Bill Maher, I Really Don’t Give a Shit What You Think…

So I’m about twelve years into this diet (actually four weeks but who is counting).  I will say this about the new Weight Watcher’s program, there really is no need to be hungry.  You are allowed to eat things like fruits and veggies and eggs to your heart’s content.  My heart however, is apparently never content with fruits and veggies and eggs.

Turns out eating healthy is going to make me lose weight because I don’t want to eat the healthy foods.  The first few weeks I did really well filling up on nature’s bounties.  Sure I missed my delicious breakfast cereals (all three of them that I’m allowed to eat because of my stupid Celiac’s disease) in the morning, but I didn’t mind the variations on omelets and scrambled eggs that I was replacing the cereal with.  But yesterday I woke up and just the thought of eggs again made my stomach queasy.  Not willing to spend the points on cereal (most carb-loaded items are huge points), I ended up skipping breakfast all together.  Mid-morning I grabbed some grapes for a less than satisfying snack.

My lunches aren’t that bad, most days I eat a nitrate-free turkey or ham on gluten free bread (which is the same points as real bread but is like comparing a miniature horse to a full-sized horse).  I generally add some fruit and call it good.  Lunch is probably the most full I feel all day.

Mid-afternoon I’ll snack on some fruit, always marveling that it tastes better than I remembered.  I suspect that the fruit is tasting better because I’m consuming less sugar in other forms.  I know God created fruit, but honestly, I’m not trying to shame him, but I wish he had created chocolate chip cookie trees and maybe cake on the cob.  Why can’t those delicious things be naturally healthy?  (And don’t try to tell me there are healthy versions out there because I live in the ‘gluten free healthy shit” world, and none of it tastes good.)

At this point, we arrive at dinner.  Every day I save my points for dinner thinking I’m going to have something sinful while staying within my points budget.  After all, we all see Oprah selling us on the idea we can eat anything and still be following the program.  Not trying to throw her under the bus, but that is not true.  Well mostly not true, because you can in truth have anything, what she neglects to mention is that you can have the tiniest amount of whatever you desire.  I quickly found out that a little taste of forbidden foods is not satisfying.

One night a few weeks ago, I budgeted my points to allow for a cookie after dinner.  I dreamed about that cookie all day.  I couldn’t wait to bite into that soft, chocolately goodness.  It occupied my thoughts more than I would like to admit.  As soon as my bland but healthy dinner was finished, I raced to the freezer to pick out one of the prized treats I had made and frozen several weeks before.  I didn’t mind that it was frozen, I figured that would just make the decadent experience last longer.

Holding that piece of heaven in my hands, I lift it to my mouth and savor the fireworks exploding in my taste buds.  Finally, something satisfying…or not.  Four bites later and the damn cookie is gone and I don’t feel like I even had time to fully appreciate my treat.  That is when I discovered that cookies are only enjoyable when they don’t have a limit.  When you can eat them until something fires in your brain and tells you that you are satisfied, then they are wonderful.

So I ask myself, why I put myself through this uncomfortableness?  Is it because Bill Maher called for the country to start fat-shaming people?  Nah, I’m old enough that that shit doesn’t bother me so much.  When I was young, his diatribe would have wounded me to no end and I would have soothed that pain in a bucket of mint chocolate chip ice cream, but now I just brush him off because I know someone like him has never experienced a weight issue and is just talking out of his ass.  What I know in my heart is that I’m doing this for my daughters.

Two years ago my youngest daughter started easing away from sugar in all forms.  It was a struggle for her, a difficult journey that I couldn’t take for her.  She would come home from school disgusted because all her thin friends spent their day snacking on junk food with zero consequences (take note Bill Maher, they are all bone thin and eat like shit).  Meanwhile she sits with her apple and plain water, frustrated because she is making almost no progress in her weight loss.  But still she persevered to the tune of a thirty-pound weight loss.

My oldest daughter switched out her bipolar meds because the one that she had taken for years was causing severe tremors, to the point that driving was becoming a safety issue.  Once she started the new medicine, she found that her weight began to slowly decrease.  Encouraged by the progress, she began to control her portion size and the weight loss picked up.  After hitting a plateau, she began the keto diet about a month ago.  The keto diet has actually been recommended for those with bipolar so it is a win/win situation for her.  Last night she informed me that she had lost a total of fifty-one pounds in the last year.

I’m really proud of my daughters.  I never shamed them for their weight and we openly discussed healthy eating throughout the years.  I always told them that I would not comment on their weight because their eating journey was theirs to decide.  My parents put me on every diet available starting at ten-years-old and my father called me a whale at one point.  None of these tactics worked (again, Bill Maher, shaming didn’t work) and I had zero intention of doing that to my kids.  They both have found their way as I hoped they would.

