Friday, August 31, 2018

John McCain's Message to the World

I was reading and watching the coverage of the Senator's funerary processions, of the speechifying and the weeping and the saluting and I spent the day trying not to cry.  Something was making me smile, too. 

It was more than missing the  man himself.  It had something to do with the pomp and circumstance and the genuine sorrow and the ever-present absence of the President. 

Joe Biden, mourning his friend, comforting the family, all while not so subtly sticking his finger in DJT's eye.  Larry Fitzgerald comparing his dreadlocks to the Senator's, and letting the laughter finish the sentence.

It came to me, in a flash.  His final goodbye is a message to the rest of the world.

America is still here.
We are strong and resilient and look pretty good in our uniforms and pretty powerful up here on Air Force Two.  So don't worry.  We'll be back as soon as the system works its magic and we get rid of this guy.  No violence, despite what He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named predicts, will accompany the transition of power, in the halls of Congress or in the White House itself.
We are the world's oldest democracy.
We're not going anywhere.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


I laughingly remind my family that Ruth Bader Ginsburg can have any and all of my body parts she might need to live long and prosper on the bench.  A Jewish girl made good, sitting on the highest court in the land, holding plank for minutes on end, decorating her serious robes with decision appropriate collars, living on after a long and loving marriage to a man who cooked - she's a true superhero.

FlapJilly says that Wonder Woman is her favorite superhero.  Pterodactyl is her favorite dinosaur and she likes all the Princesses, but Hippolyta's daughter lives within her soul.  With jewelry and makeup in place (eye shadow leaving blue lines across her forehead, a different color blush brushed on each cheek), her sparkly, pink dancing shoes on her feet, a twirly dress covering her nakedness, she dons her serious, powerful, Wonder Woman face and takes the stance.

Fists cocked, arms akimbo, strength emanating from every pore, she dares me to do battle.  She's got the moves, the terrifying shrieks, the knowledge that she is making the world safe fueling every blow.  Then, she laughs and hugs me.  Being powerful is hard work.

As she grows up, she's reading more grown up books.  I Dissent is the picture book biography of RBG, and it's part of her permanent night time roster.  We've talked about strength and power and being in charge, whether you are a superhero or a Supreme Court Justice.  She knows that she can grow up and be one, too.

That's the background to the joy Little Cuter felt when, on an adventure to Barnes and Opal last Saturday, her daughter took off, flying across the store.  She caught up with her at an end cap.  
Look, Mama, Look!  It's ROOF!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

I Voted

Almost everyone I know uses a mail in ballot.  I like going to the polling place.

I like seeing the proliferation of Vote for Me! signs sharply curtailed at the 75' line.  I like the clearly marked entrance and  the arrows directing me to smiling faces - always the same smiling faces - on folding chairs.  I show my identification and look for further instructions.

I like being told to go Right this way, ma'am and saying hello to Liz, who introduced me to the Happy Ladies Club.  She's an inspector in the system now, presiding over the distribution of ballots.  We've never agreed on policy or politics but we both believe in the process. 

And so, today, I took my paper ballot, filled in the ovals with the lovely fine tipped marker, deposited it in the strongbox, and took my I Voted sticker with a smile.

I spent the day hoping.  I'll spend the night sighing. 

None of the winners in contested races are the Progressive candidates I favored.  79,531 fellow citizens think that Joe Arpaio was fit to represent our state in the United States Senate.... and that was with only 14% of the precincts reporting. 

Still, I'm looking forward to doing it all over again in November.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I'm Disillusioned

The President can't even get the flag right.

People I care about wonder why we're venerating John McCain.

Michael Avenatti has crushed my crush by openly discussing a run for the Presidency. 

Someday someone will have to explain to Giblet that his President-When-I-Was-Born was brought down by a porn star.  (Mine, Dwight D. Eisenhower, also had a checkered relationship with marital fidelity.  He or his minions might well have paid off or intimidated those in the know, but without a 24 hour news cycle fueled by social media and our insatiable desire for instant fame, who knows?)

Did I mention that I'm disillusioned?

