Sunday, June 22, 2014

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

It's my birthday today. Yipee. Another year older. Another wrinkle on my face, another roll around my middle, another gray hair or two (hundred).

Growing old isn't all it's cracked up to be. All that stuff about being mature and wise must happen when you're old enough to retire, and have the time to sit on a porch swing and reflect back on your life and philosophize and be all wise and knowing, cuz it ain't happened to me yet.

Maybe it's because I don't feel my age. The calendar says I'm 48 today, mentally I'm stuck in my early twenties. If you ask my husband as he catches me dancing on the kitchen floor to Michael Buble, he would say I'm stuck at 16, and just learning to drive. Recent conversation between Tary and Trey at the high school driving range:

Tary: Be careful as you back up, those cones could be children.
Trey: Mom should be here, she needs this more than me.
Tary: I agree. Don't drive like your mom.

In my defense, I was trying so hard not to hit Tary's truck, I didn't see the side of the garage. Nor did I hear the crunching sound of metal. Again, in my defense, I had Michael's CD cranked up and he was singing 'You're my Everything' and I was thinking of my sweet handsome husband and was further distracted. So really, if anyone is to blame, it would be Tary for having such a big truck and a handsome face that I think about as I'm listening to Michael.

It's strange to see my kids as grown ups. I know that's what they do, but I stopped aging mentally, and now we're the same age, mentally. Weird.
In my early twenties, I remember getting down on the floor and playing the Memory game with Chelsea and Kayla. Now at 48, I get down on the floor and play the Memory game with Paisley and McKenna. Only now I have no memory, I get beat by a 3-year old, and I can hardly get back up when the game is over.

In my early years, I used to love going to Lagoon for my birthday! I remember Melinda Passey and I trying to break the Guiness World Record for the most consecutive times going on the white roller coaster. Although we had no idea what the record was, we were sure we broke it after the 28th time. Now I can't think about the white roller coaster without having my bones creak. It has become a torture chamber, devised to rattle and break my bones, give me whiplash, and shake my brain to mush. Now I know why my mom was content to take my little girls on the kiddie rides while I rode the big rides. As much as I would love to try and break my old record, my old body just can't take it anymore.

I remember when I was much younger, if I wanted to lose weight, all I had to do was skip a meal. By morning I would be two pounds lighter and have a flat stomach again. Now I have to exercise an hour a day just to maintain my weight. Trying to lose a pound or two has required going off sugar (it's been 3 weeks now!) hiring a personal trainer to kick my butt, and eating healthy stuff like non-fat, plain Greek yogurt that taste's like I'm eating sour cream. Why that's supposed to be good for you and sour cream is bad, I haven't figured out yet, but I've been told if I add enough berries to it, it will taste just as good as ice-cream. yeah right.

Getting older does have it's advantages; I'll be ready to retire in 15 more years. I'll quality for senior discounts at the movies in 12 more years, and will be the proud card carrier for AARP in 2 more years. I'll be an empty nester two years from now too as Trey will be leaving on a mission.

I can't stand to think about it. Every time I do, well, you know what happens. Hey, it's my party and I'll cry if I want to.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Feelings...whoa whoa whoa feelings.

I need a plumber.

Not for my sink or toilet, but for my personal water pipes.

I'm afraid in heaven I may have been a little over-zealous and stood in the line twice when the angels were giving out emotions.

"Emotions! I want some of those! Enthusiasm...that sounds fun! Sense of humor? A must have if I'm going to be a mom! Happy tears...sad tears...I can't decide. Why don't I just get one of each!"

I'm sure it happened just like that too. Why else would I cry when I feel every sort of emotion under the sun.

Grateful: Driving down the street with my beautiful boy in the seat next to me on the way to his baseball game. So grateful that the weather is warm enough to roll down the windows and let the scent of honeysuckle and peonies take over my senses. Grateful to have a son who is such a good kid, who still loves to talk to me about his day, and feeling so blessed that I temporary lose sight of the car ahead of me because tears are welling up in my eyes. Crying and driving can be a dangerous thing. Stop feeling so blessed and focus!

