Tuesday, December 29, 2009

RRT - Word Pop Ups

Fish - I'm always thinking the word fish.  Why?  Why?  Why?

Bedding - You know.

Tree - Garbage day tomorrow or keep it up another week.

Adult Child - home

New Year - Decisions must be made!

Laziness - Guilty, my biggest flaw. Consequently,  feeling the perpetual guilt, but still won't do anything about it.

Cold - Cold, shiver, need another layer.

Coffee - Need some now!  Up an hour already, how could I have gone this long without a cup?

Mom - Wants a visit today.

Dad - Never spend enough time with this guy. Clock is ticking.

Time - Never enough.

Random Tuesday Thoughts - over here. randomtuesday

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Road Kill

Every time we go out during the day, we see the carnage left from the night before.

Demise of Three Penguins and a Snowman

Queen Maker. "It's so weird. Every time I look at a lawn with deflated inflatables.  It doesn't seem right somehow. Why would folks want these things strewed across their lawn like Christmas road kill?"

Santa and the Grinch

Looks more like a drive-by to me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Humbug Routine

Hey, hey, time for sweet Christmas memories.  I've had tons and tons of them.  I remember the joy of running down the stairs and seeing bikes in the living room! I remember the smell of a new doll, nothing better.  When I was sixteen, I received my first gift of jewelry from a suitor, a pair of opal earrings from Queen Maker,  followed by an opal ring three days later for my birthday.  Okay, getting jewelry is way better.

So I am now going to tell a tale from the Belen family files, describing one of those rare but cathartic Christmases. The one dramatically silly.

My father sometimes played games that would backfire on him.   Everyone knew that every Christmas Papi would start the humbug routine. He’d start with saying that Christmas was too commercialized. Even hinting that, maybe, there would be no tree this year.  We of course would protest and beg for our tree and he seemed pleased with the rise he would get out of us as kids, pretending to relent or keep us in suspense for a few days.

His main complaint was that everyone was knocking themselves out buying presents they couldn’t afford and he hated watching it.  The true spirit of Christmas was lost.  He’d be joking at first and then get angry, and soon he convinced himself and us that no Christmas was coming. But of course, it always would.

The way my dad showed affection was by picking on you.  He baited you, bantered back and forth, sometimes poked or pinched you when you walked by. We all knew he loved us and that was his way.  Although my little sister did once ask Mami why Papi didn’t like her since he would pinch her every time she walked by.  But Mami would always explain and remind us, that Papi was a product of his own upbringing.  That he did love us but didn’t know how to express it. That Papi was trapped and didn’t know how to change.  He couldn’t make himself pass out the hugs and kisses so he would show his attention and affection the only way he knew how, by bugging us.

As we grew older, Papi continued to repeat the annual Christmas rhetoric.   As preteens we would tease him and counter, “Yes we are going to have Christmas." Although it always started out as playful banter, he would work himself into a corner of stubbornness where there was no retreat and then get angry.  We learned to modify our responses to his Christmas diatribe.  But this became a never ending pattern for him for many years.  At Christmas parties, he wouldn’t open his gifts, his stubbornness, childlike and unyielding. But he always took them home with him.  He’d try to say hurtful things though by this time we just let the comments go by.  We knew it was his way of venting and that in reality he didn’t mean a word of it.

One year in my 20’s I went to my mother’s home to find that the Christmas tree was in a horizontal position. Apparently someone had thrown the tree to the floor, the tree lights still twinkling.  The carnage of broken bulbs and ornaments were everywhere.  Papi was sitting in his chair, as always watching television.  Where was everyone?  Papi pointed his finger upwards and told me to check the upstairs flat.  Upstairs my mom, my brother, and three sisters were huddled together. Sister in the Middle is crying her eyes out.  What happened?  Well apparently Papi was doing his usual Christmas rhetoric, when Sister in the Middle said as a joke, “Oh Papi, quit being such as scrooge.” It was the trigger Papi needed and he jumped up and hit her on the back of the head, a patented dope slap.   Now mind you, we are all in our 20’s, adults, not children anymore.  Our relationship with our parents had evolved to that of mutual understanding and respect. So to be attacked like this, just for making a joke, unprovoked and by your own out of control father, was too much for any of them to bear.

I asked is this when Papi threw the tree down?  To my surprise, Mami had done it.  She stood up to him at last.  Always the peacemaker and the soother of every potentially volatile situation, Mami finally exploded herself and threw down the tree he so hated.  I was shocked. Mami did it?  Way to go Mom. My father’s game finally backfired.  My anger grew, because I am just like my father. Here we are gathered to celebrate being together and he has to pull his usual crap.  This time, regrettably he took it too far and successfully ruined everyone’s Christmas. 

I went downstairs and was about to give him… what? My anger, to scold him, to tell him off, to tell him what a bad person he was?

No, that would give him exactly what he expected or perhaps in his own self-destructive way what he wanted. Poor guy, I thought, he’s a little messed up.  And really when you think about it, the whole situation was ridiculous.  His stubbornness, the passion play, my mom tossing the tree down with a stomp, (wished I had witnessed that myself).  finding my family huddled together in despair all to be forgotten tomorrow as “one of those things.” I just had to smile. As I walked down the stairs to confront him, I stifled a laugh. The last few Christmases have been a tad boring.

Instead I said, “You know what Papi?  No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make us stop loving you.  You can be as stubborn, mean or as hurtful as you want, but it still won’t matter a bit.  We will always love you, no matter what you do to us.  So you can keep on trying to drive us away, but I’m telling you right now, it isn’t going to work. We will still be here and loving you. So there!” And I left.

Ah those cathartic moments. Christmases were damn good after that one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

She Brought Me the Christmas Spirit

I've been having either a menopausal moment, lasting for the last seven days, or depression is back like gang busters. It hit me like a snow shovel and I've been down ever since.

It seemed that the fates lined up perfectly to put me in this mood.  It started when Middle Sister's father-in-law died and the whole funeral thing, not eating well or drinking much water because we were at services and wakes for two days and I was working my arse off, in heels! My feet, knees, and back will be talking to me for days after that. After the second wake, I drove a four hour round trip to take my nephew back to college, finals week you know.

This culminated with the whole, it's that time of the month thing, with several people asking me to do favors I DON'T want to do, the yelling at my Mom and husband thing, causing the very guilty syndrome thing.  Add to that the whole, I'm not ready for Christmas thing but I have a kids party to host, and I have yet to buy Beloved anything thing, and nothing I planned is working out, and time and money is running out thing.

Other than that I'm okay.

As I was sewing Beloved's steam punk vest, (it only needs button holes and buttons, yahoo!) Little Sister and her three children home from college came through the door. This brightened my spirits because my niece and nephews were always considered mine too.  Beloved was always with his cousins and our homes were practically interchangeable, acting as one household when it came to the kids.   I missed them. I realized that not only was I missing being a mom to Beloved, but here were my other kids. They were so much part of my life and I missed them more than I knew.

