Thursday, December 31, 2015

Word of the Year for 2016...

I've chosen my 2016 word of the year and it is Laughter. I have been lucky enough to have the past two nights full of laughter, the kind where you're wiping your eyes hoping there's no mascara running down your face. The type where your face literally hurts from smiling. The kind that comes from being with people who 'get you' and make you a better person just by being present in your life.

So, Laughter is the 2016 word. May we share it, hear it, see it, seek it out, feel it throughout the year and years to come.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Where I tell myself to shut the Hell up!

This weekend seemed like a wash to me. I had some sort of stomach bug and never seemed to feel 100%. I missed one the best Christmas parties with some great friends. I had dropped the kid off at my parents and should have had quite a good time with little responsibilities. I ended up staying home with Netflix and the dogs instead.
Then Sunday happened and I had committed to working the Angel Tree with my Sunday School class. I rushed to grab the kid and we went to the mall where I locked my keys in the car. Furious with myself, I called a locksmith after exhausting all other avenues and being angry at myself for not having a hidden key or having the garage door keypad fixed. So forty dollars lighter and later I was in the car rushing the kid to a birthday party at the trampoline place. I was so looking forward to being home for that hour and a half before picking kid up and dropping him off for youth group.

All weekend long I had an inner monologue of whining. Inner that sometimes went outer besides normally being a fairly optimistic person. I complained that my stomach hurt, I complained that my straighened hair was now wavy from standing in the rain while the lock was 'popped', I complained that I had to be a glorified taxi service, I complained that I committed to work the Angel Tree. I'll set that right there and let that last one sink in. The Salvation Army Angel Tree where kids are asking for socks and underwear and I am complaining about a 1.5 hour shift. What an ass.

That's when it dawned on me that I was complaining about an awful lot and not thanking for all the good things. I had gotten a message from a sweet friend that she wanted to bring me homemade cupcakes, I had a car to lock myself out of, I had the $40 to pay the locksmith, I have a beautiful child who has a rich life full of people who love him and want to be around him, I have a home with a keypadded garage to complain about, I have so very much to be thankful for and not a lot, if anything to complain about.

What I had been griping about were not huge by anyone's standards. They are called nuisances and are nothing to complain about. If anything, they are things to laugh about and move on. I locked my keys in my car, seriously? For someone with OCD I suppose if anything that's just a symptom to slow down and pay attention. Also time to slow down and realize that you're not perfect. It's also the perfect time to tell myself to shut the Hell up and get over yourself.

I have friends who are dealing with real issues such as sickness and loss. Issues that aren't going anywhere anytime soon. They would love for the worst part of their day to be one chauffeuring their child from place to place or locking their keys in their car.

So today is officially the day for me to shut the Hell up unless it is to say thank you or how can I help.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Elf and the Middle Schooler

That damned Elf on a Shelf is back. I thought that last year was my last to worry about moving the elf and planning escapades for him...but then I heard the excitement in the boy's voice a few days before Thanksgiving, "Jakey-Poo will be here in less than a week!" I admit that for a brief moment I thought about outing that impish elf right then and there so that I wouldn't have to deal with him for the next month.

I need to back up a bit and explain that I was one of  "those moms" with our elf. I had him doing adventurous things like parachute from the ceiling fan and make a snow angel in powdered sugar. I even took pictures of his adventures and for 2 years I had a Shutterfly books printed up with the pics and my editorialization of Jakey Poo's adventures. I wanted to keep the magic alive as long as I could, until I grew tired of it. I phoned it in the 3rd year, heck it wasn't even the same elf as I had lost the original and had to buy a replacement! Mom fail to the elf-extreme.

This year, this unexpected elf year, has been viewed by me as a pain in my ass...until last night. I dropped my child off at church and watched him get into the van to go to a youth Christmas party. It hit me then that my little man-child was just that, between childhood and manhood. I drove home to wait for pickup time and I sobbed all the way home. (Injecting here that I was a bit sleep-deprived.) My child, my only child, was growing up and I honestly am not sure where the time has gone.

Surely it was only last year when he was stretching his arms up to me saying, "Mommy, hold you." And now he is wearing deodorant and has feet bigger than my own. I cried over the knowledge that before I know it he will be asking to borrow the keys to the car and will be holed up in his room with thoughts that he will not be sharing with me. It's already started you know. Saturday I looked outside and he and his friend were laying on the trampoline talking. It was such a sweet scene to see those 2 talking about what ever it is 11 year olds talk about. I wouldn't know because when I asked what they were talking about the only answer I got was, "Nothing."

