Many Thanks To The Red Cross

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf published in the Albert Lea Tribune the week of August 13, 2017

It is comforting to know when there is a disaster such as a fire or a stormsprinkle-life1 in your community, fire departments, police departments and ambulance crews, as well as ordinary citizens, step up to help and save lives.

The Wellington Estates Apartments in Wells caught fire the morning of Aug. 5. I live a block from the fire station and heard the sirens, but as the hour passed I heard sirens that weren’t familiar to me. Checking out the situation I found crews from seven neighboring communities that came to help. Luckily no one was hurt, but many families were displaced from their homes.

The Red Cross was on the scene immediately helping out with vouchers for places to stay and other things needed to help the residents.

I was surprised on Wednesday afternoon when my doorbell rang. I didn’t recognize the people at the door. I was skeptical and careful as I answered, not sure what to expect. It was a woman from the Red Cross inquiring about smoke detectors in my home.

With so many scammers knocking on doors these days I was hesitant to answer any questions, but seeing the credentials hanging around the worker’s neck and looking at the paper she handed me, I knew she was a Red Cross worker.

She told me she and two other workers were checking on homes and installing smoke detectors if they were needed. I asked the cost and she said there was no cost. I almost turned the Red Cross workers away because I knew I could afford to put in my own smoke detectors. There was one problem with that — I had two smoke detectors that broke months ago and we hadn’t replaced them. We talked about it and vowed we would do it soon but put it on our list of to-dos that never gets done. I couldn’t remember the last time we checked the batteries, and I knew the working smoke detectors were years old.

I asked if I let them put the smoke detectors in if I could make a donation. They told me I could, but they weren’t the ones to take the donation. They left the information if I did want to contribute to the Red Cross.

My husband was surprised when he came home to new smoke detectors. The fire at Wellington Estates reminded all of us who live in our community that fires break out at unexpected times and we all should have a plan. The Red Cross volunteers when visiting my home also went over tips and a workable plan.

I didn’t know about the Red Cross program called Sound The Alarm, Save A Life. According to redcross.org, volunteers will install 100,000 free smoke alarms nationwide. They work with fire departments and local groups visiting homes, replacing batteries in existing alarms and installing new ones, and providing fire prevention and safety education during their visit.

I am thankful they chose to stop by my home because we had put off replacing our alarms. They also pointed out we did not have a carbon monoxide detector.

If you are interested in this program, or if you want to donate or volunteer to the Sound The Alarm, Save a Life Campaign visit redcross.org for links and information. And if you are interested in helping the Wellington Estates residents with donations, there is a fund set up at Wells Federal Bank in Wells called the Wellington Relief Fund or call Pastor Mary Iverson at 507-553-3513 or Open Doors Church office at 507-553-5453.

Is It True? Do Blondes Really Have More Fun?

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf published in the Albert Lea Tribune the week of August 6, 2017

File Aug 07, 1 45 29 PMI know they say blondes have more fun. Having been a blonde most of my life, I do agree there is a fun component. I was born with snow white hair which morphed into sunshine blonde and in later years a darker blond sprinkled here and there with gray strands. I am not one to color my hair because it seems too much work to keep it up.

About 15 years ago I took a daring leap and became a redhead for a few weeks along with chopping off my hair into a pixie cut. I loved it, but I got so much grief from my family I let it go back to my natural color and grew it out.

My hair has had many transformations over the years from semi-short, long to layered and curly to straight. I get bored with my hair and on a whim I visit a salon, any salon I am near when the moment hits, and have them do something to it — meaning cut or chop but not color. I have a hard time making appointments ahead of time because I am so spur-of-the-moment with my hair. When I can’t stand it anymore, I want it changed and I want it changed right now.

I have favorite hairdressers, but they aren’t the spur-of-the-moment kind of women because they are talented and their appointment calendar is usually full. Three of them live right here in my hometown, and another one lives and works in Mankato. They all work wonders on hair but they haven’t fit into my spur-of-the-moment tantrums.

I must have grown up a little and made it out of the “I want it cut now” because I made an appointment with the hairdresser that cut and colored my hair many years ago. I decided I liked the pictures from 15 years ago. I must admit I was scared and almost changed my mind about chopping off my hair. After all, it takes forever to grow back. And the color — well, I downloaded an app and tried colors, finally deciding I would match my grandson Jake, and my daughter Katie, with a reddish color as I did many years ago.

It was with trepidation I watched the cut. I couldn’t believe it when I said, “I think we should go a little shorter with the bangs and top.” Thank goodness for Pinterest because my cell phone came loaded with pictures of cuts I like, but having fine, thin hair I wasn’t sure it would work.

We debated on the color. If I were honest, if I were braver, I would have added some purple to the gold copper. I didn’t quite have enough courage to go that far — maybe next time.