The problem is my youngest is struggling now that she is away at college.  The college cafeteria preaches health and yet only provides high-calorie choices.  My daughter is trying to make good decisions but finding that her weight loss has stalled.  I thought that maybe it would be a nice surprise for her when she comes home from college at Christmas to see that her mother is walking the healthy path with her.  I remind myself of this when all I want to do is eat some gluten free pizza, but now that I can’t.  I want my kids to see that their actions spurred their mother into action.  So if making my kids proud involves trading my delicious chocolate Chex for some scrambled eggs, well so be it.  I might bitch and moan for this journey, but I will make my daughters proud…

Friday the 13th…

I’m not a superstitious person.  Sure, I might avoid walking under a ladder if possible and I certainly am not looking to break a mirror (have you seen what those things cost?), but if something like that happens, I don’t sweat it.  And to be honest, I actually forgot that Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day.  I was just focused on it being a new moon and remembering to get my crystals out to get their monthly full-moon bath (hey, just because I’m not superstitious does not mean that I don’t have a lot of beliefs that will leave many of you scratching your head).

So yesterday (the 13th), I’m just living my life.  I’m shipping my eBay, buying lottery scratcher tickets on the sly (in my house it is well known that my husband is the lucky one and I’m the one that will sign away our house in Vegas for one more try at the slot machines so it has been agreed upon that he will buy them if and when it seems like a good idea–which is never), and cleaning up the never-ending mess that stubbornly returns as soon as I clean it up.  Not once do I clue into the true meaning of Friday the 13th.

Somewhere in the afternoon my hubby announces that his friend wants to go to Reno, Nevada to gamble and he thinks he will go also.  That little “lets see if I can lose the house” itch appears, but I prudently ignore it and tell them to go ahead and I’ll stay home.  I figure I will spend my husband-free time reading books, watching television and eating cake that is in no way going to fit into my remaining Weight Watcher’s points allotment.  I try to hide my excitement as they leave, pretending I’m bummed to have an entire glorious afternoon and evening to myself.

Once I see their car back down the driveway, I turn back to my kitchen, rubbing my hands with glee…and then my stomach grumbles.  I’m not talking about a “let’s get that cake baking” type of grumble, but instead the “you have Celiac’s disease and that lunch trip to Chipotle somehow had some gluten hiding in there and now everything you ate is going to come out one side or the other” grumble.

Though I’m not feeling good suddenly, I decide to make the best of it.  I grab my tablet and a pen, reading glasses, and my phone and head for the bathroom.  I have been having this debate as to whether I’m a psychic (hey, I already told you that some of my beliefs might have you scratching your head), and I had decided I was going to list all the reasons I thought I might be a psychic on paper to see if any of them made sense.  Unfortunately, the getting rid of the gluten session was a bit too involved for me to get any work done on the toilet (I was and am a mother, so you learn to use all your time productively).  In the process, I can’t help wish that I had my mom to come pull out a loose shirt and some comfy stretch pants to pamper my aching belly for when I’m done, but at 48-years-old, I know it is up to me to drag myself into the bedroom and change my clothes.

I pad slowly to my room and settle on just changing my pants because the shirt feels like it will be too much effort.  I amble to the tv room and cuddle up on my husband’s recliner, relieved to now be able to wait out the gluten contamination side effects in the comfort of a big cozy chair, watching tv.  But as soon as I settle, my redbone coonhound decides that this would be a good time to lose his mind in the back yard because I don’t know, a leaf fell out of a tree.  This particular coonhound will continue to lose his mind until someone brings him in the house, and that someone is going to have to be me.

I drag myself out of the chair and spend the next ten minutes playing ‘how do you get a coonhound in the house’ game.  Finally I fool him into coming in (yes, he does know the come command but believes it is only a legitimate command when he is actually willing to come) and settle back into my chair.  A little time passes and I suddenly remember my cake idea and I’m thinking this gluten poisoning couldn’t have happened at a better time because anything I eat will come right back out and that means zero calories!!!! (Insert party emojis here–oh wait, I’m on the desktop, no emojis damnit!  How am I supposed to write a good story without an emoji?)

Recently I acquired an air fryer because everyone was raving about them and because our microwave decided to retire itself with a light-show of sparklers contaminating the kitchen with the toxic chemical smoke of radiation death.  People had said that you could cook cakes in the air fryer and I was amped to try it.  I had read somewhere on a Weight Watcher’s site that I could mix a (gluten free) cake mix and an angel food cake mix and use that as a base to make little individual low point cakes (which I translate to mean I can make three servings aka one of my servings aka why I’m on Weight Watcher’s).

Grabbing a plastic storage bag, I empty the angel food cake mix into it.  Then I grab the red velvet mix, slit the top and proceed to pour it all over the counter because apparently the plastic bag thought it would be funny to lean off to the side just enough that the powdery mix would miss its wide opening.  Sighing, I stare at the mountain of sugary sand on my counter and grab a washrag to clean it up.

Somehow I get my little (but not as little as it should be according to the diet police) cake cooked in the air fryer and surprisingly, it actually works fairly well.  I’m stoked when I pull out my small pan of cake and see that it is cooked perfectly.  I then rummage around in the freezer and pull out a rock hard, ancient container of mint chip Thrifty’s ice cream (comparable to Friendly’s ice cream if you are on the East Coast).  After emptying the container on my hot cake, I then find the bottle of Hershey’s syrup and drizzle that on top (at this point, lets just call this my diet cheat day…or maybe days, there may be enough calories in this concoction to count for several weeks of cheat days).  From here, it is all gooey and delightful deliciousness for like ten minutes and then it is over.