It's the day before we vote, and Martha McSally just ran an ad targeting the presumed Democratic candidate, rather than attacking either of her Republican Primary opponents or touting her political alliance with DJT.  Of course, she's running against a woman who lost last time and Sheriff Joe, the pardoned felon of Phoenix (the p's and f's in that phrase (!) are interesting).

On the Democrat's ballot, I'll be voting for the voice I'd like to see in Congress, rather than the person I think will win.  I'll vote for their candidate in the general, but I'd like to be enthusiastic about my choice.  The chances of that are slim.

And there's Disillusioned Smurf, raising her wild blue curls once again.

And the worst? Last Tuesday,  I went to the UofA with, their Arizona voter registration forms, my American Flag T-shirt, a smile and a spiel.  "Hi! Are you registered to vote?"  25% of them said Yes! with enthusiasm, about half ignored me or nodded and walked on or weren't eligible.  But the last 25% worry me the most. 

"I don't want to."  "I don't like to vote." 

My astonished WHY??? (and yes, I gasped at each and every one of them) was met with a vacant stare, or a flip of the hair, a vague repetition of I don't wanna, or, more pathetically, I don't know.

I lasted less than an hour, walking up the steps to my rooftop parking space, fuming.  People went to jail so that you could vote.  We lowered the age of eligibility so that you could vote.  It's the world you will inherit; don't you want to have a say in how it's run? 

In the end, I comforted myself with the happiness in the lead organizer's young eyes.  "You registered two voters today!  Good for you!" 

I'm working with that image as I try to push Disillusioned back into her appropriate corner.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Doing Good Deeds While Sweating

Once again, Amster and her boys invited me to join them in Doing a Good Deed.
We volunteered at the Diaper Bank's warehouse, filling orders from job training sites
and local school districts and a variety of helping organizations around the county.   
It was hot and sweaty and worthwhile.
You can't go to pre-school if you have no diapers.  Your skin will break down if your adult diapers are dispensed sparingly, because they cost too much to replace every time incontinence gets the best of you.  These weren't happy thoughts for a sensitive 8th graders to cogitate, until we began to focus on the good we were doing.  
He took over the order filling and verification process.
Giving direction comes naturally to him; I was glad to toss him 36 newborn diapers.

We weren't the only ones helping out that day; Comcast Cares was there, too.
For me, it was this mother and child moment that captured it all.
They shared the task.
They shared the morning.
No one was on a phone.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Cleaning Up

It's an honorable job, being the hostess in the cafeteria.
  1. The role requires assisting Josie and Jill, the Custodians, as they prepare the space for the
  2. next group of scholars. Some wipe.  Some work on the floor.
Have a great summery weekend, denizens. 
Even though school has started it's only August 24th, and that's still summer.
I know, because TBG and I were married 43 years ago today.
We had A Summer Wedding. 
I know this because my dress was in the Summer Bride issue.

We were just a year past the resignation of the last unindicted co-conspirator to sit in the Oval Office.
Where will be be next August, I wonder?
What contortions will we put ourselves through to clean up our grown-up mess?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Lunchtime With the First Grade

And some of them even took salad.
Some took celery.
Some made spaghetti sandwiches on the garlic toast.
Some opted for the vegetarian option, and had fun smiling with the string cheese.
The oranges were put to good use, as well.
Some brought their lunch from home,
Guarding his treasures was part of the fun.
But, mostly, they were gloriously, toothlessly, grinningly happy.
I've said it before and I'll say it again-
It is impossible to be sad when surrounded by little ones.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Then and Now

    There were no special car seats for babies. I remember my little sister in a bassinette that hung over the front seat, the baby banging against my knees as the car bumped over the road. Brother and I sat on our suitcases so we could see out the window when we drove on family trips. Not the baby. She was in the middle and there was a hump.

