My tongue has no feeling anymore…sweet!

I love spicy food. I’ve even converted some of the family over to the hot side of life although I’ve been accused of going overboard by some of them. That’s crazy talk! I try to be respectful of those people whose taste buds are much like the Princess & the Pea. A drop of hot sauce, a dab of wasabi or a teaspoon of red pepper in a stock pot of stew will send them scrambling to the sink to gulp water straight from the faucet; all the while cursing me for trying to kill them as they futilely continue trying to put out the fire from the red hot poker that is stuck in their throat. I’m usually at a loss because I ate the same thing they did and I can barely feel any kind of heat in my throat (and I’m not gonna lie, I’m always a little disappointed in that). Depending on the food, if your nose isn’t running…it’s not hot enough. On a few occasions I have surprised myself by not liking the spicy hot food, but only because the intensity of the burn overpowered any flavor the food might have had. I love food too much not to taste it!
Just off the top of my head these are foods that I (& the general public it seems) regularly add spicy seasonings to: a LOT of Main Dishes, Pizza (red pepper flakes), Chinese Food (I like hot mustard but only if I don’t have wasabi; the green paste that if you breath the vapors into your lungs you will die…or wish you would until your body stops hating you for what you just did. I almost died twice from wasabi…it is some serious shit!), Jalapeno Pickled Eggs, Eggs (not including salsa), Salsa, and Nuts.
And these are foods that I’ve found taste delicious with a healthy dose of Red Pepper sprinkled in that you might not think to add to: Peanut Butter, Chocolate/Brownies (probably any dessert known to woman or man), Ice Cream, Coffee, Applesauce, Hot Apple Cider, Pickles (I drain out the pickle juice and add juice from the jalapenos) & all the other Main Dishes not included in the first category.
I’d like to hear if anyone has tried something (especially out of the ordinary) with hot spices that they like (or would want me to try for them). Disclaimer: I found out that it’s actually possible to put too much red pepper in brownies. It didn’t stop me from eating them (they were chocolate after all!) but I wouldn’t put as much in next time. Okay, sometimes I do go overboard and my response to that…blah, blah, blah.

Old people ROCK! (‘n roll…some, only when they get pushed down a hill)

The kids asked us to have a New Year’s Eve party. Not the kid living at home of course; daughters #2 & #4 who are in their own apartments. I’m happy they want to continue the tradition (the real reason…they didn’t have any plans or place to go) but last year when Gary & I went out to party at a bar for the first time in DECADES, I was hoping we were starting a new New Year’s Eve tradition…and it would continue this year. We’ve stayed home on New Year’s Eve since we started having kids. As they grew, so did the party. Eventually, the number of kids overshadowed the number of adults. It was always great fun and was a favorite tradition; lots of friends/family, food, music, games, bonfire & laughter. One year Gary scavenged a big red bubble light that was being thrown away. He saved it from certain demise after being discarded from an old road grader. We turn that light on any chance we get but ALWAYS at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It flashes out of the windows & bounces off the stop signs a block away. It looks very cool!

Our Party Light.

Our Party Light.


So anyway, I agreed…somewhat last minute & reluctantly to make food & have a party. One of these days they won’t want to hang out so much with us because they’ll have their own lives so I might as well enjoy the time given me. The party was mostly 20-somethings with a sprinkling of ‘old’ people. Even my parents showed up and we kept them amused until midnight. You heard me right…Midnight! I believe the ancients were silently pleased with themselves. I told them now they can brag to all their friends that they stayed up really, really late. It was probably one of my mellowest New Year’s Eve. I should’ve known something was amiss when I wasn’t allowed to do a remake of taking my mom to the floor during a rousing game of Spoons; I was the second person taken out of the game with 10 playing. The rest of the night I spent people-watching. It’s fun to observe the younger generation, they are quite amusing. It was also a relief to get to the end of 2012. It was a very difficult year and I have a strong feeling 2013 is going to be spectacularly awesome in all sorts of ways. It’s my lucky year!

