Thursday, May 31, 2012

I love you! I hate you! You’re tearing me apart!!

This morning as I lurched down the stairs I weighed myself as is my usual morning practice.  I nearly fell out in full stupor because my lovely beautiful scale read 110.5!! I wanted to praise it as best scale on planet Earth!!  (no it was NOT in KG or stones)  Yahoo!!  No scale has read 110 for me since like third grade!  I wanted to hold on to the glory a while, bask in my lovely miraculous weight loss….

After gazing lovingly at my scale one more time I climbed down.  My sick and twisted demand to know the truth kept niggling and me and eventually persevered.... I took a deep breath annnnddd....

I bravely climbed back on my gorgeous scale…now it was reading well over 40lbs more than the glorious 110.5 (ie totaling about 151.5) !!!  I hated that darn piece of crap!! Stupid jerky piece of second rate crap!!  Fortunately for my sanity it showed me “Err” meaning error not that my poor abused scale needs the ER.  I got off and felt a bit sorry for my sudden change in emotions relating to scale math.

I climbed back on yet again…this time my weight was dead on where I expected it to be….Sigh….at least it hasn’t gone up yet.  I took a deep breath and tried for a second identical reading.  WTF?!?!  I gained 3 pounds doing nothing??  This thing is tearing me apart!!!  Ok one more time! Alrighty...same reading.  Yay?  

For one brief shining moment I was the uberskinny!!  The jealousy inducing size 2’s we hear of, those elusive beasts!

The only size 2’s I see here are actually more like a size 12 with it crammed into a size 2.  When you no longer have a muffin top, but an entire layer cake hanging ALL around and the thigh consistency of just risen (to epic proportions) dough…there is NO WAY you are a size 2.  Stop lying to yourself, buy a mirror and purchase the extra few sizes you need to not blind young boys, husbands and make women pity you for your inability to dress…or worse yet cause us to vomit on the size 5 shoes you insist on cramming your size 10 clods into.  

I digress…the batteries have been changed in the scale, I changed them (stupid me)…so the next time that dear, dear scale reads less than I weigh…I’m NOT rechecking!!  Ignorance is bliss 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

complicated lives 32

The Redbugs are coming the Redbugs are coming!!

Did any of us redneck or southern children EVER escape ringworm or pinkeye? Oh better yet, how about lice or redbugs??

I had escaped ringworm, pink eye and lice until adulthood and working in a public school then later having my own child. But that's another entry entirely!!

Redbugs, however, I did not escape after one fateful church trip. The method of treatment for redbugs varied based on which civil war medicine school your Mama graduated from. There was soaking in a tub up to your neck, soaking in a tub up to your neck and spreading your face and hair with vaseline, covering each bump with nail polish, covering your whole body hair to toes with vaseline then soaking in a tub...all of the treatments involved suffocating the little suckers aside from Mama's. Mama had been of the school of thought that when you were in tall weeds you should be fully covered then scrub yourself when you got back paying special attention to "your seams" arm pits, groin, joints...etc...anywhere that limbs attached to the body or were bound by waist bands and such. This total coverage was to prevent, chiggers, ticks and stickers. I thought it was stupid then, but now I see the logic.
My Mama knew that you only had to wash really well to get rid of the little pests and wash your clothes in hot water. Friends tried convincing Mama that redbugs and chiggers were the same thing and that redbugs and chiggers would burrow under your skin and drink you to death. Therefore making suffocation the only option. After learning this "florida fact" Mama nearly packed me in bubble wrap! Logic ruled her day and she somehow stuck by the fact that chiggers were not evil burrowing eating machines but were easily evicted with a well placed bath despite the outcry of suffocation now, washing off never!! She staunchly refused to believe in redbugs. Even when she got what everyone termed redbugs following me while I peed in tall grass on a church trip with several friends. Shhhh tell no one!! It was a "nature hike"!! We found all sorts of nature. Even though the verdict was redbugs...Mama knew it was just chiggers. As all of us who were infested scratched and dug like flea infested yard dogs, Mama knew we'd all be cured after some honest skin layer losing scrubbing.

I was several shades of pink but delightfully redbug free while all my friends were oily, vaseline-y, nail polish dotted, or drowning in tubs. I was smugly chigger-free. Yay MAMA!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Family of wild flowers

“Bloom where you’re planted” (is a distillation of )1 Corinthians 7:7-24A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver, Proverbs 25:11 NIV

I have my own views on religion, but those verses have always had very special meaning for me religion aside.

