On Being Sad

Such a turn of events has occurred. I guess it is all a part of being human. How funny it was that I just posted yesterday about being happy. I am generally a very happy person – happy with myself, others, life, God, etc. Not so much at the present moment. I am devastated. I haven’t cried that hard in years. When my clients are upset about something and start to cry, I encourage them to do so. It is cleansing to cry, to vent, to let it out. Then, they can start fresh and try to clean the slate. I took my own advice this evening.

It appears that I have lost a close friend. That is like a death, and I am grieving the death. That is how I can cope – by thinking of it as a death. Another thing I tell my clients is to do what works for you. Well, in situations like this, that’s what works for me. If that person is no longer in my life, they have “died.”

I am meant to be alone. I have been trying to come to terms with it for the past couple of years. It really is better to just accept it, but it is difficult to accept that there is no one out there for you. It is definitely a vocation to be a single person. For the past 15 years, I consider myself to have been a single person. The only thing is, I cannot feel sorry for myself. I have to let it out like a flash flood and move on because I am a parent and I have to be responsible for everything, basically. That’s how I feel. I guess it’s just my own fault. Sometimes, I feel like I exist just to work and pay bills. Thankfully, my son is in my life. Without him, I’m not sure where I’d be, but I can guess. I live for my son.

And speaking of my son, he can definitely understand what it’s like to lose a friend. He has lost many throughout his young life already, by no fault of his own. Just a couple of weeks ago, he named and numbered for me all of his close friends that have moved away in his life. I actually didn’t realize the number was so high. It is definitely challenging to reach out and open up to people when all of your close friends move away. Therefore, one thing he has learned is to keep to himself. I don’t blame him.

Keeping to ourselves is a form of self-protection. As a counselor, I recognize that. It is a defense mechanism to protect ourselves from being hurt. I, on the other hand, am the person who keeps trying to reach out to others, and find myself being hurt in the process. Is it better to keep to myself? But then, I wouldn’t be me if I did that. I love people and get energized by people.

I am just good at pushing people away, I guess. My confidence and personality are very strong, and it appears that no one is able to handle that. I am no one’s enemy, only a friend. I will give my heart and my trust on a platter, only to see it all disappear before my very eyes, every time. In the end, I have to laugh it off because it is too painful to handle.

But, such is life – this is all part of the life process, right? I am a person who believes that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t exactly know what that reason is. Even so, perhaps a life of solitude is better than losing friends and being hurt. I don’t know what’s worse. Tomorrow is another day.

On Being Happy

I just wanted to make another post for today. This one is about being happy. One of my students last week asked me, “Ms. Babcock-Nice, why are you always so happy?” And, I responded to her that I love teaching and being there with she and the other students each day. What I also could have added, but tempered myself, was that I also love God, life, and myself. It was such a pleasure to receive her comment. I do my best to stay happy and realistic, and never just “put on” a happy face. In the past, there were times when I would do that, and it tends to just eat up your spirit. When you are unhappy, it is better to be honest about it rather than try to hide it, as I have discovered.

A long time ago in my younger years, I learned to be happy and love myself. Who better to be your own best friend than yourself? The world brings you down enough without beating yourself up about it. Why be miserable? Life is too short to be unhappy. Therefore, as I have gotten older, and through my training as a counselor, I learned that true happiness is within. I used to be a person who looked externally for happiness, such as seeking it in others or in material goods. Doing so only provides temporary happiness. Then, when it is gone, you’re just seeking more of it over again. This is good to recognize as early as possible, and is challenging to do when surrounded by (almost) all things you could want or ask for.

I have found that, growing up, I did not want for anything. There was always more than enough available to me, and I thought that was how I was supposed to live as an adult, as well. I tried to keep up with it all, but just ended up draining myself; it was not worth it. And, what I ended up learning was that all of these fancy, expensive things do not buy happiness; it is just a facade of happiness. Doing what you love, loving yourself, and starting afresh each day, allowing the stress to fall away in order to experience inner joy is very satisfying and rewarding.

Therefore, true happiness is, indeed, found within. This is also what I tell my students, and encourage them to find happiness within themselves. Sometimes we are missing things in our lives and our needs are not always met, however do not ever let anyone steal your joy or make you feel guilty for wanting to be happy! Human are actually biologically programmed to be positive and happy, and when we are not, the consequences can be severe and/or life-threatening. So, do your best to find your happiness within; you only live once.

