Thursday, October 5, 2017

I’m Going To Vomit

Now that my kids are older and can manage their own activities and I no longer have to worry about meeting them at the front door after a busy school day with a sandwich and a glass of milk, I have loads of free time to neglect housework find a job day drink get together with friends. So when a friend asked if I wanted to meet her and another friend in the city, I said Yes ma’am, the world is our oyster, and will there be food involved.

We decided to meet at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, aka the Mütter Museum. If you’re not from the Philadelphia area you may not have heard about it, despite the gross-out and horror movie-level reputation of its contents.

You see, kids, the Mütter is a medical museum that houses all sorts of biological pathologies, from the largest skeleton to The Soap Lady to a huge colon filled with 40 pounds of feces. The term “wet specimen” is used heavily here. There are brains and tumors and amputated toes in jars, oh my.

Slices of Einstein’s brain. Dessicated hands and feet. Real and fake shrunken heads, with DIY instructions. A wall of realistic wax models of all the bad things that can happen to an eyeball. We’re talking eye-dripping-with-pus after eye-with-a-piece-of-metal-stuck-in-it after eye-being-pushed-out-of-the-socket-from-a-tumor here, people. It’s revolting, yet hilarious, and not just because both of my eyeballs are presently intact.

You see, I am not a medical professional, nor do I have aspirations of being one. Also, I learned that day, nor do I possess even the smallest level of sensitivity to displays of graphic medical abnormalities.

Nor do my friends, evidently, because we gaped, gagged, giggled and guffawed our way through the Mütter amidst serious med students and people on dates and quite possibly others who were just trying to keep from hurling.

This place is Capital G Gross.

It is also fun, we discovered as we perused the wall of skeleton heads (or if you’re fancy: skulls). We giggled at the descriptions offered of the people they once belonged to. Some informed lifestyle and specific medical disorder suffered, and some merely gave causes of death, but other descriptors were hilariously left up to the imagination of the observer. I found the straightforward explanation “Gypsy” pretty funny but joined my friends in gasping back tears of laughter when confronted with a bonehead labeled – simply – “Idiot.”

Which is description enough for cause of death, am I right or am I right?

Once we got the skull rolling, everything we looked at was found hilarious. It was only mildly annoying.

As I banged open the
drawers that contained a collection of  junk people swallowed (OMG why so many safety pins? What kind of witch doctor saves this crap?), my friends ogled a 70-pound ovarian cyst and ruminated on the logistics of how a pair of conjoined twins fathered over 20 children. Our commentary was ceaseless. The mega-colon removed from the unfortunate soul who died of constipation served as a grim reminder to the assemblage to “eat more fiber and drink your water, kids.”

We were ignored. We couldn’t believe nobody else was as immature awed as we were regarding these medical marvels. Drinking lots of water is just sound medical advice.

One of my friends openly pointed out that tuberculosis was bad news all around, and I remarked that all the curved spines made my back hurt. Our other friend was still worrying over those conjoined twins, who married sisters.

By the time we got to the diseased reproductive organs, we had lost all control and it was time to leave. We sternly warned each other to run if one day your husband’s penis turns up looking like that, and finally agreed, after all evidence presented, that syphilis is to be avoided at all costs.

As we were discharged into the gift shop, we thoughtfully took the time to sign the guest book and thank the Mütter for an informative afternoon, along with previous museum attendees who had helpfully sketched some of their own anatomically interesting offerings.

I was glad to see that we were in good company in our hilarity, even if we weren’t overtly appreciated by our fellow museum-goers. Because darn it all, bodies are amazing. And funny. And so, so disgusting.

Death by delirium tremens, LOL.

 Seriously. So gross.

*******

Monday, September 18, 2017

Yogain



I did yoga today for the first time in years and now I can’t lift my arms.  

I feel like I’m always starting yoga up again. Yoga’s my thing, too, my favorite method of exercise. If I love it so much, the fact that I regular drift away to warrant a first time in years scenario is a problem. Why is sticking with yoga such a problem?

It could be because I like to lift my arms.

I could say that I’ve drifted away from yoga because of the strain this form of exercise puts on my wrists; I have virtually no wrist muscles. I’ve analyzed images of wrist anatomy and I am assured they are there, but maybe mine were designed less for supporting the weight of my body and more for activities like holding a book or swiping a credit card.

