Friday, May 25, 2012

It's about time...

I know.  I know.  It's ridiculous, really.  But believe me, there are reasons.  I'm sitting here trying to figure out how I can relay all this information without this turning into an online novel.  I haven't quite figured it out.  Perhaps we'll have a multi-episode arc to work out all the details.

Right about the time that I had a new post brewing up, Peanut had a cough that was starting to get worrisome.  Long story short, we ended up in the hospital for 5 days while she fought off pneumonia.  Now, given my previous history with this same hospital about this same time of year 8 years ago with another daughter of mine, this was a pretty emotional event.

Peanut and I got home and started trying to reintegrate into our family.  Valentine's day came and went.  And then, about 3 days later, I got a horrible, horrible phone call.  CoKe called and told me that our sweet friend had died. And I remember not asking how, not asking when, but asking why.  He was not just my sweet friend, he was from my New Orleans family.  He was my soul sister's husband and she was, is, broken hearted.  And, as it turns out, I did not have clothes for any occasion at all.
I didn't have a stupid appropriate stupid black outfit to wear to his funeral.  He was a pretty dapper dude so I was chagrined to wear high water slightly too tight black pants that showed my crazy ass socks whenever I crossed my legs.  I know.  He didn't see me.  Maybe.  And it's not about me.  But it hurts.  I miss him. 

As I came through that, it was Angel's birthday.  And celebrating the 9th birthday that never was, it hurts.  I miss her.

After that was March.  Oh, sure, you say, March.  Like March just generally sucks for the population of everyone.  It's the weather, for sure.  It couldn't commit to spring OR winter so it was just this schizo layering nightmare and you were never sure if you were going to end the day freezing your ass off with all your layers of sweats and blankets or desperate to push the boundaries of what is "indecent" exposure anyway.  But that's not all March is around here.  It's the next step after the building up from Angel's birthday.  It's rolling into my mother's birthday.  Which, really, it isn't much her birthday anymore.  Not for a long time to come.  Because now, a year later, we are reminded that it's the day before her husband died.  Which means that the next day, it's the "anniversary" of the day he died.  It hurts.  I miss him.  And what is truly heart-breaking is that I have just come to the startling realization that it isn't just him that's gone.  There's a part of my mom that is gone with him.  It hurts.  I miss that part of her.  And then, it was Angel's "anniversary".  It's only just now as I share this with you that it occurs to me how woefully misapplied I feel the word anniversary is to these situations.  I'm going to find another word that is more appropriate.  Or make one up.  Anyway.  That day sucked.  And for the 8th year in a row, it's a total crap shoot as to how that day is going to play out.  There have been years where it felt like we got it right and it was cathartic and memorializing.  And there have been years where it felt like I was walking around, a big open wound and everything that came into contact stung, ached or pushed reality in a little bit deeper - a thorn of bitterness and utter desolation.  This year felt more towards the latter end of that spectrum.  It sucked.  It was all wrong.  Which actually is pretty right because losing a baby daughter out of the blue is all wrong.  A day that marks it happening and remembering it, an anniversary if you will, has got no business being anything other than all wrong at all.  The rest of March is really mostly just a recovery blur.  A stumbling bumbling hurling towards April because as we all know, if you can just get to the point where you are flipping a calendar page, it changes everything. 

In April, I went roller skating for the first time in likely 27 years.  A group of gals went out and did a whole roller derby theme and had a blast rolling along with kids who were very kind and supportive of us.  I also work Skunk's bike helmet which is essentially a plastic spiky Mohawk.  I'm telling you, I was a HUGE hit with that thing.

The Saudi moved out suddenly in February so April brought in another student.  For continuity, I will be calling the new student "The Saudi". It's because he's from Saudi Arabia.  He's a quiet homebody who likes to help out around the house.  He sweeps every night.  I thought I would be able to claim that activity and play it off like it was me doing it but Hubs caught on right away. 

Other stuff happened in April, but honestly, it was so long ago.  Sure, last month, right.  But still.  Because May begins a whole 'nother set of stuff going on.  May contains Hubs' birthday, Scooby's  birthday, and your humble blogger's birthday.  I'll skip over the first two birthdays and just talk about me.  Because this is my blog and it's all about me.  I hated turning 40 last year.  HATED it.  And, as self-fulfilling prophecies tend to do, it did suck good and proper.  But this year, I was determined to celebrate.  I survived 40.  And truly, there was some bare-knuckled, grin and bare it, hanging on for dear-life surviving it.  New year.  New start.  And Hubs rose to the task.  I got the girl's holy grail of bucket list items.  I got a blue box.  You know the one I'm talking about.  I also got Indian food for lunch.  And lots of attention.  My  soul, my needy, fairly materialistic soul was fed.  Not just because I got some jewelry but because of all the words that he said about why he wanted to do that for me.  Because I had friends who made a point of celebrating the fact that I exist and that I am in their world and they love that about me.  And then there was Mother's day.  And then there were soccer games and crisis moments in dear friends' lives.  And late fines.  And Go Cincinnati (fine.  I live in Cincinnati.  I guess we have progressed into that portion of our relationship.) And I managed to not drink for the entirety of a whole year. And then Hubs' mom called last weekend and told us that my sister-in-law, whom happens to have the same name as me and whom also has a May birthday that just happens to be exactly one week prior to mine, had gotten the news that she has breast cancer.  And honestly, I barely know what to do with that.  And that's just me, standing on the sidelines wanting to help and being 5 hours away and not knowing what to do.  That's not even her, with their two kids and her great sense of humor and humbling faith that has to go through it on a first person basis.  I can't wrap my tiny selfish brain around it.

So, that's a snapshot of where I have been.  What's been stealing me away from you.  I have defaulted to shopping and eating in dealing with this.  And you may well have had some even more compelling, crazy, catastrophic or chaotic circumstances in the past 5 months.  I am not trying to take that away from you.  It's all really just life.  And I don't know if it is truly just getting more complicated in general or if I'm just losing the tools necessary to deal appropriately as I get older.  But I have gained significant girth units.  I just still have no idea how to channel stress into healthy channels of coping.  I have yet to figure out an outlet.  My relationship with God is trying to thread itself back together.  I have decided to renew my resolutions using my entrance into the 42nd year of my life as the marker instead of New Year's eve.  My next post will be a reminder of what the already established resolutions are, an update on how those are going and random musings from my little slice of the world.  I hope you will consider re-joining the journey with me.  I have truly missed you.  And if there is one thing that I think has really started to burrow it's way into my super thick skull, it is that time is short.  We get one shot at this venue.  I get to share my life with these people, with you, just the one time.  And if I'm not making that count, if I'm not squeezing every ounce of life out of my life, what's the point?

Also, I figured out that I really, really like coconut.  Which doesn't have much of anything to do with anything but it happened while we were apart so I thought I would just mention it as well.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

TBD...

I was trying to think of ways to make this a more interactive situation. I didn't come up with much. One thing I thought of was to post pictures. Like, I had one that I took of this ginormous bruise I got from testing that whole theory about wet things being slippery and played it fast and loose around some icy front porch stairs. But the picture looked obscene. It wasn't terribly obscene. I mean, while it IS on my backside, I covered my crack with my hand. So you weren't looking at anything that you could identify as my backside. And yet somehow, the bruise itself looked – obscene. Another word doesn't really come to mind and I'm thinking another word couldn't do it much justice either. The bruise is finally dissipating but there is still a mighty knot in the square center of it. I considered taking a picture of my guts pre-exercise and excising sugar. But that felt more obscene than the picture of my bruise looked. So, I nixed that idea. I could post a video of me reading stuff to you but you are busy – reading the stuff I just wrote for you. I would offer up a twitter party but I still can't get the hang of twitter. Other people have stuff to say on there all the time. And they know real hashtags and everything. So, I'm thinking I would be a lousy host. Also, not for nothing but it is a little disheartening that there are uhm, dead people that have a larger following than myself. I realize it's not a popularity contest but still. It's one thing to say it's not a popularity contest and another to lose – to dead people. For now, I'm stumped. I am open to suggestions. I don't want y'all to get bored or anything.