They brought me a Christmas tree. The smallest the lot would let them cut down.  It was a crooked four foot tall, "a Charlie Brown tree" she called it, exactly what I wanted.  After they left, I went back to sewing.  When I finished, I opened the door and the sweet smell of pine greeted me.  QueenMaker had brought the tree in and had it in its stand.

The nostalgia, the smell, my big smile, the knowledge that I finally got my tree lifted the doldrums from my heart and head.  I called my sister immediately to thank her again.  I wanted her to know how her loving gesture was just the cure I needed.

I decorated the tree last night, wrapped some gifts.  I feel much better now.

If you want to feel better, go over to Keely at UnMom for some blessed RTT. randomtuesday

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This week's Spin Cycle assignment is about our Christmas wish list.  Go to Sprite's Keeper to read more spins about All I Want for Christmas...

I could pretend I was a finalist in a beauty contest and say all the right platitudes and cliches that inspires others to nod their heads in agreement and condone my "goodness."  Because I do, like so many others, wish for world peace, end world hunger, and so many other worthy causes and endeavors.

But what I want and what I need is moolah, wampum. greenbacks, dough, bread, legal tender baby!

I'm going to admit that my wish is for M.O.N.E.Y.

Maybe it's because I grew up in a household where the lottery was played everyday.  My dad always wanted to hit it big.  He plays every single day of his life and starts to get jittery if he can't get to the store to play his numbers. He just turned eighty. I figured that if he put away that five bucks everyday, he'd have over a hundred thousand in the bank right now. Yeah Dad, that's right, put away the fiver.

Maybe it's because I watched my mom stretch a dollar better than anyone I have ever met, her sole purpose to keep a roof over our seven heads.

Maybe it's because I thought as the next generation that we had moved up the poverty ladder a couple of rungs. Our kids are going to college for goodness sake! But the last few years has brought everyone in my family back down the ladder and we are no better off than my mom and dad were forty years ago.

I might sound a little whiny, but only because I'm tired.  I feel like a toddler that hasn't taken her nap.  Don't get me wrong, I do believe that I have a little piece of heaven on earth and I am very grateful for all I do have.  When it comes to relationships, family, friends, love and support, its a virtual cornucopia.

I'm not asking to be a billionaire or even a millionaire, yes I am just enough for some real breathing room.  That's another thing, I haven't taken a full breath in a long time.  Can I say that money will help me in my quest for peace, sleep, and expanded lung capacity? Yes, yes I think I can.

So Santa Baby...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Season's Clock is Ticking Away

Here is another installment of Random Tuesday Thoughts hosted by the lovely Keely.

Christmas Tree - Grown Up Christmas – just not the same.  We didn’t get a tree last year.  The thought of stomping around in the cold to cut down our annual tree didn’t seem worth it, plus we just couldn’t find the time.  I’ve lost the Christmas spirit.  My house is a the size of a shoe box, removal of furniture is required, the hauling of boxes and boxes of ornaments, lights, wreaths, and garlands just seemed like too much work, for what, three weeks of watching needles fall.

The thrill is gone.  See already it’s happening again.  It’s a mere two and a half weeks out, and I can’t see when we will have the time to put up a tree.  What happened to the festive home I used to know?  Gone since my kid left?  I spend Christmas Eve at my in-laws. I spend Christmas Day at the sister’s.  So why do we need a tree anyways?

I need to find a tree soon otherwise it won’t happen.  I mean seriously, Queen Maker and I were together for seven years before we even had Beloved.  So why am I so down on working this hard for Christmas. I think I'm using Beloved's absence as an excuse. I need an intervention.  But please don’t send three ghosts to do it.

I am not being a good Christmas Role-Model.

Baking – Now here is another story.  I’m always up for baking. Because economic times have been hard, I’ve baked a lot of gifts last year.  Cinnamon Rolls that were to die for, Spinach Pie triangles, cookies upon cookies, to give to friends and clients.  

But unfortunately I sample each and every one.  Sprite’s Keeper reminded me about the battle of restraint that I am going to embark on soon.

Baking – Fun.  Baking – Creative.  Baking – Keeps house warm.
Baking – Good.  Sampling everything – BAD.

I am not being a good Health and Nutrition Role Model.

Shopping – nearly done.  The thought of going out in the next two weeks makes me cringe.  I need to get it done soon because I need to do a lot of baking and decorating.  I need to have time to enjoy these things, not feel like I’m adding to the burden pile. I scour the store circulars and comparison shop like no other.  I am a champion of finding a great gift at a ridiculously low price.  I buy quality at bargain basement prices.

I am not a good Stimulate Our Economy Role-Model.

Sewing – Make a steam punk vest for Beloved for Christmas.  Need to start that project, soooon.  Also bought brocade material in an Asian motif to make a jacket for Queen Maker. Like that’s ever going to happen before Christmas. If I ever get them done, I will post pictures.

Wrapping Gifts – Thank God for gift bags.

Christmas Projects with my niece, Amber, 11 years old, and my friend, Hailey, 5 years old. Hailey, this Friday.  Amber, next week.  I’m looking forward to creating and crafting with the girls. It can be so relaxing and it’s a great way to keep the bonds of friendship strong.

Christmas Get-Togethers – How many invitations will we turn down this year?  It means I need to bring something, preferable food. My hair will never, ever cooperate and will never look fabulous no matter how much time I spend on it. I hate the whole dressing up thing and that is bad.  It means that looking sweet in a new dress and heels doesn’t get seen often. What, Queen Maker? I’m sorry, the sweatshirts and ponytail not getting it for you anymore?  Call What Not to Wear!  Use it or lose it.  And I’ve lost it. 

I am not a Good Friend or a Social Role Model.

I feel time ticking away.  The flight or fight mechanism is kicking in people.  I chose to run away from Christmas last year, but I’m planning to stick it out and stay and fight. Wish me luck.

First Step:
Put some Bailey’s in my coffee and play “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Vince Guaraldi over and over.  If that doesn’t put me in the mood, I don’t know what will.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beautiful Goodfellows Firemen

Being one of the poorest families in our neighborhood, a fact totally lost on us because we didn't know any better, several boxes were dropped off at our home during the Christmas season with some great stuff in it. I assume a teacher or the school had given our name to the local chapter of the Goodfellows.

I was six years old. The door bell rang and Three. Tall. Muscular. Beautiful. Blond. Men walked into our home carrying several boxes.  They were all over six feet tall and they were wearing their firemen gear.

One of them made a big impression on me.  Maybe it was the uniform or how high I had to look up to see his face, or how blond he was or that deep voice when he offered the boxes to my Mom, but I was instantly smitten.  Up to that point, all the men I knew were friends of my parents.  They were short, flabby, and all brunettes.  This was a new revelation of manhood never before experienced! It was as though Superman had walked in the door.

