Day in, day out. Every day is the same. Wake up, look out the window, see the snow, drink some coffee.
This weather is getting to everyone it seems. Even children are sick of being outside in it, tired of being home from school. Some of them will be going to school in the summer. Moms are running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained. Some of them are ready to pull their own hair out, stuck indoors with yelling kids and a house that never quite makes it to ‘clean’.
And then there is the majority of people. Men and women unable to get to work. Weather makes it impossible to get there. Weather makes it impossible to work in the elements. School closings make it impossible to find child care.
Weather plays such a huge part in our lives. There may be little money coming in, but the bills keep coming too, needing to be paid. We need heat. We need food. We need tuition, insurance, gas and cars. Luckily we can band together and get through this. But what of others?
With every report of foul weather, be it ice, snow, rain, or wind, my heart clenches for those out there who go paycheck to paycheck. Those who have no paycheck coming in. Those who have landlords, repo companies, debt collectors unwilling or unable to cut them some slack.
My days are all the same.
For some folks, their days will never be the same.
I am trying to be more positive in my everyday life. I have plenty of reason to be that way. Great husband, great kids and wonderful grandkids.
I am still struggling with my smoking. While I don’t smoke nearly as much as I used to, I am still smuggling them here and there. Part of the new me will continue to fight. But more than just trying to quit, I am reaching into my brain to learn about myself. More on that later.
I am still struggling with my weight and eating habits. Healthier food choices are around the house. More fruits and vegetables are coming into the house and I am experimenting with different ways of cooking/flavoring old favorites. More than just trying these things, I am reaching into my brain once again.
Why am making the choices that are taking me into difficult directions?
I am becoming more aware that much of it is boredom. If I am not actively jumping around with Logan or cleaning the house, I am attached to something. Laptop, phone, or kindle, it matters not. I am scrolling the news sites, playing a game or two, or laughing with friends. In an effort to cut back on this, I am back to my needlepoint. I MUST keep my hands busy.
“For Satan always finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” ~ Isaac Watts
Ah, yes. Those proverbial ‘idle hands’…
Not tapping on a keyboard, or a screen. ..not touching the needlepoint while I watch tv…not stuffing my face with chips or popcorn while reading… all bring about the cravings. Food? Chips? No. I’m not hungry. I don’t know what it is, but my psyche is itchy.
And so I smoke.
Or else I don’t.
Instead I realize that I want a smoke as a replacement for the food. I hold out against the smoke and feel proud of myself for resisting. But I still want….something.
So I reach for the chips,
It is a circle of cravings, resistance, pride, indulgence, despair, cravings…..
I won’t let it get me down. Realization is the biggest part of the struggle. Now the next step will be finding the balance that will help the cravings without indulgence or despair.
Nothing says ‘New Year’ quite like the abundance of weight loss commercials. They assault us as we vegetate in front of the television, soft drinks and chips in hand. They shout at us, ” NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!” We are made to feel worthless by the ads that try to brainwash us into believing that we can shed pounds quickly with just a little pill, a special powder, a body squeezer, etc.
I recently came across a group of random photos. Why they were grouped together, I have no idea. Included among these pictures was a small time capsule of my life.
I was holding my oldest son as a toddler. My joy shone from my eyes. But I distinctly remember seeing that picture at the time and thinking that I needed to shed a few of those baby pounds. I remember feeling like a failure when I couldn’t fit into my size 6 jeans and was forced to size up to an 8.
I was at a wedding. The dress I wore did me no favors. Ruffles and patterns were a distraction to the eye. I remember that Hubs hated that dress. I remember buying it, knowing it was in style. My girlfriend urged me to get one that was just a bit shorter and less patterned but I was stubborn. As I was at the wedding, I knew they were both right and I was uncomfortable.
Son2′s prom. I was standing beside my tall, dark and handsome son beaming with pride. I had on a blouse with stripes. Ugh. They pointed out how wide my waist was and how big my chest was.