Now comes the waiting period for my stomach to do its job and get rid of that yummy goodness, after all, if gluten is going to make me sick, I might as well get a free dessert out of it…except I don’t.  My stomach decides to miraculously heal itself just in time for those calories to settle in and decide if they want to settle on my thighs or my butt.

As I’m stewing in my now bad decision to eat a week’s worth of points in one day, my hubby texts from Reno and tells me the casino has lost the keys to his car.  He has no idea when they are going to be home and is frankly disgruntled at losing his freedom to casino-hop.  I’m laughing inside because that means a few more hours of alone time, but being a good wife, I am properly upset on the outside for his benefit.

Because I now have all this time to myself, I turn on the ID channel which is basically a constant stream of true crime stories that will have you looking suspiciously at your spouse, your children, the neighbors and sometimes even your dog.  After running through a few episodes of murder and mayhem, I notice it is dark and my house is alarmingly unlocked.  I jump out of the chair and lock all the doors, close the rolling garage door, and then lock the door that connects the house to the garage.

Just as I settle myself back into the chair, a massive bang comes from the garage!  “Damn-it, I must have locked a raccoon in the garage,” is my first thought.  I decide the best thing to do would be to go check on it but I don’t want the dog to chase the raccoon, so I carefully slip through the door into the garage and close that door, forgetting that I just locked it.

Standing in the garage barefoot, it takes me like a second to realize I am completely locked out of the house.  Because I am an enterprising person I mentally run through all the windows in the house and realize I had left one of them open.  I grab something to climb on and walk around the outside of the house until I come to that window.  Though it is much higher than I remember, I am determined to get in the house, even though the window is covered in cobwebs.

Somehow I am able to get myself up high enough to get in the window and I fold and bend this chunky old body through the opening, and drop into the room (I was so good at it, I’m seriously considering a change of career to burglary).  I stand there in the room, covered in cobwebs, praying there are no spiders on those cobwebs but super proud of myself that I did it.  My momentary relief at being safely in the house is rudely interrupted when my husband calls and tells me I still need to go check and make sure there isn’t a raccoon trapped in the garage.

I sigh and head back to the garage door.  I again open the door and carefully slide in, trying to keep the dog from entering the garage because I don’t want him to tangle with the potentially trapped raccoon.  I quickly shut the door behind me to keep him from following me into the garage and it takes just the briefest moment to realize I have just locked myself out again…and how was your Friday the 13th?

Why You Gotta Be So Rude?

This morning I stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom.  In this new technological age that we live in, I actually reach for my cell phone even before I attend to nature’s calling (did you see how delicately I worded that? You’re welcome).  The first thing I note is that there are no frantic calls from my oldest daughter, which means that she made it in safely to work.  Usually, I will then just spend a brief moment on Facebook and Twitter to see if any life-altering world event has happened while I slept.  Then I will check email, the weather and maybe eBay.  We make our living selling on eBay, so it is really like going to the office, so often I will avoid checking the app until I have taken my youngest kid to school.  Today I made the mistake of checking in first thing.

Immediately I notice several messages regarding a fairly expensive item that someone has purchased and we shipped out several weeks earlier.  I’m expecting maybe that the item was damaged in transit or something to that effect.  Although I am a fastidious packer, very occasionally there will be an issue with an order.  With some trepidation I open the first message.  The customer starts out by calling me Sir which I take to be a good sign because at least they are trying to be polite (although despite the onset of excess facial hair that menopause has delivered, I am actually a Madam).  They then go on to say that the delivery company has told them that we wanted the order back and is sending it back to us, and then proceed to tell us that the package is legally theirs, blah, blah, blah.  Say what?  I have no idea what in the hell they are talking about.

Like, I haven’t even peed yet (oh dear, now we are going down hill), I am not prepared to debate the legal ownership of a package sent on eBay.  But I’m a fairly nice person and I figure we just need to iron this little problem out.  I explain to the customer that we have had no contact with the shipping company and have not requested this order back.  I unwisely provide our telephone number so they can pass it onto the delivery company, and feel that I have done what I can to help.  I’m a bit bothered by the weirdness of the transaction, but I move on with my morning.  Stupidly I check my messages again before I head to the car to drive my kid to school.

Apparently my answer did not satisfy the customer; now they are really angry.  They state that the delivery company said we would have had to request the order back and this is their item, and then they say lots of mean stuff after that but your delicate eyes don’t need to read those words.  Now I’m getting upset.  I literally did nothing but ship an item, on time and packed well I might add, and now I have been pulled into some kind of Days of Our Lives, Shipping Edition.

On some level I do understand that this person is freaked out that they aren’t going to get the order they paid for.  In order to try to assist, I head over to the local office for the shipping company.  They track the item and it turns out that they attempted to deliver the item three times and then held it for two days for the customer to come pick it up, which the customer did not do, so they sent it back.  Unfortunately in the process, some lovely person did put on a tag that said that the shipper requested the item back, which is total horse pucky (I’m cleaning it up for you again, that’s how I roll).

Then I call the shipping company’s telephone number to see if I can reroute the shipment and they tell me I can’t.  I then message the customer and tell them all the information I was just told by both the in-house office and the 800 number.  The customer responds with a very angry message telling us if we don’t get the item to them, we owe them everything they paid and an additional sixty dollars on top of it.  WTF?  I’m literally shaking because this went south so quickly.