To have strangers in our home was exhilarating for the five of us. My Mom was incredulous.  all this for us! In the boxes were foodstuffs, white t-shirts, toys for my brother, and dolls.  We were touched.  My mother cried when they left.  The Goodfellows came several years after that always wearing their uniforms.  They were sometimes police officers or firemen and it was thrill to have them in our home.

My family think of the Goodfellows with great affection.  I saw them today selling their newspapers and it always transports me to that day when I discovered tall gorgeous blond men that others actually cared about our family. They made sure we had a good Christmas and we will always be grateful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Acting Squirrely

Squirrel.  Big fat brown squirrel chewing on my back porch.  Begone you stupid squirrel!

Holes, someone is digging holes into my newly seeded lawn area out front.  Everyday find a new spot. They're more like shallow cups not exactly holes.  Wonder what's doing that and why?

Oh, squirrel.  Big fat brown squirrel is messing with me.  He's eating my back porch and digging up my lawn.  Where's the pellet gun?  Lucky squirrel.  I don't have a pellet gun.

Gigantic seed pods.  How did these seed pods get here half eaten and strewn across all four steps? Who leaves gigantic seed pods as a booby trap to kill innocent women carrying their groceries in the house?   I know it's on purpose because who ever it was spread them across the full length of the steps so I had to step on them. Is that you squirrel?

Urban tumble weeds.  They blow between the houses, swirl a bit, then down the street.  Why can't my neighbors put lids on their trash cans?  Hey! don't you know you can recycle those bags?

Door window.  Big brown squirrel looking through my door window.  WTH?  What's up squirrel?

Getting creepy.  Squirrel antics making me  uncomfortable.  Going on for weeks. Is this really an ordinary squirrel or a zombie squirrel?

Barking.  A supposedly sane woman barking like a ferocious chihuahua at big bad brown squirrel.

No more squirrel. Yeah!  But I think he still had the last laugh.

Go over to Keely at UnMom.  Check out how random folks can be. randomtuesday

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Daughter I Used to Be

I don't like to be touched.  My personal space is hallow ground. Step too close and I might bark or give you a swift kick to the knee.

My mom's a hugger and a kisser - to EVERYONE.  Be careful because you might meet my mom on the street one day.  And if you look down or disheartened, don't be surprised if a four foot nine, redheaded, 78 year old, looks you empathetically in the eye and with an impish smile, rushes up to give you a big hug and a kiss.  You think I'm kidding?

One thing that annoys my mother is when some of her friends during a conversation keep touching her on the knee or arm every few seconds to get her attention or to emphasize a point.  She tells me this all the while she is touching my arm every few seconds to keep my attention and to emphasize a point.

After about the ninth tip touch, I can't take it anymore, "Mami, stop doing that, okay?"  "What?"

Living with all that love, empathy, and need for human connection, finally got to me. I can't help myself. At our martial art school, students are regularly greeted with big hugs and a few kisses.  Children and adults stay with us for five years or more so they become closer to family than clients. My mother taught me that people all need to feel wanted, welcomed, and understood.  Instead of being the growling grouch of my youth,  I have become a loving, hugging fool.

Vodkamom posted some posts about her mother that got me thinking again about my dear Mami.  I realized that as you get older, real intimacy is sometimes lost between a parent and child. There are a lot of grandchildren and my brother and sisters, and there is plenty of love, but intimate moments are few yet cherished by her.  My dad is not a demonstrative man, very closed, never was.  My mom is a complete opposite.  She needs lots of love, but she is not too selfish.  Because what she gives will tenfold exceed what she needs.

So at church today, watching the multitude of children in our congregation, and I mean multitude, I witnessed the little one's need to hold a parents' hand or to be picked up in those loving, safe arms. The complete bond, that oneness between mother and child was something my mom hasn't experienced for a long, long time. So I decided to be her little girl again.

I slipped my hand into hers as a five year old would, and we held hands the whole service, as daughter and mother, reliving the oneness we used to feel.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Potatoes are Free Balling

This week's Spin Cycle is anything goes.  We can choose our own topic.  My Spin is my challenge with language.

I have always had a problem expressing myself verbally.  You will find a rather lengthy post describing my problem.  An example I used in that post was when I wanted Queenmaker to get the milk out of the fridge for me.

"Honey, could you, um, um get, ah, ah grass! COW! um, um, you know, liquid-y WHITE!  Cold! in big box?"

Poor guy, he didn't have a clue. He even looked around the room trying to find what I'm talking about. Bless him.

The other day I said,

"I'm going downstairs to stitch, jeans, um, um, Water! Soap! Switch-y machine! ah, ah Clean. Basket. Stuff."    Translation: I'm going downstairs to start some laundry.

But my latest, Potatoes are Free Balling. Whew. Wow. I don't even know what to say.

QueenMaker and I decided that in the future we would bake potatoes without wrapping them in foil -  Aluminum - Alzheimer connection scare. We now bake potatoes in a casserole dish.  They taste better.  Or maybe I think they taste better than being foiled because its supposedly a healthier way to go, so of course they taste better.

Anyways, I was trying to express to QueenMaker that the potatoes had a drier texture than those wrapped up in foil, which produced more steam.  I said,

"They're drier but still tender.  These potatoes were not harnessed, um, they were free from, um, um, they weren't wrapped up, um, um (hitting my head hoping for clarity). The potatoes are free balling it!"

QueenMaker, "WHAT!"

Go visit Sprite's Keeper for more individual Spins on any and all topics.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Random Germ-y Family Affairs

Yes, we gathered together for yet another family event. This time it was my beloved niece's birthday.  Whenever the clan gathers, and we gather a lot, there is at least 22 or more people in the house ages four months to eighty years old. These events despite their joyful, fun filled, somewhat harmonious family state of affairs have a more ominous side to them.  I'm beginning to dread them just a little.

They have become a germ convention.  All the kissing and hugging, the clasping of hands, the carrying of sick babies and snotty children.  Carriers of disease coming from all quarters, college students whose campuses are under siege, old folks just out of the hospital THAT day, parents who left a child behind at home because "he threw up just before we left," children that stayed home all week because of fever, not to mention the overtaxed bathroom that over twenty people have use. Aaaugh!

Checking vitals everyday now.  Was that a little soreness in my throat just now? Was that a regular sneeze (my, is this place dusty) or was that a sickness sneeze? Are my glands *engorged?

My Beloved is a tea connoisseur, working at the Crazy Wisdom Book Store in Ann Arbor, for the last two years.  He brought home a tea called Beloved's Don't Get Sick Tea, one he blended himself. Sweet kid, always thinking about his mommy.  (Oh yea, and his daddy too.)