Holly’s graduation. A sleeveless dress. God, my upper arms are flabby!
I put down the pictures. There was a thought niggling at the back of my mind. I didn’t know what it was. The more I tried to pull it forward, the more elusive it became. I folded laundry and went back to the pictures.
The thought crashed into my consciousness.
No matter how my weight rose, the body shape was still the same.
In high school, I had no waist. I had an “athletic build”. After the kids were born, no waist. I had “baby fat”. I needed to tone up those abdominal muscles. As I approached middle age, I had no waist. I was “unfit” because I didn’t exercise.
Were all of these things true? To some extent, they were. Now I look at these pictures and think that I would give a million dollars to be that small again. I would switch things around a bit. I would show more cleavage then and less now. I would be more revealing in a bathing suit and less now. The difference?
I now know that I was MADE this way. I will NEVER have a clearly defined waist. I will always be built like a box with legs. That is my BODY TYPE. With age comes wisdom. Sure, I will try to lose weight, but for health reasons, not vanity. I will dress better. ( I hope!) But because I am paying more attention to what is right for ME, not what society dictates is ‘fashion’.
Very few things can bring the world together. A large portion of world is joined as they watch athletes compete in the Olympics or World Cup. Another large portion joins together when there is a horrific tragedy, such as tsunami or earthquake. Yet another gathers when a celebrity dies, such as Michael Jackson or Princess Diana.
Today, I joined the largest of all gatherings. I watched the announcement of our new Pope. Of course, Catholics watched. This is the leader of our religion-not simply a pastor, or bishop-but the leader of our religion world-wide. Others watched too. Some watched because it was on every major news outlet, twitter, facebook, etc and there was no escaping it. Many others watched out of curiosity. Very few elections are held in such secrecy. Very few occasions cause people to run from their homes in order to hear a name announced. Whatever the reason, BILLIONS watched from all over the globe.
I am Catholic. I am one of those who have become disillusioned by the politics, the scandal and cries of poverty that come seemingly every week. I still pray and try to be a good person. I consider my relationship with God to be personal, just between Him and me. But still have hope that someday, I can bring myself to enter a Church without cringing with hypocrisy.
As I watched the announcement of our new Pope, I was filled with hope. As I waited, I imagined him in the Room of Tears, crying with the crushing weight of the responsibility placed on his shoulders. I prayed for God to give him the strength to do what is right for us and power to explain his choices to us. I prayed for God to give him guidance as he steps down this new path of his life.
The announcement of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy has given me hope. Just by choosing to be called “Pope Francis” he is breaking with tradition. He is the first Jesuit, the first ‘Francis’, the first non-European. I am hoping he will be merciful in his dealings with gay issues, allow more participation by women, and wield a heavy hand on those involved in molestation.
This is a new chapter in Catholicism waiting to be written.
What do they all have in common? They are things on my ‘to-do’ list for the day. Each of these things can be accomplished in 20 minutes or less. And yet- and yet I can’t get my ass moving. I poured a cup of coffee and went to the living room. Running through the list in my head, I started to prioritize. I could put my roast in the crock pot by noon at the latest. I could wipe down the bathroom after my shower. Hmm…I don’t want the washer running while I’m in the shower, so that has to wait. Ugh. Now I need another coffee.
So I gathered up yesterday’s newspaper, and sorted through the coupons and found all the best ones in my coupon wallet had expired. This means I have to sort all of them. I did. Then I fed the dogs. I went to the sink to fill the water dish, and decided to do a load of dishes. First I had to put the already clean ones away. Whoa. The pot from last night’s mac and cheese needs to soak. Time for another coffee.
I brown the roast for dinner and throw it in the crock pot. It only took 5 minutes. Jeez, all this bullshit and I’ve gotten nothing but dinner off my list!