I wanted to clarify what I said last time about cutting out sugar. I will still be eating fruit which has natural sugars in it. I'm not actively looking at labels and upon seeing sugar in the ingredients winging it across the store and going on a rant wherein I profess the unholiness that becometh sugar. I know you might have been a little worried about that. I can understand – I did call sugar a demon. And I have already alerted you to some mental health uhm, inconsistencies that I manage. So, to sum up. The way I'm tackling Resolution 10 is that I'm quitting the regular, nay, near constant, eating of goods that have the main ingredient of sugar and are touted as items called: chocolate, candy, cake, cookie, confectionery. Hmmmm... so, perhaps cutting out all “C” items from my diet. But I actually do like cauliflower. I'm going to have to think this through. I would like to report that I was snap brilliant at this resolution. Pretty much right after Princess' birthday I just abstained. I didn't buy any discounted goodness – and there were plenty of opportunities, I'll have you know. Whenever I got tempted to eat a “C”, I would pop in a piece of gum. Because it starts with “G”. It was all good. Until last night. Last night I pulled out the giant $1 tube of crushed peppermint sugar cookie dough and cooked some up for the kidlings. Do you know how good cookies smell when they are cooking? Are you kidding me? I thought I could just eat a half of one.  But I didn't stop with one half. The upshot is that I didn't eat the rest of the tube. I was able to keep it to a respectable 3 cookies. Holy spitcoly they were good. But I felt awful afterwards. Hindsight is just useless. No, really. I can't think of why it even exists. There is no good side to hindsight... Today, I'm trying NOT to dwell in it or decide that the pooch is screwed anyway (seriously – where did THAT term come from?) so I might as well bake up that whole tube AND the one that I got that is gingerbread flavor. Not gonna do it. As far as I know. I probably have over 6 more active hours left in this day and seeing as how Hubs is out of town and I have to do dinner and bedtime on my own again tonight, I'm taking it moment by moment. And you know what they say about when the Hubs is away... Jenny just has to survive. That's sort of what happened last night. Flying solo with a houseful of people all acting like they have their own personhood – well – it took a toll. Like tollhouse cookies... mmmmm.... tollhouse cookies....

Here is some more stuff related to food that I wanted to talk to you about. First, I wanted to mention that I have definitely been giving a lot of thought to being vegetarian. I've taken it as far as actually considering being a vegan. I really really want to encourage everyone that has the capacity to see “Forks Over Knives” (especially you, Paula Deen). I cannot tell you how impelling the information is. Plant based diets definitely have the appeal of health going on. I mostly think that I could do vegan except when it comes to cheese. I don't have a strong fromage need but it's big enough that I think about NOT eating it and I get all nervous and go find a cheese stick to calm myself. Also, one of my rituals when I'm in the grocery store is to peruse the cheese area to see if any Brie is marked down. Okay. So cheese is a bigger draw than probably I'm admitting to myself. Just in general milk products could be my overall downfall. I like butter. I like what butter does when you put it on other food stuffs as it makes them taste buttery. I also like cream. I like it whipped. Or in frozen form. But I'm not supposed to eat it in frozen form anymore. Or whipped form either. Because whipped cream without sugar is really, uhm, pointless. I could curb an awful lot of pining for chocolate if I was a vegan. Seriously – chocolate made without milk is really, uhm, pointless. Carob is no match. And if you think it is, it's quite apparent that you have never had the real deal. So, I think that we have established that I'm in no position to pledge allegiance to a vegan flag. As far as vegetarian goes, I could pretty much see myself being successful. I already know what my weak spots would be. My dad makes brisket. I know that God actually made brisket. Silly. And I know that plenty of other people have cooked brisket. Silly. What I'm saying is that between my dad's rendition of brisket and my dad's rendition of corned beef – well, it would be challenging to eschew meat products all together. However, Dad lives far away and I can't get tempted too frequently. It's real hard to ship that stuff. I thought that bacon might be a tough animal to give up but I think I could do it. Pigs are really gross after all. But their ribs make for good eating. Which is why I'm making this Orange Chipotle Slow-Cooker Rib recipe for Super Bowl Sunday. Maybe I have a bigger meat affinity than I realized. You're giving me a lot to think about here...

I've been exercising somewhat. When I get on the elliptical, I spend an hour on there. But I haven't been on it the past 3 days. It actually bothers me that I haven't been able to make my way there. Not because I enjoy it. But because I really really really don't want to hold onto the softiness that is embedded around my middle region. Apparently turning 40 and well into almost 41 has changed the way that the food I eat sits on me. Also the way that fat sits on me. Also the way that the fat won't come off me. It's just so hard to do something SO contrary to who you are and not see immediate results and still do it and not knowing when, or even if, you will see results. And by you, I mean me. Because you look fabulous darling.

My spending fast was a success last month (Resolution 1, subsection A). However, my spending was not a success last month. So, I'm sort of mostly extending my spending fast into this month. I have already bought something that is NOT used for eating or cleaning. BUT it is going towards being creative – on the day that I actually make it (reference Resolution 6). I got fabric to make my money envelopes ala Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. So, I spent money to make money holders so that I can get better at spending money. See how that works? No? Well, you should take a trip up inside of my head because it is ringing all kinds of make sense bells up there. For the record, that damn gorgeous purple Coach purse is still at the consignment store. But it is no longer 75% off. I don't know what sort of hidden meaning is supposed to be inferred from that situation. Am I supposed to go buy it now? It's just sitting there. All available and gorgeous. Is it temptation? Or is it a prize for bypassing it the first time? But how can it be a prize if it isn't 75% off now? I'm confused. You might be wondering HOW I know that the purse is still there. It's because that consignment store has an area where the clothing is $1 and I went in there yesterday to take a look. That's correct. Right after I deposited the paycheck. Here's what I came to realize. I have a love hate relationship with clothing. I see cute outfits and want to adorn myself with them promptly. I love to go shopping for clothes. About every 5.65 weeks I decide that I don't like the way that something fits me and feel frumpy and start replanning and replacing my entire wardrobe. Also, I hate wearing clothes. Mostly in the summer. Or during hot flashes. But it's only in the summer that I get to challenge the whole how much is enough to be A) a God-fearing woman called to modesty despite sweltering conditions and B) not mistaken for a 'ho. My ideal is to get away with two pieces of clothing at any given time. However, the more weight I hang out with (and I mean that literally as well as figuratively...) the less I'm able to accomplish that. And, if I'm going to be honest, probably the older I get the less successful I am at wearing my bare minimum. Unless one item is a mumu. And the other contains the word “uplifting” in it's description. I have been on a nude beach once and went the way of the natives. I was like 20ish when that happened. I ache for that kind of freedom. Think about it. It pretty much accomplishes everything that those uniform rules set out to do – it equalizes the economic divide. Bonus- no bra straps pinching this way and that. No decisions to make. No one cares a lick about the variety of body shapes and sizes. It's a beautiful thing. I'm so pissed at Adam and Eve right now. I walked out of the consignment store empty handed. Hubs and I had to have a tough talk about money because my stupid church had to go all 4 weeks solid of a series on money and brought it all out into the open so that we had to have tough talks about money. Stupid money. Stupid church. And by stupid church, I mean awesome church. Here is some HI-larious video footage from the series for you to enjoy.

Speaking of series, let's ruminate on the brilliance that is Burn Notice. *sigh* I don't know what to tell you. It's not solving any of the world's problems but I really don't care. It's a 45 minutes of action and romance and loyalty and save the day and weaponry and cool dude and bad-ass little Irish chick and Bruce Campbell. It's a full on recipe of awesome. The other night, Hubs and I finished season 5. And ever since, I have felt like a lost soul bumping around bewildered and waiting for what happens next but they don't even start filming until March and those episodes air in the summer and I don't know when I'LL get to see season 6 because we don't have cable. So, if you see me and I look a little forlorn, you will know why.

