Monday, September 30, 2013

Blogless


For the last two and a half years I have written a Monday blog without fail.  This past week I struggled and struggled to find a subject to write about, so I considered the things I always obsess about.
ü  Growing old - I have nothing to say here worthy of mentioning (at least, nothing nice or kind.), so keep reading.
ü  My writing life. If I am having enough trouble coming up with a 250-450 word blog, what do you think I have to share about writing that is worth taking notes?  
ü  Buying a new car. My efforts to replace the Red Bomber, aka Grandma’s Jeep have come to a standstill. I feel like I am divorcing a perfectly good spouse in an effort to replace it with a trophy wife. The old car is sturdy and dependable, low maintenance and still in good shape.  The new car would be expensive, showy, full of cosmetic baubles. I know from personal experience how the Jeep must feel. Remember, I was divorced twice before I met HoneyBunch.
ü  Men – Maybe I could write about my “vast” experience with men but it seemed disrespectful, not because my children might happen upon this blog or the subjects might find reference to themselves, but because almost all the men from my “past” are now dead.
True story.  I know of at least four men who are no longer with us. I had nothing to do with their demise. They all passed away of natural causes in the last ten years. That is my statement and I am sticking to it.
ü  Sex – Right, like I know anything worth writing about. I go to bed every night with Vicks stuffed up my nose, a fine Cetaphil coating on my face and neck, and diabetic foot cream slathered on my feet.  The piece de resistance is my gray nightgown shift.  My husband says I snore, but so does he.  His comes through his throat; mine comes through my nose. We sound like whales talking to each other in the ocean deep.
ü  Taboo subjects.  If they are labeled taboo, do you think I would honestly mention them here? Oh wait, I just confessed to my “vast” experience with men and my “sex” life. Oops. 

I’ll try to find something to blog about next week. I promise.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The ABC’s Spell Healthy


A - Almonds, Arugula
B - Breakfast is very important.
C – Calcium and Vitamin D daily intake
D – Dinner, Diabetes, Dairy
E – Exercise – choose something addictive and fun.
F – Family activities, fish, fruits
G – Gym workouts (videos are okay.)
H – Healthy snacks – don’t ditch them; choose wisely, hydrate.
I – Interactive video games that involve movement, jumping, standing
J – Join a group to improve exercise, education, weight loss, or to make friends.
K – Kiwi, kale – learn their many benefits.
L – Lunch – measure, choose wisely.
M – Measure your portions. Medicines, movement, meditation
N – Naps, 8 hours of nightly sleep
O – One slice of pizza is okay; fill your plate with salad.
P – Portion control.  A kid’s meal is the size of a “real” adult portion.
Q – Quinoa
R – running (or biking or swimming or dancing)
S – Spice your food to reduce salt intake.
T – Tea has many soothing benefits.
U – Utensils – measuring cups and spoons are your friend.  Put your fork down between bites.
V – Vegetables, vitamins
W – Work standing.  Weight training
X – X out sodas and sweeteners, especially artificial sweeteners.
Y – Yogurt, yoga, yams

Z – Zumba!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alone

Alone won’t let you wear your fancy bracelet, the kind that has a latch and needs three hands to get it onto your wrist.  

Alone says no to that becoming dress, the one with the tight bodice that won’t give so you can scootch it up in back, and you can zip it all the way to the top.  

Alone thinks it’s a bad idea to bake your favorite cake recipe or that meatloaf you love to make with real mashed potatoes and the green bean casserole - unless you want to eat it all week long or freeze the remainder into a dozen plastic lunch containers.

Alone won’t listen to your joke or your story, and it gives useless advice on your latest wacky idea.   

Alone doesn’t care if you steal the covers, hide the remote, or lie about the bathroom scales.

Alone gladly gives up the second seat at the theatre or the symphony so you can use it for your purse and coat.

Alone lets you be the hero of your life’s story, wear the pants, be the boss of you. It gladly lets you swat at the spider, squash the water bug, and shoo the salamander, but then refuses to help dispose of their dead bodies afterwards.

Alone ignores you as you struggle with that clumsy box Fed Ex just left on your front step.  It looks the other way as you drag the trash bin to the curb and just sits, like a lump, in the front seat of the car while you figure out how to jump start the dead battery.

Alone doesn’t take up much room at the restaurant at your table for one. It lets you eat all the tortilla chips and won’t steal your guacamole.

Alone doesn’t care that you watch too many musicals and chick flicks, and doesn’t eat your dark chocolate candy or your Blue Bell then hide the empties at the bottom of the trash can.  

Alone won’t get you a bandage, warm you a bowl of chicken soup, or check on those noises coming from the kitchen in the middle of the night.

Alone doesn’t care about your feelings but that is okay.  You can live alone.  It’s when Alone sometimes brings home an unwanted guest – Loneliness - most often it is in the middle of the night or on a weekend, and suddenly being alone looks different.   

Loneliness amplifies everything, and everything you see loses its color or its fun or its warmth. Problems become insurmountable.

You hate bracelets and hard-to-zip dresses.  You want to haggle with someone over the covers or the remote or what movies to watch at the cinema.  You wish someone was stealing your chocolate or the guacamole off your Number One Mexican Special.  You want someone (besides your pillows or the cats) who talks and listens, laughs and argues, and takes turns with you taking out the trash.  Best of all, you want someone – another human being – who cares enough about you to get you a Band Aid, eat your cooking, and get up in the middle of the night to check for zombies.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our Song


Why is it when we are sad, every song we hear stabs at our heart, even commercials for fast food make us cry?  Yet when our heart is happy, we bop along, singing at full wail.

Music, like our sense of smell, elicits specific memories.

There are certain songs that I find downright annoying. I absolutely hate (and I mean hate, sorry) the theme songs Over the Rainbow, My Heart Will Go On, and Fame. Not only have they been overplayed, but I find my annoyance also stems from my dislike of their movies.  

I also find explicit modern music annoying and disgraceful.

You see, my father was a musician, so I grew up listening to entrancing rhythms and beautiful lyrics.  He played the Big Band music of the 40’s and the smooth ballads of Agustin Lara (the famous Mexican composer of over 700 songs), so I associate that music with my childhood.  

My teen years were wrapped in Elvis, the Beatles, the Stones, and Three Dog Night, but as I had children of my own, they took charge of my musical tastes.  My young adulthood is a blur of Sesame Street ditties, the Ghostbusters theme song, and any song associated with a John Travolta movie.

In retrospect, my love life (as extensive as it was) can be pared down to one playlist - Don’t Rain on my Parade, Footloose, and It Had to be You. For the sake of my children and my dear husband, I cannot be more explicit, though at the time my hormones probably would have chosen other titles.

For now, the one song that best covers me is One and Only by Adele. It fits my life with HoneyBunch the best. He and I found comfort and “home” in each other, so I choose it for “our song.”


Music is necessary for the human soul, so tell me, what song is your all time favorite? 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yellow Car, The Game

If necessity is the mother of invention, desperation is its grandmother.

I’m driving home from picking up two grandsons from school.  They are both strapped into the back seat when the yelling starts.  I hear a swat, then a howl followed by a bloodcurdling battle cry, and the scrimmage begins.

I’m merging onto a stretch of expressway that resembles a French braid and our three lives depend on my total concentration.

          “Let’s play a game.”  I shout over the battle of fists coming from the back seat of my Jeep.

They answer with another smack and another cry of pain.

“There can only be one winner; everyone else will be losers.” I singsong the word “losers” knowing that might divert their attention.

I merge left thanks to the kindness of a young man in a yellow car.

The older one asks over the screams of his younger brother, “What kind of game?”

“Let’s count trucks.  We like trucks.” I try not to sound desperate.

“That’s no fun.  That isn’t special.” There is a whine in his voice.  He detests math in every form and cannot be seduced into doing “work.”

I merge left again and this time I give the yellow car a break.

“Yellow cars,” I say.  “Have you two ever noticed how few there are?” The game will be fair. The three-year-old knows his colors and can count up to twenty.

The back seat is quiet now as I merge left one last time.  We are now safely on our route, and I settle in for the 30-minute ride. “Whoever sees a yellow car or truck first gets to claim it, and the person with the highest number by the time we get to grandma’s is the winner.”

“One,” the oldest says, claiming the yellow car we pass on our right.




Monday, September 9, 2013

Grandma’s Jeep


My oldest grandson was born one month before I bought my red Jeep Liberty, so all seven of my grands have never known me to drive anything else.

When I announced recently I was buying a new car, I was met with shocked looks, not just from the grandkids but from the rest of the family as well.

Will it be red? 

Will it be a Jeep?

More importantly, what was going to happen to it? I wasn’t going to trade it in, was I?

People get attached to houses, and so my family has become attached to Grandma’s Jeep.  It’s more than just some old car - it’s a symbol of Grandma (or Mom); it’s home; it’s a part of the family. 
  
It has been my office, counseling and tutoring grandsons as I drive to and from school, soccer, or swimming lessons.  It has been my interrogation room where naughty boys have confessed their sins and received scolding’s and an earful of advice. It has been the stage for Grandma’s traveling acts of great feats, where out of boredom or desperation the kids and I have invented games, songs, and really bad, dumb jokes. 

It’s been lived in and used. Tiny Lego pieces are tucked in between the car seats, as well as paper wrappers and notes from the teacher that didn’t make it home. The seats are stained from spilled sodas or juice, wet swimming suit bottoms, and assorted goops the boys were explicitly told not to open in the car.

Like its owner, the transmission is slipping and it tootles down the road at an irritatingly slow speed.  It needs new tires. The air conditioner only works on high, and the radio no longer works at all. It leaks, leaving puddles wherever it is parked, and it makes embarrassing noises at inconvenient times.

Most of the miles on the odometer were racked up by hundreds of trips to pick up and leave off, including the library, McDonald’s, and Dairy Queen.  The upholstery is an archeological dig, the stains testimony to the many ice cream cones and Dr. Peppers I let my boys sneak even after their Mommy said no.

But still it does not erase the fact that I need a new car.

I have made one concession.  My next car will be red, that way the kids will know it is me coming from a distance, but it will not be a Jeep. My husband has intervened as well.  He decided we will not trade in Grandma’s Jeep, not out of sentimental reasons but because she has been a good and faithful old car, and he says no one could ever give us in trade what she is worth.

I agree.  No car I have ever owned has meant as much to me. She is filled with wonderful memories and those are things that money or a new fancy sedan could never replace.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Prayers and Angels - II

On March 20, 2003, my youngest son and his Marine unit crossed the central desert of Iraq on their way to Bagdad.  The war had just begun.

He was twenty-one years old at the time.  At home on that day, his high school friends worried about college classes, making it to work on time, and what to plan for Saturday night.

I had spent every moment since his deployment in January, praying for his safety, though I acknowleded that God’s will would be done.  Because of the seriousness of war, I, and many others, prayed that God would cover my precious son with His angels, so that he would have the strength and courage to face whatever happened.

My son came home that year in September, and he shared many miraculous escapes from death. The most amazing happened on March 20th.

As they crossed the desert, a huge sandstorm blew in.  It was so blinding that they “circled the wagons,” silenced their radios, and waited for it to abate.  They were defenseless in the storm. They occasionally saw flashes of light up ahead, but lightening sometimes accompanies these sandstorms. 

The next day the Air Force told them that a huge contingent of Iraqi army had crossed the desert during the storm. What they had seen were explosions and gun fire. Had the smaller Marine unit continued on their route, they would have crossed paths.  They would have been among the first casualties of the war.  The Air Force said the sandstorm had saved their lives.

Between you and me, God sent His angels to stir up the sandstorm.  They had saved the Marines’ lives in answer to our prayers.   

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Lack of Manners


“I was raised right – I talk about people behind their backs.  It’s called good manners.” – Kathy Griffin

My husband opens doors for me and lets me walk through first.  The same with the car door, he expects me to wait for him before I enter or exit the car.

It is one of the reasons I love him – his consideration and manners.

Now, he slips every once in a while, but then I’ve been known to rest my elbows on the dinner table and talk with my mouth full of food, so I am willing to overlook his fumbles on occasion.

The lack of manners and good etiquette are a reflection of a person, and once a good impression is lost, it is almost impossible to be regained.

COURTESY
I cannot stand when people touch food with their hands and put it back when they serve themselves from a common bowl or serving tray.  Even more disgusting is when someone double dips a chip into a bowl of dip or a piece of bread into a plate of oil and vinegar.  The lack of courtesy for others is appalling. I also cannot tolerate noisy eaters; those who make more noise than a pig at a trough totally turn me off. 

POLITENESS
I hate selfish people who muscle their way to the front as if they are in line for free samples at Costco on Saturday. Instead of considering others, they act as if the food will run out at the buffet or they won’t score the last brownie.  I hate when they serve themselves more than their share and do not consider others.

CONSIDERATION
I despise people who once they gobble the last soda in the ice chest, the last rib on the platter, or the last bit of money in your pocket, get restless, look bored, and cannot wait to leave so they can move on to their next mooch.

GRACIOUSNESS
Egotistical people believe the world revolves around their charm, good looks, and wit.  It is a privilege to be in their presence.  There is only one opinion – theirs.  There is only one celebrity – them.  There is only one reason the peons have gathered . . . , well, you get the picture.  Their lack of graciousness blinds them to the fact that everyone IS being gracious. Their smile is not adulation; they just do not know how to tell the egoists they are nothing more than blustering buffoons.

RESPECTFUL OF OTHERS

Arrogant jerks who flaunt their intelligence, their college diplomas, and their pedigree in your face, are clueless to the fact that all the synapses, degrees, and money in the world will never make up for a lack of manners. Without a good set of manners and a workable knowledge of etiquette, they are nothing more than unlikeable boors.