Herding children is a lot like herding cats

Recess on the playground of the Kindergarten, First & Second graders. We’re surrounded by expanses of a snowy winter wonderland. The play equipment that is usually strung with screeching monkeys is virtually empty. The slides, swings & tunnels are now occupied by the quietest kids. Despite the freedom of “Muahahahahaha…it’s all mine!” I would think it’s still a little unsettling having the place all to themselves. And boring.
Meanwhile, back on the range, three quarters of the kids have left the confines of the play equipment and ventured out into the fields of snow and the snow covered blacktop. Toys of choice: snow shovels (big ticket item), sand shovels & pails, their mitten covered hands. There were groups of kids making huge snowballs or adding to the ones from previous classes, piling snow up into random mounds, trying to make snow castles, snow angels, pushing the shovels around making trails on the blacktop and attempting snow football. It was so cool watching the kids just being kids. No toys and basic toys. Kids don’t need a lot when it comes right down to it.
So as I stood outside during the recesses, basking in the beautiful cold winter day I noticed two things. I hadn’t heard a lot of, “Teacher…so-and-so told me I can’t be blah-blah’s friend and she was my friend first.” (because Norman Rockwell wouldn’t have put that in this picture) and with the wide expanse of children all around me, it felt like I was in the middle of this commercial:

If I had put a big empty box on the playground I definitely would have caught a few

The sounds of playground ruckus & the fierceness that comes with it

And then He* said, “You’re the tightest person I’ve ever had!”

Elizabeth had a big smile on her face and was all, “WooHoo,”** and giving the thumbs up sign. She would have start chanting “We’re number one! We’re number one!” if Tebazilena hadn’t knocked her on the side of the head, “Listen up numb-nut that is NOT a good thing!” Even Betsy, who momentarily had a smug smile about our being in some sort of ‘elite’ group, had to admit that when a massage therapist is overly impressed with your tightness, you did not win first prize. The only thing I won was a chance to help pay off a bunch more of her* bills and maybe some nice shoes with a matching purse. In the amount of time it may take for her to get my muscles all loosey-goosey again…maybe a trip to a tropical isle.
I tend to store my emotions on my left side which coinkadinky*** is the female side of the body. I asked Gary which side of his body do the muscles hurt more? What a surprise…the right. Every week SheRa P.o.P. has to rework my neck & upper back trying to get ahead of whatever it is I keep storing there. I have a lot more meditating to do to let go of my emotional baggage. Interestingly, my body is a mirror image to my house…a lot of stuff; ironic that I’m trying to downsize both.
One comment that SheRa says which makes us all quite proud is, “You pink up really nice!” In the massage world this means that my blood has good circulation. “WooHoo!” I’ll take whatever compliment I can knowing what wretched condition my muscles are in.

Okay, fast forward a few weeks from when I started writing this post.

SheRa has now moved from my upper bod and started working on the lower back mess. “You’ve got a tight ass!” “Why…thank you very much! I don’t normally let other people feel my ass.” Elizabeth does 3 backflips and is beaming with pride. Tebazilena started to remind us again that this isn’t a compli~Elizabeth slapped a muzzle on her before she could say it. Betsy asked, “Could you make it cute and perky like when we were 20?” “I’m not a miracle worker.” Well, actually she is but gravity seems to be the stronger villain here. On the upside, at least she didn’t say I WAS a tight ass. Having a tight ass sounds way better! And then she laughed at the irony that I’m naked on her table but wearing my socks (I was having a hot flash & she uncovered my feet). What can I say; my feet seem to always be cold & we like our snuggly socks. We talk about the coolest stuff!

*I was messing with you (my massage therapist, who is a woman, suggested I say he instead of she); I will call her SheRa, Princess of Power because she has incredible hands (& probably feet although I haven’t had her walk on me yet) and is very skillful with getting my muscles to do as they’re told.
** Cool words that spell-checker doesn’t know. It wanted me to replace WooHoo with Boohoo. Excuse me but that would mean the OPPOSITE of what I’m trying to convey. I should work with the word people and open their eyes up to all the words they’re missing out on. They must be boring people.
***Spell-checker didn’t even know what to do with this one. LOL, it’s probably still scratching its head.

I should lend her this CD. It would either soothe some of her clientele or freak ’em out.

You Can Skip to Video in 5…4…3…2…1…Skip Ad

Why is it that the YouTube videos with commercials that start out with an option to end the ad early, are the ones that are actually worth watching? The sucky ones that you have no choice but to watch are also usually the longest. So in lieu of posting a really cool song, here are some really cool commercials that tripped my trigger:

This kind of help would NOT have happened in our home. Baked goods…maybe. Kudos to the moms who rock like this!

Ahahaha…everyone needs this kind of friend! Even though it’s a talking stuffed heart.

The Sherlock Holmes in me got kind of excited about playing detective.

The song caught my attention (love the song) and hooked me into watching the preview. I think I might watch this!