In our lives we are born into a family.  Some people spend their lives living with or near a small family or a large extended family.  Some people retain strong connections with their families despite them being scattered about the globe, while others have loose connections or no connection.  Other people are abandoned and raised by an adoptive family.  Some never have any sort of family dynamic we can comprehend, like street people but they have their family nonetheless.

The family dynamic I am pondering is the created family.  I’ve gathered a family much as you would gather wild flowers. They are a beautiful arrangement in a favorite vase, proudly displayed.   Hopefully you also have a family like this; if not…you are woefully missing out!  I have a fine family.  We (husband and son aside) are scattered about, but do try to keep in touch.  There is nothing wrong with my Husband, Son, Sister, Mom, Uncles, Aunts, cousins…etc; but they aren’t my only family.

I started creating my own familial reality in elementary school when I proclaimed someone to be my long lost sister.  Over the years I’ve collected many wild sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts….etc.  I have a brother, a few cousins, a sister or two and surrogates for mom, uncles, aunts and grandparents.  I also have the family I’ve created with my husband son and cat.  The bonds I’ve formed with my gathered family mean a lot to me.  They have at times been my only tether to sanity.  They understand different facets of my life and have been there for me throughout various stages of my growth or regression.

I do love my natural family very much, but sometimes my family doesn’t always connect with me on the level a cobbled together family can.  I know my family has their core group of pseudo family also, so I won’t feel totally terrible if they read this.  They should know exactly what I mean.  I spend hours chatting with my brother/cousin (whatever) His place in my heart goes deeper than “just a friend”.  One of my sisters is around 10 years older.  My surrogate Mom never had any children, so I fill a need for her too.  I have others sisters and cousins all united for different reasons.  I truly love these people and if I were to lose them I would be devastated but eventually cope.  The void of their loss would be huge; their places could never truly be filled just like a natural family member passing away or becoming estranged.  The family I’ve created is as real to me as my own natural family.

In my cobbled together family we have each other’s backs, we defend one another, we support one another, we virtually hug each other.  When one of us is hurting we ache for them and do our best to support each other with comedy, prayers, sunny-funny stories, bad songs, dirty jokes, tears and hugs to the best of our ability.  My created family is also friends with my son and husband.  Transparency is important to me and I want them to know about my immediate family since they are now members of my family.

This brings me to why I started out my entry with a bible quote and a distillation of several verses.  We grow where we are planted.  Our roots reach down and find purchase in the soil.  Sometimes our seed gets carried far away from the garden of our natural family. When and where we land we reach out to find the plants nearest us in type or perhaps very opposite our type, we see eye to eye on some key points, those points bring them into our garden.  Perhaps my little seed is incorporated into their garden.  Some of my burgeoning family members are really not who you’d ever suspect I would have a thing in common with…but I still love those ornery uncles, the very liberal uncles, the wild and free sisters, the shy yet strong sisters, the strong intelligent brothers.  When things get low, and there are times that things do get low emotionally (son is 13 need I say more!), my wildflower family knows what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.  We are honest with each other and we help each other.  We give good and bad advice.  We don’t all see eye to eye on our decisions.   If my opinion is asked I will chime in as a good family member should, but I’m not offended if they don’t take my advice.  My apples may not be what they need right then, but maybe they will need them later. 

I hope this post makes sense…it’s a thank you to all my extended family…my family in many nations, my family I may never meet, my family who lifts me up when I am down… wonderful garden of family
Thank you all my lovely flowers!!  


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let’s monkee around this rockin’ ill summer

Who would have thought they would all go within a few months of one another?  Less than than 3 months apart, 4 amazing legends…just gone.

Whether you loved them, hated them, or didn’t really care; somehow in some way all four of these dynamic people touched the lives of nearly everyone.  (Exempt are the cultists, Duggars, and Amish…ok perhaps a few people more)

Maybe when you were a little girl you dressed up and pretended to work hard for the money, or you once dreamed of finding your own white knight on a steed.  Surely once, just once you counted down with Dick Clark or sung songs watching American Bandstand.  Did you ever fight for your right to party?  Maybe have no sleep til Brooklyn, while singing MacArthur Park, and not being a stepping stone on a New Year’s Rockin Eve.  When you were a little boy did your Mom throw away your best porno mag?  Busted!