This wrist weakness leads to the ultimate frustration of not being able to support my full body weight on my hands like the other, more nimble yogis in my classes. This balancing act is a major part of every yoga class, and it’s beyond my level of expertise. Realistically the weight of my legs alone matches the weight of the petite crow-posing sprite on the mat next to me. The danger of losing control over my heft and crushing the innocent as I attempt to stick the flying pigeon is very real. I need to keep my center of balance low and connected to mother earth, for the safety of all involved.

On the other hand, I can tree pose for days, not unlike an actual *ahem* tree.

Anyway, I’ve been doing yoga off and on since I was 26 years old, an accomplishment that I was stunned to realize, and I feel like I should be better at it by now.

Or maybe not, considering that most of those years since 26 were “off” ones, some of those years saw more yoga-ish classes than actual, full-blown yogic centers of enlightenment that influence every facet of life, an authority that I think yoga should have if you claim to be into yoga, like Madonna or Gwyneth Paltrow. Who wouldn’t want a Gwyneth Paltrow-esque version of her own best meditative life?

I want it, and I want it now.

The plain truth is that I got out of the habit of practicing yoga, and I want back in but it’s hard, maddeningly, like anything worth doing. I have to get used to the idea that I am not going to be at the zenith of my yoga skills right out of the gate at this point in my life which is about four years after the last time I was into yoga. Yoga-ish, at that. I have to practice, practice, practice, until I can support the equivalent of a tree trunk on my bird-boned wrists.

Namaste. Sigh.

*******

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Raging

It was exactly one day after we had returned from vacation, and I had yelled so long and so loud that I went hoarse.

It started out calm, then escalated as my frustration rose against a child of mine who I perceived as knowing an expectation but was trying to weasel out of fulfilling it on a technicality.

Vague enough for you? It’ll have to do. Writing about teens isn’t the same as writing about toddlers.

The bottom line is that I lost it: my calm, my cool, my sh*t. I lost it. It came back around quickly, but not before I felt the old Guilt bubble to the surface. I haven’t felt that guilt that strongly in a while. Maybe a year, maybe two. It could be that my kids are too old for Mommy Guilt to play a major role in my life anymore, or maybe it’s just been there so long that it now only registers for mega-infractions like yelling myself hoarse and not because I bought white bread instead of whole grain.

In any case, I yelled and then I felt bad. I’m a better mom than that. I’m better than that. Did I mention that I also used the F word?

We were just back from a 2-week vacation, one in which we laughed and hugged and held hands and shared hotel bathrooms without much fanfare or mutual annoyance. We all behaved. We were the perfect American family on the perfect American vacation, road-tripping up the coast of California, seeing all the best tourist attractions and none of the worst. We said yes to souvenir t-shirts and appetizers and desserts. We saw mansions and took studio tours. We rode bikes and walked on the beach. We played cards. We went to an aquarium.


Not 24 hours home, and I was screaming the f-bomb at one of my children.

Is it this life? Is the pressure of keeping it up and everything in it straight too much for me to bear? Is life too hard, too fast, too much? It runs like a machine – shouldn’t it get easier? I’ve been doing this for so long – shouldn’t it get easier? My family is growing, able to take on more of their own responsibilities – shouldn’t it get easier? I’ve been an adult for longer than I haven’t been an adult – SHOULDN’T IT GET EASIER?

The raspy voice inside my head says “No. It should not get easier.”

None of it gets easier. I say it to my kids, remind my husband, and commiserate with friends. It will not get easier. Certain things that were hard before will fade away, but other things that are harder will fill the open spots. Kids not sleeping at night turn into teenagers staying out past curfew. Stealing “me” time becomes unnecessary; how to spend time productively becomes an issue. The heaviest worries, like whether we’ll always have what we need? Those never go away. New ones: health concerns, changing relationships, parents getting older, the loss of loved ones – they are real, and sudden, and demand attention.

And they aren’t made easier by me throwing temper tantrums and screaming swear words until I am hoarse, no more now than before.