    Television turned off at night, leaving you with a fuzzy test pattern until Modern Farmer came on at 5 am. We’d get up early on Saturday and turn on the tv to watch our cartoons - Mighty Mouse, Crusader Rabbit, old Disney short movies. All the tv’s were black and white; I would beg to stay at Daddooooo’s parents house to watch Bonanza on their color set, the first one I’d seen in person.
    Telephones were rotary dialers. You rented them from the phone company. You also rented the lines that came into the house; it was illegal to install a new outlet yourself. Everytime Daddooooo had a bad day at work, he’d come home and screw the system by installing another outlet. You could plug a phone into a jack in every room in our house - including bathrooms and closets.
    Phone calls were expensive. You “waited until the rates went down” at 7pm if you were calling your parents, or again til 11pm if you were calling your night owl friends.
    There were no cell phones. There were phone booths which took a dime to make a local call.
    Gas cost 29 cents a gallon when I got my license in 1969. There was no such thing as pump it yourself. Gas pump jockeys came out to the car, asked what you wanted (fill it with regular), and washed your windows and checked your fluid levels if you asked. You didn’t tip them.
    Prejudice was codified. I saw a sign on a country club that said “No Blacks. No Jews. No Dogs.” That was on Long Island. I saw White and Colored water fountains when we took family trips to Virginia and Maryland. There was a quota system at many elite colleges, allowing a certain number of Jews in each class. The State of Israel was only 4 years old when I was born, the Holocaust less than ten years away.
    There weren’t a lot of take out options for dinner. Pizza, Chinese, sandwiches and sour pickles from H & I Delicatessen were about it. But, “Don’t cook tonight. Call Chicken Delight!” was our favorite. A giant bucket of gooey fried chicken that smelled so good I could barely stand to hold it in my lap while Daddooooo drove us home. Paper plates, of course, because it wasn’t strictly Kosher, but mmmmm it was goooooood.
    Girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. Vicki C wore them on a frigid winter day and Mrs. Fleming had to explain the rule to her. It made no sense then, in 1st grade, and it makes no sense now. Jeans weren’t allowed until my senior year in high school - 1969.
    There was a Girls’ side and a Boys’ side to the playground. The girls had the swings and the slide, the boys had the playing field (even though it was concrete). There was no inter-mingling except in the middle, where the Recess Monitors hung out.
    No VCRs. No electric cars. No WiFi. No polar fleece (we wore wool). 
    Divorce was rare and homosexuality was not on anyone’s radar. 
    Then there was Joe McCarthy; now there is Donald Trump.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2018

    It Didn't Quite Turn Out That Way

    I thought I’d be a lawyer, until I found out about the rigors of law school.
    I thought I’d be a teacher, until I realized that others would tell me what to teach.
    I thought I’d see the world with a backpack and a EurRail pass, until I married Mr. I-Like-To-Sleep-In-My-Own-Bed.
    I never thought I’d have children, until I was passed over for a promotion at work and decided to try sex without birth control as a career path.
    I thought I’d always live in a city, until Tiburon beckoned. Living like The Cleavers made the suburbs palatable.
    I knew I’d be hiking until the day I died, until I almost died and bullets put a (temporary, I hope) end to that dream.
    I’m surprised by the number of dear, long-time, friends in my life. My childhood was much lonelier than adulthood has turned out to be.
    I’m surprised that I enjoy the gym.
    I’m surprised that my cousins are not a bigger part of my life. They were the staples of my youth.
    I play Mah Jong and get manicures and have a personal relationship with my hairdresser. I never thought I’d be one of “those” women.
    I still go to sleep early and wake up with the sun. I still love to read and write and I still can’t sing a song on-key. I feel like the same girl inside, the one who worries if “they” will like her, the one who really doesn’t care if “they” do.
    The trappings aren’t what I’d imagined, but the inside is still the same.

    Monday, August 20, 2018

    Best First Date - Ever

     He picked me up in his red convertible, a hand-me-down car that made me smile everytime I sat beside him in the front seat.  We were on our way to the first football game of the season, an away game at Colgate.  It was a perfect fall day in upstate New York - sunny, blue skies, high clouds, a soft breeze.  

    We found a place in the bleachers.... just above the fraternity brothers of the boy I'd broken up with the night before.  TBG was oblivious.  I was mildly embarassed.  The Sigma Chi's were not amused.  

    The game ran long; there was no snack stand.  By the time we began the drive back to Ithaca, hunger had given way to I-Need-Food-NOW!!!  We stopped for what remains one of our 10 Best Meals Ever - Carroll's Hamburgers, twelve cents each.  We stood at a high counter, overlooking the parking lot, as we chowed down.  Such ambiance.  Such delectable delights.  It was absolutely perfect.  