So Elf, you have my full attention for now. Surely next year you will have gone the way of Thomas the Train and Matchbox cars. This year I will hold onto this tradition and enjoy every moment of my child's in between time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Women vs. Men - assignment bathing suit

In December a woman's thoughts are on the joys of the holidays, buying gifts, socializing, being with family. And then January happens and you suddenly realize that it's T-minus three months and counting until Spring Break.
It doesn't help that all the "spas" in town start advertising various ways to remove hair from your body in December.
<Just note here guys, no matter what these spas say, a woman DOES NOT want a hair removal system/plan for Christmas!! I don't care if your lady herself leaves gentle or not so gentle hints about wanting this for Christmas, don't fall for it. If you do please have a nice piece of jewelry as a buffer offering.>
Now you have to think about hair removal and the inevitable bathing suit. So you begin the process of getting ready for a bathing suit. If you are one of those ladies who keeps it all together all winter you may want to quit reading. Or maybe keep reading as a warning to keep it up girl!
Playboy has done a lot for women, both positive and negative. For now I declare war on Playboy because I'm fairly certain they were the ones who declared war on a woman looking like a woman...um...down there. Your trip to Taget this time includes a look at the hair removal aisle. Yes men, there is an entire aisle dedicated to making women look like naked mole rats. Oh, while also keeping our (head) hair long and luscious. And that is an entire aisle two over from hair removal.
So you look at the hot wax, cold wax, Nair, and other name and off-brand products and devices. There's even a device called the No-No. How much more obvious of a message is that for a woman that hair is bad!
You put a few items in the basket and vow to head to the gym. While in Target you see that they have swimsuits out. You know, for all the shoppers headed out for "cruise season". Why not, you say to yourself. Grab a few and head towards the dressing rooms. The lighting, oh the lighting. A million dollar idea would be to have a store dedicated to swimsuits of all sizes, types, and colors. With beautiful soft pink lights. And cucumber water. The water is of course just a formality as the real attraction will be the glass of champagne you receive as you walk in the door. If your shopping experience is too much of a shock there will also be taxis and uber available to take your drunk butt home...with your bathing suit of course.
But here you are in Target with their horrible lighting and bright, white walls. You undress to your undies and try on the first suit. At first you can't decide if the blinding white in front of you is from the walls or your legs. Guess what darling, it's your legs. You try on more and more eventually finding the suit that advertises that it will take 2 inches off your figure. This one doesn't look so bad. "Where does that two inches go?"you say. Then you do that half-turn butt glance and guess what? There it is! It's physics I suppose, that compressed mass has to head somewhere so gravity does it's part here. Sigh.

Leaving the dressing room you decide that the gym is definitely your next stop, right after the self-tanner aisle.

After the gym you head home to start the hair removal, self-tanning ritual. I won't go into too much detail here, but let's just say that the words exfoliation and pain are involved. And in case you wondered, home waxing kits do not work and can indeed burn you.

So now you are hairless and a little streaky in spots from the tanner. But you're ready for spring break. This process seemed simple enough but actually spanned months of prep and may or may not have involved Bondo and Kilz.

Returning now to January and a man has a fleeting thought that Spring Break is some time in the future. Flash forward to the first day of Spring Break. The man thinks about a shower, decides why bother and puts on the swim trunks his wife bought him.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gramma got her groove...back?

I was unlucky enough to have had the stomach flu this past week. Yesterday I was at a local drug store waiting for my phenergan (another word for love) prescription to be filled and I was afforded the opportunity to do some people watching. This particular drug store attracts most of the city so there's a great cross-section of people coming and going.

My eyes fixed on one particular lady. She looked to be in her mid 80's and was perfectly turned out. She had a starched white shirt with a bright green cable-knit sweater pulled over it and all matched to her pressed khakis. Her makeup was subtle and defined her face rather than painted it. And the topper to her look was just that, a wig that you could tell had been styled just right. Again, subtle enough to allow her beauty to show through rather than let it wear her. 

I watched her for awhile as she went up and down each aisle. Remember, I was bored and nauseous so fixating on her was helping me to pass the time. I noticed that she had bought some laundry detergent as well as a large bottle of Metamucil. I thought that this trip must be a big outing for her as she was doing a little shopping and a lot of looking. I also noticed her feet. This was the one place where she even remotely showed her age. She was wearing compression socks and one of her feet was turned sharply inwards. She walked slowly with a slight limp because of this. I selfishly began to think of my own arthritic 40-something feet and made a mental note to see my doctor so that I would not end up like her with that walk that looked so painful. 
Just as I was having this thought she stopped at an end cap about 5 feet from me. She picked up a box of ultra-thin condoms and began to study the package. My nausea took backseat to the small drama unfolding in front of me. I wondered, was she looking at these for curiosity or was she buying them for a grandchild perhaps? Surely she was just curious and killing time reading, or this is what I told myself anyhow. I was still telling myself this as she tossed the condoms into her basket! 
OK, I thought still could be for a grandchild or who knows who. Then she reached over and grabbed the box of generic lubricant. She carefully read the package, turning it over to look at the price as well as the directions. Apparently she was a name brand kind of lady because she shakily returned that box to the shelf and grabbed the box of KY next to it. Boom! Straight into the cart it went.