The pharmacy calls to let me know my scripts are ready. Which ones did they fill? Hmm…let me look in the bedside drawer…So that’s where my lint brush was! And look! There’s a photo of me and Hubs at a friend’s wedding. Don’t I have an empty frame? Sure I do! I should frame this before I forget. Damn, this table is dusty, and since dusting is on my list…..
The washer is done, so I switch out the machines and decide to hop in the shower real quick before running the washer. I go upstairs and see that I left a mess next to the bed table. Gah! Lemme put this away. Empty chapstick? I should get rid of that. Maybe while I’m at it, I’ll lose the lipsticks and glosses I don’t use. Then I find a nail polish I’ve been looking for forever. I hope it hasn’t gotten thick. I put some on. It’s good! Let me put on a coat while I finish another cup of coffee. First let me turn the washer back on….
Now I have wet nails and can’t take a shower. I fiddle on Facebook, play some Words With Friends and….SHIT! Is that a truck in the driveway??
Yes, Hubs is home. Why so early? I look at the clock and I’m shocked to see that it is 4 already. I am still in my pajamas, my pits stink, and my hair is greasy. There is a cold cup of coffee beside me and there is still a pile of crap in front of the bed table which sits beside the unmade bed.
“Don’t even ask. You caught me doing nothing.”
He walked past the bedroom to his office, glancing in and shaking his head.
Why am I so exhausted? I finally throw everything back in the drawer, jump into the shower and finally wipe out the sink and the shower walls. I take the towels to the basement and switch out the machines again.
As I climb the basement stairs, I realize that I’ve finished everything on my list. It could have been done in two hours, three tops. And yet, it has taken me all day.
After a night of rigorous physical “activity” on Friday, I awoke on Saturday barely able to move. Oh my back hurt! I’ve gotten to the point in which I can tell if it is “over used” or simply “out of whack”. This was the latter, and I tried rolling my spine on the exercise ball as well as other things to help manipulate it back into place. Nothing worked. I sat all day Saturday, barely moving, watching tv from my recliner. And finally, around 5:00 , I gave in and took a vicodin-my last one. Going back to the recliner, I bent to comfort Mordecai (who is currently missing Holly). POP! All better. Just like that. You have no idea how frustrating it is not to know exactly how that happens!! But I had taken the vike for nothing. Boo.
Anyway, my phone rings and it’s my younger brother. This isn’t unusual. He uses us for business, sometimes a babysitter, or just to say hi. He asks how I am and what I’m doing. “Oh, I’m just sitting here playing a game and just chilling. My back hurt for most of the day.” Then he said some wonderful words….
“I called to see if you wanted to see Soundgarden with me tonight.”
“Hell yeah!” “Great, I’ll see you in about half an hour.”
I pulled myself together in record time and managed to annoy Hubs in the process. “You sat all day in pain and suddenly your brother calls and like magic, you can move!” It almost felt that way. I promised to be careful, not to dance too much, not to drink too much and come right home -just like I did with my dad years ago!
Dan was already fired up. He admitted that I was the third phone call but I didn’t give a shit. My son and I had both been disappointed when we learned the show had been sold out. Now I was going.
OMG! It was a fantastic show. Chris Cornell hit every high note without fail. He went onstage at 8:30 and never stopped for two solid hours. It was a great mix of the new singles with a generous portion of his older ones. We sang along, danced and had a helluva great time.
This particular brother and I are the eldest and youngest of my parents’ kids and we have never gone out to do something like this. The fact that we bonded over a concert was awesome. He didn’t know that I could be fun and I didn’t know he even heard half of the songs.
“Chris, I’m so glad you came out with me tonight. I had such a great time. The next time something like this goes on, I’m calling you first.”
Sounds good to me. We are already making plans for the next night out!!
Once upon a time, I wished that my family would eat healthier. Oh to go back to such a kinder, gentler world.