If my life was a game right now it would be called

Strip & Go Naked! I’ve been having hot flashes since I was 31. When a nurse told me that I was too young to get hot flashes I laughed to myself. Oh really?! Then why is heat rolling off of me like a smelting furnace? Granted they were few and very far between and very doable as far as intensity & duration goes. They’ve accelerated slowly as I strolled my way through my 40’s and entered my 50’s. The last 3 years the night sweats started, still…not a major problem. Not at all like the horror stories I’ve heard that other women were having; poor women & their crazy sweatiness! Well, in the last 5 months my hormones have cranked up the thermostat and are blazing like an inferno that could start a brush fire. One recent day at school I was totally bundled up in winter wear heading outside onto the frigid, windy playground; whining because I forgot to put my Cuddleduds on under my slacks that morning.

Not 3 minutes later a 500˚ wave of heat rolled off of me and was trapped inside all my warm, protective gear. In less than 10 seconds I had my hood down, scarf & ear muffs ripped off, wool mittens torn off, zipper undone from my coat, zipper undone from my sweater and facing my body into the relief of the winter wind. Ahhhhhhh, sweet relief! After about 3 minutes when the sweat had sufficiently evaporated from most of my body I resumed dressing myself again because it was really cold out!

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I can’t wear the snuggly sweaters I love so much because I need to be able to strip down when an inferno rolls off me and then be able to add warmth back on because I’m cold again. Same goes for sleeping even though the heat vent is closed & the window is cracked open. I’m pretty sure the lack of a good sound sleep will affect me eventually. Fortunately, all 3 of us are taking it in stride…that whole strip & go naked & then getting dressed again. How long before I break is anyone’s guess. I’m sure I’ll let you all know when I no longer find humor in this. Until then I’m heating the house with my hot flashes!

Twas the night AFTER Christmas…

I was hoping to post stuff throughout the excitement of our holiday adventure but there weren’t any quiet times. It was a continual blur of activity. All four girls & their guys along with our 5th pretend adopted daughter were here by 3 PM on Christmas Eve and started pitching in to help finish getting the house & the food ready & ornaments on the tree. Two of the kids had never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so that was a priority on my list. Of course the kids are still sort of kids (if you compare them to an 80 yr-old) so they wanted to open gifts and do Yankee Swap first.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

Anytime Christmas tree lights are added...it becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Anytime Christmas tree lights are added…it becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it's almost like she's taking a bow to her admirers.

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it’s almost like she’s taking a bow to her admirers.

Our tree's empty space is being 'filled' by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don't own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.

Our tree’s empty space is being ‘filled’ by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don’t own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.


Gary & the kids got the cool stuff they asked for but more importantly, let’s talk about what I got! I got my winter boots & Cuddleduds but can you believe Santa forgot to bring me snow pants?! I’ve wanted them since last winter and I cannot believe, with all his magic, that he forgot them. I guess he was too busy concentrating on the boots & long underwear. I also got a Tree of Friendship glass ball, a bunch of warm cuddly socks, lots & lots of headbands (I shouldn’t run out for…forever!), a huge bag of pecans, a jar of raw honey, a magnifying glass & along with some DVD’s from the family pile…Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure! (to go along with the classic Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special that we already own) Gifts from the kids include a big kickass LED TV from daughter #1 (now the lights won’t dim like they did when we turned on the big old ginormous one!), a gift certificate from the delicious Teavana store & a wine accessory kit secretly hidden from burglars inside a pretend wine bottle from #2 & her PoohBear, a Charoite stone & a gift certificate from a goddessey new-age store I adore from #3 & her OsoBear, #4 & her new sweetpea gave me a DVD & a 10 pk outdoor solar light set for when we get around to making the far-far back yard look pretty this summer (*crossing my fingers*). On Christmas day everyone slept in except me because I was determined to make breakfast recipes off my Pinterest boards; Apple Cider Pancakes & Bacon in the shape of hearts (don’t bake them crispy because they break REALLY easy!). They were obviously delicious! Our final adventure before all of the kids were gone for work or significant others’ family celebrations was sledding down the town’s snow hill. (This is where those snow pants would have come in handy) Elizabeth wasn’t too keen on going but Betsy & Tebazilena were already bundling into snow gear so she didn’t have a choice.
Snow Tube 'Island' Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

Snow Tube ‘Island’ Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

It was GREAT FUN!!! We assembled all the tubes into a mass island, hung on to each other’s handles & inched our way to the top of the hill and…….adults just need to do that at least ONCE in their lifetime. It really brings out the kid in you!
Sometimes the 'island' becomes a 'peninsula!' At least we're all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

Sometimes the ‘island’ becomes a ‘peninsula!’ At least we’re all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

It was a great Christmas! We should be relaxing now but #2 & #4 informed us that we need to have a New Year’s Eve party here. Why? Because THEY don’t have anything planned to celebrate. I guess we need to enjoy having the kids spend time back home while we’re all young.