What? Fever for the last two days? Aaaugh! He's got the sickness too!

This past Sunday my mother and I got an unexpected treat at church when we found her goddaughter there.  Maria is a nurse.  There is a point in the mass when we offer each other a sign of peace, which means shaking hands with everyone around you.  It's the only time that people will actually look you in the eye and smile, otherwise its stone face. Well as soon as it was over, Maria grabbed her purse in a fury and took out hand sanitizer.  She grabbed her sister's hand and put a dollop, then she grabbed my mother's then mine.  It was so overt that everyone we shook hands with turned to look giving us the ole fish eye. Usually I try to do things like that on the sly.

Well at first I thought she was overreacting until I look to my right and saw a man helping his eldest daughter.  Her head was in her lap and he was stroking her hair. I wondered if she was sick.  No.  He was removing the lice from the back of her head.   Aaaaaaauuuuuugggghhhh!

Now go visit Keely at UnMom for more Random posts.  At least they won't be a sick as mine although I could be wrong about that.
* that's for jim styro

Thursday, November 5, 2009

No Room to Think

The Spin Cycle this week is parental confessions.  Check out more Spins on Jen's Sprite's Keeper.

Confessions of a mom when her child was three years old.

Aaargh. I'm going mad.  There were times when the only voice I could hear in my head was that of an adorable somewhat high pitched voice belonging to an equally adorable little boy. He learned not only to ask questions and form sentences, he's learned he could ask them non-stop.  Question after question would fly my way, which I dutifully answered as best I could and I have to admit, I was pretty good at it.  

Then he would check my answers by repeating what I had said over and over.  We moved from two word phrases like "Look mommy." or "What's that?" to requests for full explanations about the world around him and then ask why, until each explanation needed another until he was fully satisfied. Then he would take the information and talk and talk about what he had just heard, peppering me with, "Isn't that right mommy?"

After a while I realized that my willingness to answer all his questions was a way for him to keep me near him, which was really sweet of him.  It was a way to get my full attention, every second of the day, the unconsciously sweet little manipulator. If I started to move from the room or look in another direction, he would recognize the body language to flee and ask another question.  He sometimes grabbed my chin to make me look at him.

At one point I told him, that he needed to give mommy a break because the only voice I heard in my head was his, that I couldn't hear my own thinking voice anymore, that my head was full of his questions and that there was hardly any room for my own questions.

After a while, he looked at me with concern and asked, "Is there room up there now mommy?"  Yes baby, there's room.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Random Errands


My mom has been lonely lately.  She sees all five of her children at least once a week, some of them more, but she still gets lonely.  Trapped inside that 78 year old body is a 22 year old girl trying to get out.  She loves life.  She loves people.  She loves adventure.  One day trapped in her house without something to do and no visitors means a day of gardening, or cleaning, or sorting.  She loves to sort her stuff. Two days and she gets anxious with no contact.  Papi's sitting in his chair putting together a puzzle.  The dresser in his room is piled high with jigsaw puzzle boxes.  But he doesn't count.  He hasn't counted in ages.  He's home and stays alone, maybe a little lonely, but she definitely gets lonely and needs to get away.

So I called her and asked if she wanted to keep me company while I ran errands the next day.  When I awoke and the sun was shining. becoming a beautiful crisp November morning, I knew she would be pleased. I know I was.

I always drive a circuit.  I plan my drive for minimum miles per gallon.  I also pile my errands together to make sure the trip to one place will yield another place to stop.  So if I go east, I visit every store that I usually frequent in that area.

First I take her to the a polish meat market, the only one left in the area.  Been there forever. Yea, no line. We munch on samples of bratwurst,  kielbasa and jerky.  Meat is king! She wonders from one end of the store to the other munching on cajun and garlic roasted peanuts.

Then off to the italian meat market, the only one left in our area.  She's amazed that so much can be packed into a small store.  I buy fresh ricotta, freshly shredded mozzarella, and freshly ground parmesan.  Cheese is king! I get a pepperoni and grab a dough out of the freezer.  Guess what we are having tonight.

Oh, don't look at the cannoli.  Back away, pretend it's not there.  Don't buy a cannoli! Hey mom do you like cannoli?  No sweetie, I don't.  Thanks Ma.

Then off to the fabric store.  I need some black satin to make black sashes for the upcoming black belt test. I love this store or any fabric store.  Unfortunately they are going the way of the dinosaur.  Even this store is a fabric slash craft store, but I'm grateful for any space in a store for fabrics. It will be a sorrowful day when I won't be able to see and feel all these lovely textiles.

The little woman is meandering around.  I see her up an isle and I hurry to catch up to her.  What the hey! She turned the corner and she was gone.  I call her, Ma!  She's two isles down and cruising in the direction of the call.  But I've moved too, moving fast to head her off, but she'll already turned around and is out of sight.  Ma!  Now she's confused and heads left and down another isle.  I hit the isle and again, What the hey.  Where is she?  I've got to stop calling out Ma.

I finally corner her and we're off to the bank.  Then to the post office.  By the way the Christmas stamps are in.  Just saying.  The post office was the only place where I encountered a line.  So off she went to check out what's cool at the post office.  She came and found me in line to tell me that a little old lady was coming in the door and that she was going to keep an eye on her.  Oookay.  I wondered what my 78 year old mother thought an old lady looked like, but I kept that to myself.  Besides she moves like she's 60 and acts like she's 22.  She helped me place a hundred postcard stamps on a hundred postcards, reminding me that we are so grateful that they are self stick.

Then off to the dentist's office to drop off a payment.  She stayed in the car and was delighted that I put on the classical station for her. Throughout my circuit, I went down the less traveled roads or chose the roads where the scenery was pleasant.  She always thought she was lost until she realized that the stores were on main roads. She was pleased. We were lucky and were serviced quickly at each location.

QueenMaker just walked in the room and looked at my post.  What?!  He started with the usual, people write way to much information on the web.  You just told the everyone in the world how to track you down.  There would be no way you could go into hiding if you wanted to, because you just told everyone you love to hang out in meat markets, that you need and love fabrics.  When they come looking for you, they'll just stake out those places.  Who knows what other info you've let out on the web... His voice is trailing off as he walks away.  He's been reading 1984 lately, so excuse him.
But he is right.

Anyhoo.  Mami and I were back by noon.  I dropped her off at home and raced home to make dinner.  We had a lovely morning. I felt very daughter-y.

Now go visit Keely our hostess for Random Thoughts Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eye Candy and Food Jewelry

Sometimes I really want the things that I just can't afford.  Every time I walk into a specialty shop, I have to admire their gorgeous displays.  Each and every time, I allow myself five minutes eyeing each beautiful gem with desire in my heart.  I'm always tempted to spend the money, to pick up a little box and secretly enjoy in private my lovely little treasure.