    But we weren't finished, not by a long shot.  

    He dropped me off at my sorority house to change clothes, then picked me up in his then filled with friends car for a ride into the country. Along the way we crossed a farmer's land, and he, like the Sigma Chi's, was not amused by our presence.  He shot at the car.  We laughed and drove on, never for a moment thinking that anything bad could happen to us.  

    I was 18.  I was invincible.

    His fraternity brothers were hosting a party.... and what a party it was.  There were multiple bands, and records playing softly between sets.  They were roasting a pig - a whole pig on a spit - over an open fire.  The front yard boasted a leaf enclosed tree house.

    We climbed up the ladder.  We were alone while surrounded by friends.  

    A first kiss, under a starry sky, music wafting through the air....... Best First Date Ever.

    Friday, August 17, 2018

    Running an Errand for Little Cuter

    A room full of people much littler than I, each one involved in something fascinating.  Engrossed, no one noticed the grey haired lady in the foyer.

    I stood there, admiring the controlled chaos.  Girls in the block corner, boys with crayons, the teacher surrounded by upturned faces - I was in awe.

    Maintaining your sanity for 8 hours of answering questions, resolving disputes, explaining the days of the week and the months of the year, teaching the alphabet and counting and manners - those few moments watching the teachers work their magic put a giant smile on my face.

    One of the students noticed that I was there, and suddenly I was surrounded by small bodies, clamoring for my attention.  I had to be rescued by the teacher.

    FlapJilly was surprised that I was there; she thought her Mommy would collect her.  I overcame the momentary sadness by suggesting an unscheduled stop.

    Frozen yogurt will put a smile on anyone’s face.

    Just a quick errand, picking the kid up from Pre-K........ forty minutes of pure bliss for Gramma.

    Thursday, August 16, 2018

    New Math - A Snippet

    Four of us, gimping up the stairs. Slowly.  Carefully. Painfully.  One foot then the other coming up to meet it before venturing on to the next.

    Shattered hips and damaged knees were taking their toll. And then, amidst the grunts and the groans, TBG began to laugh.

    “If you put cumulative IQ’s in the numerator, and operative knees in the denominator, we are rapidly approaching infinity.”

    (If, like me, you are mathematically impaired, ask someone to explain it. It’s really funny.)

    Wednesday, August 15, 2018


    My brother came from Maryland.

    The nanny from FlapJilly's infancy came.

    And FlapJilly's friends were there, cuter and funnier and smarter than any group of four year old's ought to be.

    Giblet and I sat on the couch, his head nestled on my chest, his eyes closed, his breathing rhythmic. Periodically, Little Cuter came by to pat my head, to hug my shoulder, to tell me she loved me, that I was The Baby Whisperer.

    We went outside for Happy Birthday, came back to the couch for cake. 

    A four year old's party is a fluid event. They put out their Bounce House, an inflatable joy palace. They put out the Slip and Slide and little bikini clad munchkins giggled and slipped and slid to their hearts' content. There was pizza and fruit and homemade Mac and Cheese, complimented by SIR's patented sangria.

    Presents were opened, a young guest cried, most everyone remembered to receive a goodie bag, and then only family remained.  Somehow, FlapJilly managed to fall asleep, several hours after bedtime.

    A fine time was had by all, especially the birthday girl, around whom  it all revolved.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Internet Connectivity Issues

    We are traveling, taking a break from the kiddos and visiting old friends.  Old, long-standing, dear, true, kind, thoughtful friends.

    They all have internet access.  I have devices that elude connecting.

    I tried, with Mr. Dreamicakes’s assistance, to charge and attach my phone and my iPad to the World Wide Web.  I had the password, I was on the right screen, but an incomprehensible error message from my carrier kept appearing.

    I went upstairs, I went downstairs, I used the devices with all the switches and buttons and on/off controls turned one way and the other.  I failed.

    I tried in the car, driving from the suburbs to the city.  I failed.

    Now, having deposited the rental car, comfortable on the Dr’s N’s couch, I decided to try again.

    I have high hopes.

    It’s not the post I intended to share, but it managed to get posted so I am satisfied.

