Ode to Age

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Am I getting old? She asked,

Wrinkles in the looking glass

Feet of crows and laugh made lines

Wishing time had been more kind.

Am I getting old? She asked

Sagging bags of motherhood

Softness where there once was firm

Had she used up her young term?

Am I getting old? She asked

Spider maps that cross her legs

Creaking knuckles, knees that crack

Slumping, tired, weary back.

Am I getting old? She asked

Echoes in an empty house

Laughter, singing, parties gone

Now they live here all alone.

Am I getting old? She asked

Never one to ask for help

Squinting, reaching, sitting back

Giving up on hair that’s black

Am I getting old? She asked

He listened as she made her list

Smiles, laughter, love and time

“You’re beautiful, because you’re mine.”

–Me

Photo credit: http://www.kaushik.net

Sugar Daddy

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I started a new diet ten days ago. Okay, it isn’t a “new” diet, I have done it before, but I started anew. I’ve been feeling like a cantalope on a vine during a hot summer; slowly swelling til I fall off the vine. It isn’t a good feeling. My clothes are a bit tighter, my energy is a bit gone, and I’m single.

Okay, that last one may not have much to do with the diet, but dieting does get my mind off my loneliness.

 

A friend of mind complains when I say I am lonely. How can I be lonely when I have a house full of kids, friends, pets, and books. It’s true. I am rarely ‘alone’. Yet, I still feel that pang that only comes when one is single.

 

When you are single, there are lots of perks. Nobody is there to tell you what to wear, what to eat, how to spend your money, or what shows to watch on Netflix. Then again, when you are single, there is no one there to tell you that dress makes you look fat/great, remind you of your budget, bring you ice cream at midnight, or laugh at those shows on Netflix with you.

 

I’ve been single for just over six years now. My husband died in 2009, on the day of General Conference. I heard later that the conference was just for me. A friend even purchased the CD’s for me so I could listen later. I haven’t been able to do that yet. The day is kind of ‘removed’ from my life. I’ll take their word for it that it was good.

 

It took a while for me to get used to being single. I relied on my late husband for all the big stuff like choosing insurance, paying the bills, lifting heavy things, and killing spiders. It’s hard being a grown up, especially if you are the only one in the house/family. Some days I just want to stay in my jammies and say “no. I’m not gonna be the mom today.” Unfortunately, nobody is plotting to take my seat. It would just stay empty til the utilities were shut off and the fridge was empty. Then, I would probably hear the faint questioning of bewildered children asking where mom is.

 

This diet is fairly easy. I just don’t eat anything that has carbs or sugar. I can gorge myself on fresh vegetables and meat, but no fruit. Weekends are the hardest because I’m home with my friend the fridge. He is constantly calling me over and introducing me to his friend the pantry, famous for it’s hidden carbs. I’ve been strong so far. I’ve only eaten approximately twenty cucumbers and thirty pounds of fish. Okay, maybe not that much, but I’m not starving.

 

My kids don’t love the diet. My oldest son at home texted me last night, asking if I would get some food because we were completely out. I stopped for a moment and then replied with a list of food that was in the house. Chili, burritos, mac and cheese, hamburgers, beans, soup….. His reply was that it was completely unfair that I go off and leave him home with only nasty healthy stuff to eat.

 

huh

 

Bad mom award, here I come. How dare I feed my kids healthy stuff? Guess I better rush off and buy some hot pockets. Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.lickingooddonuts.com

Hey boss

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I got to experience my grand son’s first ‘big boy movie’ at the theater today. He is the cutest thing around! He has watched plenty of movies at home, but this was his first real, sit down, eat popcorn, lights out, full screen experience. We had been waiting for him to get old enough to hopefully sit still long enough for a movie. He did it.

It was so cute to see him leaning forward, drinking in every bit of the experience. It was so BIG and new for him. He laughed at all the funny parts and didn’t decide to get out of his chair and into my lap (darn…LOL) until the last few minutes of the movie.

As I sat there watching him watch the movie, I realized how spoiled I am.  I don’t mean spoiled in the “I have everything I want” meaning of the word, I’m thinking more of the rotten fruit kind of spoiled. I’ve seen so much, experienced the world, been around the block…I take it all for granted. Here was this little guy, just amazed at a big bright moving picture on a wall. I admit, I felt a little jealous at his look of wonder.