Who would ever want to be normal?

And…I couldn’t help myself…I love music!

Went to India; had a taste of the Maharaja…

…I rather enjoyed it!
Even though it was ALL delicious I still prefer eating Indian food just a few times a year. The first time I ate Indian food was in New York City. Who knew goat meat could be so tasty (although those yummy spices would probably make squirrel* taste good).
At the end of the meal our waiter brought us warm, moist, ultra soft napkins rolled up and served on plates so we could wipe our hands (WAY classier than the moist Towelettes I receive at the places I normally frequent). My brother & I started to unroll ours and at the same time noticed our mom had picked hers up and was raising it up to her mouth. We both shouted, “NO!” at the same time before she had a chance to bite off a chunk of her napkin. She blinked in astonishment at us like WE were the crazy ones. “Mom…it’s a napkin…for your hands.” We all had a good laugh about it but in hindsight I had kinda wished that we’d let her go; see how long it would take to bite off a chunk of her chewy ‘burrito.’ In her defense it actually felt like a warm, smooth burrito shell but still…it was the start of our list of “Signs that it’s time for a nursing home.”
I like the ambiance & food at the Indian restaurant near us and I always get the buffet because I have no idea what the names of the dishes mean and the descriptions are kind of vague. I like variety and I can try a sample of all sorts of different dishes. This time before we left, #3 & I took a take-out menu and marked off what we liked from the buffet for next time. I asked the guy where the carrot looking stuff was listed because it was so incredibly delicious; I had a second helping for my dessert. “It’s Gajar Halwa, right here under Desserts.” No WONDER my body was in seventh heaven eating those sweet, coconutty** carrots. It was a DESSERT! Those tricksy** Indian people…I love their style! Thank heavens I had already drunk the Maharaja beer for my dessert before I found out. Two desserts! Win-win for me! P010613_1442b In the background: Daughter #3 got brave and ordered the Mango Milk Shake (milk flavored with mango & rose water). Quite tasty!

So I have one Indian dinner under my belt for the new year and I’ve converted #3 over to some new taste experiences that she likes. Of all my kids, #3 was my pickiest eater. And when I say picky, I mean PICKY!!! She drove me slightly crazy insane when it came to eating. I’m still a little in shock at the turnaround she’s done and what she’s willing to try now. I’m so proud of my little pumpkin pie!
Disclaimer: *I’ve never eaten squirrel (although I’m sure someone that actually has will tell me they taste like chicken) but I detest them enough that if there was a Zombie Apocalypse I would definitely put them on the menu!
**Cool words that spell checker doesn’t know.
Surprisingly I have no Indian music on my Favorites List; this video seems to be a good compromise. Instead of ABCD, I saw the letters ACDC (a favorite band of mine) so that got me excited and #3 is good at & loves to dance like the people in this movie. Be forewarned though, it has scary clowns in it and you won’t get this kind of action at the restaurant we went to:

In reality…1 day = 4 days…and that’s basic fact

Monday~I’m applying for a job that requires a resume; a requirement that is sooo incredibly outside my comfort zone. I put on my big girl panties…and it’s still difficult…and nerve wracking. I would’ve liked to hire this out to someone else but Tebazilena is convinced we can get through this with our sanity intact. Oh yeah, I also want it done by today. I want to get the jump on all the other applicants. I’m planning on me being the only applicant but sometimes my wants and reality don’t jive as expected. Betsy decided, years decades ago, we would only work at a place that DID NOT require a resume. That would be all fine and dandy if it were rational but we really want this job.
Tuesday~Sending my resume out to different people for feedback. So much for getting it done in one day but I want it to look professional.
Wednesday~Okay, I’m done with the resume and now I need a cover letter. Arrrgh! I can’t just whip these things out like I’m sure some people can. I have to research, which I think may be driving #3 daughter a little crazy. She thinks I should not be so anal about it and mellow out. LOL, it’s almost like she doesn’t know me after all these years. It’s been quite a few decades since the days I needed a resume. The rules have changed…probably a couple times. Words that got you the job 10+ years ago are now curse words that send your application to the shredder. I think the organization I’m going to work for is more people friendly and less cut-throat but I’m not taking any chances.
Thursday~Okay, now it’s another day later and the organization will have my cover letter and resume today. I’d like to get all nervous about the upcoming interview but I’m going to try doing the opposite. Just be me, let the Universe handle the rest and let go. On second thought, maybe I’ll just do a little research on a few things and save all that other cosmic stuff for the actual interview. I’m already imagining BEING in this job. I already know which mug I’m bringing for my coffee, having a supply of my own coffee in the fridge, which driving route I’m taking, walking to Music in the Park during lunch this summer, being so awesome that my part-time status becomes full time w/benefits before the end of the year. Ahhh, it’s fun living in my brain when we’re all in agreement!

Laughter is the best medicine…especially when the therapist is as crazy as you are!