My husband jumps in and involves eBay.  After reading all the messages and tracking the item fully, eBay rules in our favor and says the man has a responsibility to pick up his order and he is out the money and the item.  My husband thinks this is a fair and karmic ending, but I actually do not.  Even though eBay closed this case out, I go to Paypal and return the man’s money excluding the shipping, because this item will eventually make its way back to us.  The man is blocked and we should have no further dealings with him.  But still, the entire situation brings up the question, why do people feel the need to be so rude?

I understand this man’s concern, but the way he handled it could have cost him a pretty penny if I wasn’t a fair person.  If the man had messaged me and been polite, we would have worked out a way to reship the item when we got it back.  We just would have had him ship to a different address or he could have provided the gate code for his building, but instead he lost his shit and ended up threatening us, total strangers.  How have we gotten to this place?

The internet seems to have taken away people’s abilities to see others as human.  Instead, it has become a place to let your insecurities feed by demolishing other people using your keyboard.  It is a place where displaced rage can be visited down upon anyone whose viewpoints are different than your own.  People can wage war with one another because there are no repercussions generally.  The only weapon your opponent can use is their computer.  If this man was face to face with my husband, I guarantee he would not have been nearly as vocal, but the anonymity of the keyboard made him all powerful.

I see this so much with my daughter’s YouTube channel.  My youngest child is an animator and she loves it, and she is damn good at it.  She has her own channel where she has created a story-line for her own characters and she has about 60k followers and gains more every day.  Her channel is barely PG, but mostly G-rated.  She is very aware that many of her followers are young teens and tries to keep the content up to a level that is appropriate.  There is no swearing and no sex scenes.  So if this is something a person is into, this is a great channel to follow.  If it isn’t your thing, move on to something else on YouTube, right?  You would think, but that isn’t how it works.

When my daughter puts up a new video, she has hundreds of hours of intricate work put into drawing that story, so you would expect that she would get compliments–and she does.  The glowing reviews flow in, but so do the nasty, mean-spirited comments.  Sometimes I read the comments and I’m flabbergasted (yes, I did use that word, and no, I was not born in the 1920’s).  If a person watches one of her videos and doesn’t care for it, why don’t they move on?  But they don’t, they will write the vilest messages and then have full-on arguments with her ardent supporters.  What does a person get out of that?  Everyone walks away feeling like shit…especially the artist who just put all this effort into something you have just smudged with your darkness.  I don’t get it.

The truth is though, it isn’t completely the internet.  If you met my husband’s aunt, she is the authentic in-person rude.  Weirdly she has a heart of gold, but if someone triggers her temper, whether it be a stock person at a grocery store, a waiter at her favorite restaurant, or even a family member that looked at her wrong, she will lose her shit.  She will scream and yell, and turn beet red in the face.  If there is something within reach to throw, it will be flying at you in seconds.  It doesn’t matter that you are completely innocent, if she perceived you did something wrong, you will be on the receiving end of her wrath.  Once her tantrum has played out, she is happy as a clam and moves on with her life, leaving her victim broken.

So even before the internet, there were Aunt Mary’s out there, but the internet has allowed all the closeted Aunt Mary’s to come out of hiding.  On the internet, it doesn’t matter how physically strong you are, it only matters how well you use words.  My daughter tells me to ignore these people, but no matter how hard a person tries, those unkind words still needle in and leave a stinging wound.

What’s the solution?  I don’t think there is one.  Blocking an internet troll helps for the moment, but for everyone you block, several more take their place.  I guess we all have to develop tough shells, but that makes me sad because my capacity to think of other people is what makes me, me.  I don’t even take satisfaction in knowing that my eBay customer could have paid big-time for his rudeness.  I’m just sad that he felt that he needed to attack in the first place.  His attitude feels like a small piece of a very abnormal puzzle that is starting to be accepted as normal.

I guess I will just have to be one of the people that choose not to buy into this new behavioral norm.  I know there are others that do that also, my daughter being one of them.  In battle, the one who gets the last jab in is the winner, but maybe the world will get to the place where the one that can walk away with their integrity is the winner.  I’m not sure that will ever happen, but I can always hope because that is the kind of person I am.

 

Ah, My Newest Bottle of Torture…

When the newest bottle comes in the mail, my excitement goes through the roof.  These tiny, dark bottles filled with exotic oils derived from Mother Nature’s bounty thrill me to no end.  It matters not that my wet coonhound’s scent is more pleasant than many of their fragrances.  As I bubble with excitement when a new jar of oil arrives, my family retreats in horror.  They have experienced too many openings of these earthy oils and have been unwillingly swept into the realm of nature’s tang that no one in their right mind would willingly smell…except me.

Essential oils are my jam and I know just enough about them to be completely dangerous!  These little bottles of oil are filled with Mother Nature’s healing properties used over centuries, long before the ER was a quick car trip away.  But more than the healing, I love their magical and spiritual uses.  Healers and shamans have used nature for years to medicate, to soothe, and to send people on spiritual journeys.  Now sure, those shamans weren’t using a little organic bottle of peyote that they bought off of Amazon (which I would probably totally buy if it was available–its not, and I know that because just for fun I went and checked), but my essential oils are as close as I am going to get to the ways of the old.