Author’s Note: Funny that I just posted that yesterday and was devastated by something today. I haven’t cried that hard in years. Please pray for me. So sad right now. These things always hit when you least expect it.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc.

Ever since my son was a Cub Scout, the only way I have been able to have access to many of his scouting photos (all the way through scouting for more than a decade) is to be a Facebook member. Even typing that term, “Facebook member” makes me cringe, and there are reasons for that. Way back when my son was a little tyke, I was the scout mom who put up the fuss about privacy and security on Facebook for our children. Too many people wanted to just make packs or troops public groups so just anyone could see what was happening. To me, this invited the possibility of people who had no business being involved in pack or troop activities using the information for other than reputable purposes. In those “early” days of all parents except me being overly permissive of allowing anyone to access and/or follow pack or troop events on Facebook, I always ended up being the “bad guy” because I was the one who spoke out against it. In those times, therefore, I did not give permission for my son’s image to be used on any of those pack events that were posted on Facebook, simply for privacy and security. I still wonder to this day why everyone else was just so willing to go along. I felt it was just wrong and opened up the potential for issues. That other parents were not concerned was very discouraging.

As my son got older and joined a scout troop, the same issue cropped up again. Well, I thought, at least my son was older now and maybe I would not have to be as concerned about his privacy and security on Facebook. As a committee member of my son’s troop who, at one point, held two board positions simultaneously, I again presented my case for privacy and security on Facebook by insisting that the troop’s group be closed, or I would not vote for the troop to use a Facebook account. Ultimately, the troop created a closed group as opposed to a public group, and I drafted the waivers for parents to sign for their sons’ photos to be posted in the account. This was something very important to me and I fought for it, creating the waiver just like a legal document. Some may have thought it over the top, however protecting our kids is of utmost importance to me. Someone has to step up and do it, especially when others do not see the significance of it. Unfortunately, too many kids get hurt in situations that could have been prevented with better planning and foresight.

Therefore, way back when, I caved and joined Facebook, but with a twist. I disagree with the CEO’s norms and values used in Facebook, as well as the potential for using and exploiting certain information. Therefore, I do not use my real name, image, or birthdate on Facebook. This is just another way of resisting against the CEO’s intellectual theft employed in creating and establishing Facebook. Are you familiar with the process with which Facebook came about? Basically, it was to be used as a type of dating website among college students, specifically focused on only including women’s photos. And, then, all of the hacking into college databases and stealing others’ ideas to create Facebook should be enough to turn anyone’s stomach. If I was being “forced” to join Facebook simply to obtain access to photos of my son in scouting events, then I would do it on my own terms. To this day, I still do not use my real name, image, or birthdate on Facebook, again as a way of resisting what Facebook stands for.

Many years ago, I also joined Twitter, though over time, my participation in that venue has subsided to nothing. Recently, I actually cancelled my account because I no longer use it and after assessing my use of it, realized that it has been of little to no benefit to me. I remember years ago when Twitter was all the craze and I was very active on it, but then again, I had the time to be active on it. I actually wasted so much time on it – I wish I could get it back now!

Recently, another of my son’s scouting groups required an Instagram account in order to keep up with news, events, and photos. I signed up for Instagram, found it to be a waste, and promptly deactivated my account. I get the same information, though much more minimally, from Facebook. Again, if I am “forced” to already be a member of Facebook, then I was stay with it, but on my own terms.

That brings me to LinkedIn. I was so active on LinkedIn many years ago, acquiring 100s of contacts and following still 100s more influencers. Yes, I would occasionally reach out to other professionals for conversation, seeking advice, sharing information and knowledge, etc. However, over time, I have decreased my activity on LinkedIn since I am so busy with so many other things. I did establish and still maintain four groups on LinkedIn, though I do not keep up with them nearly as well as I should. Really, the only reason I am still active at all on LinkedIn is for those groups. As professionals, it is good to show career and other experience on LinkedIn, but I have to ask, how valuable is it, really, for others to know this information? Maybe in some venues or areas it is helpful, but not in all of them.