I had to mentally step back and ask myself, what would amaze me? I see beauty all around me, every day. I am awed by the sunset way too often for my kids’ taste. I love to see the sun glance off the water in my pool. Bubbles make me happy. But amazed? Where do I see that?

Then I remembered. Just this weekend, I got a new toy. It’s a tablet that lets me ‘draw’ on my computer screen. I got it for a school project and it really isn’t what I need. But, instead of sending it back, I brought the kids in one by one and let them ‘play’ with it. My kids amaze me. There it is. I can’t believe how talented and just….WOW they are. My daughter took a few minutes to poke around on the device and the next thing I knew she had drawn a dog that looked like it could jump off the screen and pee on my floor. How does she do that? My son came and drew an incredible view of an eyeball in space that was attracting demon ships. The drawing was a little rough, but the story behind it? WOW

I guess when I really think about it, I am still amazed pretty frequently. The world is moving at a breakneck speed and it’s easy to get lost in the exhaust fumes if we aren’t careful. Instead of going out and looking for amazement, the trick just might be to close the doors, slow down, and just see where you are. It’s pretty amazing….cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.brainblogger.com

Mine eyes have seen

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2004 was a memorable year for me due to several things. First of all, it was the year I earned a free cruise with my company. I was able to take my husband on a free trip to Alaska for a week. Looking back, that was our only escape together after we had kids. It was an amazing trip. Another think that happened that year was that we moved to Florida from Alabama. A move I had dreaded, but ended up being wonderful for our family.  The highlight of the year would have to be getting Lasik on my eyes.

I was a goofy kid. Don’t let my mom tell you otherwise, she lies. I dressed funny, wore my hair funny, had a big overbite, and wore hideous glasses. Okay, a lot of those things happened because I was a kid in the 70s, but I was extra weird. The kids at school sometimes had a hard time deciding which name to call me. Four eyes? Bucky? Becky with a Y? Decisions. I tended to try and blend in with the avocado green background of that time period as much as possible. It worked for the most part….

I didn’t say much as a kid. I had great ideas, but I was so afraid they would come out as a bark or something stupid, I kept them to myself. I remember laughing to myself at my hilarity, wishing I could share. It’s terrifying to be a kid that is ‘different’. Looking back, I think what I missed was that all kids are ‘different’. Why can’t we see that til the time has passed?

Glasses were a pain for me. My nose just isn’t built to hold them. I’d get headaches if I didn’t wear them, and headaches if I did. Thankfully, after much begging, my parents got me contacts when I was fourteen (I think). Life became so much better when I could see stuff! Sure, I still had to deal with saline and contact cases and swimming blind, but it was much better. I threw the glasses out and only wore them when I was pregnant. Thanks for that, hormones…

Getting Lasik was a dream I’d had for a long time. For some reason, we had a bit of money in 2004 and that is what we decided to spend it on. The process itself was borderline horror movie. Remember, I’m a big baby. Something about having your eyeball hardened to a rock and a laser blasted into it, on purpose, really scared the c+$&# out of me. But I did it. It was easy, and totally worth it!

Here I am, eleven years later, and guess what? My eye doctor has decided I need reading glasses. My days of carefree reading have started to fade. I told him I would eat more fish, I’d drink more water, I’d stop turning on the lights in my house…..anything that would help. He told me I was getting older and this is what happens to everyone. I didn’t hit him or kick him or even cuss him out. I shot him some dirty looks, and went home. Eleven years of perfect vision is great, but I’d like more.

As a kid, we something thought it would be so glamorous to be an adult. We could do whatever we wanted, go wherever we wanted, spend money like we wanted…. Now that we are actually here, we realize that all those things come with a price. We are responsible for all those choices and we have to work hard to do what we want before our bodies wear out on us. I’m not doing seeing stuff. I’m not done reading and writing and drawing doodles all over every inch of paper I own. I need my eyes, like, a lot. So, regardless of what my YOUNGER eye doctor says, I’m not giving into the ‘my eyes are just going to fail cuz I’m getting a bit older’ routing. I’m going to eat lots of fish, drink lots of water, and wear my sunglasses at night. Who knows, maybe it will help….maybe I’ll just be the coolest kid around. Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.imgbuddy.com

Twisted Sifter

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Do you ever get on of those nagging thoughts that just won’t go away? Maybe it’s a problem you can’t figure out. Or maybe its worrying about someone you care about. Maybe it’s wondering how you got to this strange life you live. It plagues you at night…interrupting dreams of River Dance with Brandon Fraser, or reruns of New Girl. It’s annoying.