Proud: Listening to our national anthem being sung at the REal Soccer game last night while holding my hand against my heart as the national guard stands at attention with our flag blowing in the breeze. Feeling grateful that I'm not the one singing it, because I can barely choke out the words. I am so proud to be an American, and so grateful for the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms.This is why I hold my hand over my heart, to keep it from jumping out of my chest.

Touched: Standing in front of my class at work and asking them what motivates them. One young lady said her younger brothers motivate her. Her mom passed away, leaving her to fill some pretty big shoes. They motivate her to be a good example, to influence them the way her mother would if she were here. As she was talking about her new roll as surrogate mother and big sister, I was so touched by the thought of this young girl's mother, watching from heaven, or perhaps by her side, gently guiding her and thanking her for being there for them and doing what she no longer could. Tears welled up and I could hardly speak, other than to thank her, because I was a mom myself, and know how much that means to her mom. Crying while you're training is not very professional. The bad news (in case crying in front of the class isn't bad enough) I was being video-tapped for evaluation. More tears will be forthcoming I'm sure.

Happy:  Grocery shopping on a Friday night doesn't make me happy. To think that's the best way to spend my Friday night is actually pretty sad. But what does make me happy is that no one else is shopping Friday night's at Macey's, so I pretty much have the store all to myself. Which comes in handy when you get a text at 9 pm in the cereal aisle from your brother, telling you that prayers have been answered, and he (John) and his wife (Shara) are expecting a baby! Wishing I was in the Kleenex aisle, I'm scavenging through my purse for a tissue, when a second message comes across...TWINS! Now I'm making gurgling noises because I'm trying to hold back the sobs, and again feeling so grateful no one is there to see the spectacle I'm making of myself. I couldn't leave the safety of the cereal till my face returned to a normal color; needless to say, I ended up with 8 boxes, all of them LIFE. (just kidding, but that would have been very appropriate)

Sad: Sitting in church today, listening to a return missionary describe his experience on the day that he left for his mission. Leaving for the MTC in brazil, his parents got to take him to the airport to say their good-byes. As he was hugging his Mom for the last time in 2 years, he couldn't control his emotions and started to cry. As his Mom was preparing to pull away, he said he couldn't, because he was still crying and didn't want his Mom to see, so he kept her in what must have been the longest bear hug she ever received. So of course, here I am, sitting next to Trey, and thinking about how I only have two more years to prepare for that day to come. Tears are spilling down my cheeks, (kinda like how they are now) and I'm already wondering how will I be able to bear it, when just thinking about it turns me into a puddle.

Feeling so grateful that Trey is a worthy young man, proud to be his mother, touched by his willingness to go and serve, happy that he's making the right choices, and sad that life will never be the same once he goes. Can you see my predicament? I've got 5 strikes against me in the emotions department. I don't stand a chance. Maybe I should buy stock in Kleenex and laugh my way to the bank.

Did I mention I cry when I laugh too?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Counting the Laughs

I was afraid this was going to happen. Start blogging again, then after two weeks, can't think of anything else to say. I must admit, since my girls don't live here anymore, half of my material walked out the door with them. They were always making me laugh. Not that Trey and Tary don't make me laugh, cuz they do, but at the moment I am drawing a blank as to the last time they made me laugh.

In my pursuit for funny, I've decided to count the number of times I laugh every day instead of calories. Not that I ever counted calories, but I should. I've decided laughs are easier to count, are more fun and good for you too. Laugher reduces stress and it's a great exercise for the abdominals.   Did you know that an average 5 year old laughs over 400 times a day? By the time we reach adulthood, that number shrivels down to just 14 times a day.

That number seems a little high to me, unless you're a mother of 5 children, all under the age of 7. I think it was a requirement in the pre-existence to have a good sense of humor in order to qualify for large families. I figure any woman with more than 5 children would have to laugh a lot, or cry a lot, in order to keep her sanity. Unless she wasn't sane to begin with, which explains why she had 5 children under the age of 7 in the first place. My mom had 7 children, and she was always laughing, it was my dad who was always crying, but that's another subject for another post.