Ah, this life. It rages on and on, no matter how we deal. There is no extra allowance for gracious acceptance. You get what you get, and you can try to make it wonderful, and sometimes your efforts fail. The only beauty is that you may have the chance to do better tomorrow. But even that is not guaranteed. The best thing to do is to make the best out of it all while you have it.

And to not beat yourself up for raging against it sometimes. If you’re lucky you’ll have people in your life who forgive you when you crack, and catch you when you fall.

*******


Friday, March 31, 2017

Challenge Accepted

I never step away from a challenge.

BWAHAHAHAHAHHA 

Gotcha.

I totally step away from a challenge, especially if the choice is easily made. It’s most apparent by my lack of competitive spirit, and why I never played sports. Every gym class scenario when I was growing up:

Me: Oh, you want the ball? Here. Have it. No really, have it. It’s just a ball. Hey, fighting over this is boring. Let’s sit down and relax. Do you believe in aliens? I mean, I don’t want to because they sort of scare me, but I also don’t want to be the one who gets abducted and isn’t prepared. On the other hand, what’re you gonna do if it happens? You know? Obviously I’m talking about probing. Do you think there’s cake in space?

Gym teachers hated me.

Many times I make life changes in order to cut down on the amount of work I have to do, actively deciding to do things based on how little work is in it for me. My husband would call this efficiency. I refer to it as laziness.

It’s a wonder that I had children. Or got married. Or went to school. Or have a house. Or a car. Or friends. Or siblings and parents. For some of my life experiences, I got lucky. For others, I was fully aware and made the best choice at the time. For a few, I was duped. For a couple more, the challenge was to adapt or die.

Here’s the thing: life is full of challenges no matter if you step around a few here or there or right into the middle of every single one of them. They are pervasive and there is no escape. No matter how carefully you have organized life to be as comfortable as possible, you can be sure that a new challenge is coming soon. It may come at you from afar in the form of aliens, or it may originate from within in the form of a fatty tumor.

I don’t really have a point with this. I guess all I'm saying is that while we may not always welcome challenges, they are there anyway, so man up and get in front to handle them like it’s your business, because you know what? It totally is. Good luck with your challenges. I’ll be here, eating cake and reading up on aliens.

And how much probing I should really expect.


*******

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Did She Really Say That?

Public speaking just isn’t my thing.

Now, I know what you’re going to say – there’s a support group for that. Or – practice makes perfect, you just have to do it more in order to get better! Or – me either, I’m introverted, dadgummit! I hear your eyes rolling.

Sidebar: introversion as a special problem is over. The entire internet is for introverts. It’s not so special. Let’s find something else to discuss.

Anyway, about public speaking: I’m no stranger to it. I’ve had to present information to groups, make speeches, give instructions to a crowd, pray, teach classes, and even act in a play before, and every time it’s just a disaster. I panicked and stuttered during my own wedding vows. Sometimes I’ll even go blank in conversations when I notice that someone is really listening to what I am saying.

When speaking publicly, I sometimes feel nauseated, experience heart palpitations, sweat profusely, and have ringing in my ears, among other pleasant symptoms. Later, I’ll replay the scenario over and over and cry into my pillow because of my cringeworthy uselessness.

For many years I’d balk at speaking in public when asked, and turn people down easily and graciously. It’s just a train wreck, I’d explain ever so nicely. You don’t want me up there. My incompetence will distract from the real message. I’m not your girl.

But then after a while, I noticed that people don’t care how stupid I am in public. I am my own worst enemy; most people don’t notice that I’m ridiculous, and if they do, they're either too embarrassed for me to mention it or else I’m making them feel better about their own inflated yet unquestionably mediocre ability to kill it onstage.

And I also realized that if I speak from the heart, and don’t worry so much about how I’m perceived – even if half the room thinks I’m terrible – who cares? Most people are too polite or don't care enough to tell a person that they stunk up the room, and by the way, I’m not accepting a Nobel prize, and most of the world doesn’t hear those speeches anyway because the people who win those prizes are a bunch of nerds.

JUST KIDDING NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS. Jeez, sensitive much?

So, with that in mind, I’m totally taking public speaking offers. Yes, you heard that right. For an exorbitant fee, of course. I still get the nervous sweats, and I’m not dealing with that for free.