I hung out today with one of my therapists, Lady Susan. She’s royalty, much like I am. I think she also has a tiara but I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen her wear it. If she hadn’t decided to go with me I would’ve gone by myself. I like being all by myself sometimes but having Lady Susan along is like going to an amusement park instead of just sitting on a park bench with the squirrels. First we went to an indoor Farmer’s Market for veggies, seeds, patchouli & honey. I was pretty excited that the sprouts guy was there again; it’s a fun snack in the dead of winter.
Next stop was a museum to see the animated holiday window displays salvaged from a local department store from our childhood. I am sooo glad I didn’t bring the kids. They would’ve laughed at the lameness of my magical childhood. Back in the 60’s, seeing anything that moved was a pretty big deal; especially when you’re a little kid. As we went from one display to the next, Lady Susan & I would remark, “I don’t really remember this one either.” We were both hoping one of the windows would trigger a memory. Near the end we see the kitchen baking scene. How ironic…the food scene is the one I vaguely remember. Maybe it was just the child in me that really wanted to see & feel what I did back in my youth.
I really can’t remember what scenes I saw back then. What I do remember are the feelings; the excitement of my parents bringing all of us kids to the big city to walk the sidewalk outside the department store & look at the magic of technology with its moving figures. I’m sure I looked at the whole scene at each window but my main focus was on the stuff that moved. I have memories of being fascinated by that. Then we went inside & walked through the ‘enchanted forest’ to see Santa Claus. It was one of the highlights of Christmas. All in all I’m glad I finally went to see the displays. It was nice to see the windows again through my adult eyes but with the memories & feelings of my childhood still intact inside me.

We would’ve left then but the entrance to a cave caught my eye and I felt compelled to explore. We continued walking and looking at displays until I realized that it felt like we were in the middle of a maze & I was getting a little bit claustrophobic because there didn’t seem to be a way out. I’m pretty sure we could’ve found our way out faster if they had wedges of cheese waiting for us at the end.
Before heading home we stopped for some shots of wheatgrass & ginger. We’re rebels that way. It was spicy hot, sweet & delicious…just like we are! The whole day we laughed, bantering back & forth with comedic timing. We’re a funny pair, sweet Sue & me. Funny lookin’ & just plain funny! I’m fortunate to have a lot of funny therapists & I love them all. They keep me healthy. We’d all make for a kick-ass TV talk show!

Sugar, Sugar…You Are My Candy Girl & You Got Me Wanting You

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I can’t eat sugar…probably ever. I lose the weight…I start eating sugar & bread…I gain the weight back. I lose the weight (a little less each time)…I start eating sugar & bread…I gain the weight back…etc.,etc.,etc. I don’t even want to figure out how often I’ve fallen off my horse (she’s a really large Clydesdale named Teensy Weensy). She used to run off indefinitely. Now she waits patiently next to me until I can get the ladder out and climb back on. This time she was gone a long time; I think she was trying to teach me a lesson. Lesson learned! It took me a long time to write my resolutions post (1/05/13) because the 3 of us were trying to figure out a way to keep some foods ‘safe’ from the chopping block because they were considered healthy. Chocolate won by a landslide (Elizabeth has a way with words!).

That was a light bulb moment for me. Carb addiction is no different than alcoholism, smoking or drug addiction. Well, there is one difference. Your body doesn’t need alcohol, cigarettes or drugs (& sugar, contrary to some people’s belief) to survive. Food, that’s a different story. You do have to eat. You have to make food choices every day! Try giving up junk food, sugar, bread or alcohol and find out how few of places there are that are safe. In no way am I trying to say one addiction is more difficult than another. What I am saying is that sugar IS an addiction. So when well-meaning friends tell me that it’s not good to totally give it up; to eat a small piece of something sweet and then not have any more, I started telling them, “Would you say that to an alcoholic?” I CAN’T EAT JUST ONE! It slowly (& sometimes not so slowly) snowballs into a feeding frenzy I can’t stop until I make myself sick. I’m envious of those of you that can eat sweets and stop after a few pieces or only eat some and decide you don’t want the rest. I can actually do that with alcohol. I enjoy beer, scotch & wine but I can either say no altogether or not finish a drink because my body just decides I don’t want it anymore; especially if I’m full from food.
About the same time I decided not to label myself a carb-addict, I realized that if I want to really be healthy long term I have to go against societies norm of ‘don’t deny yourself totally or you’ll want it even more.’ LOL, seriously? I want it more as soon as I start eating it! And pretty soon all I can think about is my next fix. This blog post came to me very last minute because I was reading an article that explains really well how some of us literally can’t eat just one. How many of you have a problem staying away from something you ache for but can’t have? Here’s the article (it won’t let me link it so you’ll have to copy & paste): http://athleanx.com/for-women/spike-crash-and-burn-how-even-a-little-sugar-could-be-sabotaging-your-weight-loss-and-workouts

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.