my daughter's close encounter & some 911 advice

My Kaitlin girl.
Yesterday we called 911 and got some interesting advice from the responding police officer. Something I hadn't heard before, which is why I'm writing this post.

But first, let me tell you why we called 911. My thirteen year old daughter, Kaitlin, was walking along a street in our neighborhood when a man (she guessed early 20s) tried to pick her up. She had seen him pass by her earlier, and now he had doubled around and was stopped at the stop sign she was crossing in front of.

"You're cute," he called out to her from his car window. "How old are you?" She told him he didn't need to know.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"Home," she lied as she pointed to a nearby house hoping that he'd stop talking to her if he thought her parents were close by.

"Do you want a ride?"

Even though she refused his offer, he was insistent that he could give her a ride to where she was going. Several times he tried to convince her to let him give her a ride and each time she refused. Fortunately a truck pulled up behind him and he had to move on, but not before he told her to meet him at the park.

She was pretty shook up about it all night.

When she told me what happened, it occurred to me that we should report it. And then I thought it was probably just a young guy who was having some fun flirting with a pretty girl he thought was older than she really is. Because, let's face it, she looks older than thirteen and she's a cutie patootie.

But still.

His behavior was not okay. Especially when she said no and he kept insisting he give her a ride. Kaitlin was scared by it! All night long she was shaking. And it could have been something more sinister than just flirting. You never know. There are crazies out there.

We reported it.

After giving details to the 911 dispatch, an officer came to our house and listened to her story. When she was done he said that she didn't do anything wrong and that she was right to report it even if it was some stupid guy just having some misguided fun. Bottom line: if she felt threatened, she should report it.

"Don't ever be afraid to call 911 if you feel threatened," he said.

And then he recommended something interesting. Something I had never heard before. He told her that if it ever happens again and she has her phone with her, she should call 911 and act like she's calling her mom.

He said the conversation would go something like this:

     Dispatcher: "911 dispatch, what's your emergency?"

     Kaitlin: "Hi mom!"

     Dispatcher: "Are you aware that you just called 911 dispatch?"

     Kaitlin: "Yep, mom. I am."

At which point the dispatcher will know that she's not able to talk freely and will begin asking her questions which she could answer as if talking to her mom, yet still communicate what the dispatcher needs to know.

Hopefully the threatening person will have gone away, dissuaded by her phone call to her "mom." But whether the threat is still there or not, the 911 call will be immediate - not after she's gotten home, called both her parents and told them the whole story, and after deliberations whether to call or not, because by that time the offending person is long gone.

Instead, if she calls 911 while it's happening, the dispatcher can send a squad car to the area immediately. The offending person will still be in the area and the chances of them being found are greater.

Of course if a phone is not available - and even when it is - drawing people's attention to you is always a good idea. Yell loudly, make a scene. Tell the guy to get lost. Be rude. Get people to notice your distress. Anyone with bad intentions will not want the attention and will leave.

In any case, I thought that the officer's advice on the 911 call to dispatch and talking like it's a call to mom was interesting. I'd never heard that before, but it makes sense. I thought I would share.

Have you had any close encounters? Any helpful tips for these types of situations? I'd love to know your stories.




And because I always enjoy a good laugh, here's a few funny 911 calls, not to be confused with the serious 911 calls mentioned above.


snapshots & thoughts

I've been silent for a little bit because I needed to take a break.

But Kaitlin said she missed these bloggy photo updates
So I decided to revive it.


I last posted just before Memorial Day weekend, 
which was the weekend in which John had a science assignment to care for a little baby duck.
He had to take care of it every hour of every day for two days.

Here he is teaching his duck, Yeet, to play Clash of Clans.
Yah, yah Yeet, yah!

On Memorial Day the kids and I (and by "kids" I mean three human children and one duck child)
had a picnic at Oxbow Park and went for a little hike/waddle.

(If you really want to see something cute, you'll have to check out my Instavideo of Yeet,
which I couldn't figure out how to imbed into this post.)