Holly has always loved fruits and veggies. Salads are her friend. A fruit of any sort was always something she chose over cake and candy. Rob….well, Rob has never been a fan. Even as an infant, he immediately gagged on all vegetables and this followed him into adulthood. Only recently has he come to eat an occasional salad, mashed potatoes, or corn. He will grab fruit when the mood strikes him. This was a change I was overjoyed to see.
Now Hubs? Green beans and corn. That’s it. Or at least it had been until his heart attack. Now he has no choice but to add these things to his diet. Now, there is fruit in the house. Oranges and apples abound. He will grab lettuce (notice, I didn’t call it a ‘salad’) It’s been hard to keep him away from ranch dressing, but we found one that is heart friendly. Now, if he wants red meat, we bribe him with V8 juice. He doesn’t like this, but if he wants a steak, he gets the extra veggies. Now, he is really thinking about whether or not that roast beef is worth it.
These days, we have turkey. A LOT of turkey. Hubs will not eat fish unless it is square and covered in breading. Chicken likewise should be breaded and preferably fried. This is not allowed and until I find a way to cook it in a way that he likes them, we will have turkey at all times in the house. We tried turkey meatballs. As they cooked, all I could think of was ‘wet dog’. Holly came out of her room and asked, “Who the hell is cooking dog meat??” Rob was too hungry to care and said he would give it a go if only to support Hubs’ efforts. The family voted unanimously to banish this creation from our home for eternity.
Tonight, while grocery shopping, Hubs picked up a package of Italian turkey sausage. I don’t have high hopes for this, but being such a good wife, I will cook this for him. We have bought oatmeal fruit bars. He is allowed 35 lightly salted peanuts. (This amount is just enough to satisfy his salty/crunchy craving) For me, 35 is a mouthful. For him, it is a luxury to be eaten one peanut at a time.
Gotta love my kids, though. They have been great sports about trying the change in foods. They wait until Hubs leaves the room before telling me whether they liked it or not. If they can’t stand the idea of eating with us, they manage to go out with friends or wait until we eat before looking for frozen pizza or chicken tenders.
Just before writing this, I had a toasted blueberry bagel with some cream cheese. Not actually good for me, but hey, it’s what I wanted. And there I was, a fifty year old grown-ass woman trying to keep the aroma from travelling down the hall to the bedroom where Hubs was watching tv. It brought back memories of trying to sneak a smoke in my bedroom as a teenager. I enjoyed every fucking bite, don’t get me wrong. I just felt like I was eating forbidden fruit. I’m not on a restricted diet, but just knowing that he is struggling so hard, makes it seem like cheating on him.
Well, I was the one who wanted to have more fruits and vegetables around. I was the one who wanted to try new ways of cooking for my family. I was the one who wanted things to be different.
Now my wish has been granted. Is it good or bad? My brain says “Yes! Of course it’s a good thing!”
Sunday, I gathered with cousins for an impromptu dinner at Marty’s house. My sister and I drove together following a route given by mapquest. All went exceedingly well for that ride, even though she wasn’t happy with the bridge or cattle chutes along the way.
We followed the directions with no problem and made it to a neighborhood that, well, would not have been out of place on any dramatic series involving a wealthy family. We were a bit nervous, not seeing cars in the driveway. Apparently we were the first to arrive and the family’s cars were in their garage. I offered to knock at the door to see if we had the right place, and was confronted with an intercom. Holy shit. This had to be wrong!
My cousin’s wife answered the door and I’m sure my mouth dropped open. This was a huge house with a grand piano in the music room which was across the hall from the formal dining room. The french doors opened into a large comfortable family room and a granite and steel kitchen area which was surrounded by stools for casual munching. Beside that was a breakfast area with floor to ceiling glass windows. Jesus! All I could think was that my house could fit into this area and it wasn’t even half of the house already!! From the windows I could see an upper deck where they could use their gas grill. The lower deck surrounded the pool area and beyond that was the batting cage. YES, a batting cage!