But I sigh and smile at my self control.  I've saved QueenMaker so much money, if only he knew. How many goodies could I have bought myself, hundreds and hundreds.  But I have learned to walk away, satisfying my eyes and savoring them in my imagination.

I circle and circle the store, fluttering to every display case, eyeing the beautiful rings of gold, the exquisite detail and color on each setting, the way the light hits each glistening surface...

QueenMaker, "Why are you circling those pastries like that?"  

"I'm admiring them.  I admire the donuts, the cakes, the pies. They are like little gems in a jewelry box.  Aren't they beautiful?"

"Yes, yes they are."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sweet Little Brew

Oh you sweet little brew, my love for you grew and grew.
You kept my hands warm all winter long.
But seven cups a day to keep warm is just wrong.

Each morning I wake to the whirling sound of the bean grinder.
And when the aroma fills the air, instead of grumpy, I feel kinder.

When the coffee pots makes it’s last gaaawfaaaw, expelling its last drop
My man grabs the milk and splashes just a bit of it into my cup.

But alas our coffee clutches are now just a one-time morning affair.
Too many cups a day and you’ll find me doubled over in a chair.

No matter how many times a day I must run and find a place to pee
You will always be in my life. I need you. I love you, my dearest sweet coffee. 

Got this tidbit of information from coffee bump blog.
Studies have show that drinking coffee actually offers antioxidant benefits that can protect you from premature age and disease.  What's more astounding is by sniffing your favorite Java, it can still offer those same antioxidant properties to combat the damaging effects of stress in your body's cells.  That's right, smelling coffee brings down your stress levels. 

So smelling coffee is just as good as drinking it.  Ah, No.

Anyways in support of all coffee lovers and Jen from Blissfully Caffeinated, (hope you're feeling much better), go over to Jenni's blog Oscarelli to read more about this delicious brew.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Grown Up Talk

After watching a program on Michigan Television called Pain of Depression: A Journey Through the Darkness, I  commented to QueenMaker how nice it was that I was witnessing a grown-up conversation, full of insights, examples and scenarios that help me learn and understand the comprehensive subject at hand.  This is something that I was not accustomed to, but wholeheartedly welcomed and enjoyed. No yelling, no animosity, just a panel of experts from a court justice, mental health professionals, journalists, advocates, lawyers, judges, and scholars listening to the various scenarios and rendering their expert opinion on the facts, the known and realistic actions that will take place in each query posed to them. Don't worry there was always someone playing devil's advocate to offer an opposing position. I have watched these discussions on other subjects as well, always fascinating. 

Queenmaker told me it was because they were talking philosophy.  "Philosophy doesn't yell. Politics does. Philosophy seeks to understand.  Politics seek to dominate.  Believe, me, philosophy disengaged with politics years ago." 

Where did all the grown-ups dissolve to?

I think we need to find a philosophy...or something.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Wistful Dear So-and-So

Dear Father-in-Law,

Could you please not get the Alzheimer disease yet?  I’m not prepared.  I didn’t know how quickly it would or could take hold.  You and Mom (an invalid) live an hour away.  Your job of taking care of your wife will become mine.  I am realizing that my life is going to be overtaken by your lives. Can I have a month or two to get used to the idea?  No.  Okay, I understand.


Your wistful daughter.

Dear Mother-in-law,

You’ve called in a panicked state the last two days since your husband has been in the hospital.  Because of your illness, emphysema and COPD, you have abrogated all thought processes to your husband for the last decade. So when you called me I said, “Step up to the plate. What happened to that woman that was a single mom, taking care of her kid, and working two jobs?  The woman who used to take care of business, the accountant, the avid reader, the capable woman I used to know? Don’t worry I will be there to do for you, but I won’t take over ALL of your responsibilities as you have given to your husband. You need to help me as much as you need me to help you.  Make some phone calls woman, ask questions, be a proactive advocate. You are not helpless.


Your Partner in Illness

Dear Life,

Why do you insist on changing on a dime?  What, did you see a dime on the ground? Did I step on it by accident?  Maybe it was someone else’s dime.  I know, I know.  I stepped on it anyways.  I won't fight it.


Learning to Balance Life as It Comes

Visit Dear So and So...

Friday, October 9, 2009

President Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize

In my opinion, there is a strong reason why President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.  It was something almost imperceptible, but I'm sure I heard it, and even felt it myself.

It was the almost audible collective sigh that every nation gave when they heard he won the  U.S. Presidential election.

You know how satisfying a sigh can be, especially one of that magnitude.  A sigh of relief is one of the best feelings a world can experience.  So if one man can do that for the entirety of the world, if he can make it sigh, then by golly give him the prize!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Aunt Ellie Holds A Baby

Baby Holding - Awesome!

At a mere five pounds, he fits so perfectly in the crook of my arm.  It's been a while since I held a baby but it always feels so right.  The maternal gene kicks into high gear, a smile spreads across my face, a feeling of complete contentment comes over me, and it seems like I have found my calling.  I was born to hold babies.

Not necessarily have them.  Just hold them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Missing Oneness

My guys are coming home.  QueenMaker and Beloved have been gone a week now.  They boarded a plane westward on a business trip. They also took a few days to see Redwood trees and visited Crater Lake.  They were looking forward to their trip as father and son.  They haven't spent much time alone before and as Beloved said, "This will be the first time we are going together as grown men.  I think I can be considered a grown man, don't you think Mom?" "Yes, baby. You're a grown man."

I get to experience the day on a totally different timetable.  I still take care of our business, but my days are less structured. When there is no one waiting at home I'll wander. I'll hang around.  I'll stay put longer. I'll stop at a bookstore. My day is mine to do what I wish.  I eat when I want and visit family and friends without looking to see if it's time to go home.

Of course, knowing this, my family has made all kinds of plans for me.  I don't mind.  It's always a good time to refresh family bonds.  But I allow myself to selfishly decline if I want. I never feel guilty when I say no because I need my alone time.

It's been a while since I have been completely alone.  I'm not a person that gets lonely.  I like solitude and seldom need the companionship of other humans.  But the feeling this week can only be described as empty.  My bed seems particularly cold this past week.   It's hard to sleep when the furnace of your life is away.

I'm ready to leave aloneness. I'm glad I can set aside this state of being until another time. It's an option that some people just don't have.  I miss my companions and the togetherness of our little trio.

Please bring them back safe to me.

Crater Lake

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mini Heroes that Change Your Life

It's after midnight here and technically it's no longer Friday, but after a long day of distracting minutia, I finally got to the meme topic for Sprite's Keeper Spin Cycle.  I have avoided memes in the past because truthfully, I didn't know what the word meant.  But thanks to Jen, I think I understand.

Beloved has taken to drawing famous characters or persons on backpacks, mailbags, and clothing.  He asked me to name a few characters in pop culture or history that I would want on a mailbag, people I admired or are my mini heroes. And without hesitation, three names came to mind. Bugs Bunny, Walter Cronkite, and Sgt. Hans Schultz.  Yes, yes, I know.  His left eyebrow went up too.