Lastly, I do keep two blogs and have maintained them for many years. One includes a lot of family ancestry and baking posts, and the other includes posts about lepidoptera. I have deleted dozens of posts from the more personal-related one over the years because I no longer believe it is helpful to have such information out there. I know others who maintain blogs, including various information in them, and I also know people who are involved very little on the Internet. While many long-lost relatives have contacted me about my blog about family ancestry, expressing their appreciation for the images and information, I have to wonder how good it is to put all of that out there. I have a lot of information that I would like to share, but there is no better venue in which to do that other than a personal blog or website. Then, I see just anybody copying my images and re-posting them on Pinterest or other sites, and that is what I have to accept – others using my photos and/or information without my permission. At any rate, I’m sure that one day, I will take it all down and will lose interest in keeping and maintaining all of it. But, for now, I will keep it going and make yet another post to my blog about some of the many media venues that capture people’s attention.

That reminds me, years ago, I set up a YouTube account to share videos of my son’s school events and performances with family out-of-state. I’m going to search for and delete that if it still exists because I haven’t used it for years. There are just too many accounts and too much to keep up with. It’s time to start downsizing; enough is enough.

Delicious Vietnamese Bread

Vietnamese Bread

Have you ever had Vietnamese bread? I never had any before today, and it is delicious! It tastes sweet and buttery, but is also very light. Thank you very much to my hair stylists, Chris and Kim in Snellville, for pampering me today, and for the Vietnamese bread!

I Love You, Dad: Bruce Babcock, 1943-2021

Bruce Babcock in August 2020 in Lilburn, Georgia

Bruce Everett Babcock, of Snellville, Georgia, and formerly of Gowanda and Collins, New York, died at his home in Snellville on February 19, 2021 due to natural causes. Babcock was born in Collins, New York on August 13, 1943 to Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock (Sprague) and Charles Albert Babcock. Babcock graduated from Gowanda High School and was married to Anna Krakowiak Babcock for nearly 55 years until her death in 2018. As an employee of the State of New York for 37 years, Babcock worked in different roles. He began as a mental health aide, and later worked as a fireman and stationary engineer at the Power House of the Gowanda Psychiatric Center. After the Center transitioned to a prison, he was employed as maintenance supervisor for the Gowanda and Collins Correctional Facilities until his retirement.

Chuck and Bruce Babcock, July 4, 1987 Parade, Gowanda, New York

Babcock enjoyed hobbies such as owning, restoring, and showing classic Ford Thunderbirds for many years. He was a member of the Buffalo Thunderbird Club for several decades, taking his black T-Bird to an international car show and being awarded third place. In Snellville, Babcock was a member of the Georgia Cool Cruisers car club, showing his restored Ford Ranger. Babcock was also skilled in carpentry, electricity, painting, welding, plumbing, and stained glass. He apprenticed and worked with Robert Peglowski and Sons of Collins, New York in carpentry for many years as a young man.

Babcock was a wonderful and generous family man who lived for his family, always doing more than what was necessary to help and support them in whatever ways possible. He was the rock of the family. He and Anna moved to Georgia in 2006 to live near their only grandchild, John Robert “Bobby” Nice, III. Babcock loved the outdoors, warm weather, Gaelic music, and NASCAR racing. He additionally enjoyed swimming, boating, landscaping, and Boy Scouts. Babcock loved animals, raising and showing guinea pigs and rabbits in his childhood, and spoiling his Yorkie poodle in later life. He was a merit badge counselor and supporter of Snellville Boy Scout Troop 548. He further enjoyed supporting Bobby in Boy Scouts for conservation and eagle scout projects, as well as Roman Catholic religious accomplishments. Babcock was the godfather and confirmation sponsor for Bobby’s Catholic sacraments.

Babcock is a former parishioner of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Gowanda, and most recently, of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Lilburn, Georgia. Raised a Quaker, he converted to Catholicism at marriage. Babcock was predeceased by his parents and had no siblings. He is survived by his daughter, Michele Babcock-Nice, of Snellville, Georgia and son, Charles “Chuck” Babcock of Gowanda, New York, as well as his grandson, Bobby, of Snellville, all of whom love him deeply and miss him dearly.

A memorial service was held for Babcock at St. John Neumann Church, and a burial service was held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Gowanda, New York, with arrangements by Wentland Funeral Home of North Collins, New York.