Home Alone for Christmas~All 9 of us!

I’m beside myself with excitement that all 4 girls & their boys will start coming this afternoon for Christmas. We have a list of activities to do and food to eat. I only have to behave about 12 more hours so I don’t get put on the last minute naughty list. I mean, yeah, I’m already on the naughty list but I’m on the ‘good’ naughty list. There’s a huge difference between the good one and the bad one. You still get presents on the ‘good’ naughty list. Even when I’m bad…I’m good! I’m pretty sure I’m getting the stuff I asked for from Santa. Maybe not EVERYTHING because that’s not realistic but at least some snow boots & more Cuddleduds for when I have recess duty on the playground in Siberia. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE KIDS TO GET HERE!!!! (I feel better now). I still have a crapload of stuff to do before the partying starts so I’ll have to post the rest (decorated Charlie Brown tree picture included) later tonight. Merry Christmas Eve! (just in case it becomes Christmas day before I get back)

Topsy Turvy SnowWoman ~ Topsy Turvy Apocalypse

Since seeing an upside down snowman on Facebook I’ve wanted one for my very own. It’s very difficult though when the ground is covered in brown frozen grass. So, I did what I do in most situations that seem somewhat futile…I wished! I wished a LOT for a lot of snow. I even talked about it to all the kids I encountered in school last week. First we talked about how to construct an upside down snowman and then on Wednesday I told them I wasn’t coming to school on Thursday because we would be having a snow day so I could make my upside down snowman (They totally believed me this time because the forecasters already predicted a huge dump of snow). And what happened because I believed & wished strongly for it? SNOW DAY! I had to wait until evening for enough snow to accumulate but it was sweet success! A lot of people have stopped to take pictures of her.
SnowBeth & Stella 009
The only problem I was concerned about was The End of the World. It could make my sweet SnowWoman become a puddle of slush. The intensity of the apocalypse prediction was similar to my towering inferno hot flashes.
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Since summer, I wanted to have a party to celebrate. The End of the World; Party like there’s no tomorrow! What an awesome reason to have a party! Sadly, there were too many things I had to do and I would’ve lost my mind if I’d added that to the mix. So daughter #3 surprised us with a mini party. She played R.E.M.’s song “It’s the End of the World as we Know it” when I walked in to the decorated dining room with candles lit for ambiance.
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Try to imagine that the bag of Red Vines is filled with licorice instead of cinnamon sticks & pretend that I didn’t eat the Almond Joy bar that’s missing from the table.
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By midnight Friday, all was calm, all was dark, and it was freaking cold…WTH? No End of the World? No Zombie Apocalypse? I’m a little disappointed after all the hype. Would it have killed the cosmos to throw us a bone of sorts, something nice & uplifting? Like maybe the top 10% of evil overlords are suddenly immune to gravity and float off the earth into space, never to be seen again? Nope, I guess not, so it’s back to ‘normal’ living…for now. (I still think something topsy turvy is in the works out there)

December 18~Wear a Plunger On Your Head Day

I wish I’d known this was Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day before I went to school. I would’ve totally ROCKED the kids’ world! At least now I have plenty of time to get a new plunger to wear for next year. Working at school and being goofy with the kids is definitely good therapy, but even with that, the thoughts of what others are dealing with right now (& for a long time to come) creep into my head and try to take hold; normal I guess but not very welcome. Here’s a happy, feel good, pick-me-up about a community celebrating their 130th anniversary. I hope it helps for anyone in the same boat as me, even if it’s just for 5 minutes:
P.S. Pictures please if you actually wear a plunger on your head!

Yes, Elizabeth, there IS a Santa!!! So behave yourself!