The problem with essential oils is that most of them reek, and not like a somewhat unpleasant aroma, but generally a turn-your-stomach, can’t-get-that-smell-out-of-your- nostrils type of reek.  But if you can get past that, there is so much you can do with essential oils (unless you are pregnant, a child, a senior citizen, taking a medication, have a liver condition, or under the care of a doctor, in which case, stop reading this blog post immediately…you are just going to have to meditate to your start on your own spiritual odyssey or go to the drugstore for an OTC med).

First, lets talk about some good oils to use if you are hurt and there has been like an earthquake, and you can’t get to a store or the doctor (P.S. I do have doomsday bookcase–not doomsday books, just regular books saved for a major emergency–and you are welcome to come to my house to borrow a book to alleviate the boredom of having no phones or televisions).

So, if you are hurt, many essential oils have antiseptic properties.  Myrrh is a great oil for this, just clean the wound and then apply the Myrrh.  Now fun fact, Myrrh smells ridiculously bad, and I think it was really sucky of the Wise Men to offer it to Mary and Joseph as a gift because of that.  They couldn’t have stopped at the 7-Eleven and bought a bundle of flowers?  Anyway, back to you, the person who was just hurt in the tornado or whatever it was.  If you want to help your wounds heal and you don’t feel like having sex that night, Myrrh is the way to go.  Your wound will heal nicely and your spouse will not come near you with the way you smell.

An even better oil to use would be Tea Tree Oil.  It is going to help you heal and it is going to ward off of any nasty infections.  Now Tea Tree Oil isn’t exactly a rose garden either in the scent arena, but it isn’t a loaded diaper of smell either.  Now I have heard rumors that it can also be used on head lice (dude, if you have just made it through a tornado or an earthquake and you have head lice, well your life is just sad…), but if a natural disaster has not occurred and I have head lice, I’m headed to the drug store and get the chemical shit.  There are certain situations in life where you just use the chemicals instead of trying to be natural–bugs crawling all over your head is one of these times.

If you don’t want to smell terrible while healing, you can always use Lavender.  Lavender is basically one of the superheros of the essential oil world.  Lavender is a disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, reduces anxiety, helps you sleep and might even help with PMS (again, you are so unlucky if you are on your period when this doomsday thing hits, I’m so sorry).  Now if you do want to get lucky with your spouse, Lavender is going to be the way to go.  Unless they are really into Italian food, then you might want to use the Rosemary essential oil instead.

Okay, so now we are back in the world where there haven’t been any natural disasters or doomsday things happen, but lets say you just want to get more spiritual and connect to your spirit guide…or God, or nature, or a wood fairy, or whatever, listen, I don’t judge.  If you want to get a bit mystical and add some mood enhancing notes to your meditating space, then drop a few dashes of Mugwort to the water in your diffuser (please note, this is one of the all-time worst smelling essential oils, but it is well known for its mystical abilities).  Frankincense is another good oil for this (again, those Wise Men were so off-base bringing this smelly stuff to Mary and Joseph, I’m fairly sure that after they left Mary and Joseph put the Frankincense and Myrrh out the back door of the manger because all the animals were complaining).  Jasmine or Sandalwood will accomplish the same thing with pleasanter smells.

If you want prophetic dreams, use Clary Sage or Peppermint.  Feel like you watched too many scary paranormal reality shows?  Put some Lime or Lavender in your diffuser.  Rose is fabulous for this too, but just use the smallest drop or you will feel like you were buried in a rose garden, and not in a good way.  Want to increase the love?  Use some Rosemary or Cinnamon, maybe a little Ylang Ylang or Orange.  Need a little joy?  A splash of grapefruit is the way to go.  Could your life use a little peace and calm?  Breath in the scent of Cedarwood, Cypress or Lavender.  Is your pocketbook a little lighter than you would like?  Put a drop or two of Chamomile or Cinnamon on your money.  If you can stand it, Patchouli is a great money draw oil.

Hopefully you can now see why I’m crazy about oils.  There are so many of them and they have so many uses benefits.  Now if you will excuse me, I’m getting ready to open my newest bottle and find out what kind of  aroma is about to torture my family….

What if Your Best Friend isn’t your BFF Anymore…

I saw her many times before I ever met her.  An attractive twenty-something brunette living right above the new house we moved into.  My social husband quickly met her husband and forged an easy-going, friendly relationship.  Knowing that I would be a hermit if given the choice, he encouraged me to break out of my comfortable shell and meet the wife of his new friend.  I resisted.

Life was busy enough for me without adding the awkward, tentative dance of getting to know someone.  A precocious toddler kept me busy most days, along with a part-time job, a dog and the hard-working landscaper I slept with (and was married to, shame on you with your dirty mind).  The last thing I wanted was a social life, but my toddler had other plans.

Apparently my husband and I were not as good at parenting as we thought because the day came when our toddler disappeared, and embarrassingly we didn’t even know she was gone.  It was one of those parenting moments when he thought I had her and I thought he had her, and it turns out we were just bad parents because the neighbors above us had her (and before you freak out, we lived in a tiny neighborhood well off any busy roads, she wouldn’t have gotten far before being discovered).

The husband from up the road brought our toddler back and despite our lack of parenting skills, still thought it would be a good idea for me to meet his wife.  It turns out she was also more comfortable being a hermit then living among people.  It seemed like we might be a match made in heaven–and we were.

The minute we met, we made a soul connection.  This woman and I had met many times in many lives before.  We knew each other immediately and completely.  There was no bumbling small talk, only a thirst to reacquaint with a long-lost loved one.  The irony turned out to be that the hermit in me was easily put aside and I wanted to spend every free minute with this kindred spirit, but the hermit in her was strong, and she resisted a bit, keeping her distance for weeks after each of our meetings.  I had many talks with my husband when my spirit would be stung because my new friend was always unavailable and I craved her company.

As the years passed, our friendship deepened and a strong connection was forged.  We laughed, we commiserated, we bitched about our husbands, and we sat next to each other’s hospital beds on the weirdly multiple ER visits that we both had.  Life was good.  No matter what was going on in our individual households, we were the support the other one needed.  I made her laugh and she provided a strong shoulder to prop me up when needed.  But then texting was created and something began to change.

Being that we were both inherently introverted, texting became an easy way to keep in touch without being face to face.  We were both busy, her working a job that sometimes required her to work a ridiculous number of days in a row, and me working with my husband, and raising two kids and a dog.  Texting worked fine for quite a while.  I would often query her on medical stuff happening in our house because I knew she enjoyed the human body and medicine, her dream having been to be a doctor.  She would offer advice, many times from experience and often good advice.  Other times she would send me Google links, usually ones I had already looked up, but I never acknowledged that because I appreciated her concern.

We would text each other looking for advice and talking about out lives.  My friend is a wonderful woman, with an overflowing basket of positive attributes.  She definitely has the stronger personality of the two of us, and is more of an intellectual.  I am by no means unintelligent, but I prefer to allow the quirky aspects of my personality be my signature because those traits remind me of my beloved mother.  The problem being that because of that, people don’t always give me credit for having some brain power.  Weirdly, my friend seemed to start falling into this category in the last year.

I can’t pinpoint when the shift in our relationship dynamic started, but I know it was somewhere around a year ago.  It was subtle at first and easily ignored, but soon the casual texting began to get contentious.  I would make a statement and she would tell me I was wrong.  I know I have made incorrect statements over the years, but these particular things I knew for a fact I was right, silly things like me telling her our neighbor was doing dialysis at home (which he had just told me he was doing but she adamantly told me I was wrong).  After defending the comment a few times I would just let it go because they were stupid, pointless things.  But as this happened more and more, I began to get annoyed and started defending myself even more.  I’m not sure if it is being menopausal or just getting to an age where when I am right, I’m not going to say I’m wrong, that was making me fight back.

My husband implored me to stop texting with her and just visit in person as our in-person visits were pleasant and normal.  He warned that this could cause a breach in our friendship, and I really tried to limit the texting.  I understood that texting leaves out facial cues and body language, and this was causing some serious issues, but when she texted, I couldn’t ignore her texts.  Invariably as we texted through the night, a mild disagreement would start and she would sign off saying she was going to bed.  Everything was polite but we could both feel the tension.  Not all the texts were testy, some were quite humorous and heartfelt, but the overall argumentative nature of the communications were casting a shade over what was once a happy relationship.

Another change over the past year which would seem minor but also seemed to have a wide backlash is that my daughter and I joined a gym.  This doesn’t sound like it should affect a friendship, but it did.  Previously, my BFF and I would walk our neighborhood quite regularly and this was our time to catch up.  Unfortunately for our friendship, my daughter and I are very regular gym goers, averaging about four times a week.  My daughter has dropped about thirty pounds as a result.  Me, well I am sporting a solid muscle pack under all the fat, but no impressive numbers on the scale unless you are impressed at how big the number is when I step on the scale.  The downside to the gym is that I’m tired at the end of the day, and a walk around the neighborhood is no longer appealing and I’m sure this had to cause some feelings of abandonment.

In an effort to get things back on track I decided to pop over to her house one night a couple of months ago.  She was absolutely thrilled to see me.  I was happy to see her also.  Her husband was home and it was a pleasant evening…until it wasn’t.  My BFF relayed a silly, harmless joke she had heard.  I don’t know if I was tired or was having a menopausal moment, but for an instant the joke didn’t make sense.  As I was having a brief moment of confusion, my friend told her husband laughingly that this is why she couldn’t talk to me anymore on text and had to tell me she was going to bed at night to end conversations.  Such a seemingly harmless statement that packed such a wallop when it socked me in the gut.  So my lack of intelligence was getting too much for her to handle?  That was the message that was received loud and clear, even though I doubt that was the intended message.

I had such a visceral reaction to her statement that the air was immediately sucked from the room.  The smile on my face became forced and it took everything I had not to walk out the door that instant.  I waited a polite period of time and took my leave, hoping that the friendship switch that had just turned off in my brain could be turned back on.  I raced to my car, shocked at the complete physical reaction I was having to what had been a fairly innocent conversation.  Though the conversation came off as harmless, the undertones confirmed the subtle messages that had been coming through the texts for over a year; she was the smart one and I was the bumbling one that she put up with because she loved me.