So I did have a good laugh the other day. It was quite unexpected as most good laughs are. The sad part of the story, is that I was in a room full of people, and I was the only one laughing. Embarrassing, I know. And it was while I was exercising, not the most appropriate place to start laughing, in a room full of middle-age, middle weight women doing dance moves to Beyonce'.

It happened during Jazzercise. I was in the home stretch of the workout and we were working our arms with the resistance bands. Now my arms have always been the weakest part of my body, just ask my gymnastics teacher. I never could master the back-handspring because my arms always gave out on me and I would end up on my head. Anyway, standing on the bands with both arms extended above my head, we were doing bicep presses, keeping the triceps at the side of the head, and lowering the forearm to the side of your ear, then pushing it back up past the head. I was really kicking it through the first set of reps, but by the second go-around, as I stretched the bands above my head, my arms rebelled. They started to move to the beat of the song, the problem was, we weren't dancing, we were weight lifting (no weights, just bands. But it still kicks your...muscles) Raised above my head, they started shaking like a leaf, those little muscles that I had been working so hard to get decided they didn't want to get bigger and shook off any resistance I was trying to give them.
My arms refused to cooperate. I was trying to stretch my spastic arms into the proper upright position, but my elbows had to get in on the action as well and insisted on bending to the beat.

Being so close to my head, I could feel them jiggle as I struggled in my attempt. It was like having a twitch in your eye, or a leg spasm, they just kept shaking as if they were doing the mambo.
I wasn't sure what to it safe to push the limits even when you're arms are about to shake out of their sockets? I persisted, but between my funky chicken arms dancing and the thought of what the ladies behind me were witnessing, I couldn't help myself and started to laugh, and laugh, and laugh.
My instructor threw me a strange look and I'm sure I made her second guess her technique because she quickly changed to a new move. I lucked out, since laughing and lifting don't go hand in hand. The music was blaring, so my belly laughs were not heard and therefore not reciprocated by the others. I was the lone laugher.

But hey, at least my abs got a great workout!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

To my children...Thank you!

I find it ironic as I was reading thru my past posts and came across my come-back post a year ago (I had good intentions) and saw how I described returning to the blog world much like doing a cartwheel after years of tumbling inactivity. It's ironic because just yesterday I was outside with Paisley, my 3 year old grand-daughter, and was trying to teach her how to do a cartwheel. "It's easy" I said, "just watch Grandma". Arms up, leg outstretched, toes pointed, and go...and go...go...c'mon, just do it! What are you afraid of? Honestly, I was afraid my weak arms would buckle, I would land on my head, or at the very least that my legs wouldn't be perfectly straight and upright. Eventually I worked up the nerve and did not one, but two cartwheels. I don't know how pretty they were, but I was thrilled to come out of it without grass stains on my face.

That's how I'm feeling about returning to the blogging world. As you may have noticed, I actually blogged last week, but I didn't tell anyone, for fear that it would set expectations that I wouldn't be able to live up to. What will I blog about every week? What if I run out of thoughts? What if I announce a comeback, then don't blog for another year, (oh wait, already did that one). What if I fall on my face?

Like my cartwheel, I'm just going to plunge in and hope I don't look too foolish in the end. So today, being Mothers day, I thought I would share some thoughts on motherhood.

Sometimes I think our culture has it all wrong. I've often thought that on birthdays, children should shower their mothers with gifts for giving birth to them; after all, we're the ones who spent hours in painful labor to bring them into the world. Why do the kids get the presents and the cake? Why does everyone send out well wishes and sing songs to them, yet not one word of acknowledgement goes to the mother. You never hear, "Happy Birthday! Way to go! I hear you spent 15 hours in labor with Johnnie and no epidural! A 9-pounder too, great job! Here, you deserve some cake."

On Mothers Day, I think it would be appropriate to give gifts to our children for making us mothers; after all, if it weren't for them, no one would call us Mom. As mothers, we should wake up early and make breakfast for our children, oh wait, we do that every day.

We should shower them with love and attention and tell them how wonderful they are! Oh wait, we do that every day too.

Well, we should dip our hands into paint, press them on construction paper, and write a poem:

"These tired hands have worked for you,
doing those things that all mothers do.
We cook, we clean, we sometimes sew
we fake through homework we ought to know.