I've been upping my Pinterest surfing a bit lately. I have all sorts of ideas for my crafting. Also for my next tattoo. Or 15. I have plenty of veggie recipes to try out. And stuff I have poked fun of. I've figured out that someone owes me a time machine so I can go back and explain to everyone who ever made fun of my glasses that I was actually a hipster – a fashion visionary ahead of my time. Because as far as I can tell, hipsters are just people who picked out killer specs. Maybe you have to like Mumford and Sons also to be one. So far, nothing has left its mark on me like this little find on Pinterest. It haunts me so much that I have begun to wish that there was a way to actually tattoo music onto your soul. Probably it is really only a matter of time before we can install an “i” device into our body and it would accomplish much the same. But if I could figure it out – hearing this resonate through my bones – it would make even more sense than hearing it through a mechanism some how. It would seem natural – like it was supposed to be heard this way and often. I love lots of different kinds of music. Except country – not any of it, not even a little. Or gospel- no disrespect to the One they be respectin'. Or jazz- which is a little puzzling because the way they skat in that genre is full up my nonsense talking alley. Also, I don't like rap so much. I'm down with old skool but once they started talking about shootin', bluntin', pimpin', thuggin' and fu... I mean bumpin' uglies – well, it just wasn't fun anymore. And, okay, whatever category Zamfir and Yanni fit in – I don't much like that either. Maybe it would be easier to tell you what I DO like to listen to. Look, that's not the point. The point is that I have heard a fair share of voices and instruments working together and very little has the ability to sink into my soul like this song has. So, I thought I would share it with you.


I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I don't exactly know what my final two resolutions are going to be. I have lots of ideas. Trust me, there's a whole lot of change that could be happening up in this here girlie. My conundrum is that I don't know how to pick the final two from all the ideas floating around. I could have a contest. But as twisty-uppy as my brain ever is, I'm well aware that concepts are not actually tangibly alive per se. So, it's not like I believe that I could have some sort of Survivor style competition and the last lit torches get to have the honor. Maybe that would be a good interactive thing to do! Maybe I should let all y'all decide what my last resolutions should be. Why don't you, my adoring couple of dozen public, weigh in? Huh? Why don't ya? Or maybe just one resolution. I haven't worked out my control freak resolution/issues yet.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

X marks the spot...

You know what I love about our relationship? There are no expectations. I didn't promise you that I would be here daily. I don't think. Did I promise that? There has been no particular reason why I haven't posted in a few. I don't want to short-change you. If I'm not feeling it, you won't feel it either so why force something, right? So, maybe that should be the expectation. I'll write when the writing is right.

Actually, that's not entirely correct. There have been a few reasons why I haven't posted. Princess turned 7 this past Friday. So on Thursday I made cupcakes. And probably the best butter cream icing of all time. And I tried this super cool technique of striping the frosting as it was coming out but it was a total bust. The first one was a thing of beauty but then the butter started breaking down and getting all gloopy and it looked a bit like unicorn rainbow poop. So, I had to switch gears. I made the rest of the frosting pink. And I was using the coloring gels that “won't make your icing runny”. Liars. Such lying liars. It was super runny. And then I put it in the fridge to give it a chance to get it together. Then it was too hard and all separated butter fat looking. I wasn't going to be able to use it. Unfortunately, it was still ridiculously delicious so I started eating it. I knew I would eat the whole bowl of it so I had to throw it away. But by throwing it away, I had to use an idea I got from a friend of mine and had to mush it into the nastiness of the rest of the garbage so that my sicko mind would understand that it was a totally closed door. Shamefully, I have to admit that that was the only way the message could be sent. I'm not saying I would have dug it out of the trash. I'm just saying there is a part of my brain that would have entertained the thought for a moment. So, I had all these cupcakes that had to be ready for the butt-crack of dawn (which is an actual time – like noon- only this time happens with an incredibly loud and extremely close (how catchy is that phrase? What? I didn't make that up? A book AND a movie? Hmmm.) alarm that Hubs sets to go off at 6:30 am. But that's not butt-crack of dawn. Butt-crack of dawn is 6:47 am when I actually get out of bed to do my half of the morning duties). I had to make more frosting. This time I made a cream cheese frosting. It held up beautifully and was a much better color of pink. Except that it was pretty much the same color pink as this atrocity.

I have also been in a funk. This isn't the good funk – the kind that Prince, George Clinton and the Black Eyed Peas do so right. This is the blah bluesy funk that makes you want to listen to funeral dirge-like jams from The Smiths or Coldplay. I'm just kidding. I wouldn't listen to that music during any kind of mood at all. But my point is that gray weather gives me a gray mood – not black and angry, not white and light. Just this hovering waiting for some sort of shift, some sort of direction towards the promise of spring. I really just tolerate winter so much less as time goes on. It's bleak. I know that it's necessary. I know that all that ice packs down deep in the ground and eventually melts to become a life giving force to blossoms to come but I hate that wait. I'm a soul who needs sunshine. Probably I need a light therapy box and some vitamin D supplements. In the mean time I eat like I'm going into hibernation and sleep about the same way. Anywho, that's what I have been doing with our away time.

Let's catch up on how I'm doing with my resolutions. I still want stuff. But I have been doing splendidly with the spending fast. This was truly tested when I went into a consignment store and they were having a 75% off clearance sale and there was a GORGEOUS purple Coach purse. I have a bit of an addiction to Coach purses. I don't know why but I'm inexplicably drawn to them. Especially when they are $69.99 consignment store price and then take an additional 75% off. A GORGEOUS purple Coach purse for $17.50. If that didn't test my resolve, I don't know what would. Of course, I did text Hubs to talk me down. Which he found extremely easy to do (in the form of bossing me...) because he missed the part where it was 75% off and thought it was still $69.99. I didn't buy it. I'm still pining for it. And a little bitter. But also slightly proud that I could accept Hub's wishes and continue to adhere to my spending fast. Except for, well, here's the deal. If you recall, my spending fast was that I couldn't/wouldn't buy things that I couldn't eat or clean with. And that has been the case. On the other hand, my budget is already all gone. I know. It's because there was considerable increase in stuff that I could eat and clean with. Eating cleaner has a tremendous learning curve. I have realized that I have to make more frequent, smaller trips to get fresh food. I'm over stocking and stuff is getting wilty. I need to use it up before getting more. Previously, I was a stockpiler and for some things I still will be. But you can't stockpile chard. I know, probably you wouldn't stock chard at all much less stockpile chard. Give it a try! Also, I have decided to start making a few cleaners and soaps for the house and I put out some initial supply cost to accomplish that end. I have made my first batch of hand-soap. It's pretty cool. Next up is laundry soap. I'll keep you posted. But that is where my money went. Quickly. So, I have more of a spending problem than I recognized and need to fine tune the spending fast rules. Which at this point are moot because I don't have money which means a spending freeze. So, to recap, current spending fast rules: don't spend any money at all because I don't have any money at all. But that is going to be a massive fail because we are down to our last half-gallon of organic milk and it's still 10 days out to payday. I guess we simply explain to the energy company that we are short with the payment this month because milk has all kinds of ooky extra stuff that makes puberty come faster and younger and I don't want my children to sprout stuff prematurely so we are drinking cleaner milk to preserve their childhood for as long as possible. I'm pretty sure that the companies are totally customer oriented and care about our needs and will accept these reasons as important and probably will even take up the cause and persuade all farms to make organic milk so the price can drop to like $2 a gallon and allow all people to be healthy AND warm during the winter. Stranger things have happened. Not often and certainly mostly at the will of the Great I Am. But still...

I have something totally cool to share. Just after I posted about the resolution of telling my story, a friend asked to hang out with me. We were going to play some board games but when I got there we just talked. And she got all vulnerable about some struggles that she had been having. I was immediately gifted with the opportunity to use my experience to listen and give some additional perspective to what she was going through. And you know what? She hadn't even read that post to know that some of the same things I had revealed in that post were some of the same things she was talking to me about. I just LOVE when God uses me and any of my junk and/or triumph to reach out to someone else. It's just affirmation that I'm doing what He wants for me and that resolution was definitely born of His heart for us to have community.

