged greetings, shared some feelings, shared our love of family, writing and blogging, nature. And the friendship grew.
For years, we corresponded via emails and Facebook, we partnered on a little blog sharing, etc. We enjoyed numerous phone calls. And the friendship grew.
We encouraged each other, nagged each other occasionally, counseled each other. We celebrated our accomplishments, lamented our troubles.
Years and years of correspondence, about a thousand emails, dozens of telephone conversations…
Sharkies Conference in Delaware
We progressed to the point that in 2016, we met for a writers’ conference at my brother and sis-in-law’s house in Newark, Delaware. This was the first time Elizabeth and I met each other face to face, and we were immediately comfortable.
When I decided to create my poetry collection, Elizabeth worked with me to make this collection beautiful and ready for publication. Without her, my No Boundaries poetry collection would not have made it to fruition.
Later, Elizabeth invited me to her writers’ conference at Shrine Mont in Virginia. And I knew I HAD to go.
This conference was a re-affirming of our friendship, and it touched me deeply. A culminating event was walking the labyrinth at Shrine Mont with Elizabeth and other new friends, met at the conference.
A special gift
I met Alyssa and Dan Sharbono (Couple of Artists) at an event at Minot State University in North Dakota. They make custom, recycled-material journals, and I knew that this is what I needed to get for Elizabeth. She’s a journal-writing junkie, and I could customize a journal with the help of Alyssa and Dan. What a perfect partnership!
While talking to Alyssa about what this journal meant to me and what it would mean to Elizabeth, I teared up a few times. Alyssa understood how special this gift would be. I selected several of my own personal photos and screen shots, and with Alyssa’s help, created a most beautiful journal for my special friend.
In the journal, I included…
- A pic of a few of us at the Sharkies conference in Delaware (with my goofy brother photo-bombing)
- The Shrine Mont labyrinth from our retreat weekend
- A vintage photo of a country doctor (a nod to Elizabeth’s country-doctor husband John)
- A photo of me at a covered bridge that Elizabeth took on the way home from Shrine Mont
- Elizabeth’s Heartspoken blog banner (shamelessly copied from her site)
The front cover of our custom journal is a photo of Elizabeth and John’s house – I had to ask Elizabeth for that photo with instructions to “just send it, it’s for a special surprise.”
The back cover is a vintage map of Elizabeth’s beloved Shenandoah Valley.
When I sent the journal, I enclosed a few thoughts…
Please take a moment to read Elizabeth’s companion piece
about this special journal at Heartspoken.com.
Do you need an awesome diary or journal?
Do you need a special journal for a special someone? Click on these links for Couple of Artists –
Facebook page for their gallery/studio space, 62 Doors Gallery and Studios –
Quoted from Elizabeth’s partner blog –
Share your favorite gift or favorite things
A gift can be special for a million different reasons, and your list of favorite things is likely to be entirely different from mine. But I’d love to hear about any memorable gifts you’ve received and why they’ve touched your heart. And I’d also love to hear about your favorite things on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Just use the hashtag #FavoriteThings and #Heartspoken.
See this link also – Gretchen Rubin Happier Podcast
***** ***** *****
What’s the most special, most memorable gift you ever received?
with Karen Magill
I try to maintain a certain weight (145-150) and any time I see myself inching over 150, I tighten my belt…pun intended.
After having lost about 25 pounds many years ago, I don’t want to have to put myself through that again. I figure it’s easier to lose a few pounds than try to lose 25…or more.
Marching band diet
I take pride in the fact that my typical weight now is just 10 pounds over my high school weight. I was 135 in high school, but that was with drilling every dang day in marching band.
Currently, some of my friends and acquaintances are trying to undermine my resolve. I’m nearly at the point where I’m considering avoiding certain social situations just so I don’t have to face these saboteurs.
Karen Magill has heard these comments –
- Its what’s on the inside that counts
- You aren’t that heavy
- Enjoy life, eat that ____________
- You’re over fifty, you are supposed to be heavier
- You can’t look like you did when you were in your twenties
- I worked so hard to make….
- You only live once
These are all sabotages (whether you realize it or not) to whatever us dieters are turning down at the time. If a person hears this a few times a day, the resolve starts to crack.
- If a friend tells you she is dieting, don’t wave a plate of brownies under her nose.
- If a friend tells you she is cutting back, don’t say “oh, just one won’t hurt you” or other dismissals.