Anyways, here is my spin.

Name the people or characters that you grew up on that have changed your perspective on life.  They can't be anyone you have met before because that would be too easy.  As a kid growing up what had an influence on the way you look at the world today. Who made you sit up and take notice? Who became mini heros in your mind.

1.  Bugs Bunny.  - I learned a lot from Bugs Bunny.  He taught me the nuances of language.  He was  inquisitive, charming, honest and always in control of every situation.  I learned that you don't always have to be nice, that it was okay to be a "stinker." He used cunning and wit to outsmart his opponents.  It was okay to be sarcastic, irreverent, and even nasty at times.  When he looked at his audience and said, "Of course, you know (realize), this means war!" It meant I could stand up for myself.  I loved it when he said, "Whatta maroon! Whatta a ignoranious!" or "What a gulli-bull! What a nin-cow-poop."

2. Walter Cronkite - I sigh just saying his name.  I watched this man every night with my parents and fell in love with him. I remember wishing he was my uncle.  That voice was so soothing, his manner so forthright.  When he talked I listened. I believed. I knew I was getting it straight.  He exuded honesty, fairness, and integrity. He was a role-model of what I thought a mature adult should aspire to be. Years later I heard him described as the "most trusted man in America."  Too bad those days are long gone.

3. Sergeant Hans Schultz - As a kid, I loved this character on Hogan's Heros. He was so cuddly and cute. Schultz was definitely a lover not a fighter. In one episode it's learned that he is really a pacifist and owned a toy factory before the war.  I loved him even more.  What did I learn from Schultz?  That calling a person your enemy is not as cut and dry as one might think. That both sides in a conflict has its share of unwilling participants. It was hard to think of him as an enemy soldier or even a traitor to his own country. It was more that he wasn't a traitor to himself.

4. Carl Sagan - He taught me about the Cosmos.  I can still hear his voice and his unique way of phrasing a sentence.  He gave me an appreciation for everything stellar. He gave me a new way to think, beyond myself and my own little world.  One of his quotes stays with me today, "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

5. Mother Teresa - I watched a documentary following Mother Teresa in Calcutta.  It was very hard to watch and I cried and cried from beginning to end.  The depth of her compassion defined for me what it is to have real strength, super human strength.  The depth of the poverty and suffering I witnessed in this film showed me a level of pain and suffering far beyond my imagination.  The depth of their need to be held and loved and to watch Mother Teresa compassionately cradling, stroking and loving the ill and the dying was too much for my soul to take.

I learned that I can never again complain about my life or my hardships again. They are infinitesimal, an affront to those that are truly suffering.  I learned that I truly lack nothing in this world. We in America are truly rich, even when we are poor. I understand that nothing I can experience can compare to what others around the world must endure.  Kiss the ground you walk on people!

6. Our Town - When I was a young girl, I watched a production of the play, Our Town, written by Thornton Wilder. One particular scene had a profound effect on me. The character Emily Webb, after dying in childbirth joins a group of dead souls in the local cemetery.  She discovers that she can revisit and witness any time in her past life. She chooses to go back to visit her family.  She's back in her mother's kitchen, watching her mother cook breakfast, her father at the table. She realizes that everything is so beautiful and she revels in every detail down to the wallpaper.  She tries to get her family to realize that every moment is precious, to realize and experience the joy of being together. But they cannot  hear her. For them it is just a routine morning and they are blind to the beauty of the moment. Emily's lesson is that human life is precious because it is fleeting.  It becomes too painful for her to remain among the living and she returns to the cemetery.

So I have learned to be in the moment as often as I can, especially when I am with the people I love.  When I visit my parents and sit in their kitchen having coffee, I look around. I experience the moment. I absorb every detail. I listen to the timber and vibration of their voices. I smell the coffee in the air. I feel the breeze from the window on my face. I look at my dad as he does his crossword puzzle, and how my mom's hair frames her face.  The beauty of the moment fills my soul.

7. Benjamin Franklin - How about this guy! What do I admire about this great historical figure? Let me count the ways.  Well I guess I won't because the roll call of his accomplishments already fills volumes and volumes. A scientist, inventor, printer, philosopher, economist, musician, statesman, and don't forget  a Founding Father. Huzzah! Founding Father in the house.  But under each of those categories or careers listed above you will find a list of accomplishments that boggles the mind.  When did he find the time to do so much? What energy! What stamina! Oh yes, let's add to the list, Lady's Man. If he were around today, I would be a groupie.

What did I learn from Benjamin Franklin? I learned to never be fearful of changing your career. Your job does not dictate who you are. If you are not happy with your career, change it. Never feel stuck. Change it a dozen times or be like Ben and do them all simultaneously.

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing." ~ B. Franklin

Friday, September 18, 2009

Introducing Great Aunt Ellie

Oh yes little ones, you are going to know me well.  I have the time and dare I say it the inclination to visit you every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Your mommy just had a new baby, your new brother and brought him home this week.  She has joined the ranks of women who have three children under the age of four.

When I came to visit, you were both screaming at the top of your lungs and running around like whirling tops. As soon as I walked in you both decided it would be wildly funny to come over and start smacking me. Little girl started screaming at me to get out and generally maligning my character.  Kid, you barely know me.

I looked over at your Mom exhausted and staring out into space.  I heard that when her hubby came home the other day, she grabbed the keys and got in the car and had a good cry.

Now I know for sure that I was right to offer my services to her when she was in the hospital. Don’t worry; you will have the times of your lives when I am there.  So you will be more than happy to bend to my will. So kiddies, get ready, here comes Great Aunt Ellie.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spin Cycle - So Much to Hate, So Little Time

What do I hate? Sprite’s Keeper’s Spin Cycle is on the topic of hate.  After reading some of the other posts regarding this topic, it got me thinking about true hate. Do I know hate?  Have I felt real hate?

As the oldest of five children, all one year apart, I can honestly say that we all experienced hate.  Put five rambunctious children; keep them closed up in a tiny house, always hungry, playing and arguing constantly with each other. Add to the mix a dog, a cat, and a bird flying around and you have chaos. The four girls had to share everything, clothes, shoes, socks and coats.  Four girls eyeing the same outfits or stealing clothes from each other and it’s a recipe for knock down, drag out fights, with lots of hair pulling, name calling, clothes tearing and lots of tears. (Go ahead pull my hair.  My scalp doesn’t feel a thing. Mega Scalp.) By the time I was eight years old, I knew my sisters hated me. They kept telling me so.

Now don’t let this Lord of the Flies situation get you down. It is so true that there is a fine line between love and hate. But I have to admit, that as a child, I experienced great love and great hate when it came to my siblings. I wailed at my mom many times, “Why didn’t you stop having babies after me?!” 