Somehow this mismatched trio is now together playing on while Dick Clark again announces them.  Somehow these 4 people tie most of our lives together.  I remember thinking “wow Donna Summer really isn’t that beautiful but she sings really good!!”  I remember bobby pinning a towel to my head pretending I had her long hair and singing her songs.  I wanted to wear shiny disco hot pants, be tall and sing like Donna among others…She works hard for the money is one of those life songs.  License to Ill was the first tape (yes tape for my walkman!) of any rap I ever owned.  I was a Brass Monkey junkie, I fought for my right to party, I was rhymin and stealin…but not very well.  I counted that ball down with Dick Clark every year that I was old enough to.  The Monkees made sense of a messed up life for me.   

Since February the world has lost 4 people, most of us have at least heard of.  The world has also lost countless we haven’t, but their families have heard of them.  They touched the lives of those around them.  We celebrate and collectively mourn everyone who touches our lives in any way, shape or form.  I’ve mourned teachers, friends, family….all through the years.  The deaths that have the most impact on me are the ones who touched me the most, regardless of whether they knew it or not.  We mourn not for those who’ve gone, but for ourselves.  Our loss, our emptiness, the impact we felt but maybe never mentioned, the person we loved but never told, the personality we admired, the people we never knew but felt we did all the same.

This summer there will be one great block party wherever they are

Saturday, May 12, 2012

New Shoes

I just bought my first pair of Birkenstocks.  I had no idea that I would ever purchase Birkenstocks; much less wear them with socks.  The socks in question are fluorescent green no show anklets, in my defense, not mere socks.  I also am reliving part of my misspent youth with other fluorescent socks and a pair of see through socks like we used to wear with plastic jelly shoes about 27 years ago. 
The Birkenstocks are doing pretty well so far.  I bought them yesterday and wore them in public the first time today.  I got a complement on them from my massage therapist.  She informed me that $80 was a really good deal; mine were about half what hers cost.  I assume that’s a good thing?  I thought that I would immediately grow underarm hair, smell of patchouli and pot smoke; so far all is well in the hygiene and smells department.  

A few days have now passed.  I have some spot on the inside of the Birkenstocks, it may be cat snot.   My cat is sick don’t judge, pets are dear members of the family.  He’s sneezing which is good, better out than in. I tried to clean it, but it kind of left a water spot…I’m really scared for the beauty of my shoes now!  I digress…
I was terrified when I wore them today.  The sky grew over cast and I actually hid my feet because I didn’t want to ruin my shoes as the rain started to fall!  I staggered in fear to the car my husband pulled up next to the lacrosse field.  Today was orange fluorescent sock day, yesterday was pink.  I am saving the clear socks for a special occasion, like the next mild but clear day.  I may wear the yellow ones tomorrow, but only if the weather looks dry.  I can’t risk having them look like they are old and horrible yet.  I’d like to make it a month maybe. 

Yesterday I wore them to Trader Joe’s, I actually bought tikka masala veggie burgers, and whole wheat naan.   We bought some Ezekiel 4:9 bread from there, they actually sell enough that they don’t refrigerate it.  I again checked to see if I had sprouted an impressive amount of underarm hair and or smelled oddly.  Noticed I needed to shave, which I did last night.  I smelled fine.  Recalled I DO own a product with patchouli oil in it.  It has strangely disappeared since the shoes came into my life.  Actually I think it disappeared sometime in late April, likely in a purse or something of mine. 

The verdict is? I like the shoes.  The footbed helps keep me stable when I walk, it has corrected a few ankle turns already.  I feel more stable when I walk on uneven ground.  I’m not worried about sandal season anymore.  Last year, flipflops were not my friend.  I love them, but they weren’t very stable for me.  I might have to consider buying another pair at some point in time because…darn it, I like my Birkenstocks and I am not ashamed to say I have a pair and I still shave my armpits!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sound off

Another thing that bothers the crap out of me are rude, disrespectful volunteer coaches!

I do realize the talent base is limited in volunteer coaching.  Work, lack of past play experience, desiring to avoid the hassles, are all cited as reasons no one can or will take the time to help.  It seems more and more barely willing, arrogant people are coaching.  Hello, "if you don't want the commitment and can't demonstrate grace and dignity to the players and display integrity, along with good sportsmanship" then don't coach!  Period.