    Monday, August 13, 2018

    Great Movie Endings

    We turned in to the last few minutes of a movie with a great ending, and, not knowing what came before, were captivated.  That led to a discussion of other perfect movie endings.

    Spencer Tracy's speech in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner was TBG's first choice; I went to Scarlett leaning against her front door in Gone With the Wind.  TBG's choice is a more moral one, but mine is wrapped up in a memory that's sweeter than Miss O'Hara ever thought of being:  FAMBB and I, high school kids thrilled with the adventure of a day in New York City, watching a revival of the movie from the balcony of a grand old movie palace on Broadway.  The movie has not aged well for me, but the memory grows more potent with time.

    Music Man's parade of 76 trombones through the streets of River City makes us smile and sing along and stays with us in a way that Hello, Dolly just doesn't.  I don't know why.  Perhaps it's the fact that we also carry around in our heads the sound of Grandpaw singing along with Robert Preston.

    The clanking of swords and TBG's favorite last line - May I obey all your commands with equal pleasure, Sire! - ends 1938's Robin Hood.  The closing of those over-sized castle doors is the perfect backdrop for The End....because all excellent movies have those words in the last frame.

    Films where kids bring the grown-ups together and take credit at the end - Sleepless in Seattle and High Society and Parent Trap came immediately to mind - get extra points for cuteness.  Self-satisfied 10 year olds are, by definition, adorable.

    Casablanca owns airport finales and Rudy owns football fields. Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald take the prize for riding off into the sunset in Naughty Marietta.  Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid wins for gun battles and heroic deaths, The Shape of Water for undersea transformations.

    The list excludes movies with a coda, like Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The penultimate scene is amazing; the last scene is anti-climactic.  Hitchcock is, as usual, confounding; I excluded North By Northwest because the last scene is on the train, but TBG argues that it's all blended together from their hands grasping on Mount Rushmore.  He may have a point.

    To Have and Have Not has a fantastic last shot, but the wonderfulness does not last long enough to be included on on the list.  Surprises - Charade and Psycho - are more pointed and so may be included, despite their brevity.

    Those are the rules.  What would you add?

    Friday, August 10, 2018

    First Day of School

    The parents were more anxious than the kindergarteners.  The children understood, for the most part, the need to stand in line and say goodbye .  The parents were trying to hold back the tears.

    I found myself hugging more mommies than 5 year olds.  My heart was with them, as I remembered wailing into the phone to Seret as Little Cuter went off on her own for the first time.  I remember telling the teacher that she could tie her own shoes (why would she care?) and more, I remember the teacher's hug as she heard me.  She didn't care about the shoes, she cared about me and my breaking heart.

    So, I hugged the mommies who were teary and the daddies who were being very brave.  I hugged the little ones wearing special First Day of School shoes and t-shirts and carrying backpacks bigger than their backs. Elsa and Anna (the Frozen princesses for those of you out of the What's Cool in Kinder loop) were everywhere, as was Paw Patrol - on shoes, on sparkly backpacks, on shirts.  Shyly, the kids noticed others who loved the same licensed products; the connections were tenuous, but they were forming.

    I gave out stickers, introduced myself to newbies and received hugs from older kids who presented me to their siblings.  "This is Grandma Suzi.  She reads us stories and gives us stickers.  She's nice.  You'll like her."  My life at Prince in a nutshell.

    I escorted wondering families to the big bulletin boards with the class lists.  I held students' hands as their parents ran back to the car for one last piece of documentation.  G'ma and Daddooooo wouldn't have waited until the first bell rang to begin the paperwork process, but judging didn't get the line moving any faster so I forswore the temptation and moved on, outside, where the big kids had already been corralled into their classrooms, and the kindergarten parents were having a difficult time separating themselves from their young.

    As cameras snapped and parents cried, the teachers led their lines into the building.
     Some lines were more orderly than others,
    but everyone managed to get where they were going.

    Someone wet his pants; the teacher had a plastic bag waiting for the soiled laundry.Someone walked to the front from her place in the middle; Stay in line was said for the first time this school year, but not for the last.  