Over the last couple months I've been spending a lot of time at ball fields...

...watching Sarah play softball...

...watching John play baseball (that's him, sliding safely into home)...

...and having pistachios for dinner.

// bonus feature: //

At the ballfield you must have seeds or some other shelled thing to snack on. It's kind of an unwritten rule. So I bring pistachios. One of the Legion baseball players has dubbed our family The Fancy Snackers because of it. When we get up to leave after the game, our seats are the only place with pistachio shells instead of sunflower or peanut shells scattered around them. 

The thing is, I don't like eating sunflower seeds - it's too much work. Besides, spitting. And I don't like eating peanuts in the shells - I once had a rancid peanut and it ruined my enjoyment of the entire peanut shelling experience. But I do love me some pistachios - ever since I was a teenager and had some pistachio ice cream at the Eiscafe in Kandern, Germany. 

The Eiscafe was just down the road from my high school, so we would often walk there after school on hot days to get a cool treat. A favorite was their spaghetti ice cream, which looked like spaghetti but tasted like vanilla ice cream topped with strawberry sauce and white chocolate shavings.

Years after I graduated from Black Forest Academy, I was able to bring both John (in 2008) and Kaitlin (in 2009) to the Eiscafe in Kandern to share that special place and treat with them.

And that is the roundabout story of how I came to like pistachios and how I associate them with some good memories.

// end bonus feature //


After seeing some Zentangle art in my instafeed,
I've been trying my hand at it.
It's pretty relaxing.

I need relaxing because I got a lot going on right now.


One day while standing in my friend's kitchen before work I fainted!
So I listened to my body, took the day off, got some rest and read a book.


My cousin was in a fatal car accident.
He was hit head-on by a car going the wrong way on the interstate.
Tragic anytime, but it happened fourteen days before his wedding.
I was expecting to meet his bride at the wedding, instead I met his fiance at the funeral.

We never know what the next day will bring.

It reminds me of what James, Jesus' brother, wrote to the Jews dispersed abroad:

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.' 
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. 
You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 
Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills we will live and also do this or that.'"


Here we are, my little brother and little sister and me.
Cray-zee to think we are, like, grown up adults now.
 Sometimes I wonder how I got this big when I feel so little.
(BTW I think my sister looks gorgeous in this photo.)


And then Kaitlin found this photo of my brother and me from way back when.

Time marches on.

Speaking of that, we celebrated John's 16th birthday in June.

I can't believe my little boy is so big.
(Okay, he's not really that big, I crouched down for the photo. But he really is taller than me.)


Since I am not with my kids all the time now, I cherish the time I do have.
Not that I didn't before, but now I feel so much more desperate for the time I have with them.


Me and my girls...

...getting our nails did...

... at the weekly summer street fair, Thursdays on First...

... and bombing Kaitlin's selfies.


I've so appreciated the encouragement I've gotten from friends during this time.
I'm learning that I don't need to feel alone or be alone.
Even people I've never met except for through this bloggy blog have encouraged me by dropping me a note, saying that God has put me on their hearts.
That blows my mind. Blesses me beyond words.
Thank you.


I watched the Home Run Derby with John.
And Twitter.
This is what spending time with my son looks like these days.
When the wifi went out at my house I had a very unhappy boy.


I'm not sure how I survived my childhood without the internet.
Or a VHS DVD Blu Ray player.
Or more than three channels on TV.
Or computers.
Or phones that act like computers and cameras and road atlases.


Riding home from one of Sarah's softball games I was in awe of the sky 
and the clouds reflecting the sunset.
"The sky is so beautiful I just want to reach out and touch it," I said. 
Sarah laughed at me. We both laughed at my enthusiasm.

And I thought fairy tales end with riding into the sunset, 
but sometimes riding away from the sunset is beautiful too.


I went for a walk with Kaitlin and these hot air balloons flew right over us.
They were going pretty fast so we ran across the street to get a picture without cars in it.
My breath caught a little bit when I saw the beauty of the reflection in the river.