I would rather my son not get to play a sport, than have a misleading presentation about "how much they will learn this season", and to learn a sport incorrectly by an unsafe coach.  It is very disheartening and quite wrong to mislead parents and players into thinking they will be taught a sport safely or adroitly.  Some of these arrogant coaches don't bother to check for the minimum equipment worn, nor do they require doctor's clearance post stitches or post concussion in order to return to play.  These arrogant coaches also proceed to dress down a player in front of team mates and referees about their own failing to ensure a sport is played with proper equipment.  My son has practiced since at least mid March with zero arm protection in lacrosse. His arms are totally visible in practice. This past weekend (May we are in now) my son was verbally chastised about this infraction. My son pointed out to the coach that he has indicated it was recommended.  This "coach" then decided it was wise to engage a 13 year old in an argument in front of team mates and referees??  My son maintains the coach said it was recommended, (after dealing with this coach and his lack of communication
) I agree that it is likely he said and did exactly what was reported to me.  I asked my son numerous times about arm/elbow protection and he assured me he was doing what coach said.   They have been playing scrimmages and games since March was never an issue or even checked until May 5th.  Who's responsibility is it to notice elbows VISIBLE elbows in practice if not the coach?

This awesome coach, {building great team spirit}, told the boys when congratulating the goalie on a job well done "I never want to see you congratulating the goalie on a loss, that's showboating"  WTF??? REALLY.  The kid worked his butt off and did deserve congratulations as did the entire team.  The cooperation was great.  The game was wonderful.  I saw those kids work hard and leave it all on the field, when I heard that kids were yelled at for congratulating the goalie...I waited and sought him out to also congratulate him.

People like that ruin a sport for the kids, they destroy parent desire to help participate because they also take out their inadequacies on parent volunteers.  I refuse to be bullied by a talentless coach, I refuse to let my son be bullied by a person of that caliber or any other child and parent.

We need to stand up, take responsibility and make time in our lives to support our children in what they do.  We need to stop making excuses that we can't volunteer because we don't know what to do.  Learn.  I volunteer as team Mom because it's what I can do, I volunteer to pass out things, take papers from parents, make calls...etc.  That is what I can do, so I do it.

I am angry in this post and I hope any other parents reading it will understand that and take this to heart......don't push off your kids and expect the coaches to "do what's right"  get involved, stay involved and  listen to what the kids say...if the kids hate a coach there is usually a reason.  File complaints, make some noise..stop letting yourselves and your children be treated as doormats.  They joy is being sucked out of organized sports for talented kids because of jerks who want to show off taking coaching spots with no counterbalance.

Do they deserve it??

Ok, my son is 13.  He plays tackle football and lacrosse now.  Before he was old enough for tackle football he played flag football and soccer.  Every stinking year he gets a trophy!  Why?  He doesn't even understand why.  He doesn't feel he deserves a trophy because he only did his job.  He didn't stand out, he knows he didn't stand out and comments that he doesn't deserve it.  As a result these mean nothing to him.  Why do leagues charge so much to buy all this crap no one wants?  I can understand players leaving the league as they graduate to the high-school level receiving a trophy, plaque or medal to mark their years.  I can also support a player who truly shines in a season receiving a patch or other token.

These “also participated” trophies are ruining sports.  They cheapen every accomplishment.  Why should the kid who made 17 tackles in one season or 34 touch downs in one season receive the same token and recognition as a child who played the bare minimum and not even that well?
I am so tired of having to pander to children and parent’s ego’s.  There are some children who will NEVER succeed in sports.  There are some children who will NEVER be great academically.  There are some children who will NEVER have any clue how to work a power tool.

I feel that rather than placate people, level out playing fields whatever line it is they try to cram down parent’s throats…we should be fostering the talents children have in order to help them mature into successful proud teens, who later become successful proud adults. 

These trophies instill no pride in children who do not earn them.  I have trophies for things I did as a child and teen…I earned each of those…the ones I didn’t have to work as hard for do mean less to me.  They were “gimme” trophies and not worth as much because the competition was light or non-existent.   The most important praise I ever received for a role in school was a card I received from a Sister Paulissa, one of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Chicago.  I treasure that card.  I regret never finding a way to track her down to tell her how much that meant to me.  I have had it for 24 years now.  That card means more to me than any praise my teachers, friends, Mom or the scholarship gave me.  That card meant I really touched one person in my life.

 To this day the proudest grade I recall receiving was a D in honors Chemistry in high school.  I didn’t have the math to back it up, I worked as hard as I could with no math skills to help me out on those molar equations but I passed.  The D was the happiest moment for me.  The A’s were important, but I didn’t have to work for those.

These “Gimme” trophies are destroying the pride children should be learning to feel in a job well done.  The pride of striving for something, the joy of winning inside, it’s being stripped away.  A D isn’t a win in most people’s eyes; a card is not as big a win as a scholarship in most people’s eyes.  They were wins for me because it proved I had something inside me…something I nurtured, some gift I had, something I worked for, something I did.

I would love to “just say no” to worthless trophies, make sure the kids know when things mean something and when they don’t then teach children pride in themselves.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Complicated Lives 31....A complicated bath

Few things are as sacred as bath time for me now.  I love a good hot soak, a nice tub of warm softly scented swirling water, soaking up to my aching neck, reading in the tub, sometimes texting (oops don't read this son!) hair piled up, or even washing my hair in the tub since showers now send me into some weird world.

As a small southern child of an aged parent...bath time was.....different......

I was always clean, but as a regular matter of course those were sink, or spit baths, as my Mama called them.  That meant washing the "stinky spots" and the dirty spots.

We didn't have nightly baths we had Sairdee night baths!  That was the time to pull out all the stops!!  Soap, bubbles, shampoo, combs, brushes, washcloths, towels, perfume, powder, pig tails!!!  Sometimes we even washed with cousins of the opposite sex.  We got our ears scrubbed and cleaned with sweet oil, we got our nails trimmed, errant filth balls in our navels cleaned out, toe jam washed away....we were pink by the end of the scouring!  Then we got to play in the tub for about 30 minutes! :)

We had toy boats, submarines, old bottles, barbie and ken dolls, sharks, alligators, wash cloths to make jellyfish with, aluminum foil, meat trays, etc, etc

There was this one time...I was next door having Sairdee night bath with my 2 cousins (oh what names did I give them???  Well for this one they can be leroy and jethro)  I was washing up with Leroy and Jethro...a totally UNsatisfactory in Mama's eyes bath because we had to **gasp** wash ourselves!! the baby sitter my Aunt had hired was not doing it for us.  A 6 year old (me) a 5 year old (Leroy) and a 3 year old (Jethro) were all in the tub together....for the first time.  We learned a lot in that bath.  We learned that boys had dinkers, girls had trolley' hurt when you put soap up a trolley, it hurt when you rubbed soap on a dinker.  I also learned that in order to end an awkward bath all one has to do is tell Leroy to wash his hair with Nair because Nair is for hair and that means shampoo, then casually taking the bottle to the baby sitter and saying "I tried to get Leroy not to use this but he didn't listen" then running quickly and towel clutchingly wet, soapy and mostly naked back home to my happy, sweet bath.  My own green bathtub with the snoopy in the bathtub bubble bath, my Mama's wash cloth, powder while standing on the toilet after the bath, perfume and story time.  Some things are just sacred....or scary, or complicated

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Getting ready for bed

Green pajamas and crickets, summer air, it all seems so near.  It's so far away and so many years in the past.  I remember my Grandma reading me stories and tucking me in we said our prayers together.
Getting ready for bed seemed so special back then.  It meant matching pajama tops and bottoms, hair tied in soft yarn pigtails after my hair was brushed.  It meant getting in between the soft cotton sheets, they always smelled clean.  They had a flower pattern always.  On rare occasions I got to use my Grandma's gold satin sheets from the 1950's or 60's.  They were old, rich and so much more real than the ones today.  I will never forget that feeling.  She always sat in the old cane bottom chair next to my bed. She read me stories by Thornton W Burgess.

The bed was always comfortable, the pillows somehow soft.

I look back now and see a wonderland of sights, sounds and  a world where I never knew what I didn't have, but only what I did have.

I bought a pair of green pajamas, I brushed my hair, I got between clean sheets and read, I even said my prayers....but the magic is gone.  She was the magic, childhood was the magic.  It will never be as exciting as it was, or smell like it did, or feel or taste the way it did...but it isn't supposed to.  Life goes on....Thank God, or whomever you believe in.