I haven't been as creative as I have wanted to be. I guess that's a good reason to be posting more frequently. Plus, we are pretty much friends and it's nice to keep in touch. I have been crocheting but I only really know how to do lines and there are only so many scarves that I can make before, uh, I have so many scarves. So, I need to either learn how to do some different stitches or consider learning how to knit. Although, now that I think about it, I don't know what else I would want to do with yarn. I don't really desire to make sweaters or shawls. I would be up for doing a blanket but the kids' grandmother has made them all beautiful afghans so they don't really need another. I'm not going to knit or darn my own socks. I don't really care for Kleenex box covers or tea cozies. Mostly I just like the fact that I'm making scarves all by myself and in the colors I want and keeping my hands busy. One scarf that I made turned out all funky but then I redeemed it by making it into a cowly neck situation with a ginormous button that looks all intentional and groovy. I LOVE it.  I did that my own self. I have a scrapbooking retreat on the books so that's a whole creative weekend to look forward to. I've been drooling over Pinterest and have a boatload of ideas about being creative but haven't actually taken action on many of those ideas.

Okay, you want to talk Pinterest? Let's just go ahead and address it. It's yet another addiction. It's eye candy. It's the wedding you hope to have some day or the one you wished you had thrown together but never even knew you wanted. It's clothing you can't afford. It's bodies that may or may not be attainable. It's how I found out that I am a dork and not a geek or a nerd. It's how your house could look if you had a landscape architect, the right floor plans, an interior designer and roughly 3.5 million dollars. It's food you want to eat. It's tattoos you will hopefully never have enough skin to duplicate. It's vacation spots you didn't know existed but can't wait to get to. It's picture after picture of smack your head you can't believe you never thought of it. It's stuff you want to re-purpose and up-cycle but will likely never find the supplies for. It's an introduction to steam punk which I can't describe but I know it when I see it and I dig it. It's inspiration. It's expression. It's a world-opener. It's proof positive that beauty is subjective. As is art. As is taste, for sure. And that I have good taste. And lots and lots of people do not. I could spend – and for that matter have...- hours on Pinterest. And it's not just me – it grabs hold of most anyone who logs on and it won't let go. Mostly all I ever post on facebook anymore is what I have discovered on Pinterest because I have rededicated all my online time-suck to this entire site of possibility and probably will never execute. And that, my friends, is Pinterest.

And speaking of addiction, let's move on to the next resolution.

9. Exorcise the sugar demon. I reckon that people from both sides of the believing in Christ camp might question the use of the word demon. So, let's unpack that word for a minute. Webster-Merriam's website's second definition of the word is: “a source or agent of evil, harm, distress, or ruin” (footnote and appropriate legal usage expressly implied). I simply cannot think of much else that is so readily available to the general public that fully embodies this definition. Foodmatters.tv wrote an article recently about sugar and summed it up beautifully. “It’s whiter than heroin, sweeter than your fiancĂ©e, more soluble than the National Debt, and more pernicious than nicotine because, like a true demon, this little beauty comes in a million disguises and always dresses like a friend”. Yeah. My go to when I am Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired or Mental – it's food. And by food I mean sweet. My sweet of choice is chocolate but if it's not around, I'll try to make something else work. Or go get chocolate. This article wasn't the catalyst for this resolution or my beliefs about what sugar is or has become. I've written before about sugar. Not for you. But I don't want you to feel left out so I'll sum it up.

I believe (and as this is a belief, it is not based on scientific evidence nor is it endorsed by doctors or politicians or anything) that sugar is a self-feeding organism. I believe that some makes you crave more and becomes this destructive cycle that feels like a rut. And you know what they say about a rut? It's just a grave with both ends kicked out. It takes something monumental to change any rut – but a rut that becomes an addiction and really, embeds itself into pretty much the fiber of your actual being, it sort of seems like something miraculous has to happen. If something feeds on itself, you have to starve it. If you have to depend on something to be your companion when you are in MHALT mode, you gotta find a true companion to see you through. God is the logical first choice but there is a reason that 12 step groups have sponsors. God didn't give Adam a piece of sugar cane and say “feel better (happy, whole, fulfilled) soon”. He gave Adam Eve to share life with. And really, I don't think that the Bible ever specified that it was an apple. What if the forbidden fruit was, in fact, sugar cane and God said – don't touch that – it's going to bring about evil, harm, distress and ruin if you touch it. And then Satan came along and got all tempty and told Eve how awesome it was and God was holding out on the goodness and the supremacy and she should taste of the sweetness of that fruit. I tell ya. If that's how it really played out, so many things would make sense. It would make sense out of having to mash garbage into buttercream frosting to make sure it was inedible. It would make sense out of realizing that you have gained a whole bunch of weight and comforting yourself with the rest of the incredibly fattening cream cheese frosting that you had to make to replace the buttercream frosting. It would make sense out of a system that supports enables the poor who rely on food subsidies to buy Kool-Aid, Doritos, Little Debbie snack cakes, “chicken” patties and other cheap foods that degrade health and promote diabetes and force a reliance on health care that other people have to pay for. I don't mean to sound like a paranoid conspiracist but I take a look at a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated issues and see an entire system of overlapping and interwoven problems that point to what food has turned into. And the more cans and boxes that our food comes in, the more sugar is added to make you forget that it barely resembles actual food. Look at labels on nearly anything in your kitchen – sugar, in all it's aliases is likely in just about everything.

Here's the last thing that I want to say about this. Artificial sugar – it's worse. And here's why. First – it's not natural. Even stevia and fructose – those come from natural sources but go through a process to become what they add to any food. And sugar is natural too but that doesn't change all that stuff I just said about it. And the second reason – it perpetuates the sweet. Really, what is it about us that needs sweet so much that even if we are overweight or get diabetes we will still drink sweet sodas and sweet tea and eat sweet foods and all of it is okay because it's not sugar? It's a lie that we tell ourselves – that it's healthier because it's zero calorie and we can't get fat from it. As if that's all that food should accomplish. We hold the sweet so dear that we would rather take a potentially cancer forming substitute than give it up all together. That's flipping mental. You know what that is? That's demonic and evil. Oh. That's right. I said it.

So. It's all gotta go. I feel like crap. I look like crap. My face is all squishy and I'm all floppy.  I'm hoping this is the last great hurdle. I kicked the smoking. I kicked the drinking. I know that this is going to be even harder territory to maneuver. And I'm terrified of not wanting sugar anymore. Truly. I think about birthday parties and actually fear not wanting to eat ice cream rather than look forward to being free. I can think of no better reason to do this. I have to have faith that the reward will be sweet enough.

And so it seems only natural that the next resolution would be:

10. Exercise.  I feel like crap. I look like crap. My face is all squishy and I'm all floppy.  The crap is just sitting around on my face and thighs and guts.   Apparently, it won't just fall off or be willed off while I indulge myself. I hate exercise slightly less than cleaning. At least with exercise I can watch Burn Notice. *Sigh* With cleaning there's the whole leaving the vicinity of the lone TV in our home. Also, I have an endorphin deficiency. I think that science should study me. Probably that would help my mood – endorphins. But when I'm exercising I never, and I do mean never, get that endorphin release that makes all those exercise freaks ENJOY exercising. It's like most unenjoyable things in my life – I just get all resentful and bitchy and power through – or quit. But I've got to stop quitting the quitting of the exercise. As of today, I weigh 132.6 pounds. I don't want to spoil any surprises but none of my resolutions will be to lose weight. I'm trusting that doing the other stuff that I pledge to do will get me to a place of health and along the way, the health will include a body that I own and not one that owns me. Part of that is to be a weight that is compatible with my frame. That weight is not compatible with my 5 foot 3.5 inch frame. This has got to be about long term change instead of short-term fixation on numbers. But I'll keep you posted on the numbers. There's that whole community and accountability and share my story thing.

Okay. That's all for today. I have been at this for like 4 hours. I'm a giver I tell ya. I have a healthy lunch to eat and an elliptical to ellip. Or a nap to take.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This just in...

This has been bouncing around my facebook page for a week or so.  I hesitated in watching it for no particular reason.  But then I did and I thought enough of it to make it into it's own post and  share it with you.  He says so much of what I would likely take up to 5 pages to capture.  I can't resent his brilliance.  I just want to make sure he shines on as many people as he can.


Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Once Upon a Time...

Good morning! Sorry I missed you yesterday. Hubs has been cray-zay busy at work which means I have been playing single mom lately. There are women out there who ARE single moms. There are also women out there who are married but whose husbands travel a ton and they live like single moms most of the time. There are also a few men who roll as single fathers. To all those folks I say a resounding – You. Astound. Me. I truly have no idea how y'all do it. I'm nutter just doing a few extra things and when I do just a few extra things, the rest of the few things that I do do fall all to hell. So, yesterday, I was pooped and didn't really have the ability to sit down and do my thing at the computer. The thing about kids is that you have to all the time get stuff for them. And talk to them. And feed them. It's really never ending.