I knew in my heart that I needed to take a minute and let everything calm down, and I was sure I would move on just like I do with everything else that happens in my life.  I figured I would take a brief timeout and everything would go back to normal.  This would then become a memory I would never talk about with her.  The next day when her texts came in though, my stomach actually turned.  I replied politely but tried to keep communication to a minimum.  From the outside, this seemed like a trivial matter but for some reason it was physically affecting me.  I figured I needed to listen to my body because there was a reason it was reacting .  Knowing me, it would take a week and then things would go back to normal…except it didn’t.  Two weeks pass and I have zero desire to speak to her.  A month passes and still the feeling hasn’t remotely subsided.

I know my friend knows something is up and is frustrated because she doesn’t understand, and how could she?  Her BFF for twenty years is suddenly MIA with no explanation.  I know it isn’t fair but I can’t control the strong feeling I have when I’m in contact with her.

My husband asks me to talk to her and I know that is the reasonable thing to do, it is a piece of advice I would give to anyone else in the same predicament, but I can’t.  How do you go to someone and tell them that they are too overbearing?  Especially when you know the person will tell you it isn’t an issue with them but an issue with you?  Is it an issue with me?  It might be.  Maybe our relationship was always like this and I didn’t realize it until I got old and cranky.  But it doesn’t change that here we are.

She has asked me to walk several times and I have declined several times because I was tired or doing something else.  I can feel her frustration in our interactions.  The physical feeling has lessened and I’m trying to maintain some contact through light texts, steering away from anything heavy, but I still get the “hmmmm” judgemental response to something from her almost daily.

Today she invited me to walk and I told her I could after five o’clock.  I was planning to just tell her the basics.  She made a comment, I had a physical reaction to it so I was trying to take a brief time-out to get my shit together.  Unfortunately she wasn’t happy with my time-frame because it would be getting dark, so that walk and conversation didn’t happen.  So what happens now?

I can feel her slipping away and I don’t know that I will ever find a friendship like hers again in my life, but will our friendship ever go back to what it was?  Relationships change over time, did ours fulfill its purpose and is now fizzling out?  I’m not angry anymore, but I’m also not willing to go back to being the subordinate, I’m looking for a relationship that has us on even footing.  But honestly, by walking away for a couple of months I may have damaged the bond to such an extent that there is nothing to work with anymore.

So the question is, how will life look now if my best friend is not my best friend anymore…

Who Put These Fat Rolls Here?

Do you ever watch classic television and realize the fat character that everyone makes fun of is way skinnier than you?  No?  Maybe it’s just me.  I remember watching these shows when I was a kid and I laughed at all the fat jokes because obviously the actor or actress was large and deserved them.  Now I watch those shows and dream about being that small.

Fat is no stranger to me, we have danced with each other off and on my whole life.  For a brief six years I was a child of average proportions and off the chart cuteness, if I do say so myself.  But then something happened.  Maybe it was my mother’s plate-size pancakes, or it could have been dessert a few times a week, or it might have just been my calling in this lifetime to be a chunk.  Whatever the reason, my clothes grew steadily smaller as my thighs grew into their own zip code.

In school I was the fat girl.  If my memory was correct, I was the only fat girl.  There was one fat boy who unfortunately also smelled of his family’s dairy farm.  The smell probably edged him ahead of me in the being-bullied queue.  However that does not mean I wasn’t bullied, trust me, I was.  Fortunately the young heavyset, somewhat smelly boy got his revenge when he went on to win a gold medal in the Olympics.  I however, have not gotten my revenge.  I feel like telling those bullies that I’m married with two kids and a dog is not going to impress them overly much.  I mean I did self-publish two books, but with sales that can be counted on my fingers and toes, I might not want to lead with that.

For some years in my young adulthood I did get to bask in the glory of being a normal size after I broke up with sugar.  The odd thing I discovered is that you do not lose your insecurities along with the weight.  If you were not confident in yourself when your thighs touched, you will still not be secure in your worth even when the thighs don’t touch (which happened for like 30 seconds, and then I ate a cheeseburger one day and they were comfortably resting against each other again immediately).

Now that I’m an ancient woman in my late forties, my lower fat roll on my stomach decided it was lonely and invited a new friend to move in above it.  My body seems to be all about partnerships; thighs that are almost welded together, fat rolls that rest comfortably one on top of the other, even my upper back is trying to develop a symbiotic relationship with my lower back (though my bra must be the jealous type because it is always doing its best to keep them apart).

I keep waiting for the moment when I become accepting of the fact that when I wave at someone, my upper arm flap continues to wave long after I have said my goodbyes, but it just isn’t happening.  I have tried every diet out there, but the problem is, for them to work you have to stay on them forever.  I spent my entire life dieting (well not the first six years, lets not forget I was adorably normal-sized), and I’m sick of it.  But on the other hand, eating everything you want gets old too.  Sometimes I will fantasize about that package of gluten-free (I have Celiac’s disease so no Oreo’s for me unless I want to spend the next day with my face in the toilet hurling my guts up–nothing is worth that, I promise, and no, I do not lose weight from barfing), sandwich cookies with the delicious cholesterol-filled frosting that I will have after lunch.  The reality of the cookies is never as good as the fantasy, and for the seven minutes it takes to consume half the package (although sometimes I take the healthy path and only scarf down the frosting, leaving the calorie-packed now-naked cookies in the package), I’m lost in a sugar haze but then reality will hit me later, and I will be bummed that I allowed myself to be lured back into the sweet tentacles of gluten-free sugary goodness.