And here we are, present day.
I got to work this morning and realized that I still had my slippers on.
I'm taking casual Friday to a whole 'nother level.


I'm linking up these snapshots and thoughts with @jeannettg for her InstaFriday post.


my last week in review for a while

it's been a hard several weeks

i'm going to take a break from posting any posts here
for I don't know how long

it's been hard to just relax

it's been hard to be brave

in the middle of it, john and i worked in the preschool class at church on sunday
the little boys climb all over him when he's there
just like john climbed all over the college baseball players 
when he was in preschool
what goes around comes around

in the middle of it, kaitlin had a volleyball tournament
she played great
despite all that was going on
so proud of her
i have to live with myself
i can't get away from me
even though i try
and if i need to live with myself
i better start taking care of myself
even if it's hard
because coping is 
even harder

had to do some packing
not the fun kind
not anticipating a fun journey ahead

i am on a journey
to i don't know where or what or how

a journey to health, hopefully

at the end of the day
the end of some dreams
the end of coping
a new beginning


my week in review: 5/9-15//2014

Sharing my Instagram photos and the stories behind them.

Baseball season (aka. crazy family schedule) continues.
I'm totally okay with the crazy schedule. It's the way it is.

Just don't complain about what's for dinner.
Or what time we eat it.

And also don't leave milk in your cereal bowl.
Especially organic milk. Ugh!
This particular morning there was so much left that I could fill a glass.
Which is what I did. Along with the note.
I hope they got the message.

I posted this on Mother's Day.
It's my mom holding me.
I love her.
So glad she's my mommy.

I'm so glad I get to my my kids' mommy.
They're the best.
Even if they pour too much milk.

This week for my Brene Brown course we talked about the importance of play.
Wholehearted people laugh and dance and sing.
So we had to make a playlist of songs that fit the categories she gave us.

Rise Up Song(s)
 Every time I hear these two songs, my soul soars.
Born to Fly by Sara Evans 
 I'll Fly Away by Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch

Dance Song(s)
If I had to narrow it down to just one dance song for a playlist, I'd have to choose
YMCA by Village People 
because who doesn't get up to do the YMCA motions when that song comes on?
But I didn't narrow it down to just one song because this song
Thriller by Michael Jackson
gets me going every time I hear it (ask my kids). 
Also, because of this scene from 13 Going On 30.

Sing Along Song
I just like singing along to All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow
because, really, all I wanna do is have some fun.
And I have a feeling I'm not the only one.

Tough Times Song
Everytime I hear Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae 
it makes me feel better.
"Just relax, just relax," she tells me. "You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow."

Feisty Song
Brene said this one is supposed to be a "kick ass" song.
I'm not sure that I really identify with a kick ass song.
But when I heard Mama's Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert for the first time, 
I sure did like it. And I felt kinda feisty.

I downloaded the songs that I didn't already have and have been listening to this playlist all week.
I'm feeling more wholehearted already.

I'm @annebickle linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged


my week in review: 5/2-8//2014

my week in Instas and the stories behind them.

These two girls. I love em.

McKenna pretty much stays at our house each time there's a volleyball tournament. She calls me mom. I call her Honey. They helped me get ready for Sarah's birthday party on Friday. I gave them some ribbon and told them to have at the light, to make it festive.

They did good.

If you blow up 24 balloons for a birthday party and have them laying around, a balloon fight will break out. If the party involves 10 year old girls there will be much high pitched screaming. I know this from experience.

On Saturday we had a pizza party for the volleyball team. Then we had these 4 girls spend the night. I had to promise their moms that I'd make them go to bed so they wouldn't be tired for bracket play the next day.

Kaitlin is serving up the last points of the winning match.

First place in their division!

Maybe sleepovers at the Bickle house is what clinched it? Or the pancakes and bacon they had for breakfast?

I mean, in addition to the excellent volleyball skills of the girls, of course.

I guess they really loved their trophy.