Today, I'm tired. Hubs didn't come home until 6:15 this morning. I told you – cray-zay busy at work. I don't sleep well when he isn't there. It's a whole bed in balance type of thing. Also, I have to remember, while I'm sleeping not to get all twisty so that my back can recover and be all normal. Remembering things while you are sleeping is hard. And it puts a damper on giving into being fully asleep. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm an actual princess. When there are disturbances in my bed – a found lost sock because it used to be that I couldn't sleep with socks on and now I can't sleep without them but somehow I sleep through one coming fully off and the other staying on and undermining my sleep feng-shui, or some random product stuck between the fitted sheet and the mattress, or finding some sort of weirdo wet thing that my stupid sock eating dog coughed up into my bed (I know! Gross! Too gross to mention? It's not my fault it ended up there – I can't go around being embarrassed about my gross dog. I will not censor!) – I am acutely aware of those situations. Also, if something is laying across me that is contrary to being a pre-authorized covering, somehow when I am sleeping, that something takes on a weight of 2 tons and squishes me. If you were to put a dried pea (I'm assuming that it was never a raw pea. That's gross. They rot. Fresh food rots. I've got all kinds of evidence in my fridge.) under my mattress, I think I would detect it all royal style. Plus, I act like a princess what with all my entitlement and waiting for non-existent servants to do all my work for me. Today's biggest goal is to not go back to bed. It's tough to get things done from the bed. Believe me, I've tried.

So. I'm super pissed. Sorry Mom and Dad. Pardon my potty mouth. I am a perfectionist. I know. It's so contrary to everything that I have already talked about. And some day, perhaps, a doctor that shrinky dinks brains so that people can walk around all thinking “normally” in society can explain how I can be a procrastinating, self-indulged, selfish, lazy perfectionist. For now, I'm left to wonder. On top of that, I'm obsessive. Not in a compulsive way where I have to clean my house to the degree that the very thought of a germ withers away from the stench of cleanliness emanating from my home. I don't mean to make light of OCD. It's just one of those examples of how I wish I could do some sort of transfusion where I take on some of their care a lot about spic-n-span and balance them out with a good hardy dose of don't give a damn. Anywho, I re-read my posts about a dozen times – prior to publishing. And after. Each. Some might say that I'm narcissistic. But I'm not. I'm NOT! I'm overly interested, mayhaps concerned, about how the average Joe or Josephina might read what I'm writing. This is how I get my blog on: I have been burned by typing directly into blogger before. I'll be in the middle of typing, minding my own business when all of a sudden, out of nowhere it chops out some of my post. And there were many instances where I was caught unawares by re-reading my post only to find that a sentence started with something fragmented, disjointed and NOT capitalized. As a result, I came up with a brilliant plan to write off line, copy and paste into blogger and undermine it's editing Nazi style. I proof-read, check spelling and add and subtract various brilliant thoughts all while in a officey type program. Then I paste it into blogger and proceed to re-proof-read, re-check spelling and add and subtract various brilliant thoughts because they come so fast and furious and often and I believe you deserve all my brilliance, all the time. You can see now why it takes about 4 hours to do an entry. Yes. I'm aware that I still have mistakes in the final product. May I continue? Sheesh. So, I'm re-reading my post yesterday after it's all published and discover that a big hunk is missing. It wasn't a hugely important hunk of point, but it still bothered the crud out of me. On top of that, I had already announced my entry as ready and plenty of people had read it. I've fixed it since then but it was tough not to re-announce the fixed version. Super. Pissed. Now I know that I have to not trust blogger at all with my precious. I have to perfect my post all in the document phase. Yes. I'm aware that I will still have mistakes in my final product. May I continue? Give a girl a break, already!

You know what else happened when I was re-reading my brilliant post? I realized that all these ideas and thoughts that I had to put into my whole thing about growing up were forgotten. I was going to say all these enlightened things about how Big Stuff is such a little boy that he beats my laziness to the tenth degree. He drops stuff and leaves it there. He decides not to go the bathroom when the urge hits and he is busy. He does not want to clean or just in general do stuff. Except play. And how can I teach him to grow up, if I refuse to? And then I was going to say all this stuff about how growing up is the natural cycle of all living things and seeds are planted (conception) to end up as fertilizer for the next batch of life. And then I was going to put together this video montage of various stages of plant life beginning and ending with the sounds of Elton John singing “Circle of Life” in the background. It was going to be epic. I'm real sorry I short-changed you on all that.

The cool thing about being obsessive is that I check my stats occasionally Okay, obsessive doesn't really “do” occasionally Because I check my stats, I know that I have readers in Germany, Russia, UK and right here in the USofA. I actually know who is reading me in Germany and UK (Hi Girls!) but that doesn't make it less thrilling to feel like I'm internationally known. Also, I seem to be a little popular in Alaska. I don't know how that works but I'm pretty sure that's just some illegal pinging while people are all re-routing internet access from USofA to Russia. No. I have no idea what I'm talking about. It sounds good though, doesn't it? I know that Russia is very close to Alaska because Sarah Palin told me that she can see Russia from her house. Oh. Did she tell you too? She told everyone? Ok. So I guess being internationally known does not make me famous and grant me access to headline making folks.

Without any segue, I'm going to get into the meat of the matter. Here, for your reading pleasure, is Resolution 8.

8. Tell My Story. You may think that I accomplish this daily by just sitting here typing away and hitting a button to publish. And to some degree, that is correct. I tell you plenty about who I am and the stuff I think and do. But that's not what I mean.

Years ago, I was driving and stopped at a red light. Because that's the law. And the car in front of me had a typed out note taped to her back windshield. It was in a font big enough to be read by the person behind her. The note said that she was a beginner at driving a manual and asked that you please be patient and not honk at her because she needs a little more time to get it right. Words to that effect. And I was so moved by that sign. I admired her for being vulnerable and asking for human kindness. I was sad that she had to make up a sign to hopefully get it. I almost wish we all wore signs around asking for what we need. It would break down this idea that we all have to wander around acting like we have this thing called life figured out. It would give us a chance to come together as a community and give people what they need and not what we decide they should or can have. It would create affiliations that go beyond the boundaries of race, religion, gender and just all around judgment. I believe we would be astonished by how much we all have in common. Also, it would clue Hubs into secret answer C about what to get me for Christmas because it wasn't answer a) that thing I bought for myself that wasn't budgeted and he called a gift nor was it answer b)nothing. But I digress...

I'm a Christian. But I hesitate in leading with that. I feel that it gives the person or persons I'm dealing with the sense that I'm judging them and deciding they will go to Hell. I don't want them to wait for me to justify any and all their preconceived notions of what those dang Jesus lovers are all about. I'm just Jenny. I love God and I fully love what He did for me. I want that for you. My own personal way of sharing my faith is just in my day to day dealings with people and life. I give credit where credit is due – to God. Because what He has done in my life is a miracle and I think you should know that. I think you should have hope that He can do that for you. There are people who are gifted going out into the world and teaching people about Christ. That's not the way God put me together. The way I am called to reach out to people and share a love like no other is to use the gifts He gave me. My job is to go where He leads me, answer the prompts He gives me and be a good steward of my experiences. I should get fired about every other day because I fail at my job regularly. I am a flawed person. I am a mess. I don't always look like a person who follows the great I Am. But that is the essence of the whole experience of having this relationship. God is Love. The end. He has called me to do exactly four things. Believe in Him – including His word about how to accept Him, get dunked as a public declaration of my faith and renewal, follow His word and share Him with pretty much everyone. I can show kindness to a stranger and share Him. I can take the time to answer questions about what my church is about or God to share Him. I'm not doing it wrong when I'm doing it – it doesn't have to look like how anyone else does it. I'm wrong when I don't do it at all. And I could stand to do it a lot more often and be righter.