- If a friend tells you she is trying to lose a few, don’t suggest the everything-fried buffet for lunch.
- And for the love of all that is holy, can somebody please bring a fruit tray to work once in a while?
Support the dieting friend. Offer alternatives, like the nice place with the salad bar. Don’t wave cake, brownies, cookies, or donuts under her nose. Have a healthy recipe exchange. Offer to take a walk at break time. Don’t taunt or tease your dieting friend!
I live alone, so this problem I don’t have – if someone in your live-in family says he/she is cutting back, support them. Agree to keep the junk food out of the house. Support him or her in their choices and try new, healthier foods. And hey, you might lose a few yourself.
Here are some links I found helpful about saboteurs.
From Spark People http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=371
From U. S. News
Have YOU been a saboteur?
Note – Charlie is 12 y.o. I have conducted the entirety of these interviews through and with the approval of his grandmother, his guardian, through her email.
Interview with Charlie
You were called a ____Girl______ (girl/boy) at birth.
When did you decide your assigned gender was not correct?
Honestly, kind of my whole life, but I really knew when I was about 7 or 8.
What did you do? How did you act? Give me a little background about the “processing” of your thoughts and feelings.
I sort of always knew I was male. Calling me a girl is like calling a wolf a cat.
Parents typically assign toys, clothes, and such for the gender they think you are. How has that changed? What hasn’t changed?
It’s not really a change, they usually got me girly toys but I never played with them. I always stole my uncle’s toys (we grew up together) and played with those instead.
What do you enjoy, and what do you do for fun?
Writing, playing guitar, listening to music, jogging, reading manga and watching anime (I’m an otaku). (Editor’s note – a style of Japanese film and television animation)
Did you change your style of dress? Your habits?
I never really dressed like a girl except for the times my dad or mom made me. And my habits were never that of a girl’s.
Did you talk to your parents, relatives, friends?
Yeah, I talked to my mom and my grandma first. I always tried to tell my dad that I wanted to be a boy, but he just said I didn’t know what I wanted.
Was that a hard thing to do, talk to people about it?
Not really, my mom and grandma always saw me dress like a boy and act like one, so weren’t too shocked when I told them.
How did people react to your decision? Give me a couple of examples.
Like I said, my mom and grandma weren’t too shocked but they were still surprised. And I don’t blame them. My dad never listened to me and said that I didn’t know what I wanted.
Have you decided to change your gender … in dress alone? All the way, with surgery?
Absolutely, I want nothing more than to get on testosterone and get the surgery as soon as I can.
How far along are you in your transition?
I’m (hopefully) getting on testosterone next week and I’m super excited so I wouldn’t say I’m extremely far along but I’m at least almost halfway there. (Editor’s note – Charlie has started testosterone)
How do you deal with the derisions and jokes, teasing and bullying?
I usually don’t let it get to me. Those people are just trying to get me to stoop down to their level because they’re too bored with their own lives. But if it gets too bad, I’ll sic my grandma on them.
What is the best thing that ever happened to you – regarding your transition – with a word of support from a family member or friend?
Probably my grandma doing all of the things she’s doing just to get me on testosterone. I’m extremely lucky to have her.
What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you – regarding your transition – bad words spoken to you by horrible people or stuff people said to you, those who just don’t understand or refuse to accept you?
Nothing too bad yet except for all of times my dad didn’t listen to me and made me constantly wear dresses.
What advice would you give to others who think they might need to transition?
I’d say “Go for it, be yourself. If that’s what you really want then you do it, and don’t let the stupid bigots of the world bring you down.”
I have interviewed a few other trans people. One said something like, it’s not what the haters say but what your friends and family say that hurt the most. What do you have to say about that?
It’s probably true, I’ve never had it that bad except for all the times my dad argued with me over it.
As a straight woman, I want to know, what can we do to advocate for transgender without looking or acting like butt-heads?
Get some LGBT people on your team, and as long as you are not insulting people of the LGBT community, the smart people should take no offense.
You are very young, Charlie. How can you be sure this is what you want?
I’ve known pretty much my whole life, I’ve had 12 whole years to change my mind and nothing’s changed. I’ve never been more sure of anything in my whole life.
Resources provided by the Darcy Jeda Corbett Foundation. www.mytransitionpartner.com
US Resources, by state: