Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We had company from out of town last weekend.  It was so fun catching up and laughing with them.  Nineteen friends got together the first night at the local Chinese restaurant and we had such a wonderful time.

When we got home and relaxed, we first changed into more comfortable clothes.  The hubster chose an old grey sweatshirt that is ragged at the neck and has a MAJOR hole in the elbow.  It is stained and not even useful as a rag.  I could not believe he chose that sweatshirt to wear in front of our friends.

Having been married for almost 45 years, I guess I should be used to his habits.  I have thrown away so many old t-shirts of his.  Once I ordered the same t-shirt on-line so he would give up the old one.  It was a “Gorilla Snot” t-shirt and he didn’t care that it had numerous holes in it and the neck band was coming off.  (For those of you who don’t know, gorilla snot is a product you use to keep from losing your guitar pick.)  He cut the logo out of the old t-shirt and uses it to dust his guitar case.

He once had a Fenwick (fishing poles) t-shirt and the logo was hanging from tatters.  I forget how I got that one away from him.

The most embarrassing clothing thing he ever had thought had to be these tennis shoes that he refused to get rid of.  I couldn’t believe he wore them as his house shoes.  I couldn’t even wash them.  He wanted them just like they were.  I finally convinced him to get some of those Crocs like Mario Batali wears--but not in orange.  I got him a pair in brown and he is still wearing them as his house shoes.

I was so relieved the day I put those tennis shoes into the garbage.  The rest of the garbage was probably repulsed.

I do manage to keep him in nice underwear in case he is in an accident and has to go to the hospital.  And when he goes out he does dress nicely.  Grey vee neck sweater, long sleeve shirt with the collar buttoned down and blue jeans.

I guess I should talk.  I kept the shoestrings from my six year old tennis shoes and replaced the pair in my new shoes.  (By the way, he surfed them and they are bubble lace shoe strings from New Balance.

Monday, February 23, 2015

When I was younger most all of my close friends were guys.  I really like guys.  They mostly have a great sense of humor and will say practically anything that is on their minds.  They don’t listen very well but I am not one to disclose secrets to them anyhow.

The older I get, the more I appreciate my girlfriends.  I have girlfriends whom I do different things with.  I have drinking girlfriends, shopping girlfriends, listening to music girlfriends, cooking girlfriends, gardening girlfriends, and many other girlfriends.

The hubster is at an age where he doesn’t want to do anything.  He doesn’t want to go out; he doesn’t want to drive (but won’t let anyone else drive but himself).  And I am at a retired age that I want to do everything that comes along.

I used to say when I was young that I wanted to do everything in the world and I was already pissed because I knew I could not.  Now a days I am doing what I want.  No, I’m not bungee jumping or cliff diving.  I went to a gardening workshop yesterday and talked with my girlfriends about gardening and gardening excursions.  It was a day of gardening.
In my life I have had many adventures.  The hubster was a certified scuba diver when we met and he encouraged me to get certified.  I was in college at the time and took scuba diving as one of my classes.  Oh I get to have fun while learning.  I’d never have passed the physics without the hubster.

I also took tennis while I was in college.  I was pregnant at the time.  Playing tennis two days a week I still gained 80 pounds with the baby.  I was getting pretty good when I finished the class.

When my girls were about 10 and 12 we started crewing for a hot air balloon pilot.  I have flown in a balloon so many times I couldn’t keep track.  The pilot, a weatherman and I went exceedingly high once just to experience the weather up there.  It was so wonderful.  We were above Rock City and could see to Freeport and Brodhead.  Unbelievable!
My soul’s home is Jamaica and I have been to Jamaica many times.  I love the people, the food, the music, the diving and snorkeling-- and you can drink the water.  Three other couples went to Jamaica with us one time and we had the greatest time ever.  We laughed so much I was sore.

I have had so many fun jobs in my life.  I was a stay at home mom for most of my life but I was a Kelly temporary office worker.  I’ve been a legal secretary, helped to destroy an A T & T office, where in fact I wrote most of my novel between shredding paper.  I have worked as a dental assistant.  I did a year at a television station.  I worked for a small newspaper and took pictures and wrote stories about children who did marvelous things.  I was a school secretary for 11 years, nine of which were fabulous.  I worked in a mental health facility for over a year.

And so now that I am retired my adventures are continuing.  So far I have been a movie star twice.  Check out “Pins”, a short film on youtube.  I have visited the conservatory in Rockford and took a tour of the Rock River in Rockford.  I have introduced my girlfriend to Indian, Japanese, Thai and Chinese food.  I am becoming a Master Gardener.
The girlfriends and I have gone shopping, gardening touring, junk shop shopping, bar hopping and so many other fun things.

Girlfriend, Nancy and I have baked and canned several times.  We are known as the Women Who Can and Drink and the men who love them.  Or the women who bake and drink.  We have entirely too much fun and put up lots of goodies in the meantime.

Friend, Garnet has introduced me to Zumba and we have Zumbaed together.

Future plans include doing the river tour of Chicago and perhaps an overnight in Chicago.  Next week we are visiting the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  Girl trips are so much fun.

Here’s to you girlfriends!

Thank you for all your love and all the laughter.

Friday, February 20, 2015

            Today at work I received a fax asking me to vote as to whether or not I thought executions of criminals should be televised.  After seeing the Oscar award-winning movie, Gladiator, over the weekend, I am just sick thinking about this situation.   Are we to revert to Roman carnage for our entertainment?

            I have to admit that I am of the old school of “an eye for an eye” kind of punishment.  I think if punishment befit the crime, criminals would come to realize that the law was serious and crimes would decrease.  If I thought I would lose my hand if I stole, I’m positive I wouldn’t do the deed twice.   I also feel it is time that people take responsibility for their actions.  If you make a conscious decision to break the law, you should be punished for it.  I think rights should end for prisoners not like it is now when they have more rights in prison than when they are on the streets.  It is our tax dollars that provide for criminals and we should have some say about their “rights”.

            I do think that the one right that death row prisoners should retain is the right to privacy in their last minutes of life.  I would believe in our majority Christian society, most everyone would want to allow the last minutes of a criminal’s life for him to repent and to ask forgiveness.

            As I said before, this question reminds me of the entertainment provided in the Coliseum for the benefit of the Romans.  People, animals, slaves, political adversaries were killed in public for the entertainment of the Romans.  Our media has provided the O J trial, the death of the beloved Princess Di, a millionaire's marriage and annulment,  Survivor and Temptation Island for our viewing entertainment.  What will it be next?  “Death Row”, the series?

            “Yes, television fans, watch your favorite maniacal criminals executed before your eyes on live television.  Help with the countdown, five, four, three, two, one and press the imaginary button to help our law-breaking fiends into their initial step into eternity.”

            Or perhaps it could be put together like a game show where we could have various celebrities ask questions of three criminals and determine which one should die first.

            I envision Rosey O’Donnell asking Charles Manson just how many people he did have killed that infamous evening and which one did he enjoy the death of most.  Or perhaps, Roseanne asking Timothy Mcveigh if he had a hard-on when he plotted the destruction of the Oklahoma City building that took 168 lives.  I can just hear her cackling after that question.

            When and where do we draw the line on entertainment?  I don’t condone treating criminals with anything less that what a jury decides but I really can’t agree that it should be made public for the world to witness.

I don't know if you can read the sign but it says, "Gold for your teeth."  This was an actual store in Dayton, Ohio.  i don't know if it is still there.  I just loved this photo.  Didn't really have anything that fitted in with the blog.  I hope you enjoy the store.  And those of you from Dayton are, is it still there on west Main Street?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yesterday I was watching a video of a little boy splashing in water puddles.  It brought back memories of my childhood when I loved to play in the rain and splash in puddles.  My mom would yell at me and tell me to dry off before I caught a cold.  It wasn’t even cold.  I promised myself that if I ever had children, I would encourage them to play in the rain.

Many years and many puddles later, I had two little girls.  When it would rain gently in the spring they would pull on their bathing suits and rubber galoshes.  I would tie a towel around their neck for a cape and then tape their wrists and forehead with masking tape.  They ran around outside and played Wonder Woman.  Why did they do this, you ask?  Because I couldn’t!  I couldn’t dress up like this; the neighbors would think I had gone entirely nuts.

I have to confess that my children acted out a lot of my play fantasies in their day.  They finger painted, made mud pies, played in traffic (just kidding) and many other wonderful things that I never got to do.  I made them these little stilts out of 5 pound coffee cans.  They had ropes attached to hold onto.  I kept them in the trunk of my car and we got them out when we went to the park.

And did we go to the park?  Some weekends we would drive for an hour just to play on a certain playground we had heard of.  If you ever get to Rockford, Illinois, Discovery Center has a great playground.  There used to be another one at the corner of Guilford and Mulford but they moved it and I never did find out where to.

Also in the trunk of my car were baseball gloves and balls, a football and one of those fun balls that you can sit on and jump up and down.  (Of course, it was too small for me to play on.)  The girls had sit and spins.  We called them sit and sins.  I loved to sit and spin.  It was such a blast.

I also remember this one time I took the girls to the garden.  We were all in our bathing suits and no shoes.  It had rained and the ground was quite muddy.  They sat on the outer part of the parameter.  I walked into the garden mud and started to squish it between my toes.  “Gross,” one of them said.

Oh no, you don’t.  I picked up two handfuls and put them on their legs.  I started to spread it all over and Jess stared crying.  I explained that it was just mud and we were going to make mud pies.  Being the chow hound that she was I think she was intrigued by the thought of pie.  And so I taught my girls to make mud pies.  We got covered from head to toe with mud and it was fabulous.  We hosed off with the garden hose before going inside to bathe.

I want to publicly thank my girls for helping me out.  I didn’t get enough play time in when I was a child and so I  lived some vicariously through their lives.  Think I feel guilty about it?  Not on your life.

And you know, I may just dress up as Wonder Woman for the first spring rain.

Me dressed as a pirate.  This photo appeared in the Rockford Register Star.  Talk about embarrassed!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Some thoughts about porch sitting

            When I was a child my family used to vacation in Kentucky because we had relatives living there.  We would pack up and go to the country, enjoy nature and being with our family.

            My brother, sister and I were always astounded that we would pass by big farm houses and a whole bunch of folks would be sitting on the porch, evidently doing nothing.  As we passed by they would, more often than not, wave to us, and we would wave back.  I laughed to myself to think that people did nothing but sit on their porches and watch whoever passed by and wave to them.  I never envisioned the day when I would be content to sit on my porch and do the same.

            Several years ago my husband built a most wonderful deck on the front of our lake view home.  Before we had even the smallest portion of the deck completed, we ended up sitting in our lounge chairs and watching the world go by.  We laughed at ourselves but found that we were quite entertained.  When we finished that magnificent deck we promised ourselves that we would get benefit from it and always use it

I’ve seen two people wreck boats from that deck and one person wreck their car.  I’ve seen kids wreck on their bikes and skateboards.  I once watched a kid fly a kite with a pink flamingo attached to the string.  I’ve watched as enumerable boats and ski dos went by.  Ski wipe outs were always entertaining.  I’ve watched Orion rise into the night sky and seen satellites crossing the universe.

            Several years ago I visited my 87-year-old father and we ended up sitting on his porch.  There is not the best view from his porch, just the backs of other homes, a tree and his flower bed.  We listened to the birds singing, watched a couple of airplanes fly overhead and glanced as people drove by on the street.  We also waved a couple of times when we recognized someone.

            I found myself sitting on my sister’s deck recently.  Listening to the Elvis impersonator at the local bar and staring at the back of someone’s house.  I checked out all her plants and glanced when a car would drive by.  I didn’t recognize anyone and it was too dark to wave.  (Darn!)

That's my front porch right up there.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


            So I’m making a large deposit in the lavatory of the facility where I work one day and I pick up the Air Purifier and spray.  I find I’m thinking to myself, “I wonder if this bureaucratic, government facility where I work has a policy and procedure regarding the use of ‘poop spray’.”

            I find myself pondering if the Johnson and Johnson people have guidelines for the use of their product.  Is it best to spray before depositing or after the deposit has been made?  Are courtesy sprays allowed if someone is sitting next to you making their own deposit and you have control of the “poop spray”?

Is it best to spray up into the air or behind your back, closer to the ground?  Is it just me or are there others out there wondering what the best use is of this product?  It seems as though every product these days has an instruction, drawing or warning of some kind on the product.  Why not poop spray?

            How many seconds should you hold down the button in order to eliminate an odor that is say, on a scale of one to ten, an eight?  (A ten being someone definitely died and a one being barely there.)  Is a one even awarded a spray?  And is that person who only did a one, really alive and kicking?  And what about an eleven?  Are you allowed to pitch the poop spray at anyone over a ten?

            Another thing I noticed on the day of my reckoning was that the title of the poop spray is in several languages.  Now in America I can understand why it is written in English and Spanish, but French?  Do the French’s poop stink?  They obviously think they are superior.  Is their poop superior also?  And how many people around you, right at the present time, speak French, or read it on the poop spray for that matter?  Maybe Johnson and Johnson think it sounds more pleasant if they name it something in French instead of just labeling it “Poop Spray”.  Eau de poop spray!

            Also, how about the safety of the product?  If I spray it up my nose by mistake should I flush with water?  Or what about long term sniffing of the product?  For some reason I think smelling the poop spray long term would be about as bad as the smelling of the poop.  At some point in time I think we would all become immune to both of them.

            And another thing, what if you are pregnant?  I remember having some hell-atious poops when I was pregnant.  I don’t recall using poop spray, but what if I did?  Is it harmful to my baby?  Are my kids rotten because I once used poop spray when they were in the womb?

I really feel the government should do major research on this subject.  And I should be in charge.  I could get something like a ten thousand-dollar grant to go out and interview all the companies who produce poop spray.  Then I could find out all the answers to my many questions regarding poop spray.  And find purpose and meaning in my life.

Okay so I’m getting out of hand on this subject.  People have done stupider stuff!

Writer's note:  I obviously wrote this several years ago because I, of course, am retired.

So it took me a while to decide what picture to post with the policy and procedure.  I figure people love good looking food and will open the blog to see if there is a recipe.   I like to make this sandwich after Thanksgiving with turkey leftovers.  I may just try a reuben for St. Patty's Day this year.   Let me know if you want the sandwich recipe and I will make sure you get it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Yesterday morning while doing my yoga I realized that it was kind of hard on my old butt and my head.  Sitting Zazen is hard on the butt.  If you can get comfortable it makes things much easier.  And I’m trying headstands.  Just a little at a time because my noggin just doesn’t take all my weight well.

I found some old carpet foam padding in the basement and made myself a “sit-upon”.  All you Girl Scouts out there remember the sit-upon, don’t you?  We made them in one of my first scout meetings.  You made it out of waterproof material so you had something to sit on if our meetings were outside.

When I had Brownie troops, we made our sit-upons for the first meeting.  The girls were so cute trying to sew them together.  I hole punched the things for them and they sewed them together with yarn and a big ass needle.  We stuffed them with newspapers so they would be comfortable to sit on.  Then they put their names on them so they could identify them easily.  The girls decorated them and we always took them when we met outside.

Making my sit-upon brought back many memories of my Brownie troops.  There were 24 girls one year.  That was a chore.  I remember the fiasco of making homemade paper.  My old Tupperware bowl will never be the same.  I loved taking them to Discovery Center in Rockford.  That was a blast.

I had a wonderful night’s sleep last night and woke up at 4:10 and did my yoga.  I certainly did appreciate that sit-upon when I sat Zazen.  The headstand was not so bad either.  I should start a business and make everyone sit-upons.

My sit-upon.  I just put the statue there so it added artistic interest. (Right!)

Oh and I learned something last evening while reading the book for my Master Gardener Book Club.  There was a general during the Civil War who provided prostitutes for his men when they were R & R'ing.  His name was Hooker and that is why prostitutes are often referred to as hookers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Reincarnation now!

In my next life I will not have children.
I’ll be selfish and self possessed and not be ashamed.
I will care for me.  I will be number one.
I will buy those cute shoes for myself.
That college education will be mine.
And I’ll not be disappointed if I don’t tell myself thank you.
Pat myself on the back, smile and go with the knowledge that whatever I want is mine because I’m important.
Besides, who else is there to do it for?

In my next life I will choose a partner that loves long walks in the morning and evenings.
He will enjoy a catch with me daily to celebrate spring and baseball season.
We will toss the football in the fall and laugh when we miss.
We will go snorkeling every weekend in summer and make love daily until we are sore.
That partner will occasionally rub my back or brush my hair.
He will leave for work but come back quickly for just one more kiss.
He will take my hand and hold it in public.
He will breathe in my ear and tell me he cares with scads of people around and within hearing distance.

Oh, why couldn’t it be in this life and now?

Big Butter Jesus, Cincinnati, Ohio.  Now defunct.  How sad is that?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Guess what!

            The other day I was surfing the Themestream site for reading material.  I clicked on Julie Lewis whom I have been tracking because she has a wonderful sense of humor (you should check her out too!).  I’m reading her article entitled, “Dirty Water, Dead Mice and Flashing Lights” which is very odd and when I get to the bottom of the article it says, “Guess Who I’m Having for Dinner.”  I am a hopeless sucker for the word “guess” and of course, I clicked on that too.

            I read the entire list of whom Julie was having for dinner and boy, was I pissed!  I wanted to guess.

Ever since my daughters went through that awkward state around five years old, where every sentence begins with, “guess what”, I have wanted to guess.  I would invariably interrupt at that stage, right after, “guess what”, and begin my guessing.  The guesses usually started off with something to do with an extra terrestrial invasion simply because I’ve always wanted to talk to someone who had encountered aliens.  I sometimes guessed that they were going to have a baby because every five-year-old girl who is asked if she is pregnant, gets this really excellent look on her face.  It is a wonder to behold.

            Breaking a leg is also a good guess because obviously they are standing right there and don’t have a broken leg.  I cannot pass up the opportunity to kid a five-year-old girl.

            My daughters pretty much got over their need to begin sentences with “guess what” but I had a whole Girls Scout Brownie troop of 24 girls for three years.  Some of them were slow learners.  A couple of them got used to my guessing but a lot of them just said, “Oh, Wilma” and went on to tell me whatever it was they wanted me not really to guess.

            The habit of guessing began with my girls and their very bad habit but I think it is because I have such an overactive imagination that I just love to guess whenever presented with the opportunity to do so.

            Now as far as Julie Lewis’ article and guessing whom she was having for diner-- my first guess would, of course, been an alien for reasons I have already explained.  Number two would have been Sting because I want to have him for dinner (literally and physically).  My third guess would have been someone from her family because by now she would be ready to cut me off and tell me to stop guessing.  So anyhow, go surf her site and read who she had for dinner because it seemed to be a group of such fascinating people.  In fact, I wish I had been at her dinner.

            And, by the way, never, ever, ask me to “guess what” unless you are serious.

Just a few of the friends we had for dinner once.  Most of my favorite people in the world are in this photo.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Taboo

            It has been a source of amazement to me that a tiny thing such as a booger can transpose even the most confident of a human being into a silent and uneasy fool.  Have you ever been caught in a situation where serious business is being conducted and one of the individuals involved has a booger on their nose?

            Everyone knows but the booger wearer.  Why does no one speak up?  You all look at each other and you know, and you know they know, but none of you says anything.
            I was once involved in a serious Girl Scout Council meeting.  We were seated at a conference table in a well-lit room.  I was seated across from a middle-aged woman who happened to be sporting a moist white booger at the edge of her nose.

            She spoke solemnly about some concerns in her troop and was asking for advice from the members of the council.

            My first thought had been to hand her a tissue.  In my experience, that is usually enough of a hint, that and pointing to the affected area on your own nose, to leave them a certain amount of self respect.  Not having a tissue in my pocket or purse, I couldn’t go for that old trick.

            When she glanced at me, I tried rubbing my nose quickly to see if that would help her.  No, she blew right past that one.  I avoided eye contact with the other ladies at the table and noticed they also were shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

            Finally, during the course of the meeting, the woman removed a tissue from her purse and blew her nose.  You could almost see the cloud of relief that left the room after her removal of the booger.

            I, too, have been in the uncomfortable position of being the booger wearer.  Fortunately, I have been near friends who gave me the old, “hand her a tissue and wipe at their own nose” routine.

            The taboos in our society include not passing gas in public, being discrete about lavatory usage, suppressing belches, and even yawns are hidden behind the hand or a hankie.  In Japanese society it is very impolite to blow your nose at a dining table.  The Japanese probably commit hari kari if ever caught with a stray booger on their nose.

 Anderson Garden in Rockford, Illinois.  If you haven't been there, you must go.

            Why is it that something as inconsequential as a dry piece of mucus can create this much discomfort?  We are all human beings and being such, we do have waste products, one of them being mucus.  Perhaps there should be a universal sign of communication between us to indicate when and if we have a straggling bit of booger on our nose when we are in public.  We could use the old wipe at our nose bit.

            When I discussed this subject with my daughter she shared her observation that scratching your nose is similar to yawning.  Once someone does it, there is a chain reaction and someone else does it too.  And so on.  She agreed with me that the wipe your nose procedure would be a good universal sign.

            Now what shall we do when we have a snocker in our eye?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I have a little lamentation today.  I just purchased a new pair of walking shoes to do Zumba in.  They are Sauconys and I really like them.  But the darn shoestrings are a mile long.  Why do shoe makers include shoestrings that are ridiculously long?  I am an adul, and should not have to double tie my shoestrings.

I had this pair of Nikes several years ago and they had the best shoestrings.  They were curled.  As if someone had macraméd them and made them twist.  They were not a mile long and they stayed tied without double tying them.  I dumped the shoes recently because they were so slippery on the bottom that they weren’t even safe to garden in.  I kept those shoestrings and I am determined to change them with my new shoestrings.

Take that shoe makers!  I hope they last me a long time.

Note to self:  go online and see if you can find those wonderful shoestrings.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Today on Facebook I watched the most stirring video.  It was a news anchor and a guy whose mom had Alzheimer’s disease.  They were doing a 12 minute experiment to experience what it is like to have the disease.  They wore goggles to make their eyesight screwed up, headphones to hear nonsensical noises constantly.  They wore rubber gloves and had their fingers taped to make it like they had arthritis.  They put stones in their shoes so they were uncomfortable walking.

Each was given 5 tasks to perform.  At first they couldn’t understand what their instructor said because of the headphones.  (I didn’t realize that Alzheimer’s patients usually hear constant irritating noises.)  The two became quickly impatient.  The lovely news anchor actually threw down a dinner plate at one point.  Each said it seemed like ages and not just 12 minutes.

I suggested all my FB friends watch this video.  It was mind blowing to say the least.
My grandfather was the first person I ever knew that had Alzheimer’s disease.  It was the saddest death possible--slowly reverting to your childhood and infancy.  His death was so very sad.

My grandma and grandpa Long.  He loved the Cincinnati Reds and listened to them on the radio.  The time I had to sit with him I took my radio and we listened to the game.  I'm sure he was confused.

I’ve noticed in my sixties that I have had to make some adjustments because of age.  I put my underwear and pants on quite differently.  I used to just stand up and pull them on.  Now I have to hold onto something like the doorknob and put one leg in and then switch holding onto the doorknob with the other hand etcetera…

Recently I put my underwear on sideways.  My immediate thought was, “Oh my god, I have gained twenty pounds.”  And of course, then I realized that I had put my underwear on sideways.  What an idiot!  It was about then that I changed my underwear and pants strategy.  Now I sit down and look at the item first.

I used to run up and down the stairs.  No big deal.  Now, I have to hold onto the banister while running up and down the stairs.  (It is not easy being hyperactive at 64, let me tell you.)  Sometimes after one or two flights, I may slow down a bit.

My eating habits have changed also.  I can no longer eat a big meal and go to sleep.  The heartburn or acid reflux hits me.  Now after I eat I have to run up and down the stairs at least once, and I stretch myself for a while to gets the digestion process going.  And then I stack two pillows up and sleep elevated.

Another of my habits that have changed since getting older is putting on makeup.  I no longer find it necessary to put on makeup to go everywhere.  Sometimes I go to the store in my pajama bottoms and no makeup.  And as far as the fixing my hair goes, sometimes I just wear a hat.

Getting older is not for sissys for sure.  The fear of Alzheimer’s disease is always with me.  I have had an aunt die this past year from the disease, and I have one aunt in an Alzheimer’s nursing facility right now.  I was told my mother had symptoms of the disease shortly before she passed away.

I’ve always been told that I am much more like my father’s family.  I certainly hope all my genes are more like his family.

Here’s to growing older and wiser.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Yesterday, February 4, 2015, was World Cancer Day.  I didn’t realize it until today when I saw it on Facebook.  I also saw a post by a friend whose daughter is going through chemo where she said something to the effect that no one knows what they are going through until they have gone through it themselves.

Isn’t this true of all our life experiences?  Someone going through a divorce, having had surgery, losing a loved one—all these situations we can empathize with but until we go through such experiences, no one knows what it is like.

Walk a mile in my shoes.  What a true statement!  And we all do have our cross to bear.  Perspective is our own reality.  Others perspective is their reality.  They are never the same.

Another post I saw said we need to quit saying, “let me know if I can do anything.”  The person who wrote this said they didn’t want to bother others to do what needed to be done.  This is just not fair.  I have had friends who went through chemo and radiation and I told them to let me do anything to help.  I meant it.  I would have cleaned their house, cooked them dinner, run their errands, anything because I felt so darn helpless.

The first experience with cancer was with one of my best friends.  Kim C. was a young 38 year old mother of two young sons.  She had just graduated from college and was going to become a teacher.  She was substituting in the area to get the feel of the schools.  She held an exercise class once a week that I attended.  She was a healthy eater, got plenty of exercise and was not an ounce overweight.  Of all people to get cancer, she was not one I would have pointed to.

I asked her to let me know if I could do anything.  I did not hold back.  She did not ask me often to do much so I made soup for her, breakfast for her family and visited as often as I could.  In the end she asked me to take her goldfish, and so I did.  Bob gave us much pleasure in the coming years.  I still think of Kim when I see goldfish.

My good friend and hairdresser, Terry V. was the next intimate cancer victim.  Terry was such a wonderful human being.  She was smart, empathetic and very sure of herself.  She was knowledgeable in many subjects, probably because she was so smart and a very good hairdresser.  Hairdressers hear many secrets and talk about many subjects.

Terry was a healthy eater (probably one of the most healthy I know), she didn’t exercise that I knew of but she was not overweight.  She loved hearing live music and would go anywhere with anyone who asked.  She joined our guitar group and became quite good at finger picking songs.
Doctors gave Terry six months at the most and she made it over a year and a half.  She didn’t ask much of me but I made goodies and food and took them to her and her husband.  The last thing she wanted was some Italian cookies that were made with dates.  I told her I would find dates and make them for her.  Instead, I found the cookies at the big grocery store in town.  I bought her a dozen and also a box of dates.

In the middle of winter all my girlfriends were gathering at the local bar to hear one of our favorite bands, The Blue Olives.  (If you see them playing, go, they are tremendous.)  Much to our surprise one of the girlfriends walked in with Terry at her arm.  We all swarmed over her.  She smiled the entire concert.  I think we all did.

I didn’t see her again after the date cookies.  Her spirit is with me and the many memories of our fun times together.

My friend and sister in crime, Garnet S. is going through her third round of chemo and radiation.  I wish I could do something so I visit and set up girlfriend outings.  You see Garnet was a bit of a hermit throughout her life.  I would go several years and not see her, and then I would see her often.  We worked together for about six months at one time.  (Mental hospital, yes, really!)

I am not thinking of Garnet not making it through this.  She is part of me and she has to stay part of me.  I will not give up on her.  I love her too much.

Right now she has gotten me hooked on Zumba.  She gave me a collection of DVDs for Christmas.  I gave her a sachet…  We did Zumba at her place one day and I really like it.  I am so glad she still feels good enough to exercise.  Radiation for like 27 days straight.  My God, that would drive anyone nuts.

So back to Zumba, her girlfriend Charyl gave her a Zumba whore outfit for Christmas.  I gave her my tattoo sleeve.   She loved it.  We have plans to get together in our Zumba whore costumes and Zumba till we drop.  More later…

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

One of the hardest times in my life was the couple of years before my girls went away to college.  I believe I started grieving when they were Sophomore and Freshman. Anticipatory grief.  Only I would waste my time doing such nonsense.  I think I wrote this one day before they left.

Letting Go

This zigzagging fortress created by my mind and emotions
  has suddenly left me unarmed and vulnerable.
I am open to the archer’s arrows of pain from all sides.
Arrows of grief from failings in the past
  to arrows of uncertainty about my invisible future.

Taking a bath and hoping it will wash away my sorrow,
I walk dripping wet for my journal with a towel draping my wringing wet hair.
I am Mary “The Virgin”, about to give up my child for the future of mankind.
How did she do it?  Where did she muster the strength?

No my child is not a God or the incarnate savior
  but to me my children were my saving grace.
They gave my life purpose, pleasure and pain.
Where will I find my new purpose?

I must go on into the darkness because they will take me into light.

Got to get fresh batteries for the flashlight tomorrow.  Reasons for living.

Once my reasons for living.  I am so proud of both of them.  Such fine ladies and with jobs and insurance, and husbands who love them dearly.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Humiliation at age 9

At age nine I was a tomboy who was quickly maturing prematurely.  I was in fourth grade and was already growing taller than most of my classmates.  I was a cut-up and constantly being reprimanded for my outbursts.  I’m sure if I were a child now I would be diagnosed as hyperactive.

            My teacher that year was a most horrid woman.  She was a very strict teacher, quite impatient and I was obviously not one of her favorites.  Parents should never have entrusted her with their children.

            One of my favorite classroom activities was Baseball math.  We would set up bases in the corners of the classroom and the person at bat would combat each base person to see who was fastest at math flashcards.  If you won, you took another base, until you were counted out or went around the bases for a home run.

            Our teacher, Mrs. Clay, was called away during one of these games when we were competing against the class next door.  There were about 50 kids crammed into one of the homerooms.  The game was getting intense and the kids not at bat were tired of being crammed together.  I was up to bat and doing pretty well for myself as I recall.  I finally came up against someone and they were faster than I was.  I made some kind of scene about being so disappointed about being out and one of my classmates, Kathy E., told me to sit down as if she were in charge.  Being a kid, I stuck my tongue out at her.

            Miss Tattletale, Kathy E., immediately told the other classes’ teacher that I had made a face at her, the teacher.  The teacher asked me to wait in the hall.  I tried to tell the teacher that I did not make a face at her but at Kathy but she wouldn’t listen to me.

            I waited in the hall fuming at Kathy and the teacher and knowing Mrs. Clay was going to be mad at me.  Little did I know but I think Mrs. Clay had just had a battle in the Principal’s office became she came storming back to the classroom.  She asked me what I was doing in the hall and not waiting for an answer went in to speak to the other teacher.  They spoke for a quiet moment and Mrs. Clay picked up her paddle and came back to the hallway where she had me bend down and gave me 3 pretty nasty whacks on the behind.