I'm an alcoholic in remission. Semantics. I treated my disease by unplugging it. But I don't pursue specific maintenance strategies which I feel are implied with the words recovering. For me, this works. For others, they need to do rehab or AA or counseling and those are all excellent avenues to beat down demons of all varieties. I say that I am in remission because there is always a chance that my disease will come back.

I'm a mother who has lost a child. She didn't die of SIDS. I didn't miscarry her. She wasn't still-born. She didn't have a terminal or rare disease. She was born perfectly healthy. Angel was beautiful and curious and sweet. She was snuggly and fun. But when she was days shy of turning 13 months old, her brother Scooby got a virus that took it's toll on him and left him no worse for the wear. It passed on to Angel and went horribly wrong. She went into the hospital on Sunday night and deteriorated until we let her go very early Wednesday morning. That's a part I don't share as much. I know how inflamed a topic that can be – life support and quality of life and such. But we made an insanely tough call in heart-breaking circumstances. And we stand by that call. It is sheerly through the fact that I accepted Christ that I made it through that. I honestly don't know how one does not have hope in God makes it through losing a child. I would be much worse than an alcoholic if God had not held me together. I may not even have made it at all.

I have absolutely with depression through various points of my life. I have even attempted suicide. About 2 or so years ago, I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar depression. There are a few things that keep me from fully owning that diagnosis. But I can't escape the fact that the two mood stabilizers and one anti-depressant that I'm on have made a huge difference in my outlook and overall functionality. Also, I can't escape the fact that I went 4 or more days without one of my medications and went full on bat-shit crazy. Sorry Mom and Dad. But it's true. What I took away from that night is that I really don't need to let my meds lapse because just under the surface is the anti-Jenny and she is whack. What Hubs took away from that is that $150 to cover meds when we don't have insurance cards to cover the cost might be a sound investment.

I am forty years old and I have started menopause. And many of the women I talk to tell me I'm too young. To which I say, why yes, yes I am. But I'm not. I've got the symptoms to prove it. And not just the hot flashes. And hot flashes are never considerate. Like today, it's in the forties and I could stand to have some hot-flashes because I'm cold. But I don't have any right now. But my hormones are all akimbo and make me additionally, uhm, unstable. My shrinky dink doc and I have increased a few of the stabilizer doses. I'm feeling much better now. But the menopause isn't going to go away and it makes me a little sad that I'm so blatantly exiting a particular stage of my life. Even if I had decided that stage of my life was way over.

I am a parent that constantly struggles about the right way to raise my kids. I take them out in public and correct their behavior and try to teach them that there are 7 billion other people on the planet and they aren't the only person in the store and watch where they are going! And then a random person will defend my kids and tell me that they are fine like I'm being unreasonably critical. But in the same visit, I will have people looking at me and my kids and the randomness that is our gaggle and shoot me the stink eye like I let my kids run around like hooligans. Which is the right strategy? I am anal about teaching my kids please and thank you. Isn't that a general requirement of civilized society? Are we heading so far off course of a civilized society that please and thank you are passe? I don't have the energy to figure out an award winning successful discipline plan. Or institute a much less perfect one. Or uphold a consistent measure of one that sucks. I struggle with many of the same things my kids struggle with. I, like Scooby, have a finite amount of attention that I can pay to any one thing at any given time. Do I have attention deficit disorder? I dunno. Maybe. I don't want to clean up just like Big Stuff doesn't want to. I throw temper tantrums like Peanut. An unkind word can undo me just like it can Princess. And yet, it doesn't keep from making me crazy when I have to put up with those behaviors with my kids. I don't know what the heck I'm doing. And then my 10 year old comes in last night and says “Mom? You know what I love best about you? Your always finding new ways to care for us”. I know. Despite myself, I tell ya.

I have seven tattoos. I would love to have 8 or 9 or 10 or whatever. I have big ones and small ones. And I don't think I look one bit like a tramp or white trash. On his show, Ami James once looked down on people who get a little single tattoo. He called them souvenirs. Yeah. This is my trip. This is my journey. That's what souvenirs ARE – they are visual reminders of where you have been. Places where your path took you. Lessons you learned along the way. Don't be a tool Ami. We don't all have to be head to toe in ink to be authentic in our love of tattoos.

I'm an only child who was an Army brat. I have lived in Japan and Belgium. Most of my time lived in the states was in Georgia and Texas. I don't have a southern accent but y'all is very much a part of my fiber. I am adaptable and get wander lust. I am a shy extrovert. Or an outgoing introvert. I feel like a doofus when I am forced to make small talk. I hate black and white films and really, any movie made before about 1975. I like music that has a fantastic can't help myself but dance beat but has no artistic value other than to be fun. I am relationally driven but would also love to live completely alone unencumbered by the messiness of dealing with other people who don't do things like me or think like I think. But I would also be creeped out by living all alone and afraid of animals and mountain people barging in. Also, of ticks getting on me, specifically my head. That may sound like an irrational fear but I have had an inordinate amount of ticks discovered upon my noggin. I wear jeans in the winter and dresses and skirts in the summer. I would love to re-purpose and upcycle all kinds of found objects into cool things for my house. But I would also love to have a minimalist contemporary house that looks completely clean, uncluttered and manageable. I claim no political affiliation and find voting to be very frustrating and tedious. Mostly because I hate politics and have no idea who stands for what other than to say that it doesn't matter because ALL politicians lie at some point and make trades in their stances on issues so that someone WILL get screwed but only in the general interest of the public at large. I'm an ex-smoker who cannot afford to pick up a cigarette any more than I can to pick up a beer. I like intellectual humor and dry humor and tongue in cheek. I don't like toilet humor. I don't get it. Why is that so funny? Poop. See? Not funny! There are days that I don't feel like eating. Nothing sounds good. Except something sweet. I'm sitting here planning out my healthy juice that I will drink today. But I'm also planning out if I should make Christmas crack or not. Some days I put on make-up and sometimes I don't – but I always feel naked without it. I think going out wearing shoes or pants that came out of the lounge or lingerie section of a store is tacky. I hate when people call me crazy or stupid. Or imply either. Even if I'm being both. I'm allergic to whining. It chaps me to no end when people complain about things that they have the power to change. Probably I do the same. You pretty much know exactly where you stand with me. And I appreciate the same in kind.  I love my kids and while I may yell at them and fuss at them for their behavior a lot, you best not treat them with anything other than kindness and care. A village does not raise MY kids. I do. Except I need a village when I need a sitter. It's a divide and conquer strategy. Incessant noises make me nuts. So does teeth-grinding. And useless noise. Which is noise that is similar to incessant but not repetitive. Come to the house sometime. There is an example of the differences between incessant and useless noise every. Single. Day. I like documentaries and action films and films from the '80s. I could watch The Closer, Burn Notice, VeronicaMars and Sons of Anarchy over and over and over. I don't believe in letting my husband think that I find anyone else attractive. And I certainly appreciate the fact that he does the same with me. I would LOVE to go to New Zealand some day. I have NO desire to ever visit China, Russia or India. I will eat pounds and pounds of king crab legs in drawn butter. No really. I've done it before and I will do it again. I don't drink enough water. I drink way too much coffee. I found out recently that I am actually an optimist and can't really stand when people have to make negative comments about anything much less everything. ROMPers (Rain On My Parade -ers) are my biggest pet peeve. So is saying “I could care less” instead of “I couldn't care less”.  

So. That's who I am – but still only a snap-shot. These are my headline stories. Every day I strive to be a bit more transparent. I share more of the section D or backstage stuff – the classifieds and certainly the editorials. There are no sports stories... I truly believe that it helps me become free. I stop expecting judgment. I let you see more and more of my ugly bits so that I can accept that you really do like me – and not the me that I play in any one given avenue. Because all this – it means I only have one Jenny to keep up with. And she is a handful. I start hearing more and more from people that they are having the same struggles and thought they are alone. And one of my truths in this world is that the force that opposes good (aka God) is bad (aka Satan). Bad is darkness and isolation. When you are isolated, you feel ashamed and alone. You think no one else could know who you really are, could love you because you did this thing, or thought that thing. Fear wins that game. Fear of being rejected. Fear of abandonment and disappointment. Fear of hopelessness. So, I'm revealing a lot more of me to y'all in case any of you identify and feel even one iota of feeling like someone relates to you or your experiences. I want to be at least one person, to the degree I can from way over here, that you don't think you need to wear a sign around. I won't honk. I'll just be patient. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.   