So if you want someone to mess up your event with a lackluster and possibly embarrassing address (because not only do I tend to freeze up, but I may also swear and/or share inappropriately), I’m your girl.

If you need someone around to fill the seat at the table for someone who says wildly inappropriate things that distract everybody from real life, so that they go home and wonder “how drunk was she?” instead of lamenting their own poor choices, I’m there.

If you need someone to stand in front of a crowd and make them feel better about every single vulnerability they own because she is up there making a nincompoop of herself by forgetting what planet she hails from, call me.

Because I SPEAK FROM THE HEART.

Sure, sometimes my heart says weird and improper things, blanks on common words and phrases, forgets how to pronounce my own name, and drops whole storylines and directions of conversation, but hey, it’s my heart talking. I dare you to tell me my heart is wrong.

Seriously. I’m available.

*******

This post inspired by:


Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #4: Write a blog post inspired by the word: heart.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Eight Perfect Gifts for Anyone

Let it be known that I am not gifted at gifting.

I mean, I purchase things to give at the holidays and on birthdays and other important gift-giving events, but giving and receiving gifts is not really a source of joy for me.

And truthfully, sometimes I’m not that great at giving or receiving gifts on these big gift-giving events.

Exhibit A: The time I didn’t even think about buying a gift for someone and they lavished me with perfect gifts and I felt like Super Jerk.

Exhibits B-Z: All those other times that happened.

Let’s examine some other gift-giving catastrophes, shall we?
àOnce I got a gift for someone – something that they actually asked for – and they never used it.
àOnce I received a gift that I asked for but didn’t use.
àOnce I gave a gift that was too much/too little/inappropriate/and the recipient didn’t get it. 
àOnce I received a gift like that^^
àOnce I told someone I was going to get them a very specific gift and then I bailed out on it and didn’t get them anything and I will never hear the end of it until I die. 
àOnce I got a gift that I loved for an anonymous exchange and everybody in the room made fun of it and it took everything in me not to stomp out of the room crying.

Can’t we all just buy ourselves what we want? Or only give anonymously to people we don’t know so that we don’t have to watch them open the gifts we give and stress out about their reactions?

You guys, gifting stresses me out. There are so many variables, and only one precarious set provides a small sliver of positive outcome. You know, that perfect gift for that perfect person in your life who absolutely without a doubt will love whatever it is you’ve come up with.

It doesn’t happen very often.

So I made a gift guide to help you with this problem of gifting. And when I say you I really mean me.

Perfect gift #1: Cash.

Cash is a gift, people. IT IS A GIFT. No one receives cash and goes home and says “Now what on earth am I going to do with this?”


Perfect gift #2: Gift Cards.

Gift cards are a non-cash way of giving cash as a gift for those people who think that giving cash as a gift is tacky. Some people also think that giving gift cards is tacky. I am not friends with those people.


Perfect gift #3: Something that a person sent you a link to and said “I want you to buy this for me.”

No guesswork at all is the way to go with gift-giving. This is my absolute favorite way to shop for someone if cash and gift cards are off the table, and the next type of perfect gift is a close runner-up.

Perfect gift #4: Something that someone buys for him- or herself and says “I’m buying this for myself, but you can give it to me.”

You sort of feel like a shlub for not doing any work whatsoever, but it’s worth it if they also wrap that gift up for themselves or don’t require it to be wrapped at all because they’re using it right away.

Perfect gift #5: Registered gifts.

There is something just so satisfactory about a gift list that someone has made public, so that when you shop for this person, all the things they want are right there. General gift lists are okay, but give me a printed out store registry list of specific stuff that a person wants and I’m a happy gift-buyer. Bonus if shipping is free and I don’t even have to handle the item.

Perfect gift #6: Everyday items.

This is a little more work, but I love giving and receiving basic items that everyone uses but runs out of on a regular basis.  Things like aluminum foil, sandwich bags, condiments, dried spices and even shampoo and soap are great gifts, and best of all you can throw them into your grocery cart when you stop at the store on your way out to pick up the milk.


Perfect gift #7: Time together.

I love it when you can get together with people and call it a gift. “No gifts; let’s just go out to dinner!” is music to my ears, and the person who shows up with a wrapped gift even after hearing (or ::whispers hatefully:: uttering) those words is dead to me.

Perfect gift #8: Nothing at all.

Sometimes giving gifts takes away from the real gift, which is living life together. I personally have everything I need and want, and I’d rather enjoy life than take time to open a bunch of stuff that I’m going to be paying a bill for later anyway. I know this seems a mite insincere since I will always have my hand out for jewelry and diamonds, but I’d rather enjoy my friends and family than open gifts any day of the year.

Especially if they’re handing out jewelry and diamonds.

See all those gifts in the back? So stressful.
*******

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Ten Things I Love About Motherhood

If you told me twenty years ago that I’d become a mother, I would have laughed in your face.

Because I was rude, but also because twenty years ago, I didn’t want kids.

I didn’t even like kids all that much.

Like every woman, as a teenager I was a pro babysitter. Watching kids is the thing to do when you’re too young for a side hustle like slinging cocktails. I had a kid brother and kid cousins and family friends with kids that were always looking for a babysitter, so I obliged for some cold hard cash in return for watching their TV kids whine eat junk food pound on each other while the parents escaped for a few hours on the odd Saturday night. But it wasn’t my favorite activity.

But twenty years ago, when I was a single gal, footloose and fancy free, I had long conversations with friends about how much I didn’t want kids because kids are terrible.

Yeah. That’s about as far as my reasoning went for not wanting kids. It’s fair to say that because I didn’t have kids, it was easy enough to say I didn’t want kids.

Then my husband and I had kids.

I was for it, of course. I mean, the timing of our kids wasn’t planned, but we agreed that we’d try them out for a while.

And it just so happened that I am a pretty good mom. And my kids are pretty amazing because of me. Hey, you think I’m going to give them all the credit for being awesome? Okay, my husband had something to do with it, too. But still. I’m a kick-ass mom.

Might as well say it myself, because they sure won’t.

So, yeah. I am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy being a mom. Take THAT, twenty years ago me! IN YOUR FACE! HA HAHA HAHAHA HA!

I guess some things don’t change.

Here are the top ten things I love about motherhood:

1. I can do this.

A person needs no special training or skill to be a mother. It’s scary how utterly unprepared people really are for parenthood. It’s on-the-job training every second of every day. It’s flying by the seat of your pants and making it up as you go along. When people say “We’re not ready to have kids yet” I love to squash their spirits and inform them that there is no planning for this. You’re never ready, and you either do it or you don’t. And when you do it, it’s the best feeling ever.

2. These nerds.


Yeah. I pretty much love the spit out of them. Seriously – they can spit on the ground and I would love that spit. BUT THEY BETTER NOT EVER DO THAT BECAUSE SPITTING ON THE GROUND IS GROTESQUE AND I DID NOT RAISE DISGUSTING ANIMALS WHO SPIT ON THE GROUND.

3. It’s a challenge.

One of the weirdest things I love about motherhood is how difficult it is. Once you are in it you can’t escape it, and even though I totally look for the easy way out of nearly everything, I do not cut corners at being a mom. I love all the difficult conversations and the teen years and defusing tantrums because this stuff is important. I will work tirelessly to help my kids do or learn something, and it’s because their lives are worth my best.

4. The food.

Having kids around all the time means that you eat chicken nuggets and candy and pudding and cupcakes as part of a regular diet and not feel like you have to justify your preferences. Kraft mac and cheese has had our number for years, and I am more than okay with this.

5. The TV.

Cartoons make anybody feel like a kid again. Not too many adults will watch Spongebob on a random Thursday afternoon on their own without kids around, and this is too bad. I believe that Spongebob can be better than therapy.

6. You are always teaching.

When I was in grad school I wanted to be a professor, and as luck would have it I got to teach undergrads. This was a terrible experience. Those cats knew they were smarter than me and weren’t afraid to let me know how low my effectiveness ranked on the list of educators they had known. They didn’t give me a chance, and I knew then that I was no teacher. But with my kids? I’m the first teacher they knew and they STILL look to me to teach them. Getting your students early is where it’s at.

7. You are always learning.

I’ve learned more being a mother than all the years I spent in school, which is a bold statement and one that I dare you to try to quantify. Being a mother has taught me practical wisdom, like how long a person needs to transition from sitting on the couch playing video games to getting in the car to go somewhere (two minutes), but also problem-solving skills, like if you have a kid who zones out while playing video games, revving up the car engine while honking the horn to get them moving works pretty darn well.

8. Personal improvement.

I was a jerk before I had kids, and I’m marginally less of a jerk now. Having kids made me want to be a better person, because now I have people who I am casting into the world who watch me like the spongy little hawk-eyed humans they are. Do I want them to be jerks on top of them being horribly disfigured? No, I don’t. I shaped up when I had kids, and everybody is happier. Especially me.

9. The surprise factor.

When my kids walk in the door after school with a cool story, or talk about something they learned, or sing along to an old song that I love but didn’t know they also loved, or share their opinions about anything, I am surprised at their sense of humor, what they know, what they think, and what they can do – as if they are new people every day. Literally, I say “Who are you? I don’t know you – go away, stranger, or I’m calling the cops!” because I love to mess with my kids. Which brings us to the last point I’d like to make.

10. Having kids is fun.

SO MUCH FUN. Having fun is my deal, and they are my favorite people to joke with, to laugh with, and to play with. My kids are fun people. They get my sense of humor, and I love theirs. I know it’s because they learned from me, and I’m in love with this.


You’re welcome, world.


*******
This post inspired by:


Mama’s Losin’ It
Prompt #1: List 10 things you love about motherhood.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dreaming Big

I used to have dreams.

Big ones.

Practicing my Oscar acceptance speech big.

What would I win for? Acting, maybe. Later, screenplay. Adapted, naturally. It’s the easier route.

Those dreams were fun to think about, but were more fantastical than actual goals. They eased gradually as real life took over, and sort of puffed away like breath clouds in the winter.

I haven’t practiced my Oscar speech in at least a year.

Sometimes, though, the kind of person who has big dreams resurfaces, and she comes quietly, just humming under the skin, until the moment I’ve realized that nobody in my house listens to a word I say nor notices that I manage their garbage all day long.

Then the surface breaks and that person unleashes a Come to Jesus monologue usually aimed at my husband, a performance complete with tears and snot about how I put my career permanently on the shelf for our family. Has anyone sacrificed this much? Surely no one has given up what I have (declared dramatically, with Katharine Hepburn affect).

A rant like this would certainly win me an Oscar if not for the small fact that this movie is my life and there’s only one actor and there’s no one paying to watch it.

Though I’m sure my husband would argue that he pays plenty to watch it. Plenty.

And then one day, after many of these moments, just like that – my grandfather died.

Soon after, it was my husband’s uncle. Then my grandmother. My other grandmother. My husband’s grandmother. Between them, the parents of several good friends. Then more: a family friend, a woman from church, the list goes on.

The rule of three – where death happens in threes and then stops for a while – was thrown out the window with the loss of life that swirled in and around our lives the last several years. While the rest of the world mourned the parade of famous people passing, we were already grieving. It is just beginning. We are at that age where the people who helped formed our histories are approaching the end of their own. “Death is a part of life,” I say to myself, often. It happens to all of us.

Their obituaries are long. The columns list birthdays, anniversary dates, workplaces, churches attended, hobbies, names of family members. They include descriptions about their personalities complete with flourishes, highlighting all the best parts and all the wonderful things they did, their high significance in their loved ones’ lives. These were great people in their circles. They were “loved by all” and would be “missed by many” in their absence. The funerals I attend are celebrations of life, filled with shared memories, laughter, tears, fond remembrances spoken with quavering voices to rooms full of mourners.

Life will never again be the same when the people we love die. Back-to-back deaths like this affect us deeply, change us forever. We resist getting used to these life-altering losses, refuse to take the news of a life ending with anything but shock and sadness. We are devastated without them, yet our lives go on.

This intense period of loss awareness makes me think about what will happen when I die. Selfishly, I want people to think of me with flourishes and high significance. I’m not alone in this, and neither is my husband, who, after being away from a business trip for two days, bursts thorough the door bellowing, “I’m here! Was it unbearable without me?” and then is disappointed when the reaction is anything but dancing with joy, piles of presents, and gushing that life ceased to have meaning while he was gone.