These hands have wiped away the tears
and in the night have quieted fears.

They've held you close when very small,
and held your hand so you wouldn't fall.
And through the years those hands let go
so you can learn and you can grow.

And so my child, on this Mother's Day,
my hands have much they would like to say.

"Thank you for the sticky walls,
mud on the carpet, the crayon down the hall.
Thank you for dumping your clothes on the floor,
as you tried on ten outfits and emptied your drawer.

Without you child, these hands would be bored.
No wiping snot noses or spilt milk from the floor.
No costumes to make every Halloween
or productions to put on for the nativity scene.

Without you child, these hands would never know
the wringing from worry, the pain of letting go.
These hands have held you from the very start,
and whether near or far, you'll always be in my heart.

Thank you Chelsea, for making me a Mother. Thank you Kayla, for showing me that I can love the second as much as the first. Thank you Trey, for proving that not all little boys are terrors, and for letting me keep you little for as long as I can. Thank you all for exceeding my expectations of Motherhood. I have cherished and loved (almost) every minute. You make me proud to be your mother and I love you all dearly.
Happy Thanks-for-making-me-a-Mother Day.
(Sorry Mom, your tribute post will have to wait till your birthday!)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Tary went to Vegas last weekend for a softball tournament, and all he brought me back was this lousy cold. Nice guy. I would have rather had the t-shirt. He did make dinner tonight so I could rest on the couch with my book, so when I called him a nice guy, I wasn't being sarcastic or anything; he really is a nice guy and feels just awful about giving me his cold.

I feel like I have been sick a lot this year. Every time I've been around someone who is sick, I end up with their same ailment. So as I've been pondering today about how I could make someone else feel better, I've thought a lot about laughter and how perhaps a smile a day could keep the doctor away. Is that why I've been so sick this year? I haven't had enough laughter in my life? Blogging used to force me to find the funny. Not that I haven't laughed in 2 years, but I've been busy. Doing what, I couldn't tell you, but whatever it was it has kept me busy. Too busy to laugh, and now I'm sick again.

Sounding like a man with a husky voice does have it's advantages though. Yesterday, when the RS president called and told me a sister in the ward whom I supposedly visit every month has cancer, my already choked up voice and strained vocal chords didn't give me away as the tears streamed silently down my face. Knowing I would have lost it when I saw her today in church, I was able to use my sickness as an excuse to stay home and not get anyone else sick, especially her.

I've been thinking about her all day, wondering what could I do to help her. If I were Patch Adams, I would heal her through laughter. You've probably seen or at least heard of Patch Adams, but he wasn't the first to discover laughter's healing powers.

Norman Cousins was the editor of Saturday Review for over 30 years, and was the author of a
number of books including ‘Anatomy of an illness.’ But what he is most remembered for is being the man who laughed himself to wellness.

He was diagnosed with Anklyosing Spondylitis, a collagen illness that attacks the connective tissues of the body.

While hospitalized, he began to research the effects of stress on the body and found that it could destroy one’s immune system. He read about the theory that negative emotions are harmful to the body, so he thought that if negative emotions were detrimental to health, then positive emotions should improve health.

He checked himself out of the hospital and into a hotel suite. He hired a nurse who read humorous stories and played Marx Brothers movies for him non-stop. The treatment proved to be so effective that in very little time Cousins was off all painkillers and sleeping pills. He found that 10 minutes of laughter could lead to one hour that was pain-free.

Laughter releases endorphins that are more powerful than morphine. These endorphins can lead to a sense of well-being and optimism. In 1989, it was finally acknowledged in the Journal of the American Medical Association that laughter therapy could help improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illness and that laughter has an immediate symptom relieving effect.

I don't think the Marx Brothers would do it for me, but I few funny youtube videos of giggling babies will give me an endorphin fix for a week.

Isn't it incredible that Heavenly Father created these bodies for us that can help us heal ourselves if we allow it to! He doesn't want us to be sad, or stressed, or miserable, even when life can be sad, stressful and miserable. He wants us to find joy in the journey and look for the positive in any situation.