Monday, January 9, 2012

Just desserts...

Do you twitter? If you do, could you follow me: @12x12x12Jenny? I feel so pathetic with my two followers. Why did I join? Uhm. Uh. None of your business, that's why! Fine. It's because I'm a celebrity hound. And twitter is pretty much just celebrities spewing about every 5 minutes and not much else. It's all at once hopeful and frustrating at same time. On the one hand, you see that the celebrities are actually tweeting back to their fans and you love that there is some reciprocity going on. I mean, they take my money and attention in various ways and shapes. I read up on who's zoomin' who. Except for those Kardashians. I don't care one whit about them. Except in the ways in which God wants me to - you know, since they are humans on the planet and all. Or the cast of Jersey Shore – orange people scare me. Like Oompa Loompas. Or anything that has to do with Twilight and its subsequent films – seriously, you do NOT want me to get into that. I don't care about any of that. So it's a little nice to be noticed by a celebrity on a one/one scale like we are old pals. But then you see that they have 1.2 million other pals and not only did they probably not see your twit, but it's probably some paid lackey that's answering and twittery dittery doing back so that everyone feels like the celebrities care and there's some reciprocity. And you notice this because you check back about every five minutes like a panting dog looking for a puppy treat to see if they RT (re-tweeted – which means singled you out all popularity contest style) because they want to answer you and share you with the rest of the world. It's worse than facebook. Plus. I don't do so good with 140 characters to say stuff (who came up with that number? There are movie titles with more letters and spaces). 

Now, in all fairness, I could have 5K followers on Twitter. But I have a hard and fast rule: if your user name/website/motto/line of work/email address contains some sort of substitution for the word rooster, I won't judge but I won't follow you either. I'm all the time getting follow requests from women who want to show off their wares blindly. I have learned to discern from the picture what their end game is. So, when I eliminate the sluts, I mean harlots, I mean random scantily clad women who are soliciting themselves, I am left with 2 followers. Neither of which are celebrities. Although, one is IJM HQ which is really so ridiculously cool. I hope that they are entertained somewhat by my 8 tweets in the midst of their remarkable work. My other follower is a company that produces and distributes films out of Australia. As far as I know, it's not porn. Probably I should look into it a little deeper. Those porn distributors get mighty devious in distributing. 

The other problem that I have with twitter is that I am not a hash slinging masher master. What I mean by that, my fellow twitter newbies, is that if you want to get any bird cred, you have to put a pound sign (aka "hash") next to key words and phrases in your chirp so more people can find you based on interest buzz words. It's like the labels that I put ion my blog so that I surreptitiously end up in Google searches in things as random as chocolate. Or alcoholic. Or Jungle Jim's. You can see how I can sneak up on ya! And those hashes/pound signs? Those count as part of your 140 character boundary! It's serious pressure. Mostly I follow comedians on Twitter. If anyone can be funny in a short space, it's them. Do you know who one of my favorite Tweeters is (you know, among the great many number of 23)? Rainn Wilson who plays Dwight on The Office. That dude is dry and FUNNY! Also, I get to follow my all-time most talented comedians of ever, Brian Regan. Good gravy.  If you can, you MUST go see his show. And you know what? You can even take your kids to see him because he doesn't have to curse or talk about rooster stuff, or cat stuff for that matter, in his show. He's THAT hilarious!

Today, I have that solid 4.5 hour block that I mentioned in Resolution 5.  I intend to do some Resolution 5 things today. I did not finish the laundry yesterday. That is because my dryer is old. I have to dry clothing products two times to get them ready for the folding. For towel and sheet products, it can be as much as 2 times more that I have to turn that knob and hit start. And since my washer only takes once to get clothing products ready for the drying, things get backed up. And I'm not sitting there waiting for one machine to get on the other machine's cycle. Oh no. I have other stuff to do. I have Christmas candy to eat and blogs to write and ideas to pin (oh, to be sure, we will revisit that one) and other completely non-pressing matters to attend to. 


The other Resolution 5 (R5?) thing I must, must do today is clean my kitchen. I used to hate cleaning bathrooms. Okay, I still hate cleaning bathrooms. But I might have come to hate cleaning the kitchen about 10x more. It is never-ending. Like laundry but worse. Because while I have approximately 34 pairs of underwear which equates to not having to do laundry quite as often as the next person, I don't have 34 pots and pans and somehow, what with cooking, I have to use my pots and pans quite frequently. Which means they get dirty. Like every time I use them. And I have to clean them. Over and over and over. I like our planet. I would like to see our civilization last for centuries to come. Not personally. I really have no desire, truly, to live into my 500s. But every now and again I really yearn for disposable pots and pans. Casserole dishes and crock-pots too. Have you cleaned a crock-pot? Do they all have an eternal chalky white ring in them? Or do I suck that bad at cleaning? Probably it's that. Anywho.  

The other goal I have to do in the now 3.5 hour block of time is some yoga. I did a yoga DVD yesterday and felt that it really did some good for my back. So, I went scouting around the internet (you know, spell check keeps trying to capitalize that word.  Humble yourself, internet) looking for some New Year's deal of the day deals that would let me go do some classes pretty much for free. I didn't see any that were free so I lowered the bar a little and there weren't any for next to free. What I came to discover is that yoga is for rich people to do in a group with other rich people. It costs on average $10 a class to do yoga. And that's only if you sign up in advance. If you surprise them by just showing up, they add $3-$5 shock penalty. There are some upsides to the fact that I am unable to afford joining other people for a yoga experience. One is that I have no idea what I'm doing and, as you may recall, I can't willingly make myself look like an idiot. That's not so calming and soothing. Now, one might argue that yoga is about stretching yourself and that doesn't have to be mutually exclusive of your mind. Also, if you free your mind, the rest will follow. If I learned anything from En Vogue, it's that. But I haven't exercised my uptight muscle enough to relax and unclench so we aren't there yet. The other upside to doing yoga in my very own home is that I'm not using it as an excuse to leave my home. Inevitably when I leave my house, I end up going to more places than just where I set out to go which eats into my doing stuff time. Significantly. As in, I keep wandering around until I have to go pick up the kids because my 4.5 hours has dwindled away like sands in the hourglass. These are the days of my life. Also, the more places I go, the more tempted I am to buy things I can't eat or clean with. Also, to buy stuff that I can eat or clean with. Oh! That leads to a third upside! Doing yoga in my house is free. I can check out DVDs from my library or they even have some on Netflix! So, I'll stretch and extend in all the wrong ways looking kind of ridiculous in the comfort of my own home at a risk-free price. Stupid exercise.

The thing I hate about exercise is that there is no instant gratification. It takes soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long to see results. Like, longer than that word so long. On Pinterest (Wait! I told you, we will revisit that. Sheesh), there are all these inspirational posters to inspire you to reach your inspired goal of self-imposed (or more unattainable and unhealthy society-dictated) acceptable body image. Mostly they are photos of a chick's washboard abs with some sort of saying like “Chocolate doesn't taste as good as skinny feels”. You know what I say? Skinny doesn't feel as good right now the way chocolate tastes good right now. That's what I say. Also, skinny is gross. I'm not talking about being 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighing like 100 pounds at best like Fiona on my recent obsession, Burn Notice. She has small bones and is a dancer and I don't think she looks like a morning co-host who used to work with a man named Regis. That woman scares me with her scrawniness and I just want to grab her in a head-lock and shove twinkies down her face. But in a loving way and with twinkies that aren't processed and are organic and cruelty-free. Skinny is not healthy. I miss Marilyn Monroe and the 50s. I miss them as much as I can having not shared a generation with them. I miss the 1600s when a man named Peter Paul Rubens saw beauty in curves. Not so much the burning for heresy (suspected or substantiated) that happened in the1600s. Not that I'm a heretic and would have much to worry about. It's just not a nice thing to do to someone. My point is that, at some point, it would be nice if there could be a balance between the obesity that is so rampant today and the obsession with being skin and bones that is also so rampant today. What happened to shades of gray? Why can't I celebrate the changes that my body has gone through because I have been blessed to have grown life inside of it? Because it still looks a little bit like I am blessed to have life presently growing within it, that's why. But I'm done growing babies and it's not so great to just schlump around not trying to feel your best. It's pretty hard not to look your best when you feel your best. Also, it's incredibly not so great for people to ask you when you are due when you are totally not due.  That's what I'm trying to get at here.