Take it easy, guy. You were in Park City, not back from your fourth tour in Afghanistan.

The people in our lives are regular people who live alongside us for years, and their lives touch ours deeply. Everyone has big dreams at some point in their lives. Maybe they even hold onto them until the end. Maybe we know about these dreams, and maybe we don’t. Of all the people that I have known to leave this world recently, not one of them won an Oscar. Maybe they had Oscar dreams, but that doesn’t add to their significance and the manner in which they are remembered.


We all want to be remembered fondly, and in big ways if possible. But memories don’t always call up honors and awards. They settle on how we were thoughtful gift-givers, the way we welcomed people we barely knew, how we helped those in need, our warmth and humor and fearlessness and strength.

We all dream about what we might achieve, but we might not dream about how we will be remembered. Maybe we won’t win Oscars, but we can refer to the good examples of loved ones who have passed and pattern our lives after theirs. And maybe we will be honored with flourishes and significance when we are gone.

I am learning that those are dreams worth having.

*******

Please don’t use this as my obituary picture.
Or do.
Either way, please remember me with high significance.
Flourishes.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sweet

Hi. I like sugar.

The allure of sugar is that it tastes amazing, duh. I can’t get enough of it.

Except that I can, and I have, and sometimes enough is when I start seeing spots and know it’s time to dial back on the sweet.

Yes. I have eaten so much sugar at times that my vision is affected. It’s totally a thing.

This may be a red flag for some.

It is for me, as is the bloated feeling, the immediate sugar crash, the weight gain that happens after a particularly long and intense sugar binge. I have named these binges: Christmas.

Easter.

Halloween.

And all the times I go to the grocery store and all the bags are two for five bucks in the candy aisle.

Our grocery store has two candy aisles.

I’m getting off track. What I’m saying is that all these red flags point to one thing à I should stop eating so much sugar.

And I have.

I MISS IT.

But it isn’t good for me. I feel ill after I eat it. Obviously the vision impairment is less than ideal. I have reached an age where I can’t just power through the sick feeling. It lingers. It makes me sluggish. I hate that feeling, despite adoring the act of lying around. So I stopped eating allthesugar.

And I feel better.

And I have resolved to remember this feeling of good health when I see candy in the grocery store.

And I cruise right on by it.

All of it.

And I feel great about eating more healthily.

I’m so happy to be off the sugar.

Just in time for Girl Scout cookie season.


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This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #4: Write a blog post inspired by the word: sugar

Thursday, January 5, 2017

This is It

(Title not meant to refer to Michael Jackson’s 2009 rockumentary of the same name, though let’s face it, the death of Michael Jackson affected me immensely and I still miss him, RIP MJ)

Every year bloggers across the globe write terribly thoughtful posts about their word of the year.

What is a word of the year, you ask? Well, allow me to explain.

After all, I need to fill this post with words about something.

Children, a word of the year is a word that you adopt as a short mantra, one that you hope will influence your life in a positive way for the year. It is a word that you can meditate over and remember in good times and hard times, and in all the in-between times. You choose it to remind you of an area you need to work on in your life, or for something you want to do more of, or to stop you from being such a jerk in a problem area. Usually we hope that the word will motivate us to change for the better, that it will manifest itself into our lives and make us a supreme version of ourselves.

Not a Supreme, though wouldn’t it be amazing to have Diana Ross’s hair for just one week?

In choosing a word, I try to think about what I had such a hard time doing the previous year, something that I struggled with over and over, something that I wanted desperately to change but couldn’t without picking a word from my native lexicon that has magical powers to make me a better version of myself. Last year it was Let Go, two words that reminded me of the movie Frozen but also inspired me to not let things that my husband does bug me so much.

It worked, but honestly, I need to Let Go more and it could be my word of the year for the rest of my years on earth.

But that is boring, so I’m picking another word. I’m letting you go, Let Go.

My word for 2017? Breathe.

As in: take a beat. Think before you speak. Don’t say it DON’T SAY IT. Breathe instead. Get back to basics. Simplify and detoxify. Breathe first, think later.