So here it is...the funny fact of being sick:

The other night I had a coughing fit that semi-woke me up. As I was trying to doze back to sleep, a buzzing sound tickled my hear. I kept swatting at it in my semi-conscious mind, thinking it was a fly buzzing around my ear. It would go away, then return seconds later. I remember thinking it was strange to have flies in the house already and didn't recall seeing any, but I folded my pillow around my head to cover both ears then turned on my side and fell asleep.

Last night I was struggling again with my cough and was having a hard time falling asleep. Suddenly, my pesky little fly friend was back, buzzing in my ear. Only this time, I was fully awake enough to realize it wasn't a fly at all, it was my husband! My poor wheezing, squeaking husband! It sounded as though he had swallowed a squeak toy, and every time he took a breath, a slow little whiny squeak  would leak out of his airpipe.
Visions of Wheezy from Toy Story popped into my mind, and it made me laugh to think of my husband as the grown-up version of Wheezy, the toy afraid of being thrown away because his squeaker was broken and he squeaked every time he talked, with a lisp I might add. Not that my husband spoke with a lisp, but his squeaking took on a melodical harmonious eeeehhh-aaahhh sound that made me wonder if he had swallowed not one, but two squeak toys.

Poor Tary, here he was just trying to get enough air into lungs, and I was trying unsuccessfully to suppress my giggles. Of course, trying to hold them in just made me laugh more, which caused me to cough more, which resulted in both of us not being able to sleep. Sadly, he didn't find any humor in the situation and didn't agree that a new nickname was in order. Too bad.

Good night my loyal readers. Good night my dear friend. Good night my little Squeaker.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Paula, the Kings and I

Tomorrow marks the 3rd anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson. I liked Mike, the younger version. I have a couple of his albums, danced to Thriller in my high-school-dance-class days, and thought he was cute and extremely talented. As he got older, he just got weird. But still, when I learned of his early death, I mourned for the passing of the Michael of my youth.

It's funny how you'll never forget where or what you were doing when certain events took place. For example, I'm sure everyone remembers where they were the day the twin towers came tumbling down. If I were 10 years older, I'm sure I would remember what I was doing when Pres. Kennedy was shot. I even remember where I was when I heard the news that Elizabeth Smart had been found.

I remember where and what I was doing when I learned of the sad news that the King of Pop, and the King of Rock had both died. And both times I was at Paula's house.

My cousin Paula and I are only 2 days apart. When I was younger, I took pride in the fact that I was the older one, a fact I don't brag about anymore. We spent many a summers sharing a week at each other's homes growing up. I remember I loved going to her house, she had a purple room all to herself. I had to share my purple and pink room with my sister. She lived in the valley where the streets were flat and perfect for bicycle riding, made even more fun because she had a bicycle built for two! I lived on a hill where riding a bike was more exercise than it was fun. She had a Circle-K convenience store within walking distance where we could load up on penny candy. I had a 7-11 located at the bottom of several very long hills. Paula had a cat. I had a dog. Everything that I loved about going to Paula's house, she probably loved the opposite about coming to stay at mine.

It was in August of 1977 during the end of one such stay that I learned that Elvis Presley had died. My Mom came to pick me up, and as I was loading my stuff in the back of the car she told me they found Elvis dead on his bathroom floor that day. I was sad. I liked Elvis, the younger version. I had a couple of his albums, had danced to the tunes of Jail House rock in my younger entertain-my-sisters-by-making-up-dances-with-them days, loved the old Elvis movies, and thought he was extremely handsome and talented. As he got older, he just got fat and weird. But still, I mourned for the passing of the Elvis of his youth.

Fast forward, June 25, 2009. Paula and I got together to celebrate our birthdays. Trey and I met at her house to enjoy lunch; our boys played together while we got caught up on our lives. Chelsea called on my cell to tell me Farrah Fawcett had died, another icon from my Charlies Angels feathered haired days. I knew about Farrah, the news was on the radio on my way over to Paula's. But then she dropped the bomb-shell..."Did you hear about Michael Jackson? He died." 