    The lobby was calm when I left at 8 o'clock.  The classroom doors were closed, the kids were on the carpet or at their desks, the teachers were in charge.  Grandma will be around with stickers and hugs and stories and gardening .  Not every school has a Grandma - I am as lucky as they are to be the one for Prince.

    Thursday, August 9, 2018

    A Comment

    Rep. Collins (R,NY) was the first Congressman to endorse President Trump.

    Today, he was indicted and arrested for lying to the Feds about providing insider information to his family. 

    I've tried to stay away from Trump-bashing. leaving it to Melania to defend LeBron. 

    But after hearing the news this morning, I felt G'ma by my side, sighing and reminding me that Water seeks its own level.... you are known by the company you keep.... 

    Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    Back To School Love Fest

    School starts this week..  The parking lots are fuller than they've been since May. The front door is unlocked, to facilitate the importing of band instruments and bulletin board accouterments and plastic crates filled with the things that will fill a 9 year old's own, personal, Fourth Grade Classroom.

    Parents are still registering new students with Miss Mercy, but most of the activity is generated by the teachers and staff.  No, but thank you!, the band doesn't need any more yarn with which to reward progress. Did your daughter have her baby? and there was the ever handy photo that's my phone's screen saver.
    Why was I there when there were no little shoe laces to tie, no ears eager to hear about Caps for Sale, no small gardeners to advise?  I was participating in GRIN's annual Back To School Love Fest.  It was a morning filled with smiles and hugs and Thank You's.  

    We collected a cart filled with sweet treats donated by my favorite (but camera shy) manager at Albertson's, and then my Principal Volunteer and I went out to the parking lot to divvy up the goodies.  Donuts and fruit bowls and raspberry confections, cakes of all sizes and descriptions, lemon loaf and other drool-ables too gooey to imagine went into our trunks
    Then, armed with my pre-printed, geographically organized list, we set off to thank those who are educating our future.

    Two hours and eleven Teachers' Lounge's later, we were done.  We'd been hugged and thanked and looked at with surprise.  Yes, it was the community expressing our gratitude for the work you do.  Yes, we'd done it before and most certainly Yes we'll do it again. 

    Christina-Taylor was with me every step of the way, making lemonade out of lemons, one triple layer chocolate fudge cake at a time.

    Have I mentioned that I am really enjoying my summer vacation?  

    Tuesday, August 7, 2018

    My Summer Vacation, 2.0

    Little Cuter wondered about my favorite joke.  

    The Universe.

    After all, man plans, God laughs.  If it's good enough to crack up the All Mighty, it's good enough for me.

    But that joke keeps me sane.  I like my routine.  I don't do well when it is disrupted.  I can adapt, and put a smile on my face, but the initial shock is often overwhelming.  I'm often unpleasant when I am overwhelmed.  Therefore, I try to stay whelmed at all times.  (There's another of those if-it's-not-a-word-it-should-be's.)

    So, when TBG, the original Mr. I Hate to Travel, wondered why we weren't staying longer in the Midwest, it took me a moment or two to adjust.  

    I made these plans just a few hours after Giblet arrived in the world.  For future reference, I will remember to resist planning with a woman who has just birthed a baby.  On the other hand, her father loves sleeping in his own bed, so a short jaunt was not un-called for.  I sighed then I laughed out loud.  Why was I feeling angsty?  I was getting to spend more time in my favorite city with some of my favorite people, and TBG was instigating the whole thing.

    I told Little Cuter that we were extending our stay in the Midwest, and wondered if she wanted us for the weekend.  It turns out that Gramma and Grampa could be useful, that our presence was a blessing, that she'd pick us up at the train station, that she was so glad.

    Is there anything better than making your kids happy, just by being there?  

    I'm having a really nice summer vacation, even if school is starting here on Thursday.  

    Monday, August 6, 2018

    It's Nice To Be Loved

    Thanks to those who worried about me, and thanks to those who encouraged me to take it easy on myself.  It's such a difficult life I lead..... feeling the need to take a break seems, at times, absurd.

    But shaking things up is a good thing, I've discovered.