Early this morning I was called in to work at school. “Are you working for anyone today?” “Nope. I’m myself today.” More conversation…Oh, you want me to work in the 4-yr-old room? *shudder* Hmmm. “Can you call someone else first and then if you can’t find someone I’ll come in?” Yay! Relief settles over me again as I watch the Christmas tree lights pulsing quietly in my dark living room. Five minutes later…phone rings (my heart sinks). CRAP! (5 other subs have said No) “Sure, I’ll be there.” *sob!* There are a couple duties I have to do when I get to school before I work my way down to the Primate Center where they house the smallest of human animals. I put on my cheery smile (at least I think it was on my face..…yeah, it was) as the 4-yr-old who is today’s assigned door person hears my knock and comes to open the door. (Disclaimer: For those of you who don’t know me, I’m not a big fan of the littlest tykes. I will care for them, I will have fun with them, I will protect them but if given a choice, I will pick being with an older child first-the older, the better. My personality/sense of humor meshes better with them) So, first things first, I hug the two teachers who are in charge of this particular group of rug rats. Children got hugs on Friday, Teachers get hugs on Monday; I tried to hug as many as possible. I hope they liked it because it was tremendously therapeutic for me. And now for the Christmas miracle, “We’re not going to need you today because 3 out of the 7 kids are sick.” Oh Happy Day! “Thank you for my early Christmas gift!” (These 2 teachers are quite special being able to do what they do and they also know that I feel like a fish out of water with their wee age group.) Joyousness seeped out of every pore in my body! I think I did 3 happy dances on my way back to the Intermediate building. I went home without that paycheck but I’m a very strong believer that Santa is real…and he loves me!

I wouldn’t make a very good kidnapper…

This is a continuation from my previous post http://elizabetsyt.com/?p=11. It’s 7 weeks’ worth of demands while laying bed-bound in the hospital. May the force be with you if you can get through the entire thing. You should probably make a bowl of popcorn and get something strong to drink. I was sober when I wrote it but that doesn’t mean you have to be when you read it. I think I got better with the demands the longer I was there…probably the insanity taking hold. Hope you enjoy it!

Here is the infamous List of Demands!

1~ Bedpan should have the bottom brushed off before it’s brought to me so as not to leave any dirt under my delicate gluteus maximus.

2~ Milkshakes should be thick enough to just make it up the straw.

3~ My chart should be discreetly left on my monitor machine.

4~ Schedules of all nurses shall be posted along with their name, age and food dishes they prepare that are of gourmet standards.

5~ Nobody is allowed to call me by my initials unless they smell Lysol coming out from underneath the door.

6~ “Princess” is no longer an acceptable name when referring to me (it’s too prissy). You may now call me Queen Elizabeth, The Supreme Goddess, Exalted One or Head Wench.

7~ My scalp should be massaged at least 5 minutes during my shampoos. A manicure would be nice too.

8~ It’s time I get designer Garfield Band-Aids to cover all these holes you keep poking in me. These flesh-colored ones are unbefitting.

9~ No one’s allowed to make remarks about my snoring (which I have a hard time believing that I do) unless they refer to it as having a pleasant, sort of lyrical quality.

10~ I’d like to hear a happy tune sung (or hummed) whenever any hospital personnel walks past my door (even the mucky-mucks).

11~ There will be no more excessive use of tape on the hairy parts of my arm when you change my IV site. Laughing (or smirking) while pulling the old tape off my arm will no longer be tolerated!

12~ The kitchen shall be informed that my salads have too much H2O in the bottom of the dish. They should be drained right before it’s brought to me, or they can hand dry the lettuce (lightly patted).

13~ Once every two weeks I want a male stripper to perform outside my open door. I prefer Arab Sheiks or Men in Uniform (cop) and I prefer creamy Kraft or Heinz Horseradish Sauce instead of whipped cream.

14~ The Queen (Me) is always right!! …and I always win at Atari (and similar) games.

15~ I want music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s piped in during the daylight hours and Classical piped in (from outside my door) during my snooze hours. No Jazz or Twangy Country Western stuff.

16~ Every other morning (preferably Odd Days) I would like the area between my toes cleaned with a solution of rose water & lotion using a Q-tip swab.

17~ Every night I want a foot massage done on the bottom of my feet with Oil of Olay because they’re starting to look Old and unsightly.