When my cousin entered the room, the comfort level returned…for a bit. He showed my sister and I around the rest of the house and we were stunned by what a party palace this was. The basement was the entire length of the house, carpeted wall-to-wall and complete with a pool table, foosball table, shuffleboard, darts and air hockey table all within viewing distance from the full bar. (It turns out lots of the furnishings and entertaining pieces were left by the previous owners who were divorcing and downsizing)
My cousin chatted with us, offering us drinks and it felt like we’d never been apart. He’s my age and we’d been fairly close as kids. My sister needed to use the powder room and I took the opportunity to ask him where the hell the money came from. Turns out, when his parents passed, he made good investments. His business is doing well, but still, he is in debt to his eyeballs. They don’t entertain. His daughter is away at college and his son will be there soon as well. Seven bedrooms and only him and his wife. It’s overkill. Such a waste of resources!
The rest of the family arrived and we enjoyed the visit. I was impressed that he has become quite the host. This was his party, not hers. He did the food, the drink, the planning. He did the cleaning up and serving. It was awesome. Until….my mom starting shooting me disapproving glances when I used the word “freakin’” in place of “fuckin’”. I was urged to use a glass in place of a can or bottle of beer. Another cousin scolded me for making a crude joke-not aimed at anyone, just overheard. Now I was uncomfortable. So was my sister. We have become the klassy kousins. The others are not wealthy, they just pretend they are. I remember when some of them ate dirt in the backyard! I remember when we shared hand-me-downs. I’ve seen them falling down, throwing up drunk. The people in front of me had a stick up their ass and looked around to see if their spouses were watching them.
Later, alone with Marty, I noticed a sadness in his eyes. I asked what was up and he told me. The debt is an issue between him and his wife. This house was her choice and he was pressured by his in-laws to make her happy. He worries all the time. Business is good but it stresses him. Surrounded by all the “opulence” he longs for hotdogs and mac and cheese, not organic foods with fancy names.
On the outside, it looks like he has it all.
I’ll keep drinking my beer in my skeeter filled backyard. I’ll cook in my 5′ x 10′ kitchen.
I had a migraine last night. Rather than fight it, I took a tylenolPM, put on my jammies and crawled into bed at 8pm. Tuesday ended while I slept and I awoke to a beautiful Wednesday twelve hours later. Hot coffee and quiet time. Laundry running and Style network full of my guilty pleasures-How Do I Look?, Jerseylicious, and Supernanny. Just before I wanted to get in the shower, Babygirl wanted to go for a walk, so we leashed up the doggies and took a nice walk to Dunkin’ Donuts. I came home a bit sweaty and started dinner.
I had wanted to make beef stew in the crock pot, but since it was already afternoon, I figured I’d make it on the stovetop. I simply wanted to cook the carrots a little before adding everything else. And so, they merrily simmered….and simmered. Hubs came home early and we had a brief conversation. Babygirl was leaving for a baseball game and work and I said goodbye. I prepared to get into the shower…..again. Then I remembered the carrots.
The water had boiled away and the carrots were now fried. Hubs was still in the office and didn’t notice. I got rid of the burnt ones and cut up new ones. It was no big deal. I stalled until they boiled and then shut them off. Now I had nothing to worry about.
I got into the shower and just enjoyed it. I stayed under the spray longer than usual, shaving my legs and feeling the heat on my back. It was glorious!
Cleaned and refreshed, I went into the kitchen to finally finish the stew. Onions, beef, potatoes all went into the pot. It smelled great already. Hubs and I sat in the living room to relax for a bit.
Before I knew it, my boys came in the door. Son2 was running right out to the MLS All-Star Game. But Son1 was here too. Apparently he was looking for jumper cables because the work truck seemed to be slowing down. Hubs went looking down the basement for the cables only to find…..
The basement had flooded.