I don't know this woman, but I love her. Obviously she has kept it ALL together and I need to take notes. She truly was perfectly turned out in every area of her life. I suppose her feet do hurt her, but I guess that doesn't matter when they aren't on the floor!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sometimes a "sign" is just a radio show

I am a big believer in "signs". Not of the burning bush variety, but wouldn't those be nice when faced with a difficult choice? No, I look for and think I see soft, subtle signs. Are they really signs or are they something I manufactured to justify a choice, purchase, behavior? I don't really know the answer to that although I'd like to think it's a hybrid. A little of everything sprinkled in with a real and true sign.

Lately I have been trying to not read or look for signs to see if they present themselves plainer to me. Think Vegas neon style in the middle of a desert. Hard to miss and pretty to look at!
Recently I decided I must be a little calcium deficient because I am not the best at drinking my milk, sorry mom. I found out that antacids have a large quantity of calcium in them and there's a new chewable kind on the market I really, really like. So I start chewing the recommended amount. Flash forward a week or so and I began to get...uncomfortable. Those of you who are medical types already know what that discomfort was. Let's just say I was no longer a part of the 'regular' army. Now all this is happening around the same time as my birthday. This wasn't a monumental birthday, but was a closer to 50 than further away birthday.

So I'm happily driving along listening to NPR and a certain segment comes on from Dr. T Glen Pate. Dr Pate is a great doctor in my fair city and I have found his pieces to be informative in the past. Well the rotation they were using this month was between colon cancer and ovarian cancer. Oddly enough, a lot of the symptoms are similar. It seemed that every time I turned on my radio there was Dr Pate lining out the symptoms of one or the other disease...and I was fitting into more than I wanted. Then the kicker came when he said, "If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please see your doctor." Alarms went off! I was convinced that there was a glaring, huge sign right there on the radio tailored just for me!
<I won't even go into how narcissistic this was, that may be for another day!>

I call my gynochiatrist (gynecologist) and make an appointment. Also make an appointment with my GP all because of those signs. I also did the number one thing you should never, ever do - I googled my symptoms. Number one came up as the answer to my symptoms. Turns out if you take too many antacids when they're not needed you get the 'discomfort' I spoke of earlier. I quit taking the antacids and voila! all the symptoms miraculously disappeared. A true miracle for the ages?

So join me in not looking for signs anymore, or look for actual signs whose point is to help you find your way and not get lost in the minutia. Oh, and don't ever look up a symptom on Web MD because  as of this morning's search  I apparently need my prostate examined!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Resolute resolution, or All You Need is Love!

With the new year often also comes resolutions. I have never really subscribed to making absolute resolutions as I am a constant work in progress. So much more than a more than a list of resolutions could handle! So rather than a list of the usual resolution suspects, I try to choose one area of life to work on. This year that area is love. Telling and showing it as often as I can so that there is never a doubt where someone stands with me.

Years ago I volunteered for a group called RAIN (Regional AIDsInterfaith Network). The care partner our group was assigned was an amazingly hilarious man in the end stages of the disease. He showed me pictures and told wonderful tales of living in Key West. In the pictures I saw a gorgeous 6ft and then some tanned man who had the world at his feet. The man holding the pictures was still attractive but was gaunt, pale, and a shadow of his former self. He lived in an apartment in a not so great part of town and one night after the movie was over I realized it was after midnight and I had to walk about a 1/2 a block to get to my car. He looked at me and laughed saying, "You do realize that you have a better chance of dying tonight than I do!" As morbid as that sounds he was right. This man literally had death staring at him with the progression of his disease and here he was pointing out my own sentence was just as dire. Life is precious and is not guaranteed.

I'd like to tell you that moment with him was life-changing. It wasn't. Instead I laughed and told him how horrible he was and play hit him on my way out the door. More importantly than what he had said earlier he yelled, "love ya"! Now that I think about it I guess he was life-changing since I still think of him. I think of him often and think about what he said to me that night. Sometimes I laugh and other times, like now, I am left thinking about his words.

So this non-resolution of telling and showing people how I feel about them begins. Well, continues but with a new fervor. Join me this new year and all the years to come. Let's spread the love and constantly remind each other how precious we all are to each other. Happy New Year!