18~ As a treat for me, from all the abuse & neglect I receive from you little ‘nurse maids,’ I deserve to have someone come in every night before bedtime to give me a facial so as to protect my porcelain skin from this dreadfully dry hospital air.

19~ I would like special permission from Joe to allow Puppy Chow to visit me at least once a week. I mean she is part of the family! Our 1st born.

20~ This is the most important demand!! Whenever my Love Slave (you know him as Gary) comes for a visit, I would like a double bed brought in (satin sheets are optional) so we can play pretend husband & wife. We would of course just lay there & look at the ceiling and talk about non-sexual things like bills, the upcoming property tax and baby diapers & vomit. Around 10-15 candles lit around the room and some romantic music piped under the door would be a nice touch too!

21~ The Queen is served her food first! No one is allowed to eat anything that smells delicious (or even yummy) until then.

22~ I would like a fresh flower placed in my room every morning before I wake up. If you have to take it from someone else’s bouquet, then so be it.

23~ Only blue-green colored secondary IV needles are allowed in my arm.

24~ I want permission from Physical Therapy (or whoever can get it for me) to have scented Bubble Baths in the Hubbard Tank on Monday, Wednesdays & Fridays for at least ½ hour.

25~ All doctors shall show the utmost respect for the nurses who have dedicated their lives to me. A salute (or bow) as they pass my door would be nice too!

26~ Stay out of my underwear closet you perverts. I know that you sneak a peak in my locker and then tell me you were getting supplies out of the other 2 lockers. I can see through walls you know.

27~ I would like someone to check out the hospital supply stores and see if any of them carry Aqua colored (or any other snazzy color) bedpans, pitcher & emesis basin (completed) to brighten up my room. This geeky gold has got to go. Its color is unbecoming to a person of my ‘station in life.’

28~ Whenever it gets boring on ‘my’ floor just give me a call and I’ll ‘buzz’ out songs on my call light. We’ll see who can guess the song first.

29~ Whenever I have guests visiting, I would like a tray of hors d’oeuvres and beverages served in my room. I would prefer it if the nursemaids serving us would wear a white hat, apron & spiked heels. A French accent would be a nice touch too.

30~ When #1 daughter comes for a visit I would like a babysitting schedule made up using a few nurses on duty back here (as long as I know them and their S.S. number, home address, fingerprint on file and a front and side photo). We only need a ½ hour service which would pay 25¢.

31~ I think I deserve to be the 1st patient to get talked about at the change of shift meetings. I also want you to talk loud enough so I can hear you in my room.

32~ I don’t want any more grief from you wenches the next time I tell you I’m going to have the baby. When I say I want to deliver the baby now, I mean NOW! There will be no more excuses or dilly-dallying around when I ask you to call Mary to come and deliver the baby. I also want it delivered at 7 or 9 P.M.

33~ Any person carrying a lab tray filled with needles & test tubes is not allowed in my room without written permission from Dr. Mary. If you don’t have an extremely good reason, take your demonic, vampire needs to another room.

34~ No more nightly visits from the graveyard shift to drip greasy food stains on my sheets & hospital gown. I’m very careful when I eat so I know the stains aren’t mine! Beware you Pig Monsters, I might wake up next time!

35~ There will be no more IV’s stuck in my finger or wrist. (that really hurts) I don’t want to hear about the IV’s you stick in people’s feet! That’s sick!

36~ I need a remote control camera placed outside my door so I can see down the halls and locate the ‘disappearing’ nurses who duck out of my view. It would be much more entertaining than the T.V. shows.

37~ I need blackmail pictures of Dr. Mary eating dessert or junk food. Any knowledge of her eating habits (esp. the dates, places and junk food eaten) would be greatly appreciated!

38~ To all nurses who don’t work in labor dept: You’re supposed to come running when I ring my bell, not laugh at it! Watch the labor nurses if you have any questions to the procedure.

39~ When I’m watching you with the binoculars you have to talk slower because I can’t read lips yet. Enunciate your words carefully. Thanks.