Sadly, I couldn't tell you where I was or what I was doing when I heard about the passing of Pres. Hinkley, or any of the prophets for that matter. Not sure what that says about my character or where my priorities lie. Maybe the events with Elvis and Michael stick out in my mind not because of who they were, but because of who I was with. Paula has always been such a dear cousin and sweet friend. I love her and wish we could find time to spend more of it together.

Happy Birthday Paula! Let's do lunch...if we dare.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

the Proposal

I love keeping secrets, I'm pretty good at it too. So when Curtis texted Tary last tuesday and asked if he could meet with him, I didn't tell a soul. Not even Chelsea.

Curtis came by Tary's work on Wednesday, and after waiting for 20 minutes, which probably seemed like an eternity in a non-air-conditioned building stocked with car parts and stocky men, they finally met up.

Tary didn't give him a hard time like he said he was, for which I am grateful; I'm sure Curtis was nervous enough without having to decipher sarcasm from seriousness. He let Tary in on his plans to pop the big question on friday; and since the only secrets we have between us are how much I actually spend at Kohls, and he at Cabellas, he included me in. I didn't tell a soul. Not even Chelsea. I lied; I did tell my co-workers...only because Tary called me at work after Curtis left and they overheard my shouts of joy. After my outburst, I felt an explanation was necessary. 

Friday finally came. I knew Kayla and Curtis had plans to spend the day together, so I eagerly awaited the phone call. It came...about 9:30 am. Kayla was so excited! She had great news to tell me! "Guess what?" she said,
"Curtis bought the ring you always wanted, proposed on bended knee and now your engaged!"
Is what I could have said, but I didn't want to steal her thunder, so I excitedly replied "What?"
"I scored 100% on a mystery shopper and received $100! I also got a 87 out of 92 on my test, and got a raise at work! This is the best day!"
"Oh, you think it's good now? Just you wait Kayla"...of course I didn't say that either.

I thought she would be calling me back later that morning; nothing. The afternoon came...and went; nothing. By evening I was beginning to wonder if Curtis had chickened out. Finally, just after 9 pm, Kayla called. My fears were confirmed, Kayla and Curtis were breaking up. Apparently he was a two-timer. Yea right, I wasn't buying it; afterall, I was in on the secret. And then she started crying. What the crap?! Was she being serious? Had he really turned out to be a jerk and had us all fooled into thinking he was Mr. Wonderful?

Now I don't know if she really was crying, or if she was fake crying, but my nomination for best actress in "My Momma's a Sucker for Tears" goes to Kayla. Just as I was about to have a good cry with her, she told me the good news, they were engaged!

Here's how it went down:
There is an overpass near Curtis's house for pedestrians. Earlier that day, someone had stuck the red plastic cups in the chainlink fence and spelled out "I (heart) K". I don't know if his proposal budget didn't cover the cost of more than one bag of cups and he ran out and couldn't spell out her whole name, but Kayla saw it and said, "Ah, I love K. Is that me?" "Of course", he replied. "That's so sweet!" and it was.

They went out to dinner and came back, again driving under the overpass, when Curtis noticed a few of the cups had fallen out. "Let's take a walk to the overpass and fix your sign". While walking towards the walkway, Curtis turned and facing Kayla, so she couldn't see what was in front of her, he showered her with kisses her all the way to the top. Then he stepped aside so Kayla could see the colorful display of chalk art along the concrete; "Festival of Color, REAL soccer, Dance, Happiness Kayla and Curtis, love..." memories of their good times together, and at the very end of the journey were the words, "Kayla, will you marry me?"

Then in true gentleman fashion, he got down on one knee, popped open a ring box, and properly asked her. She bawled like a baby, threw her arms around his neck so hard she knocked him down where he smacked the back of his head so hard on the concrete, it gave him a concusion. As he was passed out, she brought him back with 'true love's kiss'.

I don't know if that really happened, but i thought a little payback was necessary. That's right little Ms. actress...don't mess with the screenwriter.

The funniest part of the story...Curtis didn't put up those cups that spelled out I (heart) K. But when Kayla thought it was aimed at her, he used it to his advantage and had a great excuse to get her up to the overpass. Well played out.

Nicely done Curtis!
 Welcome to the family!