    TBG has been after me for years to get back to a regular routine in the gym.  He's a firm believer in doing the basic exercises, with perfect form, on a routine basis.  I know (and knew) that he was right; I just wasn't ready to jump in with enthusiasm.  Over the past year or so I've been testing the waters, going on a semi-regular schedule, reacquainting my body with the weights. It's been a challenge, emotionally and physically.

    I was always the strong one, always the one to lift the heavy bag of groceries, the one to push the wheelbarrow or lug the reinforced garden hose.  Up until the past month or two, I was struggling to move two ten pound dumbbells from the rack to the bench.  There were so many muscle groups involved, and so many parts to consider, and the consequences of failure were high - crushed toes and a crushed ego.

    Just before I left to help usher Giblet into the world, I noticed a change.  I was returning the weights to the rack when I realized that I'd been working out with plates and bars and never once did I worry about dropping one.

    I had no excuses left.  I eased into it slowly, using Silver Sneakers in Indiana while waiting for the baby, skipping only those days I spent with FlapJilly, and picked it up right away when I got home.  It hel;ped that no one knew I was here; I had cleared my schedule.  There was nothing to do but go to the gym.

    And I did.  Back and Biceps... Chest and Triceps.... Legs and Glutes mixed into almost everythig.  I'm not overdoing it, but I'm pushing my limits.  I need muscle, so I'm doing heavier weights and fewer repetitions.  And I'm doing it consistently.

    I added swimming laps, because aerobics are necessary and my hip is in no condition to take a jog or a long, quick hike.  In the water, I can use all the muscles without gravity getting in the way.  And, it's right outside my back door.  And it's 108 degrees out there and a girl can't sit inside forever.

    I'm stretching and pulling and keeping myself level in all sorts of dimensions.  I'm not lost in the moment, yet, but I'm trying to get there.  I'm aware of my aches and pains,  I'm starting to believe one of the affirmations plastered on the gym's wall.  Pain is weakness leaving the body.

    It must be true.  I hurt every day. I'm getting stronger every day.

    Thanks for caring.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2018

    Slacker? Not Really

    Have you 12 regular readers, the ones who click through to The Burrow with your morning beverage in hand, noticed that I've been late, lately?  Have you wondered if my vaunted every weekday since April, 2009, at the same time every morning promise has gone by the wayside?  Do you worry about me?  Are you peeved? 

    I would totally understand your frustrations.  When they changed the comics page in the paper, I was off my feed for a week.  When Doonesbury left, I cancelled the subscription and began reading Newsweek in the morning.  There's something to be said for a routine that starts your day. I get it.  I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused to you, my most loyal fans.

    It has not gone unnoticed.  It hasn't just happened, the way a day gets away from you and suddenly it's 7:30 and you still haven't even thought about what's for dinner.  There's a method to my madness (ah, would that there were!) in some weird, I'm-considering-it-as-an-option way.  I've made a few changes; The Burrow got caught in the ripples.

    It's been a gentle, go-with-the-flow feeling.  I'm liking it.  A lot.

    I decided that I was going to be on Summer Vacation.  I ended up visiting FlapJilly earlier and longer than I'd anticipated, and planning for the trip was confusing.  For me, confusing leads to stressful in a heartbeat; this time, I refused to be stressed.  Instead, I decided to act on the notion that had been floating in my head, though unspoken aloud - where had my summer vacation gone? 

    I decided to take it, right then and there.  Smashed avocado toast and gazpacho, with a new spy novel on the side, sunshine to the left of me, a full refrigerator to the right, and there I was, on vacation at last.

    I bought peaches and ate them, dripping juice down my chin and into the sink.  We had hot dogs (okay, I had Aidells Chicken Apple Sausage) for dinner, and didn't bother with salad.  I chopped up some onions (oh, how I miss my Vidalia's; sweet onions are good but not the same) and called it a day.  I put fresh strawberries atop the shortcake biscuits and whipped cream and macerated berries and the smell was transporting. 

    It changed my behavior as well, and The Burrow being late is part of it.  Instead of forcing myself to sit at the desk and THINK, I'm reading in the sunshine.  I'm on vacation.  I'm waking up with enthusiasm instead of following a routine.  Not knowing how long I'd be gone, I cancelled everything in the month of July.  Coming back earlier than I expected gave me weeks of nothingness. 

    It was heavenly.