Due to the roots in the line from trees and bushes, we have the plumber come out every now and then to clear the line. It’s that time again. Any laundry that had been sorted and waiting washing, was now soaking in two inches of water. The laundry I ran this morning? Yeah, that water. The long shower I took? That water too. The shower that Son1 was currently taking? Yup, that water too. Oh yeah, I think one or two of us may have used the toilet today too.
Hubs plunged out the line as best he could. It began draining again. The sump pump kicked on and sucked the water down. The dehumidifier came on to do its job. All I had to do was sweep some of the water toward the floor drain. I rolled up my pants and began.
Slowly, but surely, the water went away. I stepped backwards to push a pile of whites away from the flow of water and my foot began to slide….
I tried to brace myself with the broom…and continued to slide…
OMG! I’m falling into a split!!!!!
I started to laugh at the absurdity. I couldn’t stop. Instead of taking the hurt, I fell backward on my ass and kept right on laughing.
Now, with my ass soaked to the skin, I got up, went upstairs and changed. Before heading back to the basement, I noticed how yummy it smelled. My stomach growled and I realized that I hadn’t eaten today. Mmm….stew….
The basement finally clean, clothes running once more in the washer, Son2 gone to the game and Son1 on his way home, I went to check my stew.
I had been distracted for too long. The stew had dried and begun to burn.
The wonderful smell of stew lingered tantalizingly. The potatoes? Overboiled and mushy. The beef? Somewhat seared. Carrots? Brown.
I sighed deeply. Hubs scooped some stew up and began to eat it. “If I don’t like it, I’ll just throw it out.” he said. Just like that. And eat it, he did. Was he simply too tired and hungry to care? I think so.
I reached into the cabinet for my own dish, and noticed a pain. I turned and almost stepped on my dog. I noticed another pain. After a once over of all my body parts, I discovered a swollen and jammed thumb, slightly tweaked back, shoulder pain and a possibly bruised butt.
I still need to go food shopping tonight. I hope I manage to get it done before the worst of the aches start! In spite of it all, without sarcasm, I can still say,
After two long weeks, the doctor’s office finally called about the CAT scan results. The verdict is…..ALL CLEAR. This is awesome, of course, but it still doesn’t answer the question of why my memory is like shit. A friend suggested an EEG…(is that the one that measures brain waves? Well the brain wave thingy is the one that was mentioned.) I guess we play hurry up and wait some more. In the meantime, there is this:
Logan was just Christened this past weekend. I found myself staring at my kids. One is now the father of this wonderful child. The other two are the Godparents. When did they all grow up into such handsome men and beautiful young woman? They clean up nicely, I must say! Logan arrived at the Church with a basketball jersey and shorts on. His parents and I went into the ‘baby room’ to dress him. I got him into the shirt/vest/ tie combo and when I turned him around to face me, I got teary eyed. (Shut up. Yes I did!) He no longer looked like an eight month old. He looked like a little man. I looked at my son, who was watching us and as his eyes filled, he warned me “If YOU cry, I will too, so stop!!”)
The ceremony was kind of different from the other Christenings I have been to. There was no mass involved, for one thing. The other was that this particular priest was “paparazzi-friendly”. At important parts of the ceremony, he would say, “If anyone would like pictures or to see better, come on up!” You bet your bippy I wanted to! I can’t go anywhere without my camera!
During the sermon on the meaning of Baptism, Logan got tired. He hadn’t napped and had already been passed around more than a cold. He got grumpy and fidgety and his two upper teeth were trying very hard to cut through his gums. He managed to hang with us until his favorite part….water on his head! He loves the water and was excited once the water hit his head. Then he wondered why it stopped. He began to sing and dance a little with his cousin JoJo who was standing near him.
After singing for about ten minutes, he fell asleep…sound asleep. He never even woke up when he was laid upon the altar at the end of the ceremony! I managed to get one of the best photos of my life:
After his much needed nap, he was ready to party, and that is exactly what he did. He greeted all of his guests with a huge smile, he laughed and danced and played. And so did I.