I’ve never had that. You all are weird.

Seriously. I have had a tickle of a thought the last few weeks. It’s been something that pulls at my heart strings a bit. I don’t have an answer (surprise) but I feel the need to ask the question.

As you may or may not know, I have lived all across the Southern United States. Being in Aerospace, we moved around quite a bit. I’ve met some wonderful people all across this beautiful land. I’m not great at keeping in touch with people, but I do check up with them on FB. Before that….yeah, I sucked. It is neat to be able to peek in on people I used to see at the school or church regularly, without having to pick up the phone and make awkward calls. I hate talking on the phone.

So, lately (three years or so) I’ve noticed that several of the women I’ve know from the various states, have gotten divorced and left the church. I look at these women and I see them as I knew them. They were my visiting teaching companions, my kids primary teachers, scout leaders, etc. They were, in my eyes, spiritual giants. I looked up to these women because they knew stuff. They understood it. They would bear their testimonies and I could feel it. I admit, I leaned on them a bit when I was weak.  What happened?

I know that several of them had awesome husbands that ended up cheating on them. Sometimes with other awesome women I looked up to. How does it happen? How does a person go from being rock solid in the gospel, to leaving it all behind and living another life?

I look at their beautiful pictures of strapless evening gowns, new weddings, strategic tattoos….and I wonder if they ever wake up in the middle of the night and ask themselves where they are. How did they get to this strange life they are living?

There are a lot of single people out there. They all have their reasons for being where they are. The choices we make are ours. No matter what choice anyone else makes, we are still accountable for ours. I’m not judging anyone here. My heart hurts for these beautiful women. Sure, my husband died, and that was hard. It is still hard. But I couldn’t do it without my testimony and the gospel in my life. Maybe I’m weak? Maybe I need that rock to build on. Maybe, it takes strength to hold on to it.

Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.shop411.com

Buttons on your underwear

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The last two weeks have truly been a gift. No, I didn’t finally get to go to Italy or lose those ten pounds. I went on an adventure, right in my own home.

It started two weeks ago with a strange beeping noise that came from my refrigerator. I opened the door and waited for the massive beast to tell me what it wanted, but it just kept beeping. It didn’t even get louder or more specific like you are supposed to do when talking to someone that doesn’t speak your language. I pushed a few buttons, opened and closed the door a few more times, ate some grapes and decided it probably needed a new water filter. I think you are supposed to change those every….two years? (6 months)

Feeling very grown up and responsible, I headed upstairs to the computer and ordered a new filter. I  opted not to order the two-pack, simply because I was feeling cheap. I patted myself on the back for being so amazing at problem solving and returned to my day.

Two days later, the refrigerator decided it was too much work to keep cold. I’m pretty sure it was feeling underappreciated because it hadn’t had a bath in a few weeks (months) and was just throwing a fit. I had the girls clean it (they didn’t) and started looking on YouTube for solutions. More back patting occurred as I bought a shop vac and cleaned the coils. (Did you know you could do that?) That should do it! (chest puffing and a bit of strutting might have happened.) I also used the new shop vac to clean out the couch. I found a bag of money from a fundraiser my son did five years ago. I was being rewarded for my efforts already!

Apparently, having clean coils makes the freezer jealous. It decided to go on strike with the refrigerator side. This is where I really put on my “I’m an adult” hat and called the home warranty office. “Remember that warranty I purchased TO COVER MY FRIDGE?” They didn’t remember. Everyone that worked at the company had been afflicted with amnesia that only covered the months around when I purchased the FRIDGE WARRANTY. My adult hat turned backwards and I started yelling. It wasn’t pretty, and frankly, wasn’t effective either. I called a repairman.

The repairman was incredibly helpful. According to him, my fridge was broken. I needed to give him lots of money and he would try to find the part I needed. He assured me that it was a part that was no longer made and it would take months to get it, if it came at all. But, please, give him $700.

Don’t judge me, but I was skeptical. I called a friend who found the part I was told I needed online for $80. Huh. When I called the repairman back and asked about this miracle, he assured me it was the part I needed but that the online store was full of liars that would take my money and never deliver. Sounded kind of like….well, I told him it was worth a shot! I ordered the part.