            I was humiliated beyond comprehension.  I was determined not to cry but the tears spilled anyhow because the paddle whacks had really stung.  She sent me immediately back into the room where every eye in the room was trained on me.  I looked at Kathy E. and she had a satisfied smirk on her face.  I don’t believe I have ever hated anyone as much in my life.

            I sat down gently and most of the rest of that day is blank in my mind.  I do remember thinking that I had been unjustly accused.  I felt that I had been handed a horrible injustice.  I had not made faces at that teacher.  Mrs. Clay had not even let me explain.

            I couldn’t wait to get home that day but when I did I got quite a surprise.  My mother knew all about the incident from the school calling her and she spanked me upon arriving home.  I was not to disrupt the classroom for any reason.  She didn’t listen to what I had to say either and she told me she didn’t care what happened.  She just wanted me to know that I was to behave and mind my elders.  No one cared that I had been falsely accused, not even my own mother.  My butt was pretty sore for quite a while.

            The next day at school, I accosted Kathy E. in the restroom. I told her she had lied to the teacher and I had gotten a paddling for sticking my tongue out at her.  She immediately went and told Mrs. Clay that I had threatened her.  Mrs. Clay warned me that if I didn’t want a repeat to watch my mouth.

            When I grew up and had children of my own, I made up my mind not to listen to tattletalers.  When a kid came to me to tell on someone, I always replied, “and you are tattletaleing.  Which is worse?”  I never told them why I hated tattletalers because I am still ashamed.

            What I learned from this incident in my life was that life is not fair and sometimes you just get dealt a bad hand.  I don’t hate many people in the world, but still, to this day, I hate Mrs. Clay for not listening to me.  I have even considered trying to look her up just to tell her how this incident affected the rest of my life.

I resent Kathy E. but she was just a child.  I know that as an adult, if I am falsely accused, I have my day in court.  But I think about all of the people who are punished unjustly because of such false accusations by children.  (Remember the Salem Witch Trials?)

            The humiliation and degradation that I felt in front of my classmates will never be erased.  I never felt part of that group of children.  And I blame this incident for most of my feelings of being different.  I think this incident is the reason I don’t want to go to high school reunions.  All those people were there when this happened.

            I still have a picture of Mrs. Clay in my desk at home.  I keep it there so that I can remember that life is not fair.

Another example of unfairness.  This is one of my favorite places in the world.  The Three Sisters live in Sugarcreek Forest Preserve (Metro Park) in Bellbrook, Ohio.  I have learned since my last visit that one of the sisters has died.  So very sad.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lunacy is interpreted to mean extreme foolishness or an instance of it or unsoundness of mind sufficient to incapacitate one for civil transactions.

I first remember our family having “lunacy” during a Spring break trip to Florida.  And I am sure the hubster would correct this to say “we girls” first had lunacy, blah, blah.  It seemed as if we had been in the car for ages.  We were stopped just inside the Florida state line in a traffic jam.  The girls wanted to write big signs and hold them up to the windows to talk to the cars next to us.

“We’re from Ohio,” one said.  The hubster pointed out that our license plates said we were from Illinois.  (Who in their right mind wants other people to think that they are from Illinois?)  The hubster pointed out a car in front of us which was from Alaska.  “What are you gonna write on their sign, ‘Had any good blubber lately?’”

That did it.  The three of us girls were in hysterics.  I looked back and Addi had her dunking bag over her head with her McDonald’s pig nose over it.  I about peed myself.  Then I looked over a Jess and she had her Barbie doll hanging from the window by her hair.  She was waving Barbie’s arm at the car next door.

We were all (not him, of course) laughing so hard we were crying.  I think we finally got on the move and probably all fell asleep.

And so our family, well okay, not him, we girls, have on occasion gotten lunacy.  Usually it was car lunacy.  But we have had many instances when we could no longer control the situation or have sufficient mind for civil transactions.  Bed lunacy, book lunacy, dance lunacy, we girls did it all.

A few years ago Jess and Anthony came for a visit during the fall.  Addi and Sam were down from Madison, and so my family was intact.  I decided one day when we were all cleaned up and dressed up that I would like to have a current photo of me and my girls.  I got the camera out and started to direct whichever guy was going to take the photo.
As soon as we got together the lunacy began.  Addi was talking about something and Jess just burst out laughing.  I soon joined in and then we all could not hold it in any longer.  We drenched ourselves in extreme foolishness.  Little did we realize that whoever had the camera was documenting this unsound mind occasion.

I will share them with you.

And I did finally get a current photo of my girls, my sons and myself.