Who would think at my age I would be nervous at such a change. I loved it, but I was a little scared about the reaction I might receive. My husband raised his eyebrows and wanted to know why I didn’t go darker red. Boris and Natasha stared at me and weren’t sure who I was. I didn’t think cats noticed faces but I could be wrong. I finally posted my picture on my Facebook page, and the reaction seems to be acceptance.

I was in need of a change. A color and cut might seem like a small thing to most people, but it was my upbringing holding me back. It was beliefs I didn’t know I had, keeping me all of these years from changing my natural hair color. In my childhood years it was scandalous to color your hair. I remember people talking about a few women that did color their hair back in the ’50s and those whispers must have stuck in my brain. Although I always loved other women when they colored their hair, I still hold those beliefs unknowingly in my brain. There was something wrong with me if I wanted my hair to be a different color.

Now I feel free from that silly, kept-undercover-belief. I find it strange things affect us and we do not realize some of the choices we make are unspoken criticisms from the past.

I know I could have added the purple. It wouldn’t have mattered what others said. I am my own person with my own tastes and those who are truly in my corner won’t care about the decisions I make about my looks. They accept me as I am. At my age, I have earned the right, as it says in the poem by Jenny Joseph, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple.” I am not sure she was talking about hair but does it matter?

One might say coloring your hair isn’t accepting yourself as you are. But it is if you want red hair, purple hair for the fun of it or want to break out of the usual rut and feel alive in your skin. It is if that is who you are inside but have kept it hidden, trying to conform to what others think you should be. It isn’t accepting yourself if you think changing your looks will make you more accepted, more like others and are trying to fulfill something inside of you to fill a deep hole that doesn’t let you accept yourself.

Someone who is comfortable with who they are will pull that from inside of themselves and show the world that person. I am not sure I am there yet, but life is a journey and it should be fun trying to let go of expectations, not just mine but others in my old age.

Like Mikey from the commercial said, “Try it, you might like it.”

Yes, I Watch The Bachelorette!

Since this column is about this n’ that I am going to let you in on a few of my viewing secrets this week.

Yes, I watch the Bachelorette and I have to tell you I don’t know why I got hooked on the Bachelor and Bachelorette series. At first, I think it was out of boredom and curiosity. I didn’t understand why any woman or any man would think they could find a life long partner on a show such as this. My other thoughts wandered around as to why any woman would want to put herself in this position especially when it came to the Bachelor. I deduced it is the writer in me liking to study human behavior. These shows do seem to be addicting.

This week watching Rachel Lindsay choose hometown dates I was hit with the fact I am color blind in most instances. The moment happened when she asked one of her dates what his parents would think of him bringing home a black woman. I was shocked. I have long ceased seeing Rachel as a black woman. I see her as a beautiful independent and smart woman, but I haven’t seen color in spite of the hype.

My reaction was, “That’s right, I forgot there is still an issue of color with some people and I forgot Rachel was black. It was a shocking moment for me to realize I had made that transition somewhere in my life. It wasn’t always that way.

I wasn’t prejudiced, I just had never had any interaction with any other race except for mine growing up because I lived in a white community in rural Minnesota. I was curious.

There was a big hype about Rachel being the first black Bachelorette. The show has been deeply criticized for having all white Bachelors and Bachelorettes so far. I wish we would quit seeing race and see people in this country. It would be a better place for our children to grow up.

But back to the reason, the Bachelorette is on television. We still want to believe in love. Love seems to have fallen down the drain with divorce being more common than wedding anniversaries. Is it possible to find real love during a television season?

Arranged marriages were not uncommon in the earlier days of our country and in foreign countries. Some of them worked very well. Maybe parents did know something back in those days when they chose a spouse for their child.

On June 13, 1998, David Weinlick married Elizabeth Runze at the Mall of America in Minnesota. I remember this well since I live in Minnesota and remember thinking this was a crazy way to get married. Weinlick had told his friends he would get married on June 13, 1998, but the problem was he didn’t have a bride. So his friends ran a campaign to find him a qualified bride. His friends, after interviews of 28 people and in depth thought picked Elizabeth. David and Elizabeth got married after only a five-minute conversation the previous Monday. In 2008 and they were still together and had three children. This is according to the Today Show.  They still have a lasting marriage and I think one more child came along but David is now struggling with cancer. David Weinlick  I don’t know his status as of this posting. The point is this arranged marriage lasted through thick and thin.

So will the Bachelorette’s choice bring her a life-long marriage? We all know marriage is hard. We laugh, we rejoice, we struggle and we want to quit on occasion but commitment pulls people through. Remember the vows for better, for worse.

Some Bachelor Nation couples have made it through the hype and publicity and have remained married. Maybe the franchise has something we didn’t know or didn’t remember. Maybe the parents in the “olden days” knew something and we thought it was a silly and stupid and our strong wills tossed it aside. It takes more than sex and a few kisses for a lifelong commitment.

Who will Rachel choose? Maybe we should let the parents decide. That could be another reality show for ABC. And we should put blinders on the parents so they don’t see color just personality. What do you think ABC? Is it time to branch out to “Let The Parents Decide?”