I might have forgotten to mention that during this saga, my air conditioner went out. No biggie….its only 1000 degrees in Mesa in July. “Just get in the pool, kids!” The home warranty decided they could cover the air conditioner, so they were redeemed and the hit-men were called off. For now.

Back to the fridge. After a week, the part arrived! Feeling very smug, I pulled it from it’s cute little box and pulled up the YouTube video on how to install it. The lady at the online store had said most people install this part themselves. I figured between me and my brilliant children, we could do this. The weird part was, what I had in my hand and what was on the video was….slightly different. Or possibly, HUGELY different. Poop. My adult hat was crumpled and in the corner. My back was not getting pats. I was ready to throw in the towel.

I called a friend and got a deal at an appliance store in town. I went in, picked out a new fridge and set up delivery for the next day. It was money I didn’t want to spend, but I was going to be fat and broke if we kept eating out twice a day. No fridge is a big deal, especially in the summer when all you want is veggies!

The next day, I got a call during my training from the fridge installation guys. Problem. (of course) The fridge couldn’t be installed because the electrical outlet had to be higher and there was water everywhere. huh. I thought I had noticed water in the dining room…. I convinced them to take the old fridge anyway and leave the new one in the garage. I would deal with it later. Pause. Another call. Apparently, when the installation guys had turned off the water main to the house to unhook the fridge, it had frozen and they couldn’t turn it back on. That’s weird, but okay, I’ll take care of it.

Fast forward three days. We’ve been without a fridge and without water at my house. We have all gained ten pounds each from eating fast food garbage, and I’ve had more repair trucks in front of my house than Mike Holmes. A very nice plumber (dressed to the nines by the way) comes to assess the water main. He cannot figure out why the installation guys touched the water main. He showed me the little valve, complete with INSTRUCTIONS, that turned off water to the fridge. Huh. He was nice enough to write all this information on his bill of $362 to repair the handle on the water main the guys had broken off. I think I’m gonna share that bill with the appliance store. Just for giggles.

So here it is, Sunday. It’s a beautiful day. I’m feeling thankful for this day of rest to spend with my family and go to church. I feel very blessed that I have a home and running water and health. I’ve learned a lot over the past two weeks. It takes a lot to care for a home by yourself. It’s not my favorite thing, but I’m glad I am able to do it, even when it is hard. I’m also grateful that tomorrow, if I’m lucky, I’ll have a fridge in my house again. And this time, I promise to give it more quality time…cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.applianceconnection.com

Forked ton

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My son has a gift. When he was small….around five, we found a mouse on our back porch. It was a tiny thing with a long tail. He was not afraid of it at all. He picked it up and swung it around by its tail. They became the best of friends. He played with it for a long time. When it was time to set it free (and wash our hands) we dropped it out in the ferns in our back yard. The little guy looked up at my son with longing in his beady little eyes. It was almost as if it was saying, “Can’t I stay with you?” sniff sniff….it was magical. And a little weird.

I’ve finally had a chance to get into the pool I spent my entire life savings on this week. It’s been hot as….Phoenix, and it is an easy way to keep the grandson happy and not making messes inside. My son decided to grace us with his presence this week as well. We were splashing along when I spied a tiny, TINY, lizard holding on for dear life under the lip of the pool.

I am not afraid of lizards, how could I have been after living in Florida, but I called my son over to get the little guy. I was holding the grandson and didn’t think I could wrangle two wild beasts at once. My son came over and got the lizard to climb into his hand. He was perfectly happy in his hand. In fact, he staying with my son for quite a while. He rode in  his hand, climbed up his arm, walked across his chest, and finally built an impromptu next in his hair. I can handle the body walking, but when something other than a hot guys hands get in my hair…there is a problem. My son had no problem with it. He walked around with this tiny lizard for over an hour.

I told my son he must be a lizard whisperer. He said no, he just understood living things. I have to agree with him on this. My son may have trouble expressing himself, getting along with other, and saying things that are appropriate at times, but he can get along with any animal.

When we got our last dog, she would stand over him like she was protecting him. Our cats will sit on the back of a couch or chair and groom his hair. He literally has an animal magnetism.

I think most people with autism have a special awareness that gives them insight into the animal world. Maybe they don’t have any preconceived notions about the difference between man and beast. Maybe they really can communicate on a higher level. Maybe they smell better. I don’t know. All I know is that if I get lost in a forest, I want my son with me to ‘talk’ to the beasts so they don’t eat me. Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.oddpad.com