You know what else I'm doing with my 3.25 hours of free time? Blogging just for little ol' you. I made a commitment to you and by good golly, I'm going to keep it. Really, I think it trumps all the other stuff that I mentioned I should do. I'm a giver.

Okay. I'm down to about 2.75 hours of free time so we better get this show on the road. Also, I don't know how much longer I'll be able to hold your attention because I've already eaten up about 3 pages of stuff I've said. However, I would like to point out that I AM using more paragraphs today.  Hopefully breaking up 4 ginormous paragraphs into about 57 smaller ones will make this easier and more engaging to read.  You know, more than my holding your attention on sheer wit and interestingness alone.  

Probably, you thought that this resolution might have something to do with exercise or some other healthful thing, but you would be wrong.

7. Grow up. I hesitated in announcing this one just now. Really, my intention was this would be Resolution number 12 because truly, all the other resolutions stem from and ultimately are tied up into this one. But the ideas just started piling up in my head about what to write and I saw no way out other than to get the them out before they ran away.

I am, for all intents and purposes, an petulant child stuck in the body of a weary 40 year old woman. If I look at my childhood, I can see the writing on the wall from various experiences and life-long belief forming moments.

For one thing, I am an only child. I did not have to share one thing with anyone for any reason ever. What's mine was mine. And you know what? Today, what's mine is mine. If I'm done with it, you can have it. But for now, it's mine. Both my parents worked and I was blessed with a great deal of “have”. I got indulged pretty good. So, I have carried on that tradition. It's as good as any. Like cake for your birthday. That's a tradition. That's a good tradition. Like indulging yourself. Maybe that's not so much a tradition. You're giving me a lot to think about here.

Part and parcel with "mine" is that if I want it, I get it.  Not in a kleptomaniac sort of way.  More in a spend money on stuff I don't need to spend money on kind of way.  Or in a "oh, money is not a limitless resource?  kind of way.  Like that.

I eat like a child – whatever I want to, whenever I want to, because I want to. Like birthday cake for birthdays. Or birthday cakes just because they have been marked down. I love fruits and vegetables and I will eat them when the mood strikes. But as a woman starting to reach into my “the change” years (keeping it old skool), my mood often strikes with a rampant overwhelming need for chocolate. And salt. And salty chocolate. So I eat that. Because there is a demon inside of me and if I don't eat that, I'm convinced that the menopausal monster will get out and wreak all myriad of havoc. So, really, eating chocolate all the time is a safety measure to protect those in my home. Or those I share the road with because there are some straight up idiots driving around in cars anymore. Or those that I have to wait for. Pretty much just a general “those” that I'm trying to protect.

I don't do anything that I don't want to. And, I think that you have probably correctly surmised, there are a few things that I don't want to do. And by a few, I mean a great deal.  If there weren't, what would be the point of resolutions? Or a blog about resolutions? So, maybe we could agree that not doing things that I don't want to, is in fact, productive. It means that I will all the time have something to write about. Also, if I have unattainable goals, I'll spend lots of time pursuing them and always keep busy with the trying! Except for the part where I give up and don't do anything because I don't do anything that I don't want to do and I don't want to do that.  

I'm scared of disappointing my parents. I know. Whoa. I said that out loud (well, I typed it out loud) and was all vulnerable and exposed. I think there is a healthiness in a respectful stance when it comes to your parents. I think we all carry around a hope that our parents will be proud of us always and forever. These are the people who sacrificed and raised you. And, even if they didn't or if they did a sucky job of it, I'm so sorry that you got hurt, but even then, God still calls us to honor our parents.  But this fear, it goes beyond that. 

I watch actors and who they portray on film (read the very first paragraph way up there again, silly! Me=celebrity hound). I listen to the words and phrases they use. I see the skin they show (not intentionally! They just spring it on me when I'm caught all unawares! I'm not a perv!). I think about the situations they act out. And I think – that person likely has parents. There are people (mostly women) whose ongoing 15 minutes of fame are not based in talent, but in a widely watched sex tape (not by me. I don't watch sex tapes. I told you, I'm not a perv.  And, I kind of don't recommend that you watch them. There are all kinds of reasons. Just trust me on this one). And I'm a little horrified. I'm not a prude. I'm not even trying to pretend that I play one in a blog. Sure, this could all be my uptightness busting through. But I think about a movie like American Pie and as hilarious as it was – and it was- I wonder what goes through an actor's parent's mind when they watch it - “I'm so proud of all the money my kid made by doing that to a pie for everyone to see!!!” I don't know. Maybe a parent is so dang happy to be driving around an Escalade that they don't really care how they got in one. I've watched Kevin Smith talk to crowds about some really intimate information about drugs and toilets while his mom was sitting right there in the audience and I'm stunned. I couldn't be an actor for just that reason. I couldn't stomach my parents watch me as anything less than civilized and behaved. I can't imagine specifically embarrassing them. I don't know how anyone can be all adult and naked in front of them.  Or simulate all sorts of stuff in front of them.  Or say certain words in front of them.  Also, I couldn't be an actor because I can't act. Also, pretending makes me feel foolish and I can't knowingly make an idiot of myself. I know, I said that before, but it's so true, I'll likely say it often. I understand that at some point I have to allow my kids to do their own thing and maybe it's because they are still so young and innocent but I have a tough time imagining that if one of them ended up producing a “Burlesque” show (which is fancy talk for stripping), that I would applaud their success. Love them, always, but support that – not as easy to promise.

Now, there is a flip side to all this parental reverence I hold dear. The reality is that I have totally done things that my parents are not proud of. They have forgiven me, thank God. And, in the grand scheme of things, they came out pretty lucky on the having a hellion as a kid front. But the way I go about this is a protective bubble that I'm not supposed to put them in. It's not my job to shield them from my realness.  And it really isn't healthy for me, as a forty year old human to be afraid of my father getting angry with me. It's also not healthy for me not to regularly check-in with and build into my recently widowed mother (to avoid confusion – divorced and remarried parents). These are not mature behaviors. They are the behavior of someone that is choosing to stay in a relationship that doesn't exist anymore – with one, I am a child and with the other I am an apathetic teen.  And by choosing to remain in those expired relationships, it traps my parents there as well. It doesn't afford either of us the joy of becoming friends rather than the boss of me/no you're not! Phase of childhood. It keeps me from revealing who I have become and ultimately, I don't give them the chance to accept me as that person.  I'm pretending to be something that I'm not. I'm not being honest. I'm also denying them the ability to be accepted as the people they have grown into being. Parents change too. It's true. I'm a parent. I've changed. And in some good ways, too! They deserve better than that after all I put them through. I deserve better than that after all they put me through.  See - I'm almost tempted to delete that last sentence. I'm all afraid of hurting their feelings.  Or making them upset.  Or angry.  Screw 'em if they can't take a joke!  Too much?  Yeah.  You're right.  Sorry folks!

All this amounts to one fundamental truth. I am not doing all that I can to grow into anything else. If I stay in the past, there is not much to look forward to in the future. If I can't delay gratification, I'm not stoking a passionate fire. I'm pouring gasoline on it causing it to flare into a spectacle of now and then dwindle down to even less than it was because so much got burned out in the showmanship. If I can't cut out my selfishness and my stinginess, it's gonna cause gangrene and stinky rot. The kind of rot that stinks up your heart and your potential. That's what kind of rot that is. I know. I started out so eloquently and then brought it down a couple of notches. So, we shall sum up thusly (that's mature talk, right?). Get out of the past. Enjoy and celebrate the present. Don't worry about the future but build into by enjoying a little less in the present. Open the present, not when you get it but in the future it was intended for. Celebrate with cake. Don't cuss around your parents because it's not ladylike but cuss like a sailor around your kids because they don't care if you are ladylike. 

For the love. I'm down to like .5 hours and it's all your fault!! It's not fair!

Do I HAVE to go do the laundry right now? I don't wanna. Oops.