I keep eyeing this new Keto diet.  Everyone swears by it.  If you make it through the detox portion without murdering anyone and going to jail, they guarantee you will never have cravings for sugar again.  I don’t believe them.  Also, you have to do the diet forever.  The minute you start eating carbs again, you become Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and have to be rolled everywhere because you ballooned up so fast (before anyone protests that statement, I follow many Keto enthusiasts on Instagram and they all say the same thing).  I love watching people’s before and afters, losing 50 pounds in six months seems quite common with Keto.  I would love to lose 50 pounds but I don’t want to be counting every gram of sugar every day of my life.

I just want a miracle.  I want to eat like a normal person and have a a normal-sized body, is that too much to ask?  Apparently it is, so I will just take my mushy thighs, and belly rolls, and keep on living until one day I either get my shit together or scientists find  a miracle solution (seriously scientists, you will be super rich if you figure this out…there are a lot of us fat people out here who will shell out some cold hard cash if you figure out a way for us to get skinny–and no, meth is not an option–I saw a documentary and the meth-heads were fat, damn it!  Meth was supposed to be my fall-back weight-loss method.).

Anyway, Shirley Wilson of What’s Happening, I’m sorry I ever thought you were chunky…but don’t worry, karma was a bitch, and now I can only dream of being as small as you…

To Be Shit On or Not….

I was lucky enough to be driving today and have a massive egret or heron (?) fly over the top of my car. As I marveled at the magnificence of Mother Nature, the egret released approximately a quart of bird poop all over the road in front of me. It was impressive in its sheer quantity, and yet somehow I didn’t get a drop on my car which led me to wonder, was I lucky to not get hit with the tidal wave of bird poop or was that unlucky?

As a person who has had a bird poop on her head four separate times, I know that it supposed to be a symbol of good luck (I’m going to tell you, it does not feel that way in the moment).  Now many people would argue that obviously that isn’t lucky, just look at my last ten years, they would say.

Sure my oldest child lost her femur and her knee to osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and then when she finally finished active treatment for that, she was diagnosed as having bipolar.  My youngest child missed out on a year of her youth with me while her sister received treatment for the cancer, and then lived in fear for years of a teenage bipolar sister that was often out of control.  My husband worked his ass off that entire time, trying to provide for his family, but dreading the moment he would come home to a house filled with fighting.  I spent those years frazzled, trying to keep up with continuous medical appointments for the cancer and bioplar, shuttling the younger child to therapy to deal with her chronic fear of her sibling, breaking up fights and trying not to kill my oldest daughter myself.  I’m telling you, it was a lot to deal with, but then let me tell you what happened afterwards.

That young woman who was diagnosed with cancer at ten-years-old and then bipolar later on?  Well she grew up and turned into a really nice person.  She found a full-time job with benefits and moved to another city to live with her boyfriend.  Her boyfriend seemed like a nice enough guy, although being parents, my husband and I felt that there were a few red flags there.  I subtly hinted that to my daughter, but remained supportive of her choices.  When she had a terrible car accident just a month ago, and walked away from it relatively unharmed, I cried tears of fear and worry but did my best to be there for her.  You know who wasn’t there for her?  Her boyfriend.  Do you know what that young lady did when she realized that this young man wasn’t supportive of her?  She let him go, cried for three days, and then showed up for work on Monday and soldiered on, showing a strength that made me proud.

What about my youngest child?  The fearful one that draws a blank when you ask her about the year I was missing from her childhood…well that child is a popular YouTube artist with a very large following.  This same child is a straight-A student at an early college high school and is applying to colleges across the United States with a solid chance of getting into most of her choices.  She is happy and beautiful, inside and out.

What about that husband that lived in such a state of stress that he constantly felt that he was on the verge of a heart attack?  Well that man turned his hobby into a business.  Are we rich from it?  No, but does it pay the bills?  Yes, and he is much happier doing what he loves.  He still worries about his kids, but there is more joy then worry.

And what about me?  Well I have learned that I can’t control life, so I have been working on living each day as it comes.  Worrying about the future doesn’t do anything but give me grey hair, so I really try to live in the now.  Does that mean I never stress about my kids?  No way.  Every day I stalk my kids, constantly checking to make sure they are safe, because that’s my job.  But I have learned to not think about what they are doing tomorrow, or the next day, or next year (okay, that is a lie, I do think about my youngest next year at college, but I try to keep the panic attacks to a minimum).  Life has its moments, but I can truly say I’m happy–something I could not have said ten years ago.

So all that being said, I have lived a charmed life.  That is a lot of shit to go through and still be able to laugh.  So thank you bird poop for giving me the luck I needed to survive those tough years…but now I am left to ponder, was not getting pooped on today lucky or not…?🤔 (PS yes, I do have too much time on my hands when this is what I contemplate…)