So Monday was Cinco de Mayo. And I'm not Mexican, but I appreciate a good Margarita. I also appreciate putting a smile on a friend's face. So when my friend suggested we have a Margarita on Cinco de Mayo, I came prepared with sombreros and moustaches.

I brought Kaitlin with me so that she could watch the four boys while we had some girl time. Kaitlin bathed the two younger ones who'd been playing in the mud and then fed them and kept them (mostly) away from us while we visited on the deck. Such a huge ministry she had to my friend that day.

Here's a great quote that I got from my #olcbrenecourse this week:

For our assignment this week we had to think about what our strengths and accompanying weaknesses are and journal them. Brene referred to them as our "superpowers" and our "kryptonite."

A smile faster than a speeding bullet!
Microsoft Office skills more powerful than a locomotive!
Able to leap tall piles of laundry in a single bound!
It's SuperAnne!

I kinda struggled over this one and had to consult my family about what they thought my superpowers are.

And if those are my superpowers, here's my accompanying kryptonite:

I am so tenderhearted that I am easily broken hearted.
I am so even keeled that I am hard to read, therefore often misunderstood.
I am so flexible that I sometimes don't have a backbone.
I am creative, but I have way too many projects going on that are not finished.
I am easy to talk with, but I am not good at developing deep relationships.
I am genuine. Sometimes I'm not sure how good that is, but it is what it is, genuine.

I'm @annebickle, linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged


my week(s) in review: 4/18-5/1//2014

Sarah turned 10 on the 19th. My youngest is in double digits!

We woke her up with a birthday breakfast. A tradition.

And told her about the day she was born. Another tradition.

Then we watched baseball.

John (at bat) played in the 9th grade game and the JV game. We watched him for a few innings of each game, but the birthday girl wasn't really wanting to spend her birthday at the ball field.

She and I headed to the mall to have some birthday shopping mother daughter time.

Then we had a Mystery Meal for her birthday dinner, which was her request.

Me and my ten year old girl.

I've gotten behind in my Brene Brown course assignments. Here's one though. I had to make this sign and post it somewhere I would see it. Because being creative is really important to living wholeheartedly.

Brene said something that I thought was pretty interesting (and I'm paraphrasing):

We are all creative beings. It's just that some people use their creativity and some don't. And if you don't use your creativity, you will become frustrated because you are a creative being. So make time to be creative.

After work on Friday I sat outside. I SAT OUTSIDE! It was so monumentous that I had to Instagram it. I lasted about three minutes. It looked nice, but it was still a little chilly.

I watched baseball games on Saturday. It was windy and cold! I felt like the Unibomber with my hoodie and sunglasses.

Three baseball games, btw! I really ought to win some sort of an award.

I rarely get to watch JD coach the varsity players who I hear so much about, so I wanted to watch the varsity game. Then John played in both the JV game and the 9th grade games, so of course I had to play in those.

During the JV game, after John made a good play at shortstop and a great throw to get the runner out at first, one of the parents in the stands said, "who IS that kid?" and I was all like, "he's MY kid!!!!" (Except I said that silently in my head because I don't like to draw attention to myself.)

I made a Frosty run. A friend of mine is alone with four boys ages 3-9, trying to keep her house "show-ready" until they sell it. (Her husband is in Ohio, having already started his new job.) One day I got a text from her that said she wanted a Frosty. On top of everything else she has going on, she had a migraine and strep throat. I went and got her a Frosty. Because that's what friends do.

When JD got the job here in Rochester, I was alone with the kids in Kansas City until our house there sold. I know it's tough.

JD asked me to write down the ingredients for the laundry soap so that he could buy them and make it because we were out. He tried to make it, but I couldn't bear to watch him struggle with grating the soap, so I finished it up.

We had to laugh. When I first said I wanted to make our laundry soap, he rolled his eyes and humored me. Now he's willing to buy the ingredients and make it! We've come a long way, baby.

I'm @annebickle on Instagram. Linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged


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