I thought of this word the other day and was all – way to go, girl, you found your word! Way. To. Go. Genius. Child.

Then I realized this was my word another year, I think. I’m too lazy to go back and find the blog post where I chose Breathe as my WOTY so let’s pretend that I came up with Breathe this year for the first time and I’m not just recycling words, hmmmmm?

Or just face it. I have deep-seated issues that maybe can’t be undone in a year by thinking about one word every couple of days.

Breathe in, breathe out. All the time, all year long.

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This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #2: Did you pick a word for 2017? Share!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How I Lost My Spirit on New Year’s Day

Probably the best thing about the holidays is the free time to do whatever the heck you want.

Like this is my life but go with it, okay?

I mean, there’s no school, no work (for those lucky enough to not have to work during the holidays, I mean I used to work during the holidays and I didn’t hate it but there is something to be said for not having to be anywhere for at least a day or two because of a holiday, amiright?), no something to do.

Except if you have a spouse and kids and a house and still have to do all the chores that life has to offer, isn’t life so generous with all it has to offer, especially in the chores realm?

Well, in fact I like to keep up with chores and stuff and try not to let it get ahead of me lest I completely lose my mind since I like order and cleanliness and whatnot, so some of that whatever the heck you want to do stuff includes laundry and cooking dinner and taking out the trash but I like not having to do that stuff on a timeline, and if I decide to cook dinner at 2 pm or cook three dinners in one day or start vacuuming in the evening because I can, I’m for it. And if I want to bag it all and just go to the movies instead, hey man that’s cool too.

Anyhoo, one of the best things to do is waste away the first day of the year every year by drinking mimosas, watching garbage TV and lounging around.

That’s usually on the menu for New Year’s Day in our house, but for some inexplicable reason this year, my family members had specific plans that included going out of the house.

Which is not at all in line with the spirit of New Year’s, and I was deeply offended by their industry. So of course I took my wasteland day a step further and vowed that I would wear pajamas all day.

Now I know what you are thinking – Big Deal. People (non-babies) wear pajamas all day every day, what’s so special about that? Check out any Walmart or grocery store or Walmart grocery store and there will be a lady in there wearing her pj bottoms, dirty slippers and carrying some sort of Coach accessory. By the way, let’s stop pretending that Coach is some sort of exclusive designer brand. How can it be if every pajama-wearing lady in Walmart is swinging around a Coach wristlet? I’m not trying to disrespect Coach or pajama-wearing ladies, but let’s be real. Sell Coach at Walmart already.

By the end of mid-morning I was loving life. PJ day is for me, I thought to myself. I chose the correct pair to wear all day: not too heavy or light, and even added a lightweight robe to snuggle in and brand-new fuzzy socks. I munched a square of breakfast casserole and drank some coffee, poured a mimosa in celebration, and shared a picture of my triumphant plan on Facebook.

Feelin' good at 11:45

At noon – three mimosas o’clock – I got up to stretch and waddled out to the kitchen to stir the pork and sauerkraut, our dinner that evening and my one superstition. My husband had returned with our daughter from a sleepover and I hugged her hello. She disappeared to her room to unpack and take a nap before basketball practice. My son and husband started discussing their activities for the afternoon, shopping and other vagaries that interested me little. I grabbed some leftover Christmas cookies and a fresh cup of coffee and settled back on the couch. I was beginning to feel slightly filmy but ignored the creeping discomfort.

By two I had to tap into my resolve to stay clothed in last night’s sleepwear. I felt gross and my hair was sliding off my head. I dug in and closed my eyes in the hope that I would fall asleep. Naps make time go faster.

Four pm. I was making mashed potatoes for our dinner and found myself fantasizing about scrubbing the filth off me using a Brillo pad.

By 6:30 I wanted to die.

After dinner and clean up I was so sweaty and gross that a record must have been broken. Running upstairs to the shower, I warned my family that I would be gone for some time and reveled in scalding hot water for longer than is probably medically advised.

I slipped on a fresh pair of pjs and joined my husband in the basement for some post-New Year’s TV and wine.

He asked me how my pajama day went, and I cried a little. It’s hard, I whimpered. I don’t know how people do it.

All I know is that I can’t. Not ever; not again.


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