But do I hate as an adult?  Like many of you, I do not hate individuals.   People can be misguided, sick, ignorant, ridiculous, blinded, dramatic or unthinking.  People can also be con artists, greedy, unfeeling and prey on their fellow human beings. I do not hate individuals.  It’s what they may do as a group that scares me.

Here are a few things I do hate.

Hypocrisy – I can avoid hypocritical individuals. When they come into my life, I run the other way, closing the doors and windows behind me.  But massive hypocrisy as I witness in our political system and parties, I truly hate. They all move like schools of fish, first one way then the other, swishing around, changing direction in ethics, speech, and mores.  It hurts me to listen to the parroting rhetoric, the propaganda, and the hypocrisy. Have our attention spans become so small that we can’t remember?

Dramatics – I can avoid dramatic individuals. I can avoid the “chicken little” people or the “poor little me” people that dot the landscape with a quick side step or by using the phrase, “You and a thousand other people in your situation.”  But mass dramatics as I witness in everyday television is frightening.  It’s like a primer for our nation on how to act. 

Here you go folks, a little problem, and no big deal, really.  Let’s see how to handle it.  Oh yes. Blow it out of proportion. Right, have a tantrum. Finger pointing, Excellent. Oh good, make a scene. Let’s make it much bigger than it really is. Did you just call him a bleep? Fantastic. We’ll put you on television. You will be our new national hero! 

Oh yea, what was the problem in the first place, inconsequential. No need to correct it. It was just a means to an end, dramatic anarchy and incivility. Don't worry your little pretty heads about it.
When did we become satisfied with the lowest common denominator?

But what I hate is that it has leaked onto our political scene. Why has the high school mentality taken over our politicians?  I hate it that the struggle between them is not for our benefit (American people), hasn’t been in many, many years.  It’s more like the jocks against the greasers, the Jets against the Sharks, the nerds against the pops, just a struggle for power.  They would rather bring each other down instead, taking us down with them. 

My, this has truly turned into my own dramatic tirade. I’m going to stop now.  Oh believe me there’s more.  But the post would probably be way too long. But in my defense if you asked me what I loved, it would take up volumes and volumes.

Gee, reading over my post above, it seems I hate politics.  And my friend, you would be right. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

RTT: Purge or Become a Collyer Situation*

My house is getting smaller and smaller.  Storage has become a big issue.  Beloved informed me yesterday that he decided he had to move back home as a base of operation. He was hoping to be in a new apartment by this time but needs a second job to accomplish this goal. For the last month he has been staying with friends while he searches.  Finally, the truth of what needs to be done has hit him. No more living in limbo.

Since he graduated, I have been purging, reorganizing, and making room for his belongings.  How do I fit an apartment’s worth of stuff in our little bungalow?  I put up three shelving units in the attic. Wow, look at all that floor space. Yessssss!  I bought eight 18-gallon bins, all still sitting in my living and dining rooms, ready to head up to the attic. So if the floor or ceiling depending on the way you look at it holds up, we might make it. 

I need one of those $19.95 television products, the one that sucks all the air out of a bag filled with comforters and throws making it a mere four inches thick.  I imagine a whole linen closet full of those bags. The only thing I’m worried about is if they get pierced or fail, will the resulting explosion destroy the closet?

Speaking of purging, why is it so hard?  Well I guess the word itself may hold a clue.  Throwing up one’s stuff, not pleasant.  My house was supposed to be a starter home.  I was looking forward to my dream home, with a fantastic kitchen, immense closets, and a family room that could accommodate big family gatherings.  Well, that’s been way out of reach for decades.   

The lovely gifts I’ve received over the years are wasting away in the attic.  Would I like to display the Peanuts’ Schroeder playing a Grand Piano with skating Snoopy on top? Damn straight.  Would I like to display my Christmas village with operating railroad?  You know it. Would I like to show off my Guy Noir bobble head? Yes, indeed-y. Would I like to display the exquisite Asian tea set that Queen Maker’s dad got in Okinawa? You betcha. These are possessions that I will never get rid of, yet will never see the light of day.  Sigh.

How about the one room I never, ever use.  I could make it into an office or my artist’s sanctuary.  I could get rid of the couch. No one sits on it.  I could get rid of the electronics. No one listens in there. I could get rid of the coffee table. No one takes coffee in there.  Would it be wrong for a home to be without a living room, especially when no one lives in it? Or is that taking purging a little too far?

RRT is getting huge. Check UnMom for more Random Thought Tuesdays.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dear Four and Five Year Olds

Dear So and So...
Visit 3 Bedroom Bungalow for more Dear So and So's. This is my first one.  

Dear four and five year olds,

Please refrain from calling my name 17 times in one minute.  Although my ability to hear three conversations at once is amazing, I can’t possible do five, six, or seven.  The cacophony of noise actually made my brain freeze.

Yours in hiding, Teach

Dear four and five year olds,

My bad. After my brain unfroze, I realized my mistake.  Please raise your hands if you want to talk to me.  Thanks.

Hopeful, Teach.

Dear four and five year olds,

I meant raise your hands and wait until I look at you before talking.  Thanks a heap.

Got it Now, Teach.

(With a deep breath and thinking, "How do real teachers do this?) 

Dearest four and five year-olds,

Again my apologies. Raise your hand and wait until I call your name before you start talking. 

Learning lessons, Teach

Dear four and five year olds,

Please don’t get angry because I call someone else’s name first. I’m sorry I didn’t get to you fast enough, no offense meant. That furrowed brow of yours is so deep I’m tempted to sow some seed.

Tired, Teach

Dear four and five year olds,

Mom and Dad are here to pick you up.  I will see you tomorrow.  It will be a different day I’m sure.  I will be better prepared, I promise.  I’ll figure it out. I’ll be going to bed early tonight, and for my sake, please do the same.

Lessons learned, Teach

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Exciting News for Crazy People

randomtuesdayWhile visiting some of my favorite blogs, Sprite’s Keeper and historymike I found the word neuroses on both of their blogs.  When I visited Keely's blog UnMom, she had a link to something called, Emails from Crazy People. How timely.  My very next entry was about one of my many little crazy eccentricities - talking out loud to myself.   I often say things to myself like, “Well, that’s what you get for being so…” or  “You’re such an idiot!”  Now many folks might do this too, but I actually will answer myself.
“Well, that’s what you get for being so…”    “What, What, being so what? You don’t know what you are talking about!”   Or   “You’re such an idiot!”    “No, I’m not. You are!”

I will attribute this to the many years of conditioning, yelling, arguing, or telling secrets with my siblings and old friends.  Maybe I miss the tete-a-tete, or maybe I am just crazy.