40~ This is a Free Demand! Because I’m so awfully sweet and mild mannered, I’ve decided that you can have a ‘vacation’ on every 40th demand. Now doesn’t that make you feel warm all over and even more respectful towards me?!! Lovingly, Your Resident Mommy Dearest

41~ TO SANDY~ Because I’ve been here so long I feel I deserve to have my very own private nurse instead of throwing me into the throng of other mothers.

42~ I want my room to be roped off with a red velvet cord so people can view me in a more awed atmosphere.

43~ There is to be a private viewing of Bednobs & Broomsticks for all hospital personnel that were depraved deprived as children.

44~ I want my very own hospital nametag that reads “The Queen Mother.”

45~ You may take turns singing to our baby. Suggestions are “Irish Lullabye,” all 4 verses to “Rock-a-bye Baby” and the infamous family “Bye-O” song (my mom can teach you).

46~ There’s still time for all of you to become normal like me! Call me for an appointment ~ I’m cheap (literally or figuratively-it’s up to you).

47~ When I’m gone I want my room made into a shrine. When it becomes part of the nursery I want it named “The Queen Mother Nursery.”

48~ Now that you have delivered 2 children of Royal Blood, I think you should change the Nurse/Baby picture in the nurse’s station to one featuring #1 & #2 along with me, their Royal Mother.

49~ I demand that all of you take a bow and give yourself a big kiss from the Queen for all the great things you’ve done for me and my sanity (I really am normal!!).

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You are either an incredible person or just incredibly bored with life today. Kudos to you for taking the time to read this entire list! I think you should treat yourself to something spectacular…like a nap or a spoonful of spicy peanut butter with chocolate chips sprinkled on top!
Here’s a picture of the frog mentioned in post: http://elizabetsyt.com/im-more-fun-than-the-queen-across-the-pond/

Frog Prince for the Queen

Frog Prince for the Queen

It’s all Fun & Games until the Panic Attack!

I’m not sure if you can avoid stress around the holidays, even when you attempt to downscale. I wanted to be part of OneEarth-OneVoice on the 21st and help put out healing vibes to the world but there isn’t any group doing it in our neck of the woods; seems to be happening online only. So it seemed a good idea to invite the other 3 people in town who seem interested and do it at my place. Then Betsy reminded us that we talked about having an End-of-the-world-as-we-know-it party which is on the same day so we should open it up and have a big party. The 3rd voice, T, has since started panicking (she doesn’t care for parties…we KNOW, we don’t understand either!) because, “1. The House Isn’t Clean By My (or Anyone else’s) Standards!!! 2. We JUST started decorating (which causes its own mess). 3. We would have to provide some sort of hors d’oeuvre & refreshments. 4. We still have to get presents wrapped & food ready for our Thank-God-in-Heaven, First-Time-Alone-As-A-Family Christmas! What the hell are you guys thinking?!” “Jeez T…we just thought it would be fun to have people over and be part of a global happening! Mellow out! I’m sure we can come up with some sort of compromise. We’ve got a week and a half yet, we can finish some of this before that & we’ll downscale from the original plan. But no matter what…R.E.M. is still invited!” Tebazilena knows how quickly things can escalate when B & E are planning for a party. It’s all fun & games until the panic to get ready begins. Cranky anxiety ensues until people start arriving. I’ve gotten better over the past year or two but the moodiness is still in the background when I’m trying to get everything ready. I have to go now and clean…or decorate, otherwise one of us will be doing her darndest to put a wrench in the party plans (for 4…or 40?).

Best Exotic Old People

We watched the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel last night. It’s about 7 elderly English people whose lives are seemingly at an impasse and boldly decide to go to India to ‘start over.’  The hotel turns out not to be the romanticized version from the brochure. The dramatic change in culture tests all of them, for the better and the worse. It takes a while to get to know all the characters but eventually you get wrapped up in their issues and look forward to finding out how they’ll work through them. This is the second movie I’ve seen recently (Hope Springs was the other one) that revolves around ‘old’ people (older than me) and I’m finding that they freakishly resonate with me, probably because that time of my life is ‘just around the corner.’ I like that they focus on the fact that being an older person doesn’t mean you go off somewhere to shrivel up. Old age isn’t a disease and it isn’t an end to being a whole person. It’s a new adventure and if you can get past the fear of starting over or starting something different, change, it can make you feel young again, and again, and again. Our minds don’t grow old (I’m 24), just our bodies. I need to be reminded of this at least every decade if not every year. I’m starting over again…and it’s scary. But it’s also opportunity for a great adventure! The movie ended with a peaceful feeling of happiness for me. Let me know what you think of it if you watch it.