Holiday Sugar Cookies and Recipe

Holiday sugar cookies I made, December 2020

I hope everyone has had some time to relax and enjoy the holiday season. It has been nice to have a few days to spend with family and be grateful for our health, safety, and welfare.

My Great Grandmother Bertha’s Recipe for Sugar Cookies

During the holidays, I did some baking, including sugar cookies from my Great Grandmother Bertha’s recipe, which I’ve included here. Feel free to use and copy the recipe as you like.

More of my holiday sugar cookies, December 2020

Frosted and decorated with your favorite icing and candies, these cookies are so yum! You can also double the ingredients to make a double batch, and the cookies turn out great. Enjoy!

Florida in July!

 

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Me with my son at Camp Jackson Sawyer on Scout Key in the Florida Keys, July 9, 2020

I’ve been very busy with life 🙂 for the past couple of years, and haven’t made very many posts lately. However, I’d like to make this post about a trip my son and I took to Florida this summer.

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My son at Florida Sea Base, Islamorada, July 1, 2020

It was great to get away to Florida for a few days! Of course, it was very nerve-wracking to go in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but we did it.

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View of Miami from Biscayne National Park, July 8, 2020

My son spent many days at Sea Base in the Florida Keys with his Order of the Arrow honor society through Boy Scouts of America.

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My son and Florida panther statue, Everglades National Park, Homestead, Florida, June 2020

It was an experience that we planned on prior to the coronavirus pandemic, and we were still deciding whether or not to go even in the days prior to the trip.

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Key West lighthouse, July 2, 2020

Ultimately, we decided to go and be as safe as possible while wearing our masks, neck gaiters, and cotton gloves as much as possible.

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Royal Poinciana tree with beautiful orange flowers, Key Largo, Florida, July 6, 2020

In my hotels in South Florida and Key West, I also used Lysol to wipe down all of the high-touch areas, including on each occasion after housekeeping came through to clean and tidy up.

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Lizard at Florida Sea Base, July 2, 2020

I’m so thankful and relieved that we could go, have a good time, AND stay safe and healthy, avoiding COVID-19!

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Butterfly at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, July 2, 2020

I must say that I’ve never been to Florida in the incredible heat of July, so this was a first!

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Rhinoceros lizard at The Alligator Farm, Homestead, Florida, June 2020

It was so incredibly hot in South Florida, especially with the Saharan dust blanketing the atmosphere, warming it up like an oven. I knew it would be hot, and it was definitely sizzling!

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Parrot at Theater of the Sea wildlife facility in Islamorada, July 6, 2020

Unfortunately, the beaches were closed from Thursday through Monday for Independence Day weekend due to the Florida governor trying to limit the coronavirus spread, so that put a damper on beach plans.

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Palm tree with coconuts growing, Bayfront Park, Homestead, Florida, July 8, 2020

However, it was necessary. Coronavirus infections continue to rise and break records in Florida. I eventually got to the beach and got my fill of the sun – within one hour! That was plenty for me. 🙂

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Crab at Biscayne National Park, Homestead, Florida, July 8, 2020

In all, it surely was so nice to get away for awhile!

Making Another Holiday Cake

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A better Christmas cake than last week! December 31, 2018

I’m getting better at decorating these holiday cakes, now. Instead of trying to frost half green and half red, I just decided to frost all red, and make a green Christmas tree, outlined with cinnamon drops.

Happy Holidays Lights

It really looks much better than my previous one!

Making Frosted Christmas Sugar Cookies

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Some of my Frosted Christmas Sugar Cookies, December 27, 2018

I’m at it again – baking for most of the day today! It’s the holiday season, and I really would like my family and friends to enjoy some of my goodies.

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Some more Christmas Cookies, December 27, 2018

Today, I baked two batches of sugar cookies – from my great grandmother’s recipe. They are absolutely delicious, and even better when they’re frosted!

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Cookies cooling after taking them out of the oven, December 27, 2018

Only two of the larger gingerbread man-style cut-outs broke in half, so I did really well keeping everything whole. And, I definitely worked up a sweat more than once today, but the end product is all worth it!

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A tray of cookies after being baked, December 27, 2018

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!