How exciting for crazy people. At first I thought more and more of us were all coming out of the closet.  Based on anecdotal evidence the percentage of people talking to themselves in public seems to have risen significantly.  Now of course, I realize that it isn’t the crazies that are talking out loud, it’s the normals. 

A new technology has been introduced to the world that allows us to walk among the normals.  We no longer have to hide the fact that we talk to ourselves. Now I can go out in public and talk away to the many people residing in me.  I can have whole conversations or let my inner child playact, rehearsing imaginary dialogue out loud. I can gesticulate all I want, flailing my hands, pointing my finger to the sky to make a point.  In the ancient times, in the twentieth century, people usually crossed the street.

But now it a new millennium, it’s the twenty-first century and I’m giving a shout out to the inventor of the Bluetooth earpiece. Now everyone sounds and acts crazy.  While waiting in a line, for a split second I wonder if the person behind me is speaking to me. With a sideways glance I realize, “Ooooh, the person is on the phone,” which seems sane enough for some reason, even though they are staring out into space having what seems an imaginary argument with someone.  My fears of standing next to a weirdo subside and the person will segue from the “possibly insane category” into “just really annoying category.” Yes, even crazy people are scared of other crazy people.

My route to work goes through the middle of a park. I’m used to seeing dozens of people walking or running on the walkway along the rode every day.  But yesterday I noticed that some of the walkers are doing something bizarre.  They are waving their hands and talking loudly to someone.  What used to be a contemplative time has become “crazy person walking!”  Honey, look at that woman.  What is she doing?  Poor thing. Why isn’t anyone with her? Ooooh, she’s on the phone. She seemed crazy a second ago.  And that’s when the light in my head went off. 

Now it is relatively easy to talk out loud whenever I want. So whenever someone looks up with a queer look on his or her face or when a whole room becomes silent because I made the mistake of saying something out loud, I can point to the cell phone and say, “Oh sorry, I’m on the phone.”  (I really don’t have a cell phone. I just pretend I’m holding one. With my long wavy hair, no one can tell the difference.) They look so relieved, give me a little smile and nod their heads knowingly. Their world is right again.

So crazy people go right out and buy an earpiece for your phone. Wear it all the time.  Or get the earpiece and don’t bother getting the phone. Go take a walk in the park, to the store, or even up and down your street. Talk loud, wave your hands about, and tell yourself some stories. If someone spots you, point to your earpiece and smile. You will fit right in because you can now hide among like things. Crazy no more. Priceless.
“That was a dumb post.”  “So what, you didn’t even try to come up with anything better.”

Monday, August 31, 2009

Silly Me. What Middle Aged Tween Years?

For the last two years, I have been grappling with the Mom Missing It stage and finally started embracing my Middle Age Tweeness, you know, between mom and grandma. I am only fifty years old after all and still young enough to enjoy many new things. I was looking forward to a carefree, rediscovery of myself. I thought I had all the time to pamper myself, renew old hobbies, rejuvenate connections with friends and sisters, and throw in a little travel. How naïve am I?

Little red warning signs started popping up. The first flag appeared about six months ago, nothing to really get worried about, just a sign of things to come years in the future. Or so I thought. But now they appear monthly. Although my role of Mom is on hold or on permanent hiatus, and my role of grandmother doesn’t seem to be coming around anytime soon, I still have one role that I had been taking for granted lately, a role that seemed fairly carefree and easy thus far, the role of daughter.

I’m finding out that the Tween years also means between children and parents. My parents are 78 and 80 years old and are still independent. They were always highly active people and are just now slowing down. They try to avoid driving at night and mom is showing signs of real fatigue because of her asthma. Luckily there are five children in our family, so we share in keeping them occupied and entertained.

Queen Maker’s 75-year-old mom has COPD, and her husband is 71 years of age. Both have been inactive for years becoming feeble fast and increasingly need of help in running a household. Last week, my mother-in-law ran into the lid of the dishwasher when she was loading it. It tore a huge gash in her leg. Because of the steroids and medications she takes for her condition, her skin has become very thin. It doesn’t take much for her to sustain a wound and unfortunately her wounds are always major ones now.

Her husband called us in a panic around nine o’clock in the evening. He couldn’t help her to the chair or to the car to take her to the hospital. Queen Maker told him to call 911. But hearing the panic in his voice, we drove the hour to get to them, fretting the whole way. She managed to stop the bleeding, and they were debating and unsure on whether to sit three to four hours in an emergency room and asked us to make the decision for them. I looked closely at her leg and realized I was looking at fat cells and muscle. No question we should go.

Before making the trip to the hospital she needed to refill her portable oxygen tank. It of course decided not to function. Taking her without her oxygen was out of the question. The alternative was to call an ambulance, but then afterwards, how would she get home without her tank. She was adamant that she couldn’t go without her oxygen; that sitting in an emergency room for hours was stupid and besides the bleeding had stopped. Then she realized that she couldn’t sit with a lot of sick people because of her COPD. She was in full panic attack mode.

It is now eleven o’clock and ignoring their protests (they hate to bother anyone), I immediately call the oxygen company. I got a human being. Amazing. She connected me to a tech in the field. Hope. Ignoring their protests, I call her doctor’s office and found out the office was open the next day, Saturday, for emergency care only. Great. So the decision was made. The tech would bring a machine in the morning (or I would hunt him down like a dog) and my in laws would go to her doctor’s office in the morning instead. I bandaged her leg to cover the wound, keeping my worries about infection to myself.

Because I was so worried, I chastised them. First, I told them, they needed to create a larger support group. They may need the immediate help of neighbors, especially if my father in law can’t help his wife off the floor. In a real emergency, swallow your pride and enlist the help of neighbors if need be. Secondly, my father in law’s daughter lives much closer than we do and works at Beaumont Hospital. Although their relationship is not as close, it was no excuse. Make her part of your support team. It would make driving that hour less stressful. Thirdly, I looked at my father in law, who lately is refusing to exercise, or walk, or do anything to keep his vitality, most likely due to depression over the deteriorating health of his wife, and told him, “Exercise.” He should at least maintain his strength to be able to help her the two feet to a chair for goodness sake! He was their first line of defense and he should be ready for it.

This event shook me to the core. My eyes have been opened. I saw what old age was going to be. It could be like my parents or like my husband’s parents and it was only a mere twenty years away. I am guilty of inactivity, of laziness, of constantly saying I was going to do something about maintaining my own strength. This has motivated me to start core strength training now.

I also realized that my time as a Middle Aged Tween was highly limited. I was fantasizing about all the time I had. How silly. Life’s reality has a way of pushing fantasy back to where it belongs. I see it coming. In the near future, I will be devoted in maintaining and caring for our parents’ home and health and eventually taking care of them full time. Actually for some people there are no Tween years, just moving from children that need you to parents that need you.

I got a big reality check, but I will endeavor to enjoy my teeny, weenie, Tween year as long as it lasts.

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