 

 

I Love You because You are Unique.

This is the first Christmas in 28 years Gary & I will get to celebrate at home with just our kids! We are giddy with excitement. It’ll be a whole different kind of Christmas. To mark this auspicious event we have cut down a live evergreen tree. Don’t get me wrong, we are tree lovers but we knew the evergreen would have to be removed (boring story, won’t be sharing) and we have since planted new trees to make up for it. We bought live trees the first 5 years we were married and each year the price tag got pricier. That’s when I bought an artificial one. The kids only remember having one live Christmas tree so far. It was the year my parents cut down an evergreen in their yard and we cut 9’ off the top. Note: the top of full grown evergreens do NOT look like the ones in an average person’s living room at Christmas! This was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We have a picture of the 4 girls each standing ‘inside’ the 9’ tree (I wish I knew which box that picture was in). It was our best tree EVER! We laughed & grinned every time we looked at it. It also coincided with the year I got to use my first ever, brand new, last year’s clearance, awesome tree skirt…and got sap dripped ALL OVER IT! (No worries, Gary got it all off with solvent and saved the tree skirt) So, now, Gary has cut 8’ off the tippy top of our beloved evergreen and it’s now in our living room. Charlie Brown’s tree has got nothing on this one! It’s missing an entire section…and it’s bendy! I told Gary, “THIS…is the Ugliest Tree EVER!” He started getting all protective & even called me a ‘name’ or two, “This tree is f*cking AWESOME!” Whoa cowboy, settle down. Christmas tree communication is the key to a happy holiday, so I explained: “Just because it’s an ugly tree does NOT mean I don’t want it in our living room. The fact that if we went to a tree lot they would GIVE us this tree because absolutely nobody else would buy it is the reason I love it so much. It’s the reason I helped you drag its sorry looking a** into our living room.” “Putting lights on and decorating it is going to be interesting.” “Yep, and it’s going to be even more awesome when I’m done with it!”

Charlie Brown's tree has got nothing on this one!

Charlie Brown’s tree has got nothing on this one!


Daughter #3 came downstairs for a look-see, “Ohhh. my. god!” And then silence. And then laughter. After eyeing up the gaping hole in the back I told her we should hang a big something or other in the huge empty space facing the street…or maybe put a TV back there with Christmas shows playing for the bystanders outside. She’s a sweet tree and we honor her uniqueness. Now it’s time to play dress up!

 

 

 

Tattoo Me!

I volunteered 2 nights for The Polar Express Rail Event that a friend was in charge of. I had the pleasure of tattooing children and serving hot chocolate. If I had grandchildren I would probably bring them to this event. It was so cute watching all the wee children (& some grown-ups) dressed in PJ’s & robes with all the excitement that comes with that age group. It was hard not to smile just watching them all. Before I left, a co-worker (from school) & I nabbed a couple tattoos to wear on our cheeks at school. The next day, one cheek was adorned with a blue snowflake and the other spelled out JOY. And this was the conversation with some 3rd graders in the lunchroom. “Are those real tattoos?” “Yes” “Nuh-uh!” “They sure are and they hurt when I got them. There were needles and blood and tears ‘cause I was crying. It was pretty painful!” Silence from the table…they were deciding whether to believe me or not. The first boy, “My mom & dad didn’t cry.” “Oh, they cried all right…they cried inside.” Second boy who knows way too much about tattoos, “It’s gonna hurt a lot more if you get it removed.” I just nodded knowingly and walked away. If you talk fast, think fast on your feet, say some believable words and also emphasize with hand movements; it’s amazing what you can get some of them to believe. It was about 70/30 on believe/not believe. Because let’s face it; if I’m going to get a tattoo it’s going to be a big blue snowflake & the word JOY on my cheeks…NOT! The next day they proved to be sharp as tacks when after 15 minutes they noticed my bare face. All I said was, “You were right! It hurt a LOT worse when I had them removed last night!” Then smiled and walked away.